Print by Louis Raemaekers
Man at table with Dutch newspaper, Dutch style pipe.
Additional Information from "Raemaekers' Cartoons: With Accompanying Notes by Well-known English Writers" by Louis Raemaekers Copyright 1916 (http://www.gutenberg.org/files/19126/19126-h/19126-h.htm)
NOTE: The artist has depicted the ordinary attitude of a self-satisfied burgher not only in Holland but in other countries also. "What does it matter if we are annexed afterwards, so long as we remain neutral now?" That is the sort of speech made by selfish merchants in some of the neutral countries, especially those of Scandinavian origin. It is really a variety of the old text: "Let us eat, drink, and be merry; for to-morrow we die." Why not, it is urged, make the best of present facilities? As long as we are left alone we can pursue our ordinary industrialism. We can heap up our percentages and profits. Our trade is in a fairly flourishing condition, and we are making money. No one knows what the future may bring; why, therefore, worry about it? Besides, if the worst comes to the worst and Germany annexes us, are we quite sure that we shall be in a much worse condition than we are now? It will be to the interest of Berlin that we should carry on our usual industrial occupations. Our present liberty will probably not be interfered with, and a change of masters does not always mean ruin.
So argues the self-satisfied burgher. If life were no more than a mere matter of getting enough to eat and drink and of having a balance at the banker's, his view of the case might pass muster. But a national life depends on spiritual and ideal interests, just as a man's life "consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." Freedom is the only principal of growth, and freedom is the one thing which German militarism desires to make impossible for all those whom she gathers into her fold. The loss of liberty means the ruin of all those ends for which a State exists. Even the material prosperity which the self-satisfied burgher desires will be definitely sacrificed by a submission to Teutonic autocracy.
NOTE AUTHOR: W. L. Courtney
CARTOON CAPTION: The Self-satisfied Burgher / "What does it matter if we're annexed afterwards, so long as we remain neutral now?"
World War 1
|Title||The Self-satisfied Burgher|
|Image size||65.5 x 52 cm|