And suddenly he became almost lyric. For three thousand years the Common Man has been fended off from the full and glorious life he might have had, by Make Believe. For three thousand years in one form or another he has been asking for an unrestricted share in the universal welfare. He has been asking for a fair dividend from civilisation. For all that time and still it goes on, the advantaged people, the satisfied people, the kings and priests, the owners and traders, the gentlefolk and the leaders he trusted, have been cheating him tacitly or deliberately, out of his proper share and contribution in the common life. Sometimes almost consciously, sometimes subconsciously, cheating themselves about it as well. When he called upon God, they said 'We'll take care of your God for you' and they gave him organised religion. When he calls for Justice, they say 'Everything decently and in order' and give him a nice expensive Law Court beyond his means. When he calls for order and safety too loudly they hit him on the head with a policeman's truncheon. When he sought knowledge, they told him what was good for him. And to protect him from the foreigner, so they said, they got him bombed to hell, trained him to disembowel his fellow common men with bayonets and learn what love of King and Country really means.All with the best intentions in the world, mind you.Most of these people, I tell you, have acted in perfect good faith. They manage to believe that in sustaining this idiot's muddle they are doingtremendous things -- stupendous things -- for the Common Man. They can live lives of quiet pride and die quite edifyingly in an undernourished, sweated, driven and frustrated world. Useful public servants! Righteous self-applause! Read their bloody biographies!
H.G. Wells