Page 3, 22nd November 1940

22nd November 1940
Page 3
Page 3, 22nd November 1940 — 7. L. BENVENISTI WRITES ON .

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A Just International Order


Since the purpose of every Just war is to create a peace more perfect than existed at its outbreak, the formulation of the principles of such a peace is a necessary part of the prosecution of such a war, and since peoples tend to be held responsible for the acts of governments which they either choose or endure, it is expedient for all men to concern themselves with this matter.

All durable peace must repose upon concord. But we believe that no concord is possible unless men subscribe to the doctrine commonly called " the equality of men." This means that the human family is one and that all belonging to it have, irrespective of race, colour, aptitude or even moral character, an absolute value which cannot be measured by any standard other than itself.

Man therefore having this value, it must he the end of all legislation and all economic activity to enable each man in every place to develop to the utmost his faculties and powers of perceptions and so attain his fullest possible stature.

ONE more word before actually formulating the wording of the " Right to

Subsistence." I wrote last week that I agree that a proviso of some sort should be inserted here making the right to subsistence dependant on the willingness to work.

In my own view, the putting in of such a proviso is almost academic, since I believe that culpably idle people, people that is to say, idle from a bad disposition of the will, are almost too rare to matter. On the other hand, I must necessarily treat St. Paul with respect and must admit that he would hardly have enjoined that " he that will not work let him not cat," unless the true idler were a somewhat more frequent

figure in the human, scene than I supposed him to be.

Yet for all that I am convinced that what passes for idleness is often due to pathological causes (geoerally connected with malnutrition) for which the sufferer cannot be held responsible.

I certainly think that if we make starvation the penalty of idleness it is one that should be threatened quite as much against the rich as against the poor. The Encyclical clearly shows that the Pauline injunction does not constitute a condemnation of unearned increment; but this does not mean. surely, that a man, or even a woman, can claim to live on unearned increment during their working years without making some definite personal contribution in the form of work to the common well-being.

Nevertheless, a man may claim that his duty to work is limited to tasks which fall within the scope of his vocational training and which are not so unsuited to him as to damage him physically or cause him mental distress. We must leave it to the civil ruler acting preferably in conjunction with the Trade Associations to see that there is a rough correspondence between vocational personnel and opportunities for employing it, and should owing to changes of technique or other reasons that correspondence cease to exist, it is clearly incumbent on him to provide re-training facilities.

As we, however, are dealing with general principles, I do not think we need be quite so detailed in our formulation. We can content ourselves with saying that a man is entitled to subsistence, etc., " provided that during his working life he shows himself willing to perform with reasonable diligence such useful work as he may devise for himself or be invited to undertake, and as is suitable to his particular capacity and skill."

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