The answering of this question is what the next Pierpont Morgan and the next Tom Mann are for.
What the next Pierpont Morgan is for is to find out for us who the competent employers are—the employers who can get twice as much work out of their labour as other employers do—recognize them, stand by them and put up money on them. The next Pierpont Morgan will find out also who the incompetent employers are, recognize them, stand out against them, and unless they have brains enough or can get brains enough to cooeperate with their own workmen, refuse to lend money to them.
This would make a banker a statesman, would make banking a great and creative profession, shaping the destinies of civilizations, determining with coins back and forth over a counter the prayers and the songs, the very religions of nations, and swinging like a pendulum the fate of the world.
The first Pierpont Morgan has made himself, in a necessary transitional movement, a hero in the business world because of a certain moral energy there is in him. He has insisted in expressing his own character in business. He would not send money to capitalists fighting capitalists, and in a general way he has compelled capitalists to cooeperate. The new hero of the business world is going to compel capital not merely to cooeperate with capital, but to cooeperate with labour and with the public. And as Morgan compelled the railroads of the United States to cooeperate with one another by getting money for those that showed the most genius for cooeperation, and by not getting money for railroads that showed less genius for it, so the next Pierpont Morgan will throw the weight of his capital at critical times in favour of companies that show the largest genius for building the mutual interests of capitalists, employees, and the public inextricably into one body. He is going to recognize as a banker that the most permanent, long-headed, practical, and competent employers are those whose business genius is essentially social genius, the genius for being human, for discovering the mutual interests of men, and for making human machinery work.
There is a great position ahead for this hero when he comes. And I have seen in my mind to-day thousands of men, young and old in every business, in every country of the world, pressing forward to get the place.
It is what the next Tom Mann is for—to find out for the Trades Unions and for the public who the most competent workmen are in every line of business, the workmen who are the least mechanical-minded, who have shown the most brains in educating and being educated by their employers, the most power in touching the imaginations of their employers with their lives and with their work, and in cooeperating with them.
When the next Tom Mann has searched out and found the workmen in every line of business who are capable of working with their superiors, and of becoming more and more like them, he will make known to all other workmen and to all other Trades Unions who these workmen are, and how they have managed to do it. He will see that all Trades Unions are informed, in night-schools and otherwise, how they have done it. He will see that the principles, motives, and conditions that these men have employed in making themselves more like their superiors, in making themselves more and more fit to take the place of their superiors, in making their work a daily, creative, spirited part of a great business, are made so familiar to all Trades Unions that the policies of all our labour organizations everywhere shall change and shall be infected with a new spirit; and labouring men, instead of going to their shops the world over, to spend nine hours a day in fighting the business in which they are engaged, to spend nine hours a day in trying to get themselves nothing to do, nine hours a day in getting nobody to want to employ them, will work the way they would like to work, and the way they would all work to-morrow morning if they knew the things about capital and about labour that they have a right to know, and that only incompetent employers and incompetent labor leaders year by year have kept them from knowing.
AN OPENING FOR THE NEXT PIERPONT MORGAN
Christ said once, "He that is greatest among you let him be your servant."
Most people have taken it as if He had said:
"He that is greatest among you let him be your valet.
"He that is greatest among you let him be your butler.
"He that is greatest among you let him be your hostler, porter, footman."
They cling to a mediaeval Morality-Play, Servant-in-the-House idea, a kind of head-waiter idea of what Christ meant.
This seems to some of us a literal-minded, Western way of interpreting an Oriental metaphor. We do not believe that Christ meant servanthood. It seems to us that He meant something deeper, that He meant service; that He might have said as well:
"He that is greatest among you let him be your Duke of Wellington.
"He that is greatest among you let him be your Lincoln.
"He that is greatest among you let him be your Edison, your Marconi."
At all events, it is extremely unlikely that He meant looking and acting like a servant.
He meant really being one, whether one looked like a servant or not. If looking independent and being independent makes the service better, if defying the appearance of a servant makes the service more efficient, we believe the appearance should be defied.
It troubles us when we see the Czar of Russia in the presence of the civilized world, once a year taking such great pains to look like a servant and to wash his peasants' feet.
We are not willing, if we ever have any relations with the public, to be Czars and look like servants.
We would prefer to look like czars and be servants.
We are inclined to believe that no man who is rendering his utmost service to the crowd ever thinks in the ordinary servant sense of being obedient to it. He is thinking of his service, and of its being the most high and perfect and most complete thing that he can render—the thing that he, out of all men, could think of and do, and that the crowd would want him to do. He is busy in being obedient to the crowd, in fulfilling daily its spirit, and not in taking orders from it.
The reason that the larger number of men who go into politics to-day are inefficient and do not get the things done that crowds want, is that they are the kind of men who feel that they must talk and act like servants. Even the most independent-looking and efficient men, who look as if they really saw something and had something to give, often prove disappointing. When one comes to know a man of this type more intimately, one is apt to find that he is really a flunkey in his thoughts; that he feels hired in his mind; that he is the valet of a crowd, and often, too, the valet of some particular crowd—some little, safe, shut-in crowd, party, or special interest that wants to own, or to keep, or to take away a world.
Whichever way to-day one looks, one finds this illusion as to what a public servant really is, for the moment, corrupting our public life.
But Christ did not say, "He that is greatest among you, let him be your valet."
The man who is greatest among us, neither in this age nor in any other, ever will or ever can be a valet. He faces the crowd the way Christ did—with his life, with his soul, with his God.
He will not be afraid of the Crowd....
He will be the Greatest, he will be a Servant.
In the meantime—in the hour of the valets, only the little crowds, speak. The People wait.
The Crowd is dumb, massive, and silent. There seems to be no one in the world to express it, to express its indomitable desire, its prayer, to lay at last its huge, terrible, beautiful will upon the earth.
It is the classes or little crowds—the little pulling and pushing, helpless, lonely, mean, separated crowds—blind, hateful, and afraid, who are running about trying to lay their little wills upon the earth.
The Crowd waits and is not afraid.
The little, separated crowds are afraid.
The world, for the moment, is being interpreted, expressed, and managed by People Who Are Afraid.
It is the same in all the nations. In the coal strike in England one finds the miners in the trades unions afraid to vote except in secret because they are afraid of one another. One finds the miners' leaders afraid of the men under them and of what they might do, so that they have no policy except to fight. One finds the miners' leaders afraid of the mine-managers and of what they might do, so that they have no policy except to fight. One finds the mine-managers afraid of one another, afraid of their stockholders, afraid of the miners' leaders, and afraid of the newspapers and afraid of the Government.
One finds the Government afraid of everybody.
Everybody is afraid of the Government.
Everybody fights because everybody is afraid.
And everybody is afraid because everybody sees that it is mere crowds that are running the world.
There is another reason why everybody is afraid. Everybody is afraid because everybody is shut in with some little separated crowd.
People who are never Outside, who only see a little way out over the edge of the little crowd in which they are penned up, are naturally afraid.
A world that is run by little shut-in crowds is necessarily a world that is run by People Who Are Afraid.
And so now we have come to the fulness of the time. The cities and the nations, the prairies, and the seas and the mines, the very skies about us can be seen by all to-day to be full of a dull groping and of a great asking, "Who Are The Men Who Are not Afraid?"
The moment these men appear who are not afraid, and it is seen by all that they are not afraid, the world (and all the little blind, helpless crowds in it) will be placed in their hands.
AN OPENING FOR THE NEXT TOM MANN
I am aware that Tom Mann is not a world figure. But he is a world type. And as the editor of the Syndicalist, the leader of the most imposing and revealing labour rally the world has seen, he is of universal interest. Those of us who believe in crowds are deeply interested in finding, recognizing, creating, and in seeing set free out of the ranks of men the labour leaders who shall express the nobility and dignity of modern labour, who shall express the bigness of spirit, the brawny-heartedness, the composure, the common-sense, the patriotism, the faithfulness and courage of the People.
I indict Tom Mann before the bar of the world as not expressing the will and the spirit of the People.
I do this as a labouring man. I decline, because I spend my time daily tracing out little crooked lines on paper with a pen, because I have wrought day and night to make little patterns of ink and little stretches of words reach men together round a world, because I have sweat blood to believe, because in weariness and sorrow I have wrought out at last my little faith for a world ... I decline not to be numbered with the labourers I see in the streets. I claim my right before all men this day, with my unbent body and with my unsoiled hands, to be enrolled among the toilers of the earth.
I speak as a labouring man. I say Tom Mann is incompetent as a true leader of Labour.
The first reason that he is incompetent is that he does not observe facts. He merely observes facts that everybody can see, that everybody has seen for years. He does not observe the new and exceptional facts about capital that only a few can see, the seeing of which, and the seeing of which first, should alone ever constitute a man a true leader in dealing with capital. He merely believes facts that nearly everybody has caught up to believing—facts about human nature, about what works in business. The crowd is not content with this. It has become accustomed to seeing that the men who lead in business, and who make others follow them, whether masters or workmen, are men who do it by observing certain new and exceptional facts and acting upon them. If these men cannot observe them, we have seen them create them. It is the men who make new things true wherever they go that the crowd is coming to recognize and to take seriously and permanently as the real leaders of Labour and of Capital to-day. Tom Mann is incompetent as a labour leader in dealing with capital to-day, because the things that he proposes to do all turn on three facts which, looked at on the outside, merely have or might be said to have a true look:
First, employers are all alike;
Second, none of them ever work;
Third, they are all the enemies of Labour.
Tom Mann is incompetent to grapple with Capital in behalf of Labour as any great labour leader would have to do, because he has his facts wrong about Capital, is simple-minded and rudimentary and undiscriminating about the men with whom he deals, and sees them all alike.
This is a poor beginning even for fighting with them.
The second reason that Tom Mann is incompetent is, not that he has his facts wrong and does not think, but that he carries not-thinking about the employing class still further, has come to make a kind of religion out of not-thinking about them. And instead of thinking how to make labouring men think better than their employers think, and making them think so well that they can crowd their way into their employers' places, he proposes to have labour get into their places without thinking, and run a world without thinking. All that is necessary in order to have workmen run the world, is to get workmen to stop working, to stop thinking, and then as rapidly as possible to get everybody else to stop thinking. Then the world will fall into their hands.
The third reason that Tom Mann is incompetent is that he is unpractical and full of scorn. And scorn, from the point of view of the practical-minded man, is a sentimental and useless emotion. We have learned that it almost always has to be used by a man who has his facts wrong, that is, who does not see what he himself is really like, and who has not noticed what other people are really like. No man who sees himself as he is, feels at liberty to use scorn. And no man who sees others as they are, sees any occasion for it. Tom Mann uses hate also, and hate has been found to be, as directed toward classes of persons as a means of getting them to do things, archaic and inefficient. It is not quite bright. It need not be denied that hate and scorn both impress some people, but they never seem to impress the people that see things to do and who find ways to do them. And the people who use scorn are all too narrow, too class-bound, and too self-regarding to do things in a huge world problem like the present one.
The fourth reason that Tom Mann as a labour leader is incompetent is that he is afraid; he is afraid of capital, so afraid that he has to fight it instead of grappling with it and cooeperating with it. He is afraid to believe in labour—so afraid that he takes orders from it instead of seeing for it, and seeing ahead for it. He is afraid of his employers' brains, of their having brains enough to understand and to to be convinced as to the position of the labourer. He is afraid to believe in his own brains, in his own brains being good enough to convince them.
So he backs down and fights.
If any reader who is interested to do so will kindly turn back at this point a page or so, and read this chapter we have just gone through together, over again, and if he will kindly, wherever it occurs, insert for Tom Mann, labour leader, "D.A. Thomas, leader of mine-owners," he will save much time for both of us, and he will kindly make one chapter in this book which is already much too long, as good as two. Tom Mann (unless he is changed) is about to be dropped as a typical modern leader of Labour because he is afraid, and what he expresses in the labouring class is its fear of Capital.
And what D.A. Thomas expresses for Capital is its fear of Labour.
There are thousands of capitalists and hundreds of thousands of labour men who have something better they want expressed by their leaders, than their Fear.
Out of these men the new leaders will be chosen.
THE MEN WHO LOOK
During the recent coal strike in England, as at all times in the world, heroes abounded.
The trouble with most of us during the coal strike was not in our not having heroes, but in our not being quite sure which they were.
Davy McEwen, a miner who stood out against the whole countryside, and went to his work every day in defiance of thousands of men on the hills about him trying to stop him, and hundreds of thousands of men all over England trying to scare him, was not a hero to Mr. Josiah Wedgewood. Mr. Josiah Wedgewood one day in the height of the conflict, from his seat in the House of Commons, rose in his might—and before the face of the nation called Davy McEwen a traitor to his class.
Sir Arthur Markham, one of the largest of the mine-owners, in the height of the conflict between the mine-owners and the miners over wages, rose in the House and declared that, in his opinion as a mine-owner, the mine-owners were wrong and the miners were right, and that the mine-owners could afford to pay better wages, and should yield to the men.
He was called a traitor to his class.
At the last moment in the coal strike, when the Government had done its best, and when the labour leaders still proposed to hold up England and defy the Government until they got their way, Stephen Walsh, one of the leaders of the miners, stood up in the face of a million miners and said he would not go on with the others against the Government. "It is now time for the trades union men to return to work. We have done what we could. Our citizenship should be higher than our trades unionship, and with me, as long as I am a trades union man, it will be."
He was called a traitor to his class.
I am an unwilling and unfit person, as a sojourner and an American, to take any position on the merits of the question as to the disestablishment of the Church in Wales. But when I saw Bishop Gore standing up and looking unblinkingly at facts or what he thought were facts which he would rather not have seen and which were not on his side, and when I saw him voting deliberately for the disestablishment of his own Church, I greeted with joy, as if I had seen a cathedral, another traitor to his class. I almost believe that a Church that could produce and supply a man like this for a great nation looking through every city and county year by year for men to go with it ... a Church that could produce and keep producing Bishop Gores, would be entitled, from a great nation to anything it liked.
* * * * *
Men seem to be capable of three stages of courage. Courage is graded to the man.
There is the man who is so tired, or mechanical-minded, that he can only think of himself.
There is the man who is so tired that he can only think of his class.
And there is the man that one has watched being moved over slowly from a Me-man into a Class-man, who has begun to show the first faint beginnings of being a Crowd-man.
One man has courage for himself because he knows what he wants for himself. Another has courage for his class because he knows what he wants for his class. Another has courage for God and for the world because there are things he sees that he wants for God and for the world, and he sees them so clearly that he sees ways to get them.
Lack of courage is a lack of vision or clear-headedness about what one wants. I do not know, but I can only say that it has seemed to me that Bishop Gore has a vision or clear-headedness about what he wants for democracy, and that he uses his vision of what he wants for democracy to true his vision for his class. Perhaps also he has a vision for his class for the church people that it is for the interest church people to be the class that is, out of all the world, supremely considerate, big, leisurely, unfretful in its dealings with others. Perhaps also he has a vision for himself and is clear-headed for himself, and has seen that though the steeples fall about him, and though the altars go up in smoke, he will keep the spirit of God still within his reach. The gentleness, the grim hope for the world and the patience that built the cathedrals, shall be in his heart day and night.
I hold no brief for Bishop Gore.
I know there must be others like him who voted on the other side.
I know there are hundreds of thousands of employers who in their hearts are like him. I know there are hundreds of thousands of men in the trades unions who are like him.
I am not sure that Bishop Gore, on the merits of the case, was right. I wish this day I knew that he was wrong. I wish that I had spent the last six months in fighting him, in fighting against his vision, that I might be more free to-day to point to him with joy when I go up and down the streets with men and look at the churches with men—the rows of churches—and try to tell them what they are for. I have seen that the cathedrals scattered about under the sky in England are but God's little tools to make great cities on the earth, and to build softly out of the hearts of men and women men who shall be cathedrals too—men buttressed against the world, men who can stand alone.
And it has seemed to me that Tom Mann and D.A. Thomas are incompetent as leaders of industry because they do not see that Labour is full of men who can do things like this. I am proud, over in my country across the sea, to be cousin to a nation that is still the headquarters—the international citadel—of individualism upon the earth. The world knows if England does not, that this kind of individualism is the most characteristic, the most mighty and impregnable Dreadnought against that England has produced.
But England knows it too.
I have seen thousands of men in England in their dull brown clothes pass by me in the street who know and respond to the spirit that is in Bishop Gore, and who have the courage to show it themselves. And the vision is in them, but it is not waked. The moment it is waked we will have a new world. It is because Tom Mann and D.A. Thomas are not leaders of men who have this spirit that they are about to be dropped as typical leaders of Labour and Capital in modern times. No man will be accepted by the Crowd to-day as a competent leader of his class who is afraid of the other classes. No man will be said to be a true leader, to be competent to make things move in the world, who does not have three gears of courage: courage for himself, courage for his own people, courage for other people; and who does not dare to deal with other people as if they really might be dealt with, after all, as fellow human beings capable of acting like fellow human beings, capable of finer and of truer things, of more manly and patient, more shrewdly generous, more far-sighted things, than might appear at first.
* * * * *
Was Mr. Josiah Wedgewood right when he called Davy McEwen a traitor to his class?
I do not want to judge Davy McEwen. Such things are matters of personal interpretation, and of standing with a man face to face for a moment and looking him in the eyes.
Of course, if I had done this, I might have been tempted and despised him.
And I might now. The thing that I would have tried to look down through to in him, if I had looked him in the eye, would have been something like this: "Are you or are you not, Davy McEwen, standing out day after day against your class because you can see less than your class sees, because you are a mere me-man? Do you go by here grimly day by day, past all these people lined up on the hills, sternly thinking of yourself?"
If I found that this was true, as it might well be, and often is, I would say that Davy McEwen was a traitor to his class. But if I found Davy McEwen going past hills-ful of workmen because he had a larger, fairer vision of what his class is than they had, if it proved to be true that the crowd-man in him was keeping the class-man in place, and holding true his vision for his class, I would say that it was his class that was being a traitor to him; I would say that sooner or later his class would see in some quiet day that it had been a traitor to him and to the world, and a traitor to itself.
* * * * *
If socialism and individualism cannot work together, and if (like the masculine and feminine in spirit) each cannot make itself the means and the method of fulfilling the other, there is no reason why either of them should be fulfilled.
In the meantime, there is a kind of self-will that seems to me, as its shadow comes across my path, like God himself walking on the earth. And I have seen it in the rich and I have seen it in the poor, and in people who were being wrong and in people who were being right.
It is like hearing great bells in the dark, singing in the solemn night to so much as hear of a man somewhere, I might go and see, who stands alone.
If we want to stand together, let us begin with these men who can stand alone.
There is a sense in which Christ died on the cross because He could find at the time no other way of saying this. There is a sense in which the decline of individualism is what he died for.
Or we might call it the beginning of individualism. He died for the principle of doing what he thought was right before anybody else did it, and whether anybody else did it or not. The self-will of Jesus was half the New Testament. He crucified himself, his mother, and a dozen disciples that His own vision for all might be fulfilled. Socialism itself, what is good in it, would not exist to-day if Jesus, the Christ, had not practised socialism, in the best sense, by being an individualist.
If we are going to get to socialism by giving up individualism, by abolishing heroes, why get to it?
This more glorious self-will is not, of course, of a kind that all men can expect to have. Most of us have not the vision that equips us, and that gives us the right, to have it. But we can exact of our leaders that they shall have it—that they shall see more for us than we can see for ourselves, that they shall hold their vision up before us and let us see it, and let us have the use of it, that they shall be true to us, that they shall be the big brothers of the people.
RULES FOR TELLING A HERO—WHEN ONE SEES ONE
I have sometimes hoped that the modern world was about to produce at last some man somewhere with a big-hearted, easy powerful mind, who could protect the French Revolution. What we need most of all just now in our present crisis is some man who could take up the French Revolution without half trying, all the world looking on and wondering softly how he dares to do it, and put it gently but firmly, and once for all, up high somewhere where no one except geniuses, or at least the very tallest-minded people, could ever again get at it.
As it is, hardly a day passes but one sees new little nobodies everywhere all about one reaching up without half thinking to it—to the French Revolution—grabbing it calmly, and then using it deliberately before our eyes as a general free-for-all analogy for anything that comes into their heads. The Syndicalists and Industrial Workers of the World have had the use of it last. The fact that the French Revolution was French and that it worked fairly well a hundred years ago and with a Louis Sixteenth sort of person, and as a kind of first rough sketch, or draft of just what a revolution might be for once, and what it would have to get over being afterward, as soon as possible, never seems to have occurred to many people. One sees them rushing about the world trying to get up exact duplicates, little fussy replicas of a revolution, and of a kind of revolution that the real world put quietly away in the attic seventy years ago. The real world, and all the men in it who are facing real facts to-day, are getting what they want in precisely the opposite of the violent, theatrical French-Revolution way. The fact that people are quite different now, and that it is more effective and practical to get new ideas into their heads by keeping their heads on than it is by taking their heads off—some of us seem to have passed over. Living as we do in a world to-day with our new explosives, our new antiseptics, our new biology, bacteriology, our new storage batteries, our habit of getting everything we get and changing everything we change by quietly and coolly looking at facts, the old lumbering fashion of having a beautiful, showy, emotional revolution now on one side, and then waiting to have another beautiful, showy, emotional revolution on the other, each oscillating back and forth year by year until people finally settle down, look at facts together, become scientific, and see things as they are—has gone by. We have not time for revolutions nowadays. They may be amusing, but they are not practical, and evolution or revolution-without-knowing-it, or evolution all together, suit us better. We are in a world in which we are seeing men almost being made over before our eyes by the scientific habit of thought—by the new, slow, imperious way we have come to have of making ourselves look at things at which we would rather not look, until we see them as they are. The man of scientific spirit, the quiet-minded, implacable man who gets what he wants for himself and for others by merely turning on the light, who makes a new world for us by just showing us more plainly the one we really have, possesses the earth.
There is no reason why revolutionists should feel that they are particularly courageous, that they are the particularly high-minded, romantic, adventurous, uncompromising and superior people. The real adventure, the abiding emotion and wonder of living in the twentieth century, lies in the high, patient, slow, quiet, silent enterprise of seeing facts as they are, and without any fuss, and inexorably and with good cheer, acting on them. The human race has a new temperament. The way to fight now is to look, to look first, to look longest, and to look for the most people. The way we win a revolution or bring the enemy to terms to-day is by battering the enemy with cooeperation, with understanding him and being understood by him, by being impregnably, obstinately his brother, by piling up huge happy citadels of good-will, of services rendered, services deserved, and services returned. We had an idea once that the way to conquer a man was by hitting the outside of him. We conquer men now by getting inside of them, and by getting inside first and then dealing with outside things together.
We see the inside. It is the modern note to see the inside, to attack the essence, the spirit, and to work everything out from that.
The modern method of being courageous and of defending what we want is a kind of chemistry.
Hercules is a bust now.
We prefer still little women like Madame Curie, or a man like Sir Joseph Lister, or like Wilbur Wright—the courage that faces material facts, that deals with the elements of things, whether in a bottle, or in the heaven above us, or in the earth, or in a man, or in an enemy.
When the subject-matter is human nature and the courage we have to have is the courage that can deal with people, we ask ourselves: "What are the most difficult facts to face in people?"
The facts about how they are different from us. The facts about their being like us. The facts as to what we can do about it.
So it has come to seem to me to be the greatest, the most typical and difficult courage of modern life and of a crowd civilization, the courage to look at actual facts in people and to see how the people can be made to go together.
A man's courage is his sense of identity.
A man's courage toward nature, heat, cold, mountains, seas, deserts, chemistry, geology, is his sense of identity with God and of his right to share with God in the creating of His world.
His courage toward people is his sense of identity with men who seem different from him, of all races, all classes, and all nations. He sees the differences in their big relations alongside the resemblances. Then he fits the differences into the resemblances and knows what to do.
There is a statue of Sir George Livesey, one of the early presidents of the South Metropolitan Gas Company, placed at the entrance of the works where thousands of workmen day and night pass in and pass out.
Sir George Livesey was the man who, in the early days of the South Metropolitan Gas Company, stood out against all his workmen, for six long weeks, to get the workmen to believe that they were as good as he was. He believed that they were capable, or should be capable, of being identified with him and working with him as partners, of sharing in the direction of the business, of sharing in the profits, and cooeperating all day, every day, with him and the other partners, to make the business a success.
He did not propose to be locked up in a business, if he could help it, with men who did not feel identified with him, who were not his partners, or who did not want to be.
He thought it was not good business to engage five thousand men and pay them deliberately so much a day to fight his business on the inside of the works. Being obliged to do his business as a fight against people who helped him all the time, watching and outwitting them as if he were dealing with five thousand intelligent gorillas instead of with fellow human beings, did not interest him.
He did not believe that the men themselves, in spite of the way they talked, when they came to think of it, really enjoyed being intelligent gorillas, any more than he did.
The Trades Unions passed a resolution that it was safer for the men in dealing with Sir George Livesey to keep on being gorillas.
Sir George Livesey proposed that they should all try being fellow human beings and being in partnership for a little while and see how it worked.
The Trades Unions were afraid to let them try. Even if it worked very well, and if it turned out that being men was safer, in this one particular case, than being gorillas, it would set a bad example, the Trades Unions thought. They took the ground that it was safer to have all men treated alike, whether they were gorillas or not.
They instructed the men to strike. The South Metropolitan Gas Company was almost closed up, but it did not yield.
Sir George Livesey took the ground that if the Trades Unions believed that his men were not good enough for him, and that he was not good enough for his men, he would wait until they did.
The bronze statue of Sir George Livesey that the men have raised, and that thousands of men go by every day, day after day, and look up to at their work, was raised to a man who had stood out against his workmen for weeks to prove that they were as good as he was, and could be trusted to be loyal to him, and that he was as good as they were, and that he could be trusted to be loyal to them.
He had the courage to insist on being, whether anybody wanted it for the moment or not, a new kind and new size of man. He preferred being allowed to be a new kind and new size himself, and he preferred allowing his men to be new kinds and new sizes of men, and he made a shrewd, dogged guess that when they tried it they would like it. They were merely afraid to be new sizes, as we all are at first.
* * * * *
There are possibly three ways in which, in the confusion of our modern world, one can tell a hero when one sees one.
One knows a hero first by his originality. He invents a new kind and new size of man. He finishes off one sample. There he is.
The next thing one notices about this man (when he is invented) is his humility. He never seems to feel—having invented himself—how original he is. The more original people think he is, and the more they try to set him one side as an exception, the more he resents it.
And then, of course, the final way one knows a man is a hero is always by his courage, by his masterful way of driving through, when he meets a man, to his sense of identity with him.
One always sees a hero going about quietly everywhere, treating every other man as if he were a hero too.
He gets so in the habit, from day to day (living with himself), of believing in human nature, that when he finds himself suddenly up against other people he cannot stop.
It is not that he is deceived about the other people, though it might seem so sometimes. He merely sees further into them and further for them.
Has he not invented himself? Is he not at this very moment a better kind of man than he thought he could be once? Is he not going to be a better kind to-morrow than he is now?
So, quietly, he keeps on year by year and day by day, treating other people as if they were, or were meant to be, the same kind of man that he is, until they are.
WHO IS AFRAID?
When Christ turned the other cheek, the last thing He would have wanted any one to think was that He was backing down, or that He was merely being a sweet, gentle, grieved person. He was inventing before everybody, and before His enemies, promptly and with great presence of mind, a new kind and new size of man. It was a more spirited, more original, more unconquerable and bewildering way of fighting than anybody had thought of before. To be suddenly in an enemy's presence a new kind and new size of man—colossal, baffling—to turn into invisibility before him, into intangibility, into another kind of being before the enemy's eyes, so that he could not possibly tell what to do, and so that none of the things that he had thought of to do would work.... This is what Christ was doing, it seems to some of us, and it is apparently the way He felt about it when He did it.
Turning the other cheek is a kind of moral jiu-jitsu.
* * * * *
The last thing that many of us who are interested in the modern world really want is to have war, or fighting, stop. We glory in courage, in the power of facing danger, in adventuresomeness of spirit, in every single one of the qualities that always have made, and always will make, every true man a fighter.
We contend that fighting, as at present conducted, is based on fear and lazy-mindedness; that it is lacking in the manlier qualities, that the biggest and newest kind of men are not willing to be in it, and that it does not work.
We would rather see the world abolished than to see war abolished.
We want to see war brought up to date.
The best way to fight was invented some two thousand years ago, and the innocent, conventional persons who still believe in a kind of routine, or humdrum, of shooting, who have not caught up with this two-thousand-year-old invention, are about to be irrevocably displaced in our modern life by men who have a livelier, more far-seeing, more practical, more modern kind of courage. From this time on we have made up our minds, we, the people of this world, that the only men we are going to allow to fight for us are the men who can fight the way Christ did.
Men who have not the courage to fight the way Christ did are about to be shut up by society; no one will harm them, of course, innocent, afraid persons, who have to protect themselves with gunpowder, but they will merely be set one side after this, where they will not be in a position to spoil the fighting of the men who are not afraid.
And who are the men who are not afraid?
To search your enemy's heart, to amputate, as by a kind of spiritual surgery, the very desire for fighting in him, to untangle his own life before his eyes and suddenly make him see what it is he really wants, to have him standing there quietly, radiantly disarmed, gentle-hearted, and like a child before you; if you are able, Gentle Reader, or ever have been able, to do this, you are not afraid! Why should any one ever have supposed that it takes a backing down, giving up, teary, weak, and grieved person to do this?
Christ expressed His idea of courage very mildly when He said, in effect: "Blessed are those who dare to be meek, for they shall inherit the earth."
It takes a bolder front to step up to a man one knows is one's enemy and cooeperate with him than it does to do a little, simple, thoughtless, outside thing like stepping up to him and knocking him down.
Cooeperating with a man in spite of him, moving over to where he is, winning a victory over him by getting at his most rooted, most protected, secret, instinctive feelings, literally striking him through to the heart and making a new kind of man out of him before his own eyes, by being a new kind of man to him, takes a bigger, stiller courage, is a more exposed and dangerous thing to do than to fall on him and fight him.
It is also more practical. The one cool, practical, hard-headed way to win a victory over an enemy is to do the thing that makes him the most afraid. And there is no man people are more afraid of than the man who stands up to them, quietly looks at them, and will not fight with them. He is doing the one thing of all others to them that they would not dare to do. They wonder what such a man thinks. If he dares stand up before them and face them with nothing but thinking, what is he thinking?
What he thinks, if it makes him able to do a thing like this, must have some man-stuff in it. They prefer to wait and see what he thinks.
Courage consists in not being afraid of one's own mind and of other people's minds. When men become so afraid of one another's minds and of their own minds that they cannot think, they have to back down and fight. They are cowards.
They do not know what they think.
They do not know what they want.
THE TECHNIQUE OF COURAGE
I have never known a coward.
I have known men who did cowardly things and who were capable of cowardly thoughts, but I have never known a man who could be fairly and finally classified as a coward.
Courage is a process.
If people are cowards it is because they are in a hurry.
They have not taken the pains to see what they think.
The man who has taken the time to think down through to what he really wants and to what he is bound to get, is always (and sometimes very suddenly and unexpectedly) a courageous man.
It is the man who is half wondering whether he really wants what he thinks he wants or not, or whether he can get it or not, who is a coward.
The coward is a half man. He is slovenly minded about himself. He gets out of the hard work of seeing through himself, of driving on through what he supposes he wants, to what he knows he wants.
So, after all, it is a long, slow, patient pull, being a courageous man. Few men have the nerve to take the time to attend to it.
The first part of courage consists in all this hard work one has to put in on one's soul day after day, and over and over again, doggedly, going back to it. What is it that I really want?
The second, or more brilliant-looking part of courage, the courageous act itself (like Roosevelt's when he is shot), which everybody notices, is easy. The real courage is over then.
Courage consists in seeing so clearly something that one wants to get that one is more afraid of not getting it than one is of anything that can get in the way.
The first thing that society is ever able to do with the lowest type of labouring man seems to be to get him to want something. It has to think out ways of getting him waked up, of getting him to be decently selfish, and to want something for himself. He only wants a little at first; he wants something for himself to-day and he has courage for to-day. Then perhaps he wants something for himself for to-morrow, or next week, or next year, and he has courage for next week, or for next year. Then he wants something for his family, or for his wife, and he has courage for his family, or for his wife.
Gradually he sees further and wants something for his class. His courage mounts up by leaps and bounds when he is liberated into his class. Then he discovers the implacable mutual interest of his class with the other classes, and he thinks of things he wants for all the classes. He thinks the classes together into a world, and becomes a man. He has courage for the world.
When men see, whether they are rich or poor, what they want, what they believe they can get, they are not afraid.
The next great work of the best employers is to get labour to want enough. Labour is tired and mechanical-minded. The next work of the better class of labourer, or the stronger kind of Trades Union, is to get capital to want enough. Capital is tired, too. It does not see really big, worth-while things that can be done with capital, and has no courage for these things.
The larger the range and the larger the variety of social desire the greater the courage.
The problem in modern industry is the arousing of the imaginations of capitalists and labourers so that they see something that gives them courage for themselves and for one another, and courage for the world.
The world belongs to the men of vision—the men who are not afraid—the men who see things that they have made up their minds to get.
Who are the men to-day, in all walks of life, who want the most things for the most people, and who have made up their minds to get them?
There is just one man we will follow to-day—those of us who belong to the crowd—the man who is alive all over, who is deeply and gloriously covetous, the man who sees things he wants for himself, and who therefore has courage for himself, and who sees things he wants and is bound to get for other people, and who therefore has courage for other people.
This is the hardest kind of courage to have—courage for other people.
THE MEN WHO WANT THINGS
During the coal strike I took up my morning paper and read from a speech by Vernon Hartshorn, the miners' leader: "In a week's time, by tying up the railways and other means of transportation, we could so paralyze the country that the government would come to us on their knees and beg us to go to work on terms they are now flouting as impossible."
During the dockers' strike I took up my morning paper and read Ben Tillett's speech, at the meeting the day before, to fifty thousand strikers on Tower Hill. "'I am going to ask you to join me in a prayer,' Tillett said. 'Lord Devonport has contributed to the murder, by starvation, of your children, your women, and your men. I am not going to ask you to do it, but I am going to call on God to strike Lord Devonport dead,' He asked those who were prepared to repeat the 'prayer' to hold up their hands. Countless hands were held up, and cries: 'Strike him doubly stone dead!' The men then repeated the following 'prayer', word for word, after Tillett:
"'O God, strike Lord Devonport dead.'
"Afterward the strikers chanted the words: 'He shall die! He shall die!'"
There are times when it is very hard to have courage for other people.
It is when one watches people doing cowardly things that one finds it hardest to have courage for them.
I felt the same way both mornings at first when I held my paper in my hand and thought about what I had read, about the government's going down on its knees, and about God's striking Lord Devonport dead.
The first feeling was one of profound resentment, shame—a huge, helpless, muddle-headed anger.
I had not the slightest trace of courage for the miners; I did not see how the government could have any courage for them. And I had no courage for the dockers, or for what could be expected of the dockers. I did not see how Lord Devonport could have any courage for them.
I repeated their prayer to myself.
The dockers were cowards. I was not going to try to sympathize with them, or try to be reasonable about them. It was nothing that they were desperate and had prayed. Was I not desperate too? Would not the very thought that fifty thousand men could pray a prayer like that make any man desperate? It was as if I had stood and heard fifty thousand beasts roaring to their god.
"They are desperate," I said to myself: "I will not take what they think seriously. It does not matter what desperate people think."
Then I waited a minute. "But I am desperate, too," I said; "I must not take what I think seriously. It does not matter what desperate people think."
I thought about this a little, and drove it in.
"What I think will matter more a little later, perhaps, when I get over being desperate."
"Perhaps what the dockers think will matter more a little later, too."
In the meantime are not their scared and hateful opinions as good as my scared and hateful opinions?
The important and final opinions, the ones to be taken seriously, that can be acted on, will be the opinions of those who get over being scared and hateful first.
Then I stood up for myself.
I had a reason for being scared and hateful. They and their prayer drove me to be scared and hateful.
I thought again.
Perhaps they had a reason, too.
Then it all came over me. I became a human being all in a minute when I thought of it.
I became suddenly full of courage for the hateful dockers.
I thought how much more discouraging it would be if they had not been hateful at all.
* * * * *
I do not imagine God was sorry when He heard those fifty thousand dockers asking Him to strike Lord Devonport dead.
Not that He would have approved of it.
It was not the last word of wisdom or reasonableness. It was lacking in beauty and distinction as a petition, as being just the right form of prayer for those fifty thousand faultless dockers up on Tower Hill that afternoon (the whole of London listening, in that shocked and proper way that London has).
But I have not lost all courage for the dockers who made it.
They still want something! They still are men! They still stand up when they speak to Heaven! There is some stuff in them yet! They make heaven and earth ring to get a word with God!
This all means something to God, probably.
Perhaps it might mean something to us.
We are superior persons, it is true. We do not pray the way they pray.
We believe in being more self-controlled. We take our breakfasts quietly, and with high collars and silk hats, and with gilt prayer-books we go into the presence of our Maker. We believe in being calm and reasonable.
But if men who have not enough to eat are so half-dead and so worthless that they can feel calm and reasonable about it, and can always be precisely right and always say precisely the right thing—if, with their wives fainting in their arms and their babies crying for food, all that those dockers had character enough to do, up on Tower Hill, was to make a polite, smooth, Anglican prayer to God—a prayer like a kind of blessing before not having any meat, and not that awful, fateful, husky cry to Heaven, a roar or rending of their hearts up to the black and empty sky—what would such men have been good for? What hope or courage could any one have for them, for such men at such a time, if they would not, if they could not, come thundering and breaking into His presence, fifty thousand strong, to get what they want?
I may not know God, but whatever else He is, I feel sure that He is not a precise stickler-god, that He is not pompous about spiritual manners, a huge, literal-minded, Proper Person, who cannot make allowances for human nature, who cannot hear what humble, rough men like these, hewing their vast desires for Him out of darkness, and out of little foolish words, are trying to say to Him.
And perhaps we, too, do not need to be literal-minded about a prayer that we may hear, or that we may overhear, roaring its way up past our smooth, beautiful lives rudely to Heaven.
What is the gist of the prayer to God, and to us?
What is it that the men are trying to say in this awful, flaming, blackening metaphor of wishing Lord Devonport dead?
The gist of it is that they mean to say, whether they are right or wrong (like us, as we would say, whether we were right or wrong), they mean to say that they have a right to live.
In other words, the gist of it is that we are like them, and that they are like us.
I, too, in my hour of deepest trial, with no silk hat, with no gloves, with no gilt prayer-book, as I should, have flashed out my will upon my God. I, too, have cried with Paul, with Job, across my sin—my sin that very moment heaped up upon my lips—have broken wildly in upon that still, white floor of Heaven!
And when the dockers break up through, fling themselves upon their God, what is it, after all, but another way of saying, "I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God...."
It may have been wicked in the dockers to address God in this way, but it would have been more wicked in them not to think He could understand.
I believe, for one, that when Jacob wrestled with the angel, God looked on and liked it.
The angel was a mere representative at best, and Jacob was really wrestling with God.
And God knew it and liked it.
Praying to strike Lord Devonport dead was the dockers' way of saying to God that there was something on their minds that simply could not be said.
I can imagine that this would interest a God, a prayer like the dockers' prayer, so spent, so desperate, so unreasonable, breaking through to that still, white floor of Heaven!
And it does seem as if, in our more humble, homely, and useful capacity as fellow human beings, it might interest us.
It seems as if, possibly, we might stop criticising people who pray harder than we do, pointing out that wrestling with God is really rather rude—as if we might stop and see what it means to God and what it means to us, and what there is that we might do, you and I, oh, Gentle Reader, to make it possible for the dockers on Tower Hill to be more polite, perhaps, more polished, as it were, when they speak to God next time.
Perhaps nothing the dockers could do in the way of being violent could be more stupid and wicked than having all these sleek, beautiful, perfect people, twenty-six million of them, all expecting them not to be violent.
In my own quiet, gentle, implacable beauty of spirit, in my own ruthless wisdom on a full stomach, I do not deny that I do most sternly disapprove of the dockers and their violence.
But it is better than nothing, thank God!
They want something.
It gives me something to hope for, and to have courage for, about them—that they want something.
Possibly if we could get them started wanting something, even some little narrow and rather mean thing, like having enough to eat—possibly they will go on to art galleries, to peace societies, and cathedrals next, and to making very beautiful prayers (alas, Gentle Reader, how can I say it?) like you—Heaven help us!—and like me!
I would have but one objection to letting the dockers have their full way, and to letting the control of the situation be put into their hands.
They do not hunger enough.
They are merely hungering for themselves.
This may be a reason for not letting the world get entirely into their hands, but in the meantime we have every reason to be appreciative of the good the dockers are doing (so far as it goes) in hungering for themselves.
It would be strange indeed if one could not tolerate in dockers a little thing like this. Babies do it. It is the first decency in all of us. It is the first condition of our knowing enough, or amounting to enough, to ever hunger for any one else. Everybody has to make a beginning somewhere. Even a Saint Francis, the man who hungers and thirsts for righteousness, who rises to the heights of social-mindedness, who hungers and thirsts for everybody, begins all alone, at the breast.
Which is there of us who, if we had not begun our own hungering and thirsting for righteousness, our tugging on God, in this old, lonely, preoccupied, selfish-looking way, would ever have grown up, would ever have wanted enough things to belong to a Church of England, for instance, or to a Congregational Home Missionary Society?
It is true that the dockers are, for the moment (alas, fifty or sixty years or so!), merely wanting things for themselves, or wanting things for their own class. And so would we if we had been born, brought up, and embedded in a society which allowed us so little for ourselves that not growing up morally—keeping on over and over again, year after year, just wanting things for ourselves, and not really being weaned yet—was all that was left to us.
There is really considerable spiritual truth in having enough to eat.
Sometimes I have thought it would be not unhelpful, would make a little ring of gentle-heartedness around us, some of us—those of us who live protected lives and pray such rich, versatile prayers, if we would stop and think what a docker would have to do, what arrangements a docker would have to make before he could enjoy praying with us—falling back into our beautiful, soft, luxurious wanting things for others.
Possibly these arrangements, such as they are, are the ones the dockers are trying to make with Lord Devonport now.
The docker is trying to get through hungering for something to eat, to arrange gradually to have his hungers move on.
MEN WHO GET THINGS
All the virtues are hungers. A vice is the failure of desire. A vice is a man's failure to have enough big hungers at hand, sternly within reach, to control his little ones.
A man who is doing wrong is essentially bored. He has let himself drop into doing rows of half-things, or things which he can only half do. He forgets, for the moment, what it really is that he wants, or possibly that he wants anything. Then it is that the one little, mean Lonely Hunger—a glass of liquor, a second piece of pie, another man's wife, or a million dollars, runs away with him.
When a man sins it is because his appetites fail him. Self-control lies in maintaining checks and balances of desire, centripetals, and centrifugals of desire. The worst thing that could happen to the world would be to have it placed in the hands of men who only have a gift of hungering for certain sorts of things, or hungering for certain classes of people, or hungering for themselves.
We do not want the man who is merely hungering for himself to rule the world—not because we feel superior to him, but because a man who is merely hungering for himself cannot be taken seriously as an authority on worlds. People can take him seriously as an authority on his own hunger. But what he thinks about everything beyond that point cannot be taken seriously. What he thinks about how the world should be run, about what other people want, what labour and capital want, cannot be taken seriously.
I will not yield place to any one in my sympathy with the dockers.
I like to think that I too, given the same grandfathers, the same sleeping rooms and neighbours, the same milk, the same tincture of religion, would dare to do what they have done.
But I cannot be content, as I take my stand by the dockers, with sympathizing in general. I want to sympathize to the point.
And on the practical side of what to do next in behalf of the dockers, or of what to let them do, I find myself facing two facts:
First, the dockers are desperate. I take their desperation as conclusive and imperative. It must be obeyed.
Second, I do not care what they think.
What they think must not be obeyed. Men who are in the act of being scared or hateful, whether it be for five minutes, jive months, or sixty years, who have given up their courage for others, or for their enemies, are not practical. What a man who despairs of everybody except himself thinks, does not work and cannot be made to work. The fact that the dockers have no courage about their employers may be largely the employers' fault. It is largely the fault of society, of the churches, the schools, the daily press. But the fact remains, and whichever side in the contest has, or is able to have, first, the most courage for the other side, whichever side wants the most for the other side, will be the side that will get the most control.
If Labour, in the form of syndicalism, wants to grasp the raw materials, machinery, and management of modern industry out of the hands of the capitalists and run the world, the one shrewd, invincible way for Labour to do it is going to be to want more things for more people than capitalists can want.
The only people, to-day, who are going to be competent to run a world, or who can get hold of even one end of it to try to run it, are going to be the people who want a world, who have a habit, who may be said to be almost in a rut, of wanting things all day, every day, for a world—men who cannot keep narrowed down very long at a time to wanting things for themselves.
There will be little need of our all falling into a panic, or all being obliged to rely on policemen, or to call out troops to stave off an uprising of the labour classes as long as the labour classes are merely wanting things for themselves. It is the men who have the bigger hungers who are getting the bigger sorts of things—things like worlds into their hands. The me-man and the class-man, under our modern conditions, are being more and more kept back and held under in the smaller places, the me-places and class-places, by the men who want more things than they can want, who lap over into wanting things for others.
The me-man often may see what he wants clearly and may say what he wants.
But he does not get it. It is the class-man who gets it for him.
The class-man may see what he wants for his class clearly and may say what he wants.
But he does not get it. It is the crowd-man who gets it for him.
It is a little startling, the grim, brilliant, beautiful way that God has worked it out!
It is one of His usual paradoxes.
The thing in a man that makes it possible for him to get things more than other people can get them is his margin of unselfishness.
He gets things by seeing with the thing that he wants all that lies around it. With equal clearness he is seeing all the time the people and the things that are in the way of what he wants; how the people look or try to look, how they feel or try to make him think they feel, what they believe and do not believe or can be made to believe; he sees what he wants in a vast setting of what he cannot get with people, and of what he can—in a huge moving picture of the interests of others.
The man who, in fulfilling and making the most of himself, can get outside of himself into his class, who, in being a good class-man, can overflow into being a man of the world, is the man who gets what he wants.
I am hopeful about Labour and Capital to-day because in the industrial world, as at present constituted in our cooeperative age, the men who can get what they want, who get results out of other people, are the men who have the largest, most sensitive outfits for wanting things for other people.
If there is one thing rather than another that fills one with courage for the outlook of labouring men to-day it is the colossal failure Ben Tillett makes in leading them in prayer.
Even the dockers, perhaps the most casually employed, the most spent and desperate class of Labour of all, only prayed Ben Tillet's prayer a minute and they were sorry the day after.
And it was Ben Tillett's prayer in the end that lost them their cause—a prayer that filled all England on the next day with the rage of Labour—that a man like Ben Tillett, with such a mean, scared, narrow little prayer, should dare to represent Labour.
In the same way, after the shooting in the Lawrence strike, when all those men (Syndicalists) had streamed through the streets, showing off before everybody their fine, brave-looking thoughtless, superficial, guillotine feelings and their furious little banner, "No God and no Master"—it did one good, only a day or so later, to see a vast crowd of Lawrence workers, thirty thousand strong, tramping through the streets, singing, with bands of music, and with banners, "In God we trust" and "One is our Master, even Christ"—thousands of men who had never been inside a church, thousands of men who could never have looked up a verse in the Bible, still found themselves marching in a procession, snatching up these old and pious mottoes and joining in hymns they did not know, all to contradict, and to contradict thirty thousand strong, the idea that the blood and froth, the fear and unbelief, of the Industrial Workers of the World represented or could ever be supposed to represent for one moment the manhood and the courage, the faithfulness and (even in the hour of their extremity) the quiet-heartedness, the human loyalty and self-forgetfulness, the moral dignity of the American workingman.
It cannot truly be said that the typical modern labouring man, whether in America or England, is a coward; that he has no desire, no courage, for any one except for himself and for his own class. Mr. O'Connor of the Dockers' Organization in the East of Scotland, said at the time of the strike of the dockers in London: "This kind of business of the bureaucratic labour men in London, issuing orders for men to stop work all over the country, is against the spirit of the trades unions of England. It is a thing we cannot possibly stand. We have an agreement with the employers, and we have no intention of breaking it."
It cannot be said that the typical modern labourer is listening seriously to the Syndicalist or to the Industrial Worker of the World when he tells him that Labour alone can save itself, and that Labour alone can save the world. He knows that any scheme of social and industrial reform which leaves any class out, rich or poor, which does not see that everybody is to blame, which does not see that everybody is responsible, which does not arrange or begin to arrange opportunity and expectation for every man and every degree and kind of man, and does not do it just where that man is, and do it now, is superficial.
If we are going to have a society that is for all of us, it will take all of us, and all of us together, to make it. Mutual expectation alone can make a great society. Mutual expectation, or courage for others, persistently and patiently and flexibly applied—applied to details by small men, applied to wholes by bigger ones—is going to be the next big serious, unsentimental, practical industrial achievement. And I do not believe that for sheer sentiment's sake we are going to begin by rooting up millionaires and, with one glorious thoughtless sweep, saying, "We will have a new world," without asking at least some of the owners of it to help, or at least letting them in on good behaviour. Nor are we going to begin by rooting up trade unions and labour leaders.
The great organizations of Capital in the world to-day are daily engaged, through competition and experiment and observation, in educating one another and finding out what they really want and what they can really do; and it is equally true that the great organizations of labour, in the same way, are educating one another.
The real fight of modern industry to-day is an educational fight. And the fight is being conducted, not between Labour and Capital, but between the labouring men who have courage for Capital and labouring men who have not, and between capitalists who have courage for Labour and those who have not. To put it briefly, the real industrial fight to-day is between those who have courage and those who have not.
It is not hard to tell, in a fight between men who have courage and men who have not, which will win.
Probably, whatever else is the matter with them, the world will be the most safe in the hands of the men who have the most courage.
There are four items of courage I would like to see duly discussed in the meetings of the trades unions in America and England.
First, A discussion of trades unions. Why is it that, when the leaders of trades unions come to know employers better than the other men do and begin to see the other side and to have some courage about employers and to become practicable and reasonable, the unions drop them?
Second, Why is it that, in a large degree, the big employers, when they succeed in getting skilled representatives or managers who come to know and to understand their labouring men better than they do, do not drop them? Why is it that, day by day, on all sides in America and England, one sees the employing class advancing men who have a genius for being believed in, to at first questioned, and then to almost unquestioned, control of their business? If this is true, does it not seem on the whole that industry is safer in the hands of employers who have courage for both sides and who see both sides than of employees who do not? Does not the remedy for trades unions and employees, if they want to get control, seem to be, instead of fighting, to see if they cannot see both sides quicker, and see them better, than their employers do?
Third, A discussion of efficiency in a National Labour Party from the point of view of the trend of national efficiency in business. Apparently the most efficient and shrewd business men in England and America are the men who are running what might be called lubricated industries—who are making their industries succeed on the principle of sympathetic, smooth-running, mutual interests. If the successful modern business man who owns factories is not running each factory as a small civil war, is it not true that the only practical and successful Labour Party in England, the only party that can get things done for labour and that can hold power, is bound to be the party that succeeds in having the most courage for both sides, in seeing the most mutual interests, and in seeing how these interests can be put together, and in seeing it first and acting on it before any other merely one-sided party would be able to think it out?
Fourth, A discussion of the selection of the best labour leaders to place at the head of the unions.
Nearly every man who succeeds in business notably, succeeds in believing something about the people with whom he deals that the men around him have not believed before, or in believing something which, if they did believe it, they had not applied or acted as if they had believed before. If, in order to succeed, a business man does not believe something that needs to be believed before other people believe it, he hires somebody who does believe it to believe it for him.
Perhaps Labour would find it profitable to act on this principle too, and to see to it that the leaders chosen to act for them are not the noisiest minded, but the most creative men, the men who can express original, shrewd faiths in the men with whom they have to deal—faiths that the men around them will be grateful (after a second thought) to have expressed next.
* * * * *
In the meantime, whether among the labourers or the capitalists, however long it may take, it is not hard to see, on every hand to-day, the world about us slowly, implacably getting into the hands of the men, poor or rich, who have the most keen, patient courage about other people, the men who are "good" (God save the word!), the men who have practical, working human sympathies and a sense of possibilities in those above them and beneath them with whom they work—the men who most clearly, eagerly, and doggedly want things for others, who have the most courage for others.
I have thought that if we could find out what this courage is, how it works, how it can be had, and where it comes from, it might be more worth our while to know than any other one thing in the world.
I would like to try to consider a few of the sources of this courage for others.
SOURCES OF COURAGE FOR OTHERS—TOLERATION
After making an address on inspired millionaires one night before the Sociological Society in their quarters in John Street, I found myself the next day—a six-penny day—standing thoughtfully in the quarters of the Zooelogical Society in Regent's Park.
The Zooelogical Society makes one feel more humble, I think, than the Sociological Society does.
All sociologists, members of Parliament, eugenists, professors, and others, ought to be compelled by law to spend one day every two weeks with the Zooelogical Society in Regent's Park.
All reformers who essay to make over human nature, all idealists, should be required by law to visit menageries—to go to see them faithfully or to be put in them a while until they have observed life and thought things out.
A GREEN BENCH, THE ZOO, REGENT'S PARK, 1911.
For orienting a man and making him reasonable, there is nothing, I find, like coming out and putting in a day here, making one's self gaze firmly and doggedly at the other animals.
We have every reason to believe that Noah was a good psychologist, or judge of human nature, before he went into the ark, but if he was not, he certainly would have come out one.
There is nothing like a menagerie to limber one up.
Especially an idealist.
Take a pelican, for instance. What possible personal ideal was it that could make a pelican want to be a pelican or that could ever have made a pelican take being a pelican seriously for one minute?
And the camel with his lopsided hump. "Why, oh, why," cries the idealist, wringing his hands. "Oh, why——?"
I have come out here this afternoon, in the middle of my book, in the middle of a chapter against the syndicalists, but it ill beseems me, after spending half a day looking calmly at peacocks, at giraffes, at hippopotamuses, at all these tails, necks, legs and mouths, at this stretch or bird's eye view—this vast landscape of God's toleration—to criticise any man, woman or child of this world for blossoming out, for living up, or fleshing up, or paring down, to what he is really like inside.
Possibly what each man stands for is well enough for him to stand for. It is only when what a man says, comes to being repeated, to being made universal, to being jammed down on the rest of us, that the lie in it begins to work out.
Let us let everybody alone and be ready to find things out just for ourselves.
Here is this big, frivolous, gentle elephant, for instance, poking his huge, inquiring trunk into baby carriages. He is certainly too glorious, too profound, a personage to do such things! It does seem a little unworthy to me, as I have been sitting here and watching him from this park bench, for a noble, solemn being like the elephant—a kind of cathedral of a beast, to be as deeply interested as he is in peanuts.
He looms up before me once more. I look up a little closer—look into his little, shrewd eyes—and, after all, what do I know about him?
And I watch the camels with the happy, dazed children on their backs, go by with soft and drifting feet. Do I suppose I understand camels? Or I follow the crowd. I find myself at last with that huge, hushed, sympathetic congregation at the 4 P.M. service, watching the lions eat.
Everything does seem very much mixed up when one brings one's Sociological Society dogmas, and one's little neat, impeccable row of principles to the test of watching the lions eat!
Possibly people are as different from one another inside—in their souls at least—as different as these animals are.
It is true, of course, that as we go about, people do have a plausible way in this world—all these other people, of looking like us.
But they are different inside.
If one could stand on a platform as one was about to speak and could really see the souls of any audience—say of a thousand people—lying out there before one, they would be a menagerie beside which, O Gentle Reader, I dare to believe, Barnum and Bailey's menagerie would pale in comparison.
But in a menagerie (perhaps you have noticed it, Gentle Reader) one treats the animals seriously, and as if they were Individuals.
They are what they are.
Why not treat people's souls seriously?
It is true that people's souls, like the animals, are alike in a general way. They all have in common (in spiritual things) organs of observation, appropriation, digestion and organs of self-reproduction.
But these spiritual organs of digestion which they have are theirs.
And these organs of self-reproduction are for the purpose of reproducing themselves and not us.
These are my reflections, or these try to be my reflections when I consider the Syndicalist—how he grows or when I look up and see a class-war socialist—an Upton Sinclair banging loosely about the world.
My first wild, aboriginal impulse with Upton Sinclair when I come up to him as I do sometimes—violent, vociferous roaring behind his bars, is to whisk him right over from being an Upton Sinclair into being me. I do not deny it.
Then I remember softly, suddenly, how I felt when I was watching the lions eat.
I remember the pelican.
Thus I save my soul in time.
Incidentally, of course, Upton Sinclair's insides are saved also.
It is beautiful the way the wild beasts in their cages persuade one almost to be a Christian!
Of course when one gets smoothed down one always sees people very differently. In being tolerant the rub comes usually (with me) in being tolerant in time. I am tempted at first, when I am with Upton Sinclair, to act as if he were a whole world of Upton Sinclairs and of course (anybody would admit it) if he really were a whole world of Upton Sinclairs he would have to be wiped out. There would be nothing else to do. But he is not and it is not fair to him or fair to the world to act as if he were.
The moment I see he is confining himself to just being Upton Sinclair I rather like him.
It is the same with Ella Wheeler Wilcox. It is when I fall to thinking of her as if she were, or were in danger of being, a whole world of Ella Wheeler Wilcoxes that I grow intolerant of her. Ella Wheeler Wilcox as a Tincture, which is what she really is, of course, is well enough. I do not mind.
The real truth about a man like Upton Sinclair, when one has worked down through to it, is that while from my point of view a class-war socialist—a man who proposes to put society together by keeping men apart—is wrong and is sure to do a great deal of harm to some people, there are other people to whom he does a great deal of good.
There really are people who need Upton Sinclair. It may be a hard fact to face perhaps, but when one faces it one is glad there is one. Some of the millionaires need Sinclair. There are others whose attention would be attracted better in more subtle ways.
The class-war socialist, though I may be at this moment in the very act of trying to make him impossible, to put him out of date, has been and is, in his own place and his own time, I gratefully acknowledge, of incalculable value.
Any man who can, by saying violent and noisy things, make rich, tired, mechanical-minded people, and poor, tired mechanical-minded people wake up enough to feel hateful has performed a public service. The hatefulness is the beginning of their being covetous for other things than the things they have. If a man has a habit of hunger he gets better and better hungers as a matter of course; bread and milk, ribbons, geraniums, millinery, bathtubs, Bibles, copartnership associations. And in the meantime the one precious thing to be looked out for in a man, and to be held sacred, is his hunger.
The one important religious value in the world is hunger and to all the men to-day who are contributing to the process of moving on hungers; whether the hungers happen to be our hungers or not or our stages of hunger or not, we say Godspeed.
There are times when the sudden sense one comes to have that the world is a struggle, a great prayer toward the sun, a tumult and groping of desire, the sense that every kind and type of desire has its time and its place in it and every kind and type of man, gives a whole new meaning to life. This sense of a now possible toleration which we come to have, some of us, opens up to us always when it comes a new world of courage about people. It makes all these dear, clumsy people about us suddenly mean something. It makes them all suddenly belong somewhere. They become, as by a kind of miracle, bathed in a new light, wrong-headed, intolerable though they be, one still sees them flowing out into the great endless stream of becoming—all these dots of the vast desire, all these queer, funny, struggling little sons of God!
It has been overlooked that social reform primarily is not a matter of legislation or of industrial or political systems, or of machinery, but a matter, of psychology, of insight into human nature and of expert reading and interpretation of the minds of men. What are they thinking about? What do they think they want?
The trades unions and employers' associations, extreme socialists and extreme Tories have so far been very bad psychologists. If the Single Tax people were as good at being intuitionalists or idea-salesmen as they are at being philosophers in ideas they would long before this have turned everything their way. They would have begun with people's hungers and worked out from them. They would have listened to people to find out what their hungers were. The people who will stop being theoretical and logical about each other and who will look hard into each other's eyes will be the people whose ideas will first come to pass. Everything we try to do or say or bring to pass in England or America is going to begin after this, not in talking, but in listening. If social reformers and industrial leaders had been good listeners, the social deadlock—England with its House of Lords and railroads both on strike and America with its great industries quarrelling—would have been arranged for and got out of the way over twenty years ago.
We have overlooked the first step of industrial reform, the rather extreme step of listening. The most hard-headed and conclusive man to settle any given industrial difficulty is the man who has the gift of divining what is going on in other people's minds, a gift for being human, a gift for treating everybody who disagrees with him as if they might possibly be human too, though they are very poor, even though they are very rich. Practical psychology has come to be not only the only solution but also the only method of our modern industrial questions. Being so human that one can guess what any possible human being would think is the one hard-headed and practical way to meet the modern labour problem.
The first symptom of being human in a man is his range and power of shrewd, happy toleration, or courage for people who know as little now as he knew once.
A man's sense of toleration is based primarily upon the range and power of his knowledge of himself, upon his power of remembering and anticipating himself, upon his laughing with God at himself, upon his habit in darkness, weariness or despair, or in silent victory and joy, of falling on his knees.
Toleration is reverence. It is the first source of courage for other people.
Some people think of the world as if it were made all through, people and all, of reinforced concrete, as if everything in it—men, women, children, churches, colleges, and parties, were solidly, inextricably imbedded in it.
Every age in history has had to get on as well as it could with two sets of totally impracticable people, our two great orders of Philistines in this world, the people who put their trust in Portland Cement and the people who put their trust in Explosives.
There has not been a single great movement in history yet that every thoughtful man has not had to watch being held up by these people—by millions of worthy, simple, rudimentary creatures who consent to be mere conservatives or mere radicals.
One set says, "People cannot be converted so we will blow them up."
The other set says, "We are going to be blown up, so let us put on Plaster of Paris as a garment, we will array ourselves before the Lord in Portland Cement."
Both of these classes of people believe alike on one main point.
They do not believe in Conversion.
If the conservatives believed in conversion they would not be so afraid that they feel obliged to resort to Portland Cement. If the radicals believed in conversion they would not be so afraid that they feel obliged to resort to Explosives.
In our machine civilization to these two great standard classes of scared people, there has been added what seems to be a third class—the people who have responded to a kind of motor spirit in the time, who have modulated a little their unbelief in human nature. They have substituted for their reinforced concrete Unbelief, a kind of Whirling Unbelief, called machinery.
They admit that in our modern life men are not made of reinforced concrete. We may move, but we move as wheels move, they tell us. We arc whirlingly imbedded. We are cogs and wheels in an Economic Machine.
I would like to consider for a moment this Whirling Unbelief.
There was a time once when I took the Economic Machine very seriously.
I looked up when I went by, at the Economic Machine as the last and the most terrific of the inventions among the machines. The machine that mocked all the other machines, that made all our machines look pathetic and ridiculous, was the Economic Machine. There were days when I heard it or seemed to hear it—this Economic Machine closing in around my life, around all our lives like the last hoarse mocking laugh of civilization.
I said I will love every machine that runs except the Economic Machine—the machine for making people into machines.
But one day when I had waited or dared to wait, I know not why, a little longer than usual before the Whirling Unbelief, I heard the hoarse mocking laugh die away. I became very quiet. I began to think, I reflected on my experiences. I began to notice things.
I noted that every time I had found myself being discouraged about people, I had caught myself thinking of people as Cogs and Wheels.
Were they really Cogs and Wheels?
Possibly it was merely the easiest, most mechanical-minded thing to do to think of people (with all this machinery around one) as cogs and wheels in an economic machine.
Then it began to occur to me that it was because I had looked upon the economic machine a little lazily, a little innocently that I had been awed and terrific—and had been swept away with it into the Whirling Unbelief.
Then I stood quietly and calmly for days, for weeks, for years before it. I watched it Go Round.
I then discovered under close observation that what had looked to me like an economic machine was not an economic machine at all.
The modern economic world has innumerable mechanical elements in it, but it is not an economic machine.
It is a biological engine.
It is the biology in it that conceives, desires, and determines the machinery in it.
The most important parts of the machine are not the very mechanical parts. They are the very biological parts.
The economic machine is full of made-people, but it does not make very much difference about the made-people. I find that as a plain, practical matter of fact I do not need to watch the made-people so very much to understand the world, or to get ready for what is happening to it.
In prospecting for a world, I watch the born people.
I watch especially the people who have been born twice.
As one watches the way the world is going round one finds that what is really making it go round, is not its being an economic machine, but its being a biological engine.
Industrial reform is a branch of biology.
The main fact of biology as regards a man is that he can be born.
The main fact of biology as regards society—that is, the main fact of social biology—is that a man can be born twice.
As long as a man is born to go with a father and a mother it is well enough to have been born once, but the moment a man deals with other people or with the world, he has to be born again.
This is the main fact about the biological engine we call the world.
The main fact about the Engine is the biology in it.
Every other fact for a man has to be worked out from this—that is: out of being born once if one wants to belong merely to a father and mother, and out of being born twice if one wants to belong to a world.
A man does not need to enter again into his mother's womb and come out a child. He enters into the World's Womb and comes out a man.
* * * * *
The world is being placed to-day before our eyes in the hands of the men who are born twice.
Not all men are cogs and wheels.
The first day I discovered this and believed this I went out into the streets and looked into the faces of the men and the women and I looked up at the factories and the churches and I was not afraid.
I do not deny that cogs and wheels are very common.
But I do not believe that an economic system or industrial scheme based on the general principle of arranging a world for cogs and wheels would work. I believe in arranging the world on the principle that there are now and are going to be always enough men in it who are born, and enough who are born twice to keep cogs and wheels doing the things men who have been born twice, who have visions for worlds, want done, and to keep people who prefer being cogs and wheels where they will work best and where they will help the running gear of the planet most—by going round and round, in the way they like—going round and round and round and round.
But why is it, one cannot help wondering, that the moment a man rises up suddenly in this modern world and bases or seeks to base an industrial or social reform frankly on courage for other people, on believing in the inherent and eternal power of men of changing their minds, of being put up in new kinds and new sizes of men, in other words, on conversion—why is it that clergymen, atheists, ethical societies, politicians, socialists will all unite, will all flock together and descend upon him, shout and laugh him away, bully him with dead millionaires, bad corporations and humdrum business men, overawe him with mere history, argue him with statistics, and thunder him with sermons out of the world—if he puts up a faint little chirrup of hope that men can be converted?
It is not that the synods, ethical societies, anarchists, the bishops and Bernard Shaw, have merely given up expecting individual men to be converted. There would be a measure of plausibility in giving up on a few particular men's being born again. It is worse than that. What seems to have happened to nearly all the people who have schemes of industrial reform is that they have really given up at one fell swoop a whole new generation's being born again. It is going to be just like this one, they tell us, the new generation—the same old things the same old foolish ways of deceiving the world, that any child can see have not worked—Bernard Shaw and the bishops whisper to us, are coming around and around again. They must be planned for. All these young men of wealth about us who read the papers and who are ashamed of their fathers are going to be just like their fathers. The atheists, the socialists, and the single taxers, missionaries and evangelists have given up their last loophole of hope in the new business generation and they trust only to machines to save us, or to professors, or to paper-treatises on eugenics!
And yet, after all, if we were going to start an absolute, decisive, and practical scheme of eugenics to-morrow with whom would we begin, with which particular people would we begin? We would have to go back, Bernard Shaw and the bishops and all of us, to the New Testament—to the old idea of being born again.
I have watched now these many years the professors, caught in their culture-machines going round and round, and the priests caught in their religion-machines going round and round, and the business men caught in their economic machine, and I have heard them all saying over and over in a kind of terrible sing-song day and night, the silly, lazy words of a glorious old roue four thousand years ago, "The thing that hath been is the thing which shall be, and that which is done is that which shall be done and there is no new thing under the sun."
There are some of us who do not believe this. We defy the culture-machines. We believe that even professors can be converted, can be educated.
We defy the bishops. We believe that business men can be converted.
We defy the business men. We believe the bishops can be converted.
I speak for a thousand, thousand men.
In the hum and drive of the wheels and the great roar around me of the Whirling Unbelief. I speak for these men—for all of us. We are not cogs and wheels. We are men. We are born again ourselves. Other men can be born again.
Men shall not look each other in the eyes wisely and nod their heads and say that human nature will not change.
We will change it. If we cannot get but two or three together to change it, then two or three by just being two or three and by daring to be two or three, or even one if necessary shall change it.
The moment ninety million people in a great nation have welded out a vision of the kind of man of wealth—the kind of employer they want, the moment they set the millionaire in the vise of some great national expectation, carve upon him firmly, implacably the will of the people, the people will have the millionaire they want. If a nation really wants a great man it invents him. We have hut to see we really want him, and that no other machinery will work, and we will invent him.
Necessity is the mother of invention. Here in these United States sixty years ago were we not all at work on a man named Abraham Lincoln? We had been at work on him for years trying to make him into a Lincoln. He could not have begun to be what he was without us, without the daily thought, the responsibility, the tragical national hope and fear, the sense of crisis in a great people. All these had been set to work on him, on making him a Lincoln.
Lincoln would not have dared not to be a great man, an all-people man with a whole mighty nation, with all those millions of watchful, believing people laying their lives softly, silently, their very sons' lives in his hands. He did not have the smallest possible chance from the day he was named for President, to be a second-rate man or to betray a nation, or to back down out of being himself. He had been filled night and day with the vision of a great nation struggling, with the grim glory of it. He was free to make mistakes for it, but there was no way he could have kept from being a true, mighty, single-hearted man for it, if he had tried. We had clinched Lincoln in 1862. He was caught fast in the vise of our hopes.
Perhaps it is because, at certain times in history, nations seem to be siding with the worst in their public men and expecting the worst in them that they get them.
If a crowd wants to be represented, wants to touch to the quick and kindle the man in it, the man filled with vision, the man who is born again into its desire, the crowd-man, they have but to surround him and overshadow him. They will create him, in scorn and joy will they conceive him, and before he knows who he is, they will bring him forth.
It would not be hard, I imagine, to be a great man, with a true, steadied, colossal, single-heartedness, if one were caught fast in the vision, the expectation of a great nation.
To be born again is simple with ninety million people to help. We have all been born again in little things with a few people to help. We have been swung over from little short motives to big, long-levered controlling ones. We have known in a small way what Conversion is. We have seen how naturally it works out in little things.
There is nothing new about it. There is not a man who does not know what it is to get over a small motive. We have seen, when we looked back, what it was that happened.