Page:Above the battle.djvu/171

This page has been validated.


 

XV

THE MURDER OF THE ÉLITE

The phrase is not new-coined to-day;[1] but the fact is. Never, in any period, have we seen humanity throwing into the bloody arena all its intellectual and moral reserves, its priests, its thinkers, its scholars, its artists, the whole future of the spirit—wasting its geniuses as food for cannon.

A great thing, doubtless, when the struggle is great, when a people fights for an eternal cause, the fervour of which fires the whole nation, from the smallest to the greatest; when it fuses all the egoisms, purifies desire, and out of many souls makes one unanimous soul.

  1. I take the phrase from M. Lucien Maury in an article written before the war: (Journal de Genève) March 30 1914. This is quoted recently by M. Adolphe Ferrière who, in his remarkable Doctor's thesis, La loi du Progrès attempts to solve the tragic problem of the part played by the élite.

167