The International Mind


THERE are two questions which interest us in regard to the League of Nations: first, what it is now; second, what it is likely to become hereafter. Both questions are important; but the second, which looks to the future developments of the League through the long ages to come, is by far the more important of the two. They are, of course, closely related to each other.

The League of Nations is obviously the beginning of some human enterprise much vaster than is indicated by its present form. We have often been urged to judge it in that character; to be content with it as a beginning; or, at least, not to criticize it as if it pretended to be final.

This most assuredly is a reasonable demand. But something remains to be added. Before we can accept the League as a beginning, we must know the end which is thus begun. We need to be assured that the road has been cut in the right direction, even though, so far, it has been cut only a yard or two.

The beginning, then, of what? A clear answer should be given to that question, for a confused answer is almost worse than none at all. Whatever else may be left uncertain in our preparations for a long journey, the point we intend to reach at the end of it should be defined without the least ambiguity. The North Pole may be a difficult spot to find, and many ups and downs will have to be encountered before we get there; but no one could say that a right beginning had been made in our search so long as a doubt remained as to whether it was the North Pole or the South Pole that was to be the end of the expedition. So, too, a person who asks me to be content with the League of Nations as a beginning, but leaves me in the dark as to the final result which is to issue from this first attempt, makes upon me a demand which I cannot fulfill. The question is as necessary as it is natural. The beginning of what?

The question can be answered without much difficulty; indeed, the answer is actually present, although perhaps vaguely present, in the minds of those who ask it. The end, of which the League is the beginning, is the ultimate unification of the whole human race into a single family, organic group, or community. This may be immensely distant; it may seem when we contemplate it to be an impossible dream; but, if we are in earnest, nothing less than this will bring our thoughts to the true end of which the League of Nations is the beginning.

If all the League can accomplish when fully developed is to combine a very large portion of the human race, say all the inhabitants of the European Continent, into a single community, while leaving another equally large group, say the inhabitants of Asia, confronting the first and possibly hostile to it, then I should say that a league which is going to stop at that point cannot be satisfactory, even as a beginning. Indeed, there are good reasons to think that such a result would create a more dangerous state of things than that which has hitherto existed in the world. We need some assurance that the League will not stop at that point, but will continue its growth, until in the last issue it has left no group of nations, either large or small, outside its orbit. If the League is the beginning of this, well and good. If it is the beginning only of the lesser thing, it has not begun well.

About this all parties will probably be agreed — namely, that nothing less than the final unification of the entire human race can answer the question we have asked — the beginning of what?

The next step is to examine this conception — that of a finally unified community of mankind. On the one hand, it is a conception or ideal which we cannot, and dare not, let go; because we shall find, if we do, that all our social reforms, including the League of Nations itself, turn out on examination to be ‘roads to nowhere.’ On the other hand, the conception is so vast in its implications that we almost shrink from speaking of it, lest we should be condemned as dreamers. Before we could come in sight of so great a consummation, a thousand problems which have baffled the wit of man for ages would have to be solved. Immense transformations would have to take place, both in national and in individual character. Innumerable prejudices would have to die. The whole world would have to change its habits, abandon some of its leading motives, and acquire new ones in their place. The American or the Englishman would have to be a very different person from anyone in either nation who now happens to be reading this article; for I greatly doubt if either my reader or myself, much as we both may desire worldcitizenship, is qualified at present to play his part as a citizen in a world-wide city. We should prove too troublesome to our fellow citizens and should need to be repressed. At least, I am very sure that I should. I detect in myself many tendencies, alike of thought, action, and feeling which would make me, being the man I now am, strangely at odds with such an environment. For instance, under no circumstances that I can conceive would I be a party to hauling down the British flag in any considerable region of the world where it now floats; and if I saw an American hauling down his flag, I should despise him. That would not do for citizenship of the world.

The same would be found true in all nations, in all races. The Chinaman, for example, would not be the kind of individual we now encounter on the quays of Shanghai. Such a Chinaman is almost as unfit to be a citizen of the world as I am myself. And not only should we — Americans, English, and Chinese— have to be morally changed: we should have to be intellectually enlarged. Even as it is, our intellectual powers are scarcely equal to dealing with the complexities of the relatively limited societies to which we now belong. We are constantly making mistakes, which lead to serious consequences, through sheer inability to cope with the immensity of the problems before us — because our intellects are outmatched by the obscure, subtle, complex, and baffling conditions of social life, even on the national scale. How vastly more complex these problems would become if we had to deal with them on the international scale! Before we could adapt our minds to the vast scope of the business before us, we should need an almost unimaginable increase of intellectual power; not a mere increase of knowledge, though that would be necessary, but also of the power to deal with knowledge after it has been acquired.

In short, we may say, and that without hesitation, that the community of mankind could not be formed out of such men as now exist anywhere on the earth. The human material for such a community is lacking. In the first place, neither our intellect nor our knowledge is equal to drawing up a code of laws which would be universally applicable to all mankind — we should lack the legislators. Secondly, even if the legislators were forthcoming, the task of administering the laws with a just regard to the interests of the whole human race is far beyond any powers we at present possess. Thirdly, even if we had both competent legislators and competent administrators, it is doubtful if we could find anywhere, at present, a race or a nation which could be trusted to submit to universal legislation, when this required it to sacrifice its own interests to the interests of mankind at large. To this may be added a fourth inability, which is not strictly in line with the other three, but which illustrates them all, namely, that no means exists of coping with the widespread disobedience that would unquestionably arise if the attempt were made to impose universal legislation on the many immature nations which now exist on the earth.

These considerations alone, to which many others might be added, are enough to suggest the immense and radical changes that would have to be effected in all the races of man, white, yellow, and black, and in the white perhaps most of all, before we should come in sight of the conditions on which could be erected an organized community of mankind.

Thus we are confronted with a difficulty — or, rather, with a serious dilemma. On the one hand, we are bound to retain our ideal of an ultimate unity of mankind, if we are to give any reason for the social faith that is in us. On the other hand, we can retain this ideal only at the cost of being condemned, perhaps by our own judgment, as ‘unpractical dreamers.’ If we let the ideal go, we find that all our beginnings lack an end; and the question ‘beginning of what?’ remains unanswered. If we assert the ideal, we assert what is eminently unpractical, in the sense in which ‘ practical ’ is now almost universally interpreted, that, namely, of the probability that we could win an election on the basis proposed.


Leaving aside for the moment the question how we may escape from this dilemma, let us come to a definition. The idea of a universal community of the human race is the moving spring of the international mind. Wherever this idea and the desire for its realization exist, there and there only can we say that the international mind has come into being. I must refuse to give the name to the partial internationalisms, of which so many varieties exist at the present time. Some of these are disguised schemes of domination, ‘Concerts of Power’ baptized with new names. Some obliterate old lines of division between the nations, but at the same time, perhaps without intending it, draw new ones; and the new ones they draw may be more dangerous than the old ones they obliterate.

On one condition only can we allow that these partial internationalisms betray the international mind: that is, in the rare instances where they are evident approaches to, or foreshadowings of, that complete internationalism which demands a universal community. Internationalism, if stopped short at one of its partial realizations, and without promise of further development, is worse than no internationalism at all. A policy, for example, which would unify the white races on principles that the yellow races could not assimilate would be a most dangerous and desperate venture — one quite out of line with the ideal which a complete internationalism affirms. The international mind is not to be satisfied with any of these arrested forms, not even with those that point to groupings or communities much larger than any which now exist. It demands the complete thing, and will not be content with anything less — except, indeed, it be offered as an obvious first installment of an all-inclusive unification.

It is important that we should linger for a little over these partial internationalisms, because our study of them will prove suggestive when we come to the question of escaping from our dilemma. All of them have one feature in common. They aim at federating some group of nations on political lines. The political aspect of these federations is the essential feature of them. Some would be content with a union of Great Britain and America; others demand a union of the leading European states; others, of all the European states; others, of the European States plus America; others add certain Asiatic nations, and so on.

These differences are not important to our present purpose. What is important is the common element that pervades them all, namely, this: that they all accept the political model as the goal of their efforts, all express themselves in political terms, make use of political methods, set up political machinery. The new community embraced in the scheme, whether composed of two nations or twenty, will be before all else a political community — to be described in terms of the constitution or treaty that defines its form, of the councils or parliaments that control its affairs, of the laws enacted, of the courts set up to administer the laws, of the police or other forces made use of to command obedience — all of them political features. Political thinking dominates these proposals from first to last. Political habits of mind are everywhere in evidence. The persons who take the lead are statesmen; the persons to be intrusted with the schemes when set on foot are politicians or diplomats; the persons who write books and articles about them are those who have graduated in the philosophy of politics; the press which discusses them from day to day is mainly a political instrument. Moreover, the conception of man which runs through all this is that of a being who needs to be governed, which is essentially a political conception — a true conception as far as it goes, but a very inadequate expression of human nature. The question at issue is always that of governing men in some larger mass, or more inclusive grouping, than now exists; ‘the political man’ playing much the same part in these discussions that the ‘economic man’ once played in a now discredited social philosophy. Rarely, if ever, does the mind which is occupied with these things escape effectively from the political rut.

There is, indeed, one word which strikes the keynote of all these undertakings. It is the word ‘policy,’ which formed the subject of my last article in the Atlantic Monthly.1 I will hazard the guess that there is no abstract noun in the English language which appears so often in print as this word policy. As an experiment, let the reader count up the number of times it is used in a single issue of any leading daily newspaper. The only other word that can compare with it in this respect is ‘ money.’ This word policy seems to sum up, to symbolize, the whole body of ideas, habits of mind, and methods of working with which these partial internationalisms embark upon their business. What they are engaged upon is the grouping of a number of existing states into some kind of federation, which shall resemble the existing states in being essentially political, and differ from them only in being larger and more inclusive.


Now what is the political state which partial internationalism takes for its model? I shall not enter into a lengthy discussion of its nature. Enough for my present purpose that the political state is one of many forms of association, one of many forms of community life, which the human race has found useful in helping it to keep and improve its footing on this planet. I have nothing whatever to say against it, and am in no way concerned to belittle its value. It appears to be a necessity imposed upon us, but imposed rather by our vices than by our virtues. The point to which I would call attention is, that among the many valuable forms of human association the political state is just one and no more than one. There are scores of others which, on their own ground and for their own purpose, are just as valuable as the political state is on its ground and for its purpose. I instance the family as one of them, a type of community life, admittedly of the highest value, but certainly not political in its structure, although no doubt it has a political background.

As the political state is not the only form, so neither is it, necessarily, the final form which the community of mankind is destined to assume. It may be so; though personally I should feel a tinge of regret and indeed more than a tinge, if I were driven to conclude that the City of God, or the New Jerusalem, is to be only a larger and all-inclusive version of the political state as we are now familiar with it. Admirable as these political states may be for the purposes they now serve, their structure is not adapted for the ultimate unification of mankind. The fact that the political state has shown itself highly efficient in welding together enormous masses of human beings in different parts of the globe does not prove that it will be equally efficient when the final problem arises of bringing all these masses into brotherly relations one with another. At all events, among the manifold forms of community life now in existence, there are others, besides the political state, which are worthy of examination. Some of them may turn out to be more promising as models for that final unification of mankind which is the moving idea of the international mind.

But before we consider these other models, I will mention briefly why the political state, admirable as it is for its own purpose, should not be allowed to obsess our minds when the final synthesis of the human family is in question.

The first reason is that all political states are unstable and precarious structures; some of course much more so than others, but all in some degree. Within the last five years three great empires have gone to pieces, and though the British Empire is said to have emerged stronger than ever, this must not be taken to mean that the British Empire is by nature immortal or immune from decay. There is no example in history of a political state which has not required the greatest efforts and sacrifices to maintain it in existence; they have all proved difficult to keep alive; and, in spite of the efforts that have been made to preserve them intact, the number of those that have had a long history is small compared with the number whose history has been short. Political states are eminently perishable things; and it is important to note that great states have proved themselves more perishable than little ones. The question then arises whether a world-wide political state would be less perishable than its more limited predecessors; for I take it that, unless it were much more stable than they have been, it would not satisfy the aspirations of the international mind.

One cause of instability would at all events disappear from the world-state — that, namely, which comes from foreign aggression. In a world-state there would be no foreigners, unless, indeed, it could be invaded from another planet. On the other hand, the dangers of disruption through internal dissensions would be enormously increased. The inconceivable number of divergent interests to be coördinated into one system would create a task for superhuman wisdom and skill; and even if we imagine them coördinated for the time being, which is not theoretically impossible, the problem of keeping them coördinated, of maintaining the balance through long periods of time, is certainly beyond any powers now to be found in the human race. If we imagine our world-state to be composed of men or of races at all resembling those that now exist on the earth, it is certain that the internal tension would be enormous. The principal occupation of such a state would be, if I may say so, that of resisting its own tendency to burst, or at least to split, and I am wholly unable to imagine by what means the tendency could be resisted for very long. In short, the danger of foreign war would be replaced by the greater danger of civil war. For this reason alone I conclude that the existence of a world-state would be more and not less precarious than that of any state with which we are so far acquainted.

Another reason pointing to the same conclusion is one to which due weight is seldom given in these speculations. All the existing states of the world, even the most pacific, are to a much greater extent than is commonly realized, war-made creations. Not only have their large outlines been determined by conquest, but their social structure, their modes of government, their habits of life, their economic conditions betray, at almost any point we choose to examine, the moulding influence of war. All this is deeply reflected in the pyschology of nations. With a few possible exceptions, the nations of the world conceive of themselves in the last resort as fighting units. Whatever other meaning they may attach to nationality, — and of course there are many others, — there comes sooner or later a point where each nation thinks of itself in war-like terms. The reason why it does so lies in its history, perhaps a history of many centuries. And again, it is important to note that on the whole the warlike character is more apparent in the big states than in the little ones. One might have expected the contrary. One might have thought that, as the process of unification went on, as the political unity became larger and larger until nations were formed comprising one or two hundred million human beings, we should see a progressive diminution in their war-making characteristics. The contrary seems to be the case. It is the big states which are the great fighters, which maintain the most formidable armaments, and stand in the most dangerous relations one with another.

I am well aware that this is only one aspect of the character of a modern state, but it is a most important aspect and by no means to be overlooked when the question arises of combining these states into yet larger federations. It is then that their fighting character begins to make difficulties, as we plainly see it doing at the present moment. These fighting units are not easy to combine into pacific wholes. There is that in the history of them all which resists the process of federation, even when federation is what the non-warlike part of their psychology desires; something that little by little changes the proposed federation, which is meant to be pacific, into an armed alliance of one kind or another.

If we put these two characteristics together,— first, the essential precariousness of the political state; second, its war-made form and martial psychology,— we have before us reasons for doubting whether the political state is altogether a good model when we are laying our plans for the future community of mankind. Certainly not a good model to have exclusively in mind, nor perhaps primarily, I will not go the length of saying that the political state has no place whatever in our speculations, and ought to be dismissed entirely. But I hope that what has been said is enough, I must not say to prove, but to gain interest in my main contention, which is this: that the international mind must refuse to tie itself down to the political model if that alone would solve its problem. The internationalist must hold himself free, at this point, to consider the claims of other models of community life, of which there are many, and to examine them all impartially. Perhaps he will find among them one or more, capable of a worldwide development, which, if developed on a world-wide scale, would bring him nearer than the political state can ever do to the final unification of mankind.

We need some means of promoting internationalism which will not oring us, as our present methods are doing, into immediate and fatal collision with the principle of nationality, everywhere active and powerful. As everybody knows, or ought to have learned by this time, nationality blocks the way: blocks it with innumerable questions of sovereign rights, which is a political difficulty; blocks it with the resolute demand of every mature nation to be the guardian of its own honor, which is a moral difficulty; vide the recent action of the Senate of the United States.

But is there no way round this formidable obstacle, which, in the meantime, may be left standing and unchallenged? There is.

The way round is, indeed, a long one, but a long way which leads to our goal is better than a short one which leads to a bottomless abyss. And may we not take it as axiomatic that no short cut exists to the goal which the international mind is determined to achieve?


I proceed, then, to enumerate some of these other models of community life which the internationalist should study; not, indeed, assuming that any one of them, by itself, will provide him with a perfect type of what he is seeking, but yet suggesting that each will give him some hint of a working principle, and that, by combining the principles that he learns from all of them, he will be able to evolve a positive plan of operations.

1. The Trade-Union — or the Community of Labor.

2. The Friendly Society — or the Community of Insurance.

3. The University — or the Community of Learning.

4. The Guild of Fine Arts — or the Community of Excellence.

5. The Social Club — or the Community of Friendship.

6. The Church — or the Community of Faith.

7. The Family — or the Community of Love.

To these seven I will add an eighth — by way of showing that I do not wish to exclude it, but only to put it in its proper place. The eighth is the Political State, which is the Community of Government.

The plan of operations which I propose to recommend, as the true programme of internationalism, begins its activities on lines suggested by the first seven of these models and ends with the activities suggested by the eighth. It differs, therefore, from the plans now most in favor, not by excluding political activity, but by leaving it to the last. It differs yet more widely from the type of internationalism which thinks exclusively in political terms and is incapable of thinking in any others. The difference is one of method, not of aim or of principle. The aim is still the fraternity of the nations; the principle is that of reciprocal good-will. But the order of procedure is turned round, that being taken last which is usually taken first, and the first last.

Let us, then, take a glance at the seven models of community life — a glance only; to do them full justice, a volume would have to be devoted to each.

1. The Trade-Union, or Community of Labor. The principle of trade-unionism is collective bargaining. I suggest the extension and development of collective bargaining on international lines. This process has long been recognized in commercial treaties and otherwise, but is capable of being carried very much further. The interchange of products between different countries, known as import and export, now a most complicated and wasteful operation, might gradually be reduced to a series of summary bargains between the countries concerned; these bargains to be conducted by constituted bodies in which labor would be represented along with capital, and the consumer with the producer. For example, the exchange of American wheat against the manufactured products of Manchester or Bradford, which now involves thousands of transactions, would then be effected by a relatively small group of transactions, or, conceivably, by one. It would be in principle a collective bargain between American farmers and English manufacturers. The working out of such a scheme is, of course, a matter for expert science, as are nearly all the other matters to which I shall refer; but the data are actually in existence which render a gradual solution within the bounds of possibility.

I pause at this point to deal with an objection. It may be said that we are here on low ground, that bargaining is a mercenary process which should be ended rather than mended. I should be sorry to think so. A sounder view is that of Richard Cobden, who held that the ideal bargain is one of the most effective means in existence of reconciling the conflicting interests of men. A fraudulent bargain is among the worst things in the world; an honest bargain is among the best. It marks the end of a conflict and the beginning of a partnership. It is the creation of a common interest out of two interests originally divergent, or at least separate. Ideal bargaining promotes coöperation, and even friendship, between individuals and between nations. The more collective it becomes, the more does it approach its ideal form.

Great as are the advances that have been made up to date in the art of bargaining, it still remains susceptible of immense development. In certain directions it has reached already a high degree of perfection, as in the best practice of banking. But even here there are openings for international extension. For example, there is no reason, none at least in theory, why the nations should not create an International Bank, which would do for the credit of all nations what the Bank of England does in sustaining the credit of the British Empire. An International Bank would enormously facilitate collective bargaining on a large scale, and would be a great step forward toward unity of purpose in the general life of industrial civilization. Indeed, were the choice given me at this moment between an International Bank and a purely political League of Nations, I will go so far as to say that my vote would be given, without hesitation, for the International Bank as the surer means of achieving the end we all have in view.

2.The Friendly Society, or Community of Insurance.2 The principle of a community of insurance is that of bearing one another’s burdens, which most people will agree has something to do with the Kingdom of God. The characteristics of such a community — you may find them in any fire or life insurance company you choose to think of — are that the insuring members respect each other’s rights, guard each other’s property, and desire each other’s welfare. Here again a number of divergent interests are combined into a common interest. The burdens are pooled, the risks are combined, and both burden and risk are so distributed as enormously to diminish the hardships of human life. Imagine that extended to the international scale — the burdens of the nations so pooled, their risks so combined, as to make it the interest of each nation to respect the others’ rights, to guard the others’ property, and to desire the others’ welfare. The thing is not beyond the resources of actuarial science, one of the most highly developed of the sciences; and again I say that at this point I would rather trust the fortunes of internationalism to the actuaries, who have a science, than to the politicians, who have none.

At the present moment, for example, most of the nations engaged in the late war are staggering under an enormous burden of debt. For some nations the burden is so crushing that it cannot be separately borne; and since in these matters the credit of all nations is closely interlocked, the impending bankruptcy of some threatens the solvency of all. But while many of them cannot be borne singly, they can all be borne in common. Nay, they ought to be borne in common — for reasons on which I cannot enter now. Nay, more, they will be borne in common before some of us are in our graves — if only for the reason that the alternative to bearing them in common is a disaster which will involve them all.

The principles on which this can be done are those I have named. A new community of insurance is foreshadowed — a Friendly Society on the international scale. Whether it would deal first with the danger of bankruptcy, which is the outstanding danger of the world at the moment, or with the danger of war, or with any other of the many risks which the nations run in common, need not occupy us now. Enough that, if the method were applied to any one of these risks, it would rapidly extend to others; and, in so doing, would spread a network of equitable, humane, and scientifically exact relations over the face of the earth.

3. The University, or Community of Learning. The principle here is the universalism of knowledge, the catholicity of truth. In the world of knowledge, communism is a natural law. Rank, status, race, nationality count for nothing. Whatever you have, you give; and you gain more by sharing it with others. Here there is no mine or thine, but only mine and thine; for nothing is mine unless it is thine also. Internationalize that. Let every university become, so far as it can, what all universities were in bygone ages, international. Interchange your teachers, interchange your students, and see that workingmen form a large part of them. The universities of the world are for the internationalist a huge undeveloped estate. They are full of possibilities, pointing in the direction of coöperative effort, among the men of all nations, to extend the field of knowledge, to distribute its splendid products, and to ensure that these shall be applied, not, as they have been so largely heretofore, to purposes of mutual destruction, but to the promotion of the common good. Until a seat of learning has become international, its claim to be called a university is hardly complete; for it is not universal.

4. The Guild of Fine Arts, or Community of Excellence. The principle here is the value of good workmanship, both for the products it yields and for the education of those who produce it. What a Guild of Fine Arts sets out to achieve is not quantity, but quality. There is no reason why the whole industrial world, this world of factories and ‘goods’ which are not always good, should not become, in its distant and ultimate issue, a Community of Excellence.

There are two kinds of labor. There is one kind which is mere drudgery, a curse, an evil to be compensated by wages, a thing of which you must say that the less a man has of it, the better it is for the man. This is the kind which is most plentiful in the world at the present moment, and because there is so much of it we have what is known as the ‘Labor Problem.’ But there is another kind which is creative and delightful, a privilege, an education, a thing of which the more a man has, the better it is for him. That is true labor, that is labor as it should be, and the greatest need of our times is to foster and increase it, thereby gradually diminishing that other kind, which is a burden and a misfortune to all who perform it, no matter how highly they may be paid for so doing. Whenever a man appears in any nation who has that aim, let him be hailed as a brother in arms by every other man who has the same aim. Let all such work together across the bounds of nationality; let the international labor movement concentrate on Excellence, on increasing the labor which is a blessing and diminishing that which is a curse; let them lay the foundations of a worldwide Labor Party whose motto shall be, not, as now, ‘the minimum of work and the maximum of pay,’ but rather ' that every man shall enjoy his day’s work and a good article come out at the end of it.’ Here, also, are immense possibilities which internationalism, up to now, has hardly touched. When nations compete for quantity, their competition makes them enemies; when nations compete for quality, their competition makes them friends.

5. The Social Club, or Community of Friendship. The principle is the value of personal intercourse on common ground. The antithesis of the club is the modern hotel, where you are known, not by your name, but by your number, and where you may remain for days in close proximity to hundreds of other ‘numbers’ similar to yourself — as I have done in a great New York hotel, in the midst of the most hospitable nation on the face of the earth, without exchanging one friendly word with another being in the huge building.

What kind of international activity, then, does the Social Club suggest? Let no man smile when he hears the answer. It suggests a thorough reform of the habits and conditions of modern travel. The habits of the modern traveler might have been acquired for the express purpose of preventing men of different nations from getting to know one another. I have known men who have spent years in traveling, visiting half the countries in the world, and have not made a single friend in any one of them; ignorant of any language but their own, and often speaking that in a manner which the foreign linguist cannot understand; treated by the inhabitants of the countries they passed through as mere goods in transit, or as perambulating money-bags to be duly drained; gazed at as moving curiosities; staying in hundreds of hotels, but never passing a night under any hospitable roof; foreigners more foreign than if they had stayed at home.

I confess that I know not precisely how this astonishing evil is to be remedied. Perhaps the most one can do, at the moment, is to call attention to its existence, and thereby challenge the inventiveness of ingenious minds. It seems a vain thing to hope that the old customs of international hospitality — as they prevailed in the days of Erasmus and Colet, when travelers in foreign lands really got to know’ the people among whom they traveled — will ever be revived in this age of viewhunting and big hotels. But fancy sometimes plays with the thought that, as civilization becomes humane and intelligent, the entertainment of the foreigner will be recognized as a public duty. If it were possible—I suppose it is impossible, but there is no harm in playing with these fancies — to set some movement on foot which would ensure that a friendly door should always be open to the stranger in the community he is visiting, and a welcome given him to some family circle, it would do more to promote international understanding on both sides than many schemes that have been portentously discussed.

6. Lastly, we come to the Church, the most important of all the nonpolitical models we have to study, the one that has the closest bearing on our problem, and is at the same time the most difficult to understand aright.

The Church is the Community of Faith, and the principle at work within it is the Spirit. It differs from all the other communities I have named in being essentially invisible. No visible embodiment of it on the earth can do more than give a hint of its true nature. Or, we may say, the invisible part of it must always remain of vastly greater importance than the visible. Neither in the institutions it sets up, nor in the dogmas it teaches, nor in the ritual it follows, is the true nature of the Church fully revealed. When we hear it named, we think of sacred buildings, of priesthoods, of doctrines, of rites, of Sunday observances, of congregations saying their prayers or listening to sermons. But the Church-model is built on much deeper ground than that. It lies in a world which is not only invisible now, but is destined to remain invisible forever — the world of ultimate reality, where men are united with one another, not by any outward bond or formal compact, but by the fact that each in his place and station is loyal to the Highest. The Church is the invisible community of all such.

Of all the ties that bind men together this is by far the strongest. Compared with it the political state, the League of Nations, nay, the visible churches themselves, are things of a day. The members of this invisible Church may be unknown to one another by face or by name — how can it be otherwise, when they are to be counted by millions, and include the dead as well as the living? And yet it is literally true that they love one another with a love against which the gates of hell shall not prevail. They are always finding one another out. Place them where you will, among Jews or Greeks, bond or free, circumcision or uncircumcision, these faithful souls will reciprocally discover one another, and a new link will be forged in the invisible bond which binds the many into the one.

This is the ultimate formula of internationalism — to develop the secret affinities which enable the faithful in all nations to find one another out, and to realize their community in the very act of so doing, without negotiations, without compact, and without oath. In this sense, but in no sense more restricted than this, the Church is the final model of community life. It includes and explains all the others of which I have spoken. The Community of Labor, the Community of Insurance, the Community of Excellence, the Community of Learning, the Community of Friendship, are all means of bringing mankind together on lower planes in order that, at the last, they may find one another out in the invisible community of faithful souls. And when this has been done we reach that highest form of human organization, which is at the same time the simplest, the last on my list as it was also the first, of which I shall only say that it consists of the Family, or the Community of Love.

Our last step has brought us to the essence of the international mind. The international mind is a religion, which has room within its ample bosom for all the religions, but is itself identical with no one of them.


In conclusion, and by way of summing up, I ask the reader to exercise his imagination. Let him imagine the nations of the world, or even the chief of them, engaging in the six positive activities I have described, say for one generation. Take one by one the various models of community life I have named; pick out from each those of its features which are capable of international extension, and then suppose that concerted efforts are being made all round to establish community of labor, community of bargaining, community of insurance, community of excellence, community of learning, community of friendship — and as the last product of them all, community of faith. What do we see? We see a rapid consolidation of human interests, a continual drawing together of mankind for a united struggle against the adverse forces of Nature, and, therewith, a steady growth of mutual understanding, mutual respect, mutual helpfulness among all nations. We see the passing away of innumerable conflicts, cross-purposes, and absurd misunderstandings. We see, moreover, that an immense process of education is going forward — every one of the activities we have set on foot effectively teaching some great lesson of international ethics, the total result of which is to train men, not by ones or twos or twenties, but by millions, to become citizens of the world.

We see something more important still, which touches vitally on what has been said about the Political State, or Community of Government. I remarked at the beginning, and would repeat at the end, that with such human material as now exists on this planet the proposition of world-government is altogether unmanageable. The intelligence required to frame its constitution, the foresight to enact its laws, the means to enforce the laws even if enacted, do not exist. But if we imagine the nations pushing forward on the other lines, following the other models, we see at the same time that this problem of government is gradually simplifying itself, gradually diminishing in gravity with every fresh step that is made toward solidarity in the other forms. We are preparing the ground, we are educating the human material, we are narrowing the area of possible conflict, we are introducing conditions which render political federation a relatively easy thing compared with what it is at this moment.

A league of nations, even a partial league, on political lines, — the only form, alas, in which people now think of it, — is an enormously complex and dangerous affair. Who can doubt it? You may find twenty nations that are willing to set it up; but where will you find one that is honestly willing to submit to its authority after it has been set up? America supported the League so long as the question was merely that of setting up the new discipline; but as soon as she realized the precise discipline to which she herself would have to submit, she withdrew. In the same manner every one of the other consenting powers will withdraw the moment it is called upon to enforce the ideal of the League against itself.

This alone is enough to reveal the insuperable difficulties that arise when community of government is insisted on as the first step toward the community life of mankind. But the difficulties vanish when we place that step at the other end. I ask only for one generation of international effort on the lines indicated by the six models. By the end of that time we should have to deal with a set of conditions wholly different from those which now confront us. We should have a better human material to work upon; new moral forces would have sprung into being; the number of conflicting interests to be reconciled would have shrunk to a more manageable quantity. The political measures needed to secure the peace of the world would then assume a relatively simple form. Nay, we might even find that the other unities which had sprung into being were so strong, and so entirely pacific in their action, that world-government was no longer needed in any shape, beyond that of a formal ratification of an existing fraternity.

Be that as it may, there can be no doubt that the non-political models of community life have immense value for the international mind. I plead for their importance and I plead for their priority. It is they that provide a way round that formidable obstacle of nationality, which blocks the way, and has, I think, a full right to block the way, in an age as incapable as ours is of a genuine world-citizenship. It is they that promise an education in international ethics, for want of which political internationalism is even now dashing itself to pieces. It is they that enable us to counter the psychological causes of human strife, and liberate the psychological forces which alone can reconcile them.

Such a mode of action would betray just that blending of idealism and realism which moves the mountains. Neither realism nor idealism taken separately will carry us far toward the goal which the international mind is bent on achieving. It is the realist who bids us be content with the present League of Nations as a beginning. It is the idealist who asks — the beginning of what ? The two need to be combined. In combination they will be found irresistible.

  1. ’The Degradation of Policy,’ September, 1919.
  2. I owe all this, of course, to the late Professor Royce. — THE AUTHOR.