Page:The War and the Future (Masefield, 1918).djvu/68

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The War and the Future

them to dominate; he preaches about duty and his own magnificence in his churches and schools, because he thinks that it teaches people to obey. And at last, when his entire State does obey, and all his officers have bad manners, and a desire to dominate everybody, he has in his hands a terrible instrument of destruction which may be launched anywhere at his caprice. He is that irresponsible autocratic power who has been the main cause of war for twenty centuries.

But for the fact that all the power and blind obedience of a nation may be flung anywhere at the caprice of one man, there is much to be said for the military state. But that fact damns it, and the world has never allowed it to continue. The gunman who may be drunk or mad or savage at any minute is too dangerous to be allowed in the house. Rome, who had nobly held the idea of law, became that kind of State and fell. France, who had nobly held the idea of liberty, became that kind of State, and fell; and the savage Zulus, who made themselves a people and then an exterminating scourge also fell; and I feel that a grosser people, who have upheld neither law nor liberty, but have become exterminating scourges, will also fall. We