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verge of licence. In the first place, they believe implicitly in the virtue of majorities, when the majorities are on their own side. In the second, they have a profound contempt for the consciences of others. It is the one end and aim of Socialism to suppress the will of individuals; and as we are now face to face with Socialism, our wills may be enfeebled and our consciences "pooled," to use Lord Rosebery's excellent phrase, before we are aware of it.

At the outset we would guard against one obvious misunderstanding. Liberty is


not a natural right. Men are born neither free nor equal. The sophisms of Jeaffreson and the French Revolution were long since exposed for the pieces of folly that they Men never attain equality, and the pretence that they may attain it is but an excuse for the most savage tyranny. With self-control and good government they may attain a certain measure of Liberty. That they should do so is good for them and for the State. The wise governor, therefore, will do his utmost to see that the citizens whose destinies he controls grow up in obedience to their own will and in the free practice of their own duty. Though each individual owes allegiance to the society of which he forms part, he and the society will be the happier if trust and independence take the place of suspicion and slavery. If we demand that society should interfere as little as possible with the free action of individuals, we demand it not as a moral principle nor

as a natural right, but because interference in the long-run is unprofitable. A society of men becomes great only by the virtue and prowess of the individuals of whom it is composed, and virtue and prowess can be encouraged by nothing else than liberty of action and a sense of responsibility.


For this reason we should jealously guard ourselves against the encroachment of the State, especially if it be infected with the poison of Socialism. the State, incarnated in a tyrannical House of Commons, does not know what is good either for the individual or for itself. It understands no other remedy than an Act of Parliament, and it too readily believes that when it has passed its Bill of interference all will be well. We are all familiar with the sanguine philanthropist who thinks that his will can be translated into fact by the mere passing of a benevolent measure. There is one zealot, for instance, who is convinced that every one should get up with the sun, as indeed he should, and he is not content to preach his doctrine far and wide, that the wise men among us should be persuaded. He must needs demand the intervention of Parliament. What is done by compulsion is hardly worth doing, and the sure way to destroy virtue and self-restraint is to impose them as a legal necessity upon unwilling individuals. And as by Act of Parliament you cannot convert a sluggard into an early-riser, so by Act of Parliament you cannot enforce sobriety. When

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Bishop Magee said that he would rather see England free than England sober, he put into an epigram a profound truth. Make Englishmen free with the freedom that comes of service and honour, tell them that they must depend not upon a busy Legislature but upon themselves, teach them that a sense of responsibility is of far greater importance than the right to vote, and they will be sober, thrifty, and industrious without the bungling interference of the State.

Of late years the State has assumed that all the men and women who live beneath its sway are criminals or lunatics. It has taken them under its charge from the cradle to the grave, as though they were incompetent to conduct their own affairs. Citizens have been told in practical language that they have no duty to discharge towards towards their children. When they have brought them into the world their responsibility is ended. They are not asked to take thought or to deny themselves. The education of their children, which should be their pride and their endeavour, is assumed by a public body. The old basis of the family disappears. The State takes its place, and candidates for Parliament overwhelm with flattery the very men who think it no shame to see others perform their elementary duty. Nor has the State the poor excuse that it performs efficiently the task it has laid upon itself. For forty years England has supported Board Schools; the system has had a


long and loyal trial, and it has completely broken down. The money and thought which have been spent upon elementary education have been spent in vain. Englishmen have sacrificed their Liberty, and have got nothing in exchange. Their children are worse educated than ever they were, for they have been taught things that are useless to them. The tyranny of codes has imposed upon all the boys and girls in the kingdom a smattering of odds and ends, which not merely confers no benefit but renders its victims unfit for the employments of a simple life. The ancient pursuits of the country are lost and forgotten, that the kings and queens of England or the rivers of Africa may be repeated by parrots. The boys whom education can benefit least are kept the longest at school, in the vague hope that they may some day attain a standard which is not worth attainment. And when at last they are permitted to earn their own living it is too late. They have no other resource than to join the large army of loafers and unemployables, whose harsh lot an elementary knowledge of history and geography cannot mitigate.

Even if the pupil of the State does succeed in learning the lessons that are set him, he does not often profit by them. Not merely are they the wrong sort of lessons; they are taught in the wrong sort of spirit. They are designed not to elicit but to crush the talent of this or that pupil. The result of

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them is a Board School type, arrogant and half-baked, knowing little and assuming much, confident that he is able to govern the country and helpless in the government of himself, a citizen without patriotism, a voter who sees in the ballotbox a chance of selfish profit or of assailing a class which he regards as hostile. That education is a good thing of itself none will deny. That the State is incompetent to administer it should be evident to all. The one possible excuse for compulsory education was that it might produce stronger, more intelligent race. In this enterprise the State has failed signally, as it always fails when it pushes its interference too far. The House of Commons passes laws, not knowing what the result of those laws will be, and then asks for larger powers that it may travel still farther along the road of ignorance. It sees no hope save in compulsion, and forgets that if by compulsion you save a man from the worst that is in him, you kill also the best that is in him. The action of the State in clipping the Liberty of the citizen for what it foolishly deems his own good is unscientific as well as reckless. The first effect of its rash policy is to compel the survival of the unfit. All the resources of the Government have lately been employed to help those who are least worthy of help. Instead of lavishing its benefits on those who might best profit by them, the State prefers to aid the irreclaimable. Whatever its motive be, whether

pity or political prudence, its action is deplorable. And not only does the State do its best to induce the unfit to survive; when they have survived, it sets them to perform impossible tasks. Having observed that education of a certain type has proved profitable to the middle class, it rushes headlong to the conclusion that this education is profitable also to the lower class. Thus it would drive all children, whatever their strength, their intelligence, or their antecedents, through the same mill. It has devised educational ladders, by which boys and girls may climb as rapidly as possible out of their own environment, and it seeks not to inquire what ruin, physical or moral, overtakes them afterwards. Town and country are treated alike. The State, having assumed the complete responsibility of the schools, does not wish that each citizen should grow up capable of doing his own work well. It has no desire to make good labourers or skilful artisans; its one ideal is a half-competent clerk, who has many smatterings and no real knowledge. Is it, then, to be wondered at that our streets are full of unemployed, and that the that the Labour Exchanges are a mere register for the names of those who cannot get work? For the round holes of labour and enterprise the State has fashioned nothing but square pegs.

It is clear that in the matter of education we have got a very poor return for our ourtailment of Liberty. In vain the country is enslaved.


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State puts the blight of failure upon all that it touches. If we were governed by a wise, benevolent despot, we might with some confidence place our freedom in his hands. But we live under a democracy which represents nothing but a flashy taste in rhetoric. The House of Commons, which aspires to be our despot, could scarcely be wise even if its intentions were honourable. In the first place, collective wisdom is seldom of much account. In the second, the decisions of the House of Commons are necessarily the decisions of accommodation and compromise. There are groups to be conciliated, votes to be won, and in the foolish conflict of interests the welfare of the country and its citizens is forgotten. It is the duty of patriots, therefore, 88 we have said, jealously to guard what Liberty is left them, to protest against the interference of the State with the duties and enterprises of private persons. The ambition of Ministers, ill-versed in affairs, who would lay violent hands upon land and railways, who by heavy taxation, levied not merely for revenue, would depreciate the industries of the country until they fell into their flaccid grasp, should be opposed by every loyal Englishman. It is enough if the State keep the peace at home, administer the finances of the country, and defend its borders against foreign aggression. These are its primary duties, and it would be wise if it left the individual citizen to grow up as much as possible in ac

cordance with his individual temperament. As Mill says,

the individual must not make himself a nuisance to others; thus far his liberty must be limited. Otherwise he will prove more useful to the State if he is permitted to be himself, and not a pale reflection of somebody else. The machinemade man is uniform and mediocre. He will never rise to the topmost height of courage, sacrifice, or originality. The individual alone can save the country, and it is against the individual that our present governors wage the fiercest war. The House of Lords stands between us and the ruin of our liberties, and the House of Lords is marked out for destruction by all the disaffected and rebellious persons in the State. If once it were deprived of its veto, we should be in the presence of a malevolent despotism, which could be removed only by revolution. "Of all the societies in the world," said Tocqueville, "those which will always have the most difficulty in permanently escaping absolute government will be precisely those societies in which aristocracy is no more, and can no more be."

And it is characteristic of our present system of government that it is based upon no kind of political philosophy. What was once the Manchester School has made itself the mouthpiece of authority. The Radical party applauds Socialism and Anarchy in one breath, and knows not that it is ridiculous. Having quite properly insisted that vaccina

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tion should be universal and Liberty, which touches politics
compulsory, it presently admits
"the conscientious objector."
At the same moment that it
preaches the doctrine of collec-
tivism, which is a denial of
freedom, it extols in unmeasured
language the virtue of passive
resistance. Above all, though
it admits the principle of com-
pulsion, it will not apply it
where it is most obviously
needed. No clap - trap about
Liberty, for instance, should be
allowed to stand in the way of
national defence. Here indi-
vidualism is out of place. A
man cannot fight alone. A
country cannot be defended by
one or two gathered fortuit-
ously together. Indeed, the
first necessity of national de-
fence is a collective and com-
pulsory system of training.
But of this the Socialists bit-
terly disapprove. The country
will never stand it, we are
told, though the country is
asked to stand free education,
free meals, free pensions, land
nationalisation, the assumption
of the railways, every sort of
Government inspection, and a
bureaucracy whose ideal may
be summed up in the phrase,
an eye at every window, an
ear at every keyhole." It is
plain, therefore, that it is not
the compulsion but the service
which is obnoxious to our Gov-
ernment, and we can only ex-
pose as insincere its pretence
that a citizen should be free
not to fight for his country, and
hope for the sake of security
that it will be brought to a
better frame of mind before an
armed enemy stands at our

only at the fringe, and of
which not even Socialistic
legislation can deprive us—the
Liberty of thought and life.
We may yet be secure in the
castles of our own minds, even
though we are governed by an
accidental majority of unknow-
ing men. "This," says Mill,
"is the appropriate region of
human liberty. It comprises,
first, the inward domain of con-
sciousness; demanding liberty
of conscience, in the most com-
prehensive sense; liberty of
thought and feeling; absolute
freedom of opinion and senti-
ment on all subjects, practical
or speculative, scientific, moral,
or theological." With this
condition of mind, which is
true freedom, neither man nor
State can interfere. It is, per-
haps, the only true freedom
known to
It can be
enjoyed under any sky and
under any form of govern-
ment. For those who know
how to appreciate it, there is
Liberty in Russia, in China,
even in democratic America.
If we will, we may be
preme everywhere over our own
minds. "What is Liberty?"
asked Byron; "I have never
seen it."
Perhaps he looked
too far afield, and expected to
find it in the Governments of
Europe. Had he glanced nearer
home, he might have recog-
nised the inestimable boon.
For of all his contemporaries,
ardent to solve the problem of
Liberty, none found a better
solution either in his life or in
his art than the author of 'Don


But freedom of speech does But there is another sort of not follow logically from free

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