DEMOCRACY IS SELF-GOVERNMENT

Harold W. Percival

PART III

DEMOCRACY, OR DESTRUCTIONISM?

In the present human crisis all schools of thought or “isms” concerning government must of necessity come under one or the other of two principles or thoughts: The thought of democracy, or the thought of destructionism.

Democracy is self-government, as individuals and as a people. Before there can be a truly self-governed people, each one of the people who has a voice in the government, as a vote, should be self-governed. He cannot be self-governed if his judgment is swayed by prejudice, or party, or by self-interest. On all moral questions he must be governed by law and justice, by rightness and reason from within.

Destructionism is brute force, inconsiderate violence of self-interest. Brute force is opposed to law and justice; it disregards all control other than brute force, and would destroy everything in the way of its getting what it wants.

The war in the world is between the moral power of democracy and the brute force of destructionism. Between the two there can be no compromise or agreement. One must be the conqueror of the other. And, because brute force spurns agreements and morals as weakness and cowardice, brute force must be conquered by force. Any suspension of the war will only prolong the mental agony and bodily suffering of human beings. For democracy to be the victor the people must be the conquerors of themselves, by self-government. The victory of democracy, by a people who are self-governed, will teach the conquered ones who represent brute force to be also self-governed. Then there can be genuine peace and honest prosperity in the world. Were brute force to conquer morals and democracy, then brute force would eventually bring ruin and destruction on itself.

The leaders in the war can lead and direct, but they cannot decide which side will be victorious. All people on the earth are by their thoughts and acts now deciding and eventually will decide whether brute force shall bring ruin and destruction on the earth, or whether the moral power of democracy will prevail and develop enduring peace and true progress into the world. It can be done.

Each human in the world who feels and desires and can think, is, by so feeling and desiring and thinking, one in determining whether we, the people, will be a self-government; and, which will conquer in the world—self-government or brute force? There is much danger in delay, in postponing the issue. This is the time—while it is a live question in the minds of the people—to settle the question.