G. Stanley (Granville Stanley) Hall.

Morale, the supreme standard of life and conduct online

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allies in the most critical hour.

In fact neither the power nor the spirit of the
enemy is broken. He is certain to reorganize east-
ward and make common cause with Slavic Russia,
and the real menace to the world's future, although



we cannot date it, is most ominous. The Central, and
we know not what Eastern and Southern powers will
some time be launched on a campaign of revenge and
recompense for the hard conditions of the present
peace, and if Western Europe falls, this country will
soon follow. Henceforth, thus, our fate is indisso-
lubJy bound up with that of at least our two chief
allies wherever the other nations that took part in
the great war shall be found in the future alignment.
Whether we wish it or not, we are henceforth in a
very real sense a part of Europe ("New Europe").
Never have we had so many interests there, and all of
them are bound to grow; for this country is to be a
great factor, as it never began to be before, in every
item of European diplomacy and trade. Why, then,
should we not face the realities of the situation in-
stead of attempting to evade or retreat from them?
We can no more help integration with western Europe
than ou-r original colonies could escape federation.
Here, again, it is "liberty and union now and
forever one and inseparable" or, expressed in
more fundamental biological terms, synthesis must
go hand in hand with differentiation or there is re-
trogression toward the protozoan or unicellular stage
of life.

Besides the fugue type of reaction to the Treaty and
its issues is the regression-to-infancy type. When we
were but a row of colonies along the Atlantic, it was
our obvious policy to utilize our isolation. We had
just broken away from Europe, and it was manifestly



wise to let her alone and be let alone by her; and
under this quasi hermit policy we grew and pros-
pered. Just as adults often hark back to the allure-
ments of their childhood and home, and long for its
happy carelessness and protection ; and as in an over-
civilized age and land jaded souls like Rousseau
would retreat to a state of nature and revel in dreams
of primitive Arcadian simplicity when the world wag
young ; so souls world-wearied with an age of strenu-
osity and efficiency long for the paradisaic state of
callow infancy, ignoring the fact that the very trend
that made Washington and his associates federalists
would make them league-advocates to-day. In fact,
the new era which the close of the war ushers in has
made all precedents, traditions, and previous history
seem a little stale and pedantic. The past has its
lessons, but in a new age too much reliance upon
them may prove a greater hindrance than help.

When we consider parties, of which De Tocqueville
well said every state needs at least two the one con-
servative, mindful that no good thing of the past be
lost, and the other progressive, that seeks chiefly the
new duties that new occasions always demand we
see how far we have drifted from this ideal. By the
war the power and patronage of the government has
grown enormously. Not only has taxation and our
total annual income and expenditure increasied by
leaps and bounds, but the government seems more or
less likely to control at least some of the great public
service institutions hitherto private corporations. The



possession and operation of these vast interests and
the "spoils of office," likely in the future to be far
greater than in the past, these are now the goal of
each party, and thus the prizes to the winner are
vaster than have ever been dreamed of by politicians
before. This is why the non-partisanship of the war
has been sjo prematurely abandoned and we find our
rival parties struggling with each other for the con-
trol of this vast patronage. In Washington we have
the spectacle of nearly all the great questions of re-
construction debated and settled nearly along par-
tisan lines, with only a narrow margin of individual
conviction. Each party is, for the most part, intent
upon making political capital at the expense of the
other, for the struggle now is for the control of the
vast business of the nation for the next presidential
quadrennium. This lapse from statesmanship is
nothing less than profiteering in politics and indicates
the collapse of political morale just when it should be
at its very highest and best. The strongest argument
against public ownership is that along with the in-
crease of material interests at stake, there will be a
corresponding increase in the bitterness of the con-
flict between the "ins" and "outs," and that in these
struggles the very traditions of lofty, -disinterested
statesmanship that is intent solely on the good of the
people as a whole, will be lost beyond recall. Thus it
is hard to see how a great nation can survive if every-
one who controls any of it is "on the make" for him-
self, for his business, or for the interests that elect



and perhaps retain him and his party in power.

The doctrinaire is no less psychotic and ill-adapted
to meet great new issues. He is an absolutist and
perhaps an ideologue. He luxuriates in his own con-
victions, and is so hyperindividualized and cocksure
he is right that it is very hard for him to do team-
work and to make the compromises and concessions
always essential for joint action. For those who op-
pose him there isi no excuse or explanation except the
worst. To adopt the lesser evil in order to attain the
greater good seems to him as impossible as "going to
Canossa" did to Bismarck, or as seeing any good in
Rome did to the Puritan Protestant. His entire pro-
fessional experience has been that of an advocate and
not that of a judge, and real arbitration is often al-
most impossible for him. He has too much will for
his intellect. His temperamental recalcitrancy may
make him irreconcilable even to his party and his
constituents, 'and perhaps his own interests. While
others hesitate or change as they grow wiser, his cer-
tainty is absolute. With him inconsistency is almost
a phobia,

Here, again, we have an illustration of the great
law that even those able and sane enough in the ordi-
nary emergencies of their lives develop every symp-
tom of neurasthenia when confronted by exigencies
too great for their mental or moral powers. The
weakling breaks down because he cannot solve the
ordinary problems of his livelihood, family, and social
relations. So, too, the strongest become weaklings


when called upon to face problems of world dimen-
sion. It is all a question of the proportion between
tasks and ability. It has long been recognized by the
few wise men of the world that the institutions of
civilization, the industries, the management of state,
the corpus of knowledge and science, discoveries and
inventions, etc., were becoming too big and compli-
cated to be adequately managed by men of the caliber
that our institutions now produce. It is ever harder
to find able leaders and guides. Thus mediocrity and
incompetency cause vast wastage of human energy
and material resources. 1 Faced, thus, by the colossal
task of reconstructing the world, before which not
only we but the most sagacious and experienced
experts of Europe, who are closer to their prob-
lems than we, can act only more or less tentatively
and provisionally, what is our cue out of the labyrinth
of all these perplexities and difficulties?

To this there is one answer and but one recourse,
and that it is the deathless glory of this country to
have suggested and to have done much to make
operative. It is to make an appeal to the deepest,
simplest, and clearest of all the instincts in the hu-
man soul, the instinct of justice. Every human being
has within him the sense of fair play and of a square
deal. Somehow and somewhere and at some time

1 See The Cult of Incompetence by E. Faguet (1911) ; Le Problems
de la Competence dans la Democratic by Joseph Barthelemy (Paris,
1918) ; Originality by T. S. Knowlson (1918) ; Professionalism and
Originality, by F. H. Hay ward (London, 1917) ; also Ralph Adams
Cram's two small volumes. The Nemesis of Mediocrity, 52, 1917, and
The Sins of the Fathers, 114, 1919.


the world feels that the virtuous must be happy and
the wicked suffer. Pleasure and merit on the one
hand, iniquity and pain on the other, belong together
or this world is a moral chaos and there is no po-
larity of right and wrong. Job did not yield to his
counsellors because he had an invincible sense that
this must be so. It was because these two did not
always seem to go together that all future states
of rewards and punishments were evolved, for if jus-
tice were meted out here, heavens and hells would
be less needed. All penal cults and all social ap-
proval and censure, all drama and romance, are based
on and illustrate the law that both the evil and the
good get their deserts. No artist would dare repre-
sent it otherwise, for to do so would be pessimism.

All the people of the earth must be assured life,
liberty, and security in the pursuit of happiness un-
der law, and this must take precedence over all ma-
terial, national, diplomatic, dynastic, or other in-
terests. This our democracy has in some sense and
to some degree striven to and now has actually
sought to teach, although it must be admitted with
only partial but yet with an inspiring degree of suc-
cess at Versailles. It was a sublime and world-chal-
lenging attitude that we were able to take in re-
nouncing indemnities and all advantages that we
might have claimed for our work in turning the tide
of war, and insisting only by way of compensation
for what we had done upon simple justice for all peo-
ple and such safeguards against future aggression as



could be provided. Paramount to all other questions
and as a condition precedent to everything in the way
of settlement, we insisted on the simple moral law of

In some senses our President was a prophet coming
from the wilderness in the crisis to proclaim the
primal principles of right and wrong as common sense
and common law conceived them. To do the right
thing in all the ways specified in the fourteen points
was all he counseled. Thus our president was a new
"Daniel come to judgment" for his message expressed
the highest morale of this country and also of the
whole conference. While the delegates of other peo-
ples were strenuous in insisting upon their own ad-
vantages, he alone set the right in the highest place.

He is a pedagogue and lectures Congress much in
the de haut en las spirit he would use to his Princeton
seniors, and he has all the pedagogue's resentment at
correction, criticism, opposition, or even searching in-
terrogation. He can work well only with hisi subor-
dinates, not with his peers. He has made errors ga-
lore, as subsequent events have shown, but who could
be infallible in the many momentous decisions that
the war has forced him to make. He is efficient in
attack and sometimes seems to have a genius for ex-
citing needless animosities. Compromise and con-
cession come especially hard for one of Ms diathesis.
But, on the other hand, his great achievement of
appealing to the conscience of the world and insist-
ing that the plain principles of ethics should prevail



between nations as between individuals in a com-
munity, has assured him forever a very high place in
the history of this country and the w r orld; and what-
ever the fate of the League of Nations, and whatever
he does or fails to do in the future, this will remain
one of the greatest achievements of our age.

To be quitters now would not only be to betray our
soldiers living and dead, make their work abortive,
and leave this war as unfinished as our Civil War
w r ould have been without the Emancipation Procla-
mation, but it would also be betraying our Allies,
especially France. Within the League we can do
much for the smaller nationalities and eventually
even for China, while outside it we can do little.
Within it we are relatively safe from all future wars ;
without it we must at once set to work organizing a
powerful army and navy and be prepared for eventu-
alities, with our front line along the east of France
abandoned for one on our own coast-line. To with-
draw now would be suicidal for all our economic in-
terests abroad and w r ould tend to limit our enter-
prise to the narrower horizon of the home market
clubs. The advantages and opportunities opened by
the League are far too vast to be calculated at pres-
ent, and business needs only to wake up to the new
world opening before it ere it is too late; when it
does, the narrowness and perversity of those who
would scuttle the League or use it as a football of
party politics will be realized. Free and normal eco-
nomic life is now the surest guarantee of peace, while



restraints and. handicaps of industry and trade are
now and henceforth, chief among all the causae belli.
One more neurotic trend is now in evidence here.
When confronted by a grave and complex situation,
the psychopathic constitution tends to focus on one
or more of its items and to magnify them beyond all
bounds, ignoring others and losing all sense of per-
spective and proportion. The larger view of the
whole is lost in particular and special aspects of it,
and the patient cannot see the forest but only indi-
vidual trees. In this process of overdetermination
the general emotional excitement is transferred and
concentrated upon a single point, and this is made
either an erotic, phobic, or perhaps an anger fetish.
Other no less important points remain bewusstseins"
unfahig, i. e., the field of consciousness is too narrow
for them to get into it at all or to attain the promi-
nence they deserve in it. So, in the discussion of
this momentous treaty of twenty-six articles, nearly
all the time and attention has been focussed upon a
very few of them, the importance of which has been
disproportionately overestimated, while other articles
of even greater moment for the world as a whole al-
most escaped attention. A sense of the treaty as a
whole remains almost entirely undeveloped save by a
scant half dozen men in this country, and these all
outside of Congress. Can we get out of the League,
and with little difficulty and promptly if we ever
want to; can we, with our noli me tangere tenden-
cies and with almost a phobia of interference in our



own affairs from without, not have a little stronger
phraseology on the Monroe Doctrine, using this op-
portunity to exact something like recognition of it
from our Allies ; will Japan, a country where the old
Bushido spirit makes honor and fidelity to pledges a
religion and which has a more flawless diplomatic
record than any great country in Europe, be relied
upon to keep the letter and spirit of its pledge of re-
storing Shantung and name a date; shall we scrap
the whole treaty because of the injustice of one item
of it, or because in questions that require absolute
unanimity we have but one instead of six votes
these are questions important, of course, but of really;
narrow import as compared with the many others
which the treaty involves and of which we have heard
almost nothing. Thus our baffled and distraught
wiseacres, -trying to cope with problems too many
and great for them, have taken refuge in and fetish-
ized into factitious importance items like the above,
which have been surcharged with all the emotion
transferred to them from the field of party rivalry,
personal antagonism, and especially from the deep
and more unconscious sense of their own insufliciency.
Such are the motives some of them adduce for insist-
ing upon not merely recommendations and reserva-
tions but amendments, a course which would involve
not only all the hardships and disadvantages of delay
but is liable in the end to involve a relapse to our old
policy of isolation.

The critics of the League, too, have thus far not



only shown themselves destructive and not construc-
tive but have shown a singular incapacity to grasp
the chief constructive features of it. We have heard
little of the rehabilitation of Poland and the other
nation-states that have been restored or created out-
right; of the great transformations in the Balkans;
and of the new epoch for Turkey and Constantinople,
for so many centuries the heart of European intrigue
and in some sense a key not only to the Near but to
the Far East; of the unprecedented new opportuni-
ties which, the treaty will open for trade ; of the re-
moval of the handicap of autocracy which has
brought a new sense of not only relief but of exhila-
ration to the world, which has caught from us "the
spirit of '76 ;" of the dismemberment of the artificial
and cruel Hapsburg domain. Still less have we been
warmed by the spirit of moral uplift that comes from
the new possibility of realizing at last the age-long
dream of a federation of the world and the democra-
tization of all its members. Nor have we tried to
realize what the internationalization of labor, now
made practical, involves. The official watchmen we
have placed in our outlook towers have given us little
help in realizing what the most sagacious and learned
of all students of ancient Greece called the four great
culture powers, not only of the classic but of the mod-
ern world : its ethos or moral sense ; its logos or rea-
son and science so far as man has reached conclusions
about the cosmos and the place he holds in it, which
all adopt ; nomos or the formulated laws and rules of



all collective life and society; and the mythos or all
tlie culture power inherent in idealizations, tradi-
tions, hopes and all the loftier products of the imagi-

The final verdict on the Treaty-League is what
these supreme judges will say when we hear from
them. To get into rapport with these larger aspects
of the question we need generalizations that are
really such. We need also sentiments at their best
and distinct from a sentimentality that appeals only
to the superficies of the mind, a poetry that is inspired
by the loftiest of humanistic ideals, an eloquence that
makes a higher appeal than to mob and party pas-
sions in a word we need the best thing that true re-
ligion can give, faith in a power that makes for right-
eousness and has done so through all the ages, and
which inspires men to recognize, seize, and make the
most and best of new and great opportunities when
they present themselves. What the citizen voter
wants is a broad bird's-eye view from an altitude suf-
ficient to bring out the salient features in their proper
relief and to show their general relations to each
other and to the course of history. We need leaders
who can look up rather than down like Bunyan's
muckraker, who can use not only the microscope but
the telescope as well, who can reorient the course of
the Ship of State by appealing from dead reckoning
to the eternal stars and to what Kant called their
only rival in sublimity, the moral law within. Only
this course can give and perpetuate our leadership of



the world. Amendments that recommit the treaty
and which cannot possibly be adopted, or which in-
volve a new and independent treaty with Germany,
from which we can never begin to secure advantages
such as the League offers us, are nothing less than
wanton sabotage and emasculation of morale for
which we and our posterity will have to make long
and tedious reparation.

All countries of Europe, particularly France and
Poland, made great concessions to Wilsonian ideas,
great as was the sacrifice of national aspirations
which these involved. Italy and Eoumania have al-
ready shown marked tendencies to break away and
relapse to the old selfish nationalism so characteristic
of the policies of continental Europe. If the League
fails, all these countries are sure to revert, some
sooner some later, to the old methods of each country
for itself, and the great hope of new and better things
for the world and of more altruistic national policies
will abort, and the old spectacle of each country for
itself will again hold sway.

We went into the war to make the world safe for
democracy, but we have made it very unsafe for the
new democracies we have created, and we must not
now make it contemptible. During the war we gave
the splendid spectacle of a great country laying aside
differences of party, section, creed, and class, and to
some degree of every personal and financial interest,
and uniting as we had never done before in all our
history in a great cause. Now every party, interest,



and even type of individuality is asserting itself re-
gardless of the common welfare, until the spectacle
.we present to the world is one of discord and strife
almost unprecedented. In this change we have sunk
from the zenith almost to the nadir of morale. The
spirit of concession, which is the very basis of democ-
racy, seems to have taken its flight from among us.
Our President, always an ultra-individualist, seems
no longer capable of rising to the great possibilities of
the hour, and our Senate seems paralyzed and is hold-
ing up the business of the country, checking the
progress of the world, and jeopardizing if it has not
lost the leadership which the issues of the war gave
it a chance to perpetuate.

Volumes of wordy debates on questions which a
few dozen business men would have settled in a few
weeks informally around a green table have thrown
everything out of proportion, and have also resulted
in inflaming not only partisan but the most intense
personal rancors and in confirming almost everyone
in his own individual opinion. There is a general
drift toward the attitude of irreconcilability which,
when attained, makes anyone, especially law-makers,
unfit for every administrative or legislative useful-
ness. The voice of practically the whole country
cries out to the White House and to the Capitol to
settle the Treaty and the League somehow, anyhow,
and get down to work on the vast body of delayed
legislation ever larger and ever more pressing, and
the neglect of which is daily more disastrous not only


to the government generally, which has never been
brought into such disrepute or lost respect and pres-
tige to such a degree before, but to our material pros-
perity and the morale of the entire nation. But the
voice of the people is as unheeded if not as unheard in
Washington as are the voices of the few real states-
men among us, who are to a man outside of the Sen-
atorial halls or administrative circles. Does frenzied
politics make our representatives insane? Have none
of them been inspired with the common sense of
Lincoln, who simply brought to the great affairs of
the nation in distress the same homely, practical
spirit of equity that a country squire applies to dis-
putes within his township? Lincoln would have said
to the Senate, "A plague on both your parties. Agree
on any reservations and I will accept your verdict
and waive my personal objections, if I must, ad
majorcm gloriam patriae. But agree, and that quick-
ly, and get busy and earn your salaries, which are
now worse than wasted." An emperor would have
dissolved the Senate and decreed a new election. A
czar might have abolished Congress as purely
obstructive and obsessive, and settled the matter him-
self with his ministers. A Bismarck would have
read the "Levites" from the Speaker's desk at the
Capitol, criticizing each party and faction, and defied
or whipped all recalcitrants into line. A Cromwell
would have turned our Congress out with an armed
force, with clanking armors in the senatorial floors
and galleries. But we are a democracy and so can



do none of these things, but must wait, suffer, be
patient, hope, and perhaps pray for divine interven-
tion in the hearts of men that may bring contrition,
sanity, and a larger view.

We need nothing less than a new school of states-
manship. League or no league, henceforth our rela-
tions will be far closer and mutual dependence far
greater between different lands, and so the need of
knowing the mind and even the secret heart of espe-
cially the other leading peoples of the world will be
more pressing. Had England been less ignorant of
the soul of her great competitor, Germany, she would
not have been caught unprepared but would have

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Online LibraryG. Stanley (Granville Stanley) HallMorale, the supreme standard of life and conduct → online text (page 20 of 25)