The question may fairly be put to all who are dealing with proposals for reconstruction: “Is the aim you have in view definitely and clearly to promote the general benefit?” Most would no doubt be able quite honestly to answer, “Yes, that is my desire”; but we must go a step farther, “Are you willing to make that object paramount? If it were proved that in order to provide decent housing for a number of workers your dividends would be reduced, are you prepared still to urge that the required accommodation shall be provided? If the removal or the imposition of a particular tariff will benefit the community as a whole, are you prepared to vote for such a change, though owing to it the business in which you are personally interested may make less profit?” There are some men whose conduct shows that an answer could be given by them in the affirmative. When the great majority can so answer with truth, we need have no fear that the rebuilding of Britain, even if mistakes are made, will be on sound foundations.
To sum up: in considering each proposal we must first examine the spirit and the aim. Try the spirit, test the aims put before us by every means in our power; venture to measure them by the moral canons of the great thinkers and seers which have stood the test of time. Adopt the rules to which the acts of those who have benefited mankind have conformed or which have received the consent of the best—the “golden” rule, hard though it be to apply rightly and thoroughly, or Kant’s principle that each act of the individual (or community) is to be tested by the standard whether or no it can be made of universal application, whether it can command approval if taken as a guide for their actions by other men or other nations as well as our own. Goodwill and Charity, to be strong and true, must begin at home, but for their full fruition require a field which has no bounds.
That man’s the best
Who loves his native country best.
LEAGUE OF NATIONS—THE NEED
Unless a nation, like an individual, have some purpose, some ideal, some motive which lies outside of and beyond self-interest and self-aggrandisement, war must continue on the face of this earth until the day when the last and strongest man shall look out upon a world that has been depopulated in its pursuit of a false ideal.—Nicholas Murray Butler.
Paramount in importance above everything else is the establishment and maintenance of peace between nations. No remedies for disease, no rules for healthy life will avail, if the arteries through which the life-blood is pouring away remain open still or are only temporarily closed and liable after a brief interval to burst out anew. The vitality of the nation would be gone beyond recovery if another generation of its best manhood were to be sacrificed and its materiall resources again squandered to meet the necessities of a great war.