Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/598

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

In like manner, though war, by bringing about social consolidations, indirectly favors industrial progress and all its civilizing consequences, yet the direct effect of war on industrial progress is repressive. It is repressive as necessitating the abstraction of men and materials that would otherwise go to industrial growth; it is repressive as deranging the complex interdependencies among multitudinous, productive, and distributive agencies; it is repressive as draughting off much administrative and constructive ability, which would else have gone to improve the industrial arts and the industrial organization. And if we contrast the absolutely-military Spartans with the partially-military Athenians in their respective attitudes toward culture of every kind, or call to mind the contempt shown for the pursuit of knowledge in purely-military times like those of feudalism, we cannot fail to see that predominant warlike activity is at variance not only with industrial development, but also with the higher intellectual developments that aid it and are aided by it.

So, too, with the effects wrought on the moral nature. While war, by the discipline it gives soldiers, directly cultivates the habit of subordination, and does the like indirectly by establishing strong and permanent governments; and while in so far it cultivates attributes that are not only temporarily essential, but are steps toward attributes that are permanently essential; yet it does this at the cost of maintaining, and sometimes increasing, detrimental attributes—attributes intrinsically antisocial. The aggressions which selfishness prompts—aggressions which, in a society, have to be restrained by some power that is strong in proportion as the selfishness is intense, can diminish only as fast as selfishness is held in check by sympathy; and perpetual warlike activities repress sympathy: nay, they do worse—they cultivate aggressiveness to the extent of making it a pleasure to inflict injury. The citizen made callous by the killing and wounding of enemies, inevitably brings his callousness with him into society. Fellow-feeling, habitually trampled out in military conflicts, cannot at the same time be active in the relations of civil life. In proportion as the giving pain to others is made a habit during war, it will remain a habit during peace: inevitably producing, in the behavior of citizens to one another, antagonisms, crimes of violence, and multitudinous aggressions of minor kinds, tending toward a disorder that calls for a coercive government. Nothing like a high type of social life is possible without a type of human character in which the promptings of egoism are duly restrained by regard for others. The necessities of war imply absolute self-regard and absolute disregard of certain others. Inevitably, therefore, the civilizing discipline of social life is antagonized by the uncivilizing discipline of the life war involves. So that, beyond the direct mortality and miseries entailed by war, it entails other mortality and miseries by maintaining antisocial sentiments in citizens.