Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/35

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25
Presidential Address.

radically transformed; since "industrialism," or "the age of discussion," or what not, will somehow persuade the lion and the lamb to sit down together to a peaceful if ruinous game of beggar-my-neighbour? The error—for it is an error of a fundamental kind in the eyes of the modern Darwinian—consists in thinking that, if one generation can gain a respite from war and develop peaceful habits, the next generation must tend to inherit by sheer force of biological descent a positive distaste for warlike avocations.[1] As if the whelps of the tamed fox would not run after chickens. Though one expel nature with a pitchfork in the parent's case, it reappears in the youngsters. Now the peoples of Western Europe "have been moulded by a prolonged and severe process of military selection."[2] There is war in the very blood of us; and it would task the powers of all the professors of eugenics to eradicate the strain. The only hope for peace, therefore, would seem to be offered by a purely social method of self-improvement; namely, by a system of moral education, renewed and reinforced from generation to generation, that should endeavour to harmonize our warlike and peaceful propensities—for, of course, we have our fair share of both—by organizing the life of each and all on a rational instead of a merely animal, and impulsive basis.

What, then, would be the lesson laid down by a rational theory of peace and war? At this point the argument passes beyond the frontiers of our special province. Such a problem belongs, not to anthropology, but to ethics; seeing that it has regard, not to matter of fact, but to policy. Even so, however, though he cannot be judge, the anthropologist may aspire to serve amongst the expert witnesses.[3]

  1. Cf. M'Dougall, op. cit. 284.
  2. Cf. M'Dougall, op. cit. 294.
  3. Another expert witness would be the psychologist; thus, for psychological expedients whereby the force of the pugnacious impulse may be turned to peaceful uses, see M'Dougall, op. cit 293; or W. James, The Moral Equivalent of War, International Conciliation Pamphlets, No. 27 (reprinted in Memories and Studies as Paper XI.; cf. Papers III. and XII. in same volume).