Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 85.djvu/300

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A League of Peace

THE futility of war as a means of producing peace between nations has often been dwelt upon. It is really the most futile of all remedies, because it embitters contestants and sows the seeds of future struggles. Generations are sometimes required to eradicate the hostility engendered by one conflict. War sows dragons' teeth, and seldom gives to either party what it fought for. When it does, the spoil generally proves Dead Sea fruit. The terrible war just concluded is another case in point. Neither contestant obtained what he fought for, the reputed victor being most of all disappointed at last with the terms of peace. Had Japan, a very poor country, known that the result would be a debt of two hundred millions sterling loading her down, or had Russia known the result, differences would have been peacefully arbitrated. Such considerations find no place, however, in the fiery furnace of popular clamor; as little do those of cost or loss of life. Only if the moral wrong, the sin in itself, of man-slaying is brought home to the conscience of the masses may we hope speedily to banish war. There will, we fear, always be demagogues in our day to inflame their brutal passions and urge men to fight, as a point of honor and patriotism, scouting arbitration as a cowardly refuge. All thoughts of cost or loss of human life vanish when the brute in man, thus aroused, gains sway.

It is the crime of destroying human life by war and the duty to offer or accept peaceful arbitration as a substitute which need to be established, and which, as we think, those of the church, the universities, and of the professions are called upon to strongly emphasize.

If the principal European nations were not free through conscription from the problem which now disturbs the military authorities of Britain, the lack of sufficient numbers willing to enter the man slaying profession, we should soon hear the demand formulated for a league of peace among the nations. The subject of war can never be studied without recalling this simplest of all modes for its abolition. Five nations cooperated in quelling the recent Chinese disorders and rescuing their representatives in Pekin. It is perfectly clear that these five nations could banish war. Suppose even three of them formed a league of peace—inviting all other nations to join—and agreed that since war in any part of the civilized world affects all nations, and often seriously, no nation shall go to war, but shall refer international disputes, to the Hague conference or other arbitral body for peaceful