Puslapio vaizdai

the common man on an equitable footing of community interest.

The vested rights of the nation are of the essence of that order of things which enjoys the unqualified sanction of the modern point of view. Like any other vested interest, these rights are conceived in other terms than those which are native to the new order of material science and technology. They are of an older and more spiritual order, so far as regards the principles of knowledge and belief on which they rest. But whatever may be their remoter pedigree, they have the sanction of that body of principles that is called the modern point of view, and they belong in the scheme of things handed on by the Liberal movement of the eighteenth and nineteenth century. Apart from the imponderable values which fall under the head of national prestige, these vested rights of the nation can be defined as an extension to the commonwealth of the same natural rights of self-direction and personal security - free contract and self-help that are secured to the individual citizen under the common law.

Yet, while the national policies of the democratic commonwealths are managed by Liberal statesmen in behalf of the vested interests, they still run on the ancient lines of dynastic statecraft, as worked out by the statesmen of the ancient régime; and the common man is still passably content to see the traffic run along on those lines. The things which are considered desirable to be done in the way of national enterprise, as well as the sufficient reasons for doing them, still have much of the medieval color. National pretensions, enterprise, rivalry, in

trigue and dissensions among the democratic commonwealths are still such as would have been intelligible to Macchiavelli, Frederick the Great, Metternich, Bismarck, or the Elder Statesmen of Japan. Diplomatic intercourse still runs in the same terms of systematised prevarication, and still turns about the same schedule of national pretensions that contented the medieval spirit of these masters of dynastic intrigue. As a matter of course and of common sense the nations still conceive themselves to be rivals, whose national interests are incompatible, and whose divine right it is to gain something at one another's cost, after the fashion of rival bandits or business concerns. They still seek dominion and still conceive themselves to have extra-territorial interests of a proprietary sort. They still hold and still seek vested rights in colonial possessions and in extra-territorial priorities and concessions of divers and dubious kinds. There still are conferences, stipulations and guarantees between the Powers, touching the "Open Door" in China, or the equitable partition of Africa, which read like a chapter on Honor among Thieves.

All this run of national pretensions, wrangles, dominion, aggrandisement, chicane, and ill-will, is nothing more than the old familiar trading stock of the diplomatic brokers who do business in dynastic force and fraud also called Realpolitik. The democratic nations have taken over in bulk the whole job-lot of vested interests and divine rights that once made the monarch of the old order an unfailing source of outrage and desolation. In the hands of those "Elder Statesmen " who once did business

under the signature of the dynasty, the traffic in statecraft yielded nothing better than a mess of superfluous affliction; and there is no reason to apprehend that a continuation of the same traffic under the management of the younger statesmen who now do business in the name of the democratic commonwealth is likely to bring anything more comfortable, even though the legal instruments in the case may carry the rubber-stamp O. K. of the common man. The same items will foot up to the same sum; and in either case the net gain is always something appreciably less than nothing.

These national interests are part of the medieval system of ends, ways and means, as it stood, complete and useless, at that juncture when the democratic commonwealth took over the divine rights of the crown. It should not be extremely difficult to understand why they have stood over, or why they still command the dutiful approval of the common man. It is a case of aimless survival, on the whole, due partly to the inertia of habit and tradition, partly to the solicitous advocacy of these assumed national interests by those classes — the trading and officeholding classes — who stand to gain something by the pursuit of them at the cost of the rest. By tenacious tradition out of the barbarian past these peoples have continued to be rival nations living in a state of habitual enmity and distrust, for no better reason than that they have not taken thought and changed their mind.

After some slackening of national animosities and some disposition to neglect national pretensions during the earlier decades of the great era of Liberal

ism, the democratic nations have been gradually shifting back to a more truculent attitude and a more crafty and more rapacious management in all international relations. This aggressive chauvinistic policy has been called Imperialism. The movement has visibly kept pace, more or less closely, with the increasing range and volume of commerce and foreign investments during the same period. And to further this business enterprise there has been an ever increasing resort to military power. It is reasonably believed that traders and investors in foreign parts are able to derive a larger profit from their business when they have the backing of a powerful and aggressive national government; particularly in their dealings with helpless and backward peoples, and more particularly if their own national government is sufficiently unscrupulous and overbearing, which may confidently be counted on so long as these governments continue to be administered by the gentlemanly delegates of the vested interests and the kept classes.

As regards the intrinsic value which is popularly attached to the imponderable national possessions, in the way of honor and prestige, there is little to be said, beyond the stale reflection that there is no disputing about tastes. It all is at least a profitable illusion, for the use of those who are in a position to profit by it. Such as the crown and the officeholders. But the people of the civilised nations believe themselves to have also a material interest of some sort in enlarging the national dominions and in extending the foreign trade of their business men and safeguarding the foreign claims of their vested

interests. And the Americans, like many others, harbor the singular delusion that they can derive a collective benefit from obstructing the country's trade at the national frontiers by means of a tariff barrier, and so defeating their own industry by that much. It is a survival out of the barbarian past, out of the time when the dynastic politicians were occupied with isolating the nation and making it selfsufficient, as an engine of warlike enterprise for the pursuit of dynastic ambitions and the greater discomfort of their neighbors. In an increasing degree as the new order of industry has come into bearing, any such policy of industrial isolation and self-sufficiency has become more difficult and more injurious; for a free range and unhindered specialisation is of the essence of the new industrial order.

The experience of the war has shown conclusively that no one country can hereafter supply its own needs either in raw materials or in finished goods. Both the winning and the losing side have shown that. The new industrial order necessarily overlaps the national frontiers, even in the case of a nation possessed of so extensive and varied natural resources as America. So that in spite of all the singularly ingenious obstruction of the American tariff the Americans still continue to draw on foreign sources for most or all of their tea, coffee, sugar, tropical and semi-tropical fruits, vegetable oils, vegetable gums and pigments, cordage fibers, silks, rubber, and a bewildering multitude of minor articles of daily use. Even so peculiarly American an industry as chewing-gum is wholly dependent on foreign raw material, and quite unavoidably so.

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