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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 (2d.) 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 promoters 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, 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, 866).
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 alsoespecially in Australia-all is not well with the state,
and the commentator finds much that disappoints him. Are the weak points the natural result of democracy, or of certain local conditions in each special case? Summing up in five lines what Lord Bryce has argued out in two volumes, we may conclude that, while many of the faults of modern democracies result from antecedent facts of origin, history, race, climate, geography, economics, for which a constitution cannot be held responsible, there remains a very large residuum of unsatisfactory phenomena for which democracy itself must take the blame. The conclusion is made certain when we find these faults pervading not only modern states but the free republics of antiquity, and noted down long ago by observers, like Plato and Aristotle, as essentially democratic failings.
It is not, of course, the failings only for which Lord Bryce is in search. There are plenty of compensatory benefits on which he enlarges in his second volume. And some evils seem to be curing themselves; e.g. there is a well-marked and successful reaction against administrative corruption in America, which has brought many men of sterling character into politics, who would not or could not have entered them twenty years ago. The splendid services of Australia to mankind during the late war have disproved the charge that her people were growing so interested in sport and strikes that they had no attention to spare for the greater issues of human life. No one will again declare her decadent, though they may still have to regret her want of interest in things intellectual, and the subservience of her administrations to the class-demands of a labour party whose policy some one summed up, as Lord Bryce notes (II, 258), in the simple claims, More wages for shorter hours; less work, and more amusement.' Canada's dealings with her race-problem give good evidence that her people by their intelligence and law-abiding habits are well prepared to face whatever problems the future may bring about, finding remedies for such defects as from time to time disclose themselves in her government.
There is always good hope for the future when public opinion-real public opinion, not press opinion or party opinion-is sound. And in practically all of the states
which Lord Bryce here analyses-putting aside parts of Latin America-it may be said that there is a public opinion and a sound one, though certain happenings of the moment may tempt the observer to doubt its existence or its soundness. Democracies have not lost the power of recognising and admiring virtue. They have shown full power of discovering and respecting civic merit, even when embodied in a rather eccentric personality like that of Abraham Lincoln. They have shown no tendency to overlook moral defects in their leaders; no man scandalous in private life or in money matters can hope to maintain his leadership. The same could not be said in any of the old monarchies or oligarchies of earlier centuries, which could tolerate Walpole and Charles James Fox, Dubois and Talleyrand in power. The establishment of popular freedom has removed, or at least diminished, many sources of fear or suffering which existed under more arbitrary forms of government. It is only in Latin America, which is not really democratic, and in Bolshevik Russia, which is only a horrible and unreal parody of democracy, that administrative cruelty and deliberate personal persecution of the enemies of the ruler of the moment can be discovered.
If we ask what are the special drawbacks of democracy qua democracy, failings to be found regularly through all the ages, from the Athens of Plato and Aristophanes to Australia or the United States in the 20th century, there is no difficulty in constructing & formidable list. Lord Bryce has done so in the seventysecond and seventy-eighth chapters of this book.
Yet some of the usual indictments of democracy turn out to be ill-founded when we cast an eye down the annals of history. For example, democracy has been accused of being the parent of class-strife. But classstrife was as bitter in the oligarchic republics of ancient Greece or medieval Italy as in any democratic state. That monarchies are not immune from it is evident when we recall the Jacquerie, Wat Tyler, the Hungarian peasant revolt of 1513, or the German peasant revolt of 1524. It is equally incorrect to accuse democracy of intolerance greater than that to be found in other