« AnkstesnisTęsti »
priation of a hundred and fifty thousand dollars for the continuance of this service, despite the plain fact that this service is the only large practical training school for pilots to whom we could turn in an emergency. There are, of course, hundreds of young men recently discharged from the army who at the moment could be pressed into service again, but the longer they remain out of the cockpit of an aëroplane, the less useful they will become as pilots.
Great Britain is "carrying on" with flying. During the war the British air forces were constituted a separate arm of the service instead of parts of the army and navy. The war-time air ministry used to occupy the Hotel Cecil, but finally overflowed into many of the near-by hotels in the Strand. It has been greatly reduced, but it has been continued, and is maintained as a distinct unit not only in Great Britain, but in India and the East. It has recently been announced by the air ministry that the cabinet has approved, subject to Parliamentary sanction, the grant of sixty thousand pounds for the direct assistance of civil aviation. Routes, at present approved, run from London to Paris, from London to Brussels, and from London to Amsterdam. British flyers have scored many individual air successes. Flights from London to Australia, to India, and to Cape Town, South Africa, have been negotiated. The latter one, across Africa, was attended by ill luck, but forty days after they had set out from Egypt, with a new machine sent up from the cape, Colonel P. Van Ryndveld and Major C. J. O. Bland completed their trip. Great expense was incurred in clearing away the jungle at various places for landing purposes and for the replenishing of the petrol supply. Such expenditure and effort represent a wise national investment, the lesson of which we should take to heart.
France and Italy have not remained on the ground. A French pilot won the famous air classic of 1920, the Gordon Bennett cup race,-and an Italian officer reached Japan in his air travels. Larger planes are being manufactured in Italian shops, and Italy, furnishing a good hopping-off place for Africa and the Near East, is destined to become an important
link in European aërial transportation. Switzerland will also offer an attractive stopping-place, and Vienna will doubtless become one of the great air-traffic terminals of southeastern Europe.
By the Treaty of Versailles, Germany's wings were clipped temporarily. Germany was forbidden, for six months after the coming into force of the treaty, to manufacture or to import aircraft or parts of aircraft; but the period was prolonged three months because of Germany's failure to comply with those portions of the treaty regarding the delivery of air materials to the Allies. There is evidence, however, of activity in Germany in air matters. This fact recalls a recent skit in the London "Punch." The dialogue attending the cartoon called "Aircraftiness" ran as follows:
British Lion: "Hello, started flying again?” German Eagle: "Oh, purely a commercial venture."
British Lion: (To himself) "I remember hearing that same yarn about their navy. Time I developed my wings again."
The Berlin correspondent of the London "Times" says that the Germans claim they are the pioneers of the air; that in the construction of both airships and aëroplanes they consider that they surpassed all rivals during the war. The correspondent further states that at the end of the war Germany was turning out from forty factories 2500 machines per week. After the German defeat and the consequent revolution, most of these factories switched to other work, but several of the factories turned to the manufacture of machines for civil aviation. There is no lack of German pilots, either, and the men who flew for Germany during the war have joined in a society. These men, it is said, are still a bit militant. It is reported that their restless spirit was in evidence at the congress of the Deutsche Luftfahrer Verband, held at Bremen, at which representatives of sixty-two flying associations were in attendance.
To return home. The United States is less than a day from Europe by air. The sixteen-hour flight from Newfoundland to Ireland and the voyage of the R 34 pointed out our vulnerability. It was fortunate for New York that the
huge British dirigible which swung over
To the layman it seems obvious and imperative that the Government of the United States should assist magnanimously in the development of air defense and civil aviation. Such development will knit the nation more closely together, expedite American business, further our commercial relations with Canada, Mexico, and South America, and bring Alaska next door. Aëroplanes may never become the chief carriers of the nation, but they might soon relieve our tragically overburdened transportation systems. A great national development of civil aviation will also bring into existence a fine reserve of trained pilots for use in an emergency, and bring such a reserve into existence without the damning blight of militarism in the process. Pilots are not trained in a day or a week. It takes longer to make a good pilot than to make a good machine. We need both.
clauses which follow." Here was a definite promise. It cannot be broken without casting away the honor of the nations that wrote it.
LIMIT ARMAMENTS OR LIE HE victorious nations which signed the Treaty of Versailles must effect and execute a program of genuine limitation of armaments or stand convicted in history of a colossal corporate lie. In the paragraph that preceded the statement of the essential military peace terms with Germany there occurred this statement: "In order to render possible the initiation of a general limitation of the armaments of all nations, Germany undertakes strictly to observe the military, naval, and air
It may seem strange that these words should be written immediately following an editorial in which there is the suggestion that we should look to the preparation of our air forces against the possibility of a next war. I set down that suggestion with a heaviness, not to say sickness, of heart. War is the ultimate insanity. The next war may indeed prove the suicide of civilization. In the next war there will be no rules of the game. The distinction between combatants and non-combatants will be entirely wiped out. The sweater-knitting débutante will be as legitimate a target as the grizzled gunner. The next war will mark the burial of decency. Chivalry, bled weak by the last war, will die on the first battle-field. When the world fights again, it will be in an orgy of scientific savagery. Any senator, congressman, or President who does not dedicate himself to an effort to outlaw war, or who trifles with international policy in order to gain a petty partizan advantage, is a traitor to the human
But the world is so interrelated that until all nations, or the decisive majority of nations, display an economic statesmanship that will remove the causes of war and agree upon a limitation of armaments that will remove the tempting instruments of war, every nation must
The American eagle has wings. Let still polish its suicide's weapons, must him use them!
build navies, train armies, and stretch its wings in the air.
To-day economic statesmanship seems a minus quantity, and governments talk blandly of armament limitation in one breath and order naval and military expansion in the next. And, then, the world is in a moral slump. When the new order failed to arise automatically after the armistice, we returned to the old order of competitive armaments and poisonous suspicions with a vengeance. In such a world we have no choice but to make decent defensive preparations.
It is a game we have to play even while we work to destroy the game. The tragedy is that so much of the current discussion of military, naval, and aërial
policy is untouched by any of that "white passion of statecraft" which distinguished our diplomatic and military adventure in the last war-an adventure of crusaders who fought a war they hated in order to win a world they wanted.
If the incoming administration pursues only a policy of intransigent nationalism expressed in terms of a "lone hand" international policy and military, naval, and aërial preparedness, it will not deserve to survive. It will not survive, for it will misrepresent the American people; that is, the real America, which will again speak when we have emerged from this period of reaction and moral slump into which we have fallen.
And, now, after this extended detour, to get back to the statement with which this editorial began. In the very document presenting the essential military terms of peace to Germany, the victorious nations asserted, over their signatures, that these terms were imposed upon Germany in order that the rest of the world might put into operation a scheme of armament limitation.
The victorious nations must carry out that promise or never again speak of their national honor. The total Treaty of Versailles, with its many violations of the fourteen points upon which it was promised the treaty would rest, is a black enough stain upon the honor of the victorious nations without adding the dramatic repudiation of this specific promise of an intelligent reduction of armaments.
As a nation, we were right in our criticism of the treaty, but we cannot maintain our honor as a nation by negative criticism alone. However inexpert he may have been as a negotiator, Woodrow Wilson, before the peace conference, expressed the real soul of America, and for one fleeting moment captured for the United States the moral leadership of world politics. We have lost it. Unless Mr. Harding recaptures it by a constructive policy that makes the United States the active sponsor of decent and humanized economic relations and the eager collaborator in a program for the limitation of armaments, his page in history will be a blank page.
The Treaty of Versailles should be
revised, Woodrow Wilson's fourteen points should be written into the organic law of the nations, and the world should set its feet on the road to disarmament. Crowning such a program should be a democratized democratized League of Nations of which the United States should be a member. This way only lies peace and the survival of civilized society.
As long as stupidity, sinister interests, blind traditionalism, and partizanship block such a program, we have no choice but to sharpen our sword. Will the American people submit to this really unnecessary alternative?
GILBERT K. CHESTERTON VISITS US
R. CHESTERTON'S visit to the United States has been a blessing to paragraphers and "colyumists." Himself a journalist, he is a man after the journalist's heart. His lectures are always good "copy." He is one of the few men who can discuss abstruse questions of theology and philosophy in head-lines and quotable phrases. His is the rare art of doing a serious job in an interesting way. There is nothing of the dull invariability of the average purposeful essayist about Mr. Chesterton. He touches the most involved problems with a laconic clearness. He is a specialist in epigrammatic terseness. He can boil a duodecimo volume of German philosophy into a barbed sentence.
Ordinarily pungent terseness is the enemy of fancy. Emerson, for example, wrote in epigrams. I remember hearing a distinguished critic say that one might put each sentence of certain Emerson essays on a separate slip of paper, shake the sentences well in a hat, put them together again at random, and produce an essay about as well coördinated as the original. Along with this epigrammatic style, Emerson had imagination, but it never bloomed into fancy. Chesterton, however, manages to get into his writings the apparently uncongenial elements of unusual terseness and grotesque fancy.
It cannot be said that his ideas are original. His originality lies in the brilliant drapery of his ideas; not in what he
says, but in the way he says it. Intellectually, he is a medievalist, which is, of course, nothing new under the sun. It is the same point of view that produces gild socialism and leads men like Dr. Walsh to write books on the thirteenth century as the greatest of all centuries. Chesterton usually leads his reader back to a very common idea, but it is a roseate road over which the return is made. His style stings the reader's brain to attention regardless of the subject.
His mind is the mind of a medievalist, his style is the style of an epigrammatist, and his mood is invariably the mood of the play-boy. The more serious his subject, the more playful his mood is likely to be. With many readers, Chesterton's playfulness has destroyed his authority; that is, with readers who think that serious matters demand solemn treatment. When this merryandrew tweaks the noses of the prophets and plays hide-and-seek with the gods, he does it with a clear conscience. Replying to a critic, Chesterton said, "A man must be very full of faith to jest with his divinity." He contends that the boisterously happy way of looking at things is a faculty of the mind that is just as sacred as the ponderously solemn. He says, "Merriment is one of the world's natural flowers and not one of its exotics."
In this matter Chesterton stands at the opposite pole from Carlyle. Carlyle approached a serious subject with solemn and awful gesture. Chesterton, dealing Chesterton, dealing with the same subject, would play tag with it. The result is that Carlyle sounds more profound than he is. Chesterton sounds less profound than he is. In Chesterton's biography of Dickens, he says:
Dickens had to be ridiculous in order to begin to be true. His characters that begin solemn end futile; his characters that begin frivolous end solemn in the best sense. His foolish figures are not only more entertaining than his serious figures, they are also much more serious.
a trick deliberately planned and consciously executed. His fondness for paradox is his trick of thought. He devises paradoxical statements as methodically as an architect draws a blueprint. As somebody put it:
Here is a good statement of Chesterton's method-the method of beginning frivolously and ending seriously. This is Chesterton's trick of statement. It is
He gravely argues No means Yes,
With a perfectly straight face Chesterton argues that simplicity is more intriguingly mysterious than complexity. He asserts as a self-evident truth that the basis of optimism is the doctrine of original sin. He declares that civilization is the defeat of man. His paradoxes are undoubtedly studied effects, and he has undoubtedly overworked the trick. Any aspect of a man's thought or style becomes a liability the moment he plays it to the point where it becomes prominent enough to distract attention from his ideas. It is difficult to escape the impression of artificiality in Chesterton's writings. We are likely to read his essays less to think with him than to watch his mind turn somersaults. Bernard Shaw indulges in paradox, but he has n't overworked the trick to the point where the trick is more prominent than the thought. The reader knows that Shaw is having fun with him, but he has been judicious enough to keep his trick of style in the asset rather than in the liability column.
But it is hardly fair, I think, to credit all of Chesterton's paradoxing to verbal trickery. His mind is undoubtedly constructed in a manner that enables him to see readily the obverse and forgotten side of a truth. And the fact is that the deepest truth can be stated only in paradox. Before Chesterton began juggling with ideas, we were reminded of the supreme paradox-that a man finds his life by losing it.
And, then, before taking Mr. Chesterton too severely to task for his overdoing of the paradox, it is well to remember that we, the reading public, are partners in his literary sin. Words do not produce the same effect upon our tense nervous systems that they once did.
To-day writers are obliged to galvanize the public mind and arrest attention. At least they think so. The Hearsts of newspaperdom use glaring head-lines because they have found that the modern mind is busy when it is n't distracted, and distracted when it is n't busy. The tricks of the sensational newspaper are not always expressions of the personal taste of the publisher. They represent a search for methods that will compel attention. This is the case, I think, with Chesterton. He thinks he has something to say, and he has chosen a style that attracts attention. Now, the man who beats a drum on a street corner or gesticulates wildly from a soap-box may be more than a sensationalist. He may have something to say something quite as valuable as the dignified utterance of a pompous editor or the rounded periods of a solemn clergyman. If so, the beating of the tom-tom is justified.
Chesterton represents the inarticulate longing of an age of doubt for the satisfactions of an age of faith. He is a frank defender of orthodoxy and conservatism. His point of view has not always been what it now is. When he was a youth of sixteen, if my information is correct, he revolted against the faith of his fathers and turned agnostic. He turned socialist and assumed a revolutionary attitude toward life. But he later experienced what the Methodists call "a change of heart." His writing of "The Defendant" marked his turning from radicalism to conservatism. Today, back from his youthful adventurings in the fields of religious doubt and social radicalism, he is ardently orthodox and belligerently conservative. Conservatives are sometimes not a little restless over the startling ways in which he pleads their cause, and radicals always watch with grave concern a critic who has been on their own ground.
Chesterton is in many ways as mystic as Maeterlinck. He is an intuitionalist. He judges truth by subjective standards. He is a propagandist for the instincts and an enemy of cold rationalism. He stands guard over man's feelings, and with a knightly flourish fights the pseudo-intellectual who offers to mankind the "half of a broken hope" for a pillow.
Chesterton is always the philosopher, whether he is writing a prophetic romance, like "The Napoleon of Notting Hill," a fantasy, like "The Man Who was Thursday," or his plainer prose essays like "Orthodoxy" or "Heretics" or "Tremendous Trifles" or "What 's Wrong with the World?” Even his artesian flow of newspaper articles are adventures in philosophy. But there is nothing of the cloister about him. He is a battle-mooded person, hitting at specific things he regards as evil.
He believes in God hilariously. He believes in God not because anybody has proved anything to him, but because he desires to believe in God. He has been rightly called a boisterous believer in an age of doubt.
Mr. Chesterton, your visit was delightfully diverting. Come again!
A SIMPLER DIAGNOSIS OF EUROPE'S ILLS
UR passion for panaceas frequently leads us to an oversimplification of issues. But to-day we need a simpler diagnosis of the ills of Europe and of the world. A thousand conflicting issues and a thousand contradictory passions have palsied statesmanship. Now we center attention on this issue and now on that. Today we are hopeful; to-morrow in despairing mood. And through it all we maintain a rather blind hope that a great leader will arise who will with his bare hands hammer ramshackle Europe into decent shape again. This hope for the "strong man" always comes when peoples "let down" morally and spiritually after the high tension of a great war. It indicates the failure alike of diagnosis and remedy. When nations fail in the scientific handling of a bad situation, they turn wistfully in search of miracle men.
No miracle man will arise in Europe or in the United States. The statesmen of Europe and the rest of the world must fight their way out of the present confusion and mutual cancelation of effort and, for the moment at least, make a simpler diagnosis and center upon fewer principles of reconstruction. The task of statesmanship just now is