EXPEDIENCY AND THE ABSOLUTE In political matters the function of the
" intellectual is to preach respect for justice and for reason in so far as they are absolute; and, I would add, by a categorical refusal to consider the practical consequences, whether good or bad, that such a position might entail. That condition seems to me one of those which essentially define the " intellectual," which distinguish him most fundamentally from other members of
the community. It is because they don't observe it that many of my colleagues seem to me to fail in their duty. It is shown most clearly to-day in the Italo-Abyssinian question.
Many people say to me: " From the point of view of justice there can be no question in the matter. Sanctions should be used against the aggressor— but think of the consequences to France, to Europe, even to peace, involved in such an action."
My answer is: " As ' intellectuals ' you are not concerned with consequences. Mankind will judge in what doses and to what extent it is fitting that your absolutes should be granted; but it is they who must judge of that,
not you. If you yourselves begin to plead the rights of relativity and of compromise, you lose your very raison d'être. I have no need of you to preach the value of transactions or of getting round principles. There arc the diplomats. And if you become diplomats, yours will be a sorry task, since you have not the necessary qualifications."
—Julien Benda in Le Temps.
THEOLOGIANS AND WAR
Unless the theologian is prepared to modify the established belief • that a sovereign state, a product of the Protestant Reformation, possesses the moral right to declare war, he should be prepared to vouoh for the morality of state policy. Whether he could do so after investigating the diplomatic and inner political history of statecraft and the causes, as distinct from the occasions, of war, is doubtful; but failing such modification, it seems clear that the individual will find grave difficulty in unhesitating acceptance of nationalist State authority, and in consequence the mental area associated with the conception of State altutn dominium will remain a territory in dispute.
KING GEORGE AND LABOUR
During the last ten years King George firmly embedded into the Labour party the idea of the necessity of a monarch. It would be impossible to describe all the methods used by the King to handle Mr. Ramsay MacDonald; to quote only one case, he even went to the extent of begging him if necessary to give advice to the Prince of Wales. Thus the very poorest classes were induced to give way to the government without the institution of monarchy ever being questioned, and, when other countries were being overturned by violent revolts, the monarchy in England escaped unshaken. With George V monarchy in England may have reached its zenith; it may well be that even her monarchy is not fixed firmly and quietly in its present immobility and calm.
—" Pertinax " in the Echo de Paris.
THE U.S.A. AND MEXICO Even the President joined the chorus in his late lamented letter to the Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus. The blunder of his reference to the policy of Theodore Roosevelt was matched only by the shallowness of his assumption that what was asked of him was intervention. The simple truth is— and the President should know it— Catholics in this country do not want intervention. What they want is cessation of intervention. The Catholic position right along has been that U.S. meddling in Mexican affairs has been the cause of the woes of Mexican Catholics.
The revolutionary regime in Mexico could never have gained a foothold but for American recognition. And that recognition was given the band of bandits that constituted the Carranza government on the express condition that religious liberty be granted to the Mexican people. Was that pledge ever fulfilled? The revolutionary regime headed by such men as Carranza, Obregon, Calles and Cardenas could never have continued to drag its slimy trail across the pages of Mexican history had it not been for American support.
—The Sign (New York).