Hy Michael de la Bedoyere
THE greatest benefit so far derived as an indirect result of the Soviet Fifth Column's victory in Prague is the breaking down of the suspicion of the Western Powers, and chiefly France, towards a renascent Germany.
Not only has it now proved to be possible to reconcile in principle the views of France with those of Britain and America in regard to the future of the three Western zones of Germany, but General de Gaulle himself, so long the mouthpiece of the most intransigent French nationalism. has come forward as a protagonist of FrancoGerman understanding.
This is a case of better late than never, though it would be hard to calculate the degree of human misery and loss of international good-will which has resulted from the idiocy of politicians and publicists who seem constitutionally incapable of thinking forward as an alternative to their habit of always thinking back. All commonsense and all past evidence went to show that the one secure way of preventing a future German aggression was to effect an honest reconciliation after the war coupled with real efforts to restore Germany's selfrespect and economy within the framework of a political order suited to her people. Even Soviet Russia (for her own purposes) understood this point. Meanwhile. the West has lost chance after chance of bringing Germany into a genuine concert of nations. sharing decent ideals. and now is forced to rely on the wholly negative motive of common fear of the East.
It is probable, however, that conditions are such to-day as to make it possible for some of the lost ground to be recovered. But there must be a full change of heart. The motive of common fear is not enough. Quite apart from Russia or even the danger of economic collapse in the West, the hand of reconciliation and friendship must be held out to the people of Ger
many. We who so loudly condemned Hitler's racialism have been guilty of a racialism every bit as reprehensible in accepting the nonsense that the people of Germany are incapable of a social morality as good as that of others. The people of Germany, so many of whom are fellow-members of the Mystical Body of Christ, have, like other peoples, their merits and their faults. Having deieated them for their mistake in following Nisei leadership, it is our Christian duty to help them realise the best that is in them. In two years the position of the balance has changed, and it is we who owe them reparation and apology for our failure to accept the responsibilities thrown upon us by victory.
Towards the Inclusion of Spain
AT last there are' some signs of
a change of attitude towards Spain. Here again it is due to fear of the aggressor and of economic collapse rather than to any fair appraisal of the moral issues. However in this case there is some excuse for our leaders— though much less for the French leaders, so many of whom are Christians. Obviously it is very plausible to argue, as Senor de Madariaga did in Monday's Times that, given our common ideals, all " totalitarian" regimes should be excluded from any Western union. In fact, this argument has been most hypocritically used in the past s'nce there has been anything but exclusion for Russia and her satellites in plans of co-operation. But. drawing a veil over this unpleasant record, it remains true that the " totalitarianism" of Spain is of a totally different character from that of the East. The d:fference lies simply in the fact that in Spain God is believed in and the Christian law honoured and obeyed, with consequent preservation of fundamental human rights, whereas in Russia God is formally denied and materialism proudly substituted for the tradiional spiritual ideals of Christendom.
It is perfectly true that our democratic ideals are very far from being accepted by Spain's present rulers and the majority of her people, and everyone is entitled to argue that our political ideals arc morally more elevated than those pursued in Spain. But even those who hold that a free democratic society is, or could be, the highest political expression of Christianity have no right to deny the Christian idealism of other peoples who either do not agree with us or are so constituted as not to be able to run effectively such ae free democratic society. The specific differenee between a decent society and an evil one does not lie in the contrast between democracy and some kind of authoritarianism, belt in a State's recognition of a meral sovereignty higher than the will of man as against the assertion that the human will is absolute sovereign. Unfortunately, all modern political evolution has been in the direction of the latter heresy, but hanpily in civilised countries the traditional recognition in practice ct a moral sovereignty higher than man's has persisted. Only in Russia and under Communism has the logical ex reme of modern political tendencies been reached—with the disastrous results from which the world is suffering.
Let us by all means seek to convert Spain to our political convictions; but the way to do this is not by means of ostracism, but sincere co-operation towards the attainment of a political and economic stability within which democratic ideals have a chance of maturing.
A Phoney Democracy THE story of Czechoslovakia itself provides an object lesson in phoney democracy. Despite the cause of the evils which led to the in the lands destined to become the new model democratic State was Catholic, religious and spiritual-moral principles were never allowed "to form the basis of the experiment. Instead, it was thought sufficient to build on abstract political principles evolved out of the heads of secularist thinkers. What happened in practice ? Czech racialism had to be relied upon to provide the motive power and spirit of the new democracy. As a result some seven million Czechs were put in a dominant position over some three million Slovaks, an equal number of " Sudeten " Germans, half a million Ruthenians and other smaller minorities. Agreements with the Slovaks for their autonomy were disregarded, and an antiSlovak Constitution was voted in defiance of Slovak representations.
This dominant Czech spirit was directed by clever politicians who hoped to maintain their power and modernise (in other words secularise) as much as possible the new
State, spite the paeans of praise be
stowed on the new Czechoslovakia by Western thinkers who did not trouble to examine the situation closely and objectively, it was not surprising that the policy of appeasement of Russia at all costs came to be pursued. The price payable was never codsidered, even though it included the cession of Ruthenia, the
inhuman expulsion of the Sudeten Germans and a virtual capitulation to the Left-wing minority. The expulsion under terrible conditions of all the Sudeten Germans. whatever their record, was not only an act totally incompatible with any sort of democratic idealism; it had for its real object the cutting off of Czechoslovakia from the West through the removal of the most Westernised part ot the population, just as the previous oppression of the Slovaks had for its object the weakening of the most Catholic and traditional part of the country. • One cannot be too surprised at the fact that a democracy with such a record should have in the end fallen to the Soviet totalitarianism like a ripe apple. It i a warning to others that not appearances, but realities, must be the basis of the judgment whether they are dealing with a fundamentally sound or fundamentally unsound regime.
Wages and Profits E have every possible sympathy with the view that the combating of inflation and the balancing of imports by exports
should be effected through equality of sacrifice throughout 'the whole community. In other words, there is everything to be said for reduction of profits and increases in the higher level of taxation accompanying any freezing or lowering of wages and salaries.
ahem is nothing easier, however, than to give the impression that such equalising of propos. er ate
sacrifice is the same thing as lopping off more or less equal amounts from each of the po sible sources. The
facts in a recent letter printed in The Times cy.er the sisma ere of Colonel Hoare should be much more
widely known and realised than they
are. Colonel Hoare gives examples of the proportions of money which
go to wages. etc., materials, etc.,
and profits in a number of actual companies. Thus in the case of the United Steel Ccmpanics with a return of about £39 millions, mater ials, etc., took nearly £21 millions,
wages, etc., £12 millions, and only half a million went to profits. In the case of Joseph Lucas Ltd., out of each £.100, £48 went for materials, etc., £42 for wages. etc., and only £1 for taxed dividends.
It is of course perfectly true that the amount which goes to wages has to he divided among much larger numbers than the amount which goes to dividends. It is equally true that the wage-earners earn their share by their labour. These points have their great importance. But when it conies to the national account there is no getting away from the fact that the distribution of money to wages, etc., is out of all propor
tion to the amount distributed in dividends and consequently, whether it be a question of national saving or of lowering costs and prices, that first sum is by far the most decisive.
However unpalatable the truth, we must all face the fact that the
decisive sacrifice must come from those who control and earn wages, etc., if any decisive sacrifice is to come at all. It is a queseon of simple addition and subtraction. At least it is the duty of the trade unions to realise these unpleasant facts and to make them widely understood by the people as a whole. So long at our minds are filled with the out-dated ideas that those who reap the profits can make all the real sacrifices, there is no possibility of effecting the econcmies which are vital if we are to pull through.