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27, March 39, April 15. April 2, April 11, June
47, January 10, February 23, February 40, January 28, March
49, April; 50, May; 47, June
The Pacific Monthly
The Pulse of the Pacific
Four years and a hundred days the Old World was red with the blood of the slaughtered. Now the Great War is over. The Christmas candles of 1919 will shine upon snow unstained with crimson, upon a white blanket mercifully covering millions of graves. King Albert once more is in Brussels, Woodrow Wilson is in Europe, the peace negotiations are under way and when the joyous bells ring in the new year, the gigantic conflict will pass into history.
It was a strange war. Begun by a half insane monarch for conquest, grandeur and glory, it became apparently a lifeand-death struggle between two opposed conceptions of the nature and functions of the state, between those who made the state an omnipotent god who knew best what was good for the individual and those who believed that that system of government was best which governed least. So the issue defined itself as a contest between the paternalistic and the individualistic state, complicated by the intrusion of racial quarrels.
The champions of individualism won-but only after they had followed the methods of their opponents and concentrated supreme power over the individual and all his goods in the hands of the state.
The great task now confronting the victors lies in the necessity of reëstablishing personal liberty, personal initiative in a world organized from top to bottom on a paternalistic basis, without throwing the world into chaos and anarchy during the
land, Sweden and Denmark, Socialists are openly advocating and predicting the downfall of the old régime. For a moment the clamor of victory has drowned the voices of unrest of Italy and France, but sooner or later the exaltation of triumph will pass. When it does, when the everyday problem of wages and prices returns, these countries also will be shaken by the forces which demand that the state maintain and increase during peace its wartime power over the life and the possessions of the individual.
Only the United States is quiet and undisturbed by the new struggle-so far. U U
a respectful salute even by the lowliest private, an ordinary mortal sneaking out of the country he had brought to ruin in order to escape the fate of the other autocrat, Nicholas Romanoff. And on the ruins of the old structure the red emblem of revolution crackled triumphantly in the breeze.
As in Russia, so in Germany, the revolution by its speedy and almost bloodless success astonished the world. In Berlin, Vienna and Petrograd the established governments vanished like a puff of smoke. When the soldiers changed their minds, decided to obey no longer and to take matters into their own hands, the thing was done. Fighting was practically unnecessary.
Throughout central and eastern Europe. the militarist bureaucracies, failing to win, failing to feed the people, gave up the struggle and quit. When they fled, they left chaos behind them. The only factions remaining intact, vigilant and aggressive in the universal disorder and dissolution, were the organizations of the Socialists. They seized the reigns of
power not because they represented a majority of the population, but because they were organized and hopeful while the liberal democratic elements were disorganized, stunned and momentarily paralyzed.
Similar phenomena may be observed in the politics of numerous American cities. In San Francisco, for instance, union labor is in the minority, barely contains twenty per cent of the total registered vote, yet it has been able to exercise political dominance for fifteen years simply because it is well organized and aggressive while the rest of the population has no permanent organization, no special class interest or class cohesion.
The labor unions have shown how organization can improve the lot of the worker. The orange and raisin growers have lifted themselves from near-bankruptcy to affluence through organization. Minorities that were organized have changed great autocratic empires into crimson republics between dawn and dark.
The lesson to the ninety-nine millions. who would preserve the United States from the catastrophe of unbridled Bolshevism is obvious.