The Position of the West on the Question of Religion
Confronting this development in the twentieth century of our Christian Era, the Western world stands with its heritage of Roman law, the treasures of Judaeo-Christian ethics grounded on metaphysics, and its ideal of the inalienable rights of man. Anxiously it asks itself the question: How can this development be brought to a standstill or put into reverse? It is useless to pillory the socialist dictatorship as utopian and to condemn its economic principles as unreasonable, because, in the ﬁrst place, the criticizing West has only itself to talk to, its arguments being heard only on this side of the Iron Curtain, and, in the second place, any economic principles you like can be put into practice so long as you are prepared to accept the sacriﬁces they entail. You can carry through any social and
economic reforms you please if, like Stalin, you let three million peasants starve to death and have a few million unpaid laborers at your disposal. A State of this kind has no social or economic crises to fear. So long as its power is intact – that is to say, so long as there is a well-disciplined and well-fed police army in the oﬃng – it can maintain its existence for an indeﬁnitely long period and can go on increasing its power to an indeﬁnite extent. In accordance with its excess birth rate, it can raise the number of its unpaid workers almost at will in order to compete with its rivals, regardless of the world market, which is to a large measure dependent on wages. A real danger can come to it only from outside, through the threat of military attack. But this risk grows less every year, ﬁrstly because the war potential of the dictator States is steadily increasing, and secondly because the West cannot aﬀord to arouse latent Russian or Chinese nationalism and chauvinism by an attack which would divert their well-meant undertakings into a hopelessly wrong channel.