Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/34

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Presidential Address.

doubtless one still current, that savagery is a bellum omnium contra omnes; that it forms the militaristic pole of the social universe, whereas civilization with its industrialism represents the opposite pole of peace. Major Powell, one of the pioneers of American anthropology, has done his best to explode this popular fallacy. "Warfare," he contends, "has had its course of evolution, as have all other human activities. That human progress has been from militancy to industrialism is an error so great that it must necessarily vitiate any system of sociology or theory of culture of which it forms a part." ... "The savage tribes of mankind carried on petty warfare with clubs, spears, and bows and arrows. But these wars interrupted their peaceful pursuits only at comparatively long intervals. The wars of barbaric tribes were on a larger scale and more destructive of life; but there were no great wars until wealth was accumulated and men were organized into nations. The great wars began with civilization."[1] Savage war, after all, is, in some aspects at all events, a genial occupation; it is perhaps comparable to pig-sticking as a sport. But civilized war resembles a pig-killing by machinery after the manner of Chicago; it is a matter of sordid business without redeeming glamour of any kind. If the age of stone slew its thousands in a year, the age of steel slays its tens of thousands in a day. But an art does not usually become obsolete at the moment of its highest elaboration and efficiency.

The third and last consideration has a psychological and even biological bearing. Why do such writers as Spencer and Bagehot, though fully recognizing the salutary part played by war in the making of civilized man, go on to assume that henceforth the struggle for existence will be

  1. J. W. Powell, From Barbarism to Civilization, in American Anthropologist, i. 103; cf. what the same author says about the comparatively peaceful life of the North American Indians in pre-Columbian times, Smithsonian Institution, Ann. Rep. Bur. Ethn. vii. 39.