Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

8 erthygl ar y dudalen hon

y-I Merthyr Painters' Demands.

Navvy Pat's Views.I

- =I At Random. I


= At Random. I A certain man drew a bow at a venture." I By W. H. EVANS. Should a man be a slave to his principles? In these days, when principles and accepted stand- ards are going by the board, and a number of people are discovering that they can get along without holding firmly to those ideas which seemed of such paramount importance not long since, our query is one that is worth finding an answer to. For. hitherto, we have held—and some of us still hold—that a principle must not be given tip under any circumstances. Prin- ciples are the guiding powers of life. And with- out some recognition of, and adherence to them, social life is impossible. But how far we should go, and whether principle should be su- preme, is a question which many are undecided about. As a matter of fact, many folk- hold principles very loosely. They seem to regard them as an intellectual asset, the assent to which gives them a certain moral standing in life. It is good to stand with the crowd; to be with the majority; to feel the self-satisfied, snuggy com placency which comes from such moral support. To be on the strongest side is always safe—pro- vided it is the strongest side. But we must not mistake surface for depth, nor numbers for strength. The strongest side is frequently the minority. But as the world counts strength, it is numbers; the big shout, the loud hurrah, which is important. Consequently the world is apt to be impatient with those who claxe to array themselves against popular opinion. You must not, in the world's mode of expression, be a slave to principle. Much, of course, depends upon the principle. There is a. great combat going on in the world of ideas. These ideas, which have their devo- tees arrayed against each oklier, are the dynam- ics of the whole situation. And when 'the ideas become incarnate in some formula, they command either assent or dissent. It is there- fore essential to have the right idea, the right principle. And having found it, hold to it, in all circumstances. And it will be found that the essence of all progress lies in the fact, that brave men have, all through human his- tory. been willing to sacrifice. for their princi- ples, or for conscience sake. To act according to right principles is to 'fo act acco'dinK o principle is to have your action rightly motived. And motive is more than action, though we generally judge each other by actions. And many have been condemned who, if we knew all the circum- stances that lead up to their actions, or the motives behind, would have won our commen- dation. It is unwise, therefore, to blame, when we do not actually know. As the French say: "If we knew all, we should forgive all." And in these days, when passions are stirred to their depths, and all are deeply moved, judg- ment is apt to be warped. We cannot there- fore condemn those who may differ from us, nor call them slaves to principle. Rather we should seek the true way, or, finding it. walk dilig- ently therein, without any regard for the opin- ion of the world. Should a man, then, be a slave to principle? If the principle be a true one—yes. For the truth makes free, and paradoxical as it may seem, to be a slave to Uruth means to gain freedom. There is a deep spiritual significance here For the truth demands our allegiance. A whole-hearted allegiance. Not a fair weather support; not a mere holding when it is popu- lar but a clinging to in all circumstances, so that it becomes a I guiding power in daily life. And if we, as Socialists, accept as a truth that human life is sacred, how can we consent to its destruction? It is inoompatable with our prin- ciple, and we have, therefore, to hold to it even though we have to suffer for it. But there is something deeper involved. It is not only the sacredness of human life, but the principle that this carries with it, of which the sacredness of human life is but an expression. For men are destroyed in many ways, and wherever we see anything that tends to belittle or to destroy human life. we must needs array ourselves ag- ainst it. More than that, we must seek the work causes of these things, and when found, work for their eradication. It is essential, thn, that we hold to our principles in all circum- stances. That this is felt by all men is seen in the fact that when they act contrary to any principles they hold, they are at great pains to try and harmonise their conduct with their principles. And all kinds of subterfuges and self-deceptions are Indulged In, when such circumstances arise. That is why you find men who are nominally Christian trying to square a religion of love with actions of hate. It is the greatest proof one can have of the authority of the higher and positive principle of love. Men are secretly ash- amed of the necessity for such attempted har- monisatioifi of the true and the false. They also feel the uselessness of such attempt, and this makes for harshness. Consequently, they are apt to speak ill of those who still hold to the finer essence of their teachings. If they had been —what the world contemptuously terms—slaves to their principles, such need for attempting to reconcile the irreconc-ilabile would never have arisen.


National Council Against Conscription…



four Conscientious Ubleators…