True Unionism

The world is particularly concerned to-day over the question of unions. It is perfectly true that the subject is not a new one, and it is equally true that it has not been a new one for some decades, nevertheless at no time since the matter became one of primary political importance has it loomed so large in the calculations of statesmen as to-day. Yet the truth of the matter is that unionism is probably, from one point of view, at its zenith. The decline, it is true, may not show for years. All the same the very success of the union is tending to the passing of the union, for the simple reason that that which began as the organ of a party, is fulfilling its destiny in becoming the organ of mankind.

All of which, expressed a little more plainly, comes to this: that the union, which was originally started to protect the interests of Labor against the interests of Capital, has so widened its limits that it is threatening to represent nations instead of a class, and so to reach the point where its original sectional intent is lost in a clearer perception of the interests of humanity. Now if the idea of unionism were ever practically to be accepted by the world, the very change which has taken place was bound to take place, for the strength of the idea lies in two things, rightness and numbers, with the result that as the first of these was maintained and the second increased, the antithesis of Goldsmith's famous epigram upon Burke was sure to be manifested, the epigram, already referred to, that he "for party gave up what was meant for mankind."

Three Centuries
September 4, 1920

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