New York Times, Current History, Vol 1, Issue 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 473 pages of information about New York Times, Current History, Vol 1, Issue 1.

In these recommendations I am not forgetting that an effective check on diplomacy is not easy to devise, and that high personal character and class disinterestedness (the latter at present unattainable) on the part of our diplomatists will be as vital as ever.  I well know that diplomacy is carried on at present not only by official correspondence meant for possible publication and subject to an inspection which is in some degree a responsible inspection, but by private letters which the King himself has no right to read.  I know that even in the United States, where treaties and declarations of war must be made by Parliament, it is nevertheless possible for the President to bring about a situation in which Congress, like our House of Commons in the present instance, has no alternative but to declare war.  But though complete security is impracticable, it does not follow that no precautions should be taken, or that a democratic tradition is no safer than a feudal tradition.  A far graver doubt is raised by the susceptibility of the masses to war fever, and the appalling danger of a daily deluge of cheap newspapers written by nameless men and women whose scandalously low payment is a guarantee of their ignorance and their servility to the financial department, controlled by a moneyed class which not only curries favour with the military caste for social reasons, but has large direct interests in war as a method of raising the price of money, the only commodity the moneyed class has to sell.  But I am quite unable to see that our Junkers are less susceptible to the influence of the Press than the people educated by public elementary schools.  On the contrary, our Democrats are more fool-proof than our Plutocrats; and the ravings our Junkers send to the papers for nothing in war time would be dear at a halfpenny a line.  Plutocracy makes for war because it offers prizes to Plutocrats:  Socialism makes for peace because the interests it serves are international.  So, as the Socialist side is the democratic side, we had better democratize our diplomacy if we desire peace.



And now as to the question of recruiting.  This is pressing, because it is not enough for the Allies to win:  we and not Russia must be the decisive factor in the victory, or Germany will not be fairly beaten, and we shall be only rescued proteges of Russia instead of the saviours of Western Europe.  We must have the best army in Europe; and we shall not get it under existing arrangements.  We are passing out of the first phase of the war fever, in which men flock to the colours by instinct, by romantic desire for adventure, by the determination not, as Wagner put it, “to let their lives be governed by fear of the end,” by simple destitution through unemployment, by rancour and pugnacity excited by the inventions of the Press, by a sense of duty inculcated in platform orations which would not stand half an

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New York Times, Current History, Vol 1, Issue 1 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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