From the Christian point of view, the most serious feature of the situation is that evil has become, as it were, depersonalized, separated from individual passion and appetite, and exalted above humanity into a sphere in which all moral values are confused and transformed. The great terrorists from Robespierre and St. Just to Dzershinki have not been immoral men, but rigid puritans who did evil coldly, By principle, without any thought of personal advantage, while the new mass dictatorship associate the highest and lowest qualities of human nature—self-sacrifice and boundless devotion, as well as unlimited violence and vindictiveness—in the assertion of their will to power.
This is the new evil that has spread from Russia, westward, into the very heart of Europe. It is no longer necessarily associated with Communism. On the contrary, it spreads by opposition, even more than by imitation. As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy. The subordination of morals to politics, the reign of terror and the technique of propaganda and psychological aggression can be used by any Power or Party that is bold enough to abandon moral scruples and plunge into the abyss. This is the greatest difficulty that faces us at the present time, For it is an evil that thrives by war, and the necessity of opposing the spirit of unlimited aggression by force of arms, creates the atmosphere which is more favourable to its growth. Hence we have the hard task of carrying on simultaneously a war on two fronts.
We have to oppose, by arms, the aggression of the external enemy, and at the same time to resist the enemy within —the growth in our own society of the evil power that we are fighting against. And this second war is the more dangerous of the two. since it may be lost by victory, as well as by defeat, and the very fact that we are driven to identify the evil with that manifestation of it that threatens our national existence, tends to blind us to he more insidious ! tendencies in the same direction that are to be found in our own social order. , The disintegration of Western culture ; under the moral and economic strain of : war is not a danger that can be lightly dismissed. Nor can it be accepted by Christians in the same spirit in which they accepted the fall of the Roman Empire. For that was an external disaster, which left the sources of spiritual vitality unimpaired, while this is a spiritual catastrophe which strikes directly at the moral foundations of our civilisation, and releases the forces of destruction that have been held in check bv a thousand years of Christian culture. For the will to power is also the will to destruction, and in the last resort it becomes the will to self destruction (Christopher Dawson, in The Tablet, London).
- Malaya Catholic Leader, Saturday, 23rd October, 1937 (pdf pp17 1940)