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    The Other Kind Of man

    by Gilbert Keith Chesterton
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    There are some who are conciliated by Conciliation Boards. There are some
    who, when they hear of Royal Commissions, breathe again--or snore again.
    There are those who look forward to Compulsory Arbitration Courts as to
    the islands of the blest. These men do not understand the day that they
    look upon or the sights that their eyes have seen.

    The almost sacramental idea of representation, by which the few may
    incarnate the many, arose in the Middle Ages, and has done great things
    for justice and liberty. It has had its real hours of triumph, as when
    the States General met to renew France's youth like the eagle's; or when
    all the virtues of the Republic fought and ruled in the figure of
    Washington. It is not having one of its hours of triumph now. The real
    democratic unrest at this moment is not an extension of the representative
    process, but rather a revolt against it. It is no good giving those now
    in revolt more boards and committees and compulsory regulations. It is
    against these very things that they are revolting. Men are not only
    rising against their oppressors, but against their representatives or, as
    they would say, their misrepresentatives. The inner and actual spirit of
    workaday England is coming out not in applause, but in anger, as a god who
    should come out of his tabernacle to rebuke and confound his priests.

    There is a certain kind of man whom we see many times in a day, but whom
    we do not, in general, bother very much about. He is the kind of man of
    whom his wife says that a better husband when he's sober you couldn't have.
    She sometimes adds that he never is sober; but this is in anger and
    exaggeration. Really he drinks much less and works much more than the
    modern legend supposes. But it is quite true that he has not the horror
    of bodily outbreak, natural to the classes that contain ladies; and it is
    quite true that he never has that alert and inventive sort of industry
    natural to the classes from which men can climb into great wealth. He has
    grown, partly by necessity, but partly also by temper, accustomed to have
    dirty clothes and dirty hands normally and without discomfort. He regards
    cleanliness as a kind of separate and special costume; to be put on for
    great festivals. He has several really curious characteristics, which
    would attract the eyes of sociologists, if they had any eyes. For
    instance, his vocabulary is coarse and abusive, in marked contrast to his
    actual spirit, which is generally patient and civil. He has an odd way of
    using certain words of really horrible meaning, but using them quite
    innocently and without the most distant taint of the evils to which they
    allude. He is rather sentimental; and, like most sentimental people, not
    devoid of snobbishness. At the same time, he believes the ordinary manly
    commonplaces of freedom and fraternity as he believes most of the decent
    traditions of Christian men: he finds it very difficult to act according
    to them, but this difficulty is not confined to him. He has a strong and
    individual sense of humour, and not much power of corporate or militant
    action. He is not a Socialist. Finally, he bears no more resemblance to
    a Labour Member than he does to a City Alderman or a Die-Hard Duke. This
    is the Common Labourer of England; and it is he who is on the march at

    See this man in your mind as you see him in the street, realise that it is
    his open mind we wish to influence or his empty stomach we wish to cure,
    and then consider seriously (if you can) the five men, including two of
    his own alleged oppressors, who were summoned as a Royal Commission to
    consider his claims when he or his sort went out on strike upon the
    railways. I knew nothing against, indeed I knew nothing about, any of the
    gentlemen then summoned, beyond a bare introduction to Mr. Henderson,
    whom I liked, but whose identity I was in no danger of confusing with that
    of a railway-porter. I do not think that any old gentleman, however
    absent-minded, would be likely on arriving at Euston, let us say, to hand
    his Gladstone-bag to Mr. Henderson or to attempt to reward that politician
    with twopence. Of the others I can only judge by the facts about their
    status as set forth in the public Press. The Chairman, Sir David Harrell,
    appeared to be an ex-official distinguished in (of all things in the
    world) the Irish Constabulary. I have no earthly reason to doubt that the
    Chairman meant to be fair; but I am not talking about what men mean to be,
    but about what they are. The police in Ireland are practically an army of
    occupation; a man serving in them or directing them is practically a
    soldier; and, of course, he must do his duty as such. But it seems truly
    extraordinary to select as one likely to sympathise with the democracy of
    England a man whose whole business in life it has been to govern against
    its will the democracy of Ireland. What should we say if Russian strikers
    were offered the sympathetic arbitration of the head of the Russian Police
    in Finland or Poland? And if we do not know that the whole civilised
    world sees Ireland with Poland as a typical oppressed nation, it is time
    we did. The Chairman, whatever his personal virtues, must be by instinct
    and habit akin to the capitalists in the dispute. Two more of the
    Commissioners actually were the capitalists in the dispute. Then came Mr.
    Henderson (pushing his trolley and cheerily crying, "By your leave."),
    and then another less known gentleman who had "corresponded" with the
    Board of Trade, and had thus gained some strange claim to represent the
    very poor.

    Now people like this might quite possibly produce a rational enough report,
    and in this or that respect even improve things. Men of that kind are
    tolerably kind, tolerably patriotic, and tolerably business-like. But if
    any one supposes that men of that kind can conceivably quiet any real
    'quarrel with the Man of the Other Kind, the man whom I first described,
    it is frantic. The common worker is angry exactly because he has found
    out that all these boards consist of the same well-dressed Kind of Man,
    whether they are called Governmental or Capitalist. If any one hopes that
    he will reconcile the poor, I say, as I said at the beginning, that such a
    one has not looked on the light of day or dwelt in the land of the living.

    But I do not criticise such a Commission except for one most practical and
    urgent purpose. It will be answered to me that the first Kind of Man of
    whom I spoke could not really be on boards and committees, as modern
    England is managed. His dirt, though necessary and honourable, would be
    offensive: his speech, though rich and figurative, would be almost
    incomprehensible. Let us grant, for the moment, that this is so. This
    Kind of Man, with his sooty hair or sanguinary adjectives, cannot be
    represented at our committees of arbitration. Therefore, the other Kind
    of Man, fairly prosperous, fairly plausible, at home at least with the
    middle class, capable at least of reaching and touching the upper class,
    he must remain the only Kind of Man for such councils.

    Very well. If then, you give at any future time any kind of compulsory
    powers to such councils to prevent strikes, you will be driving the first
    Kind of Man to work for a particular master as much as if you drove him
    with a whip.
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