The Healing of Nations and the Hidden Sources of Their Strife eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 139 pages of information about The Healing of Nations and the Hidden Sources of Their Strife.
They are vital matters which lie at the root of national well-being.  They are things which in their adoption or in their denial search right through the tissue of public life.  To live straightforwardly by your own labour is to be at peace with the world.  To live on the labour of others is not only to render your life false at home, but it is to encroach on those around you, to invite resistance and hostility; and when such a principle of life is favoured by a whole people, that people will not only be in a state of internal strife, but will assuredly raise up external enemies on its borders who will seek its destruction.

The working masses and the peasants, whose lives are in the great whole honest—­who support themselves (and a good many others besides) by their own labour—­have no quarrel; and they are the folk who to-day —­notwithstanding lies and slanders galore, and much of race-prejudice and ignorance—­stretch hands of amity and peace to each other wellnigh all over the world.  It is of the modern moneyed classes that we may say that their life-principle (that of taking advantage of others and living on their labour) is essentially false[21]; and these are the classes which are distinctively the cause of enmities in the modern world, and which, as I have explained above, are able to make use of the military class in order to carry out their designs.  It can only be with the ending of the commercial and military classes, as classes, that peace can come to the world.  China, founded on the anti-commercial principles of Confucius, disbanded her armies a thousand years ago, and only quite lately—­under the frantic menace of Western civilization—­felt compelled to reorganize them.  She was a thousand years before her time.  It can only be with the emergence of a new structure of society, based on the principle of solidarity and mutual aid among the individuals of a nation, and so extending to solidarity and mutual aid among nations, that peace can come to the Western world.  It is the best hope of the present war that, like some frightful illness, it marks the working out of deep-seated evils and their expulsion from the social organism; and that with its ending the old false civilization, built on private gain, will perish, crushed by its own destructive forces; and in its place the new, the real culture, will arise, founded on the essential unity of mankind.

FOOTNOTES: 

[18] Reprinted by permission from the English Review for January, 1915.

[19] Lord Bryce in the Daily Chronicle, October, 1914.

[20] In a letter to the Times, September 18, 1914.

[21] There is no reason in itself why Commercialism should be false.  Commerce and interchange of goods is of course a perfectly natural and healthy function of social life.  Indeed, it is a function which should have a most beneficent influence in binding nations together.  It is when that function is perverted to private gain that it becomes false.  But of course without this perversion there would be no distinctively commercial class with interests opposed to those of the community.

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The Healing of Nations and the Hidden Sources of Their Strife from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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