UNION AND REGENERATION
So from day to day and strength to strength you shall build up indeed by art, by thought, and by just will an ecclesia of England of which it shall not be said, “See what manner of stones are here,” but “See what manner of men.”—JOHN RUSKIN.
One subject most vital to all progress on sound lines, which affects not only present reconstruction, but the whole future of the nation, and involves not only definite action now but also steady and continuous action in all future time, has been deliberately omitted. The question of Education, of the training of the coming generation on right lines, requires separate treatment in a way more complete and thorough, if it is to be of any use at all, than can be given to it incidentally among a large number of other subjects. The Education Act, which was passed in 1918 with so much goodwill, will give opportunities for the development of education, but whether it is a benefit or not will depend on how it is used and the kind of education given. The example of Germany shows how education, highly organised at every stage, reduced to a system in accordance with theories thought out most carefully, may have disastrous effects. From the Kindergarten to the University the Germans have had their completely graded system extending to all classes of society; they have elaborated their theories with care, and applied them thoroughly at every stage. Thoughtful students of education, both in this country and in America, have made German methods the subject of their study, and offered to them when they could the flattery of imitation. Those who wished to learn the best methods of teaching have made the works of Herbart their text-book; they have studied the work of Kirchensteiner and attended the lectures of Rein at Jena. To know the last thesis published in a German university had become a necessary qualification for recognition as a scholar, and the best passport for an appointment to many of the higher teaching posts in England. But the emphatic warning comes from the experience of Germany that even the very perfection of educational systems and methods may be used so as to be a curse to the country which has adopted them. Published statistics show that juvenile crime, often of the most revolting kind, is rampant, and has been increasing in Germany, that suicides have become common even amongst the very young. The highly efficient mental drill provided by German education, even the devotion to knowledge shown by the German people, whatever benefits it may once have conferred, applied as it now is, must be recognised as one of the causes why Germany, so long as it retains its present spirit and its present aims, has come to be rightly regarded as an enemy to mankind. It is essential that there