Page:The future of democracy.djvu/14

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Prussia against our liberties, and bring us all other things necessary. But in these other things it is vital, if we are to succeed, that we should have clear ideas of where we want to go, and how to get there. That is a lesson we may take from the Germans—that it is essential to take thought and to acquire the power of self-organisation. It is lawful, says the proverb, to learn from our enemies. Let us learn from the Germans the power of organisation, based on thorough thinking, and use our faculty of organisation for noble ideals.

What are the ideals of democracy? Before I speak to you of the future of democracy I must speak of these ideals and try to define them, I am going back a long time—over eighteen hundred years. There are those of you who hold very different opinions about Christianity. Some of you believe in the Churches, some of you do not believe in the Churches, and some of you take a detached attitude, I take a detached attitude on many things in the history of the Churches and their traditions. But this I hold most firmly, that Christianity brought into the world a new ideal, the ideal that human freedom was an end in itself. It must never be subverted by other things, but must be recognised as the legitimate and the unquestionable right of the individual. Christianity led, in the end, to the abolition of slavery, Christianity insisted on a new value being attached to human personality, and it is Christianity that by this doctrine is inspiring much in the Labour Movement to-day, and teaching men and women that there is something more important than work and comfort and the old slow conditions before the war—the infinite, the precious value of every human soul. Well, let us start with that: the new ideal that came into the world, which ought always to be associated with the name of Christ. That new ideal which culminated in sweeping away slavery is now still alive with us in a new form in which