restricted access A Commentary (Feb 1928)
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[ 333 A Commentary The Monthly Criterion: A Literary Review, 7 (Feb 1928), 97-99 The “Prologue to an Essay on Criticism” It is regretted that owing to unforeseen circumstances we were unable to preparethesecondpartofM.Maurras’s“ProloguetoanEssayonCriticism” intimeforthisissue.WeexpecttopublishitinMarch,andmeanwhileexpress our apologies to our readers and to M. Maurras.1 We consequently present in this number an essay by the distinguished philosopherMaxScheler,fromhisforthcomingworkPhilosophical Anthro­pology.2 Fascisti, Socialists, and Rotarians We have received three periodicals, all of quite different inspiration from The Criterion and from each other, each of which provokes a word of comment or enquiry. The firstiscalled TheBritishLion, and istheorganoftheBritishFascists. A very angry lion on the cover is demolishing the symbols of the present Russian government, and is supported by a couple of fasces. Our copy is accompanied by two pamphlets setting forth the aims of the British Fascists. The accusations made by The British Lion against British Communists may all be true, and the aims set forth in the statement of policy are wholly admirable. The Lion wishes to support “His Majesty the King, his heirs and successors, the present Constitution, the British Empire and the Christian Religion.”3 These are cardinal points. We would only suggest that the British Lion might very well uphold these things without dressing itself up in an Italian collar. It is not our business to criticize fascism , as an Italian regime for Italians, a product of the Italian mind. But is The British Lion prepared to accept le fascisme intégral?4 What of the fascist ideas of political representation, which may be excellent, but which hardly square with “the present Constitution” which the Lion is sworn to defend? It seems unfortunate that a nationalist organisation should have had to go abroad for its name and its symbol. Our second periodical is called The Commonwealth, and is the organ of The Christian Social Movement. It is accompanied by a circular from the 1928 334 ] editor setting forth its aims.5 We could wish that the aims were set forth with more clarity. They appear to be to unite a certain religious movement with a certain political and social movement, and we note that Sir Henry Herman Slesser, K.C., is a member of the Committee.6 “The social and democratic movements of the age” are to be “Christianized”; it would seem as if Christianity was to be socialized and democraticized. But The British Lion has just told us that socialism is an insidious but imminent menace to Christianity; and now The Commonwealth seems to suggest that it is necessarytoChristianity .Webecomeconfused.NotawordofKingandEmpire here, but “the Catholic Religion, being a Religion of Fellowship, demands a challenge to the world by the repudiation of capitalist plutocracy and the existing industrial system.” But what is the existing industrial system, and will its repudiation require the repudiation of the Monarchy, for instance? The Commonwealth, it is true, “is not committed to any particular political party.” Before it takes this step, and before it follows Le Sillon, it might, as an organ of “Catholicism,” reckon with the Syllabus of Pius IX.7 Our third periodical is also an organ of Fellowship, though not necessarily of Christian Fellowship. It is The Rotary Wheel. Here again, we assert strongly that we have no quarrel with either British Fascists, or with Chris­ tian Socialists, or with Rotarians. It was only in a spirit of fellowship that we commented in our October number, on an interesting book called The Meaning of Rotary; and we take it very hard that The Rotary Wheel has turned upon us and called us a “Superior Person,” and indeed, “Philistine.” We withdraw, on behalf of our reviewer, any insinuation, if he made such, that Rotarians like junketing.8 Besides, we like junketing ourselves, and have informed the reviewer that it is not our policy to attack junkets. We only suggest that perhaps Service is not enough, and that we are dangerously near the no man’s land of catchwords. The Rotary Wheel quotes against us some words first used long ago, to the effect that we should love our neighbours as ourselves.9 We would ask whether the first part of this commandment, which The Rotary Wheel does not quote, has fallen into desuetude? so that a new expurgated gospel for business men is now required? Here again, we do not impugn the motives, or question the good works of Rotary or The Rotary Wheel; or of the British Fascists or The British Lion; or of...


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