The most alarming tendency observable in this age is a growing disregard for the established forces of law and order. Whether or not stimulated by the noxious example of the almost sub-human Russian rabble, the less intelligent element throughout the world seems animated by a singular viciousness, and exhibits symptoms like those of a herd on the verge of stampeding. Whilst long-winded politicians preach universal peace, long-haired anarchists are preaching a social upheaval which means nothing more or less than a reversion to savagery or mediaeval barbarism. Even in this traditionally orderly nation the number of Bolsheviki, both open and veiled, is considerable enough to require remedial measures. The repeated and unreasonable strikes of important workers, seemingly with the object of indiscriminate extortion rather than rational wage increase, constitute a menace which should be checked.
To a certain extent, our government will probably meet these conditions with legislation affecting seditious speech and treasonable acts; but if a permanent cure is to be accomplished, something deeper and more educational will be needed. It will require propaganda to combat propaganda. The present agitation undoubtedly arises from the false belief in the possibility of a radically altered social order. The workers who strike, and the shouters who incite to crime, are obviously possessed of the notion that the property of the wealthy could practicably be shared with them; that even if they were to seize the things they covet, they could continue the enjoyment of civilised existence and of protection against violence.
We need a new Menenius Agrippa to proclaim and demonstrate widely the total fallacy of such an illusion. Our present social order, whilst capable of some degree of liberalisation, is the product of the natural development of human relations. It is not ideal, nor could anything on earth be ideal — but it is inevitable. Just as long as some men are more intelligent than others, so long will there be inequality of wealth. The type of persons who indulge in strikes and socialism seem never to realise how much they depend on the brains of their hated “economic masters.” They do not reflect that if they were to seize the factories and governments as they desire, they would be totally powerless to run them. The lawless I. W. W. sometimes boasts of its prospective ability to overthrow orderly government and substitute a sanguinary reign of the so-called “proletariat.” Perhaps such a catastrophe will come, just as the Russian catastrophe came; but how little will the blind anarchists gain therefrom! With the intelligent element removed, the rabble will use up the resources of civilisation without being able to produce more; cities and public works will fall into decay, and a new barbarism arise, out of which will spring in time the natural chieftains who will constitute the “masters” of another era of capitalism. Far better that the impressionable and inflammable masses be taught these things before they embark upon a futile revolution which will ruin all civilisation, themselves included, without helping anyone.