Page:Patriotismchrist00tols.djvu/48

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42
PATRIOTISM AND CHRISTIANITY.

The more difficult the Government finds it to retain its power, the more numerous are the men who share it.

In former times a small band of rulers held the reins of power, emperors, kings, dukes, their soldiers and assistants; whereas now the power and its profits are shared not alone by Government officials and by the clergy, but by capitalists—great and small, landowners, bankers, members of Parliament, professors, village officials, men of science, and even artists, but particularly by authors and journalists.

And all these people, consciously, or unconsciously, spread the deceit of patriotism, which is indispensable to them if the profits of their position are to be preserved.

And the fraud, thanks to the means for its propagation, and to the participation in it of a much larger number of people, having become more powerful, is continued so successfully, that, notwithstanding the increased difficulty of deceiving, the extent to which the people are deceived is the same as ever.

A hundred years ago the uneducated classes, who had no idea of what their Government was composed, or by what nations they were surrounded, blindly obeyed those local Government officials and nobles by whom they were enslaved, and it was sufficient for the Government, by bribes and rewards, to remain on good terms with these nobles and officials, in order to squeeze from the people all that was required.

Whereas now, when the people can, for the most part, read, know more or less of what their Government is composed, and what nations surround them; when working men constantly and easily move from place to place, bringing back information of what is happening in the world, the simple demand that the orders of the Government must be accomplished is not sufficient; it is needful as well to cloud those true ideas about life which the people have, and to inculcate unnatural ideas as to the condition of their existence, and the relationship to it of other nations.

And so, thanks to the development of literature, reading and the facilities of travel, Governments which have their agents everywhere, by means of statutes, sermons, schools, and the Press, inculcate everywhere upon the people the most savage and erroneous ideas as to their utility, the relationship of nations, their quatities and intentions; and the people, so crushed by labour that they have neither the time nor the power to deliberate upon and test