Слике страница

cian who ponders and strives, from the spiritual inwardness of the universe, to grasp the inner meaning of the world and of things, of man and destiny. It will always be idle to explain the origin and development of this predominant, though by no means universal, characteristic. It remains the final German life secret.”

And later on in the same paragraph he says:

The Anglo-Saxon freedom of conscience and disestablishment of the churches encounters difficulties, not alone in historical, political and legal conditions, but likewise in the depths of the German spirit itself, to which the Puritanic separation of politico-social institutions and purely individual culture is foreign. We regard [the] State and spirit as belonging together, and an old inherited instinct makes us avoid a separation in the interest of both, despite the difficulties created by the modern cleavage.

"A similar metaphysical tendency," he adds, “though naturally less closely connected with the State, holds sway in German art.”

Upon a statement such as this, alone, one could rest the claim that the Germans are predisposed to a political mysticism, and open to the acceptance of the divine right theory of their State.

The last question which I wish to consider is whether it is right or endurable that the other nations of the world should tolerate or enter into even formal international relations of comity with a people holding such a doctrine of the State as I have described. To this the answer must be no!

The rightful scope of tolerance in matters of deed as well as of thought should be broadly defined and observed, especially by those peoples who have placed liberty of nations as well as liberty of individuals high among their ideals. And, were the influence and attempted application of the perverted political principles which we have been considering confined within the territorial limits of the State whose rulers and subjects accepted them, it might be possible for the peoples of the rest of the world to maintain a position, not of indifference, or of intellectual neutrality, but of noninterference, confining their action to quarantine precautions against infection. But when, as is the present case, the world finds itself confronted with a powerful people not only possessing all the means for offensive war, but obsessed

with a paranoic persuasion of their own superexcellence, and convinced, as declared by thousands of voices, that to them has been given by divine Providence the task and duty of spreading their distinctive Kultur throughout the world, and asserting that the national State which they have created, and which may select its own means, is the instrumentality for realizing this end — when this is the condition which confronts the world, no opportunity for the practice of tolerance is preserved. The Teutons have themselves denied the principle of toleration and asserted that nations weaker than themselves have no rights that need be respected. Homo homini lupus, man the wolf of man, can be discerned upon their banners. The victory is to the nation of the greatest organized military might, and woe to the conquered is their only reply to those who are thus overcome. Let those who would continue to resist the operation of nature's law, they have said, be left only their eyes with which to weep.

This folie of grandeur, as the alienists would term it, entertained by the German people is, of course, not a necessary logical deduction from the Prussian theory of the divine or superpersonal national State. But it is undoubtedly one which could not have found such credence if it had not been officially spread by a State which its subjects have been taught to regard as essentially divine in character. To its utterances they ascribe an ex-cathedra character. How otherwise can we explain the manifesto put forth at the beginning of the war, signed by nearly a hundred of their leading scholars, who found no need for argument, but were satisfied to rest their case upon unsupported statements of their government, improbable though they appeared upon their face to be? Their very civilization, or their Kultur as they prefer to term it, they regard as a product of the State, and not of the strivings of individual men and women to realize the potentialities given them as rational and moral beings.

When, then, we find these Prussian doctrines of political power given a militant phase, and backed by an enormous military establishment, no alternative is given to the rest of the world but to meet, and, if possible, to stamp them out of existence. This aim does not carry with it a punitive purpose. The purely vindictive or retributive infliction of suffering or of injury in any form can not be ethically defended, although Germany's leading philosopher, Kant, taught the doctrine in its baldest form. But force applied for the purpose of prevention or deterrence, or of making truth and justice manifest, is not only ethically allowed but imperatively called for. Leaving aside, then, all questions of territorial boundaries, or other material national interests, the world will receive no adequate compensation for the enormous sacrifices it has made, unless the final terms of peace are such that, so far as is humanly possible, the claims of justice are satisfied by the payment of indemnities to those who have been wronged, and by the imposition upon the Germans of conditions which will demonstrate to them that theirs is a system of political morality which the civilized world will not tolerate, and which also, it may be hoped, will tend to convince them that theirs is a system of political philosophy which is at once false and opposed to the true interests of themselves as well as of all other peoples.



POLITICAL scientists make a sharp distinction between the terms “State" and "Government.” A State is a group of individuals viewed as a politically organized unit. In the eyes of the law it appears as a corporate being possessing supreme authority and issuing commands in the form of laws addressed to those over whom it claims authority. A Government is the machinery or complexus of organs through which this state-being formulates, expresses, and enforces its will.

In my preceding paper " I dealt wholly with the Prussian conception of the State and had nothing to say regarding Prussian conceptions of Government. In this paper I shall have little to say regarding the Prussian theory of the State and shall devote myself almost wholly to a consideration of the Prussian governmental system. Of this system, however, I shall speak of but one of its features, namely, its strong monarchical character. In result there should appear what justification there is for the demand of the United States and of the Entente Powers for a modification of the Prussian system.

I have referred to the Prussian Government as a strong monarchy. This it is not merely because of the constitutional status of the King as technically determined by Prussian public law, but by reason of the active personal part he is allowed and, indeed, expected, to play in the operation of the government.

As regards his constitutional status, there is a unanimity of opinion on the part of German publicists that he is to be regarded as the fountain and source of all law and of all political authority. The existence of a written constitution is not inconsistent with this theory, for the constitution itself is viewed as the product of the King's will and therefore as containing only self-set limitations which he has the

1 Supra, p. 251.

legal power to annul by an exercise of the same sovereign authority which supported their original establishment. As typical of this view we may cite the following statement of the acknowledged leading commentator on German constitutional law, Dr. Paul Laband. In his Staatsrecht des deutschen Reichs he says: “There is no will in the State superior to that of the sovereign, and it is from that will that both the Constitution and laws draw their binding force.”

From this principle as a premise, it is held that the part played by the parliament in the law-making process is simply that of expressing an opinion as to what the contents of a law shall be. To the opinion, thus expressed, the King gives legal effect by promulgating it as a law. The real legislative organ is thus declared to be the King. It is by an exercise of his will that the breath of legal life is breathed into the parliamentary propositions that are submitted to him.

The constitutional status thus ascribed to the Prussian King stands in sharp contrast to that given the British or Belgian King, and, it does not need to be said, it is antithetical to that of chief executive in the French and American republics. In a republic the constitutional principle is fundamental that all powers of the government are derived by grant from the people. This premise is not necessarily inconsistent with the idea of monarchy, and, in fact, the doctrine is accepted in the constitutional system of Belgium. Thus the Belgian constitution adopted in 1831 declares that “all powers emanate from the people”; that “they shall be exercised in the manner established by the constitution," and that the executive powers vested in the King shall be “subject to the regulations of the constitution.” Contrasted with these provisions of the Belgian constitution is the phraseology of the preamble of the Prussian constitution, which reads: “We, Frederick William, by the Grace of God, King of Prussia, etc., etc., make known, etc.”

In Great Britain, if we have regard only to legal theory as distinct from actual practice, the Crown is viewed as the organ of government in which sovereignty inheres. It will be observed that I here use the term “Crown" as the name of an office or organ of the government and not the term “King” or “Monarch”; for, since 1688, the constitutional principle has been established that the people through

« ПретходнаНастави »