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GOD'S TEST BY WAR.
Amidst the chaos of domestic politics soul is gone out of a people when it reand the wavelike surge of contending coils from a duty which the claims of social desires the biological law of its history and of its posterity alike imcompetition still rules the destinies of
pose. Has the soul gone out of Engnations as of individual men. And as land, or does it still inhere? the ethical essence of competition is England is still the heart and core sacrifice, as each generation of plants of the aggregation of nations and of or of animals perishes in the one case, races which owe allegiance, not to her, or toils or dares in the other, that its but to the crown of her sovereignoffspring may survive, so with a na- that crown whose influence the ages tion, the future of the next generation have extended into the wide spaces of is determined by the self-sacrifice or the world. Considered from the standthe absence of self-sacrifice of that point of the true Imperialist, England which precedes it.
is but a province; but she is a pivotal The bud flowers and the flower dies, province, the pivotal province of the and dying, flings its seeds on the British Empire. Upon her shoulders winds to produce, if it may be, a wider rests the main weight of that Empire's re-creation of itself. And in the ani- burden. From her long-suffering taxmal world the sacrificial impulse of payers is derived by far the major pormaternal love fronts all peril and en- tion of the revenue which supports the dures all suffering that its young may British navy and the British army. By live.
her sons those Services are chiefly That impulse, in the later manifesta- manned. Withdraw from their suptions of evolution, is the root source of port the wealth of England, withdraw all human families, and of all human from their ranks her men, and the fabmorality. And it finds its crown in ric of Empire must fall like a house patriotism, in the sacrifice which a na- of cards. For Scotland and Wales tion makes to fulfil the trust which it and Ireland contribute but a relatively has inherited from its fathers, and small part of the money, and—though to hand down that heritage, not di- perhaps in a greater proportion-still minished but increased, to the genera- far the lesser number of the men. tions that succeed.
This is a fact inseparable from their If the springs of national action fail; inferiority in population and in wealth. if at a crisis when international ri- As for the oversea dominions of the valry is acute a given generation King, they are but now beginning to shrinks from the effort and the sac- awaken to the realities of the world rifice necessary to self-preservation, of competing nations of which they are then that generation is a traitor at a part. They have but begun to move once to its past and to its future. It in earnest, and, with the exception of dishonors the dead, who, in their New Zealand, they have as yet given earthly hour, did make that effort and no contribution to the common defence that sacrifice when the time called for in the least proportionate to their these. To those noble dead it is an financial or their numerical power. If ingrate, and of its own children it is England fell suddenly from her place the fraudulent betrayer. For what it in the House of the British peoples; if has, that it has received on the implicit the support of the Flag were left with condition that it shall pass it on. The the oversea dominions, plus "the Keltic fringe," and the lowlands of Scot- there had been no such tendency, how land, then there would be a speedy end could the higher organism have conof the British Raj.
stantly emerged ? We may ask again, then, what of In the sweep of the ages, in the pasEngland? Is the heart that once was sage of time, the qualities that make hers still strong to dare and to resolve for victory have assumed, gradually, and to endure? How shall we know? nobler hue. In the confused conflicts By the test. What test? That which of earlier times to detect the secret God has given for the trial of peoples process by which the higher tended -the test of war.
ever to supersede the lower must have Does this mean that with an insanity been hard indeed. Many are the cases of action exceeding even the madness recorded in the annals of mankind of neglected preparation England is to when might has struck down right. precipitate the unready Empire into Many more must be the unrecorded inconflict with the prepared and watch- stances when the like occurred. But ful foe? It does not imply any such the course of development of human criminal folly.
society depends not on exceptions, What it does imply is that victory is however numerous, but on the rule. the result of efficiency, and that effi- And the rule was, as analysis shows, ciency is the result of spiritual quality. not that "might was right," but that Self-sacrifice, self-denial, temperance, right always tended to create might. By hardihood, discipline, obedience, order, "right" is here intended no artificial method, organizing power, intelligence, conception, and no imagined claim to purity of public life, chastity, industry, territory. For supposititious "rights" resolution, are some only of the na- of this kind have in history no validity tional and individual attributes which save when based on force. What is go towards producing the efficiency of meant is a righteousness of national modern armaments. And the effi- life which included all or most of the ciency or inefficiency of its armaments qualities enumerated above as produeis the determining factor of a nation's ing efficiency in war. This is the only success, or of a nation's failure, at that kind of "right" possessed by a people culminating moment of long processes which has enduring value. of commercial and diplomatic rivalry As regards the present, the truth of -the moment of war.
these statements can hardly be doubted Thus, then, efficiency in war, or by any reasoning mind. As regards rather efficiency for war, is God's test the past, the briefest survey of salient of a nation's soul. By that test it facts will establish their correctness. stands, or by that test it falls. This is The triumph of the Greeks over the the ethical content of competition. Persians was the triumph of a higher This is the determining factor of hu- civilization and a nobler manhood. man history. This is the justification Marathon and Salamis were as the of war.
swords that kept the gates of Europe In the realms of sub-human life, in against the barbarian, and they were the world of animals, as in the world the direct fruit of a lofty spirit inhab of men, this law, perhaps so modified iting a great race. When, later, the that its working would have been to us Macedonian phalanx penetrated the undiscernible, must still have pre East, that penetration represented the vailed. At least the tendency must victory of the higher intelligence and have persisted that the higher organ- the greater discipline. The sequent ism should conquer the lower. For if overthrow of Greek by Roman was the result of an austerer morality, of a ket place, or of the political pulpit, or deeper devotion to national ends and of the Radical Party. In the Englishof a more perfect union. Each one of speaking world, when the stern virtues these three events meant the advance which alone lead to national survival of mankind: each was the product of a are decaying, it is not teaching likely military efficiency founded on a higher to be popular. But it happens to be morale.
the inner truth which analysis of hisBut if these instances are in them- tory reveals. selves striking; if these scenes in the Let those who dispute this concludrama of the development of man ex- sion test the validity of their denial by hibit the working, through war, of applying it, not to the past, but to the what Matthew Arnold called “A some present. Take away from the Japathing not ourselves that makes for nese their patriotism, their public spirit, righteousness"; far more impressive, their discipline, and their vast capacity far more awful, is the tremendous trag. for self-sacrifice, and, after these withedy of which they were the prologue, drawals, what will then remain of their and which bisects the history of the naval and military power? Only the Western world. Towards the close of shell without the kernel; only the mathe fifth century, says Professor Free- terial without the moving spirit which man, “civilization perished in blood gives that material life. Truly the and flames." It is a brief phrase. question answers itself. Who is there who can realize its full Let a like subtraction be made from intent? But the question we ask here the qualities possessed by the German is, why this gigantic catastrophe oc- legions, and how much of their present curred-this disaster which flung back menace to Europe will remain ? Take the march of human thought and hu- from the nations which have produced man science for a thousand years? If these forces their persevering industry there be one thing certain, it is that and their resolute thoroughness, and civilization tends to become stronger then say whether their navies and than barbarism. How comes it then their armies will retain their potency. that civilization fell before barbarism? Or fill these countries with debauch
The answer to that question is to ery, destroy the sanctities of family be found in the decay of the military life, make sexual immorality in its widspirit among the Roman people. That est sense not the exception, but the decay again was itself the product of rule, and then consider how long either the degeneracy of public and private Germany or Japan would retain its morality. In other words, civilization place in arms. perished because its spiritual quality But if it be true, as these and like failed. Not all the arts, nor all the considerations go to prove, that warlike literature, nor all the splendor and the efficiency at the present time is the refinements of the Roman world saved price of moral and spiritual quality, that world from destruction at the and perishes if such quality die, then hands of Vandals and of Goths. Ruth- must not similar attributes have tended less, inexorable, the law of the sur- throughout history to produce similar vival of the fittest trampled on the cor- effect? rupt of that law, war is the supreme The same causes must always have instrument, and of war, in the long pas- tended towards the same results, but sage of the centuries, the deciding fac- the purpose immanent in the universe tor is the soul.
becomes more manifest as evolution This is not the doctrine of the mar proceeds. When the processes of war
are crude, and wben the scale on which ble upon earth (which is at present imit is waged is small, the effects are far practicable)—the machinery by which less evident of those great underlying national corruption is punished and nacauses which in the passage of gener- tional virtue rewarded would be unations have produced, despite all excep- geared. The higher would cease to tions, their destined ends. But now supersede the lower, and the course when armaments are the epitomes of of human evolution would suffer arrest. nations, and when the capacity to bear This is a conception of the function those armaments sums up the progress of war which (as I venture to believe) of a people, those who have eyes to see has not been hitherto placed directly can at last divine the ethical content of before the public. It is a conception war. Defeat in war is the fruit of which will be profoundly repugnant to naval and military inefficiency, and those who think that they know better that inefficiency is the inevitable sequel than the Power behind phenomena how to moral decay. Victory in war is the affairs of this, and perhaps of other the method by which, in the economy worlds, ought to be arranged. Cease of God's providence, the sound nation less efforts are being made alike in the supersedes the unsound, because in our United Kingdom and in the United time such victory is the direct off- States to destroy what remains of the spring of a higher efficiency, and the military spirit in the Anglo-Saxon race. higher efficiency is the logical out- War, and the preparation for war, come of the higher morale.
without which it brings defeat, are At the stage of development which represented as barbaric survivals which mankind has now reached, those great be abolished by international human families which we call nations agreements. still constitute in the main the funda- With such an object Mr. Carnegie mental divisions of the whole race. has recently invested two millions sterThese nations possess for the most part ling in a trust, with, it is said, the an intense organic life of their own. sagacious proviso that the balance, afThey are in fact individual organisms. ter the object has been attained, shall Each organism, while health animates be devoted to some further worthy it, feels the same impulse to grow and end. At the present epoch of the world's to compete with its rivals for increased history, Mr. Carnegie might just as means of subsistence which all knowl- well have created a trust for the aboedge and all experience present to our lition of death, with the understanding eyes in the sphere of biology, of which that after this trifling change in husphere nations in actual fact form a man conditions had been achieved, the part.
remaining funds should be assigned to And just as in the earlier and hum- the endowment of asylums for the imbler domains of that sphere the higher becile. type ever tended to survive, so in this For however frightful an evil war later period of biological development may appear, it is at any rate far less the higher and the nobler people tends fatal to the human race than death, of always to secure victory in that cul- whose manifestations it is a part. But mination of international competition than the part the whole is greater, and which we call war. Hence it follows thus is death greater than war. Yet that if the dream of short-sighted and death is essential to human life, as we superficial sentimentalists could be ful- know it. For if there were no death, filled—that is to say, if war could sud- how would the existence of mankind denly be rendered henceforth impossi- upon this planet be thinkable? At all