So the red god, Mars; and in these days of universal education the great mass of people will understand plainly now that that is his message and intention. Men who cannot be swayed by the love of order and creation may be swayed by the thought of death and destruction.... There, I think, is the overriding argument that will burst the proprietorships and divisions and boundaries, the web of ineffectiveness that has held the world so long. Labour returning from the trenches to its country and demanding promptness, planning, generous and devoted leaderships and organisation, demanding that the usurer and financier, the landlord and lawyer shall, if need be, get themselves altogether out of the way, will have behind its arguments the thought of the enemy still unsubdued, still formidable, recovering. Both sides will feel that. This world is a more illuminated world than 1816; a thousand questions between law and duty have been discussed since then; beyond all comparison we know better what we are doing. I think the broad side of John Smith (and Sir John Smith and John Smith, K.C.) will get the better of his narrow ends—and that so it will be with Jean Dupont and Hans Meyer and the rest of them. There may be riots here and there; there may be some pretty considerable rows; but I do not think there is going to be a chaotic and merely destructive phase in Great Britain or any Western European country. I cast my guess for reconstruction and not for revolt.
A number of people are saying that this war is to be the end of Individualism. “Go as you please” has had its death-blow. Out of this war, whatever else emerges, there will emerge a more highly organised State than existed before—that is to say, a less individualistic and more socialistic State. And there seems a heavy weight of probability on the side of this view. But there are also a number of less obvious countervailing considerations that may quite possibly modify or reverse this tendency.
In this chapter an attempt is to be made to strike a balance between the two systems of forces, and guess how much will be private and how much public in Europe in 1930, or thereabouts.