The source of the courage of the missionaries was, of course, their faith in the spirit. But courage alone might not have achieved so swift and complete a discomfiture of the synthetic faith had it not been reinforced by a sly and friendly ridicule. There was nothing new in the method of the missionaries; but never before had it been used on such a scale and with such expert psychological understanding. And never before had those who used these methods been the emissaries of an established Utopian society preparing to fight for its life.
Instead of the â€˜working classâ€™ there were increasing millions of people whose standard of life we should call â€˜comfortable middle-classâ€™, but whose minds were very different from our middle-class minds, since they were no longer moulded by the desperate necessity of trying to get the better of their neighbours in the commercial dog-fight. Most men were now salaried servants of the world state or some national state or local or vocational authority. Three classes alone received no salary, but drew, when necessary, the liberal maintenance allowance to which every citizen was entitled when he needed it. The small and curious class of private capitalists, whose function it was to provide society with the benefits of daring private enterprise in industrial pioneering, lived on profits, but were prevented by sumptuary laws and taxation from attaining more than the tolerated degree of affluence. Their employees were skilled workers of all kinds, attracted by the possibility of somewhat higher pay and shorter hours than were allowed in state service, and by a sense of adventure in a small common enterprise. Most of them were persons who had saved up their luxury allowances to contribute to the equipping of the factory. Thus they themselves were capitalists. The aim of the original capitalist or group of capitalists who founded the concern was always to build up a co-operative and self-governing society in which all the members were in some degree capitalists.
The actual bifurcation of history may have begun long before this date. It may have begun in China, in Russia, in America, in Britain, or in all these countries at different dates. But equally it may well be that Tibet was the crucial point. Whatever the truth about the actual bifurcation, the relations of the new Tibet with its two mighty neighbours constituted the occasion on which the great duplication became unmistakable and irrevocable. Henceforth my experience was dual. On the one hand I witnessed the failure of the Tibetan renaissance, and the destruction of the Tibetan people. This was followed by the final Russo-Chinese war which unified the human race but also undermined its capacity. On the other hand I saw the Tibetans create, seemingly in the very jaws of destruction, a community such as man had never before achieved. And this community, I saw, so fortified the forces of the light in the rival empires that the war developed into a revolutionary war which spread over the whole planet, and did not end until the will for the light had gained victory everywhere.
Gradually, however, the balance of power in the world altered in favour of the Chinese Empire. This was due at bottom to the greater efficiency and colder intelligence of the Chinese ruling class. The worldâ€™s most ancient and most phlegmatic civilization, though by now so grievously perverted, had an advantage in this respect against the worldâ€™s newest, immature, and equally perverted civilization. Moreover though Chinese imperialism was handicapped by a late start, it was better organized, more wealthy, and more united than the Russian variety. After the trouble in Manchuria the Chinese government tightened its hold on all its outlying provinces, moving whole populations hither and thither so as to create a homogeneous people stretching from the Altai Mountains to the Timor Sea. Thus the rulers contrived that, although in every region there was servitude and frustration, in none was there a sufficient local tradition and consciousness to form the focus of a serious uprising. In the huge, straggling Russian Empire, on the other hand, the ancient Soviet tradition had maintained a great deal of local autonomy. Further, the personnel of the Russian imperial service, if it lacked the tyrannical meddlesomeness of the Chinese, lacked also its cunning in propaganda and oppression. The Russian provinces were therefore in a constant state of unrest, which frequently broke out into turmoil, now in North America, now in Britain, now in India. Indeed every country had its history of revolt, alternating between secret sedition and open rebellion. The consequence was that throughout the latter part of the Russo-Chinese war Russia appealed to China for help far more often than China to Russia.
Two conditions, it seemed to me, assured this new sanity of the race. The first was a social order in which every individual who was not gravely sub-normal could count on a life of self-expression and co-operation. The second was the widespread, heartfelt, and not merely verbal acceptance of the fundamental religious aim of social life, namely the development of manâ€™s capacity for personality in service of the spirit.
The world which now began to emerge was of very different type from the old one. While nearly everyone was in some style a worker, the â€˜working classâ€™ was rapidly vanishing. No longer did the bulk of the population work for long hours and for insufficient pay, living more or less in squalor, and failing to secure that small amount of self-expression without which mental health is impossible. The general frustration and misery of the past had produced a characteristic mentality, now vanished. In politics, for instance, frustration had expressed itself in a gnawing vindictiveness which later on seemed merely silly. At each end of the political spectrum, and indeed to a great extent throughout it, fear, jealousy, hatred, and a frustrated itch for self-display, were dominant motives, though often appearing under the guise of righteous indignation. Hence Fascism, Nazism, and the baser sort of Communism. By now, Fascism and Nazism had of course long ago vanished. Communism, which at one time had made so great a contribution to thought and feeling and institutions, was no longer a fanatical creed. In a sense all sane men were communists, since all accepted much of the Marxian social analysis; but the militant Communist Party had long since vanished, and the Marxian attempt to do without the primacy of the fundamental values, love and wisdom, was recognized as a perversity due to the poisonous atmosphere of the machine age.
The agitation and the comic relief welled up in every country. The governments were forced to promise certain immediate reforms, and the World Government set up an independent commission to investigate the whole matter. It was characteristic of the improved condition of the human race that the commissionâ€™s report was issued within three months, and that, although it firmly condemned the bureaucrats for their unnecessary officialism, it also won their respect by its insight into their point of view. But its proposals for reform they strongly condemned. There was to be a vast system of special courts of appeal to deal with cases of alleged officialism and interference with liberty. The most notorious bureaucrats in every country were to be dismissed. Worst of all, in future no family should have more than three members in the bureaucracy at any time. After much debate the World Government decided to accept the plan, with a few modifications. Thereupon the bureaucrats, honestly convinced of their own importance and the rightness of their ideals, announced that they alone, who were carefully selected and carefully educated for their task, could possibly know what was needed in the life of the world society. They frankly claimed to be a true aristocracy; and in this emergency they were forced, they said, to suspend the constitution and resume dictatorial power. The World Parliament and the swarm of national parliaments, composed almost entirely of members of the bureaucratic class, and secretly in sympathy with their claims, put up only a half-hearted resistance. In all the states except Britain, Ireland, and Tibet, the oldest and the newest homes of freedom, the coup dâ€™etat was at once successful, for the chiefs of the World Police were of course members of the bureaucracy. In Ireland the local government split, and the country boiled up in disorder. The British and Tibetan governments made a stand for freedom. Guarding themselves with their unarmed police, they arrested the local bureaucratic leaders and appealed to the local World Police to defend the constitution. But the World Police carried out the instructions of its Chief Constable. Armed forces appeared at the two â€˜rebelâ€™ parliaments. Much to the distress of the police, the rebels made an effort to resist, and fire-arms had to be used against them. Several members of the two parliaments were slightly damaged by shots fired at their legs. The governments were duly arrested, along with their supporters.