Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/597

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
577
THE STUDY OF SOCIOLOGY.

large that the amount of exchange to be facilitated is great. Hence, unquestionably, that integration of societies effected by war has been a needful preliminary to industrial development, and consequently to developments of other kinds—Science, the Fine Arts, etc.

Industrial habits too, and habits of subordination to social requirements, are indirectly brought about by the same cause. The truth that the power of working continuously, wanting in the aboriginal man, could be established only by that persistent coercion to which conquered and enslaved tribes are subject, has become trite. An allied truth is, that only by a discipline of submission, first to an owner, then to a personal governor, presently to government less personal, then to the embodied law proceeding from government, could there eventually be reached submission to that code of moral law by which the civilized man is more and more restrained in his dealings with his fellows.

Such being some of the important truths usually ignored by men too exclusively influenced by the religion of amity, let us now glance at the no less important truths to which men are blinded by the religion of enmity.

 

Though, during barbarism and the earlier stages of civilization, war has the effect of exterminating the weaker societies, and of weeding out the weaker members of the stronger societies, and thus in both ways furthering the development of those valuable powers, bodily and mental, which war brings into play; yet, during the later stages of civilization, the second of these actions is reversed. So long as all adult males have to bear arms, the average result is that those of most strength and quickness survive, while the feebler and slower are slain; but when the industrial development has become such that only some of the adult males are draughted into the army, the tendency is to pick out and expose to slaughter the best-grown and healthiest; leaving behind the physically inferior to propagate the race. The fact that among ourselves, though the number of soldiers raised is not relatively large, many recruits are rejected by the examining surgeons, shows that the process inevitably works toward deterioration. Where, as in France, conscriptions have gone on generation after generation, taking away the finest men, the needful lowering of the standard proves how disastrous is the effect on those animal qualities of a race which form a necessary basis for all higher qualities. If the depletion is indirect also—if there is such an overdraw on the energies of the industrial population that a large share of heavy labor is thrown on the women, whose systems are taxed simultaneously by hard work and child-bearing, a further cause of physical degeneracy comes into play: France again supplying an example. War, therefore, after a certain stage of progress, instead of furthering bodily development and the development of certain mental powers, becomes a cause of retrogression.