The West-Australians have a usage that any man who has committed a wrong according to their code must submit to a flight of spears from all who think themselves aggrieved, or he must allow a spear to be thrust through his leg or arm. There is a tariff of wounds as penalties for all common crimes. We understand that this is an in-group usage. It is a common custom in Australia that a man who has stolen a wife from an out-group must submit to a flight of spears from her group-comrades; this is now only a ceremony, but it is a peace-institution which has set aside old warfare on account of stolen women. As we have seen, the Australians live in very small groups, but they assemble from time to time in large kin-groups for purposes of festivals of a religious character. The kin-groups are not peace-groups, because they are loose and have no common life. At the assemblies all the sacred objects are brought into the ceremonial ground, but on account of the danger of quarrels, no display of arms is allowed anywhere near the sacred objects. Bearers of messages from one tribe to another are regarded as under a peace-taboo in eastern Australia; women are under a peace-taboo and hence are employed as ambassadors to arrange disputes between tribes. After a quarrel there is a corroboree, to make andconfirm peace. These usages are institutional. They are positive rules of an arbitrary character, depending upon agreement and usage, but are devised to satisfy expediency. In Queensland no fighting at all is allowed at night in camp; those who want to fight must go outside, and after a fight the victor must show to his comrades that he had a real grievance. If he does not convince them of this they force him to submit to the same mutilation from his victim that he has inflicted. The women fight with their yam-sticks, which are about four feet long. One woman allows the other to strike her on the head; the second must then submit to a blow; thus they go on until one does not want any more. What we have to notice here is that the fight, inside the group, is under regulations, which fact makes it institutional. The duel is a similar ease of a conventionalized fight in the midst of a peaceful civil order. In all these cases we see that war is admitted inside of a peace-group when individuals are wronged or offended by comrades, but only in conventionalized and regulated form, so that it is a kind of lawful war.
If any group which possesses deposits of salt, flint-stone fit for implements, pipe-stone, water supply, or special foods should try to prevent others from having access to the same, all others would join in war against that one until an agreement was made and established by usage. This agreement is either one of peaceful access to natural supplies or one of trade. Tribes also agree to take wives from each other. We often have reason to be astonished at the institution-making power of nature-men when disagreeable experience has forced them to find relief. The Tubu of the Sahara are warlike and distrustful even of each other to such an extent that they scarcely form a society; even in their villages they quarrel and fight. It is a very noteworthy feature that these people have no notion of rights. It is the in-group as a peace-group which is the school of rights; as we have seen, there can be peace and order inside only by law (using this term in its broadest sense); but a law creates and enforces rights. Now these Tubu have been forced to make a law that inside the village no weapons may be worn, so that here already we find an institutional arrangement to limit warlikeness. When Nachti-gal, visiting the Tubu, complained of their ill usage of himself and threatened to go away, they pointed out to him that as soon as he had left their territory he would be at their mercy. This shows that even they had an idea of some rights of a guest inside their group as comparedwith his status outside, when he would be protected by nothing. The Beduin have the same notion. They are ruthless robbers and murderers, but a guest in the tent is perfectly safe and entitled to their best hospitality. When he leaves it he is fair game, whether enemy, friend, or neighbor.
This is exactly the view which was held in Spain, France, Holland, and England in the eighteenth century, and upon which the navigation system, against which our fathers revolted, was founded. If we adopt this view we may count upon it that we shall be embroiled in constant wars with other nations, which will not consent that we should shut them out of parts of the earth's surface until we prove that we can do it by force. Then we shall be parties to a renewal of all the eighteenth century wars for colonies, for supremacy on the sea, for “trade,” as the term is used, for world supremacy, and for all the rest of the heavy follies from which our fathers fought to free themselves. That is the policy of Russia and France at the present time, and we have before our eyes proofs of its effect on the peace and welfare of mankind.
Some will answer me that they do not intend to adopt any Spanish colonial system; that they intend to imitate the modern English policy with respect to colonies. The proudest fact in the history of England is that, since the Napoleonic wars, she has steadily corrected abuses, amended her institutions, redressed grievances, and so has made her recent history a story of amelioration of all her institutions, social, political, and civil. To do this she has had to overcome old traditions, established customs, vested rights, and all the other obstacles which retard or prevent social improvement. The consequence is that the traditions of her public service, in all its branches, have been purified, and that a body of men has grown up who have a noble spirit, high motives, honorable methods, and excellent standards. At the same time the policy of the country has been steadily growing more and more enlightened in regard to all the great interests of society. These triumphs of peace are far greater than any triumphs of war. It takes more national grit to correct abuses than to win battles. England has shown herself very willing indeed to learn from us whatever we could teach, and we might learn a great deal from her on matters far more important than colonial policy. Her reform of her colonial policy is only a part, and perhaps a consequence, of the improvements made elsewhere in her political system.
It follows, then, that it is unwisdom to take into a State like this any foreign element which is not congenial to it. Any such element will act as a solvent upon it. Consequently we are brought by our new conquests face to face with this dilemma: we must either hold them as inferior possessions, to be ruled and exploited by us after the fashion of the old colonial system, or we must take them in on an equality with ourselves, where they will help to govern us and to corrupt a political system which they do not understand and in which they cannotparticipate. From that dilemma there is no escape except to give them independence and to let them work out their own salvation or go without it. Hayti has been independent for a century and has been a theater of revolution, tyranny, and bloodshed all the time. There is not a Spanish-American state which has proved its capacity for self-government as yet. It is a fair question whether any one of them would have been worse off than it is to-day if Spanish rule had been maintained in it. The chief exception is Mexico. Mr. Lummis, an American, has recently published a book on Mexico, in which he tells us that we would do well to go to school to Mexico for a number of important public interests, but Mexico has been, for ten or fifteen years, under a dictator, and the republican forms have been in abeyance. What will happen there when the dictator dies nobody knows. The doctrine that we are to take away from other nations any possessions of theirs which we think that we could manage better than they are managing them, or that we are to take in hand any countries which we do not think capable of self-government, is one which will lead us very far. With that doctrine in the background, our politicians will have no trouble to find a war ready for us the next time that they come around to the point where they think that it is time for us to have another. We are told that we must have a big army hereafter. What for; unless we propose to do again by and by what we have just done? In that ease our neighbors have reason to ask themselves whom we will attack next. They must begin to arm, too, and by our act the whole western world is plunged into the distress under which the eastern world is groaning. Here is another point in regard to which the conservative elements in the country are making a great mistake toallow all this militarism and imperialism to go on without protest. It will be established as a rule that, whenever political ascendency is threatened, it can be established again by a little war, filling the minds of the people with glory and diverting their attention from their own interests. Hard-headed old Benjamin Franklin hit the point when, referring back to the days of Marlborough, he talked about the “pest of glory.” The thirst for glory is an epidemic which robs a people of their judgment, seduces their vanity, cheats them of their interests, and corrupts their consciences.
There is another effect of war which is less obvious but more important. During a period of peace, rest, and routine, powers are developed which are in reality societal variations, among which a certain societal selection should take place. Here comes in the immense benefit of real liberty, because, if there is real liberty, a natural selection results; but if there is social prejudice, monopoly, privilege, orthodoxy, tradition, popular delusion, or any other restraint on liberty, selection does not occur. War operates a rude and imperfect selection. Our Civil War may serve as an example; think of the public men who were set aside by it and of the others who were brought forward by it, and compare them in character and ideas. Think of the doctrines which were set aside as false, and of the others which were established as true; also of the constitutional principles which were permanently stamped as heretical or orthodox. As a simple example, compare the position and authority of the president of the United States as it was before and as it has been since the Civil War. The Germans tell of the ruthless and cruel acts of Napoleon in Germany, and all that they say is true; but he did greater services to Germany than any other man who can be mentioned. He tore down the relics of mediœvalism and set the powers of the nation to some extent free from the fetters of tradition; we do not see what else could have done it. It took another war in 1870 to root out the traditional institutions and make way for the new ones. Of course the whole national life responded to this selection. The Roman state was a selfish and pitiless subjugation of all the rest of mankind. It was built on slavery, it costinconceivable blood and tears, and it was a grand system of extortion and plunder, but it gave security and peace under which the productive powers of the provinces expanded and grew. The Roman state gave discipline and organization and it devised institutions; the modern world has inherited societal elements from it which are invaluable. One of the silliest enthusiasms which ever got control of the minds of a great body of men was the Crusades, but the Crusades initiated a breaking up of the stagnation of the Dark Ages and an emancipation of the social forces of Europe. They exerted a selective effect to destroy what was barbaric and deadening and to foster what had new hope in it by furnishing a stimulus to thought and knowledge.
A society needs to have a ferment in it; sometimes an enthusiastic delusion or an adventurous folly answers the purpose. In the modern world the ferment is furnished by economic opportunity and hope of luxury. In other ages it has often been furnished by war. Therefore some social philosophers have maintained that the best course of human affairs is an alternation of peace and war. Some of them also argue that the only unity of the human race which can ever come about must be realized from the survival of the fittest in a war of weapons, ih a conflict of usages, and in a rivalry issuing in adaptability to the industrial organization. It is not probable that aborigines will ever in the future be massacred in masses, as they have been in the past, but the case is even worse when, like our Indians for instance, they are set before a fatal dilemma. They cannot any longer live in their old way; they must learn to live by unskilled labor or by the mechanic arts. This, then, is the dilemma: to enter into the civilized industrial organization or to dieout. If it had been possible for men to sit still in peace without civilization, they never would have achieved civilization; it is the iron spur of the nature-process which has forced them on, and one form of the nature-process has been the attack of some men upon others who were weaker than they.
War also develops societal organization; it produces political institutions and classes. In the past these institutions and classes have been attended by oppressionand by the exploitation of man by man; nevertheless, the more highly organized society has produced gains for all its members, including the oppressed or their posterity. The social exploitation is not essential to the organization, and it may be prevented by better provisions. In long periods of peace the whole societal structure becomes fixed in its adjustments and the functions all run into routine. Vested interests get an established control; some classes secure privileges and establish precedents, while other classes form habits of acquiescence. Traditions acquire a sacred character and philosophical doctrines are taught in churches and schools which make existing customs seem to be the “eternal order of nature.” It becomes impossible to find a standing-ground from which to attack abuses and organize reform. Such was the case in France in the eighteenth century. By war new social powers break their way and create a new order. The studentis tempted to think that even a great social convulsion is worth all it costs. What other force could break the bonds and open the way? But that is not the correct inference, because war and revolution never produee what is wanted, but only some mixture of the old evils with new ones; what is wanted is a peaceful and rational solution of problems and situations—but that requires great statesmanship and great popular sense and virtue. In the past the work has been done by war and revolution, with haphazard results and great attendant evils. To take an example from our own history: the banking and currency system of the United States, in 1860, was at a deadlock; we owe the national bank system, which was a grand reform of currency and banking, to the Civil War. It is impossible to see how else we could have overcome the vested interests and could have extricated ourselves from our position. It was no purposeof the war to reform the currency, but it gave an incidental opportunity and we had to win from it what we could.
Shall any statesman, therefore, ever dare to say that it would be well, at a given moment, to have a war, lest the nation fall into the vices of industrialism and the evils of peace? The answer is plainly: No! War is never a handy remedy, which can be taken up and applied by routine rule. No war which can be avoided is just to the people who have to carry it on, to say nothing of the enemy. War is Eke other evils; it must be met when it is unavoidable, and such gain as can be got from it must be won. In the forum of reason and deliberation war never can be anything but a makeshift, to be regretted; it is the task of the statesman to find rational means to the same end. A statesman who proposes war as an instrumentality admits his incompetency; a politician who makes use of war as a counter in the game of parties is a criminal.