And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long have ye been between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word. *** And (Elijah fled) for his life ... into the wilderness. *** And behold ... a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks ... but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake, and after the earthquake, a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice ... came ... and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? -- I Kings, 18:21; 19; 3, 11-13.
Avoidable catastrophe and missed opportunity, both immense, have marked the years since Union Now appeared in 1939. Change -- violent and peaceful -- has also been immense. Yet the fundamentals faced in the opening pages of this book still face us now. The basic lines of the picture have grown in magnitude rather than changed in nature. The stakes are higher, the need for action -- sound and bold -- much more urgent. The same catastrophes knock at the door, and the same opportunity. If there seems cause for despair, there is greater cause for the faith that moves mountains.
The catastrophes have been much greater than I anticipated. So too have been not only man's deafness to opportunity, but his and opportunity's capacity for survival. From all this I draw greater faith in the soundness of the fundamental philosophy and principles of Union of the Free, and a greater sense of the nowness of Union Now, and the federal union of North Atlantic democracies it proposed. (To avoid repetition I would suggest that the reader who is not familiar with that proposal turn now to Book II, Chapter 1, and read the first ten paragraphs, which give its essence.)
One change in the picture, which has seemed too slight or too recent to be noted yet by the general public, seems to me so significant as to give in itself reason enough for new faith in freedom's future, and for this new effort to advance it. On September 7, 1960, President Eisenhower signed an act of Congress authorizing a United States Citizens Commission on NATO to organize and participate in a Convention of Citizens of North Atlantic Democracies with a view to exploring fully and recommending concretely how to unite their peoples better. Before an Atlantic Federal Union can be formed, such a convention must meet. The meeting does not mean that such a Union will be formed, but it does open the door to this.
The fact that it has taken twenty years to open this door is proof of its importance. Other facts increase it. One is that the Senate approved the Convention on June 15, 1960, by the narrow majority of 51 to 44 -- but with the support of both candidates for President and the Majority Leader. Another is that, despite the close Senate vote, the House -- whose shorter term requires its members to assess current and coming public opinion more accurately -- gave overwhelming approval, 288 to 103, after three hours of debate on August 24. In between came the Democratic Platform pledge of a "broader partnership" in "the Atlantic Community," and the Rockefeller-Nixon proposal that the United States "should promptly lead toward the formation of a North Atlantic "Confederation."
Delegates from the other NATO nations had already joined with those of the United States in unanimously recommending -- both at the NATO Parliamentarians Conferences in 1957 and 1959 and at the Atlantic Congress in 1959 -- that such a Convention be called. The latter Congress of some 700 eminent citizens, from all the NATO nations except Iceland went much further. It not only made the unanimous Declaration cited on the opening page of this book but it also approved the unanimous report of its Political Committee, which stressed that the Convention should tackle the problem of Atlantic Unification "as a whole" and face, too, "the important question of principles it involves. The preamble, written by the committee's rapporteur, Maurice Faure of France, added:
One solution would be to bring about some form of political federation of all our states. The idea of such a federation at this time should not be ruled out, but we must face up to the possibility that it may be psychologically premature. In any event we must proceed beyond the stage of an alliance. In other words what we must do is to create a genuine community.
This will not be an easy task. What it requires is an entirely new enterprise for which there is no precedent *** The traditional concept of the sovereignty of our countries must not be regarded as something unalterable, as Holy Writ. *** It must also be realized that in our democratic society, the rights of the individual *** are limited by law in order to preserve the freedom of other individuals, or to secure social progress in accordance with technical progress. Hence the need for us to accept limitations of the sovereignty of our States, limitations which are urgently called for by the over-riding needs of our defense, our well-being and our unity. ***
It is clear that we are living in an era when safeguarding the freedom of Man -- which is the highest good -- will be impossible to ensure without far-reaching structural reforms The time has come for this need to be fully understood, for the peril is becoming more serious as well as more general *** NATO must prepare itself to meet all these threatening perils. But NATO can only do this if *** it builds up stronger institutions which will effectively place the whole of its means at the service of a policy of closer union which will lead mankind to the new era made possible by scientific, industrial, political and moral progress.
One more significant fact needs be added. The Atlantic Convention's approach to the problem of unification is patterned on that of the Federal Convention in 1787 -- notably in that the members are free from official instructions, each able to act as his individual experience, vision and conscience advise. This procedure, which is unprecedented in the field of international relations (as the debate in the United States Congress on the Atlantic Convention resolution brought out) produced the most prodigious and enduring success in the history of conferences among sovereign states -- the United States Constitution.
Yet the Federal Convention began in Philadelphia amid skepticism much stronger than the Atlantic Congress' fear lest Atlantic federation be "psychologically premature" today.
George Washington himself asked on March 10, 1787: "Is the public mind matured for such an important change ...? What would be the consequences of a premature attempt?" And after he arrived at the Convention on the day set for it to open -- May 14 -- and had to wait ten days for apathy to permit a quorum, he went further and forecast: "It is too probable that no plan we propose will be adopted. Perhaps another dreadful conflict is to be sustained." But in the next breath he added: "If, to please the people, we offer what we ourselves disapprove, how can we afterward defend our work? Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair; the event is in the hand of God."
Thanks to the heroic faith and efforts of Washington and the other Founding Fathers, out of that Convention came, not another dreadful conflict, but the world's first Federal Union of the Free. There is, of course, no certainty that the Atlantic Convention will thus rise to the occasion ... but it can. It may indeed produce only unneeded proof that democracy moves almost always "too little and too late." It will fail thus, miserably, if its members and the press and public do not see with much more clearness and act with much more courage than has marked Atlantica's past twenty years. The fact remains that free men now, at last, are in position, at least, to grasp the vast opportunity that has been vainly knocking at their door.
Like the ancient Hebrews they have remained since 1939 between two opinions, uncertain whether their highest Truth was the Sovereign Citizen or the Sovereign Nation -- whether their Lord was God or Baal. Like Elijah they sought escape in ... a wilderness. There, in those twenty-one years, they have, dumbfounded, witnessed hurricane, earthquake, holocaust. But their Truth came not out of the wind of war that rent mountains of states. Nor did it come out of the earthquake of science, nor out of the fire that consumed empires.
Their highest Truth can come out of the Atlantic Convention, however still and small its voice may seem today. It will come out if the Convention brings home to enough free men and women the question with but one answer which, through the ages, has moved the individual conscience to assert its sovereign power, and led man to make his many miracles: ... "What doest thou here, Elijah?" To help make this voice heard is the present purpose.
Let us begin by following the lead that Lincoln gave when he said on June 17, 1858: "If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could better judge what to do, and how to do it." To adapt his next sentence to the present occasion I have changed a few words to those italicized: "We are now far into the twenty-first year since policies were initiated with the avowed object and confident promise of putting an end to our problem. Under the operation of those policies, that problem has not only not ceased, but it has constantly augmented." The proof is evident, but not its accumulating effect-judging from the failure to reverse these policies. In the 1949 edition of Union Now its new chapters began by reporting on the situation ten years after the book's appearance, and noted first that the policies that had prevailed since 1939 had left this result:
Still disunited, the democracies still confront a formidable dictatorship. It is armed with a great army, and a militant dogma that violently subordinates man to the state. It is bent on driving individual freedom off the earth, and enslaving all mankind under its tyrannical world government.
In the decade since, the Communist dictatorship has added to its arsenal all the other four arms that we then practically or completely monopolized. It has now a very powerful air force. Its sea power is much stronger than Hitler had -- most of all in submarines to which the free are doubly vulnerable, because of their Atlantic life-lines and because their great cities and industrial areas are much closer to the coast than Russia's, more exposed to bombardment by the aerial "torpedoes" submarines can fire today. Out of the devastation of Russia has risen, too, since 1949, a mighty industrial plant, keyed to producing arms rather than electric kitchens. Moscow has also broken the one complete monopoly we had, its stockpiles of atomic bombs now balance ours. On top of this, it is armed with rocket power that surpasses ours in intercontinental guided missiles and in thrust into Space.
Nor is this all: By being first to send a satellite into orbit round the planet, this dictatorship has armed itself with the prestige in the field of science and invention that Atlantica had almost monopolized for the previous two centuries.1 Moreover, Communist dictatorship has consolidated its hold over 600,000,000 Chinese since 1949. It is arming itself there under even more ruthless pressure than in Russia ... at a time in history when the methods of mass production and mass destruction give an advantage to the country with the greatest masses of men.
The Postwar edition of Union Now continued, in its report on the 1939-49 decade:
Still without a central government, the free Atlantic community still invites economic collapse and another World War.
We have continued through another decade to escape the depression that sooner or later has invariably followed great wars in the past. Our escape has been only partly due to the "built-in" stabilizers to the economy which so many trust will prevent another great depression. It has also resulted partly from the market provided by such great undertakings as the Marshall Plan's reconstruction of Europe, and "Point 4" and other programs for aiding underdeveloped nations.
But perhaps the main reason for our escape thus far is that -- as Felix Morley succinctly put it in his Freedom and Federalism: "We have avoided the depression that normally follows war by the unusual expedient of avoiding peace." In an important sense the war period has not yet ended; while the line-ups have changed, it has continued in cold fury rather than hot -- but at a total cost to the United States alone that surpasses its expenditures in World War II. Meanwhile there have been building up inflationary and other economic strains that make for a collapse much more dangerous to freedom than was the Great Depression.2 And now for the first time we face an autocracy that can hope to win not merely by war but by using economic arms -- all of which it monopolizes as we monopolize only military arms -- to advance its aims in all the Cubas and the Congos, and to try to deepen any Atlantic economic recession into a serious depression.
Since 1949 the Soviet dictatorship has already gained significant economic beachheads in the Mideast, in Africa and at the doorsill of the United States. Meanwhile the people of Atlantica have not yet begun to form a common government through which to meet common dangers by the common sense of common policies. True, the European shore of the ocean community has regained its productive power through joint efforts that are to the honor of all the Atlantic people. But this restoration of national competing power, with no means of regulating it for the common purpose, can be as productive of depression now as it was in the 1920s. True again, the "Six Nations" of the Continent have formed a common Coal and Steel Authority and a Common Market; but this advance has left Western Europe dangerously divided -- literally at "Sixes and Sevens" -- to say nothing of the far more dangerous economic division between Atlantica's European and American shores.
While the United States spent billions rebuilding Western European nations into such independent Daniels that they already beard the automobile lion in his Detroit den, Communist Russia has tightened its grip on the nations of Eastern Europe. By "specializing" their economies, it has tied them to its system to a degree and at a speed that make the integrating efforts of Western Europe's audacious "Six" seem trivial.
Since 1939 only the Russian and Chinese empires have strengthened their grip on the peoples they conquered in past centuries, and extended their empires. In this period the Atlantic countries have transformed practically all their empires into dozens of new sovereign nations. These have been admitted to the United Nations with all sides rejoicing for a cacophony of reasons, This reached its peak when the 1960 Assembly admitted fourteen new member nations, and Prime Minister Diefenbaker of Canada rose to ask: "How many human beings have been liberated by the U.S.S.R.?" -- after he had proudly pointed out:
Since the last war seventeen colonial areas and territories, comprising more than forty million people, have been brought to complete freedom by France. In the same period fourteen colonies and territories, comprising half a billion people have achieved complete freedom within the Commonwealth. Taken together some 600 million people in more than thirty countries, most of them now represented in this Assembly, have attained their freedom -- this with the approval, the encouragement and the guidance of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and France.
This is indeed a record unique in the annals of empire, with such overtones of virtue in all concerned as to have drowned any discordant doubts. And yet ... and yet ... forty million divided by seventeen results in seventeen new nations with an average population of a bit more than two million each. Subtracting India and Pakistan from the 600 million, one finds that the population of the other dozen new Commonwealth nations averages only five million each. Put together, these twenty-nine new nations sprung from the British and French empires average only 3.5 million people -- only half the population of Balkan Bulgaria. In all the words that have welcomed these new nations, precious few have paused at these ominous facts.
Yet, great as is the virtue in this act of creation, the still unseen economic and political vice accompanying it is so plain that, to be seen, it needs but be stated: This "complete freedom" has also created dozens of new national barriers to trade and production, dozens of dubious new currencies, dozens of new visas and other vexations to commerce and travel, dozens of new doubts, uncertainties and new reasons to make private investors reluctant to risk their savings in potential Congos and Cubas. Dozens and dozens of these balkanizations of business have come, in freedom's name, to enshackle the economic growth which freedom requires. They have been added pell-mell to the superabundance of these on the planet. Even in the 1920s there were enough to help bring on the recession that produced Mussolini, and the depression that put Hitler in power -- even in nations as advanced as Italy and Germany.
The dragon's teeth which the United States sowed in those years by adding new barriers to the free flow of men, money and goods are now being scattered over the Earth as never before. There is every reason to fear that the example which the oldest democracies still set in economic nationalism will be followed with enthusiasm by the new nations, to their grief, and ours. These trappings of unlimited national sovereignty are no aid to them in their efforts to overcome their true foes -- ignorance, disease and poverty -- nor to us in our hopes of helping them win this war on which their true freedom depends. All these nationalistic bedevilments to their economies and ours serve only the ends of dictatorship.
They breed Lumumbas and Castros -- or rather, they convert ambitious idealists into national dictators who fall easy prey to the Communist dictatorship. They encourage leaders in under-developed countries to believe their best hope for developing them quickly is to follow the methods that seem to have succeeded so well in backward Russia, rather than the free principles -- political and economic -- that led the British and the Americans to advance so much further against ignorance, disease and poverty. They lead these beginners to seek to make themselves strong by eating the swift rising but poisonous mushroom, and shunning the fruit of the slow-growing, enduring Tree of Liberty and Life.
To think that the people of Atlantica can cope with this huge problem while remaining as blind to these factors as are our political leaders, pundits and press, -- and while continuing to set the anarchic example around their own ocean, and also while lacking the vision to call for Atlantic Union as Kwame Nkrumah calls for African Federation -- this is folly indeed.
"Those whom the gods would destroy they first make mad" -- and this is that kind of madness. The god that has afflicted Atlantica with it is the Baal of unlimited national sovereignty, on whose bloody, barren altars we have sacrificed so many of our finest hours, and men, and whose worship we have spread around the world far more than our true religion. For our God lies in no collective form of man, in no body politic-whether nation, state or tribe -- but in the only human body endowed with soul and conscience ... individual man.
To turn back to my 1949 review of the preceding decade:
Meanwhile, science and engineering have released atomic power and developed radar, the robot rocket, the jet plane, supersonic speed, germ warfare, and things still secret. At the same time free enterprise has further expanded mass production. Man has immensely magnified his power, both to build a far better world and to destroy civilization. Never did man's future seem so vast as it does today. Never did more massive catastrophe threaten to cut us all from it.
In the decade since, there have come sputniks orbiting the Earth, Moon and Sun. They are witnesses enough to prove that this awesome race has continued to accelerate. All too clearly the dangers of "depression, dictatorship, false recovery and war are hemming us in" still, as when those words appeared on page 1 of Union Now in 1939. Like shadows they have stuck with us through political hurricanes, economic earthquakes and volcanic social eruptions. And like shadows they have lengthened as we moved away from our true direction -- the West -- and let our Light sink in the heavens, lower and lower.
For there to be shadow there must be light. And so let us turn now to the opportunity that has also clung to us ... always ignored, while we followed our shadow, instead, toward the idols of the East. At the start of the 1939-1949 decade, we Americans put our trust in neutralism and then in measures "short of war," while the British and French put theirs in alliance. When this combination of policies cost freedom the Continent, I wrote Union Now with Britain in 1940 to bring out the opportunity which that emergency offered. That book proposed that we form immediately a provisional union with the English-speaking democracies that then stood alone. The aim: To make sure that freedom would not only win the war but secure the peace by creating, while the iron was hot, the nucleus of the broader Atlantic federation that Union Now had proposed. The answer: No, this would bring us into the war. Six months later Hitler invaded Russia. When he was at the gates of Moscow while we stood petrified, an emboldened Japan Pearl Harbored us into the war we had sought to avoid by disunion of the free.
Now we Americans had the white heat of war to help leaders form the nuclear Atlantic Union which could win it with less loss of life, and greater assurance of peace and freedom. This opportunity, too, went begging. Japan and Hitler, in allying us to the Isles that had flowered then through (and in) Churchill, had tied us also to Stalin's Siberia -- and we sought to achieve peace by treating them both on a par, and replacing the League of Nations with the United Nations league. The fatal defect of the former, people said, was not the one whichUnion Now set forth in chapter VII, but Washington's absence from Geneva. A league that began with both the United States and Soviet Russia could not but succeed. Remember?
While this policy was forming, the Wartime Edition of Union Now appeared in 1943, with three new chapters. They held that it was folly to trust either in a league that had no Atlantic Union in it, or in a dictatorship, even though it was our ally. To quote from the first of these chapters entitled, "Again in Vain?"
Now, once more, many think we are out of danger, but the end is not in sight. We Americans are hoping to secure peace by merely defeating and disarming the other side, or by establishing some kind of international organization, no matter what, just so it is backed by force, does not really limit our national sovereignty, and does not stir us too much from our mental ruts,
America and all the United Nations are still far from applying the principles of Union Now. Yet, if one grants that Union Now has isolated the germ and provided the serum, then it must follow that peace cannot be had by other principles any more than malaria can be ended by chasing butterflies. *** Victory must be disastrous if it is victory really for the anarchy of national sovereignty among the democracies.
The second chapter agreed there was need for a universal league, but took issue with those who put their hopes in it, alone. It opposed alike those who urged this whether, "in the name of idealism, universal union or nothing, the brotherhood of man or bust," or as appeasers -- "only now it is Stalin before whom they would have the democracies bow and scrape for fear he might do business with Germany, Japan or China"; or as "realists" who advocate alliance "as just as good and much cheaper" than union. The chapter added: "The free can listen to these Pied Pipers of 'idealism,' 'appeasement,' and 'realism' -- but God help their children if they do."
"Russian hopes of expansion lie in the least developed area of Europe," this 1943 edition noted, in warning against trusting in dictatorship. "The only serious possibility of Soviet Russia quickly over-running the world lies in the continued disunion among the democracies. The Soviet Union, of course, has great potential power, and so have China and India. But this power is potential. The power of the democracies is immediate; they do not need precious years to develop it. They need only unite to enjoy, in the decisive years immediately following this war, the same great opportunities to secure enduring peace in freedom that they had in 1938." (Italics in original.)
"Suppose we of Atlantica form no Union now," the last of these 1943 chapters concluded. "Suppose that all we do is to organize, nation-to-nation, the United Nations. *** Now for the first time in Europe we have to reckon with a great power whose possibilities of expansion do not solely depend on the old European methods of conquest ... Let us assume the best. Let us assume that the Soviet Government in dissolving the Comintern definitely abandoned all idea of spreading Communism, all idea of world revolution ... But suppose ... that the very reasons that keep them [the Atlantic democracies] from forming a Union now -- their prejudices, mutual distrust ... wishful thinking, apathy, lack of political courage and vision -- suppose all this keeps them from working together on ... complex problems better than they did before the war. The result -- nothing essential is done and chaos rules. ***
"Under this hypothesis ... there is no Union of Democracies in which any people who desired to try our free way of life could hope to enter, or even turn to for support in their early struggles. Could you blame the Soviet Union for spreading thus willy nilly through Eastern Europe, Germany ... China, the Americas? Nature abhors a vacuum not only in physics but also in politics. It was this kind of democratic vacuum that led to the Nazis spreading through Europe. And today, as in 1939, Union Now calls attention to the cause of the vacuum and the danger in it.
"You can still dismiss Union Now as alarmist or visionary. You can still listen to those who see under its covers all manner of ghosts and goblins. You can defer action on it until it is no longer possible. You can make alliances or try half-measures such as the proposed United Nations organization. *** But you cannot thereby keep other nations and other forces from organizing the world that the airplane and mass production imperatively demand. You cannot beat somebody with nobody, or with a semi-body.
"This war is a tremendous testing ground for all the various ways of life offered to humanity. Why has the prestige of the Soviet way risen so remarkably? Because Communist Russia has proved stronger than most people expected ... Why has the prestige of the free gone down so badly? Because they disappointed expectations. Because they sold their opportunities for a mess of nationalism. Because they wrangled when they should have wrought. Because they identified democracy with disunion. ***
"Where the success of the Soviet armies and factories have redounded to the prestige of Communism, even the successes of democracy in production, transportation and on the battlefield have redounded more to the credit of the U.S.A. or Britain than to democracy They have served to keep nationalism alive rather than to give freedom itself the prestige it would have gained had merely these two peoples worked and fought as a Union of the Free.
"How can you expect our freedom to inspire the Russians ... others, as it is? Take yourself. Have we yet achieved or undertaken anything in this war that stirred you to the soul raised you out of your ordinary self, left you inspired? ... The Founding Fathers knew that feeling. Hear James Madison telling the Federal Convention: 'The government we mean to erect is intended to last for ages.' ... Thirteen little democracies in a world ruled by great hereditary despots ... Don't you think that all Americans want to share that sublime faith of the Founding Fathers, once before they die?
"If all the tears we shed, and cause others to shed in this war, are tears of grief and frustration, if none of them is a tear of joy -- one of those heart-warming tears that well to the eyes when we see men do great good against great odds -- if we have no such tears of joy to shed before this war is over, then God pity us in the bitter years to come."
That wartime opportunity was lost; instead of winning by the courage of statesmen and the proverbial power of union we won by the courage of millions of young men and the diabolic power of the atom bomb. Its explosion blew public opinion in the United States toward the view that peace was more important than freedom. Peace, by this view, must and could be gained only on a universal basis -- by strengthening the United Nations with such steps toward universal world government as the atomic energy plan which the United States proposed -- or the more radical steps in that direction that many Americans urged. In these conditions the Postwar edition of Union Now appeared with five new chapters. They pointed to ten such fallacies in current thought as these:
The atomic weapon has made the need for world government much more urgent; therefore it has made all nations ripe for this ... Every nation willing to try the free way of life is able to practice it; therefore there is no danger that the great mass of humanity that has never succeeded, in fact, in achieving free self-government will swamp the small minority that has achieved this, if these two groups should be united together in a world government.
Experience since then has made it no longer necessary to argue this. Nor does there seem need now to restate the major case the 1949 edition made, namely, that "freedom is the key to peace," that we must put it first, not second, or take it for granted, that freedom is "in a dangerous minority," that "mere European Union" -- in which so many hopes then were placed -- would leave freedom's cards dangerously divided between Europe and the United States, but that Atlantic Union could still give freedom the decisive power needed to preserve both itself and peace. True, so few yet understand all this that I wish there were room here for those pages in the Postwar edition-particularly those that explain why the principles and institutions of individual liberty make for peace as those of dictatorship make for war. Since the formation of the Atlantic alliance a few months after the appearance of that 1949 edition, however we have at least been acting on the principle that the free Atlantic community is the citadel of peace.
Those postwar years when (be it repeated) we possessed a monopoly of atomic power -- and practically of air, sea and production power -- gave us another great opportunity to assure by Atlantic Union that freedom would shape the future. Again we let it slip through our hands -- and again the event proved that the national advantages on which we counted were far less durable, and the price of disunion far higher, than any of us imagined. In the decade that began in 1950, dictatorship, we have noted, soon broke our atomic monopoly, and was challenging us in air and sea power, and boasting of "burying" us by its production in another decade. Instead of uniting the great scientific and technical resources of the Atlantic Community to advance freedom's lead, we sought to do this by keeping our scientific secrets as rigorously from the free as from dictatorship -- and within nine years we were ignominiously trailing the latter in Space. Meanwhile we saw China's traditional friendship for us propagandized into unbelievable hatred.
Meanwhile, too, we lost another great opportunity that Atlantic Union offered -- that of developing democracy's non-self-governing territories as the Thirteen States did theirs -- into new states in the Union. Union Now put this opportunity thus in chapter X:
The Union's policy should be to train them [colonial territories] for admission to the Union as fully self-governing nations. It is true that one can destroy democracy by seeking to spread it too quickly and overloading the state with too many voters untrained for self-government. It is also true, however, that the only way to acquire such training is to practice self-government, and that an old and well-trained democracy can safely and even profitably absorb a much greater proportion of inexperienced voters than seems theoretically possible.
Only Atlantic Union gave this possibility of liberating all the peoples in the Western empires, both as persons and nations, without the losses and dangers to them, and to freedom and peace that, it is all too evident now, were inherent in the policy followed. That policy was no doubt the better remaining alternative, but it destroyed the good with the bad in empires. Union allowed the bad to be eliminated while retaining the advantages for all concerned that unity in certain fields brings. Such unity would have hastened building the sound political and economic foundations that are needed, even by the most experienced democratic peoples, to maintain freedom.
Out of Atlantica came more than the principles of individual and of national freedom to which all the world pays at least lip service now. Out of it came also the federal union way to combine individual and national freedom to the advantage of both, and save them from the twin dangers of anarchy and tyranny to which each remains always exposed.
Around 1950 the people of the United States faced a choice between these two concepts they had fathered -- a choice much more crucial than anyone realized then. Their Declaration of Independence had already encouraged every colonial people to seek its combination of democratic government and national sovereignty. By leading the way with Atlantic Union while the empires of Western Europe still held vast territories in trust, the American people could have worked out the problems of imperialism with them the federal way -- and thus established through all this great area the higher democratic pattern of free federation. Unlike imperialism, federal union gives an equal status to every citizen and an equal dignity and independence to every state, large or small, developed or undeveloped, old or new, Founder or Fiftieth State -- whether it be Texas or Delaware, New York or Alaska, Virginia or Hawaii.3
The multiracial people of Hawaii provide an enlightening example of the difference -- as regards status, preparation for self-government, guarantees of freedom, economic development and political future -- between the territory of a free federation and that of the freest of imperial powers. Even before their admission to statehood in the Union, the Hawaiians enjoyed far greater advantages in all these respects than the peoples to whom imperialism points as its star exhibits.4
While still a territory, the people of Hawaii enjoyed practically every advantage the people of any state enjoyed, with this major exception -- they had no voice in electing the President of the United States and no voting representation in Congress. Statehood put them on a par in these respects with every citizen and every state in the Union. One of their two United States Senators is an American of Chinese origin, while their Representative in the House is one of Japanese descent. Each has precisely the same great power that each of his white, and black, colleagues possesses -- the power of casting the single vote that often makes a majority and thus decides the policy of the United States on the gravest issues.5
All the dignity, freedom and self-government that each colonial people rightly sought could have been assured them by the time-tested way that delivered all this, and much more besides, to each of the Thirteen Colonies and all the Fifty United States-without the fearful price which the balkanizing alternative inevitably costs. By pledging themselves in an Atlantic Constitution to prepare each people in their trust for self-government and admission to the Union as early as practicable as a fully self-governing state,6 the people of Atlantica could have given, on a world scale, an object lesson in the immense advantages of free federation in solving the problem that underdeveloped peoples present.
Instead, we Americans let all our weight continue behind the last paragraph in the Declaration of Independence -- and therefore against its great opening principles and the Federal Constitution they produced. And so the people of Atlantica went dizzily down the road that gave the Congo the costly illusions of national independence, an equal but powerless vote in the United Nations and a precarious choice at home between domestic and foreign dictatorship. With never an effort to set humanity the higher goal we had found, we prided ourselves more than ever on making "complete freedom" mean only complete national sovereignty. The more unprepared the people for self-government and the greater the consequent danger of continued poverty, disease, ignorance, dictatorship and war, the more we speeded the world's balkanization. Faced with a faltering United Nations league we sought to save it by saddling it helter-skelter with still spinier problems to be solved by more and more inexperienced, sovereign nations.
Granted, the problems European empires left were much harder to solve the federal way than those the American Union solved. Even so, the Balkan way was no answer, but only a jump from the frying pan into the fire. Granted, we still have an opportunity to make free federal union the world's future pattern. The continents of Latin America and Africa, and much of Asia may still be to a North Atlantic Union what the Far West was to the Union of the Thirteen States, namely, a vast area capable of immense development, politically and economically, to the equal advantage of all concerned, by the federal principle uniting it in generations ahead -- whether as new states in the union of the Free, or through the growth first of federations in Latin America, Africa, Asia, or by mixture of the two procedures. True, this great opportunity is still ours -- but it is no less true that our balkanization of the world has made the problem infinitely harder, and more urgent and dangerous, than it was twenty years ago, or ten, or one.
Despite all the missed opportunities, opportunity has remained within reach of the free because they have thrown overboard enough impedimenta to stay in the race -- though not enough to keep the lead they still had in the early 1950s Mor to keep from falling more and more behind since then. By my standards, the greatest contributions that kept Atlantica in the running were made before and during the war by the British, and since then by the Six Nations of Western Europe, and the United States and Canada. (These standards of mine are not merely the principles of Union Now: They include those of noblesse oblige -- how far a people justifies its privileges, lives up to its responsibilities and ideals, turns its assets to the greatest good. I would add to the parable of the talents this thought: From him who hath the most advantages, the most can rightfully be required, and to him who hath the most handicaps, relatively more honor should go for what he achieves.)
For almost a year and a half the British stood up, alone, for all Atlantica. Like the French in World War I they bore the brunt of the battle and held the Verduns until reinforcements arrived. After heroic efforts, whether moral or physical, anyone needs rest. Perhaps that explains why the French failed in 1940 to live up to their great name as soldiers, and why the British since 1945 have clung to their most outworn ideas, and have done relatively so little to build free government (the field they once led), on the scale of the ocean that cradled their power.
Since the war the Dutch and the Belgians, though handicapped by their small numbers, and by neutrality's sterile traditions combined with invasion's embittering disillusionment, have lighted the way of the future with Benelux.
The French, whose Jean Monnet and Charles de Gaulle were the first to propose the 1940 offer of Franco-British Union7 that Churchill made a little too late, were also the first to propose officially the creation of an Atlantic alliance. General Pierre Billotte in 1946-47 persuaded the Paris Government to authorize him to urge on General George C. Marshall (who proved very receptive) a much more advanced organization than NATO is even now.
The French also led the fight for European Union that Churchill launched but did not long continue. They, who alone were burdened with emotions piled high by three invasions since 1870, threw off the most impedimenta. Under the leadership of Robert Schuman, Edouard Herriot, Georges Bidault, Vincent Auriol, Guy Mollet, Paul Reynaud, Maurice Schumann -- and now Charles de Gaulle -- they have carried reconciliation with the Germans the farthest toward union, in the establishment of the Council of Europe and the much more advanced Coal and Steel Community, Euratom and the Common Market of the Six Nations.
Reconciliation and union require more than one nation. These achievements could not have been done without Benelux, and such Belgians as Paul-Henri Spaak, Frans van Cauwelaert, and Paul Van Zeeland, such Dutchmen as J. W. Beyen, Henri Brugmans and Paul Rykens. Nor without Italy. It has had the handicap of fascismo to overcome -- but democratic statesmen of the calibre of Count Sforza, Alcide de Gagperi, Gaetano Martino, to restore its true glory.
The Western Germans merit special praise for throwing off so soon the worst poisons and humiliations that any Atlantic people has suffered. Rising from rubble and cigarette currency, their economic genius not only led in Europe's recovery, but -- more important -- the spirit that created the free Hanseatic cities produced incredibly, from the ruins of Cologne and Berlin, three mayor-made Gibraltars of freedom: The towering Konrad Adenauer, the heroic Ernest Reuter and Willy Brandt.
Let us turn now to the American people. Their isolationism and neutralism had made them the one absentee at the Geneva League which their own Woodrow Wilson had founded; they threw off this incubus in 1945 and entered the United Nations. Under President Truman they continued to discard other impedimenta in a swift series of moves, each an immense break with the past -- however inadequate from the standpoint of the immediate future. First came 1947's bold guarantee of the Greeks and the once "terrible" Turks -- at the point of Europe most remote from Washington and most touchy for Moscow. That year ended with the far-sighted Plan that Will Clayton conceived, General Marshall fathered and Britain's Ernest Bevin mid-wifed -- a Plan so generous that only Moscow's nyet kept it from restoring Eastern as well as Western Europe, and Russia besides.
Then in 1949 -- thanks to Stalin's blockade of Berlin, the one city where the squabbling Americans, British and French had joint vital interests, and forces -- the United States threw overboard its historic injunctions against entering "entangling alliances" with Europe. It followed President Truman and Secretary Acheson and Senator Vandenberg in forming (with powerful assists from Britain's Ernest Bevin and Canada's Lester Pearson8) the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Thereafter came the arming of NATO -- under the leadership of General Eisenhower and General Gruenther -- with the most entangling and advanced form of international force ever achieved in a military alliance. There followed (with Secretary Dulles leading, and Secretary Generals Ismay and Spaak doing the groundwork) the development of the NATO Council into an instrument of political consultation which set another new high for the alliance system. Thereafter came, too, to establishment in 1955, of the annual NATO Parliamentarians Conference, fathered by the Speaker of the Canadian Senate, Wishart McL. Robertson, Finn Moe, M.P. of Norway, and these members of the United States Congress: Senators Estes Kefauver and Guy Gillette, Representatives James P. Richards and Wayne Hays.
By this series of moves toward Atlantic Union, Western Europe was restored, the Atlantic Community was made aware of itself, and Communism's advance in Europe was halted. Thus freedom survived, and its great opportunity remains at the door. And now the United States has put forward a hand -- the Atlantic Convention -- that can unlock the door and seize the opportunity.
When all credit is given, troubling questions remain. What brought on us the hurricane, earthquake, holocaust? Why have such vast danger and opportunity moved us too little, too slowly? Freedom-and-union blessed us Atlanticans with the greatest advantages -- why have we done no more with them? Why have we, the community that is still far more advanced politically and economically than any other on earth, advanced so gropingly, so timidly, so snailishly through these fifteen postwar years? How does it come that Russia, burdened by the poverty and ignorance of unbroken ages of tyranny, has risen so much faster from the war that left Russia in ruins ... and America intact? Have the people of Atlantica lost their purpose and grown soft ... through the high standards of living democracy brought them? Is that the answer? Long ago Tocqueville warned:
While men devote themselves to this honest and legitimate search for a better material life, they need beware lest they finish by losing the use of their most sublime faculties and, in seeking to improve their surroundings, end by degrading themselves. There, and not elsewhere, lies the danger. ***
When the materialists have proved sufficiently that they are not brutes, they seem as proud as though they had proved themselves gods.
Materialism is everywhere a dangerous disease of the human spirit, but it is to be guarded against particularly by a democratic people, for it combines marvelously with their common vice. Democracy encourages a taste for material satisfactions. This taste, if it becomes excessive, leads men soon to believe that matter alone counts; materialism, in turn, leads them to pursue material satisfactions with a senseless ardor. Such is the vicious circle into which democratic nations are pulled. To hold themselves back, they need to see this danger.9
To say that our high standards of living have thus softened us for the kill would be a bleak answer indeed. All the new nations, and all humanity, are now eager to gain the material comforts we have attained; they seek these much more avidly than the high moral principle of freedom-and-union which brought us these fruits. What draws them most to Moscow is that the Communist dictatorship seems to have found a shortcut by which under-developed nations can more quickly attain greater material rewards. But Tocqueville also pointed out:
Man has risen above the beasts because he used his soul to gain the material goods they gain by instinct only. The angel in man taught the beast in him the art of satisfying his needs. It is because Man is capable of rising above the body and sacrificing his own life [for what he believes in] -- a quality that beasts have no conception of -- that he has found out how to multiply his bodily satisfaction to a degree that they can not conceive of either.10
If we who have proved this most by our respect for the "angel in man" -- if we have already fallen victims of materialism to the point where we can no longer surpass the Communist dictatorship, then what hope can there be for humanity in the triumph of the system that begins by making materialism its god, and denies each human being the spark of God that makes him a man?
There is much to make one believe that where our Founding Fathers looked up to Heaven, we look up to Space. But there is more to persuade me, for one, that this bleak answer is not the key cause of our present problem. The free people of Atlantica need to be more vigilant against materialism -- but they have by no means succumbed to it. They are not soft, nor have they lost their high purpose. Look at the way they have responded to all the highest and hardest appeals their leaders have made to them. Look how the British rose to the faith that Churchill had in them ... Remember the response of the French to de Gaulle ... the Germans to Adenauer ... the Italians to de Gasperi ...
Consider the prodigious efforts we Americans made in the war and -- more important -- how our people responded to every effort our leaders asked of us then, and since then, no matter how great the break with our past or how heavy the sacrifice.11 Entry into the United Nations ... sacrifice of sovereignty in the Acheson atomic plan ... guaranty of Turkey and Greece ... Marshall Plan ... Atlantic alliance ... upholding the United Nations by war in Korea ... carrying a heavy unending taxation burden for foreign aid -- there has not been a single great thing asked of the American people since the war that they and their representatives in Congress have not promptly delivered, no matter how much power was divided between the parties, between the Houses, and between the Congress and President.
Compare this recent record with that which followed World War I -- the Senate's rejection of the Covenant inspired by so great a President as Woodrow Wilson, and the people's return to "normalcy" with Harding, and their appearance as "Uncle Shylock," with Coolidge's "they hired the money." Compare the two postwar periods ... and then say whether the fault since 1939 lies in the people having too many gadgets, and too many mass media ... or in their leadership seeing too many ghosts, and having too little faith in themselves, and in their fellow-citizens ever to look up to, instead of down on, the American people -- ever to ask them to seize the great opportunity there at the door.12 ...
Henry L. Stimson in his memoirs, On Active Service, which he wrote in the third person, thus characterized his own role in the period between World Wars I and II: "To himself he seemed adventurous." In reviewing the book in The New York Times Book Review, Gerald W. Johnson noted:
It is sufficient commentary on the failure of statecraft in the Long Armistice that a man doing the obviously prudent and necessary thing should have seemed adventurous to himself. "The political history of Postwar Europe," he [Stimson] comments bitterly, can easily be read as a series of great hopes meanly lost. Stimson emphatically refuses to try and exculpate himself or his colleagues as they blundered from war to war.
"The besetting sin of the nations was nationalism, that of the statesmen was timidity," Stimson concluded. To themselves they all seemed adventurous, but the most courageous among them ended by finding they were, in fact, cowards.
There is much to make one believe that their continued rash caution is the cause of the disasters that we have suffered, the opportunities we have missed, the plight we are in. But to me this, like our sins of materialism, is only a contributing factor. There are many such factors, of course. It may seem foolhardy to single out one as the key cause, but to do this is essential -- as essential as it was for Pasteur to single out one invisible microbe, when anthrax slew the sheep. If we are not venturesome enough to try to do this, we are cowards indeed, and doomed to fail.
Amid the hotel-keeper's mass of keys, there is a master key that seems no more important than the rest, but does open all the doors. There is also a master key, I believe, to our disasters, our missed opportunities, our balkanization of continents, our suicidal policies, and to the timidity of our leaders, the fear of popular opposition that prevents them from doing what they know is right, and the sense of hopelessness that keeps so many, in politics, diplomacy, press and the public, from tackling openly -- or at all -- the dragon ahead that is blocking us all.
The key cause, I believe, is the continuing confusion of the free over sovereignty. That this confusion should continue is only too understandable, for the democratic concept of sovereignty does leave the people, like the subjects of Baal's Jezebel, between two opinions. Looked at the old way, the sovereign is the nation, the state. The sovereign is collective man, whether federation, kingdom, city republic or tribe, and whether the body politic be incarnated in a divine right autocrat or in a tribal divinity -- a Baal whom man was made to serve. Looked at the democratic way, the sovereign is the citizen -- equally each of the people who make the state, and make it to serve life, liberty, and greater happiness to them individually -- and who count on "the angel" in each of them to make this concept work.
So much does this concept count, in fact, on the God in every soul that Rousseau found that "democracy is a government for gods, but unfit for men" -- and put his faith instead in the older idea, which he disguised as la volonté générale -- "the general will."13 It is more often known today as the "national interest," "the collective will," "the dictatorship of the proletariat," the "totalitarian state."
The confusion over the democratic concept begins when a number of democratic states arise in a region, for then all these free people must answer the question: Which is our true sovereign, which shall we recognize as supreme, in our dealings with one another -- the state or the citizen, our nation or our soul? They must answer, in short, the probing question Elijah put to the Hebrews: Which is the Lord -- Baal, or the God who speaks with a still, small voice inside each individual? Between them we have remained ... with two opinions. We Atlanticans have kept God above Baal within each of our nations, and have kept Baal above God in our Atlantic community. We still seek to serve both Jesus and Jezebel.
For twenty-seven years now I have tried, in books, articles, talks, to end this confusion. The only clear result is that I have not done so. Nor have better men. There is some little comfort in noting how confused, and confusing, so many great men of the past have been on this subject -- and I shall share with you in chapter 7 some of this comfort. No matter from what angle you approach the democratic concept of sovereignty, you soon find that it is not the simple thing it seemed at first. And yet, like all great truths, it must be simple.
The confusion surrounding it is a most difficult fog to see through, and clear away. Yet I am completely convinced that until, and unless, this subject of sovereignty is clarified greatly, there will be, and can be, only stumbling little steps foredoomed to disaster -- and no possibility whatever of our grasping in time our immense opportunity. After pondering all that has happened since Union Now appeared, and studying how I might contribute most at this stage to its program, principle and philosophy, I came to this conclusion: Freedom, peace and man's vast future will all stand or fall on how clearly we understand our democratic concept of sovereignty. And so I threw out the work I had done on concrete questions, and have devoted most of the chapters in this book to this subject.
In them I try to clarify sovereignty by approaching it from several angles, but mainly by throwing on it the searching light that American history provides. I concentrate so much on the latter for two reasons (plus those in the Introduction): A) My deep respect for Europe's many achievements includes admiration for the rare grasp a few Europeans have had even of United States history and federalism -- fields in which Europe generally is not at its best. In other words, I agree with Tocqueville and other exceptional European observers that democratic sovereignty is the subject on which everyone can learn most from United States history. B) Finally, I agree with Lord Acton, and the British in general, that in questions so complex as political ones, example and experience provide the wisest guides.
In writing Union Now originally, I studied much more American history than its few references to this might suggest. I thought I had also gained an understanding of sovereignty in my ten years covering the League of Nations. Since then I have learned far more than I then knew about both sovereignty and its history in America. This has confirmed but clarified the basic view of sovereignty I gave in Union Now.14 This is true, too, of the chapters that follow. In writing them, I have added so much to my own understanding, at least, as to make me comprehend better why Sir Isaac Newton said that he was but picking up pebbles on the seashore of truth.
Yet if one picks up the right pebble, and aims it as truly as David, Goliath himself can be conquered. It is time that he should fall.
So swiftly have the years flown for me since Union Now appeared, that it comes as a shock to realize that children who were born then are old enough to vote today -- the boys to bear arms, the girls to bear children. A new generation has risen that was too young to read the editions of 1939, 1940, 1941, and 1943. Millions of new human beings who were just learning to read fairy tales when the last edition appeared in 1949 are in high school today -- old enough to take part in the current interscholastic debate on Atlantic Union. The generation I addressed on page 52 of Union Now in 1939 -- those with whom I played cowboy and hide-and-go-seek -- they are grandparents now, as I am. And our grandchildren are the ones who will die Communists -- if Mr. Khrushchev is right, and his concept of sovereignty continues to divide the free.
"Some day ... something like what Mr. Streit suggests will have to come to pass, either now or after we and our children's children have waded anew through flowing rivers of blood." So wrote the historian, James Truslow Adams, in reviewing Union Now in The New York Times in 1939. Nothing like it was done by parents then. Their children went to war as they came of age. Must their children's children continue to fulfill that prophecy -- because parents continue to be "too busy to read" or to help assure that something like what Union Now suggests will be tried -- now?
"The reader of Union Now," Mr. Adams continued, "will feel Fate marching on with the inevitable footfalls of a Greek tragedy as the author takes up one alternative after another and shows the certain futility of them all ... If all alternatives are futile and this solution is impossible, what then? The answer -- misery, chaos, untold horror -- lends a tragic and poignant emotion to the slow moving, but states manlike pages of Union Now."
Now the stage is set at the Atlantic Convention for the greatest act in this drama. For my part, I am not discouraged by democracy's painful process of trying error always first. I believe that, with freedom-and-union now, we can not only bury Communism, as completely as we did Hitler, but do it without world war. I see our children's children -- and even us grandparents -- enjoying a higher civilization than we dream of ... no utopia, but something as real as the immense advance that men have made since the principle of freedom-and-union began its miracles on this continent in 1789.
My faith that this will come about is not blind faith. It is lit by the most lucid thought I am capable of. If this book should succeed in making this reasoning clear and simple enough for anyone to understand, then this faith should be contagious ... and we shall, together, bring the long tragedy of our century to a triumphant ending. But faith is shown by works, not words. In the end, all depends on how we each answer the double-barbed question which a still small Voice put to Elijah, when he too had fled to the wilderness ... "What doest thou here?"
Contents -- Book I -- Chapter 2