… is from page 263 of the 1978 collection, edited by Eric Mack, of Auberon Herbert’s essays, The Right and Wrong of Compulsion by the State ; specifically, it’s from Herbert’s June 7th, 1906, lecture at Oxford University, “Mr. Spencer and the Great Machine”:
They have gone in for the winning of power, and those who play for that stake must accept the conditions of the game. You can’t make resolutions – it is said – with rose water; and you can’t play at politics, and at the same time listen to what your soul has to say in the matter. The soul of a high-minded man is one thing; and the great game of politics is another thing. You are now part of a machine with a purpose of its own – not the purpose of serving the fixed and supreme principles – the great game laughs at all things that stand before and above itself, and brushes them scornfully aside, but the purpose of securing victory; and to that purpose all the more scrupulous men must conform, like the weaker brethren, or – as the noblest men do occasionally – stand aside. As our system works, it is the party interests that rule and compel us to do their bidding. It must be so; for without unity in the party there is no victory, and without victory no power to be enjoyed. When once we have taken our place in the great game, all choice as regards ourselves is at an end. We must win; and we must do the things which mean winning, even if those things are not very beautiful in themselves.