THERE has been time for some reflection on the new balance of forces as it emerges from last week's extensions of the conflict.
We take it that Catholics in this country are agreed that the criterion to be adopted in estimating the rightness and worthiness of an action or a cause is whether it seems to make for a new order on a more Christian basis. If this is putting religion before country, so be it. But in truth there can be no conflict between them—especially in these days of rapid change when the welfare of country and people is so wholly dependent upon the values which the State embodies.
" Our country, right or wrong " is an out-of-date, as well as an immoral, slogan. Not only good Christians, but Socialists and all others with heads on their shoulders, are only interested in " their country, right " —however " right " be interpreted. For us, " right " means embodying and promoting Christian values at home and abroad.
A 1Sacific Charter
The aggression of Japanese military autocracy, with the consequence that it is numbered among our enemies through no direct fault of ours, outwardly strengthens our cause, just as it adds to the weakness of Germany's.
Japan, no doubt, has more right in the Far East 'than have Britain or America, but Japan's Chinese Obey has never been defensible, while her whole present behaviour is a crude imitation of the worst kind of Western imperialism. If we are interested in a Christian order (which means an order based upon the natural law that applies universally). we shall agree that Japan's solution is intolerable. China's record under the leadership of Chiang Kai-Shek, despite great internal difficulties and the danger of Communism, has, on the contrary, been in many respects an example to the world.
But we cannot leave it at that. The problem of the Far East has to be solved. This war may lay the conditions for its solution: but it will not solve it. Our cause will be infinitely strengthened, materially as well as morally, if the A.B.C.D. powers outline, as soon as may be, a Pacific Charter that will not make such pleasant reading for the white man as the Atlantic Charter.
What Will Fr. Gillis Say?
We are as yet without knowledge as to the reaction to the war of the isolationist and the Catholic waropponents in the United States. They have been swept into war on two fronts, and, of course, they are as ready to defend America as we are to defend Britain. In the last war, however, the American, once he became a belligerent, outdid the European in toughness of mind, if not of body.
Hatred of the enemy and the desire to punish him developed even more rapidly. Together with this there went the desire to teach old Europe a lesson, and to impose a ready-made, doctrinaire solution of her problems along the lines of American political theorists and professors. It was a very ethical solution, but it was not a Christian solution. It was built on pride and principle, not on love and understanding. It soon came to nothing.
The same tendencies have been evident during the last ten years : the same contempt for what is not understood, the same determination to impose the " progressive " solution.
America's entrance into the war is probably decisive in making a Nazi victory impossible, but the ultimate worth of this invaluable material help will depend upon America's ability to learn from her past mistakes. We look to those elements in the country who have argued so nobly about Christianity. justice and peace, when it was a case of keeping
their country out of the war, to continue to work for these ideals in and through war. We shall watch with interest for the pronouncements of Lindbergh, Social Justice and Fr. Gillis.
One result of the widening of the horizon is to diminish the relative importance of Soviet Russia.
While Britain and the Soviet were fighting in intimate war and peace alliance against Nazism, it was just as ludicrous for us to claim to be fighting for democracy and civilisation as it was ludicrous for Germany to claim to be leading an antiBolshevik Crusade. Russia's Bolshevism now takes a less conspicuous rank among the Allies while Japan adds to Nazi militarism.
In fact, Russia's Bolshevism is in itself a very minor numerical factor. Out of 190 million Russians, only two million are members of . the Communist party. These are the servants of Stalin, the supreme dictator.
This newspaper. in company with other spokesmen for Christianity, have been taken to task for refusing to befriend Russia. But the Russian we refuse to befriend is not the Russia of nearly two hundred million enserfed. men and women: it is the Russia for which Stalin and his two million governing Bolshevik friends speak.
The Real Bolshevism
Again. we have been taken to task for refusing to believe that Stalin and his friends have forgotten the had old days of religious persecution and the propagation of international Communist revolution.
Our answer is that we never feared the entry of M. Stalin into London or Washington, but that we feared— and still fear—something much more dangerous.
We feared and we fear—lest the Stalin philosophy of materialist and godless Left totalitarianism come to dominate the world in the name of a small minoriO, just as Stalin and his friends came to enslave the Russian millions.
If this comes about, it will he we, the people of Britain and the people of America, who will be the real agents. not Stalin and the Bolsheviks of Russia. Moscow, Stalin. the Russian alliance. these are important, not because of their direct action. but because they constitute the magnetic pole which attracts and brings to a point the myriad influences making for Marxist totalitarianism in Britain and America
When we hail Bolshevik Russia as the heroic. progressive, civilised power, we are unconsciously giving concrete shape to the powerful economic, social and cultural forces which arc already enslaving us to the ideal of the efficient. machine-State with men living half their lives as blind operatives and half as pleasureseeking animals.
The Spiritual Sources
And this, unless we .work to meet the danger, is likely to prove to be the fruits of victory.
For Nazism and those who share Nazist ideals we have nothing but loathing. Behind a facade of bogus nationalist idealism Nazism seeks to create the very same inhuman totalitarianism.
But we cannot see the fun of years of death, suffering and sacrifice in order to achieve the reign of Left totalitarianism through the destruction of Right totalitarianism.
Some degree of disciplined order, as between nations and within nations. is, we hold, inevitable if chaos is to be avoided. But in Great Britain, America. in most European countries, in Germany itself, and not least among the peoples of Russia there are to he found the sources of spiritual strength and true human liberty which can humanise and civilise that new order.
The real worth-while interest in the war, as we see the matter, is to be found in fighting to preserve and strengthen those sources. America, if she will, can be a decisive factor in this greater struggk. But will she?