NEITHER VICTIM NOR EXECUTIONER

 
 




Two answers
Saving our skins
The self deception of the socialist
Parody of revolution
International democracy and dicatorship
The world speeded up
A new social contract
Towards sociability

 

the world speeds up

As every one knows, political thought today lags more and more behind events. Thus the French fought the 1914 war with 1870 methods, and the 1939 war with 1918 methods. Antiquated thinking is not, however, a French speciality. We need only recall that the future of the world is being shaped by liberal-capitalist principles, developed in the eighteenth century and by 'scientific socialist' principles developed in the nineteenth. Systems of thought which, in the former case, date from the early years of modern industrialism, and, in the latter, from the age of Darwinism and the Renanian optimism, now propose to master the age of the atomic bomb, of sudden mutations, and of nihilism.

It is true that consciousness is always lagging behind reality: History rushes onward while thought reflects. But this inevitable backwardness becomes more pronounced the faster History speeds up. The world has changed more in the past fifty years than it did in the previous two hundred years. Thus we see nations quarrelling over frontiers when every one knows that today frontiers are mere abstractions. Nationalism was, to all appearances, the dominant note at the Conference of the Twenty-one.

Today we concentrate our political thinking on the German problem, which is a secondary problem compared to the clash of empires which threatens us. But if tomorrow we resolve the Russo-American conflict, we may see ourselves once more outdistanced. Already the clash of empires is in process of becoming secondary to the clash of civilisations. Everywhere the colonial peoples are asserting themselves. Perhaps in ten years, perhaps in fifty, the dominance of Western civilisation itself will be called into question. We might as well recognise this now, and admit these civilisations into the world parliament, so that its code of law may become truly universal, and a universal order be established.

The veto issue in the U.N. today is a false issue because the conflicting majorities and minorities are false. The U.S.S.R. will always have the right to reject majority rule so long as it is a majority of ministers and not a majority of peoples, all peoples, represented by their delegates. Once such a majority comes into being, then each nation must obey it or else reject its law - that is, openly proclaim its will to dominate....

To reply once more and finally to the accusation of Utopia: for us, the choice is simple - Utopia or the war now being prepared by antiquated modes of thought.... Sceptical though we are (and as I am), realism forces us to this Utopian alternative. When our Utopia has become part of history, as with many others of like kind, men will find themselves unable to conceive reality without it. For History is simply man's desperate effort to give body to his most clairvoyant dreams.

 
         
     

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