Violently and quickly is the political pendulum swinging. A vital change comes in the policy of the Russian Government, a conservative reaction sweeps England, a Liberal ministry, is overthrown in Germany, a black-shirted dictator arises in Italy. Is the pendulum tending toward equilibrium again or is it becoming magnetized? And in that event on which side is the magnet?
Lenin, before the Communist Internationale, explained why Russia has abandoned the revolutionary sytem, rejected communism, and reverted to capitalism. "We went too far . . . we must learn from circumstances". "We instituted a new system more in accordance with the needs of the majority of the population."
The English elections have returned a substantial Conservative majority, and the talk will be, as the Times puts it, "of quiet recuperation and of efforts to rebuild and enlarge English industry and commerce". The gains to Labor are due to split votes, the Daily Mail claims. While there is in England no turning away from socialism found wanting, there is nevertheless a decided reaction against Lloyd George liberalism.
Though in Germany it was a coalition which fell, the new ministry is headed by a capitalist-conservative and will probably contain few Socialists. Herr Cuno, the new Chancellor, is a practical business man. Director General of the Hamburg-American Steamship Line, and has termed his ministry "the Cabinet of work". National reconstruction along sound business principles is his avowed policy.
Mussolini took power in a revolution, but his inaugural was orderly and his ministry has been industrious. He has declared hostility to all extreme socialists and repudiated all Soviets. He has pledged himself to balance the budget and appears at his office regularly at 8 o'clock. In his rather defiant speech to the Chamber of Deputies he declared the Black Shirts to be a force "tending toward development, progress, and equilibrium".
This reaction, blurred in all cases by local issues, is not a complete repudiation of socialistic tendencies, but is an expedient adopted because socialism in practice has been found an idea with too few heads to comprehend. There still remains in opposition a strong liberal element which will ride the wagon but not steer.