One Georgist's Views on
the Second World War
and Moral Principles

Raymond Hammond

[Reprinted from The Freeman, July, 1942]

I have found several things to disapprove of in The Freeman since the change of editors and (evidently) editorial policy. …The present policy seems to me to contain too much editorializing -- too many words and not enough meat. "No Silver Lining" represents the type of article I like; "Lessons We Can Learn" is the type I do not like. To make the Georgist movement vital we have to tie it to current events.

We should overcome the tendency to become facetious and, on occasion, downright silly. I refer to the article "Who Gets It?" as a case in point. I enjoy a humorous article occasionally but to discuss serious things in a half-humorous manner is offensive to me personally, and, in my opinion, dangerous to the Georgist movement.

I would like to express my disagreement with the policy of The Freeman in regard to the war. I do not claim to know what is best for the Georgist movement on this issue. I merely wish to state my position and that is this: As a Georgist I have been taught, and I believe, that the causes of this war are much deeper than "Hitler, Hirohito and Mussolini." I believe that they go back to the poverty and consequent debasement of the masses of these and other countries. As a student of George and of history, I cannot see this as a war of "principle" as does Stephen Bell in "The Survival of Liberty." Neither can I believe as he does that the hope for a civilization based on human freedoms depends on the crushing of Germany, Italy and Japan.

If it depends on this then Christianity is wrong and there are no moral laws undergirding the universe and God would have to wait for a military victory for the unfolding of His plan for the world. Such an idea is, to me, unworthy of the intensely religious nature of Henry George. He was not faced with the situation today, it is true, but the scorn he showed for armaments, a military victory and a Roman peace in Protection Or Free Trade convinces me that he would never accept the dictum that the acceptance of Georgism hinges on an Allied victory.

As I see it, nothing but evil can come out of this war, and the peace that will follow a complete military victory will be an unjust peace. If Georgists share in prosecution of the war and tie their hopes to an acceptance of the principles of Henry George by the victorious Allies they are doomed to disillusionment. They will also jeopardize the future of the movement when the events of our time are judged in the white light of history. I am glad to see the Christian Church as a whole refrain from giving its blessing to the war. I wish that Georgists would do likewise. How can we who believe in education do otherwise?