The War and Democracy eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 349 pages of information about The War and Democracy.

[Footnote 1:  Article in the Journal de Geneve, translated in the Cambridge Magazine and reprinted in Public Opinion, Nov. 27, 1914.

Those who hold that Christianity and war are incompatible would seem to be committed to a monastic and passively anarchist view of life, inconsistent with membership in a political society.  But whatever the relation between Christianity and war, there can be no question of the relation between Christianity and hatred.  Hatred (which is not the same thing as moral indignation) is a poison which corrodes and embitters, and so degrades, and thereby weakens, the national spirit.  It is a pity that some of our most prominent newspaper-proprietors do not understand this.]

Internationalism as a political theory has broken down:  for it was based on a false conception of the nature of government and of the obligations of citizenship.  The true internationalism—­a spirit of mutual understanding and fellowship between men and nations, to replace the suspicions, the competition, and the watchful selfishness of the past generation—­is the moral task that lies before Europe and America to-day.  If Great Britain is to lead the way in promoting “a new spirit between the nations” she needs a new spirit also in the whole range of her corporate life.  For what Britain stands for in the world is, in the long run, what Britain is, and, when thousands are dying for her, it is more than ever the duty of all of us to try to make her worthier of their devotion.

CHAPTER II

THE NATIONAL IDEA IN EUROPE, 1789-1914

  Europe, what of the night?—­
    Ask of heaven, and the sea,
    And my babes on the bosom of me,
  Nations of mine, but ungrown. 
  There is one who shall surely requite
  All that endure or that err: 
  She can answer alone: 
    Ask not of me, but of her.

Liberty, what of the night?—­
I feel not the red rains fall,
Hear not the tempest at all,
Nor thunder in heaven any more. 
All the distance is white
With the soundless feet of the sun. 
Night, with the woes that it wore,
Night is over and done.

A.C.  SWINBURNE, A Watch in the Night.

Sixty-two years ago reaction reigned supreme in Europe after the great national and social uprisings of 1848, and England looked on passively while the hopes of freedom were crushed in Bohemia, Hungary, and Italy.  Mazzini, the noblest of Italian patriots, the most prophetic soul among nineteenth-century nationalists, selected this moment of profound despair to publish an essay, entitled Europe, Its Condition and Prospects, which, burning with the passion of an inextinguishable faith, pierced the veil of the future and foreshadowed in an almost miraculous fashion the situation which faces Europe and England to-day.  Nothing printed in this country since the war broke out expresses more clearly the real issues of the mighty conflict and the part our country is called to play in it than the following words, in reference to the unredeemed peoples of Europe, uttered by the great Italian more than half a century ago: 

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The War and Democracy from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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