Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/92

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88
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY
WAR AND MANHOOD[1]
By President DAVID STARR JORDAN
STANFORD UNIVERSITY

THE message I shall attempt to-day is a message of peace through the arraignment of war. My attack shall be made from the side of biology, and my text may be found in these words of Sophocles, "War does not of choice destroy bad men, but good men ever."

I shall leave to those who have had far more experience than I, the discussion of the advantages of law, order and arbitration over brute force, which decides nothing. I shall leave to one side all questions of the relations of war to social, ethical and religious development. I shall leave to others all consideration of the horrors of war, its legacies of sin, and suffering, and life-long agony. I shall not consider the costs of wars long since fought, a burden strapped for all time on the backs of the toilers of Europe. I shall not consider the cost of future wars, never to be fought, but provided for in the budget of every nation, again a burden unbearable on those whose chief relation to the life of nations is the burdens nations needlessly impose. I shall not depict the growing strength of the invisible empire of bondholders who are fast becoming the owners of the civilized world, and whose silent nod determines the issue of every great empire in war or peace.

My message concerns solely the relations of war to manhood, as shown in the succession of generations.

Benjamin Franklin once said:

There is one effect of a standing army which must in time be felt so as to bring about the abolition of the system. A standing army not only diminishes the population of a country, but even the size and breed of the human species. For an army is the flower of the nation. All the most vigorous, stout and well-made men in a kingdom are to be found in the army, and these men, in general, can not marry.

What is true of standing armies is still more true of the armies that fight and fall. Those men who perish are lost to the future of civilization, they and their blood forever. For, as Franklin said again, "Wars are not paid for in war time: the bill comes later."

The last thirty years have seen the period of greatest activity in the study of biology. Among other matters, we have seen the rise of definite knowledge of the process of heredity, and its application to the formation and improvement of races of men and animals. From our

  1. Address (given in German) before the Weltcongress von Freien Christenturn, Berlin, August 7, 1910.