SIR, —Mr. Douglas Jerrold says he is unable to follow my criticisms. As apparently he is to be the political guide for the readers of the CA IHOLIC HERALD, this inability assumes an importance that it would not otherwise possess. May I try again?
I will be brief.
My first criticism was directed against the labelling as a Christian Principle (" in the light of which, &c.") the demand, inter alio, for a strong British Navy. (This, however, may have been due, as I admitted at the time, to a sub-editor and not to Mr. Jerrold.) My second criticism concerned Mr. Jerrold's treatment of the question of selfdetermination.
(a) The New York Press had described Mussolini's advocacy of self-determination as " fantastic." In this estimate I agreed with the New York Press. Mr. Jerrold now says: " If a plebiscite is a correct solution of the problem of the Sudeten Germans, it does not cease to be correct because it is refused to the Trentino Germans." Quite right; I said the same thing myself. But we were not then discussing the ethics of game-keeping and poaching (Mr. Jerrold's illustration, not mine) but the combining of these two pursuits in the one person at the same time, which the New York Press and I agree in calling fantastic.
(b) Mr. Jerrold goes on: " Nor am I conscious of having said that self-determination was a claim to abrogate the moral law." He did not say it; nor did I say he did. I said his argument implied it; and the proof is this. Mr. Jerrold said that it was contrary to Christian principles that a man should self-determine himself to be a criminal. Of course it is; therefore—what? It is contrary to Christian principles that should use my free will to sin. Is that an argument against free will? I claim that Mr. Jerrold's introduction of this argument was either totally irrelevant, or it was introduced to give the impression that the exercise of self-determination could be invoked to justify an immoral choice—in other words, to abrogate the moral law. Surely Mr. Jerrold can see that the possibility of making an evil choice does not vitiate the right to freedom.
Finally I criticised Mr. Jerrold for preferring a charge of " narrow legalism" against his opponents, on the ground that the charge is vague, unproveable and unnecessary. I suggested that it were better to concentrate on the injustice of the law,
if it is unjust. Mr. Jerrold replies that that is no use because there are some people who will not listen to arguments about the justice or injustice of a given law. Well, if that is the case they are not likely to listen with a more open mind when Mr.
Jerrold calls them " narrpw-minded." It is just a waste of time to bandy words like " narrow-minded " and " legalistic." Broadminded people are those who agree with us; narrow-minded people are those who do not.
S. J. GOSLING (REV.).
[Mr. Douglas Jerrold is not the political
guide to our readers; he, in common with all other contributors, is a stimulus to make Catholics think for themselves. Only articles and editorials appearing on page 8 call be taken necessarily to represent the views of the CATIIOLIC HERALD.-EDITOR.j