The course of revolution in Russia should be a warning to all. Russia is passing through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, where is heard “the continual howling and yelling of a people under unutterable misery, who sit there bound in affliction and iron, and over it hang the discouraging clouds of confusion; death also does always spread his wings over it. In a word it is every whit a dreadful being utterly without order.” Had there been in Russia a regularly constituted assembly possessing adequate power and representing the nation as a whole, including the “bourgeoisie”—who also “are God’s creatures”—as well as workmen, instead of irregular bodies appealing to the greed and hatred of a class, most of the misery through which Russia is passing might have been prevented, and the prospects of early restoration would have been assured. The British nation is too sane, too used to orderly freedom, to adopt either the spirit or the methods of the Bolsheviks, but we may hear of them even in this country. They may perhaps give serious trouble and interfere with progress on sound lines. The historic House of Commons must be the means of carrying out Reconstruction so far as legislation, and of controlling it so far as State action is required. Some changes in its methods will be discussed in the chapters on Reform, but the maintenance of the Constitution as the best instrument for promoting orderly, peaceful, and real progress is essential.
The peace we need would only be uselessly disturbed, and the practical reforms most urgently required would only be delayed by raising controversial questions about the form of the Constitution. We may well let them alone, and get on with something that will be of real benefit.
PEACE AND DEMOCRACY
There is no more unsafe politician than a conscientiously rigid doctrinaire, nothing more sure to end in disaster than a theoretic volume of policy that admits of no pliability for contingencies.—J.R. LOWELL.
It is often assumed that a change in the form of Government in Germany would completely alter the attitude and conduct of the nation, and secure permanent peace, but that alone would not be sufficient. It would undoubtedly help; for under a more popular Government it would be easier for a different spirit in the German nation to assert itself. Democracies, however, have from time to time been aggressive, and have claimed