Page images
PDF
EPUB

State, through all changes of party policy, must, if the national life is to grow permanently and not diminish, to prosper and not to fade, be ethical. A nation can insist on its just rights and on due respect from other nations, and yet seek to understand and meet their efforts after their own development. A certain cosmopolitanism is of the essence of strength. It is not brute force, but moral power, that commands predominance in the world. This becomes more and more plain as civilization at large progressively emerges from barbarism, and other nations increase in capacity to acquire and to rule. In the result it is the voice of the majority of the States of the earth that must determine which of them can be trusted to occupy the foremost places as trustees for the rest. Armaments, of course, tell, but even the most powerfully armed nation cannot in these days hold its own without a certain measure of assent from those around. And perhaps the time is near when armaments will count for so much less than is the case to-day; that they will tend to diminish, and ultimately to become extinct. I am not so sanguine as to believe that the good impulses of even what I firmly believe to be the majority of men will prove the sole or even the proximate influence in bringing this about. The appallingly increased effectiveness of the means of destruction, to which the advancing science of war is yearly adding, and the accompanying increase in the burden of cost, are progressively cogent arguments. The whole system tends to work its way to its own abolition. What can most help and give free scope to this tendency is the genuine acceptance by the nations of a common purpose of deliverance from the burden—a purpose which the necessities of their citizens will surely bring, however slowly, into operation.

It is not, therefore, merely after brute power that a nation can in these days safely set itself to strive. Leadership among the peoples of the earth depends on the possession

It was

of a deeper insight. In national as in private life the power of domination depends on individuality--the individuality that baffles description and much more definition, because it combines qualities that, taken in isolation, are apparently contradictory. Among the States, as among their private citizens, the individuality that is most formidable is formidable because of qualities that are not merely physical. It commands respect and submission because it impresses on those with whom it comes in daily contact a sense of largeness and of moral and intellectual power. Such qualities may, and generally do, carry with them skill in armaments. This, however, is a consequence, and not a cause. the moral and intellectual equipment of Greece and Rome that made them world-powers. So it has been with Japan in our own time. And without moral and intellectual equipment of the highest order no nation can to-day remain a world-power. The Turks, who in the sixteenth century were perhaps the most formidable people in Europe, are a case in point.

But if this be so, then the first purpose of a nation and especially, in these days of growth all round, of a modern nation—ought to be to concentrate its energies on its moral and intellectual development. And this means that because, as the instruments of this development, it requires leaders, it must apply itself to providing the schools where alone leaders can be adequately trained. The so-called heavenborn leader has a genius so strong that he will come to the front by sheer force of that genius almost wherever his lot be cast, for he is heaven-born in the sense that he is not like other men.

But in these days of specialized function a nation requires many leaders of a type less rare—subordinates who obediently accept the higher command and carry it out, but who still are, relatively speaking, leaders. Such men cannot, for by far the greater part, be men of genius ; and yet the part they play is necessary, and because it is

necessary the State must provide for their production and their nurture. At this point the history of the modern State shows that the University plays an important part. The elementary school raises our people to the level at which they may become skilled workers.

The secondary school assists to develop a much smaller, but still large class, of well-educated citizens. But for the production of that small body of men and women whose calling requires high talent, the University alone, or its equivalent, suffices. Moreover, the University does more. For it is the almost indispensable portal to the career of the highest and most exceptionally trained type of citizen. Not knowledge, not high quality, sought for the sake of some price to be obtained for them, but knowledge and quality for the sake of knowledge and quality, are what are essential, and what the University must seek to produce. If Universities exist in sufficient numbers and strive genuinely to foster, as the outcome of their training, the moral and intellectual virtue, which is to be its own reward, the humanity which has the ethical significance that ought to be inseparable from high culture, then the State need not despair. For from among men who have attained to this level there will, if there be a sufficient supply of them, emerge those who have that power of command which is born of penetrating insight. Such a power generally carries in its train the gift of organization, and organization is one of the foundations of national strength.

About the capacity to organize I wish to say something before I pass on. It is a gift of far-reaching significance. It is operative alike in private and in public life, and it imports two separate stages in its application. The first is that of taking thought and fashioning a comprehensive plan, and the second is the putting into operation the plan so fashioned. The success of what is done depends on the thoroughness of the thinking that underlies it. The thought itself is never complete apart from its execution, for in the course of execution it is brought to the test, and may even modify and refashion itself. The most perfect scientific treatise, the most finished work of art, has to a great extent become what it is only in the actual execution. And yet the result has in reality been but the development of what had to be there before the start was made. The greatest statesmen and the greatest generals are those who have adapted their plans to circumstances, and yet the capacity for forming plans in advance has been of the essence of their greatness.

Now, it often happens in organization on a great scale that the work of fashioning the broad features of the plan is done by one man or one set of men, and the work of realizing the ideas so matured by another. For any task that is very great, and must extend over much time, co-operation is essential. The thinker and the man of action must work in close conjunction, but they need not be, and generally cannot be, the same person, nor need they live at the same time. The history of perhaps the most remarkable case of organization based on culture—the case of Germany in the nineteenth century—is highly suggestive on this point. For the beginning of the story we must turn back to the beginning of the nineteenth century. After the Battle of Jena, Germany was under the heel of Napoleon. From the point of view of brute force she was crushed. In vain she shook at her chains; the man was too strong for her. But there is a power that is greater than that of the sword—the power of the spirit. The world was now to witness the wonderful might of thought. Germany was weak and poor, and she had no Frederick the Great to raise her. But she had a possession that, even from a material standpoint, was to prove of far greater importance to her in the long run. Since the best days of ancient Greece there had been no such galaxy of profound thinkers as those who were to be found in

Berlin, and Weimar, and Jena, gazing on the smoking ruins which Napoleon had left behind. Beaten soldiers and secondrate politicians gave place to some of the greatest philosophers and poets that the world had seen for 2,000 years. These men refashioned the conception of the State, and through their disciples there penetrated to the public the thought that the life of the State, with its controlling power for good, was as real and as great as the life of the individual. Men and women were taught to feel that in the law and order which could be brought about by the general will alone was freedom in the deepest and truest sense to be found—the freedom which was to be realized only by those who had accepted whole-heartedly the largest ends in place of particular and selfish aspirations. The State obtained through this teaching a new significance in relation to moral order, and this new significance began gradually to be grasped by the people. The best of them learned a yet further-reaching lesson, that none but the largest outlook can suffice for the discovery of the meaning of life or the attainment of peace of soul. It is not in some world apart that the infinite is to be sought, but here and now, in the duties that lie next to each. No longer need men sit down and long for something afar from the scene of their toil, something that by its very nature as abstract and apart can never be reached. The end is already attained in the striving to realize it. Faust at last discovered happiness at the very end of his career. But it was not an external good reached that made him for the first time exclaim to a passing moment, “Stay, thou art fair ! It was the flashing on his mind of a great truth : . That man alone attains to life and freedom who daily has to

conquer them anew. The true leader must teach to his countrymen the gospel of the wide outlook. He must bid them live the larger life, be unselfish, be helpful, be reverent. But he must teach them yet more. He must fill the minds of those who hear him, even of such as are in the depths of

« PreviousContinue »