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The Green Bag

mas. We can arrive at sane ethical thinking only by discarding these dog mas, and by restating the principles in a form no longer distorted. The greater our success in such a task, the more complete, doubtless, will be our realiza tion that morals are chiefly, at least, a psychic affair, and that psychological considerations completely overshadow the bearing of vague biological generali zations. As a description of currents of nine teenth century thought the book is well worth reading. The appended moral and religious interpretations of the author are largely matters of personal opinion, while his faith in pragmatism is illustrative of a widespread tendency of the day, a tendency which may not be unreservedly approved as intellectually wholesome. AFTER BERGSON, WHAT? A Preface to Politics. By Walter Lippman. Mitchell Kennerley, New York. Pp. 318. ($1.50 net.) THIS is a refreshing bit of iconoclasm and offers stimulating mental di version. The existing order, social, legal, and economic, is attacked with the im patience of the zealot who feels that it is all hopelessly blind and stupid. The criticism does not spring merely from a conviction that the law, legis lation, and politics necessarily lag behind in the march of progress. Any one could accept such a criticism. The rapid transit system of a city is always years behind contemporary needs. If a community cannot deal with the practical problem of rapid transit with skill and foresight, it would be indeed strange if it did not do even worse with the immeasurably more complex practical question how to accommodate politi cal and legal institutions to shifting needs. One can be critical in this ad

mission without being revolutionary. Mr. Lippmann, however, does not stop with so moderate and just an arraign ment of the existing system. He finds it not merely sluggish but dead, not a makeshift but a mistake. And the particular idol he sets himself the task of smashing is that of routine, deriving the incentive to this attack, it would appear, from Nietzsche, who glorified the Schaffender or creator and supplied the material of Mr. Lippmann's an tithesis between inventor and routineer. The implication that all routine is bad, however, is not to be acquiesced in. The inventor must himself make use of a routine to be effective. In the doing of everything there are details to be mastered and a technic to be applied, and this routine or technic is harmful only when it has ceased to serve a living purpose. Mr. Lippmann is fond of drawing illustrations from literature and art. Routine, he says, is in politics what classicism is in art. The difference between a living and a dead classicism may so far elude the comprehension of persons of a certain temperament as to commit them to a formless and rebellious romanticism. A kindred im pulse leads to the denunciation of the man of science and the administrative official as hopeless victims of a stulti fying tendency. But if routineer is to be a term of reproach it must be con sistently employed in a restricted sense, and the dependence of progress upon mastery of technical detail must be freely conceded. From the reluctance to make such a concession come most of the aberrations of Mr. Lippmann's judgment. Progress is with him so much a matter of aspiration and of feeling that he slights the prodigious amount of labor that must be per formed by society in order to work its passage bit by bit toward the distant