The Third Liberty Loan

A Roman Philosopher once remarked in a lucid moment: If you wish peace, prepare for war.

The United States of America are not really at war with Germany at all, in anything like the usual sense of the world. This is only a prophylactic war, a vaccine against war. We are fighting for international integrity and righteousness, which are the only safeguards against war. We fight merely in order that we may not have to fight again. We want peace.

It is of no use to prepare this peace by any other method than a most vigorous prosecution of the war. Were it possible for the Third Liberty Loan to fail, the result would be merely to prolong the war, to the utter exhaustion and ruin of Europe, which would in its turn destroy this country by destroying its markets abroad.

The entrance of America into the war has already done marvels to move men toward peace, not because Germany was frightened, but because all men could recognize that the participation of a new continent must render the extremist positions — on both sides — untenable.

Every month now shows statesmen on both sides better disposed to the idea of peace by negotiation and concession, a peace like that after a lover’s quarrel, not like that imposed by a murder on his victim, the root of a vendetta.

America’s failure to prove her power and determination could only mean that England would return to her ideas of a fight to a finish. A triumphant success for the New Liberty Loan would put such heart into all lovers of peace that an honorable settlement would follow almost instantly. For man’s sake, let us stop the renewal of active warfare with the spring, if it be possible. A cent per cent. oversubscription of the Third Liberty Loan is the practical way to make this not only possible, but certain.

It is conceivable that there may be, among the readers of this article, some “enemy alien,” or some sympathizer with the German cause. May I ask him if he is more ‘pro-German’ than myself?

From the very beginning I have tried to see this war from without, as if I were an inhabitant of some other planet. I have refused to take sides. I have exonerated Germany from all blame of starting the war; I proclaimed the Irish Republic on July 3, 1915, nine months before the riots in Dublin; I have excused the sinking of the Lusitania; I have defended the execution of Edith Cavell; I have denied that German atrocities were other than sporadic, or worse than those committed by the Russians in East Prussia; I have advocated “unrestricted” warfare of all kinds — gas and flame attacks, Zeppelin raids, and submarine blockades; I have done this in the name of Humanity, believing that, since war means ruin and death, we should use its most dreadful engines at first, as well as at last, not hiding its essential horror by a mask of academic rules. I believe that it would be better yet to kill all wounded and prisoners in cold blood. I do not see that it is more humane or chivalrous to drill a hole in a man with a bullet or a bayonet than to suffocate him with chlorine, blast him with flame, or drown him by torpedoing his ship.

For these things I have been called “pro-German,” though in truth I have always had the best interest of England at heart, at least as much as Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman and Mr. Lloyd George, when they denounced the Boer war and the atrocities of the concentration camps. I have been forsaken by many of my dearest friends; I have been branded as a traitor to my country, England; I have been deprived of my fortune; my associates in matters utterly apart from politics have been arrested on false charges. I have suffered ostracism, slander, and poverty; and I am still serving my guns. I want Ireland to have the freedom of Canada and Australia, and I want an honorable peace, with respect to the enemy as to a gallant foe, who shall become a loyal friend.

It is on that record that I appeal to every man and woman of like sentiments to subscribe their last dollar to the Third Liberty Loan, to pinch and save in every possible way so as to invest in this great issue, which I would rather have named the Loan of Peace with Honor.

Are you still irreconcilable, my friend, in spirit and opinion? Do you think that perhaps Aleister Crowley has been bullied or bought? I stand by every word that I have written in these three years past, in the Fatherland and elsewhere, in defence of Germany, and in favor of Irish independence. I have not been “scared,” after a life spent in exploration and big-game-shooting, and watching the Secret Service watching me blow my nose! There is not enough money on this planet to buy a Poet. If I had my pleasure, I would rather end my life in some great desert or among high mountains, an hermit devoted to passionate contemplation of Truth and Beauty. I care nothing for money, or the fool things money can buy. I remain among men solely for my great love of them, that I may help to bring forth universal amity and brotherhood.

I love Germany, and, therefore, I say to you: Sell the shirt off your back, if you must, to buy the Bonds of this new Loan.

Must I descend to earthier argument, appeal to you as to an enemy, ask you only to consider your own interest? Are you so simple in your malice as to suppose that the government will in any wise be incommoded by your refusal to co-operate? The Loan will go through triumphantly, despite you. All that will happen is that you will be left with inferior security, with wealth in a less safe and less remunerative form.

The Liberty Loans are a first mortgage on your property, on your chattels or on the value of your labor. That is so, whether you like it or not. If the United States is so severe a creditor as you say, is it not wiser to get on the credit side yourself?

Is it not your own argument against the Loan that its issue will lower the value of other securities, that they must fall since they will be thrown on the market by their holders to pay for the bonds? Then hadn’t you better sell yours now, before the bottom drops out of them?

Are you a friend of Germany? Indeed. Then still you should put every dollar into this Loan, and yet more so! Is it not better that the friends of Germany and not her enemies, should hold this First Mortgage on the wealth of the United States? You put yourself thereby into a position to influence public policy; in discussing terms of peace, you as a financial supporter of the war buy yourself the charter to be heard. Those who pay the piper have the right to call the tune.

Consider for a moment — friend or enemy — what would happen if the loan did actually fail? {53}

It would not deter the administration from the pursuit of its present plan. The money would immediately be raised by taxation, or even conscription of wealth — your wealth — and collected, if necessary, at the point of the bayonet. You would not get good interest or the safest security in the world on that proposition, would you?

Could you resist, unorganized, unarmed as you are, just at the moment when, for the first time in its history, the United States has an army in seven figures? Let us suppose (it might make von Hindenburg, or the Shade of Leonidas, jealous!) that you could throw the country into civil war or revolution! Would that help Germany? Not a scrap. It would not interfere with Britain’s control of the seas, or with her armies, which are now self-supporting in the matter of munitions. But it would interfere very much with the temper of people like Lord Lansdowne, who has done more for a peace which Germany could honorably accept than any other man has yet done or could do. He would immediately withdraw from his position; he would say, “I was wrong. Civilization or no civilization, we must go on till Germany and Germans are wiped from the face of the map.”

“Ah, but Germany, on the contrary, would, in that case, annihilate her enemies.” Do you make that your answer? If she did, it would hardly be next month, would it? Hardly without the sacrifice of millions more of her brave men? Would not a peace this year on President’s Wilson’s terms be better for Germany than a peace next year on the Chancellor’s terms?

If you should succeed in killing the loan, you infallibly ruin yourself, for the government would certainly first seize the property of any man who could not show Liberty Bonds of value proportionate to his total wealth, as evidence of his loyalty and good faith.

If you should succeed in causing disturbance to public order, you take a long chance on your liberty and life; Liberty Bonds would be a safe-conduct in the event of riot or revolution.

We are all agreed that there will be trouble and danger when the casualty lists begin to arrive on a large scale. Friend, let me tell you this in your private ear: If this loan goes through with a bang, there won’t be any casualty lists on a large scale. There will be an armistice, and peace to follow; the American troops will never go into action.

I hope that not one of the readers of this article will have read the above section, with its appeal to selfishness and even to malignancy, with any personal interest. I hope with all my heart that every reader of mine has eagerly indorsed my efforts in “The International” and elsewhere to put Humanity First; to compel recognition of the enemy as a sincere and noble people, loyal and united, fighting with incredible gallantry and skill against odds that might have daunted Caesar, believing in the justice of their cause, and in the righteousness of the means adopted to make it to prevail; to silence the voice of hatred; to bring about a Peace which shall do no wrong or cause humiliation to any nation concerned, and leave no seed of animosity, envy, or discontent to grow into the Upas-tree of yet another war.

My friends, my brothers, British, French, German, Austrian, Turk, Russ, I love you with an equal love. It is but accident of birth that divides us. Within one century each nation on that list has been at war with most of the remaining five! This enmity is not rooted in national antipathy; it is a hazard of time, place, political and economic conditions. Let us transcend it in the name of Man, one and indivisible, heir of the ages! Let no man turn his heart against his brother, even though for a time he turn his sword!

That time is near its end. Despite the venom of the snakes of hate, this war is teaching men daily to understand and to love their enemies. The men who stand for the view that the Allies (or the Central Powers, as the accident of birth determines) are monsters to be exterminated are men already half discredited; the day of the moderate man is at hand.

We want Peace. We do not want “Peace at any price”; we want “Peace with Honor”; and this is the thought in the heart of every man on either side who is not crazed with the contagion of War-madness. And so, my friends, let us make all speed to Peace!

You, too, you most especially, my pro-German friends! You know how impossible it is to get true news of the war, do you not? What with the “jackals of the kept press” and the censor, and the rest of it?

But there is just one man who has a private wire, one man who does know what you and I do not. That man is President Wilson.

We may not like it, but he is the duly elected representative of the American people, and we have got to trust him, if only because there is nobody else to trust. We cannot trust the German or Austrian Chancellors, however much we may wish to do so, because (as you say yourself) the Allies are such liars that, for all we know, their speeches may have been forged in Fleet Street or Times Square!

We must trust President Wilson or nobody. And why should we not trust him, the man who knows the truth, the man who fought for years to keep this country out of the war, and did so when any other man would have stumbled into it on the invasion of Belgium, or the sinking of the Lusitania?

Can you not read his psychology? He is no swashbuckler. He is not a soldier. He is not even a professional politician. He is a man who has spent his whole life as a student of history and philosophy, in the atmosphere of the lecture room and the library. Can you think for a moment that such a man would run amuck, a man of his age and with his record? It is absurd; it is against all nature and all reason. Psychology assures us beyond doubt that such a man could only declare war as a last resort, when he saw that by none other means could he bring about a new political stability, an unassailable settlement, a permanent, an impregnable Peace. I say “could,” advisedly, not “would.” It is a mental impossibility for a man of President Wilson’s habit and character to wish for war. It would be as great a miracle as for a horse to fly. The apparatus is not there.

What does he say himself? He says that he wants Peace as much as you and I do, but that he knows how to get it, and we do not.

As he gets his information first hand from authentic sources, while we get ours (as we complain) third hand, through censors who select, and journalists who falsify and fabricate, he is not improbably right.

And is he not, in the ultimate, the Friend of the German People? (He will, when he thinks it over, understand, and acquiesce in, their loyalty and devotion to the Great Man, as they see him, who foresaw the war, and by due preparation made it possible for them to make head against a world in arms, when he was forced to fight, after maintaining peace in Europe forty {54} years.)

Is a man who has risen without selfish ambition or base intrigue to be the Executive of this great People, a man whose life has been given to the study of history and of political economy, likely to be so ignorant or imbecile as to suppose that the ruin of a good customer can benefit a shopkeeper, or the death of his baker make it easier for him to buy bread?

President Wilson knows, none better, that the prosperity of Germany is essential to the welfare of America. If he became suddenly and miraculously omnipotent, he could do no other than the square thing by all. “Ye are all members of One Body” — the Body of Mankind.

Let us trust the President’s knowledge, his ability, his justice, his good sense, and his good will, to work toward that lasting Peace, that health and strength for every nation that rejoices in the Sun, and breathes the air of this fair world of ours, and let us be proud if we can help him!

We are near that Peace already; his speech of January 7 is enough proof of that. Now is the time, then, for all good men to come to the aid of their country! Whatever your country, whatever your sympathies, there is one course of action, and one only, at this particular juncture. It is to line up solidly and sturdily behind the President with our Irish wit and dash and courage and resourcefulness, or our British coolness and doggedness and diplomatic skill, or our German honesty and forethought and steadiness and capacity for hard work and team work, or our American ingenuity and adaptability and practicality, as the case may be, according to the accident of birth, and, confident in him with our minds, trusting him with our hearts do what he asks us alike with mind and heart and hand. Let us each do our damnedest! What is the task, then? What is the Way to Peace? We have all got to get to work Now. We want our peace At Once; we want to stop the Spring Campaign, and have an armistice declared before the American troops in any large numbers go into action. The way to do this is to do what the President says, to see to it that the Third Liberty Loan is oversubscribed again and again and again, in the very first week of the issue.

We must each one subscribe to the limit of our own ability.

We must see to it personally that every one in our circle subscribes to the limit of his ability. We must extend the limit of our ability by denying ourselves every luxury. We must wear old clothes and hats, we must eat only what is good for us (oh, what an epidemic of good health, clean eyes, quick minds, keen enjoyment of simple pleasures, the end of the tradition of American “nerves and indigestion”!) and we must do our work ourselves wherever possible, instead of relying on others.

We must buy only those things which are absolutely essential to life and health, so that every worker may be used in the industries of this war for Peace.

It is quite easy to do this. I have found it so, these three years that I have been starving because I am what they miscall “proGerman.”

We must do our most, not our least, to aid the Food Control. If Mr. Hoover demands one wheatless day, let us give him three. And we must obey in spirit, not only in letter.

We must redouble our energies and produce more; we must analyze and limit our desires (we shall find them for the most part foolish and hurtful), and consume less.

We must not visualize the power, ambition, cruelty and arrogance of the enemy, or paint fancy pictures of our own righteousness, and the heroism and self-sacrifice of our defenders. We must regard the enemy as a dear friend who is acting foolishly, and determine to knock sense into him with a club, so that he may live to thank us. We must walk humbly with the Lord, as Lincoln wished, remembering that after all we may be wrong. Yet, as we can only rely on our own judgement, let us act on it like men, and fight the good fight with all our might!

With every breath we must do all in our power, at no matter what cost to ourselves, to fight, or, if we cannot fight, to back up the fighters. We must go into the war with a whole heart, with cool brain, clear sight, good temper, a sense of humor, and a realization that the enemy thinks his cause the cause of Liberty and Justice as much as we do ours.

And we must save every cent, and put it into the Third Liberty Loan, that the enemy may realize that we are in this war to the last man and the last grain of wheat, and pay heed to the President, as he asks, with a chuckle, on the success of the Loan, “Now will you be good?”


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