Rebuilding Britain eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 167 pages of information about Rebuilding Britain.

With the spirit that claims to dominate in its “will to power,” to override the eternal laws of justice, there can be no compromise.  Until that spirit is vanquished, the answer to the question, “Is it peace?” must be, “What hast thou to do with peace, so long as thy brutal acts and thy tyrannies are so many?” The order is given to smite.  With profit now we may recall the old narrative,—­“And he smote thrice, and stayed.  And the man of God was wroth with him, and said, Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten” the enemy till thou hadst destroyed his evil will.  The work must be completed thoroughly; but that task once accomplished, to continue war, whether open or veiled, either to satisfy national hatred and the mere wish for vengeance, or, still more, in the desire of gain, would be to become—­to use George Herbert’s words—­“parcel devils in damnation” with those who have driven or beguiled Germany to crime against humanity and to her own undoing.  It is but too easy for heroic effort and firm determination to defend the right, to be corrupted either by a spirit of insolence or greed.  Even as we sow the seeds for a fruitful harvest of good, the arch-enemy may be sowing the tares.  On the other hand, to cease from work and from struggle, either through fear or slackness or weariness, or even from that pacific temperament which shrinks from contest of any kind, may have results almost equally fatal.  That other prayer of the Greek poet is for us also.  “But I ask that the god will never relax that struggle which is for the State’s true welfare”—­“the contest in which citizen vies with citizen who shall best serve the State.”

B.—­POLITICAL PEACE

CHAPTER VIII

PEACE AND THE CONSTITUTION

The question for the British nation is—­Can we work our course pacifically on firm land into the New Era, or must it be for us as for others, through the black abysses of Anarchy, hardly escaping, if we do with all our struggles escape, the jaws of eternal death?—­THOMAS CARLYLE.

It is not only international peace that must be assured.  As a necessary condition for reconstruction comes the need for Peace, peace real and lasting, and peace all round.  There may be times when the nation or the individual needs the bracing stimulus, if not of war, at least of competition and of conflict in the realm of thought and in the realm of action; times when old institutions, old creeds, old systems, old customs, are fiercely attacked and vigorously defended.  The storm clears the air, and the struggle ends in the survival of the fittest.  After the War the nations, and our own not least, wearied of strife, exhausted by losses, will need all their energies to repair those losses, to rebuild, often in quite new form, what the havoc of war has destroyed, and to adapt themselves to the changed conditions of an

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Rebuilding Britain from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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