Page:The Green Bag (1889–1914), Volume 25.pdf/424

This page needs to be proofread.


Reviews of Books goals of such feeling and aspiration. He is pleading the cause of the tyro against that of the expert, he is arrogantly championing the layman as a wiser man than the inventor, he is urging that the savant and the statesman follow the populace, not lead it. Into this view of politics the pragmatist philosophy and Bergsonian volun tarism fit very conveniently. One fears to think of the amount of harm a book like this could do if it acquired any extensive vogue and became a sort of holy writ for every species of tyro and doctrinaire enthusiast. The originators of pragmatism surely could not have contemplated its furnishing a convenient mask for the unintellectualism of large numbers lacking the intelligence which would entitle them to claim antiintellectualism as a philosophy. Is prag matism in danger of being thus debased? If so its advocates should look to the safety of their doctrine. Mr. Lippmann has written with bril liancy and at times with rare enlighten ment, nor is he altogether free from the detachment and candor which restrain admiration and temper praise, as in his remarks about Theodore Roosevelt and Jane Addams. He presents his errors with an intellectual vigor which lends them attractiveness, and it is no small good fortune that gives birth to a book on politics so thoroughly per meated with the modernism of social outlook represented by H. G. Wells and Graham Wallas in England. The ob jection to his politics is that they are superficial, amateurish, and impatient; and because they lack the depth, thoroughness, and patience to give his principles a form scientifically and humanly serviceable, they may never get beyond their present prefatory stage. We sincerely wish they might go further and possibly they may if the author can

399

persuade himself to make certain sur renders before he writes another book on the subject. BARON DE CONSTANT ON THE UNITED STATES Les Etats-Unis d'Amerique. By Baron D'Estournelles de Constant. Librairie Armand Colin, 5 Rue de MeziSres. Paris. Pp. 536 (index and map). (5 fr.) THE first half of Baron de Constant's interesting book on the United States is a descriptive record of his impressions on his several visits to this country in the cause of the international peace movement, and gives a somewhat remarkable birdseye view of conditions throughout the United States, remark able for sweep of vision more than for keenness of observation. Consequently, in spite of the profusion of information about the agricultural and industrial activities of the country, there is not a great deal in the book that will strike American readers as particularly novel or arresting. The second part is con cerned with the problems of American life, and here the individual point of view of the distinguished author is more clearly in evidence. He discusses the dangers of a capital as far removed from some parts of the country as Washing ton, liberty of education, the questions of the Indian and of the negro, the union of religions, sectional prejudices, and the army and navy. So gentle a spirit as that of Baron de Constant could scarcely find in any of these matters ground for pessimistic fears. He is alarmed at the imperialistic tendencies of the government, and the conflict between the idealism of the American people and the materialism of a govern ment which has "yielded to the tempta tion to descend; it has wrongly believed that the lower level must be the more popular level." Nevertheless, the Amer