Page:Patriotismchrist00tols.djvu/49

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PATRIOTISM AND CHRISTIANITY.

the truth of the ideas which are forced upon them or of demands made upon them in the name of their welfare, put themselves unmurmuringly under the yoke.

Whereas working men who have freed themselves from unremitting labour and become educated, and who have therefore, it might be supposed, the power of seeing through the fraud which is practised upon them are subjected to such a coercion of threats, bribes, and all the hypnotic influence of Governments, that, almost without exception, they desert to the side of the Government, and by entering some well paid and profitable employment as priest, schoolmaster, or other official, become participators in spreading the deceit which is destroying their comrades.

It is as though nets were laid at the entrances to education, in which those who, by some means or other, escape from the masses bowed down by labour are inevitably caught.

At first, when one understands the cruelty of all this deceit, one feels indignant in spite of oneself against those who from personal ambition or greedy advantage propagate this cruel fraud which destroys the souls as well as the bodies of men, and one feels inclined to accuse them of a sly craftiness; but the fact is that they are deceitful with no wish to deceive, but because they cannot be otherwise. And they deceive, not as Machiavelli, but with no consciousness of their deceit, and usually with the naive assurance r lat they are doing something excellent and elevated, a view in which they are persistently encouraged by the sympathy and approval of all who surround them.

It is true that, being dimly aware that on this fraud is founded their power and advantageous position, they are unconsciously drawn toward it; but their action is not based on any desire to delude the people, but because they believe it to be of service to the people.

Thus emperors, kings, and their ministers, with all their coronations, manœuvres, reviews, visiting each other, dressing up in various uniforms, going from place to place, and deliberating with serious faces as to how they may keep peace between nations supposed to be inimical to each other—nations who would never dream of quarreling—feel quite sure that what they are doing is very reasonable and useful.

In the same way the various ministers, diplomatists, and officials—dressed up in uniforms, with all sorts of ribbons and