E. Belfort Bax

F.J. Gould’s National Socialism

(22 March 1917)

E. Belfort Bax, F.J. Gould’s National Socialism, Justice, 22nd March 1917, p.8. (letter)
Transcribed by Ted Crawford.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

Dear Comrade, – Comrade Gould complains that I have “switched” the question raised by him on to an “irrelevant track.” I don’t see that I have done so; however, let that pass. Anyway, I think I am justified in suggesting that comrade Gould has “switched” my reply to him on to an “irrelevant track.” I am certainly not a Tolstoyan, and have never doubted the justification of national or local defence against aggressive invasion, by which English or other poetic churchyards, meadows, and villages should be defended from the freebooting sacrilege of the wicked foreigner. Not that I altogether appreciate the pertinency of Gould’s argumentative illustration. So far as that goes, I should be fully as loth to see the fair places of the English countryside “violated” by the speculative builder or the railway contractor, even though these gentlemen were, as they probably would be, true blue British patriots of the Union Jack and Rule Britannia brand. Nay, let these “tokens of historic national life” but once get into the hands of the aforesaid gentlemen, and I opine their case would probably be worse and more irremediable than even if they were held for a time by some foreign enemy. I value beauty of natural scenery and tokens of historic association in all countries. This sentiment is for me quite independent of politics or nationality. Stoke Poges’ churchyard or Ockley Green in England, old Rothenburg in Germany, the town of Poitiers (say) in France, are all, each in its own way, sacred for me; and, notwithstanding this trait of “cosmopolitanism,” I may inform our friend Gould that I am neither directly nor indirectly a son of Israel.

As for the concluding paragraph of comrade Gould’s letter, it seems to me, if he will excuse my saying so, somewhat self-contradictory. His attempt to reconcile his sentiments of national patriotism with Socialist Internationalism, when applied by him to the German question, appears to have got into a tangle. – Yours fraternally,


E. Belfort Bax


Last updated on 9.12.2004