restricted access Political Theorists. An omnibus review of A Defence of Conservatism by Anthony M. Ludovici; The Outline of Sanity, by G. K. Chesterton; The Servile State, by Hilaire Belloc; The Conditions of Industrial Peace, by J. A.
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136 ] Political Theorists1 An omnibus review of A Defence of Conservatism: A Further Text-Book for Tories, by Anthony M. Ludovici London: Faber & Gwyer, 1927. Pp. vii + 276. The Outline of Sanity, by G. K. Chesterton London: Methuen, 1926. Pp. vii + 230. The Servile State (Third edition with a new preface), by Hilaire Belloc London: Constable, 1927. Pp. xxii + 188. The Conditions of Industrial Peace, by J. A. Hobson London: Allen & Unwin, 1927. Pp. 123. Coal: A Challenge to the National Conscience, by seven authors London: The Hogarth Press, 1927. Pp. 84. The Monthly Criterion: A Literary Review, 6 (July 1927) 69-73 These five books deserve to be reviewed together. Each is the work of a person or person seriously concerned with the political and economic anarchy of the present time; each is written from a different point of view. Whoever is interested by one of these books ought to read the others. The authors have much in common; however various their points of view, they all represent the present time in that they recognize, explicitly or implicitly, that salvation is not to be found by either of two methods with which the nineteenth century consoled itself – either the Smith-Ricardo method or the Carlyle-Ruskin method.2 Neither statistics nor revival meetings will save us, and we seem to have a much keener consciousness than either Carlyle or Ruskin that we stand presently in need of salvation. Mr. Ludovici is engaged in forming what might be called a myth or idea for the Tory Party.3 Such a myth or idea has much to commend it; and [ 137 Political Theorists I sympathise with so many of his views that I may declare at once what seems to me the great weakness of his construction: he isolates politics from economics , and he isolates it from religion. He would build a conception of the Tory without taking account of those vast and international economic transformations, a vague awareness and anxiety about which is what drives most of us to think about politics at all. He has a great deal to say about the “health” of the nation. So far as this goes, it is right and important, and supports what Mr. Ludovici says in his book, Man: An Indictment (reviewed elsewhere).4 And it is an excellent object to recommend to Tories – housing and pure food. But as part of an imaginative construction of Toryism, it is opentothisobjection,thatLiberalsandLabourswillhavelegitimatedevices for hitching the same reforms on to Liberalism and Labour. A shilling pamphlet by Mr. Runciman or Mr. Clynes will do it.5 For practical politics, the public health is vitally important; for a philosophic treatise on the nature of Toryism, one feels that it is temporising with details. It is grasping the economic problem by the tail instead of the horns. But this is merely a weakness ; Mr. Ludovici seems to me more essentially wrong in his conception of the relation of Toryism to the Church. With some of his comments on the vagueness of the Church one is inclined to agree. But his cardinal point seems to be that Toryism should discard the Church of England in favour ofabetterorganizedandmorefirmlyhieraticChurch,theChurchofRome. In this I believe – apart from the fact that he will offend the sentiments of many Conservatives who might have much to learn from him – that he is wrong in principle and betrays some ignorance of history. Toryism is essentially Anglican; Roman Catholicism, which in our time draws its greatest supportfromAmerica,ismoreinharmonywithRepublicanism.Mr.Ludovici isdeceivedbyappearances.IfhestudiedthehistoryofGuelfandGhibbeline, of French Gallicanism in the seventeenth century, or if he followed contemporary French politics and the relations of the Vatican with Royalism and Republicanism in France, he might come to different conclusions.6 The problem of Toryism should be rather to make the Church of Laud survive inanageofuniversalsuffrage,anageinwhichaParliamentelectedbypersons of every variety of religious belief or disbelief (and containing now and then a Parsee)7 has a certain control over the destinies of that Church. This problem Mr. Ludovici does not touch. Mr.Ludovicihasmuchtosay,especiallyinthefirstpartofhisbook,which everyone interested in political theory should study. His book is in some ways an excellent corrective to Lord Hugh Cecil’s rather milk-and-watery 1927 138 ] Conservatism.8 His historical perceptions are good but fitful. He appreciates the merit of Charles I, admires Burke not to excess. It is a pity that his only reference to Bolingbroke is a footnote, in which, however, the genius of that great statesman shines out luminously.9 He is not led to...


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