80 THE FORERUNNERS
Owing to the historical origin of our country, owing to the fact that Switzerland comprises three races and three tongues, we foreshadow on a small scale the United States of Europe ; in a word, we practise internationalism " (Patry).
Switzerland champions the right of the nations and champions democratic thought, as against imperialism, which is, fundamentally, an aristocratic reaction. Imperi- alism makes use of democracy, but enslaves it ; it under- mines the democratic pillars of modern states ; it centralises all power in the hands of a single government. " We are reviving the age of the dictators, and there is a tragic irony in this at a time when the whole world is speaking of liberty and when the whole world is enslaved. . . . Down with imperialism, which turns the nations aside from their true destinies ! "
" The size of our country matters little, provided that it has right and truth on its side. . . . We know that what New Switzerland has hitherto done is inadequate. . . . But a sacred fire is beginning to burn in our land. . . . Switzerland is a highway leading towards the future. . . . We are animated and united by a sublime conviction, by the feeling that we are the bearers of a great truth " (Schmidhauser).
The Mission of Switzerland.
" Switzerland can achieve greatness through principle alone. The only conquests permissible to Switzerland, are conquests in the realm of ideas " (Clottu).
We are not concerned here solely with the duty of a choice group of intellectuals. The questions at issue affect the people at large, those to whose service these young men have devoted themselves. A new spirit, an active faith, are requisite. The war has brought to light the weak spot in the Swiss character. Touching is the shame felt by these truehearted youths owing to the attitude of their country at the outset of the war. They are personally