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expected to endure anything and everything in order to ensure the prestige, the security, or the morals of a State which, if it is anything at all, is merely those same individuals with the individuality stripped off and only the mass left.
Thanks to the agency of such writers as Prof. Hobhouse, the absurdity of submission to the tyranny of the State, of exalting the State with chatter of a transcendental kind,' has lately become apparent. We no longer suppose that the State—which is the government—is synonymous with the community, much less with you and me. Considering the number of people who find denunciation of the government an important form of recreative activity, we may suppose that the belief in this bastard self-government is already passing.
The happiness or welfare of individuals is a conception which we can understand; but the happiness or welfare of a State viewed as distinct from the individuals of whom it is composed, is the height of absurdity and a ludicrous parody of democracy. And when it comes to sacrificing individuals, not merely occasionally or here and there but literally en masse, for the sake of the State whereof they are members, the absurdity becomes too blatant to be borne. The personified Idea of the State is seen in the light of day to be neither more nor less than the autocracy of mediocre men in high places.
Once more, however, we leap out of the frying-pan into the fire, and reading community' for 'State' devote ourselves to the creation of a new social self. Political governments are not adequate incarnations of the general will of the inhabitants of the geographical area over which their authority extends. That we realise. But there must be some social self or there could not be self-government. So for the State we proceed to substitute the community, and in order to draw an appropriate distinction between the earthiness of the former and the splendour of the latter, we endow the community with all the glories of diversity in unity. The State is only one of many forms of association. It is not the only or the best basis of organisation, since in present-day communities the ties of professional association, for instance, are frequently stronger than
those of neighbourliness, which are the basis of the territorial State, The community, however, unlike the State, consists of an ordered (it never appears how or why the ordering is done) assemblage of different organisations representing man in all his aspects. Allegiance is equally due to the political government, the trade union, the football team, the Church, the learned society, the dance club, and all the other associations of which we are members, and which in their totality constitute the Community with a very large capital C, and any one of which may, in a narrow way of speaking, be regarded as par excellence the community for the time being. The new tyranny—the tyranny of the community idea—will soon be as dangerous as the old. The community is in reality as abstract as the State ; and if it is so diverse in character it is even harder to identify. When is the community prospering? When John Brown is prosperous in his capacity as an inhabitant of Birmingham, but unfortunate as a member of Brown's Bouncing Boxers; happy in the care which his chapel takes of his immortal soul, but most unfortunate in the partner whom the favourite dance club frequently assigns to him?
It is hard enough to come to a decision about the welfare of a concrete person like John Brown. It is problem
. enough for him to be a self-governing self. But it is harder still to form a conception of the welfare of a community which is composed of some millions of John Browns, Mrs. John Browns, Johann Brauns and Frau Dittos, as well as Jack Browns Junior, grouped and regrouped in endless conflicting associations. Even a knowledge of permutations and combinations will not help to identify in this confusion that Community for whose sake you and I are expected to repress our antisocial tendencies. The community, like the State, has no welfare apart from the welfare of the individuals of whom it is composed. Even those, however, who recognise this are nearly always driven to fall back into comfortable servitude to the idea against which they rebel. For the difficulty of deciding in the first place who are the members of the community; and, secondly, what is to be done when their interests conflict (as they certainly will), drives the boldest spirit back to abstract terms, and reincarnates the dangerous doctrine that one
section of conflicting interests — presumably the less violent but only too often the most valuable sectionmust be subordinated in the interests of the community.'
And there is another danger in the modern idea of the great community diverse and unified. It is not only anarchic, it also opens up fields of tyranny to hosts of fictitious social selves. We have seen how revulsion against the tyranny of the State-idea led to the view that the other forms of association are as much aspects of the community as the territorial State. But every such form of association may in its turn become personified and undemocratic. A conspicuous instance at the present time is afforded by the condition of the Trade Union movement. The idea of association on the basis of common labour, or labour in a common industry of a self-governing society of fellow-workers, becomes incarnate in the Trade Union. For awhile all is well. The prosperity of the Trade Union and the prosperity of its members are, at least, as nearly identical as the prosperity of Athens and the prosperity of the Athenians. But in process of time the Union grows in size and strength, and becomes personified. The rank-and-file worker at his bench acts under orders from officials who are as external to him as Mr Lloyd George is to you and me, and in obedience to these instructions he subordinates his immediate interests to the good of the Union. It is not impossible that a situation may arise in which almost every member is found to be sacrificing his welfare to the tyranny of the personified self, to the good of the Union. Here is self-government indeed! In such a case rebellion cannot be far removed. And in the Trade Union movement there are already signs of a disruption. The Shop Stewards' movement has arisen from an effort to destroy the autocracy of the centralised institution, and to reinterpret the Union once more in the only terms in which it can be intelligible—the lives of the individual workers. The full-time Trade Union official having become absorbed in the mire of officialdom and divorced from his constituents, it becomes apparent to the rank-and-file that the Trade Union is not a self-governing institution. The Shop Stewards' movement represents a reversion to the primitive, and the only genuine, conception of democracy. The people to be governed
are the men and women working in the workshop; the Stewards who govern are also to remain in the workshop, thus defying specialisation and triumphantly vindicating self-government. This is true democracy: in our age a splendid anachronism, but perhaps an earnest of better things to come.
Such a movement within Trade Unionism is an exact counterpart of the rise, the decline, and the fall of State worship or of community worship. I have no doubt that it could itself be paralleled from many other cases in which the lack of any real general will and the consequent impossibility of any true self-government cause the creation of a personified institution resplendent with all the tyranny of institutions. It is a history which is in no sense confined to any one form of association. Worship of the community may well prove no less dangerous than worship of the State ; and in so far as the diversity of the community comprises diverse institutions, the new danger may be even greater than the old. For one idol we raise up many; and submit the social, religious, and economic, as well as the political animal, to institutional despotism masquerading in the guise of self-government.
Idolatry and tyranny are ever with us; and we like them. They pander to our laziness and our instincts of submissiveness. Man, everywhere in chains, is none too eager to re-assert the freedom of his birth. Searching for self-government in political or in industrial society, he finds many selves to be governed and no self to govern; he believes that the quest overreaches his strength. Cheerfully, therefore, does he weld the warring selves into this and that abstraction, that society having selfhood may be self-governed. Is the search for selfgovernment to end in the tyranny of a personification? Shall we make a despotism and call it democracy?
Art. 8.-A NEW LIFE OF GOETHE.
Life of Goethe. By P. Hume Brown, F.B.A., LL.D. Two vols.
John Murray. 1920.
The study of Goethe in England is mainly associated with two names. Carlyle was not the first to call attention to German literature, for William Taylor of Norwich was before him, and spirited translations by Coleridge and Scott were already on the market; but it was from his early essays and renderings and his life of Schiller that most cultivated Englishmen learned the significance of the Weimar circle and its illustrious chief. The young Scot proclaimed his momentous discovery of a new oracle when he himself was almost unknown; and the influence
l of the German sage grew with the growth of his interpreter's fame. A generation after Carlyle's essays, Lewes published a biography which for the first time reconstructed the personality and achievement of the greatest of German writers, and, revised for the last time in 1876, held its own in Germany no less than in England for half a century. The book, which was dedicated to Carlyle, 'who first taught England to appreciate Goethe,' possesses the sovereign merit of vivacity; and, though the faults are sufficiently obvious and the material incomplete, it contributed even more than the fragmentary appreciations of Carlyle to strengthening Goethe's hold on the intelligence of Victorian England. The man is
. too great and too good,' he wrote, "to forfeit our love, because on some points he may incur blame'; and his readers, whether or no they shared the biographer's affection, responded to the appeal of an arresting personality and of a mind unique in range if not in originality.
As the 19th century drew to its close the star of Goethe rose as rapidly as that of Schiller paled, and an army of students commenced the patient researches which have now reached a stage where there is nothing but gleaning to be done. Some of the fruits are enshrined in the fourteen volumes of the English Goethe Society, the latest of which appeared in 1914; and among the contributions none are more interesting than those of Prof. Dowden, who for many years dallied with the