Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

7 articles on this Page



PATRIOTISM AND BUSINESS. Mr. Chesterton had some excellent things to say on Patriotism in a recent issue of the Daily News. He says that we have to take extraordinary trouble to make a thing ordinary. The whole human world is made up of instances of this perhaps as good an example as any other is the conduct of those colossal benefactors of mankind, our fathers and mothers. You and I would certainly not be the splendid public monuments that we are if our fathers and mothers had not given us not only a great deal more devotion than we deserved, but a great deal more devotion than we in any strictly ascertainable and scientific sense required. Mr. Chesterton calls this unreasonable, and so it is, and very unbusinesslike, for fathers and mothers belung to that tribe that Tolstoi calls Ivan the Fool. They are creators, and who can squeeze into a balance sheet made out half- yearly or yearly the profit and loss and assets of fathers and mothers. In this view Mr. Chester- ton agrees with Shakespeare, for in the "Merchant of Venice," Shylock, the strict business man, the mere business man is dis- graced, and legal human justice is ridiculed. It cannot, of course, be maintained that the business man is of no value to human life. He is of great value. Things have to be distributed from place to place. This requires organisation, order, and method. Modern science has im- mensely helped business by the machinery of railways, steamers, telephones, and a system of credit. When you pass Mark Lane, and other markets, the business man smoking his cigar, and drinking his Split," gives you an impression that he is the Lord of creation. He has an immoderate idea of his own importance. After all he is not everybody. Should Ivan the Fool who produces the corn and other materials of commerce in a fit of insane magic be able to destroy all produce, the Lord of creation would feel very small if there was no corn, &c., to make a deal in. It is not so difficult to reap when there have been sowers. Patriotism requires something more than business. Think of Nelson quibbling about profit and loss and a balance sheet when the English nation's existence was at stake. His motto was "Success or death." He was ready to give everything to the cause. Patriotism requires enormous devotion, infinite love, and a giving that no balance sheet can estimate. Mr. Evan Roberts seems to be a man of enormous faith. It is many a day since such a believer appeared in Wales. When the cause that is dear to his heart seems to fail his distress is pitiful to see, his whole frame is convulsed, and racked. He believes like Mary Magdalen, his love is great, and great things come of it. You cannot assess his doings in a balance sheet and I a profit and loss account, not in one that human beings can draw out. Mankind adores a patriot, a believer and a lover. They know their accounts extend beyond the arbitrary limits of business and science. There are many men, however, who desire to pose and appear as doing a lot for the nation. They reap their reward. Like some of Dante's sinners they are condemned to the Hell of Appearances where the unfortunates go round and round endlessly. One man promises to do something, but in reality expects the other will do it. The other promises and expects the first man to do it. So it goes on. They wait the one for the other for ever. Like the babes in the woods they wander about and get to that funny place called nowhere. It ends as it began it, appearance, and comes to nothing where it started. But the believer and lover of his country is a reality. He acts.





[No title]