66 THE CLASS STRUGGLE them of Guesd e in France, Hyndman in England and De Leon here?
But aside from this economic reason there are certain special circumstances in the history of the German peoples which made the German army a special danger to freedom and democracy.
The (people of northern Europe and the United States are ethnically all of one stock, or to be more exact, all one hybrid of the same three stocks. Now this ancient stock, our ancestors, dwelt for some ten thousand years or more along the shores of the Baltic in small village communities which lived by agriculture and fishing chiefly. They owed some of their food to hunting, and in the latter part of their long sojourn on the Baltic took to piracy for variety, but it is doubtful if this piracy was ever economically profitable.
If we wish to look for our permanent racial traits we must go back and delve on the Baltic littoral. For that is the only mode of life and those the only institutions that our race has shown itself capable of flourishing under for any really long period of time. It matters not whether you take it that the race had certain fixed traits that adapted it to such an environment and life and institutions (or lack of them) or whether you take it that in the long course of ten to thirteen thousand years all those not adapted to such a life died off or at least left no posterity. It comes to the same thing. To find out what are the comparatively permanent traits of our race we must go to the Baltic. This is not to say that our race may not vary and change. Just because it is a hybrid race its range of variability is wide. But racial changes are very slow processes. And we have no warrant for believing that we have altered appreciably since our forefathers farmed and fished beside the Baltic.
We can find the chief characteristics of this life set iorth by Thorstein Veblen in Imperial Germany and the Industrial Revolution. There were no large towns. The people lived either in very small villages or scattered settlements. There is no trace of fortifications. Offensive weapons were very scarce. There Was apparently no defensive armor. We are SOCIALISTS AND WAR 67 driven to believe they were a peaceful people, not given to war. They had village minds. The ihamle was to them the largest social unit they ever thought of. Such ideas as country, race or nation would have been incomprehensible to them.
In fact they are Nery nearly so to many of their villagemindc descendants 00 day. And yet these are the very people we hoped to make into true intemationalists by the necromancy of a. few well worded resolution s!
Their civil institutions Veblen describes as Pagan Anar chy. All power vests finally, he tells us, in the popular assembly, made up in effect of the freehold farmers, including under that designation the ablevbodied male citizens of substantial standing, but not formally excluding any part of the free population, and perhaps not even with absolute rigor excluding all women. This deliberative assembly exercised the powers, such as were exercised, of legislation, executive (extremely slight) and Judiciary. There is little if any police power, though there are established conventions of police regulation; and there is no conception of the king peacc outside the king farmyard. This civil system might be described as anarchy qualified by the common sense of a deliberative assembly that exercises no coercive control; or it might, if one bias leads that way, be called a democratic government, the executive power of which is in abeyance.
It will be seen that insubordination was of the very essence of the schem e. There was a swift impatience of restraint.
The most salient trait of our forebears was either a penchant for anarchy, if you like to so describe it, or what prefer to think of as a fierce and ardent love of democratic freedom.
And this has remained the distinguishing mark of these peoples wherever they have migrated in France, in England in New England, in Australia and New Zealand. Everywhere they retain the tendency to think in terms of the village, but also everywhere save in the German Empire they retain too their tendency to insubordination, their incurable love of freedom.