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WIDOW FEAR I In real life Widow Fear, as often as not, goes by the name of Dowager Lady Prudence, or, as moderns pronounce it, Preparedness; and, so far from keeping a rag-and-bottle shop, she is to be found in the company of grave and reverend seniors, or persons expected to be such. Like so much dealt with, or evaded, by the Moralist, her case is one like that of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In a pamphlet, which will, I hope, be reprinted among his philosophical obiter dicta, Mr. Bertrand Russell has shown that modern war, especially this particular war, is the Offspring of Fear. Si vis pacem, para helium has, nine times out of ten, the meaning of make war to stave off war; or at all events make arrangements for staving off war, competitive armaments and alliances which war inevitably results from. Statesmen prudently insisting on Preparedness, imprudently overlook that it calls forth Preparedness on the other side; and that the two Preparednesses collide, till both parties find themselves at war; and, in immeasurable, honest (or well-feigned) surprise, accuse the other party of breaking the peace, thus elaborately and expensively safeguarded. If we could set Clio (who stands godmother to so many of Widow Fear's children) to useful work with any likelihood of getting her to do it, I should propose a historical study of reciprocal preparedness and its effects, let us say, since Louis XIV. II Widow Fear, when ostensibly sober after one of her bad bouts of delirium tremens, is much addicted to retrospective prophecy. I mean to pretending that what has happened as a result of war, is that war's justification. I see that Vorwaerts is at this moment saying that the treatment of Germany since the Armistice shows how right the German Majority Socialists were in voting the war credits; they knew what to expect in case of defeat, and therefore joined with their hated Imperialist rulers in strengthening the defensive. To this the Allied Socialists might, and doubtless do, retort, that if their German comrades had not voted the credits, there would have been no war, in which the Germans roused the vindictiveness of their adversaries. Each party holds that what it did, does, or (as is at present the case with the French) proposes to do, is justified by what the other party has or would have done; each overlooking that if the other had not been given an opportunity by the war itself, none of the things could or would have happened at all. The German abominations in France and Belgium are used to show how right the Entente was to cnibade against a people capable thereof; the present starving and ruining and (behaving as if her surrender had not been conditional) tricking of Germany by the Entente is used to show how wise Germany was in trying to break the iron circle of foes bent on her destruction. Thus what has happened in consequence of being at war is used to justify the war itself. In one sense, it has been not the justification, but an efficient cause of the War. For—and here we are back at Widow Fear —a chief cause of the War was the belief by either side that the other would act as it has done, or attempted to do; a belief perhaps not uninfluenced by a vague previous realization of what, if we were not (each set of us) such pacific and humanitarian angels, we should have liked to do, had the right, one may add, remembering the French minister's naif "has the victor no right over the vanquished?" to do; even if we magnanimously refrain from using that right. Psychology allows one to guess that there is indeed, in some of Widow Fear's doings when she is Lady Prudence, something more even than the expectancy of how the adversary's blow would feel: there is, no doubt, a kind of muscular prescience (preparedness in the psychological sense !) of the blow one would give that adversary, could give him if, as people say, provoked. Such is the obscure underlying state of men's nerves; it throws up into the lucid consciousness, not indeed a faithful mirroring of these incipient movements, but a logical, a verbal argument, which takes for its gratuitous starting-point one of the incidents of the circle of action and reaction constituting the quarrel. War logic argues in such a circle, each party moving backwards or forwards from a point it selects, e.g., the adversary's potential, or only subsequently actual, misdeeds. I do not doubt that behind the familiar stunts "there are worse things than war," "there are things to ward off which war is a measure of prudence," or "war is better than slavery," there is a massive emotional anticipation, call it by its real name, a panic-fear of the very things: invasion, defeat, crushing, devastation, starving, dismembering, humbling, which one nation can and occasionally does inflict on its adversary; which every nation attempts, with various shades of cynicism and sanctimoniousness, to do as its part of the war; but to none of which it would be exposed unless it went into the war. It is upon this emotional rehearsing of the dangers and horrors of war that we found the arguments justifying our participation: in our feelings the dangers and horrors have already taken place; and we take part in the war forgetting that in modern times, where whole nations pay in life and money, it is only by thus taking part that we expose ourselves to invasion and its evils. Small buffer-states like Belgium can indeed, alas, be subjected to the worst of war's horrors without any such choice. But on the other hand, it never is a small buffer-state who chooses to participate in war, or requires to justify its participation. The only states who have cause to be afraid of war are those requiring none of the arguments and cart-before-the-horse hallucinations of Widow Fear. And as a matter of fact it is not such small states as Belgium, or it might have been Switzerland or Holland, who say that "there are worse things than war," and that "war is a measure of prudence." They keep out of war until war comes in to them. It is the large countries who say they could not have kept out, and say it because they could have kept out but chose to come in. So that the case of Belgium by no means invalidates Mr. Russell's dictum that "war is the offspring of fear": only for poor Belgium, it was other countries' fear: Germany's fear of strangle-hold "encirclement," France's fear of invasion, Britain's fear of " being left without a single friend" (in other words "the Channel ports in other than allied hands "); it was the fear of all these great countries which resulted in poor little Belgium actually suffering in its person worse things than they had feared for themselves, and tried to ward off by " coming in."


And before leaving Widow Fear, or her reputable Dr. Jekyll, the Dowager Preparedness, I should like to add, that just as economists have shown that insurance against risks swells the price of commodities to those who buy them; so it might be well if moralists and politicians pointed out how much time, labour and material and life, all so much needed in other places, are spent, shall we say? in locks and locking up, often of

{)ossessions which, like Epictetus' iron lamp, might almost be left for the house breaker, and profitably replaced by one of earthenware, whereof Christ's words come true—that rust does not get at it. It is a curious paradox, at the present moment exemplified by France's obstinacy against a League of Disarmament and in favour of territorial guarantees, that courage of the warlike kind, by no means helps to expel Fear; but on the contrary, allows the most wasteful and perilous of human passions to keep up her double existence in Council Chambers of great nations and in the rag-and-bottle shops of journalism. At this moment Europe is called upon to take the risk of disarming. Will it have the courage to take it? After all, it must have needed some courage to exchange the first commodities, the first amber against the first bronze, instead of clubbing one's potential customers. It must have needed some courage to leave off blunderbusses and a rout of armed lackeys when going to the play and trust one's life to a few policemen and a street lamp. And it is the practical mischief of Widow Fear that . . . Well! not merely that she deprives you of the courage needed to run certain profitable risks, but actually uses up the abundant latent courage of mankind in making men perpetually frightened of one another. So out with the sluttish hag! and si vis pacem, pacem para. March, 1919. THE SILVER TRUMPET OF IDEALISM I There are cynics who aver (and present events will not diminish this cynicism) that the Silver Trumpet of Idealism is not really of silver at all, but only of papier-mache; indeed that in our highly educated age it is a by-product of the printing and publishing trade. But I am speaking of the genuine instrument of noble metal, even if somewhat hardened with alloys.


"Ideals," writes a man in the Nation, "do not justify the abattoir of Europe; an Ideal would scorn existence on such terms." Yet in the self-same number another man writes that much as he abhors war (for we all abhor war !) a seven years war would not be too high a price for the realization of Mazzini's Delenda est Austria. . . . Some of my pacifist friends would answer, judicious and unperturbed, that this, and everything conducive to the prolongation of such an abattoir, is a false Ideal; or else an Ideal falsely, mistakenly applied. . . . The same is, or was, said of the horrors of religious wars and persecution: Torquemada, Bloody Mary, etc. All that was false religion; or religion falsely interpreted. The contention being that a religion, and nowadays an ideal (which is its secularized version) can do no wrong; whence, if wrong is done, or what you and I happen to consider wrong, why what has done it can't be real religion; it must be a sham Ideal. We require to go deeper than such a convenient self-justificatory twaddle. A religion is a religion, an Ideal is an Ideal, not in virtue of its good results, but in virtue of its constituting a particular assemblage of qualities, to which we give that name; just as a man is a man, or a horse a horse, not because we approve of his conduct or its paces, but because man and horse are names referring to a group of peculiarities which do not necessarily include what you and I call good; so that if you want to assert or deny the desirability of either you must say a


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