Freedom’s Anchor: An Introduction to Natural Law Jurisprudence in American Constitutional History

In Freedom’s Anchor, Andrew P. Napolitano, the well-known American jurisprudent, vigorously demonstrates that the Natural Law is the very lifeblood of the United States—and without it the nation cannot truly and fully exist. The strength of the book lies in its rich array of caselaw, from Colonial America down to the present-day, in which the Natural Law has functioned as the dynamic “logic” for the rulings rendered. This book will not disappoint, so do make sure to get a copy.

Judge Napolitano is a graduate of Princeton University and the University of Notre Dame Law School. He is the youngest life-tenured Superior Court judge in the history of the State of New Jersey. He sat on the bench from 1987 to 1995 and presided over more than 150 jury trials and thousands of motions, sentencings, and hearings. Judge Napolitano taught constitutional law and jurisprudence at Delaware Law School for one and a half years, at Seton Hall Law School for 11 years, and at Brooklyn Law School for four years. He was often chosen by the students as their most outstanding professor. As Fox News’s Senior Judicial Analyst from 1997 to 2021, Judge Napolitano gave 14,500 broadcasts nationwide on the Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network. He is nationally known for watching and reporting on the government as it takes liberty and property. His newspaper column is seen by millions every week. He is an internationally-recognized expert on the U.S. Constitution and a champion of personal freedom. Freedom’s Anchor is his tenth book.

This excerpt comes through the kind generosity of Academica Press.

What is the Natural Law Tradition? Is the natural law related to the medieval church and the nature of man as a divine creation? Or is it a philosophical methodology linked to Enlightenment ideas of personhood? Perhaps it is a legal rule with specific form and content incorporated by the Ninth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution? The truth is that the natural law is often confounded among many of these questions, and as such, we must look backwards throughout history to discern its complete meaning if we are to look forward and see how we may use it to achieve the best form of government.

Even those who question or reject the existence of a Creator can embrace the concept of natural rights, for they can accept that our exercise of human reason leads us to discern right from wrong, and in turn, discover truth. An atheist will agree that there are certain basic values acknowledged everywhere, in all times and circumstances. After all, even a person deprived of senses has the ability to reason.

The Boston Massacre Trial: Self-Defense as a Natural Right for All

Indeed, “it was not uncommon for colonial lawyers and colonial courts to regard Natural Law and ancient principles of the common law as superior to ordinary legislative acts.” For instance, during the Boston Massacre trial of 1770, in which John Adams and Josiah Quincy II defended British soldiers accused of killing innocent colonial civilians, Adams asserted a self-defense justification. Adams was advised, Roscoe Pound maintained, by Jeremiah Gridley, “the father of the Boston bar, […] that [the] study of the natural, i.e. ideal, law, set forth in the Continental treatises on the law of nature and nations, if unnecessary in England, was important for the American lawyer.” Quincy argued for one of the soldiers by dispelling the notion forwarded by the Crown, that “the life of a soldier was of very little value; of much less value than others of the community.” Quincy argued that “we all reluct at death […] God and Nature hath implanted this love of life.—Expel therefore from your breasts an opinion so unwarrantable by any law, human or divine[.]” He then quoted Blackstone, who… unmistakably invokes the natural law: The law by which the prisoners are to be tried, is a law of mercy—a law applying to us all—a law, judge Blackstone will tell us “founded in principles that are permanent, uniform and universal, always comfortable to the feelings of humanity and the indelible rights of mankind.”

Quincy was quick to remind the jury of the earlier natural law claim he asserted with Adams, including a citation to John Locke. Adams, in his closing discussion of justifiable homicide, also invoked Blackstone and “the laws of nature,” signaling the powerful sway of natural law arguments on juries and the bench at the time.

Of course, as any trial attorney will attest, judges and juries often decide cases on many factors beyond the persuasiveness of the attorneys and compassionate presentation of the defendants or victims. A colonial Boston jury, some scant three-and-a-half years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, was not sympathetic to a cadre of British soldiers who had just killed or injured several of their fellow Bostonians. However, the natural law appeals of Adams and Quincy were rational rather than sympathetic; and they won the day resulting in the acquittal of six of the soldiers, and convictions for manslaughter, instead of murder, for the remaining two.

Madison, in crafting the Bill of Rights, needed to manage two competing arguments: the disingenuous argument of Alexander Hamilton, that any enumeration of rights “could be used to justify any unwarranted expansion of federal power” as the government is of enumerated powers, and to enumerate rights implies areas of rights the government can reach into beyond those enumerated, on the one hand; and, the Madisonian argument that “any right excluded from enumeration would be jeopardized,” on the other hand. Madison, in this initial proposal to the House “ran together both of these concerns.”

His proposals went to a select committee (of which he was a member) for consideration, and “[e]ventually, the two ideas were unpacked” into the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, which deal with “rights” and “powers,” respectively. That is the Barnett-libertarian view of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, which Professor Randy Barnett… termed as power-constraint: The two amendments act to constrain the federal government from either expanding its own powers at the expense of individual persons and of the States, or from infringing on the other unenumerated natural rights of individual persons.

Such a bundle of amendments dispels any argument that the founders disavowed natural law and natural rights.

Why else would such a clause exist? What other rights could there be? Of course, there were the state bills of rights, but Madison addressed that concern too! “The powers not delegated by this Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively.” So, after setting up the Bill of Rights to contain a provision to protect non-enumerated rights, Madison returned to protect the rights of the states which created the Constitution and to emphasize that the Constitution provided government only with the powers that the states ceded to it, and nothing more.

Whereas legal positivism dominated the judicial landscape of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, natural law theory jurisprudence began to reemerge and win small victories starting in the middle of 1946 and persisting through today. That is not to say that the Supreme Court adopted a doctrinal approach that examined matters before it with strong deference to natural law and natural rights, but rather that activist and conservative Courts alike ruled on matters in such a fashion as to incorporate into lofty stare decisis certain natural law principles. All of this occurred much to the chagrin of simple fairweather positivists, who grumbled about statutory law, and so-called legal realists, who believe in the importance and primacy of judicial precedent, though, it seems, only when such reliance suited their ends.

We see now that around the end of the second World War a return to Natural Law theories emerged with renewed vigor. During this time, the Third Reich had revealed to humanity the devastation and atrocities of which contemporary society became capable when deploying modern methods of engineering, science, and manufacturing to sinister, horrific and protracted ends and grounding them in positivism. We have also observed the means by which societies sought to safeguard against future abuses through the passage of laws and rules holding government more accountable, such as the Federal Tort Claims Act in 19462 in the United States, which allowed injured persons to sue the federal government in certain limited circumstances, and the Crown Proceedings Act in 1947 in England, which granted English “subjects” (how I loathe the word when referring to persons) the right to sue the Crown without first obtaining a royal fiat.

Though typically at loggerheads, Natural Law theory and legal positivism can find common purchase through soft-hearted approaches to Originalism that factor in the principles behind the Ninth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the most significant figures in the spread and modern development of Originalism, brought what he believed to be a greater sense of order and consistency to the bench by calling for judges to restrict their decisions in a narrow fashion by adhering to Originalism, a philosophy he believed would lead toward more authentic and honest interpretation of laws and the Constitution itself.

As time passes, language can undergo semantic shift in which the popular meanings of words change. So, in order truly to understand a statute, some argued, one needed to seize the mantel of the historian and endeavor to determine what was meant by a statute at the time of its passage rather than interpreting the statute according to the contemporary meaning of its words. In 1982, Paul Brest, then a professor at Stanford Law School, coined the term “Originalism” which he defined as “the familiar approach to constitutional adjudication that accords binding authority to the text of the Constitution or the intention of its adopters.” According to Brest, “[a]dherence to the text and original understanding arguably constrains the discretion of decision makers [i.e., judges] and assures that the Constitution will be interpreted consistently over time.”

Different flavors of Originalism focus on different original elements involved in the drafting, creation, adoption, and passage of various elements of the Constitution, its amendments, and legislation written under its authority. The textualists look to the language of the text in question.5 “The plain meaning of a text is the meaning that it would have for a ‘normal speaker of English’ under the circumstances in which it is used.”6 Though textualists focus mainly on the words of the text in question, they will occasionally consult outside sources to determine exactly what a word or a term of art meant to the general public at the time the particular provision was adopted or passed. In other words, they may look to newspapers, other legislation, books, speeches, circulars, broadsides, treatises, or treaties contemporaneous to the particular language they seek to understand. However, such an approach looks to extratextual material only in so far as it clarifies the meaning of the words involved in the piece in question and is not used to try to understand what may have been the intent of those who adopted the law. The textualists care only about the plain public meaning of the words at the time they were written, not the intent of the authors.

Intentionalists, on the other hand, seek to divine the intentions of those who adopted or passed a piece of legislation or provision. They endeavor to do so by considering the text of the law or provision as a persuasive—though not controlling—authority.

Intentionalists will look to a nearly endless variety of sources related, directly, or even imaginarily, to the piece in question. The camps of intentionalists diverge or sometimes disagree over whose intent they should consider. Some believe that the intent of the drafters of a piece should carry more weight when it comes to its interpretation, while others argue for heavier consideration of the intent of those who adopted it. Further wrinkles arise when others advocate for the inclusion of ideas of legal structuralism, calling for evaluation of the relationships between the various branches of government at the time of the passage of language in question to determine how different organs of government relate to and interact with one another.

Was Jefferson partly right about the tree of Liberty occasionally, and only when absolutely necessary, soaking up the blood of patriots and tyrants in order to survive? Or was he right when he observed that in the long march of history, governments grow and liberty shrinks? Or, were intellectual giants from Aquinas to Rothbard right when they argued that so long as we can reason, we will have liberty?

But to exercise reason, we must have free will. Both free will and natural law principles have been imprinted in us. Positive law not faithful to the natural law principles is an artificial fabrication of humans, usually for their own good or tenure in power. Yet all rational adults have natural inclinations to know good from evil.

The issues this work addresses are not those of individual fidelity to natural law principles, but government infidelity to them. Government fidelity to natural law principles assures individual choices, personal autonomy, and authorship of one’s own life. Isn’t that the definition of personal liberty – freedom bounded, as Jefferson said, only by the natural rights of others? Isn’t that the pursuit of happiness?

Short of a government committed to the preservation of natural rights, there is darkness and chaos.


Featured: The Tontine Coffee House, New York City, by Francis Guy; painted in 1797.


Atheistic Humanism, the Democratic Party, and the Catholic Church

David R. Carlin is a former Democratic state senator who was once a leading figure in Rhode Island politics. In his new book, Atheistic Humanism, the Democratic Party, and the Catholic Church, he explains that the “mind” of the Democratic Party has been converted to atheistic humanism, an ideology (or worldview) that is the deadly enemy of Catholicism. It is this ideology that has given America its present-day culture of sexual freedom, abortion, gay marriage, and transgenderism. More and more this atheistic ideology controls the chief propaganda organs of American culture, that is the entire Media-Education-Entertainment Complex, and of course the Democratic Party itself.

This excerpt from Atheistic Humanism, the Democratic Party, and the Catholic Church comes through the kind courtesy of Lectio Publishing.

When I had finished writing about ninety-nine percent of this book, I happened to be driving through my neighborhood one day (I was driving home following a periodic visit to my cardiologist) when I noticed a colorful cloth banner, rectangular in shape, hanging on somebody’s front porch. It said:

  • Pro-BLM
  • Pro-science
  • Pro-choice
  • Pro-feminism
  • Pro-LGBTQ
  • Pro-humanism
  • Pro-immigrant

I slammed on my brakes in order that I might pause for a moment or two to admire the banner, which is a nearly perfect summary of the dangerous anti-Christianity mentality I am denouncing in this book, a mentality I call atheistic humanism. The person who made the banner is, I suppose, an atheistic humanist, and so, very probably, is the person who owns the porch in question.

If you know how to read the language of atheistic humanism, you will know how to interpret the many “pro” labels listed above.

  • “Pro-BLM” means “the USA is a systemically racist society, ruled by white supremacists”
  • “Pro-science” means “we don’t believe in the Bible or any other divine revelation”
  • “Pro-choice” means “pro-abortion”
  • “Pro-feminism” means “we deplore toxic masculinity”
  • “Pro-LGBTQ” means “we endorse an immense variety of sexual perversions”
  • “Pro-humanism” means “anti-Christianity and pro-atheism”
  • “Pro-immigrant” means “pro-open borders”

Atheistic humanists are smart people, at least usually, and so when making propaganda they know how to clothe their dangerous ideas in harmless, often even attractive, words and slogans. And so, instead of saying, “Let’s mass-murder unborn babies,” they say, “Let’s defend a woman’s right to choose.” And instead of saying, “Almost all white Americans are racists,” they say, “Black lives matter.” Instead of saying, “The Bible is bull***t,” they say, “We believe in science.” And so on.

*****

Great civilizations sometimes collapse. If we have any doubts about that, we can read Arnold Toynbee’s multivolume work, A Study of History; or another multivolume work, Edward Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. In the second and third and fourth centuries AD, the old pagan civilization of the Greco-Roman world gradually but (as we now can see in retrospect) inevitably collapsed and was replaced by a new civilization based on Christianity.

It is possible that those of us living today are passing through a somewhat similar crisis of civilization, a crisis in which an old way of life is dying while a new is being born. If in those ancient days paganism, an old thing, was being replaced by a new thing, Christianity, so in our time Christianity, which is now an old thing, is perhaps being replaced something new, a worldview based on atheism. It is not easy for those living through one of these great transitions to know what is happening. Only after the transition is complete, only after the old thing has quite definitely passed away, can we be sure that it is truly dead and that it is therefore too late to save it. As the philosopher Hegel, meditating on the mysterious course of history, once said, “The Owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of the dusk.” So I’m not quite sure that our civilization is crumbling; perhaps we are simply going through a bad patch; maybe we’ll have to wait five hundred years before making a definitive judgment on that.

*****

But something is happening, something momentous, whether we call it a bad patch or a collapse of our old civilization. Christianity is under severe attack by a great enemy, and it is this enemy—along with its political arm, the Democratic Party—that I plan to examine in this book. Although this attack is underway in many places, not just in the United States of America…

…But what is this new thing, this new thing that is a great enemy of Christianity? What should we call it? Many Christians, both Catholics and others, like to call it a new paganism, a neo-paganism. I think this is a great misnomer. The ancient paganism of the Roman-Greek world, quite unlike today’s anti-Christianity, was religious. All paganism is religious, paganism being the generic name for polytheistic religions. Ancient paganism certainly wasn’t religious in a Christian or monotheistic way, but without question it was religious. It had multitudes of gods, altars, rituals, and holy days. By contrast, this new thing, this candidate to replace Christianity, is not at all religious. Either it involves outright atheism, or it leans strongly in the direction of atheism. It is a decidedly secular or non-religious faith; more than non-religious, it is anti-religious; very specifically, it is anti-Christianity. At the same time, it is humanistic; or at least in its outwardly most attractive form it claims to be humanistic. A more or less accurate label for it would be secular humanism. A more accurate name still would be atheistic humanism—for atheism is the most thoroughgoing kind of anti-Christianity, and atheism lies at the core of this new and superficially benign faith.

There are various kinds of atheists. Some of them are beastly; they give vent to their basest, most animalistic impulses (think of violent criminals). Others are demonic; they love evil, not for the eventual good it may produce, but for its own sake (think of Nazis). The atheists I will be focusing on in this book are the (apparently) best kind, the humanistic kind. They are neither beastly nor demonic. They make an honest attempt to be human and humane. They even make an attempt (albeit a very unsuccessful attempt) to mimic what they imagine to be the ethic of Christianity. It is atheists of this kind—the “good” atheists, so to speak—that present the greatest danger to Christianity in general and to Catholicism in particular. I should point out, however, that once these “good” atheists are in command of society, the way will open for the entry of atheists of the beastly and demonic.

*****

Ideological Structure of the Democratic Party

To understand today’s Democratic Party we must understand its ideological structure, and to understand this structure we have to see (a) who produces the party’s ruling beliefs and values, (b) who distributes these beliefs and values, and (c) who consumes them.

We may picture this structure as a pyramid. At the top of the pyramid are the producers, relatively small in number. Below them are the distributors, much larger in number. And at the base of the pyramid are the consumers, the enormous number of rank-and-file Democrats. The beliefs and values move downward, as with the force of gravity. They begin with the people at the top of the pyramid; they are eagerly seized upon by the people in the middle; and these middle people energetically pass these beliefs and values on to the party’s rank-and-file…

The producers of these strongly leftist beliefs and values are people who are commonly referred to as intellectuals, but who more correctly should be denominated as ideologues. “Intellectual” is a very broad category; it can refer to any highly educated person who has a lively and continuing interest in some field of thought. For instance, a Shakespeare scholar would be an intellectual, and so would a physicist, and so would a professor of constitutional law. But not all intellectuals are ideologues; in fact most of them are not. An “ideologue” is a sub-category of intellectual. He (or she) is an “activist” intellectual; an intellectual who is promoting a political agenda; an intellectual whose commitment to a more or less revolutionary outcome shapes his (or her) perception of political reality. The pure intellectual studies reality to see what conclusions ought to be drawn. The ideologue already “knows” the conclusions prior to beginning the study; he then shapes the evidence to fit his a priori conclusions.

The producers of the beliefs and values of the Democratic Party are ideologues, leftist ideologues—progressives they like to call themselves. They have a kind of ideal society in mind, and they believe that the Democratic Party is the political vehicle that can, if guided correctly—which is to say, if guided by themselves—contribute greatly to bringing this ideal society about.

Only rarely are these ideologues elected officials. Far more often they are professors at colleges and universities, including law schools; and these are often America’s very best colleges and universities and law schools. They can also be found in significant numbers at leftist “think tanks.” On some occasions they are journalists. Or they are writers of political or historical or sociological books (this last category largely overlapping with the earlier categories).

The distributors of these beliefs and values are persons who may be described as “passive ideologues” in contrast to the “active ideologues” just described. That is to say, they don’t create the leftist beliefs and values they adhere to, but they receive them with enthusiasm. These are the people who dominate what may be called the “command posts” of American popular culture—or what may alternatively be called America’s “propaganda industry.” I have in mind the leftists who dominate such fields as journalism (both electronic and print), the entertainment industry (Hollywood, TV, popular music, etc.), and our colleges and universities. It is also common for public school administrators to be distributors of these beliefs and values, less common (though far from unknown) for classroom teachers to be so. Minsters of liberal churches and theologian-professors at liberal seminaries are also distributors. Finally, we must count the great majority of Democratic elected officials, from local town councils up the President of the United States, as distributors—along with the political activists who help these officials get elected.

Some of these distributors are more enthusiastic in their leftism than others. Those who are very enthusiastic—an enthusiasm that sometimes, especially among young persons, verges on fanaticism—call themselves progressives, while the more temperate leftists prefer to call themselves liberals. Whether progressive or liberal, however, they take their beliefs and values from “above” and pass them along to the common people “below.” They are like missionaries, spreading a gospel they deeply believe in even though they didn’t invent it.

The producers and distributors of these leftist beliefs and values are of course also consumers of their beliefs and values. But the great majority, indeed the overwhelming majority, of consumers are rank-and-file Democrats who are for the most part non-ideological—or would be if left to their own devices. Their motives for adherence to the Democratic Party are various. Sometimes it is a matter of family tradition: “My parents were Democrats, my grandparents were Democrats,” and so on. Sometimes it is a matter of racial identity: “Most blacks are Democrats, I am black, therefore etc.” Sometimes it is a matter of labor union membership: “My union supports the Democrats, therefore etc.” Sometimes it is a matter of economic interest: “The Democrats are good for my paycheck or my welfare check, etc.” Sometimes it is a matter of personal inertia: “I have always voted Democrat, etc.”

Very often it is a matter of imagining that the Democratic Party today is essentially the same thing it was decades ago: “This is the party of FDR and JFK, so how can I not vote for it?” This is what may be called “the fallacy of essentialism.” Some things—geometrical figures, for instance, or numbers—have eternal essences. They never change. A square always was, is now, and always will be a plane figure with four equal sides and four 90-degree angles. Some people imagine that their favorite political party is rather like this; that it remains essentially what it was in its golden age.

Even though these Democratic voters are for the most part non-ideological, and even though they have little or no personal attachment to the leftist values of abortion, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, transgenderism, recreational drug use, and euthanasia, and even though they don’t believe that the USA is a “systemically” or “fundamentally” racist society, and even though the whites among them (most of them are whites) don’t believe it is racist to assign heavy penalties for crimes of violence committed by blacks and other “persons of color,” and even though they have no wish that public schools should teach little kids to adopt an attitude of tolerance toward a variety of sexual perversions—even though all this, these rank-and-file Democrats are willing to go along with the ideological agenda handed down by the ideological rulers of the party. Why? Because it is their party. It is a party they are in the habit of trusting, a party they are in the habit of supporting. Besides, they don’t like the other party, the rival party, the Republicans—just as Red Sox fans don’t like the Yankees. Like good team players, they operate on the assumption that if the captains of their team say ABC while the other team says not-ABC, they will have to agree with leaders of their team; they too will have to say ABC. To do otherwise in the midst of battle would be an act of disloyalty.

In sum, that’s how a small number of people (the ideological leaders of the party), having persuaded a much larger number of people (the propaganda arm of the party), can shape the political preferences of a vast number of people (the rank-and-file members of the party). And that’s how an intellectual elite whose ideas and values are far out of the mainstream can shape the destiny of a nation. A small number of leftist ivory tower intellectuals/ideologues (at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, great state universities, etc.) win converts at vital propaganda outlets (the New York Times, MSNBC, Hollywood, etc.), and these leftist propagandists in turn tell ordinary Democrats what political and cultural agenda they should support.


Ukraine: Between War and Peace

We are very pleased to brin gthis excerpt from Colonel Jacques Baud’s latest book on the Ukrainian conflict. It is entitled, Ukraine: Between War and Peace, and you may purchase it either or Amazon or at Barnes & Noble.

Understanding the Conflict

The way in which a crisis is understood determines the way in which it is resolved. This statement, which I often repeat, seems simple. Yet we are unable to do so. This was already the case with George W. Bush’s “war on terror”, which all Western countries rushed to follow in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, where we supported the aggressor (even though we knew he was lying).

All these wars have been lost, our soldiers, the civilian victims of war (including those of terrorist attacks) have died for only one reason: we did not want to understand these conflicts, their nature, and their actors before we got involved.

You can’t win a war by convincing yourself that you’ve won.

Learning the lessons of a conflict should not only allow us to revisit our doctrines of engagement and the orientation of our armament policies, but also – and this is essential – to avoid the emergence of new conflicts. To think that a conflict is the product of a single cause (“Putin is crazy!”) is childish. Conflicts are always the result of a cluster of causes, whose relative importance varies over time.

The identification of these causes and their interactions is the task of the intelligence services and of those who are supposed to enlighten our decision-makers. However, in France more than elsewhere, the thinking on the conflict, whether it comes from “pro-Russians” or “pro-Ukrainians”, is not based on facts, but on convictions. The problem is not limited to military conflicts, but to all crises. We remember the statement of Olivier Véran, Minister of Health, on February 18, 2020, whose intonations strangely recalled General Gamelin in 1939.

I don’t need to check that France is ready. France is ready! And it is ready because we have an extremely solid healthcare system.
In France, military “experts” such as Generals Dominique Trinquand, Michel Yakovleff, and colonels such as Pierre Servent or Michel Goya are in this tradition. They base their judgment on their perception (even their prejudices) and not on facts. This pleases our media, but it leads to defeat.

This phenomenon is exemplified by the French Senate’s information report, published in February 2023. It is built on prejudices, unfounded accusations, and rumors, while elements essential to the understanding of the conflict have been dismissed. Each event is described as if it had fallen from the sky, without reason. The result is a fatalistic reading of the problems, which is necessarily emotional, which is understood only through “punch lines” and which makes in-depth solutions impossible.

We can already predict that it will satisfy those who speak on television, but will perpetuate the mistakes that have been made over the last thirty years and that have systematically led to disasters. The problem is that this report has the ambition to guide the reflection for the future of the French armed forces.

That being said, the Swiss Annual Security Report, published in September 2022, suffers from exactly the same shortcomings. In the western French-speaking world, our reading of the Ukrainian conflict suffers from a cruel lack of honest, scientific and academic reflection. In Europe, more than in the United States, problems are judged without being analyzed in order to condemn and not to find solutions. This is true both for those who adhere to the official narrative and for those who reject it. Everyone seems to see it as a reflection of their own concerns, without really asking whether it corresponds to the reality on the ground.

We adapt the facts to our conclusions instead of adapting the conclusions to the facts. This is the way political problems in all fields seem to be treated.


The United States

The conflict in Ukraine is often presented as a conflict between Russia and NATO. This is partly true, but it would be more accurate to say that it is a conflict between the United States and Russia. NATO being, conceptually, only the armed arm of the American strategy in Europe (and perhaps in Asia too, as we shall see).

The understanding of the Ukrainian conflict inevitably starts from the study of the global American strategy, which the Americans call “Grand Strategy”. It is imbued with a complex combination of philosophical, societal, political and military elements that have been the subject of numerous books. We will not go into detail here and focus on some of the salient aspects.

There is a messianic dimension to American culture that stems from its religious past, which assumes that the United States is the bearer of a moral and economic truth that justifies its presence in the world. Both paternalistic and missionary, the United States believed it had a role to play in the development of the world. This sentiment emerged at the end of World War II with the accession of the United States to nuclear power, and it became even more pronounced after the fall of communism in 1989 and the Gulf War in 1991.

In his book The Grand Chessboard, Zbigniew Brzeziński gives us a glimpse of the American perception of the world. But, as relevant and interesting as it is, this reading must be qualified. In 1997, when he wrote his book, Brzeziński was no longer “in business.” His vision is essentially that of the 1980s. For example, he does not perceive the emerging structural weakening of the United States, nor the growing role of China in a globalized system. It also fails to take into account the emerging economic powers (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa or BRICS) and their potential to challenge Western leadership.

That being said, he correctly observes that the relationship between Ukraine and Russia is of a special nature. He shows how US policy can use Ukraine as a lever to affect Russia and that the goal is less to develop Ukraine than to prevent Russia’s re-emergence as a superpower. The real element that allows us to understand the “Grand Strategy” of the United States in the post-Cold War era is the “Wolfowitz doctrine.”


The Trap of Thucydides

As long as the United States had the material, economic and military capacities to ensure its role as leader of the Western world, the Wolfowitz doctrine was consistent with a kind of natural order of things. But this did not last.
The fall of the Berlin Wall heralded a new era. Whereas the Cold War had been driven by the notion of “division”, the idea of globalization was to emerge from that of “integration”, as Thomas Friedman explained:
The symbol of the Cold War system was a wall, which divided us all. The symbol of the globalization system is the World Wide Web, which unites us all.

In synergy with technological evolution, globalization is the system of movement and ubiquity, whereas the Cold War was essentially a static system, symbolized by the notion of “blocs.”

The end of the cold war is the most important event of the end of the 20th century, but it is only one element of a convergence of factors at that time. Technological evolution, the fall in the cost of communications, economic integration mechanisms, free trade agreements, industrial relocation and the resulting (imperfect) social harmonization, give rise to the notion of a “global village” with growing interdependencies.\

Particularly in the United States, globalization is not simply seen as an economic phenomenon, but above all as a mental attitude, a philosophy. Its ambition is to reshape the world into a network of actors who are both partners and competitors, whose relationships are determined by their comparative advantage.

Fear of the Past

This essay appeared as a chapter in What’s Wrong with the World, which was published in 1910.

The last few decades have been marked by a special cultivation of the romance of the future. We seem to have made up our minds to misunderstand what has happened; and we turn, with a sort of relief, to stating what will happen—which is (apparently) much easier. The modern man no longer presents the memoirs of his great grandfather; but is engaged in writing a detailed and authoritative biography of his great-grandson. Instead of trembling before the specters of the dead, we shudder abjectly under the shadow of the babe unborn. This spirit is apparent everywhere, even to the creation of a form of futurist romance. Sir Walter Scott stands at the dawn of the nineteenth century for the novel of the past; Mr. H. G. Wells stands at the dawn of the twentieth century for the novel of the future. The old story, we know, was supposed to begin: “Late on a winter’s evening two horsemen might have been seen—.” The new story has to begin: “Late on a winter’s evening two aviators will be seen—.” The movement is not without its elements of charm; there is something spirited, if eccentric, in the sight of so many people fighting over again the fights that have not yet happened; of people still glowing with the memory of tomorrow morning. A man in advance of the age is a familiar phrase enough. An age in advance of the age is really rather odd.

But when full allowance has been made for this harmless element of poetry and pretty human perversity in the thing, I shall not hesitate to maintain here that this cult of the future is not only a weakness but a cowardice of the age. It is the peculiar evil of this epoch that even its pugnacity is fundamentally frightened; and the Jingo is contemptible not because he is impudent, but because he is timid. The reason why modern armaments do not inflame the imagination like the arms and emblazonments of the Crusades is a reason quite apart from optical ugliness or beauty. Some battleships are as beautiful as the sea; and many Norman nosepieces were as ugly as Norman noses. The atmospheric ugliness that surrounds our scientific war is an emanation from that evil panic which is at the heart of it. The charge of the Crusades was a charge; it was charging towards God, the wild consolation of the braver. The charge of the modern armaments is not a charge at all. It is a rout, a retreat, a flight from the devil, who will catch the hindmost. It is impossible to imagine a mediaeval knight talking of longer and longer French lances, with precisely the quivering employed about larger and larger German ships The man who called the Blue Water School the “Blue Funk School” uttered a psychological truth which that school itself would scarcely essentially deny. Even the two-power standard, if it be a necessity, is in a sense a degrading necessity. Nothing has more alienated many magnanimous minds from Imperial enterprises than the fact that they are always exhibited as stealthy or sudden defenses against a world of cold rapacity and fear. The Boer War, for instance, was colored not so much by the creed that we were doing something right, as by the creed that Boers and Germans were probably doing something wrong; driving us (as it was said) to the sea. Mr. Chamberlain, I think, said that the war was a feather in his cap and so it was: a white feather.

Now this same primary panic that I feel in our rush towards patriotic armaments I feel also in our rush towards future visions of society. The modern mind is forced towards the future by a certain sense of fatigue, not unmixed with terror, with which it regards the past. It is propelled towards the coming time; it is, in the exact words of the popular phrase, knocked into the middle of next week. And the goad which drives it on thus eagerly is not an affectation for futurity Futurity does not exist, because it is still future. Rather it is a fear of the past; a fear not merely of the evil in the past, but of the good in the past also. The brain breaks down under the unbearable virtue of mankind. There have been so many flaming faiths that we cannot hold; so many harsh heroisms that we cannot imitate; so many great efforts of monumental building or of military glory which seem to us at once sublime and pathetic. The future is a refuge from the fierce competition of our forefathers. The older generation, not the younger, is knocking at our door. It is agreeable to escape, as Henley said, into the Street of By-and-Bye, where stands the Hostelry of Never. It is pleasant to play with children, especially unborn children. The future is a blank wall on which every man can write his own name as large as he likes; the past I find already covered with illegible scribbles, such as Plato, Isaiah, Shakespeare, Michael Angelo, Napoleon. I can make the future as narrow as myself; the past is obliged to be as broad and turbulent as humanity. And the upshot of this modern attitude is really this: that men invent new ideals because they dare not attempt old ideals. They look forward with enthusiasm, because they are afraid to look back.

Now in history there is no Revolution that is not a Restoration. Among the many things that leave me doubtful about the modern habit of fixing eyes on the future, none is stronger than this: that all the men in history who have really done anything with the future have had their eyes fixed upon the past. I need not mention the Renaissance, the very word proves my case. The originality of Michael Angelo and Shakespeare began with the digging up of old vases and manuscripts. The mildness of poets absolutely arose out of the mildness of antiquaries. So the great mediaeval revival was a memory of the Roman Empire. So the Reformation looked back to the Bible and Bible times. So the modern Catholic movement has looked back to patristic times. But that modern movement which many would count the most anarchic of all is in this sense the most conservative of all. Never was the past more venerated by men than it was by the French Revolutionists. They invoked the little republics of antiquity with the complete confidence of one who invokes the gods. The Sans-culottes believed (as their name might imply) in a return to simplicity. They believed most piously in a remote past; some might call it a mythical past. For some strange reason man must always thus plant his fruit trees in a graveyard. Man can only find life among the dead. Man is a misshapen monster, with his feet set forward and his face turned back. He can make the future luxuriant and gigantic, so long as he is thinking about the past. When he tries to think about the future itself, his mind diminishes to a pin point with imbecility, which some call Nirvana. To-morrow is the Gorgon; a man must only see it mirrored in the shining shield of yesterday. If he sees it directly he is turned to stone. This has been the fate of all those who have really seen fate and futurity as clear and inevitable. The Calvinists, with their perfect creed of predestination, were turned to stone. The modern sociological scientists (with their excruciating Eugenics) are turned to stone. The only difference is that the Puritans make dignified, and the Eugenists somewhat amusing, statues.

But there is one feature in the past which more than all the rest defies and depresses the moderns and drives them towards this featureless future. I mean the presence in the past of huge ideals, unfulfilled and sometimes abandoned. The sight of these splendid failures is melancholy to a restless and rather morbid generation; and they maintain a strange silence about them—sometimes amounting to an unscrupulous silence. They keep them entirely out of their newspapers and almost entirely out of their history books. For example, they will often tell you (in their praises of the coming age) that we are moving on towards a United States of Europe. But they carefully omit to tell you that we are moving away from a United States of Europe, that such a thing existed literally in Roman and essentially in mediaeval times. They never admit that the international hatreds (which they call barbaric) are really very recent, the mere breakdown of the ideal of the Holy Roman Empire. Or again, they will tell you that there is going to be a social revolution, a great rising of the poor against the rich; but they never rub it in that France made that magnificent attempt, unaided, and that we and all the world allowed it to be trampled out and forgotten. I say decisively that nothing is so marked in modern writing as the prediction of such ideals in the future combined with the ignoring of them in the past. Anyone can test this for himself. Read any thirty or forty pages of pamphlets advocating peace in Europe and see how many of them praise the old Popes or Emperors for keeping the peace in Europe. Read any armful of essays and poems in praise of social democracy, and see how many of them praise the old Jacobins who created democracy and died for it. These colossal ruins are to the modern only enormous eyesores. He looks back along the valley of the past and sees a perspective of splendid but unfinished cities. They are unfinished, not always through enmity or accident, but often through fickleness, mental fatigue, and the lust for alien philosophies. We have not only left undone those things that we ought to have done, but we have even left undone those things that we wanted to do

It is very currently suggested that the modern man is the heir of all the ages, that he has got the good out of these successive human experiments. I know not what to say in answer to this, except to ask the reader to look at the modern man, as I have just looked at the modern man—in the looking-glass. Is it really true that you and I are two starry towers built up of all the most towering visions of the past? Have we really fulfilled all the great historic ideals one after the other, from our naked ancestor who was brave enough to kill a mammoth with a stone knife, through the Greek citizen and the Christian saint to our own grandfather or great-grandfather, who may have been sabred by the Manchester Yeomanry or shot in the ‘48? Are we still strong enough to spear mammoths, but now tender enough to spare them? Does the cosmos contain any mammoth that we have either speared or spared? When we decline (in a marked manner) to fly the red flag and fire across a barricade like our grandfathers, are we really declining in deference to sociologists—or to soldiers? Have we indeed outstripped the warrior and passed the ascetical saint? I fear we only outstrip the warrior in the sense that we should probably run away from him. And if we have passed the saint, I fear we have passed him without bowing.

This is, first and foremost, what I mean by the narrowness of the new ideas, the limiting effect of the future. Our modern prophetic idealism is narrow because it has undergone a persistent process of elimination. We must ask for new things because we are not allowed to ask for old things. The whole position is based on this idea that we have got all the good that can be got out of the ideas of the past. But we have not got all the good out of them, perhaps at this moment not any of the good out of them. And the need here is a need of complete freedom for restoration as well as revolution.

We often read nowadays of the valor or audacity with which some rebel attacks a hoary tyranny or an antiquated superstition. There is not really any courage at all in attacking hoary or antiquated things, any more than in offering to fight one’s grandmother. The really courageous man is he who defies tyrannies young as the morning and superstitions fresh as the first flowers. The only true free-thinker is he whose intellect is as much free from the future as from the past. He cares as little for what will be as for what has been; he cares only for what ought to be. And for my present purpose I specially insist on this abstract independence. If I am to discuss what is wrong, one of the first things that are wrong is this: the deep and silent modern assumption that past things have become impossible. There is one metaphor of which the moderns are very fond; they are always saying, “You can’t put the clock back.” The simple and obvious answer is “You can.” A clock, being a piece of human construction, can be restored by the human finger to any figure or hour. In the same way society, being a piece of human construction, can be reconstructed upon any plan that has ever existed.

There is another proverb, “As you have made your bed, so you must lie on it”; which again is simply a lie. If I have made my bed uncomfortable, please God I will make it again. We could restore the Heptarchy or the stage coaches if we chose. It might take some time to do, and it might be very inadvisable to do it; but certainly it is not impossible as bringing back last Friday is impossible. This is, as I say, the first freedom that I claim: the freedom to restore. I claim a right to propose as a solution the old patriarchal system of a Highland clan, if that should seem to eliminate the largest number of evils. It certainly would eliminate some evils; for instance, the unnatural sense of obeying cold and harsh strangers, mere bureaucrats and policemen. I claim the right to propose the complete independence of the small Greek or Italian towns, a sovereign city of Brixton or Brompton, if that seems the best way out of our troubles. It would be a way out of some of our troubles; we could not have in a small state, for instance, those enormous illusions about men or measures which are nourished by the great national or international newspapers. You could not persuade a city state that Mr. Beit was an Englishman, or Mr. Dillon a desperado, any more than you could persuade a Hampshire Village that the village drunkard was a teetotaller or the village idiot a statesman. Nevertheless, I do not as a fact propose that the Browns and the Smiths should be collected under separate tartans. Nor do I even propose that Clapham should declare its independence. I merely declare my independence. I merely claim my choice of all the tools in the universe; and I shall not admit that any of them are blunted merely because they have been used.


Featured: The Deluge, by Winifred Knights; painted in 1920.


Colonialism: A Moral Reckoning

It is a great honor to bring to you this excerpt from Nigel Biggar’s Colonialism: A Moral Reckoning, a book that must be widely read, because it brings clarity, moderation, scholarly depth and much-needed insight to a topic heaped over by hurt feelings (largely contrived) of those who have benefited most from colonialism. The book meticulously shows that the various narratives against the British Empire are exaggerated at best, since the factually measurable achievements of Empire total a great moral good—it was a Golden Age. This book will no doubt enrage those who have made a career of knee-jerk, anti-colonial pronouncements… but, then, truth is often bitter and thus decried.

Professor Biggar is emeritus regius professor of moral and pastoral theology at the University of Oxford, and his work is marked by nuance, perspicacity, and brilliance.

As some may know, Colonialism: A Moral Reckoning was “canceled” by its first publisher which could not help but virtue-signal. Fortunately, courage yet remains among better publishers (William Collins), and the book is now out in print.

Please consider supporting Professor Biggar’s pivotal work by purchasing a copy of this book and by spreading the word.

What follows is an extract from the “Introduction” to Colonialism: A Moral Reckoning, published by William Collins.

It was early December 2017 and my wife and I were at Heathrow airport, waiting to board a flight to Germany. Just before setting off for the departure gate, I checked my email one last time. My attention sharpened when I saw a message in my inbox from the University of Oxford’s public affairs directorate. I clicked on it. What I found was notification that my “Ethics and Empire” project had become the target of an online denunciation by a group of students, followed by reassurance from the university that it had risen to defend my right to run such a thing. So began a public row that raged for the best part of a month. Four days after I flew, the eminent imperial historian who had conceived the project with me abruptly resigned. Within a week of the first online denunciation, two further ones appeared, this time manned by professional academics, the first comprising 58 colleagues at Oxford, the second, about 200 academics from around the world. For over a fortnight, my name was in the press every day.

What had I done to deserve all this unexpected attention? Three things. In late 2015 and early 2016 I had offered a qualified defence of the late 19th-century imperialist Cecil Rhodes during the first Rhodes Must Fall campaign in Oxford. Then, second, in November 2017, I published a column in The Times, in which I referred approvingly to the American academic Bruce Gilley’s controversial article “The Case for Colonialism” and argued that we British have reason to feel pride as well as shame about our imperial past. Note: pride, as well as shame. And third, a few days later I finally got around to publishing an online account of the Ethics and Empire project, whose first conference had been held the previous July.

Thus did I stumble, blindly, into the “imperial history wars”. Had I been a professional historian, I would have known what to expect, but being a mere ethicist, I did not. Still, naivety has its advantages, bringing fresh eyes to see sharply what weary ones have learnt to live with. One surprising thing I have seen is that many of my critics are really not interested in the complicated, morally ambiguous truth about the past. For example, in the autumn of 2015 some students began to agitate to have an obscure statue of Cecil Rhodes removed from its plinth overlooking Oxford’s High Street. The case against Rhodes was that he was South Africa’s equivalent of Hitler, and the supporting evidence was encapsulated in this damning quotation: “I prefer land to ners . . . the natives are like children. They are just emerging from barbarism . . . one should kill as many ners as possible.” However, initial research discovered that the Rhodes Must Fall campaigners had lifted this quotation verbatim from a book review by Adekeye Adebajo, a former Rhodes scholar who is now director of the Institute for Pan-African Thought and Conversation at the University of Johannesburg. Further digging revealed that the “quotation” was, in fact, made up from three different elements drawn from three different sources. The first had been lifted from a novel. The other two had been misleadingly torn out of their proper contexts. And part of the third appears to have been made up.

There is no doubt the real Rhodes was a moral mixture, but he was no Hitler. Far from being racist, he showed consistent sympathy for individual black Africans throughout his life. And in an 1894 speech he made plain his view: “I do not believe that they are different from ourselves.” Nor did he attempt genocide against the southern African Ndebele people in 1896—as might be suggested by the fact that the Ndebele tended his grave from 1902 for decades. And he had nothing at all to do with General Kitchener’s “concentration camps” during the Second Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902, which themselves had nothing morally in common with Auschwitz. Moreover, Rhodes did support a franchise in Cape Colony that gave black Africans the vote on the same terms as whites; he helped finance a black African newspaper; and he established his famous scholarship scheme, which was explicitly colour-blind and whose first black (American) beneficiary was selected within five years of his death.

However, none of these historical details seemed to matter to the student activists baying for Rhodes’s downfall, or to the professional academics who supported them. Since I published my view of Rhodes—complete with evidence and argument—in March 2016, no one has offered any critical response at all. Notwithstanding that, when the Rhodes Must Fall campaign revived four years later in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, the same old false allegations revived with it, utterly unchastened.

This unscrupulous indifference to historical truth indicates that the controversy over empire is not really a controversy about history at all. It is about the present, not the past. A remarkable feature of the contemporary controversy about empire is that it shows no interest at all in any of the non-European empires, past or present. European empires are its sole concern, and of these, above all others, the English—or, as it became after the Anglo-Scottish Union of 1707, the British—one.

The reason for this focus is that the real target of today’s anti-imperialists or anti-colonialists is the West or, more precisely, the Anglo-American liberal world order that has prevailed since 1945. This order is supposed to be responsible for the economic and political woes of what used to be called the “Developing World” and now answers to the name “Global South”. Allegedly, it continues to express the characteristic “white supremacism” and “racism” of the old European empires, displaying arrogant, ignorant disdain for non-western cultures, thereby humiliating non-white peoples. And it presumes to impose alien values and to justify military interference.

The anti-colonialists are a disparate bunch. They include academic “post-colonialists”, whose bible is Edward Said’s Orientalism (1978) and who tend to inhabit university departments of literature rather than those of history. But academic “post-colonialism” is not just of academic importance. It is politically important, too, in so far as its world view is absorbed by student citizens and moves them to repudiate the dominance of the West.

Thus, academic post-colonialism is an ally—no doubt inadvertent—of Vladimir Putin’s regime in Russia and the Chinese Communist Party, which are determined to expand their own (respectively) authoritarian and totalitarian power at the expense of the West.

In effect, if not by intent, they are supported by the West’s own hard left, whose British branch would have Britain withdraw from Nato, surrender its nuclear weapons, renounce global policing and retire to freeride on the moral high ground alongside neutral Switzerland. Thinking along the same utopian lines, some Scottish nationalists equate Britain with empire, and empire with evil, and see the secession of Scotland from the Anglo-Scottish Union and the consequent break-up of the United Kingdom as an act of national repentance and redemption. Meanwhile, with their eyes glued to more domestic concerns, self-appointed spokespeople for non-white minorities claim that systemic racism continues to be nourished by a persistent colonial mentality, and so clamour for the “decolonisation” of public statuary and university reading lists. In order to undermine these oppressive international and national orders, the anticolonialists have to undermine faith in them.

One important way of corroding faith in the West is to denigrate its record, a major part of which is the history of European empires. And of all those empires, the primary target is the British one, which was by far the largest and gave birth to the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. This is why the anti-colonialists have focused on slavery, presenting it as the West’s dirty secret, which epitomises its essential, oppressive, racist white supremacism. This, they claim, is who we really are. This is what we must repent of.

This all makes good sense politically—provided that the end justifies any means and you have no scruples about telling the truth. Historically, however, it does not make good sense at all. As with Cecil Rhodes, so with the British Empire in general, the whole truth is morally complicated and ambiguous. Even the history of British involvement in slavery had a virtuous ending, albeit one that the anti-colonialists are determined we should overlook. After a century and a half of transporting slaves to the West Indies and the American colonies, the British abolished both the trade and the institution within the empire in the early 1800s. They then spent the subsequent century and a half exercising their imperial power in deploying the Royal Navy to stop slave ships crossing the Atlantic and Indian oceans, and in suppressing the Arab slave trade across Africa.

There is, therefore, a more historically accurate, fairer, more positive story to be told about the British Empire than the anti-colonialists want us to hear. And the importance of that story is not just past but present, not just historical but political. What is at stake is not merely the pedantic truth about yesterday, but the self-perception and self-confidence of the British today—together with Canadians, Australians, and New Zealanders—and the way they conduct themselves in the world tomorrow. What is also at stake, therefore, is the very integrity of the United Kingdom and the security of the West.


Featured: Britannia pacificatrix, mural by Sigismund Goetze; painted ca. 1914-1921.

A Meditation on Memory

Brother Francis, in his profound little volume, The Challenge of Faith, offers the following meditations on the subject of “Memory.” These thoughts of a truly contemplative mind are worthy of being savored.

LII—Memory

  1. Memory is the greater part of personality, the index of love, the depository of wisdom, the determinant of virtuous action, the effective and abiding part of education.
  2. All the original and creative works of mind and imagination, presuppose the cooperation of memory, and are enriched by its available treasures.
  3. For a sound educational policy, the discriminate employ of the memory is of paramount importance. There ought to be an objective, common, ordered body of knowledge to be universally conveyed; but it ought to be kept to the essential minimum, to be completed by personal choice. Excessive and burdensome use of the memory may eventually crush personality, discourage the weak, eliminate the functions of all the other faculties, and make learning loathsome.
  4. It is of the essence of memory to be selective: it would be monstrous to remember everything.
  5. It is the great mystery why we remember some very small matters.
  6. Memory is the heart’s treasure house.
  7. There is a law of the divine economy (amply confirmed in my personal experience): We do not quickly forget matters bearing on our own salvation.
  8. The abundance of a man’s heart—that is memory.

Brother Francis Maluf was born in Lebanon in 1913 and held a PhD in philosophy. Along with Father Leonard Feeney, he was a founding, in 1949, of the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a religious Order. Brother Francis went to his heavenly reward in 2009. This article appears courtesy of Catholicism.org.


Featured: “Cosmos, Body and Soul,” from the Liber divinorum operum, I.4, by St. Hildegard of Bingen, ca. 1163—1173.

To the Last Ukrainian: An American War

This excerpt is from a very important book on the conflict in Ukraine: To the Last Ukrainian: An American War. It is written by Régis Le Sommier, who was embedded in both the Ukrainian and Russian armies. The account that he gives in this riveting chronicle tells of the perfidy of politicians and the tragedy of ordinary soldiers caught up as pawns in the machinations of geopolitics.

Régis Le Sommier is one of France’s great journalists whose work, spanning thirty years, has received several awards. He is the only war reporter who went to both sides of the front line with the Ukrainian and Russian armies for a year. This is his story.

You may purchase a copy of To the Last Ukrainian: An American War either from Amazon, or from Barnes and Noble.

The Strange Carl Larson

The bus stopped in the center of a village.

“This is the place,” Max announced.

We, the Frenchmen, picked up our luggage and walked about two kilometers to a place designated by the GPS on Max’s smartphone. At a bend in the road, Ukrainian soldiers came to meet us.

“We are French. We’ve come for the Ukrainian legion.”

One of the soldiers made a phone call. A few minutes later, a man of athletic build, dressed in grey and wearing a commando cap on his head, got out of a vehicle.

“You have a military training?” He asked after shaking hands.

Max and Sabri nodded in response. This soldier was American.

“They call me the Grinch,” he said to the Frenchmen who had no idea what this nickname was supposed to mean. Neither did the Ukrainian soldiers around them.

The Grinch is the American bogeyman, a grumpy, greenish character from a Theodor Seuss Geisel cartoon, whose goal is to ruin Christmas. This cultural reference reflected the mindset of this American who naturally believed that the whole world knew about the Grinch. He announced that he was part of a team of American instructors who had come to train foreign volunteers.

“I’m here to put the internationals in order,” he told the Frenchmen. “I am in charge here. Too many people showed up at the center and they had no business being there.”

The French volunteers listened to him without saying a word. Then he moved on to instructions and declared:

“If you have international phones, you’ll have to cut them off or get local SIM cards.”

It was at this point that I told him that Noël, my sidekick, and I were journalists. Until then, he naturally thought we were volunteers. His face tightened immediately. What? Journalists who’ve dared to come out here?

The American was upset, or perhaps he realized that he had said too much? He chose to deal with the problem in a radical way:

“You don’t belong here,” he told me in an icy tone.

I protested by invoking the right to information:

“The French public has the right to know what is happening to their fellow-
citizens who’ve come to fight alongside the Ukrainians.”

The man was embarrassed. As a good American, and even though his presence here fell in the realm of clandestine operations, he believed that the right to information was sacred, that it was a virtue of his country.

Technically, he had no right to ask us to leave. So, he called his Ukrainian counterparts on the phone and, as if to pass the buck, asked them:

“You don’t want reporters, do you?”

Then he turned to me and with his white teeth gleaming announced:

“They don’t want reporters.”

He then explained his approach in a more conciliatory tone. He had come to help the Ukrainians. He was fighting for the freedom of the people, the great American classic line which I’ve hear since Iraq. However, from the way he spoke to us earlier, this individual clearly had far greater responsibilities. I’ve been around the US military in Iraq so much that I know by instinct who’s in charge, regardless of what they’re wearing.

Judging from the docile behavior of the Ukrainians around him, this man was no simple volunteer filled with good will. He could have just said that he was an instructor, that he was in charge of training, and that he was from the United States, and that would have been enough. But his commanding tone, that “I’m in charge here,” left no doubt.

I did some research on him. I found an interview he gave to the Seattle Times. His name is Carl Larson and he admits to being one of the American instructors who came to help the Ukrainian army against Russia.

But when we were listening to him with the volunteers, everyone was thinking the same thing. The scene was worthy of being in the Hall of Legends. There were also curious elements in his background. He was an Iraq War veteran. He was part of a military contingent that participated in the initial phase of the invasion. Then, he was no longer in the news. And today, was he still in the military? Was he on a mission for the Pentagon? I can’t say for sure. I tried to verify this through contacts in the American

army and in French intelligence, but I did not get any answers. Cover-up is big part of the war in Ukraine.

What I can confirm is that in the recruitment of foreign volunteers to fight in Ukraine, an American veteran was in charge. Another Seattle Times article appeared about him on October 25. It said that after his assignment to select international recruits, Carl Larson trained a unit deployed to the Kharkiv front. Then he returned home. On his role in the selection of volunteers for the Ukrainian Legion, it is written that he was reluctant at
the beginning, partly because of the recruits who were “unstable or without military experience.” The article went on to say that he himself was reluctant to join the Legion for fear of not being properly utilized.

“Finally, after discussions with Ukrainian officials, he agreed to select and train a unit before it went to the front.”

We had to leave quickly after we revealed ourselves to the American. We were not allowed to wish our friends well. Just a look, a little wave before they boarded an Opel Corsa, to my great surprise, registered in Essonne and driven by the American. The day after this hasty departure, Sabri explained to me in a text message that they had left by bus for a front line where they had to relieve a unit. They signed a commitment to stay until the end of the war.

The Revolt of the Unfit

Given the current anti-human ideas kicking about, it might be good to look back at how these ideas came about. In his inimical fashion, Nicholas Murray Butler (1862—1947) describes the problem before us. Butler was an American philosopher, educator and diplomat. This excerpt is from his book, Why Should We Change Our Form of Government, published in 1912, which should be widely read.

There are wars and rumors of wars in a portion of the territory occupied by the doctrine of organic evolution. All is not working smoothly and well and according to formula. It begins to appear that those men of science who, having derived the doctrine of organic evolution in its modern form from observations on earthworms, on climbing-plants, and on brightly colored birds, and who then straightway applied it blithely to man and his affairs, have made enemies of no small part of the human race.

It was all well enough to treat some earthworms, some climbing-plants, and some brightly colored birds as fit, and others as unfit, to survive; but when this distinction is extended over human beings and their economic, social, and political affairs, there is a general pricking-up of ears. The consciously fit look down on the resulting discussions with complacent scorn. The consciously unfit rage and roar loudly; while the unconsciously unfit bestir themselves mightily to overturn the whole theory upon which the distinction between fitness and unfitness rests. If any law of nature makes so absurd a distinction as that, then the offending and obnoxious law must be repealed, and that quickly.

The trouble appears to arise primarily from the fact that man does not like what may be termed his evolutionary poor relations. He is willing enough to read about earthworms and climbing-plants and brightly colored birds, but he does not want nature to be making leaps from any of these to him.

The earthworm, which, not being adapted to its surroundings, soon dies unhonored and unsung, passes peacefully out of life without either a coroner’s inquest, an indictment for earthworm slaughter, a legislative proposal for the future protection of earthworms, or even a new society for the reform of the social and economic state of the earthworms that are left. Even the quasi-intelligent climbing-plant and the brightly colored bird, humanly vain, find an equally inconspicuous fate awaiting them. This is the way nature operates when unimpeded or unchallenged by the powerful manifestations of human revolt or human revenge. Of course if man understood the place assigned to him in nature by the doctrine of organic evolution as well as the earthworm, the climbing-plant, and the brightly colored bird understand theirs, he, too, like them, would submit to nature’s processes and decrees without a protest. As a matter of logic, no doubt he ought to; but after all these centuries, it is still a far cry from logic to life.

In fact, man, unless he is consciously and admittedly fit, revolts against the implication of the doctrine of evolution, and objects both to being considered unfit to survive and succeed, and to being forced to accept the only fate which nature offers to those who are unfit for survival and success. Indeed, he manifests with amazing pertinacity what Schopenhauer used to call “the will to live,” and considerations and arguments based on adaptability to environment have no weight with him. So much the worse for environment, he cries; and straightway sets out to prove it.

On the other hand, those humans who are classed by the doctrine of evolution as fit, exhibit a most disconcerting satisfaction with things as they are. The fit make no conscious struggle for existence. They do not have to. Being fit, they survive ipso facto. Thus does the doctrine of evolution, like a playful kitten, merrily pursue its tail with rapturous delight. The fit survive; those survive who are fit. Nothing could be more simple.

Those who are not adapted to the conditions that surround them, however, rebel against the fate of the earthworm and the climbing-plant and the brightly colored bird, and engage in a conscious struggle for existence and for success in that existence despite their inappropriate environment. Statutes can be repealed or amended; why not laws of nature as well? Those human beings who are unfit have, it must be admitted, one great, though perhaps temporary, advantage over the laws of nature; for the laws of nature have not yet been granted suffrage, and the organized unfit can always lead a large majority to the polls. So soon as knowledge of this fact becomes common property, the laws of nature will have a bad quarter of an hour in more countries than one.

The revolt of the unfit primarily takes the form of attempts to lessen and to limit competition, which is instinctively felt, and with reason, to be part of the struggle for existence and for success. The inequalities which nature makes, and without which the process of evolution could not go on, the unfit propose to smooth away and to wipe out by that magic fiat of collective human will called legislation. The great struggle between the gods of Olympus and the Titans, which the ancient sculptors so loved to picture, was child’s play compared with the struggle between the laws of nature and the laws of man which the civilized world is apparently soon to be invited to witness. This struggle will bear a little examination, and it may be that the laws of nature, as the doctrine of evolution conceives and states them, will not have everything their own way.

Professor Huxley, whose orthodoxy as an evolutionist will hardly be questioned, made a suggestion of this kind in his Romanes lecture as long ago as 1893. He called attention then to the fact that there is a fallacy in the notion that because, on the whole, animals and plants have advanced in perfection of organization by means of the struggle for existence and the consequent survival of the fittest, therefore, men as social and ethical beings must depend upon the same process to help them to perfection. As Professor Huxley suggests, this fallacy doubtless has its origin in the ambiguity of the phrase “survival of the fittest.” One jumps to the conclusion that fittest means best; whereas, of course, it has in it no moral element whatever. The doctrine of evolution uses the term fitness in a hard and stern sense. Nothing more is meant by it than a measure of adaptation to surrounding conditions. Into this conception of fitness there enters no element of beauty, no element of morality, no element of progress toward an ideal. Fitness is a cold fact ascertainable with almost mathematical certainty.

We now begin to catch sight of the real significance of this struggle between the laws of nature and the laws of man. From one point of view the struggle is hopeless from the start; from another it is full of promise. If it be true that man really proposes to halt the laws of nature by his legislation, then the struggle is hopeless. It is only a question of time when the laws of nature will have their way. If, on the other hand, the struggle between the laws of nature and the laws of man is in reality a mock struggle, and the supposed combat merely an exhibition of evolutionary boxing, then we may find a clew to what is really going on.

It might be worth while, for example, to follow up the suggestion that in looking back over the whole series of products of organic evolution, the real successes and permanences of life are to be found among those species that have been able to institute something like what we call a social system. Wherever an individual insists upon treating himself as an end in himself, and all other individuals as his actual or potential competitors or enemies, then the fate of the earthworm, the climbing-plant, and the brightly colored bird is sure to be his; for he has brought himself under the jurisdiction of one of nature’s laws, and sooner or later he must succumb to that law of nature, and in the struggle for existence his place will be marked out for him by it with unerring precision. If, however, he has developed so far as to have risen to the lofty height of human sympathy, and thereby has learned to transcend his individuality and to make himself a member of a larger whole, he may then save himself from the extinction which follows inevitably upon proved unfitness in the individual struggle for existence.

So soon as the individual has something to give, there will be those who have something to give to him, and he elevates himself above this relentless law with its inexorable punishments for the unfit. At that point, when individuals begin to give each to the other, then their mutual co-operation and interdependence build human society, and participation in that society changes the whole character of the human struggle. Nevertheless, large numbers of human beings carry with them into social and political relations the traditions and instincts of the old individualistic struggle for existence, with the laws of organic evolution pointing grimly to their several destinies. These are not able to realize that moral elements, and what we call progress toward an end or ideal, are not found under the operation of the law of natural selection, but have to be discovered elsewhere and added to it. Beauty, morality, progress have other lurking-places than in the struggle for existence, and they have for their sponsors other laws than that of natural selection. You will read the pages of Darwin and of Herbert Spencer in vain for any indication of how the Parthenon was produced, how the Sistine Madonna, how the Ninth Symphony of Beethoven, how the Divine Comedy, or Hamlet or Faust. There are many mysteries left in the world, thank God, and these are some of them.

The escape of genius from the cloud-covered mountain-tops of the unknown into human society has not yet been accounted for. Even Rousseau made a mistake. When he was writing the Contrat social it is recorded that his attention was favorably attracted by the island of Corsica. He, being engaged in the process of finding out how to repeal the laws of man by the laws of nature, spoke of Corsica as the one country in Europe that seemed to him capable of legislation. This led him to add: “I have a presentiment that some day this little island will astonish Europe.” It was not long before Corsica did astonish Europe, but not by any capacity for legislation. As some clever person has said, it let loose Napoleon. We know nothing more of the origin and advent of genius than that.

Perhaps we should comprehend these things better were it not for the persistence of the superstition that human beings habitually think. There is no more persistent superstition than this. Linnæus helped it on to an undeserved permanence when he devised the name Homo sapiens for the highest species of the order primates. That was the quintessence of complimentary nomenclature. Of course human beings as such do not think. A real thinker is one of the rarest things in nature. He comes only at long intervals in human history, and when he does come, he is often astonishingly unwelcome. Indeed, he is sometimes speedily sent the way of the unfit and unprotesting earthworm. Emerson understood this, as he understood so many other of the deep things of life. For he wrote: “Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet. Then all things are at risk.”

The plain fact is that man is not ruled by thinking. When man thinks he thinks, he usually merely feels; and his instincts and feelings are powerful precisely in proportion as they are irrational. Reason reveals the other side, and a knowledge of the other side is fatal to the driving power of a prejudice. Prejudices have their important uses, but it is well to try not to mix them up with principles.

The underlying principle in the widespread and ominous revolt of the unfit is that moral considerations must outweigh the mere blind struggle for existence in human affairs.

It is to this fact that we must hold fast if we would understand the world of to-day, and still more the world of to-morrow. The purpose of the revolt of the unfit is to substitute interdependence on a higher plane for the struggle for existence on a lower one. Who dares attempt to picture what will happen if this revolt shall not succeed?

These are problems full of fascination. In one form or another they will persist as long as humanity itself. There is only one way of getting rid of them, and that is so charmingly and wittily pointed out by Robert Louis Stevenson in his fable, “The Four Reformers,” that I wish to quote it:

“Four reformers met under a bramble-bush. They were all agreed the world must be changed. ‘We must abolish property,’ said one.

“‘We must abolish marriage,’ said the second.

“‘We must abolish God,’ said the third.

“‘I wish we could abolish work,’ said the fourth.

“‘Do not let us get beyond practical politics,’ said the first. ‘The first thing is to reduce men to a common level.’

“‘The first thing,’ said the second, ‘is to give freedom to the sexes.’

“‘The first thing,’ said the third, ‘is to find out how to do it.’

“‘The first step,’ said the first, ‘is to abolish the Bible.’

“‘The first thing,’ said the second, ‘is to abolish the laws.’

‘”The first thing,’ said the third, ‘is to abolish mankind.'”


Featured: Deucalion and Pyrrha, by Peter Paul Rubens; painted in 1636.

The Visual Solar Miracle at Fatima

We are happy to provide this excerpt from Dennis Bonnette’s latest book, Rational Responses to Skepticism: A Catholic Philosopher Defends Intellectual Foundations for Traditional Belief, in which he answers the various charges made against Catholic belief. The strength of Dr. Bonnette’s book is that he counters the spirited attacks made by skeptics, agnostics and atheists—by giving a reasoned response which uniquely defends the Catholic faith.

This excerpt also provides a new and very different validation of the famous “miracle of the sun” at Fatima. We have published versions of this defense previously, which you may also wish to read.

Please support Dr. Bonnette’s important work by purchasing a copy and spreading the word.

The number of people–skeptics as well as believers–who gathered at the Cova da Iria at Fatima, Portugal, on 13 October 1917 is estimated to range from 30,000 to as high as 100,000. While many books and articles have been published about Fatima, of special interest is a small work by John M. Haffert, Meet the Witnesses of the Miracle of the Sun (1961). He took depositions from some 200 persons, thereby offering us eyewitness testimony some four decades after the miracle, but still within the lifetime of many witnesses. This book contains detailed eyewitness recounting of events by over thirty persons.

The book summarizes seven significant facts widely documented. They include that (1) the time, date, and place of the miracle was predicted in advance, (2) an extraordinary light that could be seen for many miles sending out “shafts of colored light” that tinted ground objects, (3) what looked like a great ball of fire fell toward earth, causing tens of thousands to think it was the end of the world, (4) the prodigy stopped just before reaching earth and returned to the sky, (5) it left and returned to the place of the sun, so that viewers thought it was the sun, (6) the mountain top where this happened had been drenched with rain for hours, but was completely dried in minutes, and (7) tens of thousands witnessed these events over an area of six hundred square miles (Haffert, 15).
Some online sources also give detailed eyewitness accounts.

It was quickly pointed out by skeptics that no such solar behavior could have actually occurred, since no observatory detected it and, following the rules of physics, such actual solar movements would have caused mass destruction on planet Earth!
Although the vast majority of witnesses reported seeing something they took to be the sun performing roughly similar amazing movements—even though some observers were miles away from the Cova da Iria, it should be noted that multiple sources report that some people at the Cova said that they saw nothing unusual at all.

The fact that the people saw amazing solar displays and even frightening movements of a silver-pearl disc that began its movements from the actual location of the sun—while the real sun could not have actually been so moved in space—demonstrates that massive visions were being experienced by tens of thousands of people simultaneously. This is reinforced by the reports that “…others, including some believers, saw nothing at all.” Certainly, any real extramental visual phenomena—even if they were not from the real sun itself — would have been seen, not just by some, but by all present.

While it is possible that some visual phenomena that day may have followed the normal laws of nature, what is clear is that the most extraordinary Fatima visual phenomena appear to have been in the nature of visions –- possibly even “individually adjusted” to fit the sometimes diverse experiences of different observers.

Since the “solar” phenomena were not all reported to be the same and since not all present even appear to have seen it at all, it must be that whatever took place was not extramentally real as visually apprehended. Rather, it is evident that the phenomena was seen as extramental, but must have been caused by some agent able to produce internal changes in the observers, such that they believed they were witnessing actual external events. This is essentially what marks the experience of a vision. One writer calls it a “miracle of perception.”

Also, purely physical explanations based on some sort of optical phenomena fail to account for the overwhelming fear induced by seeing the “sun” appear to be about to crash into the earth, causing many to fall to their knees in the mud and some to actually call out their grievous sins for all to hear, since there were no priests available!

What critics badly miss is that variances in accounts actually strengthen the case for a miracle, not weaken it. Such a rich diversity of reports supports the case for all the visual aspects being visions that differ in each person. Consider the fact that some were said to see nothing at all. This would support the claim that no external physical changes actually took place in the “dance of the sun.” Rather, this must be a case of massive individual visions –- making the case for an extra-natural explanation only greater.

The plain fact is that tens of thousands of people do not make up a “collective lie,” especially when they cannot even get their story quite straight. Moreover, the plain fact is that the vast majority of those tens of thousands of people experienced analogously similar extraordinary behavior by the sun or by a silvery disc that emanated from the sun. Tens of thousands of people do not have collective hallucinations or anxiety attacks — especially, when the sea of humanity present included believers and non-believers, Catholics and atheists, secular government officials and skeptics alike.

However one explains one of most massively eye-witnessed events in recorded history, it must be accepted that the vast majority of those present experienced what surely looked like the greatest public miracle in history –- even as reported in the atheistic secular newspapers in Lisbon, including O Seculo, whose 15 October 1917 edition published a front page headline, reading, “Como O Sol Bailou Ao Meio Dia Em Fatima,” that is, “How the sun danced at noon in Fatima.”

Could such massive phenomena have been caused by natural agents, space aliens, or even demons? Physicist and theologian, Stanley Jaki, S.J., offers an explanation based on the natural formation of an “air lens” at the site of the solar phenomena. But his explanation immediately confronts multiple difficulties. Even looking directly at the sun through an air lens would damage the eye, and no reports of ocular damage were recorded after the event. Moreover, I have already pointed out that the existence of somewhat conflicting descriptions of the phenomena, as well as the fact that some saw nothing unusual at all, prove that the solar experiences must have been internal visions of externally experienced events — not the result of Jaki’s air lens hypothesis.

Finally, Jaki claims that the heating effect of the lens could have dried the people’s clothes and the wet ground. Unfortunately, while this may work in theory, the amount of energy needed to produce such rapid drying in a natural manner would have simply incinerated everyone involved! Instead, the people only felt comfortably dry. Jaki’s hypothesis appears to be simply false.

This “drying” miracle alone so contravenes the laws of nature that neither space aliens nor even demons could have produced it.

Natural agency of the visual “sun miracle” is ruled out because the phenomena were not external — as I have just shown, but rather, these were visions caused by internal changes in the witnesses. While space aliens might have mastered the technology of holograms, so as to produce some external physical display, that does not explain the number of witnesses who clearly saw nothing abnormal at all. The effects had to be internal and individualized in order to explain variances in what was seen, and especially, what was totally not seen by a number of people. Thus, the effects were not produced by visiting space aliens. Indeed, they were at least preternatural, if not, supernatural in nature.

On the dubious hypothesis that these effects were preternatural, and not supernatural, could they have been produced by angels or demons? Here, a moral analysis suffices.

If somehow done by angels, then they were at the direction of God anyway. But, if done by demons, one is confronted with a message to humans to stop sinning, repent, and pray. I don’t think any further proof is needed to show that demons did not do this.

Finally, while preternatural effects are accomplished by producing a natural effect in an unnatural way, such as a body levitating with nothing seen to be lifting it, these optical phenomena entailed changing the internal vision experiences of tens of thousands of persons simultaneously. Whether merely preternatural powers could produce such an effect is highly debatable. In any event, the previously-given demonstrations show clearly that the “dance of the sun” at Fatima could have been produced solely through the infinite power of the God of classical theism, since it clearly exceeds the power of either man or space aliens to produce such individualized internal visions and moral analysis excludes the agency of spiritual agents other than, possibly, those following God’s command.


Dr. Dennis Bonnette retired as a Full Professor of Philosophy in 2003 from Niagara University in Lewiston, New York, where he also served as Chairman of the Philosophy Department from 1992 to 2002. He received his doctorate in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame in 1970. He is the author of three books, Aquinas’ Proofs for God’s ExistenceOrigin of the Human Species, and Rational Responses to Skepticism: A Catholic Philosopher Defends Intellectual Foundations for Traditional Belief, as well as many scholarly articles.


Secret Diplomacy

Paul Samuel Reinsch (1869-1923) pioneered the field of international relations. Given the current demise in the West of the art of diplomacy, it is good to go back to the basics. These excerpts are from Secret Diplomacy. How Far Can it be Trusted? which was published in 1922.

Introduction

Is secret diplomacy the evil spirit of modern politics? Is it the force that keeps nations in a state of potential hostility and does not allow a feeling of confidence and of wholehearted coöperation to grow up? Or is it only a trade device, a clever method of surrounding with an aura of importance the doings of the diplomats, a race of men of average wisdom and intelligence who traditionally have valued the prestige of dealing with “secret affairs of state”? Or is it something less romantic than either of these—merely the survival from a more barbarous age of instincts of secretiveness and chicane acquired at a time when self-defense was the necessity of every hour?

It is quite patent that the practice of secret diplomacy is incompatible with the democratic theory of state. Even in the Liberal theory of state it finds little favor, although that is disposed to grant a great deal of discretion to the representatives who are given the trusteeship of public affairs. Yet the essential idea of Liberalism, government by discussion, includes foreign affairs within its scope fully as much as those of purely domestic concern. In applying to public affairs the experience of private business it is often argued that as the directorate of a corporation could not be expected to transact its business in public, even so diplomatic conversations are not to be heralded from the house tops. How far this particular analogy between private business and public affairs will hold, is a point we shall have to examine later. At first sight the planning of private enterprises and the consideration of benefits and losses, can hardly furnish completely satisfactory rules for the conduct of public affairs, particularly those involving the life and death of the persons concerned. Stockholders would be reluctant to allow such matters to be determined by a board of trustees in secret conclave.

Divesting ourselves of all prejudices, even of righteous indignation against plainly unconscionable practices, we shall try to examine and analyze the action of great diplomats and to see to what extent really important results achieved by them have depended upon the use of secret methods. In the 18th Century, diplomacy was still looked upon as a sharp game in which wits were matched, with a complete license as to the means pursued; provided, however, that embarrassing discovery must be avoided, in other words, that the exact method of deception must be so closely guarded that only the results will show. The great diplomats of the beginning of the 19th century—Metternich, Talleyrand, Pozzo di Borgo—while they talked much about humanitarian principles, continued to play a barren game of intrigue. Napoleon III, that master of devious statecraft, will always be cited by excoriators of secret diplomacy as an abhorrent example—a man undone by the results of his own plotting. Bismarck indeed prided himself on looking down upon petty secret manœuvering and cast a certain amount of contempt on the whole diplomatic business; he often disconcerted his opponents by an unaccustomed frankness. Yet the orientation of his statesmanship was based upon the idea of helping history to find a short-cut to her aims through masterful plotting. He took the reins out of the hands of Providence.

But let us return to our first question: “Is secret diplomacy the evil spirit of modern politics?” It is indeed worth inquiring how far our secretive methods in foreign affairs are to blame for the pitiful condition in which the world finds itself to-day. No doubt there is a general belief that secret diplomacy and ever-increasing armaments led Europe into the terrible destruction of the Great War and that the continuance of such methods is chiefly to blame for the deplorable condition since the Armistice. There may be deeper causes, but these evidences are so obtrusive that they naturally attract most attention and are given most blame for the evils we endure. It is plain that secret diplomacy is a potent cause for continued distrust, fear and hate. There are few statesmen that would not shrink from deliberately planning and staging a war. Yet they nearly all participate in methods of handling public business from which it is hardly possible that anything but suspicion, fear and hatred should arise. Distrust is planted everywhere. There is no assurance of what is the truth; true reports are questioned; false reports, believed. All motives are under suspicion. The public conscience and will are beclouded; nothing stands out as reliable but stark military force.

It would seem that we have learned very little from the war. The same dangerous and unhealthy methods continue to be used with inveterate zeal. The result is that suspicion has now grown up among those who fought side by side and who shed their blood together. Realizing the fundamental importance of basing international life on sound opinion and fair dealing, the framers of the League of Nations tried to secure the publicity of all international agreements. Yet this moderate provision of the covenant has not been obeyed by some of the strongest contracting powers. Some outsiders, indeed, such as Russia, have quite willingly published their treaties and furnished them to the bureau of the league.

That the first act of peace-making was to shut the door of the council chamber in the face of the multitudes who had offered their lives and shed their blood for the rights of humanity was a tragic mistake. In the defense of secret procedure, published on January 17, 1919, it was said “To discuss differences in the press would inflame public opinion and render impossible a compromise.” So all connection between the great public that was paying the price of the game and the benevolent elder statesmen who thought they would shoulder the burden of responsibility alone, was cut off. The men in the council chamber were not strengthened in this great crisis by a feeling of intimate touch with a strong and enlightened public opinion. The public itself was disillusioned; suspicion and contempt were the natural result. The bald statements given to the press concerning the negotiations did not satisfy any one. Most of what was going on became known to outsiders. But its authenticity was so uncertain and it was so commingled with mere rumor that the public soon gave up in despair. It will be important to inquire as to what is the proper perspective between confidential deliberation and publicity of results, in conferences, which are becoming the usual agency for discussing and settling international affairs.

When secrecy is confined merely to the methods of carrying on negotiations, its importance for good and evil is certainly not so great as when the secrecy of methods includes concealment of aims and of the agreements arrived at. We could imagine that even a statesman who seeks the closest relationship with public opinion, even a Lincoln, could not at all times eliminate all use of confidential communications. But the temper of the whole system of foreign affairs is a different matter; and any broad effort to conceal the tendency of action or its results is certainly productive of evil, no matter how salutary or beneficial it may seem to the men employing it at the time.

But, it is said, we must trust to experts. International relations are so intricate and have so many delicate shadings that they elude the grasp of the ordinary man, and can be held together and seen in their proper relations only by the comprehensive and experienced mind of the seasoned statesman. There is, however, a distinction which ought to be noted. The public relies in most cases unreservedly upon expertship in matters of engineering, science, accounting, business management, and even in medicine, though in the latter with a feeling of less complete security. In all these cases we know that the processes applied and the methods pursued are demonstrable, and mathematically certain to produce the results anticipated. But in the affairs of international politics into which the human equation and other inexactly calculable factors enter, there is no such mathematical certainty which can be tested and ascertained by any group of experts. It is all a matter of wisdom in choosing alternatives, and we may well doubt whether any man or small group of men, under modern conditions of life and public state action, can be wiser in such matters by themselves than they would be if they constantly kept in direct touch with public opinion. Society, when properly organized, will have at its disposal on every question of importance, groups of men who have expert knowledge. Expertship in foreign affairs is not confined to the foreign offices or the chanceries; many thoughtful men observing and thinking intensely, traveling widely, seeing foreign affairs from an independent angle, have opinions and judgments to contribute that the officials cannot safely ignore. In an inquiry of this kind we shall have to consider the broader setting of diplomacy as a part of public life within the nation and throughout the world. The element of secrecy is appropriate only when we consider diplomacy as a clever game played by a small inner privileged circle; it appears out of place in a society organized on a broader basis. As a matter of fact the defense of secrecy, from the point of view of the inner politics of the state, resolves itself almost entirely into an opinion that the ignorance and inexperience of the people does not fit them to judge of foreign relations. That, it must be confessed, does not seem to be a very sound or convincing basis for the choice of methods of public action in a modern state.

But the real strength of the argument for secrecy comes when the external aspects of state action are considered. Then there is, on the surface at least, an apparent justification for secretiveness, in the interest of a closely knit society engaged in competitive struggle with similar societies and obliged to defend itself and to safeguard its interest by all available means.

Regarded in its broader aspects there are two conceptions of diplomacy which are quite antagonistic and which have divided thinkers since the time of Machiavelli and Grotius. These two great minds may indeed be considered as typifying the two tendencies and expressing them in themselves and through the sentiments which their thought and writings have engendered in their successors.

We have the conception of diplomacy as working out a complex system of state action, balancing and counterbalancing forces and material resources and giving direction to the innermost purposes of the state. It is probable that all professional diplomats are more or less enchanted by this ideal. Up to the great war, Bismarck was generally considered the ablest master of diplomacy, and his action seemed to supply short-cuts for historical forces to work out their natural aims. Nationalism was the word of the day and the creation of the German national state, foreordained as it seemed by the laws of history, was accelerated by the masterful action of the great diplomat. But we are now able to see wherein lay the limitations of this method as applied by Bismarck. Notwithstanding his grasp of historic principles of development, he did not, after all, work in unison with broad natural forces, but relied on his power to dominate other men through forceful mastery, with dynastic associations. He was a superman rather than a great representative of a people’s aspirations. So while he proclaimed the truthfulness of his diplomacy, it was nevertheless kept essentially as his own and his master’s affair and business, rather than the people’s. The base of his policy was narrow. He understood nationalism from a Prussian point of view. He severed Austria from Germany, and then antagonized France by taking Lorraine; far more important still, he failed to strengthen German relations with Central Europe and thus made it later seem necessary for Germany to go on to the sea and thus to arouse the apprehensions and enmity of England. Thus while he himself would probably have in the end avoided confronting the entire world as enemies, the foundations he had laid did not provide a safe footing for the more ordinary men who followed him. His diplomacy, once considered so great, had contained no adequate and sound foundation for permanent national life. Such have been the results of the most distinguished and successful work of manipulative diplomacy during the Nineteenth Century.

What then shall we say of the justification of wars brought about as a part of such a system; under which statesmen consider it quite natural to contemplate “preventive war” and to assume responsibility for wholesale slaughter because their plan of action seems to reveal a necessity for it. The idea of conscious planning, or striving to subject national and economic facts and all historic development to the conscious political will,—that conception of diplomacy is synonymous with the essence of politics and will stand and fall with the continuance of the purely political state. Manipulative, and hence secret, diplomacy is in fact the most complete expression of the purely political factor in human affairs. To many, it will seem only a survival of a hyper-political era, as human society now tends to outgrow and transcend politics for more comprehensive, pervasive and essential principles of action. We need not here rehearse the fundamental character of politics as a struggle for recognized authority to determine the action of individuals, with the use of external compulsion. Politics is a part of the idea of the national state seen from the point of view of a struggle for existence among different political organizations, in which one class originally superimposed its authority upon a subject population and in which, after authority is firmly established within, political power is then used to gain advantages from, or over, outside societies. It is Machiavelli as opposed to Grotius who gives us the philosophy of this struggle. The narrowness of this basis for human action and the direful effect of conscious and forceful interference with social and economic laws, is now beginning to be recognized.

But there is also a broader conception of diplomacy which is influencing the minds of men although it is not yet fully embodied in our daily practice. This conception looks upon humanity, not as a mosaic of little mutually exclusive areas, but as a complex body of interlocking interests and cultural groups. As this conception gains in strength, the center of effort in diplomacy will not be to conceal separatist aims and special plots, but to bring out into the clear light of day the common interests of men. The common work for them to do in making the world habitable, in dignifying the life of men and protecting them against mutual terror and massacre,—that ideal of coöperation and forbearance, is as yet only partially embodied in our international practices, although it arouses the fervid hopes of men throughout the world. Whether a system of local autonomy combined with full coöperation and free interchange of influences can be brought about without the exercise of an overpowering influence on the part of a group of allied nations, is still doubtful. But if it should be achieved, then plainly the old special functions of diplomacy will fall away and administrative conferences will take the place of diplomatic conversations. When Portugal became a republic, the proposal was made to abolish all diplomatic posts and have the international business of Portugal administered by consuls. That would eliminate politics from foreign relations.

Diplomacy in the spirit of Grotius has always had its votaries even in periods of the darkest intrigue, but there has only recently come into general use a method of transacting international business which favors open and full discussion of diplomatic affairs. Such business will be dealt with less and less in separate negotiation between two powers; there will generally be more nations involved, and conferences and standing committees or commissions will be at work, rather than isolated diplomats. Indeed, international conferences are still largely influenced by the old spirit of secretive diplomacy. Yet the practice of meeting together in larger groups is itself inimical to the strict maintenance of the older methods and we may expect a natural growth of more simple and direct dealings. It will be interesting to watch the use of the older methods of diplomacy under these new conditions and to see how far and how fast they will have to be modified in order to bear out the underlying principle in human development to which action by conference responds.

The Washington Conference of 1921 afforded the first notable occasion for bringing into use open methods in diplomatic discussion. Secretary Hughes in his introductory speech struck a keynote hitherto not heard in negotiations on international matters. A new era seemed to have dawned in which great issues and all-important interests could be discussed openly and decided on their merits. A great wave of enthusiasm passed over the public. But it cannot be said that the temper of this auspicious opening was sustained throughout. As the conference descended from general declarations to important questions of detail there was an unmistakable reversion to old methods, which obstructed the straightforward aims of Secretary Hughes. Even the generous initial proposal of the American government was made by one of the powers a trading subject. The result was that some of the attendant evils of secret diplomacy invaded even this conference, and that the public soon became somewhat confused as to its object and purposes, through an abundance of guesses which put a premium on the sensational imagination. It must be said that the temper of the press, encouraged by the manner in which the Conference had been inaugurated, was one of restraint and responsibility. Viewing the questions which were before this Conference, there can be no doubt that the very problems about which there was hesitation and exaggerated secretiveness, were exactly those which could have been best judged of by the well-informed public opinion. One could not avoid the conclusion that the fear of publicity is in all cases inspired by motives which cannot stand the test of a world-wide public opinion.

At the present day, as yet, the fatal circle has not been broken: secret diplomacy, suspicion, armaments, war. We had thought that we should escape from it quite easily, after the terrible sacrifices laid on mankind and the light which had been flashed on us in that darkness. But the passions which had been stirred up and the fear and terror which had been aroused in that dire experience may for some time yet serve to strengthen the reactionary forces in human affairs, and retard those which tend to liberate humanity from terror and suffering. But it is lack of leadership toward better things, that is most to blame.

To America, to the government and the people, the elimination of secret dealings in international affairs is nothing short of a primary interest. The entire character of our foreign policy is inspired with, and based upon, the belief in open dealings and fair play. We have a broad continental position which makes secret plotting and devious transactions unnatural, inappropriate and unnecessary. Our national experience of one hundred and fifty years has expressed itself quite spontaneously in proposals for the peaceful settlement of international disputes by discussion, for the improvement of international relations through conferences, and in the great policies of the Open Door, which means commercial fair play, and the Monroe Doctrine, which means political fair play to the American sister republics. A policy such as this has nothing to seek with secret methods and concealed aims.

To tolerate secrecy in international affairs would mean to acquiesce in a great national danger. For good or ill we can no longer conceive ourselves as isolated. Our every-day happiness and permanent welfare are directly affected by what other nations do and plan. Continued secrecy would mean that we should feel ourselves surrounded by unknown dangers. We should have to live in an atmosphere of dread and suspicion. We could find peace of mind only in the security of vast armaments. In international affairs we would be walking by the edge of precipices and over volcanoes; our best intentioned proposals for the betterment of human affairs would be secretly burked, as in the case of Secretary Knox’ plan of railway neutralization in Manchuria. Our rights would be secretly invaded and our security threatened, as at the time when England and France agreed with Japan that she should have the North Pacific islands, behind our backs, though our vital interests were involved. In all such matters secrecy will work to the disadvantage of that power which has the most straightforward aims and policies. America cannot willingly submit to such a condition. It is unthinkable that with our traditions of public life and with our Constitutional arrangements, we should ourselves play the old game of secret intrigue; it is for us to see, and to the best of our power and ability to assure, that it will not be played in the future by others.

Nations will respond to the call for absolutely open dealings in international affairs, with a varying degree of readiness and enthusiasm. We are perhaps justified in saying that wherever the people can make their desires felt they will be unanimously for a policy of openness. The English tradition of public life would also be favorable to such a principle of action, were it not that such special imperial interests as the British raj in India frequently inspires British diplomacy with narrower motives and with a readiness to depart from open dealings from a conviction that imperial interests so require. The Russian Soviet government in giving to the public a full knowledge of international affairs, was at first inspired primarily by a desire to discredit the old régime. But it is also undoubtedly true that the hold which this government has on the party which supports it, is in a measure due to the fact that all foreign policies and relationships are freely reported to, and discussed in, the party meetings and the soviets. No matter what the aims of this government may be, it cannot be denied that it has strengthened itself by the openness of its foreign policy. The Chinese people have manifested a deep faith in public opinion and their chief desire in international affairs is that there shall be open, straightforward dealings so that all the world may know and judge. Through all their difficulties of the last decade they have been sustained by this faith in the strength of a good cause in the forum of world-wide public opinion.

The peoples of the Continent of Europe undoubtedly would welcome a reign of openness and truth, for they have suffered most from secret dealings in diplomacy. But those who govern them find it difficult to extricate themselves from the tangle of intrigue. As President Wilson expressed it:

“European diplomacy works always in the dense thicket of ancient feuds, rooted, entangled and entwined. It is difficult to see the path; it is not always possible to see the light of day. I did not realize it all until the peace conference; I did not realize how deep the roots are.”

Conclusion

In modern diplomacy there still persists the image of the chess players intent on their complicated game, planning each move with long foresight of all the combinations that could possibly be organized by the opponent. In the popular image, too, the great diplomat is conceived as spinning a complicated web of actions and relationships in which every detail is subordinate and subservient to a general dominant purpose. Then comes the international publicist and with ingenuity still more refined than that of the imagined diplomat, he reasons out the innermost ambitions that dominate and inspire the makers of foreign affairs. So it has remained possible for the most extravagant imaginary constructions to be put forth in volumes of sober aspect, which purport to give the key to diplomacy or to expose the pernicious ambitions of this or that foreign office. It has become a game in which nothing is impossible to the constructive imagination.

To any one familiar with the usual methods of foreign offices and of diplomatic representatives,212 the idea that foreign affairs are really handled in this manner, like mental legerdemain, becomes quite grotesque. Complicated manipulations with respect to movements far in the future, looking to still more distant results,—that kind of diplomatic planning exists more in the imagination than in the actual conduct of foreign affairs. In the majority of cases foreign offices meet each situation as it arises, relying indeed on precedents and having certain underlying aims and purposes, but giving most attention to the facts immediately present and often satisfied with anything that will ease a troublesome or embarrassing situation. Foreign offices indeed differ greatly in the definiteness and constancy of their objectives and the completeness with which they subordinate details to central aims. The Russian foreign office always had the reputation of great continuity of policy; it gave the central place to fundamental objectives to which problems that arose from day to day could be referred; and thus it solved them with a cumulative effect upon the advancement of its political aims.

From the point of view of the older traditions of diplomacy, there would be a decided advantage in definiteness of plan and in the harmonious subordination of all details to the main idea. However,213 the advantage of this method is frequently defeated through the narrowness of the objects aimed at, when diplomatic policy is conceived in this manner. Immediate purposes may indeed be achieved more readily, but the permanent results will usually be barren or lead ultimately to conflicts of forces. In such a system there is too much abstraction from the multiform forces of actual life; and while those who pursue it may flatter themselves that they are making history, they are not often building in accordance with natural and historic forces.

The concept of diplomacy which has been criticized in these pages does not exclude the possibility of immediate brilliant success; but its ineffectiveness appears when we view it over longer periods of history. It is built on too narrow a foundation. We have seen that even with the greatest statesmen, any plan of action conceived in this manner has such positive limitations that the very success in executing such policies through a shrewd play of diplomatic forces, conjures up new dangers and difficulties. The wisdom of no man nor small self-contained group of men is at present sufficient to measure the needs of society and to transform its impulses into effective action. A broader basis for policy is needed. But214 the greatest weakness of the old method lies in the fact that just at the very times when men are most in need of confidence and of a spirit of reason and sane judgment, this mode of action leaves the public mind in confusion, excitement and the darkest fears.

If democracy means anything, its significance for the welfare of humanity must lie in the value of allowing constantly more and more minds to participate in the great things of the world. Not only would such participation seem to be a natural right of the human mind but also the things most worth while can be achieved only when the ablest and best can freely lend their efforts. To all this a narrow system of secret management by a limited hierarchy is hostile. The old diplomacy rests entirely on skepticism as to the wisdom and self-control of the people. The people are merely material for statesmanship. This conception is blind to the fact that everything that is great in modern life has arisen through the freedom with which talent may manifest itself wherever found and that in all pursuits of humanity that are worth while, innumerable minds coöperate, in a degree as warranted by their capacity to bring about sound action and improvement. The older diplomacy assumed that the people215 furnished only passive material for statesmanship to work upon, and it saw in the public only potentialities for vague and general influences which statesmanship in turn was to mold and utilize. The greatest distance it went, was to admit that national policy must rest on popular instinct; a principle which is quite compatible with the practice of secret diplomacy. When we come to talk of political instincts, however, we are dealing with one of the vaguest and most indefinite concepts known to thought. These instincts may be interpreted and given active expression as it suits any diplomatic policy. Unfortunately the “instincts” most to the fore are not usually helpful to calm and sound action. In international affairs, an instinctive dislike or hatred of anything different has again and again been made the basis of aggressive action, stirring up otherwise peaceful populations to warlike and murderous intent. Great national policies may often truly be said to rest on instinct in the sense that undivided popular support is given to a policy from a variety of motives which are not clearly reasoned out but which all express themselves in an overpowering impulse which may be called instinctive. Thus the Monroe policy in which the most fundamental motive is the desire for peace216 and for the safety of the continental position of the American nation, may be said to rest on the instinct of self-preservation.

But it is quite plain that unless what is here called instinct can be transformed into an intelligent, wise and discriminating public opinion, such instinct is but a shifting sand, affording material which may be molded into any desired form by an ambitious policy working through suggestion and propaganda. Instinct can be transformed into a true public policy only through publicity and through the training of large groups of men to see things with true eyes and to judge with reason and wisdom. Here is the crux of the matter. Secret diplomacy treats all except the inner official ring as outsiders and “persons without responsibility.” Among these outsiders there may be numerous persons actually better qualified than the officials themselves, through experience and thought, to judge of international affairs. No one can here assume infallibility. Safe counsel can come only if the entire intelligence and moral sentiment of a nation can find expression and if its fittest individuals can concentrate their attention upon every great problem as it arises. A sound, just, wise public policy without publicity cannot be imagined. To consider publicity an217 evil, to consider it as impeding the proper flow of international influences and obstructing the solution of international difficulties, appears as an unbelievable perversion when we consider the true implications of such a thought.

It is therefore inestimably important that the facts of international life, the materials out of which policies are formed, should be known freely and fully to the public of every nation. The manipulation of international communications for political purposes is the most sinister and dangerous part of the system with which secret diplomacy is entwined. According to this theory it is not only not good for the people to know everything but they must also be made to know things about the truth of which we need not bother our heads but which will stimulate the passions and arouse the instincts our policy desires to work upon. Thus the void left by secrecy, by a concealment of the true nature and character of internationally important matters, is frequently supplied by an intelligence service carrying distorted and colored versions of facts; all this confuses and discourages the public mind to such an extent that it becomes unable to sever fact from fiction and to form a consistent and firm judgment.

The abolition of secret diplomacy is not a matter218 of agreeing to have no more secrets. It is a matter of arousing among the public so powerful a determination to know, so strong a sentiment of the value of truth, such a penetrating spirit of inquiry, that the secrets will fade away as they always do when the importance of a situation is really understood by a large number of people.

Meanwhile it need not appear futile to work for the positive elimination of secrecy. No one can doubt that the provision of the Covenant of the League of Nations, which requires that all treaties shall be made public, is salutary and that its enforcement would greatly increase public confidence. But it is necessary to go beyond this and to outlaw any agreement which is kept secret, by making it the public law of the world that no rights or obligations can be founded on such attempts against the peace and common welfare of the nations.

The personal relationships of diplomacy also require attention. The spirit of the Diplomatic Service should be transformed in accordance with the modern organization of society. The most essential weakness of caste diplomacy lies in the fact that it does not provide means for a sufficient contact among the peoples of the world. Contact is maintained only within a narrow class.219 The diplomatic fraternity lives in its own realm of precedences, rivalries and traditions. To confine the intercourse and interchange of influences so narrowly, is a great weakness of our present political system.

The diplomatic office should be conceived as having the function to represent not only the special national interest of the respective country, but also, on an equal plane, its participation in all the activities and interests which are common to the nations of the world. The legations and embassies should be provided with a personnel of attachés not only for political and military affairs, but for commerce, education, science and social legislation. All these matters are already dealt with to some extent by common action among the nations. The sending of ministers as delegates to international technical conferences has often been criticized as importing into such conferences the narrow, separatist point of view of diplomatic politics. It should be exactly the other way; participation in such conferences ought to impart to diplomats a broad spirit of coöperation instead of a desire to maintain intact a theoretical isolation. That is the essence of the matter. As long as it is supposed that by jealously scrutinizing every international relationship from the point of view of abstract political independence, and assuming that it is best to make the very least possible contribution of energy and coöperation, the national interest can be most promoted; so long will diplomatic action continue on a strained basis, always being painfully conscious of the potential enmity among nations. But when it is realized that in nearly every case the national interest, or the interest of the people of the nation which ought to be synonymous therewith, is best advanced by whole-souled coöperation in constructive work in commerce, industry, science and the arts, then the political factor of diplomatic rivalry will assume more just proportions as compared with the other interests of humanity.

This borders upon a very broad subject dealing rather with general international policy than with the specific problems we were considering; and yet we ought to be aware of this background. We need not give up our conviction that the autonomy of the national state must be preserved and that each political society shall dispose of its own affairs within its borders as its wisdom and judgment may dictate, free from intervention from without. But complete freedom of local self-determination can rest only upon a universal recognition of that right in all others, in a spirit of confidence and security engendered by the absence of intrigue and secret ambitions. In a still greater measure does the happiness of the national state depend on free and full coöperation with all others in all pursuits, activities and interests common to humanity and in making the earth a place for dignified and happy human life. Unless diplomacy looks forward to this and helps to bring it about, it will remain ensnared in the old practices which ever lead only to barren results.

Lincoln’s simple faith in the people has not yet been adequately applied in international affairs. International action has shown the impersonal character of calculated manipulations coldly disposing of the rights and lives of millions with cruel callousness. The last great war has made us consider the relation of war sacrifices to the daily welfare of the people. A great deal of the prevailing unrest in the world is undoubtedly due to a lack of confidence that great affairs are being handled with wisdom and with regard to the true, lasting welfare of the people themselves. It is difficult to reduce to personal terms relations so abstract and general as those obtaining in international affairs. We think of the armies in serried ranks and are impressed with the impact of their force and the great feats it may accomplish. But we are too apt to forget the individual destiny carried in every breast, the human feeling in every heart, among all the millions that make up this engine of power and destruction. Human welfare rather than human power has not yet been made the constant and overshadowing aim of diplomacy. That will be done only when the people themselves demand that international affairs shall be dealt with in a different spirit and with other methods. Then we shall have policies that can be avowed and understood by the people who bear the burden and who pay the bill.

The questions which we have been considering are not distinct and isolated but are bound up with all that goes toward a more adequate organization of modern society. Even in the industries, men are no longer satisfied with a narrowly centralized control. They call for information and accountability, they claim a share in management, at least of an advisory or consultative nature. All who contribute in bearing the risks of industry demand to be kept informed of the policies and actions of the management. In ever extending circles men share in the responsibility for action taken in their name. It is a truism that risk is diminished and tends to disappear as it is distributed over greater and greater numbers. Under our present political system nations are carrying a tremendous risk in international affairs—they are risking their wealth, the lives of their citizens, their own very existence. The responsibility for bearing these risks and for arranging the conditions of safety is now too narrowly centralized. It is an elementary demand of safety that it should be more widely distributed, that a larger number of competent and representative minds should take part in carrying this burden. And they should at all points be supported by a well-informed public opinion throughout the nation.

But there is a condition that lies still deeper. The popular psychology cultivated under the narrow aims of nationalism has exhausted itself in international matters in dislike and hatred of everything alien and of all that lies beyond the national pale. Such a state of mind is ever ready to act the bull to any red rag of newspaper sensationalism. So, the inside managers of diplomatic affairs may still say with some justification, “Open discussion would too much excite the public mind.” This fundamental condition cannot be suddenly purged of all its potency for evil. Only by gradual degrees may an attitude be brought about within the national communities which will be more just to the outside world and to everything that is strange and unaccustomed. What the great imaginative writers of the first half of the nineteenth century accomplished in breaking down social prejudices and abuses will have to be done for humanity by a new host of inspired molders of human sentiment. We may not get rid of artificial hostilities now still nurtured by nationalism, until ideals of international goodwill and fellowship have been expressed in the form of human experience and portrayed as part of the struggles and triumphs of the individual human soul. Patient, sound, upbuilding influences shall have to work powerfully on the masses of men, and on their leaders, before we may finally overcome the evils that express themselves in practices inherent in a system such as that we call “secret diplomacy,” before the world may be made an abode of mutual confidence and helpfulness instead of a house of imprisonment, suspicion and terror.


Featured: Statesmen of World War I, by James Guthrie; painted ca. 1924-1930.