War was looked upon as a waste of blood and a waste of heroism, so the manufacture of arms was declared to be illegal.
Invention practically ceased.
There was no incentive to invest, as the Humanists had gradually taxed the capitalist out of existence; and it is interesting to note how time proved that the capitalist was essential to inventive progress.
The State desired to improve the flying machine, as flying was still confined to the aeroplane and the dirigible.
The then type of aeroplane could not rise or descend vertically, and only kept in the air when at great speed. The dirigible balloon was of the Zeppelin type, and was not always dependable.
It was decided to invent a machine that could easily rise and descend, and could rest in the air and be independent of all atmospheric conditions. So a State flying machine factory was commenced in England on Salisbury Plain.
The first trouble arose when the building was being erected. Many workers objected to what was called the waste of labor. It was pointed out that under the Socialistic rule, the product of labor had to go to labor, and as the building of the flying machine factory was not producing food or clothing, and the workers on it had to be supported by the labor of the whole community, it was making a distinct class of them, which was illegal. However, the Government went on with the work.
The first machine made was not successful. Then an agitation ensued that it was not equitable and just that the community should support any labor engaged in such a foolish enterprise. It was demanded that the factory should be closed, and the workers set at useful employment, instead of being a burden on the state and reviving the old system of classes.
I remember reading at the time that a leader in the experiments named Cooley, pointed out that the successful machine would save much labor in after years, by giving more efficient means of transport, and that when the successful machine was built the whole community would enjoy the result of the labor expended on it.
He pointed out that in the production of the first aeroplane, the Wright Brothers had spent years of effort in the solution of the problem of aerial navigation, and that a vast amount of labor and material was consumed before the first practical machine was made, so it was, therefore, reasonable to consider that much expenditure of labor and material would have to continue till the perfect machine was found, and that it was worth it all to win that ideal means of transport. The labor of the hand and brain to achieve the perfect flying machine would have to be directed either by a capitalist or by the State. There were now no capitalists, and it was, therefore, the duty of the State to take the matter up notwithstanding the so-called waste of labor and material.
He pointed out that all industry involved waste. That millions of pounds had been spent in experiments in evolving the machines we were using to-day. He also mentioned that he remembered, when in America, that millions of dollars were spent in attempting to tunnel under the Hudson River, at New York, and that many failures were met with before the work was successfully achieved.
He might also have mentioned that all this expense was borne by the capitalist, and that if the State had had charge of it, the enormous waste of money in experiments would have caused a public panic.
He pleaded that all great inventions were developed on expensive experimenting, and the perfect flying machine could only be won in the same way.
The State flying machine factory was, therefore, given another opportunity, and the second flying machine was made. On its first test it failed to rise, so the public objected to the mad enterprise and refused to support the experiments in unprofitable labor. The factory was closed, and the workers put at employment that "showed results."
I mention this incident of the flying machine, as the same opposition was met in other branches of science.
Thus the spirit of invention was suppressed. There was no anxiety to achieve, no desire for individual excellence. With invention ceasing the Age of Brain went out—that Age of Brain that brilliant period in the world's history which only covered one hundred years, yet saw the rise and development of the most brilliant scientists the world had ever seen!
Great brains rose in one brief space of a century, and gave the world railways, steam navigation, electric telegraphs, the telephone, gas and electric lighting, photography, the phonograph, the X-Ray, spectrum analysis, anaesthetics, antiseptics, radium, the cinematograph, the automobile, wireless telegraphy, and the aeroplane; all perfectly new departures from anything previously devised!
That wonderful Age of Brain passed out, giving place to the Age of Brawn!
It was the sunset of ambition, and the remarkable events that followed are all so recent that to give details seems like telling news of general knowledge.
The Trumpet Blast.
It will be remembered that, at the close of the European War, the allied nations of Western Europe had requested Canada, India, Australia, and Africa to open their ports to free admission of German-made goods. Those colonies at first demurred, but assented and gradually drifted towards independence.
During the war these colonies had sent their contingents to help the Mother Country, and at the declaration of peace desired an Imperial Federation throughout the British Empire, but the politicians in the Humanist Government saw no profit in Empire connections. Sentiment had no place in Socialistic policies.
Canada gave free trade to the United States of America, and the barriers between India and the surrounding nations were dropped, whilst the various parts of the British Empire gradually drew apart from Great Britain.
In Asia, freedom of exchange between the nations had welded Russia, India, China, Japan and Siam into a great federation of wonderful prosperity. It was called "the United Nations of Asia."
The barriers of trade that formerly existed between these nations seemed as absurd as a farmer dividing his farm into little plots and trying to cultivate all kinds of plants on each plot instead of putting only wheat in wheat land and corn in corn land.
As Owasi, the great Japanese statesman who brought about the coalition, put it, "Let Asia have the intelligence to utilise its lands to the best advantage. Let it develop each nation's products as the result of natural selection. We can grow rice in India, we can grow wheat in Russia. We can put up a high tariff wall and grow rice in Russia, if we grow it in a hothouse; but it would not be so profitable as raising wheat. Tariff walls are trade restrictions. They are as obsolete as the great wall of China."
"But freedom of exchange will close up some industries," said a critic.
"Yes, if they are run at a loss," Owasi replied, "and besides, some one must pay for that loss, and a loss to one nation instantly acts upon others. Freedom of interchange of trade is reciprocal, both nations gain or they wouldn't trade—and there is amity. When trade is restrained competition commences. Competition soon becomes jealous of the restricted territory and war begins. Commercial wars often begin with a tariff and end with a shell. It is at first a commercial war, but as its intensity develops the bullet and the shell come in. Artificial barriers are obsolete in these days of flying. The airship should be the peace-bringer of the world."
So Eastern and Central Asia developed into great producing nations with the consequent desire for trade expansion—particularly with Australia and with the markets of Western Europe.
The great Asiatic federation opened up close trade relations with Australia. This movement, strange to say, had been predicted in Sydney as far back as April, 1915, when at a public reception to some Japanese journalists, it was pointed out that a most serious moment in the history of Australia would occur when the Australian came back from the big job in Europe, that when he had put his gun in the corner and had taken off his coat for business, he would see the rapidly developing nations of Eastern Asia about to dominate the Pacific trade, and that he would then be wise if he decided at the outset to formulate a policy of peaceful progress and preserve the closest and most friendly trade relations with Japan and Eastern Asia.
Australia, therefore, joined in a trade treaty with Eastern Asia, but Western Europe refused.
It considered that the flooding of its markets with cheap-made Asiatic goods would mean serious opposition to home factories, which were being run under high wages.
Belgium alone stood for freedom of trade exchange with Asia. This single nation in Western Europe that had stood against Socialism was now a nation of great manufacturing capacity, a country of wealthy people, a haven for the thoughtful and the ambitious who were forced out of Humanist nations. Belgium was the centre of European invention.
It could foresee trouble in restricting Asiatic desires for trade exchange, and pleaded with the nations of Western Europe to open their ports. It was pointed out, that out of 300 of the wars in the history of the world, 272 were due to trade causes and only 28 were due to religious or other causes.
It was pointed out that freedom of trade between German States had made Germany so strong, that in 1914 it could fight a fifteen months war with the greatest nations of the world.
But the Humanist nations, being non-militant, turned a deaf ear.
Then a threat of war came from Asia!
It came like a trumpet blast in the ear of a sleeping man, and it found Western Europe unprepared—with its energy wasted under the rule of Socialism, and with its armies and navies almost deteriorated out of existence.
Wilbrid Passes Out.
I remember it was the afternoon of Christmas Day, 1916.
Madame had come across to our little home at Dinant for a few days' rest.
She had almost worked herself to sickness in her active campaign of organising in preparation for the war-storm that threatened Europe.
We were sitting on the verandah, overlooking the river, when we noticed far down the zig-zag track that led to the house, a black-cloaked figure. It was coming towards us and walked with the aid of a stick. As it approached, it brought to my memory a similar figure I had met on the Coblenz road; and I told Madame the story of my meeting with Wilbrid.
"If that is Wilbrid," she exclaimed, "he is spying. He must not see me here."
I explained that it could not be the Great Humanist, as, eighteen months before, he had changed his clerical garb for that of a civilian; and this figure was old and bent, whereas Wilbrid was tall and erect.
I then went down the track to investigate. Within a hundred yards, the person stopped and raised his hand.
"Jefson," was all he said.
It was Wilbrid!—but old, careworn, and almost out of breath.
"Why this change?" I asked, as I came up to him and we moved to a seat at the side of the track.
"I'm down and out," he said. "My mission failed." And his chin sank upon the top of the hand-clasped stick. "The crowd did not understand. You know that I began to preach the doctrine of the Humanist to help the masses to come into their own. You know we won upon the wave of reaction that followed the war. We should have stayed at that level and moved along, but the momentum was too great, the pendulum had swung too far; for when the masses ruled they sinned worse than the party they supplanted. They became more bitter autocrats than the rulers we suppressed.
"Instead of 'Justice for the People,' it was 'Brute Strength for the Mob.'
"I could not stem the flood that I had let loose. Heaven only knows how hard I tried, for when I pleaded that a moderate track be taken, the mob insisted that I sought a place to dominate, and put me in the rut.
"To-day they fear no law of man or God. To-day their self-satisfaction has made them indifferent to anything that elevates. I had led them into a morass, and deeper in the mire have they rushed!"
He sat silent and watched the shadows creeping along the river.
"And what now?" I asked.
"I am going back—back to the monastery. I misread the world, I misread human nature. I was one of the fools who think they know all the statesmanship that controls the destinies of nations, who think their petty untrained minds can grasp the great problems of diplomacy.
"I have found you can only qualify for high administrative posts by unselfish study. You cannot create a statesman by the mere toss of a coin at a political meeting. Though people fitted to rule and lead men to build mighty nations are sometimes born in obscurity, they cannot develop there.
"But I meant rightly—I meant rightly. In my ignorance I have played with a sharp-edged weapon, and it is turning upon me and—civilisation."
"How?" I queried.
"A cataclysm is coming," he said. "I can feel it. No, it will not be within Asia, as many people fear, but within Europe.
"The hasty structure of Humanism cannot stand. Even now it is toppling. It is going to crash, and from the ruins another creed will rise, a creed, I trust, more rational.
"I was passing home, so came to tell you."
Then Madame came down the track.
Wilbrid rose as she approached. His hand shook as he removed his black broad-brimmed hat. They stood before each other for a moment without a word.
For the first time, these leaders faced each other. Then Wilbrid bent his head.
"You have won," he said. "You have won."
"It took you some time to find that out," she remarked, with a trembling voice. "I could have told you that soon after you began. You cried for the destruction of the very things that have made the world progress. You aimed to destroy individuality and you did so—but only with your own class.
"You have preached that all wealth is the result of labor, but now you have realised that intelligent supervision is required to make labor effective, and that brains are just as necessary to the world's prosperity as is manual toil.
"You went out to reform society and level down; and your party no sooner won some power than your women-folk tried to form a "social set" of their own—you don't know women. You are as ignorant of their desires as you are of your own. You do not know it is woman's instinct to be something more than a drab. There is more of the divine spark in the woman than in the man. It should be so with the producers of men. She yearns for uplift, even if it be the sneered-at "society" you sought to crush.
"You have only to note how, when Socialist politicians in any country win any power, their wives crowd each other into those circles of society, that husbands had won notoriety by attacking as "loafing on the workers."
"You have only to note the social columns of the daily press of those countries to see how anxious these wives of Socialist members are to have their names in print that they have had "afternoon-tea" with ladies of any title.
"Deep in the heart of every woman is respect for the title or the decorative side of human life. A flower to her is something more than a thing.
"You women will tell you you do not know them—and how could you?—you, a man who lived the greater part of your life in a monastery apart from your fellows, apart from the problems, apart from the battle against conditions that make men—men. You, in the seclusion of your own kind, conceived dreams of Utopian madness and you came forth and cast your foolish fancies like a net upon the ignorant. And now you find your failings; you see the petty smallness of your ideals and you retreat—back into your abbey like a frightened crab creeping beneath the cover of a stone."
"I know it now," said the crestfallen man. "We can only learn our lessons through bitter experience."
He turned upon his heel as if to leave.
She was touched by the pathetic figure and held out her hand to him.
He took it in his and bent over it.
"Good-bye," he said. "I go home on this day of days, this day of 'peace on earth and good will to men'—and alas! the world a seething mass of discontent!"
I brought him to the house and gave him some wine to drink.
"Good-bye," he said. "God bless you." And he waved his hat as we watched the careworn figure slowly stroll down the track and pass out of our lives.
The Wonderful Month of War.
Then the great war crashed upon Europe, and it did not come from Asia!
Its sudden outbreak proved many things; first, that invention had not been entirely exterminated; and second, that artificial laws could not destroy the divine in humanity.
Above all, the war proved that brawn could not suppress the aspiring flights of the brain; for during the socialistic era of "human equality," men with more highly developed inventive faculties, men who wished to cultivate the spirit that inspires the human to ever excel, met in mysterious places and plotted!
They felt the time must eventually arrive when the unnatural social position the Humanists adopted must overbalance itself; hence they prepared for the impending cataclysm.
It is strange, in the history of the world, how a thread of sympathy mysteriously binds together those whose souls are suffering from a common tyranny.
Throughout Europe bands of scientific militants of both sexes met in secret conclave and plotted for "Another Day."
Yet the great secrecy observed by these insurgents was unnecessary. The Humanist policy of non-considering and non-observing, of suppressing originality of thought as being useless in an age of equality, had dulled the thinking faculty in its followers. Nature has no use for the non-used, so the socialists were developing into living and working human automata, in fact, taking life more like an advanced kind of animal. Was it, therefore, any wonder that they were blind to the developing danger?
The same circumstances quickened the inventive faculty of the oppressed. Danger quickens intuition, and the spark of invention shone brightly in many covert places.
Thought was, however, concentrated on one object, the quickest and surest method of overthrowing the Humanist policy and installing an ideal method of living in which not only would there be "equal opportunities for all," which, though it was the policy of the Humanists at their inauguration, had developed into "equal opportunities for leaders," but there would also be the rule of "payment by results."
Inventive genius concentrated upon two objectives:—First, an ideal method of secret communication between followers; and second, the most efficient fighting machine—a weapon that would only require a minimum of personnel to operate. With such a weapon, a small force, such as the Individualists numbered, would be a match for a multitude.
The ideal means of inter-communication was invented by a Belgian. It was simply the improvement of the method of transmitting and receiving a certain type of ether wave through the earth. This wave did not need aerials, and could only be received and transmitted through certain instruments that were kept in sacred seclusion in secret places.
With these instruments followers were ever in close touch with each other, and co-operative measures were detailed for the day of general uprising.
The fighting machine was also invented by a Belgian. It was the ideal flying machine, sought since the Wright Brothers conquered the air ten years before.
The old style of aeroplane only kept in the air when at a great speed, hence it could not hover. As a weapon of offence it had, therefore, many disadvantages in bomb-dropping or other belligerent action. These disadvantages increased according to the height from which the aeroplane would have to operate; and as the German War of 1915 had improved the range of air cannon, the old type aeroplane was almost useless for offence purposes. The dirigible balloon, being lighter than air, was not always dependable, and having also to operate from a great height, the rarefied air in those regions seriously affected the gas carriers.
The Belgian "Heliocoptre" carried its propellers above the machine; the axles, having "universal" joints, enabled them to revolve in any plane, whilst engines, operating by means of powerful, non-clogging explosives, generated the enormous power. These "Heliocoptres" were armed with great "Thermit" shells, which, when they struck and burst, would not only set free a paralysing gas, but would also produce a molten "thermit" mass of a heat of over 5000 degrees, which could burn its way even through armored plate.
It is too recent for me to detail, at length, the remarkable circumstances following the prescribed day, when these machines simultaneously rose in various cities, and after but a week's reign of terror took possession of all Governments in the Humanist nations.
The people generally were not antagonistic to a change of rule. They were tired of the unnatural life and almost listlessly waited developments. These did not tarry, for within a very short period the present systems of Commission Governments were adopted, and Royalties were recalled to their various kingdoms as governing figureheads.
I only briefly mention this, the shortest war in history, because it was so recent. Yet it had the greatest bearing upon human development.
Belgium came through it untouched, though it held the centre of operations.
I shall never forget that wonderful month of war, and the almost superhuman energy Madame displayed in assisting to direct operations. It was not strange that her constitution collapsed under the remarkable strain, and that for a while death hovered round the sick room. Her complete recovery called for a long sea voyage, which explained why we entered Sydney Harbor some weeks later.
What Happened in Australia.
I found Australia in a strange way.
Every State had a "socialistic" Government, and yet all public works were controlled by combines of capitalists. The business interests of these combines were so interlocked as to be one huge concern generally known as the "Syndicate." It carried out all constructional works at a percentage on the cost. The percentage and interest on the capital invested were raised by the Commonwealth and State Governments mainly from customs duties at first and, when these slackened, as they did later, from land taxation.
It seemed strange to find that the Socialist Governments had actually handed over the Australian States to the oft'-maligned capitalist; and, stranger still, the people did not complain. The fact of the matter was that the people had found that socialistic theories were very fine for platform platitudes, but not for practical politics.
Australia learnt over again the lesson she should have remembered from an experiment of twenty years previously.
It was the old story of "New Australia": the story that taught the world that ideal socialism is impossible whilst human nature is as it is. And yet Australia had forgotten it! It is strange that people rarely profit from past failures. Countries as well as peoples usually insist on buying their own experience, and the history of the socialistic experiment in Australia between 1910 and 1917 was simply a repetition of the great failure of William Lane's ideal.
It is interesting, at this stage, to study the analogy.
In 1890, a brilliant-phrasing Socialist, named William Lane, set Queensland workers' minds aflame with his Utopian dreams of the ideal socialistic life that could be lived on a large tract of country offered them in the heart of South America. Three years later 250 Australians, including 60 single men and many single girls, put all their wealth into a common fund and sailed away from Australia in a specially chartered ship.
It was a unique experiment in Socialism. The men were not the scum of cities, but enthusiastic and hearty individuals; clean-thinking Irishmen, for the most part, trained in the tasks of settlement. All were equal, and the warmest comradeship existed between men and women.
Here was the first weakness of the Socialistic creed: by all contributing to a common fund, Lane had provided for communism of goods; by recognising all children as belonging to the State he had provided for communism of children; but as a father and a husband he feared communism of morals. Hence he framed a regulation aimed to preserve the conventional relations between the sexes, especially on board ship. To prevent "flirtations" he issued a decree forbidding women to appear on deck after sunset!
The first dissension arose through the women objecting to remain in the stuffy atmosphere of the ship's hold below the water line from sunset to sunrise, and, as each woman claimed equality with Lane, the notice was torn down. Lane, however, produced a bundle of proxies from members of the movement in Australia, so that his single vote constituted a majority! He then assumed the post of dictator.
The party then split into two factions; one that believed in Lane, and the other that objected to his despotic control and questioned his right to allot to them the "dirty jobs," such as "washing up" and "scrubbing the decks."
After many trying adventures the socialists reached the site of the communistic settlement and found opportunity to study and compare Socialism in practice and in theory. They had at last done away with the bad old methods of capitalism, which "ground the people down and robbed them of rest, energy, food and life"; so the "New Australians" determined to avoid drudgery in their new life, and were very keen on being properly "uplifted." There were a number of musical instruments in the stores, so thirty-six socialists formed a band and practised assiduously in the pleasant shade of the trees for a considerable proportion of the time they should have been clearing timber and building houses under the tropical sun.
Those who toiled hardest protested, but Lane, with a stern hand and a revolver in his belt put down revolt and punished those who disputed his decision by setting them the most disagreeable tasks.
Against Lane's decision there was no appeal. Three men disobeyed him and he ordered them out of the colony. One of them had put L1000 into the venture and wanted to argue. Lane, however, called in a posse of native soldiers, armed to the teeth. They marched into the camp with fixed bayonets, and the three malcontents were taken out and cast adrift.
One of the "faithful" wrote at this time:—
"We have surrendered all civil rights and become mere cogs in a wheel. We are no longer active factors in the scheme of civilisation: in fact, each man is practically a slave. Lane does the thinking; we do the work. Result—barbarism!"
A third of the party soon broke camp and threw themselves upon the charity of Paraguay. Those who stayed behind shortly afterwards expelled Lane. With forty-five sympathisers he set out to establish another Paradise!
Those who stayed behind drew up a series of regulations that made any change a subject for universal discussion, and as the regulations were being continually altered, public gatherings took up most of the day's work. Convening meetings and arguing thereat was found much more interesting than toiling in the hot sun; so practically little work was done.
A Frenchman had a little farm close by and was making a small fortune from it for himself, whilst thirty-five Australians next to him could not make a living for each other! So much for the advantages of Socialistic co-operation!
Soon the "New Australians" had to get busy to prevent starvation. One of the many authoritative writers said:—
A brief but brilliant span of existence may be attained by a Socialistic State living on the capital of its predecessors, but it soon runs through the capital and goes out like a spent squib and leaves a nasty smell.
(New South Wales also found this out ten years later.)
Instead of the "New Australians" getting busy and making the profits that awaited the exploitation of the wonderful timber on their area, they looked for easy work and fancied they found it in the cultivation of ramie fibre.
The fibre failed; money was being exhausted; the leaders were faced with two propositions. They had either to set the people at productive labor, such as timber-getting, or raise money somehow, somewhere. They followed the latter as being the easier task. So they sold to an outside capitalist the exclusive right for three years of cutting timber on the area. They sold it for an absurdly small consideration, to find later that they were also prevented cutting wood for their own uses!
Although Lane had started a new colony, he made but two innovations. He ruled that as woman's only sphere was in the home, he would abolish the woman's vote. His other innovation for an ideal Socialist community was the employment of cheap native labor. He thus revived the "wicked capitalistic idea of cheap—nigger labor."
It was also found that the inclusion of the native element had a serious effect upon the morality of the Socialists. There was a remarkable increase of half-caste children without the formality of marriage with the Paraguayians.
Communism was still advocated, yet to the communistic dining table each man brought his private bottle of treacle, which he stowed away between meals under his pillow or in some other secret hiding place. Children grew up godless and ignorant and—Lane disappeared!
The original population was reduced to 22 men, 17 women and 51 children.
It was decided to abandon Socialism and let each man work for himself instead of "each for all and all for each." Then things began to prosper. The ambition of each was to become a capitalist. There was no talk of an "eight-hour day"! From sunrise to sunset men, women, and children worked, and in an incredibly short time houses rose, gardens developed and later teachers came to uplift the children and to start a Sunday School.
What is left of "New Australia" to-day is an average community of sane, sober and hard-working farmers, taking as their motto: "What we have, we hold"!
Yet the failure of that experiment was forgotten in the rush of Socialistic legislation that gripped Australia before and during the war; and the rise of the "Syndicate" saved Australia from a similar wreck that followed the previous experiment.
The "Syndicate" idea began to develop. It became another name for co-operation. The keen people at the head of it saw that its continued success depended on the people having an interest in the profits of their work, so they gave the public opportunity to share in it.
The "Syndicate" expanded its sphere of co-operation. Did a State factory fail, then, if there was a chance of profit in the material it manufactured, a co-operation "Syndicate"—a subsidiary branch of the combine—took it over. The workers, supplanted by labor-saving machinery, were taken up by the great farms the "Syndicate" was developing throughout the country.
The "Syndicate," however, did not encourage manufacture unless the goods could be made cheaper and better than they could be imported duty free. It studied every new manufacturing proposition apart from any tariff possibilities. The first point it considered was whether it was advisable to establish in Australia a factory with necessarily expensive power to compete with Canadian or other factories that utilised cheap water power.
This policy naturally brought about two conditions. It established manufacture on an honest basis by doing away with the necessity for the usual political wire-pulling for the imposition of tariff duties, and it gradually brought about free trade in goods not worth manufacturing in Australia.
From an industrial point of view the "Syndicate" system revolutionised the lot of the Australian worker. It fixed a minimum wage, much higher than the then ruling rate, and instituted piece-work. The regular wage was guaranteed whatever the output, and the piece-work rate was added to it.
The "Syndicate" introduced scientific management and, from a business point of view, considered men first and profits second. It knew that better working conditions resulted in easier and more profitable work. It considered the conditions of labor by grading employees. It studied their equipment and noted if tools, benches or machines were best fitted for the people who used them. It saw that a "five-foot" man was not given a "six-foot" shovel, or that a short girl-worker was not sitting on a seat that would be more comfortable for a tall girl. It fitted the equipment to the worker just as a shoe is fitted to the foot.
It studied the work as well as the equipment. Each part of the work was specially arranged to eliminate unnecessary movements until it became so standardised as to give the worker the easiest way of doing it properly. Working hours were shortened; yet more work was done. Each worker did what he could do best. Profit-sharing was introduced in all ventures, but it was based upon individual effort; in fact, the "Syndicate" combine was a system of organisation and profitable co-operation, a system that put the Socialist out of business.
Organisation and co-operation stopped the mad war upon private enterprise and industry. It found the value of men lay in their ability to think individually and act collectively. Trade Unionism did not do that. It is true it helped the workman to secure higher wages, better working conditions and shorter hours, but it was not satisfied with that. It sought absolute ownership of factories and all means of production, with evasion of responsibilities and no provision made against deficits.
The Trade Unionist called for opportunity for all, but denied it to those workers who could not afford to pay the entrance fee to the union.
Whilst the Trade Unionist, on the one hand, was getting highest wages from private enterprise, on the other hand, he demanded from the State cheap house rentals—as at Daceyville and other State-controlled suburbs.
The Australian worker, therefore, practically lived upon Government charity, until the Government was beggared and the capitalist "Syndicate" providentially stepped in and saved the country.
It was well for Australia that the capitalists considered the individual, and that it was just as good business to have efficient machinists as well as efficient machines.
It was well for Australia that the capitalists knew the value of human flesh and nurtured it. And Australia understood. In the stress of the German War it had sobered up. It had dropped the Utopian dreams of the impracticable and used its head. It saw an analogy in the system of the "Syndicate," "Organisation and Co-operation," to a similar system that had led them to victory on the battlefields of Europe.
The perfect organisation that military training gave, and the intense co-operation the call of the blood demanded, instilled these two great principles into Australian character.
The great German War was worth while to Australia.
It is evening as I write these concluding phrases. I look across Sydney Harbor from my Cremorne home, and I see the city skyline edged with a glistening fringe.
Beyond the distant hills of purple blue the sun is sinking in a saffron sky.
Into the evening air the homeward 'planes are rising from the city park.
A faint report comes from the sunset gun and starts a train of vision running through my mind.
I hear again the gun that brought me from the sky into the Forest of the Argonne, and then "Nap" passes through my thoughts. (He is now in charge of a Syndicate concern.)
Madame then comes into vision. (She is now the "gran'ma" of my home.)
Then Wilbrid totters across my field of thought.
And then Helen—but my reverie has ended....
She calls me in.