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Aristophanes, and Plato) than about any of its contemporary states. The results of the comparison emerge in the weighty third part' of the book, which
* summarises the evidence and draws the conclusionsconclusions, as we have said above, not too cheerful for the enthusiastic admirer of modern progress. The fine flush of 19th-century idealism has passed ; there remains only the reasoned conviction that, all forms of government having defects, those of democracy are less ruinous than those of autocracy, oligarchy, and bureaucracy-not to speak of Bolshevism, which combines all the worst failings of the other three. The general conclusion is not far off that at which Aristotle arrived two thousand two hundred and fifty years ago, when he ruled that a corrupt autocracy was worse than a corrupt oligarchy, and a corrupt oligarchy worse than a corrupt democracy, the last being the least hurtful of the three.*
The seven modern state-groups whose internal conditions Lord Bryce has analysed for us, having
, personally visited every one of them, are Latin America, France, Switzerland, the Dominion of Canada, the United States, the Australian Commonwealth, and New Zealand.
Latin America can in a large measure be ruled out of the discussion, for, although the states call themselves republics, and pretend to work under elaborate democratic conditions, the majority of them are constitutional shams or impostures. The tropical group from Mexico downwards are really what an ancient Greek would have called tyrannies,' governed in fact by presidents and their pretorian guards.
* Military talent, or even fierce and ruthless energy without talent, brought men to the front, and made them, under the title of president, irresponsible dictators. ...
.. This state of things has lasted down to our own day in most of the twenty republics—though of course in varying degrees. Whether better or worse, however, and by whatever name the governments of these states are called, none of them is a democracy' (II, 215).
Nor, for the matter of that, is Brazil, where presidents, indeed, bulk less large, but owing to the hopeless ignorance of a parti-coloured proletariate, the republic is in fact an oligarchy not of land-owning families, like that of Chile, but of such among the richer citizens, whether landlords, or heads of industrial, financial, and commercial enterprises, as choose to occupy themselves in politics' (1, p. 224). About the moral of Latin America there is no question, says Lord Bryce. Do not give a people institutions for which it is unripe, in the simple faith that the tool will give skill to the workman's hand. Respect facts; man is in each country not what we wish him to be, but what nature and history have made him. Despite the heart-breaking example of Mexico, which has relapsed into complete anarchy after the fall of that capable despot, Porfirio Diaz, the commentator is not quite hopeless. Some states, like Argentina and Chile, have attained respectability and good internal governance. More may follow.
follow. Those who understand what South America was under the old Spanish Viceroys, and what she was when she emerged from her long struggle for independence, will not despond of her future.' But one must not go there in search of true democracy.
The bloodstained annals of Latin America may not be edifying; on the other hand, they cannot be called dull. But those of Switzerland, the nearest approach to an ideal republic that the world can show, are edifying in the highest degree, but dull beyond compare. Happy, as the cynic said, is the land that has no history-and, from the point of view of the writer of drum-andtrumpet chronicles, Switzerland has had no history since the Sonderbund War of 1848. Her citizens, intelligent, public-spirited, progressive, yet cautious, have managed her affairs with the minimum of friction. The constitutional specialist knows her mainly as the motherland of those two modern democratic experiments, the Referendum and the so-called 'Initiative,' viz. the right of a prescribed number of the citizens to propose the passing of any enactment by popular vote. In Switzerland herself those devices have been worked with the moderation and good sense that characterise Swiss
politics. They are used sparingly, they generally deal with questions in which all voters take a genuine and intelligent interest, and are decidedly popular institutions. It may seem strange to learn (1, 448) that they have reduced rather than intensified party feeling. But to realise what they may mean when transplanted to another continent, and worked recklessly by a selfish party machine, or even by an alliance of cranks, we have to turn to the American section, and to read the history of the Referendum and the Initiative in the state of Oregon and certain of its neighbours,
where political associations, or interests that consider themselves threatened, spend much effort and large sums in hiring persons to go round pressing citizens to sign, after paying them at the rate of five cents (2}d.) and upwards for their signatures. It is admitted that many sign, adding that they mean to vote against the proposal when it comes up. A more serious evil has been here and there discovered in the insertion of large numbers of forged and unreal names ; and as an illegible signature is not invalid, temptation to resort to this kind of fraud is obvious. “Log-rolling" between the pro
. moters of different unconnected proposals which will be submitted to the vote at the same time is common. ... A grave abuse is that of trying to mislead the people by hiding away some important change, likely to rouse opposition, among other proposals likely to secure support, describing the contentious amendment as a section of one of the latter. Moreover the bills and amendments submitted are often so unskilfully worded as to be obscure and even self-contradictory. The citizen who goes to the poll is appalled at the number of issues presented to him at once. At the election of 1912 Oregon set no less than thirty before him, in addition to the names of candidates for seats in the legislation. How can any man, however able and earnest, give an intelligent vote on issues so numerous, when some of the bills are on technical subjects outside the range of his knowledge?' (II, 155-7).
Happy are the Swiss, who have no bosses,' no wealthy and corrupt party machine, very few cranks, and an admirable tradition of honest politics and of ‘playing the game.' With them a political life is not in the pecuniary sense a profession; it is hardly even a career, There is no system of insincere polemics against
party opponents; representatives do not inveigh against their colleagues, but take it for granted that they are acting according to their lights. There is an atmosphere of reciprocal respect, and the soundness of public life is secured by the existence of a vigilant and patriotic public opinion (1, 479).
How far is this ideal, if prosaic, state of affairs the direct consequence of the fact that Switzerland is a small country, where in cantonal politics every one knows every one else and his worth, and in national politics there is neither any bitter clash between classesfor there are no millionaires and few poor-nor between religions—sectarian bitterness is forgotten-nor even between sections and languages ? Could Swiss cantonal methods possibly find a scope in the heterogeneous cosmopolitan population of New York? Or could the non-party Federal Executive, which works so well at Berne, manage the affairs of a great colonial empire, like that of France or Great Britain ? It is extremely doubtful; in some respects we must conclude that the small state is the happiest, like the middle-class citizen of Phocylides.
As to France, one may, as Lord Bryce shows, draw as depressing a picture as one pleases, and then find that one has misjudged a great people and its institutions.
• Seven years ago observers thought they saw in France a people torn by internal dissensions, religious and political, a legislature changeful and discredited, a large part of the people indifferent to politics, only a small fraction of the finest intellect of the country taking part in its politics. They remembered the Panama scandals, the Affaire Dreyfus, the absurd political adventure of General Boulanger; they naturally concluded that France was a decadent country, in which the flame of national life was flickering low. Then came a war more terrible than any known before. Political dissensions continued, political intrigues were as rife as ever: ministry followed ministry in quick succession. But the Nation rose to confront the peril that threatened its existence, and showed that the old spirit of France had lost nothing of its fervour, and her soldiers nothing of their valour' (1, 366).
One may find as many detestable details in French political life as one pleases. The group-system in the
legislature, with its constant atmosphere of intrigue and its ever-shifting ministers; the atmosphere of petty jobbing in prefectures and committee-rooms; the ran. corous intolerance in religious matters with the petty spying and secret dossiers that it involved down to the outbreak of the war of 1914 ; the inequalties of the droit administratif-these are things on which Lord Bryce has had to expatiate, as in duty bound. Yet is the Republic responsible ?
Class-hatred, religious and anti-religious intolerance, deficient respect for personal liberty, ministerial jobbery, were not brought into France by democracy. They are maladies of long standing, heritages of the ancien régime, for which the Republic is responsible only so far as it has not succeeded in eliminating them. It is the misfortune, not the fault of the Republic that antagonisms are stronger than affinities' (1, 355). And in the world crisis of 1914–18 public opinion proved sound; the diseases were on the surface of the body; they did not affect the heart.
Turning to the four English-speaking democracies beyond the seas, we find much less similarity than might have been expected, considering that all four in their early years passed through the same mill of the old British colonial system. Allowance must, of course, be made for the fact that all Canadian problems are complicated by the existence of the great French-speaking minority in Quebec, and all the problems of the United States by the fact that they have served for a century as a great melting-pot into which much queer alien metal has been cast. American optimists used to think that their country could absorb and digest any material-even African negroes. But the smelting has produced very doubtful amalgams, especially in the larger cities. Lord Bryce traces much of the more unsatisfactory features of American politics to the existence of vast uneducated blocks of foreignborn proletariate, the natural prey of the boss' and the • machine.' But Australia and New Zealand have none of the problems of mixed blood; and in them also— especially in Australia-all is not well with the state,