Page:The future of democracy.djvu/16

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was a reaction against that narrow view, and people began to believe in human peaks and pinnacles as essential. People went to the other extreme—the idea of the dominating superman began. Thank God we have got rid of that. The truth is that people are not equal by nature, but there is a corollary to this truth, and it is: there is no reason why they should be made more unequal than is avoidable by laws and institutions. If you bear these two things in mind you will find that you get a certain amount of light.

If people cannot be in all respects equal what can they be? They can be made equal in the chance of developing what is in them. If you take the old abstract notion of equality, the old Labour notion without more, you see how badly it works. There is Russia. Where is Russia to-day? I have a certain amount of sympathy with Bolshevism. It is a reaction against an abominable system of government. The Bolshevists fly to the other extreme; they say everyone is equal to themselves, and the standard they adopt is that everyone is on the level of the stupidest. They bring life down to a dead level. This policy is not working, and it is just making them a prey for the moment to people who have the power of putting thought into expression, as the Germans have to-day, and there is Russia at the feet of the conqueror. I believe that the Russians will recover themselves. I believe in the country of Tolstoi and Dostoyevsky. I believe Russia will recover, but Russia has taught us a lesson, and that is, not to trust in unduly abstract and narrow ideas, but to take care to organise ourselves, not according to Prussian methods, but according to our higher ideals. That will give us the best in thought and knowledge, and teach us to develop the individualities of our people.

What is it we are aiming at if Nature will not let us treat all men as equal? It is that we must give them equal opportunity. Every man, woman, and child ought to have the