There can have been no times in which a task was more urgently necessary or more justifiable than these in which we live — or, rather, are slowly dying: these times of the falling apart and breaking up of whole peoples; these times of controlled economy and of equally senseless and hopeless attempts at nationalization; of closed frontiers and never-ending wars; of universal helplessness and confusion; times of impudent dancing over graves on the one side and dull despair on the other.
After awful years of unprecedented mass murder in its most terrible form, unlikely ever to be equalled in the future; after the overthrow of Prussian militarism has saved the western world from the greatest threat to its freedom that it has ever known — today one power replaces another with breathtaking speed, and while we here at this time enjoy the doubtful delights of a so-called democratic republic, none of us knows what final terrors and deepest degradations are hanging over us because of the craving for power of a new dictatorship to the east (a communist dictatorship of the Proletariat) or when this final and most-heavy-handed form of Force will have run its course and have broken up in its turn.
Must we suffer this last and most dreadful of fates to overtake us before our eyes are opened? — Could we not, for once at least, try our hand at Freedom? Could we not begin to learn from the experiences, partly frightful and partly ridiculous, which the present forces upon us daily, so that we may stop stealing from and raping each other? Could we not make a halt and return to the path from which we have been driven by foreign imperialism and greed and by our own stupidity and blindness? Could we not tread the one path which alone can still lead us out of the madness of this life and realize that this is the only possible path? . . .
Could we not try it for once? —
THIS BOOK REPRESENTS the second great battle for Freedom which I have fought during my lifetime. Once again, and this is for the last time, my lonely voice cries out in the wilderness, almost more alone today than in those days when it was first raised above the turmoil of rage and fury and the prattle of fear which surrounded it, on behalf of the most precious possession of humanity: valued too lightly because it is not understood; misused so shamefully because it is not trusted. Yet it is and remains the last hope and only salvation of mankind.
This voice — whether it be ignored, ridiculed, shouted down, falsified or