Page:The Bohemians (Czechs) In The Present Crisis.djvu/9

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cause. It is a safe indication that the judgment of the people has been rendered in so emphatic a form that it cannot be set aside.

The form the processes of the collective mind sometimes take may be past understanding, but the fact remains that the instinctive, if you will, judgment of the masses is almost invariably correct and sound. The conclusions of the people may not be reasoned, perhaps in the masses people cannot reason; but it is no mere phrase to say that as frequently as not their conclusions reached on matters of public policy are as safe and reliable as those of the coolest and most thoughtful philosopher. In that fact indeed lies the hope of real democracy.

It is no exaggeration to say that in other neutral countries the opinion of the people does not differ from the sentiments prevailing in the United States. Can it therefore be surprising that in the present crisis the Bohemian people, as far as their opinion could be expressed, took their stand on the side of the Allies?

Indeed, to any one knowing Bohemian history; to any one knowing Bohemian traditions; to any one knowing the character of the Bohemian people, any other position would almost seem out of question, and if the Austrian government is surprised today at the outburst of indignation against its methods among people of Bohemian origin living beyond Austrian boundaries, this perhaps best illustrates the truth of the old saying that "those whom the gods would destroy they first make mad."

If we should seek a clue to the character of the Bohemian people we may best find it in the Hussite wars, of which the burning of Hus and Jerome was the immediate cause.

The Hussite movement originally was a moral one and directed against the corruption among the Roman clergy of the middle ages. The attitude of Hus and Jerome in their day was one of sheer idealism, and for that matter Czechs never under-estimated spiritual values. The Hussite wars finally had, of course, their social as well as economic phases, but it cannot be gainsaid that