Last week THE NEW REPUBLIC insisted that we cannot talk with much point about preparedness until we have answered the question, prepared for what? Behind any question about arming or disarming lies the question of how we intend to act as a nation among nations. Until we know, at least in a general way, what part we mean to play in the world’s affairs, we shall never have even the vaguest notion of whether we are underarmed or overarmed.
Considering the many ties of business and of association which bind Americans and Canadians together, the American people are culpably obtuse to the present plight of their northern neighbors. The Canadians are passing through a great crisis in their national history. At an unfortunate moment in their economic development, when the work of taking possession of their rich natural heritage was suffering a costly check, they were suddenly compelled to accept their losses and divert their capital and energy to an essentially foreign service.
No one can be more tired than the reformer of the perpetual cry that disaster is the price of competitive anarchy. For at least a generation radicals in England have been arguing that industry conducted as a scramble for profits was a menace to the country. They pointed to the normal horrors of peace, they painted pictures of what might be, and were put down as theorists who did not comprehend the sacred mysteries of business. They were treated as the trustees of Pennsylvania’s university or the New York Times would like them to be treated.
Political Thought in England from Herbert Spencer to To-day, by Ernest Barker. (Home University Library.) New York: Henry Holt and Co. 50 cents net. When peace has at last been signed, and the world becomes in some sort a reasonable place, Englishmen will be compelled to turn to the reconstruction of their political life. What is the mental attitude in which they will approach that task? Whence will be drawn its deepest inspiration? To these questions Mr. Barker's book is in some sort an answer. It is a valuable book.
I was told authoritatively the other day that the editors of the popular fifteen-cent magazines, an increasing and formidable army that is driving the book trade to its last intrenchment, thus exhort all contributors: "Don't be literary! Whatever you do, don't be literary." Some time since I was requested, for reasons that will not interest the public, to read carefully the contents of a certain magazine.
When Gabrlele d'Annunzio offered himself recently as a common sailor in the Italian navy, some of his critics smiled and put it down to the theatricality of the man. But, apart from the fact that there is a different measure for theatricality in north and south, they were almost certainly wrong. The Italian authorities took him at his word, gave him a chance of varying his offer, and the poet of fifty-two is now a lieutenant in the army. Long ago, before the end of his military service, he won his stripes. Politically d'Annunzio is hard to place.
ACCORDING to assurances reaching this country from many sources, the German retort to the last American note will be "conciliatory." Judging by the sinking of the Armenian, the German desire to conciliate the United States must not be allowed to interfere with the practice of killing Americans in the war zone. Discussion of the bearing of the Armenian case upon the controversy, however, must be postponed until a full investigation of the facts has been made. In any event, the tension of American public opinion has been very much relaxed. It is believed that war will be avoided.
A convention of working women was held recently in New York City. Teachers and office cleaners, glove and shoe makers, beer bottlers and telephone operators, garment workers, waitresses, candy and brush makers, stenographers, clerks and laundry workers, met to discuss industrial problems, to consider conditions in industry and shape and direct them. Even in the first days the difference in the character of this convention manifested itself in a spirit of fellowship and festivity, in verses and songs, in nonsense rhymes and general merrymaking.
It was off and on through a wakeful night that I read this book. This I read while waiting for an honest broker to impart the bad news. This I read after eating too much luncheon. Which of these sentences tells the truth about the book reviewer? He hardly ever lets us know, yet his review is dyed in circumstance of this order. Nor should we be less surprised, most of us, if he told us such things than if he mentioned his pulse, temperature, or systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
In the the Malay Peninsula, when a magician wants to dispose of an enemy he makes an image like a corpse, a footstep long; then, to achieve his purpose, he follows this recipe: "If you want to cause sickness, you pierce the eye and blindness results ; or you pierce the waist and the stomach gets sick.