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CHAPTER 3: Liberal Foreign Policy - Ludwig von Mises, Liberalism: The Classical Tradition (LF ed.) 
Liberalism: The Classical Tradition, trans. Ralph Raico, ed. Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005).
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Liberal Foreign Policy
The Boundaries of the State
For the liberal, there is no opposition between domestic policy and foreign policy, and the question so often raised and exhaustively discussed, whether considerations of foreign policy take precedence over those of domestic policy or vice versa, is, in his eyes, an idle one. For liberalism is, from the very outset, a world-embracing political concept, and the same ideas that it seeks to realize within a limited area it holds to be valid also for the larger sphere of world politics. If the liberal makes a distinction between domestic and foreign policy, he does so solely for purposes of convenience and classification, to subdivide the vast domain of political problems into major types, and not because he is of the opinion that different principles are valid for each.
The goal of the domestic policy of liberalism is the same as that of its foreign policy: peace. It aims at peaceful cooperation just as much between nations as within each nation. The starting point of liberal thought is the recognition of the value and importance of human cooperation, and the whole policy and program of liberalism is designed to serve the purpose of maintaining the existing state of mutual cooperation among the members of the human race and of extending it still further. The ultimate ideal envisioned by liberalism is the perfect cooperation of all mankind, taking place peacefully and without friction. Liberal thinking always has the whole of humanity in view and not just parts. It does not stop at limited groups; it does not end at the border of the village, of the province, of the nation, or of the continent. Its thinking is cosmopolitan and ecumenical: it takes in all men and the whole world. Liberalism is, in this sense, humanism; and the liberal, a citizen of the world, a cosmopolite.
Today, when the world is dominated by antiliberal ideas, cosmopolitanism is suspect in the eyes of the masses. In Germany there are overzealous patriots who cannot forgive the great German poets, especially Goethe, whose thinking and feeling, instead of being confined by national bounds, had a cosmopolitan orientation. It is thought that an irreconcilable conflict exists between the interests of the nation and those of mankind and that one who directs his aspirations and endeavors toward the welfare of the whole of humanity thereby disregards the interests of his own nation. No belief could be more deeply mistaken. The German who works for the good of all mankind no more injures the particular interests of his compatriots—i.e., those of his fellow men with whom he shares a common land and language and with whom he often forms an ethnic and spiritual community as well—than one who works for the good of the whole German nation injures the interests of his own home town. For the individual has just as much of an interest in the prosperity of the whole world as he has in the blooming and flourishing of the local community in which he lives.
The chauvinistic nationalists, who maintain that irreconcilable conflicts of interests exist among the various nations and who seek the adoption of a policy aimed at securing, by force if need be, the supremacy of their own nation over all others, are generally most emphatic in insisting on the necessity and utility of internal national unity. The greater the stress they place on the necessity of war against foreign nations, the more urgently do they call for peace and concord among the members of their own nation. Now this demand for domestic unity the liberal by no means opposes. On the contrary: the demand for peace within each nation was itself an outcome of liberal thinking and attained to prominence only as the liberal ideas of the eighteenth century came to be more widely accepted. Before the liberal philosophy, with its unconditional extolment of peace, gained ascendancy over men’s minds, the waging of war was not confined to conflicts between one country and another. Nations were themselves torn by continual civil strife and sanguinary internal struggles. In the eighteenth century Briton still stood arrayed in battle against Briton at Culloden, and even as late as the nineteenth century, in Germany, while Prussia waged war against Austria, other German states joined in the fighting on both sides. At that time Prussia saw nothing wrong in fighting on the side of Italy against German Austria, and, in 1870, only the rapid progress of events prevented Austria from joining the French in the war against Prussia and its allies. Many of the victories of which the Prussian army is so proud were won by Prussian troops over those of other German states. It was liberalism that first taught the nations to preserve in their internal conduct of affairs the peace that it desires to teach them to keep also in their relations with other countries.
It is from the fact of the international division of labor that liberalism derives the decisive, irrefutable argument against war. The division of labor has for a long time now gone beyond the boundaries of any one nation. No civilized nation today satisfies its need as a self-sufficient community directly from its own production. All are obliged to obtain goods from abroad and to pay for them by exporting domestic products. Anything that would have the effect of preventing or stopping the international exchange of goods would do immense damage to the whole of human civilization and undermine the well-being, indeed, the very basis of existence, of millions upon millions of people. In an age in which nations are mutually dependent on products of foreign provenance, wars can no longer be waged. Since any stoppage in the flow of imports could have a decisive effect on the outcome of a war waged by a nation involved in the international division of labor, a policy that wishes to take into consideration the possibility of a war must endeavor to make the national economy self-sufficient, i.e., it must, even in time of peace, aim at making the international division of labor come to an end at its own borders. If Germany wished to withdraw from the international division of labor and attempted to satisfy all its needs directly through domestic production, the total annual product of German labor would diminish, and thus the well-being, the standard of living, and the cultural level of the German people would decline considerably.
The Right of Self-Determination
It has already been pointed out that a country can enjoy domestic peace only when a democratic constitution provides the guarantee that the adjustment of the government to the will of the citizens can take place without friction. Nothing else is required than the consistent application of the same principle in order to assure international peace as well.
The liberals of an earlier age thought that the peoples of the world were peaceable by nature and that only monarchs desire war in order to increase their power and wealth by the conquest of provinces. They believed, therefore, that to assure lasting peace it was sufficient to replace the rule of dynastic princes by governments dependent on the people. If a democratic republic finds that its existing boundaries, as shaped by the course of history before the transition to liberalism, no longer correspond to the political wishes of the people, they must be peacefully changed to conform to the results of a plebiscite expressing the people’s will. It must always be possible to shift the boundaries of the state if the will of the inhabitants of an area to attach themselves to a state other than the one to which they presently belong has made itself clearly known. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Russian Czars incorporated into their empire large areas whose population had never felt the desire to belong to the Russian state. Even if the Russian Empire had adopted a completely democratic constitution, the wishes of the inhabitants of these territories would not have been satisfied, because they simply did not desire to associate themselves in any bond of political union with the Russians. Their democratic demand was: freedom from the Russian Empire; the formation of an independent Poland, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, etc. The fact that these demands and similar ones on the part of other peoples (e.g., the Italians, the Germans in Schleswig-Holstein, the Slavs in the Hapsburg Empire) could be satisfied only by recourse to arms was the most important cause of all the wars that have been fought in Europe since the Congress of Vienna.
The right of self-determination in regard to the question of membership in a state thus means: whenever the inhabitants of a particular territory, whether it be a single village, a whole district, or a series of adjacent districts, make it known, by a freely conducted plebiscite, that they no longer wish to remain united to the state to which they belong at the time, but wish either to form an independent state or to attach themselves to some other state, their wishes are to be respected and complied with. This is the only feasible and effective way of preventing revolutions and civil and international wars.
To call this right of self-determination the “right of self-determination of nations” is to misunderstand it. It is not the right of self-determination of a delimited national unit, but the right of the inhabitants of every territory to decide on the state to which they wish to belong. This misunderstanding is even more grievous when the expression “self-determination of nations” is taken to mean that a national state has the right to detach and incorporate into itself against the will of the inhabitants parts of the nation that belong to the territory of another state. It is in terms of the right of self-determination of nations understood in this sense that the Italian Fascists seek to justify their demand that the canton Tessin and parts of other cantons be detached from Switzerland and united to Italy, even though the inhabitants of these cantons have no such desire. A similar position is taken by some of the advocates of Pan-Germanism in regard to German Switzerland and the Netherlands.
However, the right of self-determination of which we speak is not the right of self-determination of nations, but rather the right of self-determination of the inhabitants of every territory large enough to form an independent administrative unit. If it were in any way possible to grant this right of self-determination to every individual person, it would have to be done. This is impracticable only because of compelling technical considerations, which make it necessary that a region be governed as a single administrative unit and that the right of self-determination be restricted to the will of the majority of the inhabitants of areas large enough to count as territorial units in the administration of the country.
So far as the right of self-determination was given effect at all, and wherever it would have been permitted to take effect, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, it led or would have led to the formation of states composed of a single nationality (i.e., people speaking the same language) and to the dissolution of states composed of several nationalities, but only as a consequence of the free choice of those entitled to participate in the plebiscite. The formation of states comprising all the members of a national group was the result of the exercise of the right of self-determination, not its purpose. If some members of a nation feel happier politically independent than as a part of a state composed of all the members of the same linguistic group, one may, of course, attempt to change their political ideas by persuasion in order to win them over to the principle of nationality, according to which all members of the same linguistic group should form a single, independent state. If, however, one seeks to determine their political fate against their will by appealing to an alleged higher right of the nation, one violates the right of self-determination no less effectively than by practicing any other form of oppression. A partition of Switzerland among Germany, France, and Italy, even if it were performed exactly according to linguistic boundaries, would be just as gross a violation of the right of self-determination as was the partition of Poland.
The Political Foundations of Peace
One would think that after the experience of the World War the realization of the necessity of perpetual peace would have become increasingly common. However, it is still not appreciated that everlasting peace can be achieved only by putting the liberal program into effect generally and holding to it constantly and consistently and that the World War was nothing but the natural and necessary consequence of the antiliberal policies of the last decades.
A senseless and thoughtless slogan makes capitalism responsible for the origin of the war. The connection between the latter and the policy of protectionism is clearly evident, and, as a result of what is certainly a grievous ignorance of the facts, the protective tariff is identified outright with capitalism. People forget that only a short time ago all the nationalistic publications were filled with violent diatribes against international capital (“finance capital” and the “international gold trust”) for being without a country, for opposing protective tariffs, for being averse to war and inclined toward peace. It is altogether absurd to hold the armaments industry responsible for the outbreak of the war. The armaments industry has arisen and grown to a considerable size because governments and peoples bent on war demanded weapons. It would be really preposterous to suppose that the nations turned to imperialistic policies as a favor to the ordnance manufacturers. The armaments industry, like every other, arose in order to satisfy a demand. If the nations had preferred other things to bullets and explosives, then the factory-owners would have produced the former instead of the materials of war.
One can assume that the desire for peace is today universal. But the peoples of the world are not at all clear as to what conditions would have to be fulfilled in order to secure peace.
If the peace is not to be disturbed, all incentive for aggression must be eliminated. A world order must be established in which nations and national groups are so satisfied with living conditions that they will not feel impelled to resort to the desperate expedient of war. The liberal does not expect to abolish war by preaching and moralizing. He seeks to create the social conditions that will eliminate the causes of war.
The first requirement in this regard is private property. When private property must be respected even in time of war, when the victor is not entitled to appropriate to himself the property of private persons, and the appropriation of public property has no great significance because private ownership of the means of production prevails everywhere, an important motive for waging war has already been excluded. However, this is far from being enough to guarantee peace. So that the exercise of the right of self-determination may not be reduced to a farce, political institutions must be such as to render the transference of sovereignty over a territory from one government to another a matter of the least possible significance, involving no advantage or disadvantage for anyone. People do not have a correct conception of what this requires. It is therefore necessary to make it clear by a few examples.
Examine a map of linguistic and national groups in Central or Eastern Europe and notice how often, for example, in northern and western Bohemia, boundaries between them are crossed by railway lines. Here, under conditions of interventionism and etatism, there is no way of making the borders of the state correspond to the linguistic frontier. It will not do to operate a Czech state railroad on the soil of the German state, and it will do even less to run a railroad line that is under a different management every few miles. It would be just as unthinkable after every few minutes or quarter of an hour on a railroad trip to have to face a tariff barrier with all its formalities. It is thus easy to understand why etatists and interventionists reach the conclusion that the “geographic” or “economic” unity of such areas must not be “ruptured” and that the territory in question must therefore be placed under the sovereignty of a single “ruler.” (Obviously, every nation seeks to prove that it alone is entitled and competent to play the role of ruler under such circumstances.) For liberalism there is no problem here at all. Private railroads, if quite free of government interference, can traverse the territory of many states without any trouble. If there are no tariff boundaries and no limitations on the movement of persons, animals, or goods, then it is of no consequence whether a train ride in a few hours crosses over the borders of the state more or less often.
The linguistic map also reveals the existence of national enclaves. Without any land connection of the same nationality with the main body of their people, compatriots dwell together in closed-off settlements or linguistic islands. Under present political conditions, they cannot be incorporated into the mother country. The fact that the area encompassed by the state is today protected by tariff walls makes unbroken territorial continuity a political necessity. A small “foreign possession,” in being isolated from the immediately adjacent territory by tariffs and other measures of protectionism, would be exposed to economic strangulation. But once there is free trade and the state restricts itself to the preservation of private property, nothing is simpler than the solution of this problem. No linguistic island then has to acquiesce in the infringement of its rights as a nation merely because it is not connected to the main body of its own people by a territorial bridge inhabited by its fellow nationals.
The notorious “problem of the corridor” also arises only in an imperialist-etatist-interventionist system. An inland country believes that it needs a “corridor” to the sea in order to keep its foreign trade free of the influence of the interventionist and etatist policies of the countries whose territories separate it from the sea. If free trade were the rule, it would be hard to see what advantage an inland country could expect from the possession of a “corridor.”
Transfer from one “economic zone” (in the etatist sense) to another has serious economic consequences. One need only think, for instance, of the cotton industry of upper Alsatia, which has twice had to undergo this experience, or the Polish textile industry of Upper Silesia, etc. If a change in the political affiliation of a territory involves advantages or disadvantages for its inhabitants, then their freedom to vote for the state to which they really wish to belong is essentially limited. One can speak of genuine self-determination only if the decision of each individual stems from his own free will, and not from fear of loss or hope of profit. A capitalist world organized on liberal principles knows no separate “economic” zones. In such a world, the whole of the earth’s surface forms a single economic territory.
The right of self-determination works to the advantage only of those who comprise the majority. In order to protect minorities as well, domestic measures are required, of which we shall first consider those involving the national policy in regard to education.
In most countries today school attendance, or at least private instruction, is compulsory. Parents are obliged to send their children to school for a certain number of years or, in lieu of this public instruction at school, to have them given equivalent instruction at home. It is pointless to go into the reasons that were advanced for and against compulsory education when the matter was still a live issue. They do not have the slightest relevance to the problem as it exists today. There is only one argument that has any bearing at all on this question, viz., that continued adherence to a policy of compulsory education is utterly incompatible with efforts to establish lasting peace.
The inhabitants of London, Paris, and Berlin will no doubt find such a statement completely incredible. What in the world does compulsory education have to do with war and peace? One must not, however, judge this question, as one does so many others, exclusively from the point of view of the peoples of Western Europe. In London, Paris, and Berlin, the problem of compulsory education is, to be sure, easily solved. In these cities no doubt can arise as to which language is to be used in giving instruction. The population that lives in these cities and sends its children to school may be considered, by and large, of homogeneous nationality. But even the non-English-speaking people who live in London find it in the obvious interest of their children that instruction is given in English and in no other language, and things are not different in Paris and Berlin.
However, the problem of compulsory education has an entirely different significance in those extensive areas in which peoples speaking different languages live together side by side and intermingled in polyglot confusion. Here the question of which language is to be made the basis of instruction assumes crucial importance. A decision one way or the other can, over the years, determine the nationality of a whole area. The school can alienate children from the nationality to which their parents belong and can be used as a means of oppressing whole nationalities. Whoever controls the schools has the power to injure other nationalities and to benefit his own.
It is no solution of this problem to suggest that each child be sent to the school in which the language of his parents is spoken. First of all, even apart from the problem posed by children of mixed linguistic background, it is not always easy to decide what the language of the parents is. In polyglot areas many persons are required by their profession to make use of all the languages spoken in the country. Besides, it is often not possible for an individual—again out of regard for his means of livelihood—to declare himself openly for one or another nationality. Under a system of interventionism, it could cost him the patronage of customers belonging to other nationalities or a job with an entrepreneur of a different nationality. Then again, there are many parents who would even prefer to send their children to the schools of another nationality than their own because they value the advantages of bilingualism or assimilation to the other nationality more highly than loyalty to their own people. If one leaves to the parents the choice of the school to which they wish to send their children, then one exposes them to every conceivable form of political coercion. In all areas of mixed nationality, the school is a political prize of the highest importance. It cannot be deprived of its political character as long as it remains a public and compulsory institution. There is, in fact, only one solution: the state, the government, the laws must not in any way concern themselves with schooling or education. Public funds must not be used for such purposes. The rearing and instruction of youth must be left entirely to parents and to private associations and institutions.
It is better that a number of boys grow up without formal education than that they enjoy the benefit of schooling only to run the risk, once they have grown up, of being killed or maimed. A healthy illiterate is always better than a literate cripple.
But even if we eliminate the spiritual coercion exercised by compulsory education, we should still be far from having done everything that is necessary in order to remove all the sources of friction between the nationalities living in polyglot territories. The school is one means of oppressing nationalities—perhaps the most dangerous, in our opinion—but it certainly is not the only means. Every interference on the part of the government in economic life can become a means of persecuting the members of nationalities speaking a language different from that of the ruling group. For this reason, in the interest of preserving peace, the activity of the government must be limited to the sphere in which it is, in the strictest sense of the word, indispensable.
We cannot do without the apparatus of government in protecting and preserving the life, liberty, property, and health of the individual. But even the judicial and police activities performed in the service of these ends can become dangerous in areas where any basis at all can be found for discriminating between one group and another in the conduct of official business. Only in countries where there is no particular incentive for partiality will there generally be no reason to fear that a magistrate who is supposed to apply the established laws for the protection of life, liberty, property, and health will act in a biased manner. Where, however, differences of religion, nationality, or the like have divided the population into groups separated by a gulf so deep as to exclude every impulse of fairness or humanity and to leave room for nothing but hate, the situation is quite different. Then the judge who acts consciously, or still more often unconsciously, in a biased manner thinks he is fulfilling a higher duty when he makes use of the prerogatives and powers of his office in the service of his own group.
To the extent that the apparatus of government has no other function than that of protecting life, liberty, property, and health, it is possible, at any rate, to draw up regulations that so strictly circumscribe the domain in which the administrative authorities and the courts are free to act as to leave little or no latitude for the exercise of their own discretion or arbitrary, subjective judgment. But once a share in the management of production is relinquished to the state, once the apparatus of government is called upon to determine the disposition of goods of higher order, it is impossible to hold administrative officials to a set of binding rules and regulations that would guarantee certain rights to every citizen. A penal law designed to punish murderers can, to some extent at least, draw a dividing line between what is and what is not to be considered murder and thus set certain limits to the area in which the magistrate is free to use his own judgment. Of course, every lawyer knows only too well that even the best law can be perverted, in concrete cases, in interpretation, application, and administration. But in the case of a government bureau charged with the management of transportation facilities, mines, or public lands, as much as one may restrain its freedom of action on other grounds (which have already been discussed in section 2), the most one can do to keep it impartial in regard to controversial questions of national policy is to give it directives couched in empty generalities. One must grant it a great deal of leeway in many respects because one cannot know beforehand under what circumstances it will have to act. Thus, the door is left wide open for arbitrariness, bias, and the abuse of official power.
Even in areas inhabited by people of various nationalities, there is need for a unified administration. One cannot place at every street-corner both a German and a Czech policeman, each of whom would have to protect only members of his own nationality. And even if this could be done, the question would still arise as to who is to intervene when members of both nationalities are involved in a situation that calls for intervention. The disadvantages that result from the necessity of a unified administration in these territories are unavoidable. But if difficulties already exist even in carrying out such indispensable functions of government as the protection of life, liberty, property, and health, one should not raise them to really monstrous proportions by extending the range of state activity to other fields in which, by their very nature, still greater latitude must be granted to arbitrary judgment.
Large areas of the world have been settled, not by the members of just one nationality, one race, or one religion, but by a motley mixture of many peoples. As a result of the migratory movements that necessarily follow shifts in the location of production, more new territories are continually being confronted with the problem of a mixed population. If one does not wish to aggravate artificially the friction that must arise from this living together of different groups, one must restrict the state to just those tasks that it alone can perform.
As long as nations were ruled by monarchical despots, the idea of adjusting the boundaries of the state to coincide with the boundaries between nationalities could not find acceptance. If a potentate desired to incorporate a province into his realm, he cared little whether the inhabitants—the subjects—agreed to a change of rulers or not. The only consideration that was regarded as relevant was whether the available military forces were sufficient to conquer and hold the territory in question. One justified one’s conduct publicly by the more or less artificial construction of a legal claim. The nationality of the inhabitants of the area concerned was not taken into account at all.
It was with the rise of liberalism that the question of how the boundaries of states are to be drawn first became a problem independent of military, historical, and legal considerations. Liberalism, which founds the state on the will of the majority of the people living in a certain territory, disallows all military considerations that were formerly decisive in defining the boundaries of the state. It rejects the right of conquest. It cannot understand how people can speak of “strategic frontiers” and finds entirely incomprehensible the demand that a piece of land be incorporated into one’s own state in order to possess a glacis. Liberalism does not acknowledge the historical right of a prince to inherit a province. A king can rule, in the liberal sense, only over persons and not over a certain piece of land, of which the inhabitants are viewed as mere appendages. The monarch by the grace of God carries the title of a territory, e.g., “King of France.” The kings installed by liberalism received their title, not from the name of the territory, but from that of the people over whom they ruled as constitutional monarchs. Thus, Louis Philippe bore the title “King of the French”; thus too, there is a “King of the Belgians,” as there was once a “King of the Hellenes.”
It was liberalism that created the legal form by which the desire of the people to belong or not to belong to a certain state could gain expression, viz., the plebiscite. The state to which the inhabitants of a certain territory wish to belong is to be ascertained by means of an election. But even if all the necessary economic and political conditions (e.g., those involving the national policy in regard to education) were fulfilled in order to prevent the plebiscite from being reduced to a farce, even if it were possible simply to take a poll of the inhabitants of every community in order to determine to which state they wished to attach themselves, and to repeat such an election whenever circumstances changed, some unresolved problems would certainly still remain as possible sources of friction between the different nationalities. The situation of having to belong to a state to which one does not wish to belong is no less onerous if it is the result of an election than if one must endure it as the consequence of a military conquest. But it is doubly difficult for the individual who is cut off from the majority of his fellow citizens by a language barrier.
To be a member of a national minority always means that one is a second-class citizen. Discussions of political questions must, of course, be carried on by means of the written and spoken word—in speeches, newspaper articles, and books. However, these means of political enlightenment and debate are not at the disposal of the linguistic minority to the same extent as they are for those whose mother tongue—the language used in everyday speech—is that in which the discussions take place. The political thought of a people, after all, is the reflection of the ideas contained in its political literature. Cast into the form of statute law, the outcome of its political discussions acquires direct significance for the citizen who speaks a foreign tongue, since he must obey the law; yet he has the feeling that he is excluded from effective participation in shaping the will of the legislative authority or at least that he is not allowed to cooperate in shaping it to the same extent as those whose native tongue is that of the ruling majority. And when he appears before a magistrate or any administrative official as a party to a suit or a petition, he stands before men whose political thought is foreign to him because it developed under different ideological influences.
But even apart from all this, the very fact that the members of the minority are required, in appearing before tribunals and administrative authorities, to make use of a language foreign to them already handicaps them seriously in many respects. There is all the difference in the world, when one is on trial, between being able to speak in court directly to one’s judges and being compelled to avail oneself of the services of an interpreter. At every turn, the member of a national minority is made to feel that he lives among strangers and that he is, even if the letter of the law denies it, a second-class citizen.
All these disadvantages are felt to be very oppressive even in a state with a liberal constitution in which the activity of the government is restricted to the protection of the life and property of the citizens. But they become quite intolerable in an interventionist or a socialist state. If the administrative authorities have the right to intervene everywhere according to their free discretion, if the latitude granted to judges and officials in reaching their decisions is so wide as to leave room also for the operation of political prejudices, then a member of a national minority finds himself delivered over to arbitrary judgment and oppression on the part of the public functionaries belonging to the ruling majority. What happens when school and church as well are not independent, but subject to regulation by the government, has already been discussed.
It is here that one must seek for the roots of the aggressive nationalism that we see at work today. Efforts to trace back to natural rather than political causes the violent antagonisms existing between nations today are altogether mistaken. All the symptoms of supposedly innate antipathy between peoples that are customarily offered in evidence exist also within each individual nation. The Bavarian hates the Prussian; the Prussian, the Bavarian. No less fierce is the hatred existing among individual groups within both France and Poland. Nevertheless, Germans, Poles, and Frenchmen manage to live peacefully within their own countries. What gives the antipathy of the Pole for the German and of the German for the Pole a special political significance is the aspiration of each of the two peoples to seize for itself political control of the border areas in which Germans and Poles live side by side and to use it to oppress the members of the other nationality. What has kindled the hatred between nations to a consuming fire is the fact that people want to use the schools to estrange children from the language of their fathers and to make use of the courts and administrative offices, political and economic measures, and outright expropriation to persecute those speaking a foreign tongue. Because people are prepared to resort to violent means in order to create favorable conditions for the political future of their own nation, they have established a system of oppression in the polyglot areas that imperils the peace of the world.
As long as the liberal program is not completely carried out in the territories of mixed nationality, hatred between members of different nations must become every fiercer and continue to ignite new wars and rebellions.
The lust for conquest on the part of the absolute monarchs of previous centuries was aimed at an extension of their sphere of power and an increase in their wealth. No prince could be powerful enough, for it was by force alone that he could preserve his rule against internal and external enemies. No prince could be rich enough, for he needed money for the maintenance of his soldiers and the upkeep of his entourage.
For a liberal state, the question whether or not the boundaries of its territory are to be further extended is of minor significance. Wealth cannot be won by the annexation of new provinces, since the “revenue” derived from a territory must be used to defray the necessary costs of its administration. For a liberal state, which entertains no aggressive plans, a strengthening of its military power is unimportant. Thus, liberal parliaments resisted all endeavors to increase their country’s war potential and opposed all bellicose and annexationist policies.
But the liberal policy of peace which, in the early sixties of the last [nineteenth] century, as liberalism swept from one victory to another, was considered as already assured, at least in Europe, was based on the assumption that the people of every territory would have the right to determine for themselves the state to which they wished to belong. However, in order to secure this right, since the absolutist powers had no intention of peacefully relinquishing their prerogatives, a number of rather serious wars and revolutions were first necessary. The overthrow of foreign domination in Italy, the preservation of the Germans in Schleswig-Holstein in the face of threatening denationalization, the liberation of the Poles and of the South Slavs could be attempted only by force of arms. In only one of the many places where the existing political order found itself opposed by a demand for the right of self-determination could the issue be peacefully resolved: liberal England freed the Ionian islands. Everywhere else the same situation resulted in wars and revolutions. From the struggles to form a unified German state developed the disastrous modern Franco-German conflict; the Polish question remained unresolved because the Czar crushed one rebellion after another; the Balkan question was only partially settled; and the impossibility of solving the problems of the Hapsburg monarchy against the will of the ruling dynasty ultimately led to the incident that became the immediate cause of the World War.*
Modern imperialism is distinguished from the expansionist tendencies of the absolute principalities by the fact that its moving spirits are not the members of the ruling dynasty, nor even of the nobility, the bureaucracy, or the officers’ corps of the army bent on personal enrichment and aggrandizement by plundering the resources of conquered territories, but the mass of the people, who look upon it as the most appropriate means for the preservation of national independence. In the complex network of antiliberal policies, which have so far expanded the functions of the state as to leave hardly any field of human activity free of government interference, it is futile to hope for even a moderately satisfactory solution of the political problems of the areas in which members of several nationalities live side by side. If the government of these territories is not conducted along completely liberal lines, there can be no question of even an approach to equality of rights in the treatment of the various national groups. There can then be only rulers and those ruled. The only choice is whether one will be hammer or anvil. Thus, the striving for as strong a national state as possible—one that can extend its control to all territories of mixed nationality—becomes an indispensable requirement of national self-preservation.
But the problem of linguistically mixed areas is not limited to countries long settled. Capitalism opens up for civilization new lands offering more favorable conditions of production than great parts of the countries that have been long inhabited. Capital and labor flow to the most favorable location. The migratory movement thus initiated exceeds by far all the previous migrations of the peoples of the world. Only a few nations can have their emigrants move to lands in which political power is in the hands of their compatriots. Where, however, this condition does not prevail, the migration gives rise once again to all those conflicts that generally develop in polyglot territories. In particular cases, into which we shall not enter here, matters are somewhat different in the areas of overseas colonization than in the long-settled countries of Europe. Nevertheless, the conflicts that spring from the unsatisfactory situation of national minorities are, in the last analysis, identical. The desire of each country to preserve its own nationals from such a fate leads, on the one hand, to the struggle for the acquisition of colonies suitable for settlement by Europeans, and, on the other hand, to the adoption of the policy of using import duties to protect domestic production operating under less favorable conditions against the superior competition of foreign industry, in the hope of thereby making the emigration of workers unnecessary. Indeed, in order to expand the protected market as far as possible, efforts are made to acquire even territories that are not regarded as suitable for European settlement. We may date the beginning of modern imperialism from the late seventies of the last [nineteenth] century, when the industrial countries of Europe started to abandon the policy of free trade and to engage in the race for colonial “markets” in Africa and Asia.
It was in reference to England that the term “imperialism” was first employed to characterize the modern policy of territorial expansion. England’s imperialism, to be sure, was primarily directed, not so much toward the incorporation of new territories as toward the creation of an area of uniform commercial policy out of the various possessions subject to the King of England. This was the result of the peculiar situation in which England found itself as the mother country of the most extensive colonial settlements in the world. Nevertheless, the end that the English imperialists sought to attain in the creation of a customs union embracing the dominions and the mother country was the same as that which the colonial acquisitions of Germany, Italy, France, Belgium, and other European countries were intended to serve, viz., the creation of protected export markets.
The grand commercial objectives aimed at by the policy of imperialism were nowhere attained. The dream of an all-British customs union remained unrealized. The territories annexed by European countries in the last decades, as well as those in which they were able to obtain “concessions,” play such a subordinate role in the provision of raw materials and half-manufactured goods for the world market and in their corresponding consumption of industrial products that no essential change in conditions could be brought about by such arrangements. In order to attain the goals that imperialism aimed at, it was not enough for the nations of Europe to occupy areas inhabited by savages incapable of resistance. They had to reach out for territories that were in the possession of peoples ready and able to defend themselves. And it is here that the policy of imperialism suffered shipwreck, or will soon do so. In Abyssinia, in Mexico, in the Caucasus, in Persia, in China—everywhere we see the imperialist aggressors in retreat or at least already in great difficulties.
The considerations and objectives that have guided the colonial policy of the European powers since the age of the great discoveries stand in the sharpest contrast to all the principles of liberalism. The basic idea of colonial policy was to take advantage of the military superiority of the white race over the members of other races. The Europeans set out, equipped with all the weapons and contrivances that their civilization placed at their disposal, to subjugate weaker peoples, to rob them of their property, and to enslave them. Attempts have been made to extenuate and gloss over the true motive of colonial policy with the excuse that its sole object was to make it possible for primitive peoples to share in the blessings of European civilization. Even assuming that this was the real objective of the governments that sent out conquerors to distant parts of the world, the liberal could still not see any adequate basis for regarding this kind of colonization as useful or beneficial. If, as we believe, European civilization really is superior to that of the primitive tribes of Africa or to the civilizations of Asia—estimable though the latter may be in their own way—it should be able to prove its superiority by inspiring these peoples to adopt it of their own accord. Could there be a more doleful proof of the sterility of European civilization than that it can be spread by no other means than fire and sword?
No chapter of history is steeped further in blood than the history of colonialism. Blood was shed uselessly and senselessly. Flourishing lands were laid waste; whole peoples destroyed and exterminated. All this can in no way be extenuated or justified. The dominion of Europeans in Africa and in important parts of Asia is absolute. It stands in the sharpest contrast to all the principles of liberalism and democracy, and there can be no doubt that we must strive for its abolition. The only question is how the elimination of this intolerable condition can be accomplished in the least harmful way possible.
The most simple and radical solution would be for the European governments to withdraw their officials, soldiers, and police from these areas and to leave the inhabitants to themselves. It is of no consequence whether this is done immediately or whether a freely held plebiscite of the natives is made to precede the surrender of the colonies. For there can scarcely be any doubt as to the outcome of a truly free election. European rule in the overseas colonies cannot count on the consent of its subjects.
The immediate consequence of this radical solution would be, if not outright anarchy, then at least continual conflicts in the areas evacuated by the Europeans. It may be safely taken for granted that up to now the natives have learned only evil ways from the Europeans, and not good ones. This is not the fault of the natives, but rather of their European conquerors, who have taught them nothing but evil. They have brought arms and engines of destruction of all kinds to the colonies; they have sent out their worst and most brutal individuals as officials and officers; at the point of the sword they have set up a colonial rule that in its sanguinary cruelty rivals the despotic system of the Bolsheviks. Europeans must not be surprised if the bad example that they themselves have set in their colonies now bears evil fruit. In any case, they have no right to complain pharisaically about the low state of public morals among the natives. Nor would they be justified in maintaining that the natives are not yet mature enough for freedom and that they still need at least several years of further education under the lash of foreign rulers before they are capable of being left on their own. For this “education” itself is at least partly responsible for the terrible conditions that exist today in the colonies, even though its consequences will not make themselves fully apparent until after the eventual withdrawal of European troops and officials.
But perhaps it will be contended that it is the duty of the Europeans, as members of a superior race, to avoid the anarchy that would presumably break out after the evacuation of the colonies and therefore to maintain their dominion in the interests and for the benefit of the natives themselves. In order to strengthen this argument, a lurid picture may be painted of the conditions that existed in Central Africa and in many parts of Asia before the establishment of European rule. One may recall the hunts for slaves conducted by the Arabs in Central Africa and the wanton outrages that many Indian despots allowed themselves. Of course, there is much that is hypocritical in this mode of argumentation, and one should not forget, for example, that the slave trade in Africa could prosper only because the descendants of Europeans in the American colonies entered the slave market as buyers. But it is not at all necessary for us to go into the pros and cons of this line of reasoning. If all that can be adduced in favor of the maintenance of European rule in the colonies is the supposed interest of the natives, then one must say that it would be better if this rule were brought to an end completely. No one has a right to thrust himself into the affairs of others in order to further their interest, and no one ought, when he has his own interests in view, to pretend that he is acting selflessly only in the interest of others.
There is, however, yet another argument in favor of the continuance of European authority and influence in the colonial areas. If the Europeans had never brought the tropical colonies under their dominion, if they had not made their economic system dependent to a considerable extent on the importation of tropical raw materials and overseas agricultural products that they paid for with industrial goods, it would still be possible to discuss quite calmly the question whether or not it is advisable to draw these areas into the network of the world market. But since colonization has already forced all these territories into the framework of the world-wide economic community, the situation is quite different. The economy of Europe today is based, to a great extent, on the inclusion of Africa and large parts of Asia in the world economy as suppliers of raw materials of all kinds. These raw materials are not taken from the natives of these areas by force. They are not carried away as tribute, but handed over in voluntary exchange for the industrial products of Europe. Thus, relations are not founded on any one-sided advantage; they are, on the contrary, mutually beneficial, and the inhabitants of the colonies derive from them just as many advantages as the inhabitants of England or Switzerland. Any stoppage in these trade relations would involve serious economic losses for Europe as well as for the colonies and would sharply depress the standard of living of great masses of people. If the slow extension of economic relations over the whole earth and the gradual development of the world economy was one of the most important sources of the increasing wealth of the last hundred and fifty years, a reversal of this trend would represent for the world an economic catastrophe of hitherto unprecedented proportions. In its extent and consequences, this catastrophe would exceed by far the crisis connected with the economic consequences of the World War. Ought the well-being of Europe and, at the same time, that of the colonies as well to be allowed to decline further in order to give the natives a chance to determine their own political destinies, when this would lead, in any event, not to their freedom, but merely to a change of masters?
This is the consideration that must be decisive in judging questions of colonial policy. European officials, troops, and police must remain in these areas, as far as their presence is necessary in order to maintain the legal and political conditions required to insure the participation of the colonial territories in international trade. It must be possible to carry on commercial, industrial, and agricultural operations in the colonies, to exploit mines, and to bring the products of the country, by rail and river, to the coast and thence to Europe and America. That all this should continue to be possible is in the interest of everyone, not only of the inhabitants of Europe, America, and Australia, but also of the natives of Asia and Africa themselves. Wherever the colonial powers do not go beyond this in the treatment of their colonies, one can raise no objection to their activities even from the liberal standpoint.
But everyone knows how seriously all the colonial powers have sinned against this principle. It is hardly necessary to recall the horrors that trustworthy English correspondents have reported as having been perpetrated in the Belgian Congo. Let us assume that these atrocities were not intended by the Belgian government and are only to be attributed to the excesses and evil characters of the functionaries sent out to the Congo. Yet the very fact that almost all the colonial powers have established in their overseas possessions a commercial system that grants a favored position to the goods of the mother country shows that present-day colonial policy is dominated by considerations altogether different from those that ought to prevail in this field.
In order to bring the interests of Europe and of the white race into harmony with those of the colored races in the colonies in regard to all questions of economic policy, the League of Nations must be given supreme authority in the administration of all those overseas territories in which there is no system of parliamentary government. The League would have to see to it that self-government is granted as soon as possible to the lands that today do not yet possess it and that the authority of the mother country is limited to the protection of property, of the civil rights of foreigners, and of trade relations. The natives as well as the nationals of other powers must be granted the right to bring complaints directly to the League if any measures of the mother country exceed what is required to guarantee the security of trade and commerce and of economic activity in general in these territories, and the League of Nations must be granted the right to make an effective settlement of such complaints.
The application of these principles would mean, in effect, that all the overseas territories of the European countries would at first be turned into mandates of the League. But even this would have to be viewed only as a transitional stage. The final goal must continue to be the complete liberation of the colonies from the despotic rule under which they live today.
With this solution to a difficult problem—which is becoming ever more difficult with the passage of time—not only the nations of Europe and America that do not possess colonies, but also the colonial powers and the natives would have to be content. The colonial powers have to realize that in the long run they will not be able to maintain their dominion over the colonies. As capitalism has penetrated into these territories, the natives have become self-reliant; there is no longer any cultural disparity between their upper classes and the officers and officials who are in charge of the administration on behalf of the mother country. Militarily and politically, the distribution of power today is quite different from what it was even a generation ago. The attempt of the European powers, the United States, and Japan to treat China as a colonial territory has proved a failure. In Egypt, the English are even now in retreat; in India, they are already in a defensive position. That the Netherlands would be unable to hold the East Indies against a really serious attack is well known. The same is true of the French colonies in Africa and Asia. The Americans are not happy with the Philippines and would be prepared to give them up if a suitable occasion presented itself. The transfer of the colonies to the care of the League of Nations would guarantee to the colonial powers the undiminished possession of their capital investments and protect them against having to make sacrifices to quell native uprisings. The natives too could only be grateful for a proposal that would assure them independence by way of a peaceful evolution and with it the guarantee that no neighbor bent on conquest would threaten their political independence in the future.
The theoretical demonstration of the consequences of the protective tariff and of free trade is the keystone of classical economics. It is so clear, so obvious, so indisputable, that its opponents were unable to advance any arguments against it that could not be immediately refuted as completely mistaken and absurd.
Nevertheless, nowadays we find protective tariffs—indeed, often even outright prohibitions on imports—all over the world. Even in England, the mother country of free trade, protectionism is in the ascendancy today. The principle of national autarky wins new supporters with every day that passes. Even countries with only a few million inhabitants, like Hungary and Czechoslovakia, are attempting, by means of a high-tariff policy and prohibitions on imports, to make themselves independent of the rest of the world. The basic idea of the foreign trade policy of the United States is to impose on all goods produced abroad at lower costs import duties to the full amount of this difference. What renders the whole situation grotesque is the fact that all countries want to decrease their imports, but at the same time to increase their exports. The effect of these policies is to interfere with the international division of labor and thereby generally to lower the productivity of labor. The only reason this result has not become more noticeable is that the advances of the capitalist system have always been so far sufficient to outweigh it. However, there can be no doubt that everyone today would be richer if the protective tariff did not artificially drive production from more favorable to less favorable localities.
Under a system of completely free trade, capital and labor would be employed wherever conditions are most favorable for production. Other locations would be used as long as it was still possible to produce anywhere under more favorable conditions. To the extent to which, as a result of the development of the means of transportation, improvements in technology, and more thorough exploration of countries newly opened to commerce, it is discovered that there are sites more favorable for production than those currently being used, production shifts to these localities. Capital and labor tend to move from areas where conditions are less favorable for production to those in which they are more favorable.
But the migration of capital and labor presupposes not only complete freedom of trade, but also the complete absence of obstacles to their movement from one country to another. This was far from being the case at the time that the classical free-trade doctrine was first developed. A whole series of obstacles stood in the way of the free movement of both capital and labor. Because of ignorance of conditions, a general insecurity in regard to law and order, and a number of similar reasons, capitalists felt reluctant about investing in foreign countries. As for the workers, they found it impossible to leave their native land, not only because of their ignorance of foreign languages, but because of legal, religious, and other difficulties. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, it was, to be sure, generally true that capital and labor could move freely within each country, but obstacles stood in the way of their movement from one country to another. The sole justification for distinguishing in economic theory between domestic and foreign trade is to be found in the fact that in the case of the former there is free mobility of capital and labor, whereas this is not true in regard to the commerce between nations. Thus, the problem that the classical theory had to solve may be stated as follows: What are the effects of free trade in consumers’ goods between one country and another if the mobility of capital and labor from one to the other is restricted?
To this question Ricardo’s doctrine provided the answer. The branches of production distribute themselves among the individual countries in such a way that each country devotes its resources to those industries in which it possesses the greatest superiority over other countries. The mercantilists had feared that a country with unfavorable conditions for production would import more than it would export, so that it would ultimately find itself without any money; and they demanded that protective tariffs and prohibitions on imports be decreed in time to prevent such a deplorable situation from arising. The classical doctrine shows that these mercantilist fears were groundless. For even a country in which the conditions of production in every branch of industry are less favorable than they are in other countries need not fear that it will export less than it will import. The classical doctrine demonstrated, in a brilliant and incontrovertible way that has never been contested by anybody, that even countries with relatively favorable conditions of production must find it advantageous to import from countries with comparatively unfavorable conditions of production those commodities that they would, to be sure, be better fitted to produce, but not so much better fitted as they are to produce other commodities in whose production they then specialize.
Thus, what the classical theory of free trade says to the statesman is: There are countries with relatively favorable and others with relatively unfavorable natural conditions of production. In the absence of interference on the part of governments, the international division of labor will, of itself, result in every country’s finding its place in the world economy, no matter how its conditions of production compare with those of other countries. Of course, the countries with comparatively favorable conditions of production will be richer than the others, but this is a fact that cannot be altered by political measures in any case. It is simply the consequence of a difference in the natural factors of production.
This was the situation that confronted the older liberalism, and to this situation it responded with the classical doctrine of free trade. But since the days of Ricardo world conditions have changed considerably, and the problem that the free-trade doctrine had to face in the last sixty years before the outbreak of the World War was completely different from the one with which it had to deal at the close of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century. For the nineteenth century partially eliminated the obstacles that, at its beginning, had stood in the way of the free mobility of capital and labor. In the second half of the nineteenth century it was far easier for a capitalist to invest his capital abroad than it had been in Ricardo’s day. Law and order were established on a considerably firmer foundation; knowledge of foreign countries, manners, and customs had spread; and the joint-stock company offered the possibility of dividing the risk of foreign enterprises among many persons and thereby reducing it. It would, of course, be an exaggeration to say that at the beginning of the twentieth century capital was as mobile in its passage from one country to another as it was within the territory of the country itself. Certain differences still existed, to be sure; yet the assumption that capital had to remain within the boundaries of each country was no longer valid. Nor was this any longer true of labor either. In the second half of the nineteenth century millions left Europe to find better opportunities for employment overseas.
In so far as the conditions presupposed by the classical doctrine of free trade, viz., the immobility of capital and labor, no longer existed, the distinction between the effects of free trade in domestic commerce and in foreign commerce likewise necessarily lost its validity. If capital and labor can move as freely between one country and another as they do within the confines of each, then there is no further justification for making a distinction between the effects of free trade in domestic commerce and in foreign commerce. For then what was said in regard to the former holds for the latter as well: the result of free trade is that only those locations are used for production in which the conditions for it are comparatively favorable, while those in which the conditions of production are comparatively unfavorable remain unused. Capital and labor flow from the countries with less favorable conditions of production toward those where the conditions of production are more favorable, or, more precisely, from the long-settled, thickly populated European countries toward America and Australia, as areas that offer more favorable conditions of production.
For the European nations that had at their disposal, besides the old areas of settlement in Europe, overseas territories suitable for colonization by Europeans, this meant nothing more than that they now settled a part of their population overseas. In England’s case, for example, some of her sons now lived in Canada, Australia, or South Africa. The emigrants who had left England could retain their English citizenship and nationality in their new homes. But for Germany the case was quite different. The German who emigrated landed in the territory of a foreign country and found himself among the members of a foreign nation. He became the citizen of a foreign state, and it was to be expected that after one, two, or at the most three generations, his attachment to the German people would be dissolved and the process of his assimilation as a member of a foreign nation would be completed. Germany was faced with the problem of whether it was to look on with indifference while a part of her capital and her people emigrated overseas.
One must not fall into the error of assuming that the problems of commercial policy that England and Germany had to face in the second half of the nineteenth century were the same. For England, it was a question of whether or not she ought to permit a number of her sons to emigrate to the dominions, and there was no reason to hinder their emigration in any way. For Germany, however, the problem was whether it ought to stand by quietly while her nationals emigrated to the British colonies, to South America, and to other countries, where it was to be expected that these emigrants, in the course of time, would give up their citizenship and nationality just as hundreds of thousands, indeed, millions, who had previously emigrated, had already done. Because it did not want this to happen, the German Empire, which during the sixties and seventies had been approaching ever more closely to a policy of free trade, now shifted, toward the end of the seventies, to one of protectionism by the imposition of import duties designed to shield German agriculture and industry against foreign competition. Under the protection of these tariffs German agriculture was able to some extent to bear East-European and overseas competition from farms operating on better land, and German industry could form cartels that kept the domestic price above the price on the world market, enabling it to use the profits thereby realized to undersell its competitors abroad.
But the ultimate goal that was aimed at in the return to protectionism could not be achieved. The higher living and production costs rose in Germany as a direct consequence of these protective tariffs, the more difficult its trade position necessarily became. To be sure, it was possible for Germany to make a mighty industrial upswing in the first three decades of the era of the new commercial policy. But this upswing would have occurred even in the absence of a protective tariff, for it was primarily the result of the introduction of new methods in the German iron and chemical industries, which enabled them to make better use of the country’s abundant natural resources.
Antiliberal policy, by abolishing the free mobility of labor in international trade and considerably restricting even the mobility of capital, has, to a certain extent, eliminated the difference that existed in the conditions of international trade between the beginning and the end of the nineteenth century and has reverted to those prevailing at the time the doctrine of free trade was first formulated. Once again capital and, above all, labor are hindered in their movements. Under the conditions existing today, unhampered trade in consumers’ goods could not give rise to any migratory movements. Once again, it would result in a state of affairs in which the individual peoples of the world would be engaged in those types and branches of production for which the relatively best conditions exist in their own countries.
But whatever may be the prerequisites for the development of international trade, protective tariffs can accomplish only one thing: to prevent production from being carried on where the natural and social conditions are most favorable for it and to cause it to be carried on instead where conditions are worse. The outcome of protectionism is, therefore, always a reduction in the productivity of human labor. The freetrader is far from denying that the evil that the nations of the world wish to combat by means of a policy of protectionism really is an evil. What he maintains is only that the means recommended by the imperialists and protectionists cannot eliminate that evil. He therefore proposes a different way. In order to create the indispensable conditions for a lasting peace, one of the features of the present international situation that the liberal wishes to change is the fact that emigrants from nations like Germany and Italy, which have been treated like stepchildren in the division of the world, must live in areas in which, because of the adoption of antiliberal policies, they are condemned to lose their nationality.
Freedom of Movement
Liberalism has sometimes been reproached on the ground that its program is predominantly negative. This follows necessarily, it is asserted, from the very nature of freedom, which can be conceived only as freedom from something, for the demand for freedom consists essentially in the rejection of some sort of claim. On the other hand, it is thought, the program of the authoritarian parties is positive. Since a very definite value judgment is generally connoted by the terms “negative” and “positive,” this way of speaking already involves a surreptitious attempt to discredit the political program of liberalism.
There is no need to repeat here once again that the liberal program—a society based on private ownership of the means of production—is no less positive than any other conceivable political program. What is negative in the liberal program is the denial, the rejection, and the combatting of everything that stands in opposition to this positive program. In this defensive posture, the program of liberalism—and, for that matter, that of every movement—is dependent on the position that its opponents assume towards it. Where the opposition is strongest, the assault of liberalism must also be strongest; where it is relatively weak or even completely lacking, a few brief words, under the circumstances, are sufficient. And since the opposition that liberalism has had to confront has changed during the course of history, the defensive aspect of the liberal program has also undergone many changes.
This becomes most clearly evident in the stand that it takes in regard to the question of freedom of movement. The liberal demands that every person have the right to live wherever he wants. This is not a “negative” demand. It belongs to the very essence of a society based on private ownership of the means of production that every man may work and dispose of his earnings where he thinks best. This principle takes on a negative character only if it encounters forces aiming at a restriction of freedom of movement. In this negative aspect, the right to freedom of movement has, in the course of time, undergone a complete change. When liberalism arose in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it had to struggle for freedom of emigration. Today, the struggle is over freedom of immigration. At that time, it had to oppose laws which hindered the inhabitants of a country from moving to the city and which held out the prospect of severe punishment for anyone who wanted to leave his native land in order to better himself in a foreign land. Immigration, however, was at that time generally free and unhampered.
Today, as is well known, things are quite different. The trend began some decades ago with laws against the immigration of Chinese coolies. Today in every country in the world that could appear inviting to immigration, there are more or less stringent laws either prohibiting it entirely or at least restricting it severely.
This policy must be considered from two points of view: first, as a policy of the trade unions, and then as a policy of national protectionism.
Aside from such coercive measures as the closed shop, compulsory strikes, and violent interference with those willing to work, the only way the trade unions can have any influence on the labor market is by restricting the supply of labor. But since it is not within the power of the trade unions to reduce the number of workers living in the world, the only other possibility remaining open to them is to block access to employment, and thus diminish the number of workers, in one branch of industry or in one country at the expense of the workers employed in other industries or living in other countries. For reasons of practical politics, it is possible only to a limited extent for those engaged in a particular branch of industry to bar from it the rest of the workers in the country. On the other hand, no special political difficulty is involved in imposing such restrictions on the entrance of foreign labor.
The natural conditions of production and, concomitantly, the productivity of labor are more favorable, and, as a consequence, wage rates are higher, in the United States than in vast areas of Europe. In the absence of immigration barriers, European workers would emigrate to the United States in great numbers to look for jobs. The American immigration laws make this exceptionally difficult. Thus, the wages of labor in the United States are kept above the height that they would reach if there were full freedom of migration, whereas in Europe they are depressed below this height. On the one hand, the American worker gains; on the other hand, the European worker loses.
However, it would be a mistake to consider the consequences of immigration barriers exclusively from the point of view of their immediate effect on wages. They go further. As a result of the relative oversupply of labor in areas with comparatively unfavorable conditions of production, and the relative shortage of labor in areas in which the conditions of production are comparatively favorable, production is further expanded in the former and more restricted in the latter than would be the case if there were full freedom of migration. Thus, the effects of restricting this freedom are just the same as those of a protective tariff. In one part of the world comparatively favorable opportunities for production are not utilized, while in another part of the world less favorable opportunities for production are being exploited. Looked at from the standpoint of humanity, the result is a lowering of the productivity of human labor, a reduction in the supply of goods at the disposal of mankind.
Attempts to justify on economic grounds the policy of restricting immigration are therefore doomed from the outset. There cannot be the slightest doubt that migration barriers diminish the productivity of human labor. When the trade unions of the United States or Australia hinder immigration, they are fighting not only against the interests of the workers of the rest of the countries of the world, but also against the interests of everyone else in order to secure a special privilege for themselves. For all that, it still remains quite uncertain whether the increase in the general productivity of human labor which could be brought about by the establishment of complete freedom of migration would not be so great as to compensate entirely the members of the American and Australian trade unions for the losses that they could suffer from the immigration of foreign workers.
The workers of the United States and Australia could not succeed in having restrictions imposed on immigration if they did not have still another argument to fall back upon in support of their policy. After all, even today the power of certain liberal principles and ideas is so great that one cannot combat them if one does not place allegedly higher and more important considerations above the interest in the attainment of maximum productivity. We have already seen how “national interests” are cited in justification of protective tariffs. The same considerations are also invoked in favor of restrictions on immigration.
In the absence of any migration barriers whatsoever, vast hordes of immigrants from the comparatively overpopulated areas of Europe would, it is maintained, inundate Australia and America. They would come in such great numbers that it would no longer be possible to count on their assimilation. If in the past immigrants to America soon adopted the English language and American ways and customs, this was in part due to the fact that they did not come over all at once in such great numbers. The small groups of immigrants who distributed themselves over a wide land quickly integrated themselves into the great body of the American people. The individual immigrant was already half assimilated when the next immigrants landed on American soil. One of the most important reasons for this rapid national assimilation was the fact that the immigrants from foreign countries did not come in too great numbers. This, it is believed, would now change, and there is real danger that the ascendancy—or more correctly, the exclusive dominion—of the Anglo-Saxons in the United States would be destroyed. This is especially to be feared in the case of heavy immigration on the part of the Mongolian peoples of Asia.
These fears may perhaps be exaggerated in regard to the United States. As regards Australia, they certainly are not. Australia has approximately the same number of inhabitants as Austria; its area, however, is a hundred times greater than Austria’s, and its natural resources are certainly incomparably richer. If Australia were thrown open to immigration, it can be assumed with great probability that its population would in a few years consist mostly of Japanese, Chinese, and Malayans.
The aversion that most people feel today towards the members of foreign nationalities and especially towards those of other races is evidently too great to admit of any peaceful settlement of such antagonisms. It is scarcely to be expected that the Australians will voluntarily permit the immigration of Europeans not of English nationality, and it is completely out of the question that they should permit Asiatics too to seek work and a permanent home in their continent. The Australians of English descent insist that the fact that it was the English who first opened up this land for settlement has given the English people a special right to the exclusive possession of the entire continent for all time to come. The members of the world’s other nationalities, however, do not in the least desire to contest the right of the Australians to occupy any of the land that they already are making use of in Australia. They think only that it is unfair that the Australians do not permit the utilization of more favorable conditions of production that today lie fallow and force them to carry on production under the less favorable conditions prevailing in their own countries.
This issue is of the most momentous significance for the future of the world. Indeed, the fate of civilization depends on its satisfactory resolution. On the one side stand scores, indeed, hundreds of millions of Europeans and Asiatics who are compelled to work under less favorable conditions of production than they could find in the territories from which they are barred. They demand that the gates of the forbidden paradise be opened to them so that they may increase the productivity of their labor and thereby receive for themselves a higher standard of living. On the other side stand those already fortunate enough to call their own the land with the more favorable conditions of production. They desire—as far as they are workers, and not owners of the means of production—not to give up the higher wages that this position guarantees them. The entire nation, however, is unanimous in fearing inundation by foreigners. The present inhabitants of these favored lands fear that some day they could be reduced to a minority in their own country and that they would then have to suffer all the horrors of national persecution to which, for instance, the Germans are today exposed in Czechoslovakia, Italy, and Poland.
It cannot be denied that these fears are justified. Because of the enormous power that today stands at the command of the state, a national minority must expect the worst from a majority of a different nationality. As long as the state is granted the vast powers which it has today and which public opinion considers to be its right, the thought of having to live in a state whose government is in the hands of members of a foreign nationality is positively terrifying. It is frightful to live in a state in which at every turn one is exposed to persecution—masquerading under the guise of justice—by a ruling majority. It is dreadful to be handicapped even as a child in school on account of one’s nationality and to be in the wrong before every judicial and administrative authority because one belongs to a national minority.
If one considers the conflict from this point of view, it seems as if it allows of no other solution than war. In that case, it is to be expected that the nation inferior in numbers will be defeated, that, for example, the nations of Asia, counting hundreds of millions, will succeed in driving the progeny of the white race from Australia. But we do not wish to indulge in such conjectures. For it is certain that such wars—and we must assume that a world problem of such great dimensions cannot be solved once and for all in just one war—would lead to the most frightful catastrophe for civilization.
It is clear that no solution of the problem of immigration is possible if one adheres to the ideal of the interventionist state, which meddles in every field of human activity, or to that of the socialist state. Only the adoption of the liberal program could make the problem of immigration, which today seems insoluble, completely disappear. In an Australia governed according to liberal principles, what difficulties could arise from the fact that in some parts of the continent Japanese and in other parts Englishmen were in the majority?
The United States of Europe
The United States of America is the mightiest and richest nation in the world. Nowhere else was capitalism able to develop more freely and with less interference from the government. The inhabitants of the United States of America are therefore far richer than those of any other country on earth. For more than sixty years their country was not involved in any war. If they had not waged a war of extermination against the original inhabitants of the land, if they had not needlessly waged war against Spain in 1898, and if they had not participated in the World War, only a few graybeards among them would today be able to give a first-hand account of what war means. It is doubtful whether the Americans themselves appreciate how much they owe to the fact that more of the policies of liberalism and capitalism have been realized in their country than in any other. Even foreigners do not know what it is that has made the much-envied republic rich and powerful. But—apart from those who, filled with resentment, affect a profound contempt for the “materialism” of American culture—all are agreed in desiring nothing more eagerly than that their country should be as rich and as powerful as the United States.
In various quarters it is being proposed, as the simplest way to achieve this end, that a “United States of Europe” be formed. By themselves the individual countries of the European continent are too thinly populated and do not have enough land at their disposal to be able to hold their own in the international struggle for supremacy as against the ever increasing power of the United States, against Russia, against the British Empire, against China, and against other groupings of similar size that may be formed in the future, perhaps in South America. They must therefore consolidate into a military and political union, into a defensive and offensive alliance, which alone would be capable of assuring to Europe in the centuries to come the importance in world politics that it has enjoyed in the past. What gives special support to the idea of a Pan-European union is the realization, which is every day impressing itself more strongly on everyone, that nothing can be more absurd than the protective tariff policies presently being pursued by the nations of Europe. Only the further development of the international division of labor can increase the well-being and produce the abundance of goods needed to raise the standard of living, and thereby also the cultural level, of the masses. The economic policies of all countries, but especially those of the smaller European nations, are aimed precisely at destroying the international division of labor. If the conditions under which American industry operates, with a potential market of more than a hundred twenty million rich consumers, unhampered by tariffs or similar obstacles, are compared with those against which German, Czechoslovakian, or Hungarian industry must contend, the utter absurdity of endeavors to create little autarkic economic territories becomes immediately obvious.
The evils that those who champion the idea of a United States of Europe are trying to combat undoubtedly exist, and the sooner they are eliminated, the better. But the formation of a United States of Europe would not be an appropriate means to achieve this end.
Any reform in international relations must aim at abolishing a situation in which each country seeks in every way possible to enlarge its territory at the expense of other countries. The problem of international boundaries, which has assumed such overwhelming importance today, must lose all its significance. The nations must come to realize that the most important problem of foreign policy is the establishment of lasting peace, and they must understand that this can be assured throughout the world only if the field of activity permitted to the state is limited to the narrowest range. Only then will the size and extent of the territory subject to the sovereignty of the state no longer assume such overwhelming importance for the life of the individual as to make it seem natural, now as in the past, for rivers of blood to be shed in disputes over boundaries. The narrow-mindedness which sees nothing beyond one’s own state and one’s own nation and which has no conception of the importance of international cooperation must be replaced by a cosmopolitan outlook. This, however, is possible only if the society of nations, the international superstate, is so constituted that no people and no individual is oppressed on account of nationality or national peculiarities.
Nationalist policies, which always begin by aiming at the ruination of one’s neighbor, must, in the final analysis, lead to the ruination of all. In order to overcome such provincialism and to replace it by a policy genuinely cosmopolitan in its orientation, it is first necessary for the nations of the world to realize that their interests do not stand in mutual opposition and that every nation best serves its own cause when it is intent on promoting the development of all nations and scrupulously abstains from every attempt to use violence against other nations or parts of other nations. Thus, what is needed is not the replacement of national chauvinism by a chauvinism that would have some larger, supranational entity for its object, but rather the recognition that every sort of chauvinism is mistaken. The old, militaristic methods of international politics must now give way to new, peaceful methods aiming at cooperative effort, and not at mutual warfare.
The champions of Pan-Europe and of the United States of Europe, however, have other ends in view. They do not plan on establishing a new kind of state different in its policies from the imperialistic and militaristic states that have existed up to now, but on a reconstitution of the old imperialistic and militaristic idea of the state. Pan-Europe is to be greater than the individual states that will comprise it; it is to be more powerful than they are and therefore more efficient militarily and better suited to oppose such great powers as England, the United States of America, and Russia. A European chauvinism is to take the place of the French, the German, or the Hungarian variety; a united front formed of all the European nations is to be directed against “foreigners”: Britons, Americans, Russians, Chinese, and Japanese.
Now one can base a chauvinistic political consciousness and a chauvinistic military policy on a national foundation, but not on a geographic one. Community of language binds members of the same nationality close together, while linguistic diversity gives rise to a gulf between nations. If it were not for this fact—aside from all ideologies—chauvinistic thinking would never have been able to develop. The geographer, with map in hand, may, no doubt, very well view the European continent (with the exception of Russia) as a unity if he is so minded; but this does not create among the inhabitants of that region any feeling of community or solidarity on which the statesman could base his plans. A Rhinelander can be made to understand that he is defending his own cause if he goes into battle for the Germans of East Prussia. It may even be possible to bring him to see that the cause of all mankind is also his own cause. But he will never be able to understand that, while he has to stand side by side with the Portuguese because they too are Europeans, the cause of England is that of an enemy, or, at best, of a neutral alien. It is not possible to efface from men’s minds (nor, incidentally, does liberalism have any desire to do so) the imprint left by a long historical development that has brought it about that the heart of a German beats faster at every mention of Germany, of the German people, or of all that is typically German. This feeling of nationality existed before any political attempt was made to base upon it the idea of a German state, a German policy, and German chauvinism. All the well-intentioned schemes for replacing national states by a federation of states, whether Central European, Pan-European, Pan-American, or constructed on some similar artificial basis, suffer from the same fundamental defect. They fail to take account of the fact that the words “Europe” or “Pan-Europe” and “European” or “Pan-European” do not have this kind of emotional connotation and are thus incapable of evoking sentiments of the kind called forth by such words as “Germany” and “German.”
The matter may be seen in its clearest light if we direct our attention to the problem, which plays a decisive role in all these projects, of agreeing on a commercial policy for such a federation of states. As conditions are today, a Bavarian can be induced to regard the protection of German labor—let us say, in Saxony—as a sufficient justification for a tariff that makes it more expensive for him, the Bavarian, to purchase some article. We may hope that some day he will succeed in being converted to the realization that all political measures designed to achieve autarky, and hence all protective tariffs, are senseless and self-defeating and consequently ought to be abolished. But never will one succeed in inducing a Pole or a Hungarian to consider it justified that he should pay more than the world market price for any commodity merely in order to enable the French, the Germans, or the Italians to carry on its production in their countries. One can certainly win support for a policy of protectionism by combining an appeal to feelings of national solidarity with the nationalistic doctrine that the interests of different nations are mutually incompatible; but there is nothing similar that could serve a federation of states as an ideological basis for a system of protectionism. It is manifestly absurd to break up the ever increasing unity of world economy into a number of small national territories, each as autarkic as possible. But one cannot counteract the policy of economic isolation on a national scale by replacing it with the same policy on the part of a larger political entity comprising a number of different nationalities. The only way to counteract tendencies toward protectionism and autarky is to recognize their harmfulness and to appreciate the harmony of the interests of all nations.
Once it has been demonstrated that the disintegration of the world economy into a number of small autarkic areas has detrimental consequences for all nations, the conclusion in favor of free trade necessarily follows. In order to prove that a Pan-European zone of autarky should be set up under the shelter of a protective tariff, it would first be necessary to demonstrate that the interests of the Portuguese and the Rumanians, although in harmony with each other, both collide with those of Brazil and Russia. One would have to adduce proof that it is good for the Hungarians to give up their domestic textile industry in favor of the German, the French, and the Belgian, but that the interests of the Hungarians would be injured by the importation of English or American textiles.
The movement in favor of the formation of a federation of European states has arisen from a correct recognition of the untenability of all forms of chauvinistic nationalism. But what the supporters of this movement wish to set in its place is impracticable because it lacks a vital basis in the consciousness of the people. And even if the goal of the Pan-European movement could be achieved, the world would not be in the least the better for it. The struggle of a united European continent against the great world powers outside its territory would be no less ruinous than is the present struggle of the countries of Europe among themselves.
The League of Nations
Just as, in the eyes of the liberal, the state is not the highest ideal, so it is also not the best apparatus of compulsion. The metaphysical theory of the state declares—approaching, in this respect, the vanity and presumption of the absolute monarchs—that each individual state is sovereign, i.e., that it represents the last and highest court of appeals. But, for the liberal, the world does not end at the borders of the state. In his eyes, whatever significance national boundaries have is only incidental and subordinate. His political thinking encompasses the whole of mankind. The starting-point of his entire political philosophy is the conviction that the division of labor is international and not merely national. He realizes from the very first that it is not sufficient to establish peace within each country, that it is much more important that all nations live at peace with one another. The liberal therefore demands that the political organization of society be extended until it reaches its culmination in a world state that unites all nations on an equal basis. For this reason he sees the law of each nation as subordinate to international law, and that is why he demands supranational tribunals and administrative authorities to assure peace among nations in the same way that the judicial and executive organs of each country are charged with the maintenance of peace within its own territory.
For a long time the demand for the establishment of such a supranational world organization was confined to a few thinkers who were considered utopians and went unheeded. To be sure, after the end of the Napoleonic Wars, the world repeatedly witnessed the spectacle of the statesmen of the leading powers gathered around the conference table to arrive at a common accord, and after the middle of the nineteenth century, an increasing number of supranational institutions were established, the most widely noted of which are the Red Cross and the International Postal Union. Yet all of this was still a very far cry from the creation of a genuine supranational organization. Even the Hague Peace Conference signified hardly any progress in this respect. It was only the horrors of the World War that first made it possible to win widespread support for the idea of an organization of all nations that would be in a position to prevent future conflicts. With the end of the war, the victors took steps to create an association which they called “The League of Nations” and which is widely held throughout the world to be the nucleus of what could be a really effective future international organization.
In any case, there can be no doubt that what today goes under that name is in no way a realization of the liberal ideal of a supranational organization. In the first place, some of the most important and powerful nations of the world do not belong to the League at all. The United States, not to mention smaller nations, still stands outside. Besides, the covenant of the League of Nations suffers from the very outset from the fact that it distinguishes between two categories of member states: those that enjoy full rights and those that, having been on the losing side in the World War, are not fully qualified members. It is clear that such an inequality of status in the community of nations must bear within itself the seeds of war in the same way that every such division into castes does within a country. All these shortcomings have combined to weaken the League lamentably and to render it impotent in regard to all the substantive questions with which it has been confronted. One has only to think of its conduct in the conflict between Italy and Greece or in regard to the Mosul question, and especially in those cases in which the fate of oppressed minorities depended on its decision.
There are in all countries, but especially in England and Germany, groups that believe that in the interest of transforming this sham League of Nations into a real one—into a genuine supranational state—its present weaknesses and defects should be treated in the most indulgent possible way. Such opportunism never does any good, no matter what question is at issue. The League of Nations is—and this would certainly have to be conceded by everybody except the functionaries and the staff employed in its bureaus—an inadequate institution in no way corresponding to the demands that one is entitled to make of a world organization. This fact, far from being minimized or ignored, needs to be repeatedly and insistently emphasized so that attention is called to all the changes that would have to be made in order to transform this sham into a real League of Nations. Nothing has done greater harm to the idea of a supranational world organization than the intellectual confusion arising from the belief that the present League constitutes a complete or virtually complete realization of what every honest and sincere liberal must demand. It is impossible to build a real League of Nations, capable of assuring lasting peace, on the principle that the traditional, historically determined boundaries of each country are to be treated as inalterably fixed. The League of Nations retains the fundamental defect of all previous international law: in setting up procedural rules for adjudicating disputes between nations, it is not in the least interested in creating any other norms for their settlement than the preservation of the status quo and the enforcement of existing treaties. Under such circumstances, however, peace cannot be assured unless it be by reducing the whole world situation to a state of frozen immobility.
To be sure, the League does hold out, even though very cautiously and with many reservations, the prospect of some future boundary adjustments to do justice to the demands of some nations and parts of nations. It also promises—again very cautiously and qualifiedly—protection to national minorities. This permits us to hope that from these extremely inadequate beginnings a world superstate really deserving of the name may some day be able to develop that would be capable of assuring the nations the peace that they require. But this question will not be decided at Geneva in the sessions of the present League, and certainly not in the parliaments of the individual countries that comprise it. For the problem involved is not at all a matter of organization or of the technique of international government, but the greatest ideological question that mankind has ever faced. It is a question of whether we shall succeed in creating throughout the world a frame of mind without which all agreements for the preservation of peace and all the proceedings of courts of arbitration will remain, at the crucial moment, only worthless scraps of paper. This frame of mind can be nothing less than the unqualified, unconditional acceptance of liberalism. Liberal thinking must permeate all nations, liberal principles must pervade all political institutions, if the prerequisites of peace are to be created and the causes of war eliminated. As long as nations cling to protective tariffs, immigration barriers, compulsory education, interventionism, and etatism, new conflicts capable of breaking out at any time into open warfare will continually arise to plague mankind.
The law-abiding citizen by his labor serves both himself and his fellow man and thereby integrates himself peacefully into the social order. The robber, on the other hand, is intent, not on honest toil, but on the forcible appropriation of the fruits of others’ labor. For thousands of years the world had to submit to the yoke of military conquerors and feudal lords who simply took for granted that the products of the industry of other men existed for them to consume. The evolution of mankind toward civilization and the strengthening of social bonds required, first of all, overcoming the intellectual and physical influence of the military and feudal castes that aspired to rule the world and the substitution of the ideal of the bourgeois for that of the hereditary lord. The supplanting of the militaristic ideal, which esteems only the warrior and despises honest labor, has not, by any means, even yet been completely achieved. In every nation there are still individuals whose minds are altogether taken up with the ideas and images of the militaristic ages. There are nations in which transient atavistic impulses toward plunder and violence, which one would have presumed to have long since been mastered, still break out and once more gain ascendancy. But, by and large, one can say of the nations of the white race that today inhabit central and western Europe and America that the mentality that Herbert Spencer called “militaristic” has been displaced by that to which he gave the name “industrial.” Today there is only one great nation that steadfastly adheres to the militaristic ideal, viz., the Russians.
Of course, even among the Russian people there are some who do not share this attitude. It is only to be regretted that they have not been able to prevail over their compatriots. Ever since Russia was first in a position to exercise an influence on European politics, it has continually behaved like a robber who lies in wait for the moment when he can pounce upon his victim and plunder him of his possessions. At no time did the Russian Czars acknowledge any other limits to the expansion of their empire than those dictated by the force of circumstances. The position of the Bolsheviks in regard to the problem of the territorial expansion of their dominions is not a whit different. They too acknowledge no other rule than that, in the conquest of new lands, one may and indeed must go as far as one dares, with due regard to one’s resources. The fortunate circumstance that saved civilization from being destroyed by the Russians was the fact that the nations of Europe were strong enough to be able successfully to stand off the onslaught of the hordes of Russian barbarians. The experiences of the Russians in the Napoleonic Wars, the Crimean War, and the Turkish campaign of 1877–78 showed them that, in spite of the great number of their soldiers, their army is unable to seize the offensive against Europe. The World War merely confirmed this.
More dangerous than bayonets and cannon are the weapons of the mind. To be sure, the response that the ideas of the Russians found in Europe was due, in the first place, to the fact that Europe itself was already full of these ideas before they came out of Russia. Indeed, it would perhaps be more nearly correct to say that these Russian ideas themselves were not originally Russian, however much they may have suited the character of the Russian people, but that they were borrowed by the Russians from Europe. So great is the intellectual sterility of the Russians that they were never able to formulate for themselves the expression of their own inmost nature.
Liberalism, which is based completely on science and whose policies represent nothing but the application of the results of science, must be on its guard not to make unscientific value judgments. Value judgments stand outside of science and are always purely subjective. One cannot, therefore, classify nations according to their worth and speak of them as worthy or as less worthy. Consequently, the question whether or not the Russians are inferior lies completely outside the scope of our consideration. We do not at all contend that they are so. What we maintain is only that they do not wish to enter into the scheme of human social cooperation. In relation to human society and the community of nations their position is that of a people intent on nothing but the consumption of what others have accumulated. People among whom the ideas of Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, and Lenin are a living force cannot produce a lasting social organization. They must revert to a condition of complete barbarism. Russia is endowed far more richly by nature with fertility of soil and mineral resources of all kinds than is the United States. If the Russians had pursued the same capitalistic policy as the Americans, they would today be the richest people in the world. Despotism, imperialism, and Bolshevism have made them the poorest. Now they are seeking capital and credits from all over the world.
Once this is recognized, it clearly follows what must be the guiding principle of the policy of the civilized nations toward Russia. Let the Russians be Russians. Let them do what they want in their own country. But do not let them pass beyond the boundaries of their own land to destroy European civilization. This is not to say, of course, that the importation and translation of Russian writings ought to be prohibited. Neurotics may enjoy them as much as they wish; the healthy will, in any case, eschew them. Nor does this mean that the Russians ought to be prohibited from spreading their propaganda and distributing bribes the way the Czars did throughout the world. If modern civilization were unable to defend itself against the attacks of hirelings, then it could not, in any case, remain in existence much longer. This is not to say, either, that Americans or Europeans ought to be prevented from visiting Russia if they are attracted to it. Let them view at first hand, at their own risk and on their own responsibility, the land of mass murder and mass misery. Nor does this mean that capitalists ought to be prevented from granting loans to the Soviets or otherwise to invest capital in Russia. If they are foolish enough to believe that they will ever see any part of it again, let them make the venture.
But the governments of Europe and America must stop promoting Soviet destructionism by paying premiums for exports to Soviet Russia and thereby furthering the Russian Soviet system by financial contributions. Let them stop propagandizing for emigration and the export of capital to Soviet Russia.
Whether or not the Russian people are to discard the Soviet system is for them to settle among themselves. The land of the knout and the prison-camp no longer poses a threat to the world today. With all their will to war and destruction, the Russians are no longer capable seriously of imperiling the peace of Europe. One may therefore safely let them alone. The only thing that needs to be resisted is any tendency on our part to support or promote the destructionist policy of the Soviets.
[* ]The assassination by a Serbian national, Gavrilo Princip, on June 28, 1914, of Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir apparent to his uncle, Hapsburg Emperor Francis Joseph.