CHILD OF TERROR, by George Glasgow (Pall Mall, 15s.)
FEAR has always been a major cause of war. Pride, hate. greed. injusticeall these play their part in international aggression. But out of these springs fear, and once fear has taken possession of men's minds it tends to corrode all rational restraints and. by a chain-reaction of mutual threats. to raise fear to terror. terror to panic. and panic to
To-day the world lives in terror of another sort of chain-reaction that could explode upon us at any moment, if we should thus terrorise each other into war. It is salutary to face this predicament, and, for those of us who are Christians, it is salutary to face it as Christians.
This book, sub-titled " The Peace Born of the ThermoNuclear Menace". was completed just before its author's death. George Glasgow, who became a Catholic in 1939, was a life-long student of international affairs, and for 20 years was the diplomatic correspondent of " The Observer ".
It is as impressive as it is unusual to encounter a modern specialist in international affairs whose political thinking is so decisively rooted in faith and who sees no occasion to cultivate different mental shrines for political "realities " and the love of God.
THE book is in fact centrally concerned with the world's desperate need of God in its present emergency. This "emergency" he sees as the final stage in a drama of "the godless tradition a diplomatic .practice and the non-recognition of moral responsibility as the corollary to material privilege, wealth and power". R is the sins and failings of Christian nations that prepared the ground for the Russian Revolution: and the nuclear terror we arc now reaping is the inevitable outcome of what we have sown. Only faith can break through this chain of terror; but for a real, absolute and practical faith that can confront the most radical human insecurities without panic, we shall he like the man " whose constant fear of being drowned so preyed
upon his mind that in his misery he went and drowned himself".
If this is stating the obvious, the obvious cannot be stated too often. Indeed, it may be even more urgent that Christians themselves should understand, and act out, its implications than that others should, similarly, come to under stand it: for it may well be in terms of this issue, more than of any other issue in our time, that a world estranged from the Faith will judge our faith.
And cari we. as Catholics. really feel that, in piling up weapons of "massive retaliation" in our fear -weapons multiplied on such a vcale that their only possible use is a slaughter beyond all boundswe are showing forth the love and justice of Christ? Or dare we pronounce the promise-whilst preparing to massacre the innocent in defence of the things of Godthat the Gates of Hell shall not prevail?
NE could wish that a book so sincerely God-centred and humane could be unreservedls 5
commended. Effort unatels. it not only suffers from a tendency , to ramble and to lapse into a , 5 somewhat oppressive apologetie 6 idiom, hut, more seriously. from a number of highly questionable premises and conclusions.
By suggesting that all war is necessarily un-Christian, it not only by-passes the just war tradition but, equally, by-passes the specific moral problems associated with modem weapons. By proclaiming that fear has now providentially reached such a pitch that " the evil of war after the manner that is common to all evil has killed itself ", it is echoing one of the most perilous refuges of present-day thinking.
And by rejecting unilateral disarmament as a half-measure, whilst putting its trust in the imminence of world-government, it is surely misconceiving the most urgent demands upon our conscience and faith demands not conditional upon others agreement.
None the less, this is unmistakably the work of an eminently good and religious man, and we can only he grateful for his example. Could anything be more challenging than his simple central affirmation: " By defying God's lass in the universe we have produced chaos. We must seek redress by the contrastingly simple expedient of honouring that law ".