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ON LIVING IN A REVOLUTION
THE world's most important fact is not that we are in a war, but
that we are in a revolution. It is perhaps a pity that the word
revolution has two senses—one an insurrection, a bloody uprising
against constituted authority, the other a drastic and major change
in the ideas and institutions which constitute the framework of
human existence; yet so it is. If we like, we can use rebellion for the
first, historical transformation for the second; but I prefer the word
revolution, and shall continue to use it in what follows, with the
express warning that I do not thereby mean merely barricades or
bolshevism. If we once accept that statement and all its implications
we find ourselves committed to the most far-reaching conclusions
concerning both immediate action and future policy. From a com-
bination of brute fact and human reason an argument emerges,
proceeding as inexorably to its conclusion as a proposition of Euclid.
Let me anticipate my detailed discussion by setting down the
proposition as baldly as possible. This is the sequence of its steps:
First. The war is the symptom of a world revolution, which, in some
form or another, is inescapable.
Second. There are certain trends of the revolution which are in-
evitable. Within nations, they are toward the subordination of
economic to non-economic motives; toward more planning and
central control; and toward greater social integration and cultural
unity and a more conscious social purpose. Between nations, they
are toward a higher degree of international organization and a
fuller utilization of the resources of backward countries.
Third. During the present war both military efficiency and national
morale are positively correlated with the degree to which the
inevitable trends of the revolution have been carried through.
Fourth. There are alternative forms which the revolution may assume.
The chief alternatives depend on whether the revolution is effected
in a democratic or a totalitarian way.
Fifth. The democratic alternative of achieving the revolution is the
more desirable and the more permanent; the purely totalitarian
method is self-defeating in the long run,
Sixth. The only universal criterion of democracy and the democratic
method is the satisfaction of the needs of human individuals,