Page 6, 24th March 1950

24th March 1950
Page 6
Page 6, 24th March 1950 — Curtain Lecture to Americans

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People: Paul McGuire


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Keywords: Mcguire

Paul McGuire Faces the Question

There's Freedom for the Brave. by Paul McGuire. (Heinemann, 12s. aci.). readers the author seems most to have had in mind.


IN this book the versatile and brit liant Australian author, Paul McGuire, seems to be giving something of a curtain lecture to the Americans.

The book is sub-titled An Approach to World Order and the author himself describes what he has attempted as a review of the " major elements of conflict in world politics," an attempt " to indicate by broad strokes the courses of our present discontents"; and in the second part of the book "to mark the directions in which our great affairs might be resolved in peace and order."

I found the style annoyingly directed towards the American In making his good point that men perforce belong to "communities" in the real sense, he writes; " As Presbyterian. storekeeper, Republican. golfer, husband. Rotarian. stockholder. in his desire for a good 25 cent cigar, as a regular patron of the Interborough Subway, a man belongs to different communities of interest and purpose."

R. McGuire's " broad strokes" indicate that the root cause of our present discontents is our failure to bring into public. economic and political life those great Christian principles on which our civilisation was built. "The disruption of Western order in the outer world and at home is from schism in the soul," he says.

This Western order, of course, includes the Dominions and North America and there seems to he an important fallacy in his sweeping analysis of the " unusual source of energy, some extraordinary purpose. some unprecedented strength " which explains development in those countries and not in others endowed with similar natural wealth. " Why did not coat and iron in North China produce an Industrial Revolution until the Western peoples came? " he asks.

Is it not true that the nations which preserved the source and origin of Christian principles intact, and " unreformed," both in their home countries and in the great empires they built up overseas tended to remain " backward " from our "modern and enlightened point " of view ?

But whatever the faults of this book. and to my mind they are neither few nor unimportant, it is a courageous and optimistic effort to look our present problems in the face. Having seen them, the author does not turn away but offers a solution with an earnest belief. not only in its efficacy but in its applicability.

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