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Is war the worst thing that can happen? And it an-
The argument that there may be a just war is based Force in on the same principle as the argument for controlling defense of murderers and thieves. The national state, at first the liberty
and creation of force, has been growing step by step more
justice democratic and free. Its laws, at first the decrees of kings who claimed to rule by divine right, have been revised and rewritten in order to make them more just. It has a duty to its citizens to protect them from violence; it has a larger duty to prevent liberty and democracy from being crushed. If no other way is left open it may use force to aid such“ a universal dominion of right by such a concert of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all nations, and make the world itself at last free."
It is for war in defense of liberty that we have the
lines of Lowell that are on the Shaw Memorial in Boston:
“The brave soul of him lives on to light men's feet
Where death for noble ends makes dying sweet."
It is for death in such a cause that the lines of Emerson appeal to most men's moral sense:
War a crude method
“Though love repine, and reason chafe,
There came a voice without reply,-
When for the truth he ought to die.'”
for setting the slaves free in comparison with what the war actually cost in money; terrible loss of life, and the creation of bitter feelings which cannot yet be said to have died out entirely, might also have been avoided.
War persists because mankind has as yet risen but a little way on the ladder. The nation is a better group for keeping the peace than was the early clan, and a democratic nation is a great advance beyond the king and his warriors. Loyalty to a democratic nation is a nobler devotion than loyalty to a clan or a chief or a king. Patriotism is a quality we honor. But a nation, like a clan, is a group which has its defects as well as its values. So far as it means coöperation it is good; so far as it limits coöperation with other peoples, or what is worse, sets men in hostility to other peoples, it is bad. Loyalty to a great cause, such as freedom, is noble; but we have come to see that only by justice and coöperation can even freedom be secure. Loyalty to mankind must finally be supreme; international law, international coöperation, international friendship must increase. This may not mean that nations will give up their individual lives, or cease to exist, any more than the family ceased to exist when nations were formed. It means, first, that we shall cultivate in science, in trade, in art, in communication of all sorts, a wider knowledge of mankind, a more intelligent sympathy, a genuine respect, and thus prepare for what an American philosopher has called the Great Community. It means, secondly, that nations will have to keep international law and submit their disputes to a better tribunal than war.
For, when all is said, it remains true that might does not make right. A war decides which side is stronger; it does not decide which side is right. If we were to
Might does not make right
look back through history we should probably find about as many cases where the wrong has won as where the right has won. Some have argued that we must suppose that God will always decide for the right in a struggle. So far as we can see, this is not the case when the struggle is one of physical force. People used to think that the way to decide whether a man was innocent or guilty was to leave it to God. They would throw the man into the water or make him walk over hot plowshares. We have concluded that God has given man reason by which to decide such questions, and we think that trial by jury is a better plan to find out innocence than is trial by ordeal. So formerly in battle kings used to think that their national god would be on their side and would enable them to win the victory; but we have seen how many good causes have been trampled down, how many noble men and women have perished through violence, so that it has sometimes seemed to be,
Right forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the
On the whole, ideas and discussion, the work and example of noble men and women, have been greater powers than war for the spread of liberty and justice. The noblest words of faith which I know, and those which may well serve as the maxim in life for every American citizen in our dealings with other nations as well as in our own affairs, are the words of Lincoln:
LET US HAVE FAITH THAT RIGHT MAKES MIGHT."
Amendments to Federal Consti Revolution, 164, 293; Hamil-
tution, early, 175 f.; four ton on, 197; wage-earning,
by the frontier, 291; present
problems of, 293 f.;
Constitution, purpose of, 187,
187 f.; as adjustment of con-
flicting interests, 192-201;
slavery in, 199, 204; as
fundamental law, 260; amend-
ment of, see Amendments.
Cooperation, in the clan, 16-20,
29; limits, 27, 33; in the
state, 37, 42 f.; in exchange
of goods, 81 ff.; in towns, 94;
in industry and business,
163; in the union of Ameri-
can states, 183 ff.; in nation,
297; in international rela-
162; power of, 162-64; atti. protect liberty and democ-
Coppage vs. Kansas, 260.
26; values, 28-30, 32 f.; de Courage, in clan life, 33; in
fects, 27 f., 30-31, 33, 34. society of warriors, 67 f.
29; in early England, 39 ff.; king's, 47, 50, 59-62, 126; of