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Our Philosophy and Theirs


Our Philosophy and Theirs IT is a pity that our Comrade, John Scurr. did not develop in his address on Sunday his pacing allusion to the acceptance by the English press of the fallacious Prussian philosophy of the su b- jugation of the individual to the State, which he quite rightly characterised as a more impor- tant German victory than the triumph of Teu- tonic arms. There is no Social int. of any stand- ing at all who has not fought with all his might against this misooneepttion of the relationship of the individual to the race, and who has not seen in its mistaken altruism the greatest bar to the progressive evolution of Democracy. We in Eng- land have since the days of the classical econo- mists preached a natural doctrine the very antithesis of this falsf" doctrine, that has pre- vented the liberalisation of Germany, and which to-day threatens not only to de-liberalise, but also to devitalise Britain. Our national philo- sophy of exalting the individual at all events guaranteed us against, the altruism that made German militarism so powerful Per ill, though it was, equally with the German concept, a wrong basis upon which to construct a stable society. Yet in the clash of the two the German has tri- umphed, and has been accepted by the very organs of British s-uper-Indi-idiial ism an es- sentially correct philosophy for a civilised na- tion. It is easier to accept such views than to throw them off, and the apparant triumph of German ideology must needs be combated by the plain, straightforward presentation of the Socialist philosophy which offers to both British and German schools a strenuous and successful opposition, and promises results which neither can secure. It was almost certain that the Bri- tish view of the freedom of the individual, be- queathed to us by the laissez-faire, era in our politics, should follow that political doctrine into the scrap-heap when seriously challenged as it has been challenged now, by a virile, if mis- chievous and mistaken philosophy more nearly related to the theory of mutual aid than ours could of its nature be. But if to the superficial reader the German idea of the subjugation of the individual to the Sta-te. may read as a more co-ordinate philosophy in these days of industrial co-operation, we must remember that it is an entire misreading of biological mutual aid; for it merely succeeds in transposing the nation into the place of the ego; and when the nation, as in Germany, is dominated by a Junker class with an outlook purely militaristic and conquer- ing, then it produces a philosophic and political system dangerous in the highest degree to the individual freedom within the nation, and dis- astrous to the entire world. If that conception is to subjugate Britain and transpose her liberal individualism as the working basis upon which the nation is to be trained to regard the State, then the liberties that have been jettisoned during the war, will not only never be recovered, but will be the predecessors of still more liber- ties that will have to go. Our schools will be made to subserve the new philosophy our "drum and trumpet" history, bad as it is, will be ex- ohanged for the even worse rewritings of mis- taken zealots who will be the English prototypes of the German Chamberlains and Bernhardis; the whole of our institutions will be re-pressed into the new mould so that they too might pro- duce the ideal of a m-itional chorus of England over a.11; and our Parliamentary life will take on as a permanent feature its present unin- formed existence, robbed of the power it pos- sessed in the past, subjected to Bureaucratic departmental domination, and enslaved to the new conception of race domination and national expansion. That, is broadly what the new philo- sophy means, and those who espouse it offer us in return for our national acceptance of it- what? So faj- the preaching of the doctrine has not been undertaken in the light of its ultimate aspirations and probable results. It is at the moment a gospel of expediency. Presumably it is accepted because its apparent results in Germany have been increased efficiency and na- tional organisation. But it is efficiency at the cost of the priceless gift of liberty organisation that up to now has served ba.se ends. Its ideal .IS a foolish and wicked one: and one combated by the long history of British colonial govern- ment. With the passage of the years and the spread of .knowledge throughout the world the whole course of colonial history has come to teach everyone tha.t successful colonisation is dependent W upon the admission of the rights of the colonies to determine their own destinies. Are we then to submit to the filching of our liberties; acquiesce in the destruction of our Democratic institutions; be militarised and em- bark on conquest and plunder, kill and be killed to the end that having coloured more of the map red we shall then proceed to hand back that which we have won? That is what the facts would spell, but under the facts are the economic driving motives that would colour those spots red in the interests of the Capitalist Class of oitr nation as opposed to the interests of the capitalists of other nations. German philosophy means the more systematised ex- ploitation of the workers to the benefit of the shirkers, whether it be preached in Germany or Britain. Such a philosophy is no more the philo- sophy for civilisation than is the. anarchic wor- ship of the individual that has been the philo- sophy of British politics to date. There is only OIe philosophy of civilisation, and that is the Philosophy of Socialism—the philosophy r.hat neither worships the individual nor the S'tate, but, rather, assesses both aright and assigns to the one his freedom and to the other its func- tion of serving that freedom. That pliiloropli N, is the philosophy of equality, equality in its definition and not in its false guise of sameness, the equality that will give to all the fullest scope for the expression of the natural inequali- ties, that will sweep away the economic inequali- ties that to-day corrupt the earth, that conceives life as something noble to be lived, and substi- tutes co-operation in every field and department of human activity—economic scientific, and artistic—for the mad, bad competition from the fierce course of which wars are to-day born. Under its benign rule in the hearts and minds of men the world will belong to the peoples of the earlh, artificial geographical boundaries will be scrapped, and nationality will but be the ex- pression by which men are marked off in the dif- ferent tents of the same family- household. Na- tionality will be known in its expressive arts, its poetry, its folk-song and music, its strict por- trayal of racial traits; it will cease to portend, as it does now, the division of the world into armed camps, actuated by the false ethic of hate preached by a class under the influence of the lust for wealth. Out then and preach the glori- ous gospel of the Socialist philosophy, the philo- sophy of true Equality, Fraternity and Liberty.

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