FROM THE ANTHOLOGY: The Clash of Ideas

Freedom and Control

Courtesy Reuters

AT this stage of the last war, friend and foe alike knew the main general principles of the world order that would follow on an Allied victory. The world would be made up of self-determined, independent, sovereign states, linked together by a League of Nations founded on the principles of collective security, arbitration and disarmament. The normal pattern for a state would consist of a two-chamber legislature elected by universal suffrage, a responsible executive, an independent judiciary and guarantees of the civil liberties. Financial relationships between nations would be regulated by the gold standard, buttressed by central banks. Commercial policy would permit only moderate protective tariffs and would frown on such expedients as quotas, discriminations, dumping and official trading. Internally, every state would be dedicated to the principles of free individual enterprise, with a minimum of state interference or control.

It is beside the point that these principles were not completely applied and that some of them which were applied were unsuccessful. In 1918-19 that all lay in the future. The point is that, at the end of the last war, the world knew what an Allied victory would mean. The "triumph of democracy" then had a fairly detailed intellectual substance as well as an emotional content.

But who knows today what an Allied victory would mean? Of the four major Allies, two are democracies, but, apart from the general conviction that people should be allowed to settle their own affairs, how much of the formulae of democracy do the Americans and British regard as articles of export? To take a specific case, should we recommend the Germans to set up a replica of the Weimar Republic, or the French to restore the Third Republic -- supposing that our advice were asked for in either case? And, if not, what do we recommend? Moreover, the other two major Allies do not, in their own affairs, practise anything that we should recognize as democracy. Some allege that the real preference of the

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