Historical Reprints Philosophical HEALING OF NATIONS AND HIDDEN SOURCES OF THEIR STRIFE

HEALING OF NATIONS AND HIDDEN SOURCES OF THEIR STRIFE

HEALING OF NATIONS AND HIDDEN SOURCES OF THEIR STRIFE
Catalog # SKU1243
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Edward Carpenter
 
$14.95
Quantity

Description

THE
HEALING OF NATIONS
AND THE
HIDDEN SOURCES
OF THEIR STRIFE

by
Edward Carpenter



The truth is that affairs of this kind--like all the great issues of human life, Love, Politics, Religion, and so forth, do not, at their best, admit of final dispatch in definite views and phrases. They are too vast and complex for that. It is, indeed, quite probable that such things cannot be adequately represented or put before the human mind without logical inconsistencies and contradictions. But (perhaps for that very reason) they are the subjects of the most violent and dogmatic differences of opinion. Nothing people quarrel about more bitterly than Politics--unless it be Religion: both being subjects of which all that one can really say for certain is--that nobody understands them.

Excerpt

When, as in the present war, a dozen or more nations enter into conflict and hurl at each other accusations of the angriest sort (often quite genuinely made and yet absolutely irreconcilable one with another), and when on the top of that scores and hundreds of writers profess to explain the resulting situation in a few brief phrases (but unfortunately their explanations are all different), and calmly affix the blame on "Russia" or "Germany" or "France" or "England"--just as if these names represented certain responsible individuals, supposed for the purposes of the argument to be of very wily and far-scheming disposition--whereas it is perfectly well known that they really represent most complex whirlpools of political forces, in which the merest accidents (as whether two members of a Cabinet have quarrelled, or an Ambassador's dinner has disagreed with him) may result in a long and fatal train of consequences--it becomes obvious that all so-called "explanations" (though it may be right that they should be attempted) fall infinitely short, of the reality.

Feeling thus the impossibility of dealing at all adequately with the present situation, I have preferred to take here and there just an aspect of it for consideration, with a view especially to the differences between Germany and England. I have thought that instead of spending time over recriminations one might be on safer ground by trying to get at the root-causes of this war (and other wars), thus making one's conclusions to some degree independent of a multitude of details and accidents, most of which must for ever remain unknown to us.

There are in general four rather well-marked species of wars--Religious wars, Race wars, wars of Ambition and Conquest, and wars of Acquisition and Profit--though in any particular case the four species may be more or less mingled. The religious and the race motives often go together; but in modern times on the whole (and happily) the religious motive is not so very dominant. Wars of race, of ambition, and of acquisition are, however, still common enough. Yet it is noticeable, as I frequently have occasion to remark in the following papers, that it only very rarely happens that any of these wars are started or set in motion by the mass-peoples themselves. The mass-peoples, at any rate of the more modern nations, are quiescent, peaceable, and disinclined for strife.

Why, then, do wars occur? It is because the urge to war comes, not from the masses of a nation but from certain classes within it. In every nation, since the dawn of history, there have been found, beside the toiling masses, three great main cliques or classes, the Religious, the Military, and the Commercial. It was so in far-back ancient India; it is so now. Each of these classes endeavours in its turn--as one might expect--to become the ruling class and to run the government of the nation. The governments of the nations thus become class-governments.

And it is one or another of these classes that for reasons of its own, alone or in combination with another class, foments war and sets it going.

In saying this I do not by any means wish to say anything against the mere existence of Class, in itself. In a sense that is a perfectly natural thing. There are different divisions of human activity, and it is quite natural that those individuals whose temperament calls them to a certain activity--literary or religious or mercantile or military or what not--should range themselves together in a caste or class; just as the different functions of the human body range themselves in definite organs. And such grouping in classes may be perfectly healthy provided the class so created subordinates itself to the welfare of the Nation.

But if the class does not subordinate itself to the general welfare, if it pursues its own ends, usurps governmental power, and dominates the nation for its own uses--if it becomes parasitical, in fact--then it and the nation inevitably become diseased; as inevitably as the human body becomes diseased when its organs, instead of supplying the body's needs, become the tyrants and parasites of the whole system.


185+pages - 8 x 5 inches SoftCover

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