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had been cut off from the rest of them, as they were by the good sense and
foresight of Timour the Tartar; if they had no hearts or bellies to be
moved; no hand that flies up to ward off a weapon, no foot that can feel a
familiar soil--if things were so the Marxian calculation would be not only
complete but correct.  As we know to-day, the Marxian calculation is
complete, but it is not correct.

Now, this is the answer to the questions of some kind critics, whose
actual words I have not within reach at the moment, about whether my
democracy meant the rule of the majority over the minority.  It means the
rule of the rule--the rule of the rule over the exception.  When a nation
finds a soul it clothes it with a body, and does verily act like one
living thing.  There is nothing to be said about those who are out of it,
except that they are out of it.  After talking about it in the abstract
for decades, this is Democracy, and it is marvellous in our eyes.  It is
not the difference between ninetynine persons and a hundred persons; it is
one person--the people.  I do not know or care how many or how few of the
Belgians like or dislike the pictures of Wiertz.  They could not be either
justified or condemned by a mere majority of Belgians.  But I am very
certain that the defiance to Prussia did not come from a majority of
Belgians.  It came from Belgium one and indivisible--atheists, priests,
princes of the blood, Frenchified shopkeepers, Flemish boors, men, women,
and children, and the sooner we understand that this sort of thing can
happen the better for us.  For it is this spontaneous spiritual fellowship
of communities under certain conditions to which the four or five most
independent minds of Europe willingly bear witness to-day.

But is there no exception: is there no one faithful among the unfaithful
found?  Is no great Socialist politician still untouched by the patriotism
of the vulgar?  Why, yes; the rugged Ramsay MacDonald, scarred with a
hundred savage fights against the capitalist parties, still lifts up his
horny hand for peace.  What further need have we of witnesses?  I, for my
part, am quite satisfied, and do not doubt that Mr. MacDonald will be as
industrious in damping down democracy in this form as in every other.


Heaven forbid that I should once more wade in those swamps of logomachy
and tautology in which the old guard of the Determinists still seem to be
floundering.  The question of Fate and Free Will can never attain to a
conclusion, though it may attain to a conviction.  The shortest
philosophic summary is that both cause and choice are ultimate ideas
within us, and that if one man denies choice because it seems contrary to
cause, the other man has quite as much right to deny cause because it
seems contrary to choice.  The shortest ethical summary is that
Determinism either affects conduct or it does not.  If it does not, it is
morally not worth preaching; if it does, it must affect conduct in the
direction of impotence and submission.  A writer in the "Clarion" says
that the reformer cannot help trying to reform, nor the Conservative help
his Conservatism.  But suppose the reformer tries to reform the
Conservative and turn him into another reformer?  Either he can, in which
case Determinism has made no difference at all, or he can't, in which case
it can only have made reformers more hopeless and Conservatives more
obstinate.  And the shortest practical and political summary is that
working men, most probably, will soon be much too busy using their Free
Will to stop to prove that they have got it.  Nevertheless, I like to
watch the Determinist in the "Clarion" Cockpit every week, as busy as a
squirrel--in a cage.  But being myself a squirrel (leaping lightly from
bough to bough) and preferring the form of activity which occasionally
ends in nuts, I should not intervene in the matter even indirectly, except
upon a practical point.  And the point I have in mind is practical to the
extent of deadly peril.  It is another of the numerous new ways in which
the restless rich, now walking the world with an awful insomnia, may
manage to catch us napping.

Must Be a Mystery

There are two letters in the "Clarion" this week which in various ways
interest me very much.  One is concerned to defend Darwin against the
scientific revolt against him that was led by Samuel Butler, and among
other things it calls Bernard Shaw a back number.  Well, most certainly
"The Origin of Species" is a back number, in so far as any honest and
interesting book ever can be; but in pure philosophy nothing can be out of
date, since the universe must be a mystery even to the believer.  There is,
however, one condition of things in which I do call it relevant to
describe somebody as behind the times.  That is when the man in question,
thinking of some state of affairs that has passed away, is really helping
the very things he would like to hinder.  The principles cannot alter, but
the problems can.  Thus, I should call a man behind the times who, in the
year 1872, pleaded for the peaceful German peasants against the triumphant
militarism of Napoleon.  Or I should call a man out of date who, in the
year 1892, wished for a stronger Navy to compete with the Navy of Holland,
because it had once swept the sea and sailed up the Thames.  And I
certainly call a man or a movement out of date that, in the year 1914,
when we few are fighting a giant machine, strengthened with all material
wealth and worked with all the material sciences, thinks that our chief
danger is from an excess of moral and religious responsibility.  He
reminds me of Mr. Snodgrass, who had the presence of mind to call out
"Fire!"  when Mr.  Pickwick fell through the ice.

The other letter consists of the usual wiredrawn argument for fatalism.
Man cannot imagine the universe being created, and therefore is "compelled
by his reason" to think the universe without beginning or end, which (I
may remark) he cannot imagine either.  But the letter ends with something
much more ominous than bad metaphysics.  Here, in the middle of the
"Clarion," in the centre of a clean and combative democratic sheet, I meet
again my deplorable old acquaintance, the scientific criminologist.  "The
so-called evil-doer should not be punished for his acts, but restrained."
In forty-eight hours I could probably get a petition to that effect signed
by millionaires.  A short time ago a Bill was introduced to hold
irresponsible and "restrain" a whole new class of people, who were
"incapable of managing their affairs with prudence."  Read the supporters'
names on the back of that Bill, and see what sort of democrats they were.

Now, clearing our heads of what is called popular science (which means
going to sleep to a lullaby of long words), let us use our own brains a
little, and ask ourselves what is the real difference between punishing a
man and restraining him.  The material difference may be any or none; for
punishment may be very mild, and restraint may be very ruthless.  The man,
of course, must dislike one as much as the other, or it would not be
necessary to restrain him at all.  And I assure you he will get no great
glow of comfort out of your calling him irresponsible after you have made
him impotent.  A man does not necessarily feel more free and easy in a
straight waistcoat than in a stone cell.  The moral difference is that a
man can be punished for a crime because he is born a citizen; while he can
be constrained because he is born a slave.  But one arresting and
tremendous difference towers over all these doubtful or arguable
differences.  There is one respect, vital to all our liberties and all our
lives, in which the new restraint would be different from the old
punishment.  It is of this that the plutocrats will take advantage.

The Plain Difference

The perfectly plain difference is this.  All punishment, even the most
horrible, proceeds upon the assumption that the extent of the.  evil is
known, and that a certain amount of expiation goes with it.  Even if you
hang the man, you cannot hang him twice.  Even if you burn him, you cannot
burn him for a month.  And in the case of all ordinary imprisonments, the
whole aim of free institutions from the beginning of the world has been to
insist that a man shall be convicted of a definite crime and confined for
a definite period.  But the moment you admit this notion of medical
restraint, you must in fairness admit that it may go on as long as the
authorities choose to think (or say) that it ought to go on.  The man's
punishment refers to the past, which is supposed to have been investigated,
and which, in some degree at least, has been investigated.  But his
restraint refers to the future, which his doctors, keepers, and wardens
have yet to investigate.  The simple result will be that, in the
scientific Utopia of the "Clarion," men like Mann or Syme or Larkin will
not be put in prison because of what they have done.  They will be kept in
prison because of what they might do.  Indeed, the builders of the new
tyranny have already come very near to avowing this scientific and
futurist method.  When the lawyers tried to stop the "Suffragette" from
appearing at all, they practically said: "We do not know your next week's
crime, because it isn't committed yet; but we are scientifically certain
you have the criminal type.  And by the sublime and unalterable laws of
heredity, all your poor little papers will inherit it."

This is a purely practical question; and that is why I insist on it, even
in such strenuous times.  The writers on the "Clarion" have a perfect
right to think Christianity is the foe of freedom, or even that the
stupidity and tyranny of the present Government is due to the monkish
mysticism of Lord Morley and Mr. John M. Robertson.  They have a right to
think the theory of Determinism as true as Calvin thought it.  But I do
not like seeing them walk straight into the enormous iron trap set open by
the Capitalists, who find it convenient to make our law even more lawless
than it is.  The rich men want a scientist to write them a _lettre de
cachet_ as a doctor writes a prescription.  And so they wish to seal up in
a public gaol the scandals of a private asylum.  Yes; the writers on the
"Clarion" are indeed claiming irresponsibility for human beings.  But it
is the governments that will be irresponsible, not the governed.

But I will tell them one small secret in conclusion.  There is nothing
whatever wrong in the ancient and universal idea of Punishment--except
that we are not punishing the right people.


One peculiarity of the genuine kind of enemy of the people is that his
slightest phrase is clamorous with all his sins.  Pride, vain-glory, and
hypocrisy seem present in his very grammar; in his very verbs or adverbs
or prepositions, as well as in what he says, which is generally bad enough.
Thus I see that a Nonconformist pastor in Bromley has been talking about
the pathetic little presents of tobacco sent to the common soldiers.  This
is how he talks about it.  He is reported as having said, "By the help of
God, they wanted this cigarette business stopped."  How one could write a
volume on that sentence, a great thick volume called "The Decline of the
English Middle Class."  In taste, in style, in philosophy, in feeling, in
political project, the horrors of it are as unfathomable as hell.

First, to begin with the trifle, note something slipshod and vague in the
mere verbiage, typical of those who prefer a catchword to a creed.  "This
cigarette business" might mean anything.  It might mean Messrs.  Salmon
and Gluckstein's business.  But the pastor at Bromley will not interfere
with that, for the indignation of his school of thought, even when it is
sincere, always instinctively and unconsciously swerves aside from
anything that is rich and powerful like the partners in a big business,
and strikes instead something that is poor and nameless like the soldiers
in a trench.  Nor does the expression make clear who "they" are--whether
the inhabitants of Britain or the inhabitants of Bromley, or the
inhabitants of this one crazy tabernacle in Bromley; nor is it evident how
it is going to be stopped or who is being asked to stop it.  All these
things are trifles compared to the more terrible offences of the phrase;
but they are not without their social and historical interest.  About the
beginning of the nineteenth century the wealthy Puritan class, generally
the class of the employers of labour, took a line of argument which was
narrow, but not nonsensical.  They saw the relation of rich and poor quite
coldly as a contract, but they saw that a contract holds both ways.  The
Puritans of the middle class, in short, did in some sense start talking
and thinking for themselves.  They are still talking.  They have long ago
left off thinking.  They talk about the loyalty of workmen to their
employers, and God knows what rubbish; and the first small certainty about
the reverend gentleman whose sentence I have quoted is that his brain
stopped working as a clock stops, years and years ago.

Second, consider the quality of the religious literature!  These people
are always telling us that the English translated Bible is sufficient
training for anyone in noble and appropriate diction; and so it is.  Why,
then, are they not trained?  They are always telling us that Bunyan, the
rude Midland tinker, is as much worth reading as Chaucer or Spenser; and
so he is.  Why, then, have they not read him?  I cannot believe that
anyone who had seen, even in a nightmare of the nursery, Apollyon
straddling over the whole breadth of the way could really write like that
about a cigarette.  By the help of God, they wanted this cigarette
business stopped.  Therefore, with angels and archangels and the whole
company of Heaven, with St. Michael, smiter of Satan and Captain of the
Chivalry of God, with all the ardour of the seraphs and the flaming
patience of the saints, we will have this cigarette business stopped.
Where has all the tradition of the great religious literatures gone to
that a man should come on such a bathos with such a bump?

Thirdly, of course, there is the lack of imaginative proportion, which
rises into a sort of towering blasphemy.  An enormous number of live young
men are being hurt by shells, hurt by bullets, hurt by fever and hunger
and horror of hope deferred; hurt by lance blades and sword blades and
bayonet blades breaking into the bloody house of life.  But Mr. Price (I
think that's his name) is still anxious that they should not be hurt by
cigarettes.  That is the sort of maniacal isolation that can be found in
the deserts of Bromley.  That cigarettes are bad for the health is a very
tenable opinion to which the minister is quite entitled.  If he happens to
think that the youth of Bromley smoke too many cigarettes, and that he has
any influence in urging on them the unhealthiness of the habit, I should
not blame him if he gave sermons or lectures about it (with magic-lantern
slides), so long as it was in Bromley and about Bromley.  Cigarettes may

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