restricted access Mr. Milne and the War [II]. To the Editor of Time and Tide
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208 ] Mr. Milne and War [II]1 To the Editor of Time and Tide Time and Tide, 16 (9 Feb 1935) 191 Sir, – As Mr. Milne continues to involve himself, like a cat in fly-paper, in comparisons or analogies which he cannot control; as he is impervious to irony; and as he consistently misses the point, I shall content myself with re-stating briefly what I meant the main point to be.2 I did not criticise Mr. Milne’s book from pure love of destruction, but from a belief that essays like his are harmful in so far as they distract people ’s minds from more practical effort to minimise the chances of war. I pointed out that, instead of inveighing against War in general, we should do better to study the causes of the particular kind of war which we should be likely to have in contemporary circumstances. I believe the causes of modern wars to be largely, even preponderantly, economic; and I suggested that we ought to try to modify the world economy, beginning with our own, in order to do away, for instance, with the “struggle for markets.” The ultimate cause of War may indeed reside in human passions; but these passions operate through a long series of interests. I think that the passion for fighting and the motive of hatred are quite secondary among the causes of modern war. If Mr. Milne, like Lady Rhondda, is quite satisfied by Mr. Huxley’s intelligent but superficial reflexions on the conflicts of Central America, there is no more to be said.3 Mr. Milne says, in rejoinder to Miss Mary Butts:4 “There is not one single page in my book which indicates whether I do or do not believe in individual immortality.” This is a very significant omission; and I am glad that Mr. Milne has called attention to it. The fact that Mr. Milne does not realise its significance only makes it more significant. IamgratefultoMr.Edwardsforcorrectingme;Icouldnotrememberhow Palice was spelt. I was indeed referring to the vérité de la Palice rather than to the gallant officer, of whose death I had heard. I must call Mr. Edwards’ attention , however, to the difference between a truism and a tautology.5 I am, etc.,  T. S. Eliot 24 Russell Square, W.C. 1 [ 209 Mr. Milne and War [II] Notes 1. The CC is dated 3 Feb. 2. Milne’s rejoinder to TSE’s letter of 26 Jan 1935 (5.182) appeared in the issue of 2 Feb (154). 3. The Welsh suffragette Margaret Haig Mackworth, Viscountess Rhondda (1883-1958), who was contributing “Notes on the Way” in Feb 1935, praises in her first installment Aldous Huxley’s “analysis of the pleasure of national hatred, which is the best thing of its kind I have yet read (he and Heaven alone know why he has entitled it ‘Guatemala City’ and embedded it in the middle of travel notes in Beyond the Mexique Bay)” (Time and Tide, 2 Feb 1935, 150). 4. In a letter to Leonard P. More of 20 July 1934, TSE wrote that he had “always been interested” in the work of Mary Butts (1890-1937), who wrote a letter expressing her “agreement with Mr. T. S. Eliot” in the issue of 26 Jan (124). 5. F. M. Edwards wrote: “I did not even know that Monsieur de la Palisse had been ill, but perhaps Mr. Eliot means le Seigneur de la Palice, who is certainly dead, for he fell at Pavia in 1532. His soldiers sang of him: / un quart d’heure avant sa mort / il était encore en vie [fifteen minutes before his death, he was still quite alive] by which they meant that he was fighting until just before his death. In later times these words were not so understood, and so une vérité de La Palice came to mean a truism. But the Seigneur is killed (and dead) and certainly was not himself, as Mr. Eliot seems to think, an exponent of the obvious” (156). ...