Chart of HumanValue
CONCLUSION MR. 5. B. PRIESTLEY'S broadcast last " Sunday coincided very happily with the winding-up of this series on the "Chart of Human Value."
It will be very interesting to see how Mr. Priestley proceeds, or whether he gives us -anything in the nature of such a declaration as under the title " Chart of Human Value " I have myself attempted. It would not matter very much if he refrains from doing this. The important point is at the moment not so much the exact wording of such a declaration as that it should be drawn up and then affirmed on a mass scale. This is really the essence of
the idea. It consists in making a novel and creative use of the wireless and all the modern technique of propaganda, but patting behind it genuine clarity of reasoning and certitude of principles.
Now it is, to my mind, extremely important that we should do this, but it is equally important to realise that this is about all we can do. I have a horrid suspicion that Mr. Priestley imagines that we can do a great deal more,
His words last Sunday were necessarily vague, but they sounded very much like a great deal that has recently appeared on this subject, and I am tempted to suppose that he is thinking along similar lines. I rather think he wants to see all kinds of wonderful social reforms carried out here and now while the war is actually in progress, so that Britain can be a beacon and an example to the other nations.
Frankly, if this means what 1 think it means, it seems to me so much wild talk ; for it is assuming the proposition that the eternal human problem of a stringency of means is due entirely to human wickedness and folly. and particularly to the wickedness and folly of the troupe of performing sea lions, the old school tie, and that British equivalent of the Jews in Germany, the bankers. i.e., that the problem can he solved quite quickly by a simple act of the
Now that proposition is flatly untrue (and is more untrue than ever with the nation fighting for its life). There Is much that is wrong with our existing social order, but it cannot be put right by simply going and burning down the Carlton Club. It can only be put right by a shrewd, and often most painful. choke between two alternative types of good. It can only be put right by sacrifice. sacrifice imposed and accepted by strata much lower down the economic scale than Eton and Harrow. In particular. it is only sacrifice that can solve the frightful problem of insecurity.
It is impossible to implement our principles and build the Better Britain we desire without reeognising this fact. Further, it is impossible to build it on the present basis of intellectual chaos.
I have said before, and I say it again-n that the most important service the individual citizen can render in this matter is the education of himself. We shall not achieve what we desire to achieve except upon a basis of unanimity. arid we shall not achieve unanimity unless we study not only the problem of ends (on which a very high unanimity already exists), but also the brute facts of the problem of means.
You will not get a full and just satisfaction of the material needs of 45 million people cooped up in a tiny island by shouting slogans and abusing the Government. You must worry out the problem how to do it on a basis of knowledge and effort, accepting all the disagreeable things that this knowledge will reveal. If you refuse that. there are only two alternatives —a full-blooded dictatorship, or the continuance of the pre-war muddle.
In the ensuing notes I will try to outline some of the enormous difficulties that will confront us in this march of ours " towards a better Britain."
Note: Correspondence on the " Chart of Human Value " is now invited,