Liberalism and the Social Problem - novelonlinefull.com
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I do not think we need at this stage speculate upon the result of a battle which has not yet been, and which may never be at this juncture fought. I have seen enough of the ups and downs of real war to know how foolish forecasts of that character often are. But when an army has been brought into the field in the best condition, in the largest possible numbers, in a spirit of the highest enthusiasm, at the most favourable season, and on the best possible ground--then I think, when our army has been brought into that situation, we can afford to await the supreme arbitrament with a cool and serene composure; and this mood of composure and of calmness may ripen into a kind of joyous and warlike heartiness, if we can also feel that the cause for which we are fighting is broadly and grandly a true and righteous cause.
Error, of course, there is always in all human affairs--error of conception, error of statement, error of manner, error of weakness, error of partisanship. We do not deny that, but strip both the great political Parties which to-day present themselves before the people of Britain, strip them of their error, strip them of that admixture of error which cloys and clogs all human action, divest them of the trappings of combat in which they are apparelled, let them be nakedly and faithfully revealed. If that were done, cannot we feel soberly and a.s.suredly convinced that, on the main contested issues of the day, upon the need of social organisation, upon the relations between the two Houses of Parliament, upon the regulation and control of the liquor traffic, upon a national settlement with Ireland as we have made with Africa, upon Free Trade, upon the land--upon all of them separately, still more upon all of them together, if we ask ourselves in our most silent and reflective mood alone--cannot we feel a sober conviction that, on the whole, we hold the larger truth?