I WILL admit that there are any number of things that stand in the way of Universal Peace, but they will all sooner or later be brushed aside.
First, people like show (so does a peacock). Officers like to wear their uniforms; their wives like to see them wear them and so do the children.
Second, martial music is inspiring.
Third, mimic battles, with the great movements of the contending armies, please the rulers of all countries. It is a big show, big noise, lots of smoke, something doing. Peace is quiet and people born in a world of noise and excitement, when they first come in contact with quiet, are worried.
Some people go through life and never taste of the rest and strength that come in the quiet hours (they never really had any). Some men and women think that unless every hour of the day and night is taken up with action, they are doing nothing. They have never sat down by the hour in quiet. The only way on earth, to my mind, to fit one's self for life's battle, is to get out of the world just as far as you can now and then and rebuild in quiet.
Solitude is the greatest tonic on earth, if your thoughts are peaceful. If they are not, it is the place to find peaceful thoughts.
One thing that stands in the way of Universal Peace is selfishness, love of money, grabitis. It is a well-known fact that during war abnormal things required and they can charge what they wish. So these syndicates often own papers with great influence; through these, they can shape the thoughts of the people, until it looks as if it would be a lasting dishonor to retreat from some stand taken. These people are fully aware of the fact that it is not their blood that will be spilt.
They look on the nation's army and navy not as human beings, but as a machine, constructed at great annual cost and for use when possible in their selfish interests. They know that war will enrich thousands, themselves included -- that it creates a condition where graft can run amuck and not be noticed. So war is forced on the world and these men's pockets lined and the dollars picked up out of the blood pools formed by the sons of the nation, its young men.
This is a strong statement, but it is a true one.
Fourth, there is tremendous power back of the capital invested in powder plants, ship yards, factories making plate and guns; also cloth used in uniforms; contractors who are employed year after year in building fortifications, contractors who supply the armies with horses and mules, contractors who supply the armies and navies with food stuff, and cities that are supported by the forts and barracks near them.
Fifth, bankers who make large sums each year in the nation's finances would lose great commissions, as with the armies and navies disbanded, taxes will be so much less that bond issues and loaning money to nations will almost go out of date, and the great saving for each nation will make tax burdens lighter.
For each idle man, here must be someone at work to support him, and with 4,000,000 people in the armies and navies of the Old World back at work, the earning power of each nation would be greater and there would be more people to bear the burdens by at least 4,000,000. These people would be at useful pursuits instead of being non-producers, as they are now.
But these manufacturers of all kinds have powerful lobbies working for contracts; in some countries the people who award the contracts are members of the families that make the goods ordered and often stockholders in the companies. Members of Legislatures, members of Parliament, are often at the head of these companies, and to give up war hits a hard blow at their pocket-books and they cannot see the justice of it.
There is no doubt but that harm would be done to a number of investments, but that can be adjusted. If a railroad passes through your land, the land is condemned and paid for. It would be cheaper for the nations to buy up all ammunition manufactories, all the ship yards, etc., paying for them and putting them out of business, than to keep on building and putting on the scrap heap, building and putting on the scrap heap, and repeating the operation. Nations are fools to allow this. The reader will pardon the word, since there is no other to use.
The purchase of all the manufactories of war materials in the world, if this stood in the way of peace, would be nothing to the annual cost of keeping up the preparations for war. How much cheaper it would have been for this nation to have paid $5,000 for each slave in the South, rather than have the awful war that we did. That war cost our nation 800,000 lives. That was over forty years ago, but if it had not been for that war, we would to-day have over 100,000,000 people in the United States. estimate that we freed 4,000,000 slaves by the war; since the war we have paid $4,000,000,000 for pensions alone. We will not speak of the cost of the war itself, which was eight billions; of the progress retarded in our land, of the 800,000 lives sacrificed on the alter of hate, of the awful devastation, of the heart-broken wives and mothers, -- we will only consider the 4,000,000 slaves freed and the $4,000,000,000 of pension money. This is in pensions alone equal to $1000 for each slave freed and as the average price of slaves, children and old people included, was $500 each, we have paid in pensions alone from that war twice the market price of all the slaves freed, and we are not yet done.
Our nation's expenses for the year ending June 30, 1910, were $659,705,391. Out of this we paid for the army and navy and war pensions $442,843,582, or sixty-seven per cent. of our total expenses were for the army and navy and pensions.
Is this not like the nation's walking a treadmill all the year and paying out sixty-seven per cent. of its total expenditures for the privilege of getting off the tread-mill at the end of the year, just where it got on?
What could the nation do if this was stopped? Take $100,000,000 for ship subsidies, conquer the earth by ships of commerce in place of Dreadnoughts.
We pay English Fire Insurance Companies millions each year to insure us against fire. Keep this fact in mind.
What nations can we fear? Only three -- England, Japan and Germany.
Japan cannot go to war; the bankers would not grant her the loans to fight, and it is nearly the same with the other two.
Well now, to fix these nations, suppose we should say to them: "We have made up our minds that one of us must start the peace movement. We will be the nation to disarm. We will pay you three $50,000,000 each year to insure our peace to us. To us this would mean a saving of $132,000,000 over last year's army and navy expenses; to you it would mean a relief from heavy burdens, giving each of you $50,000,000 a year and no work to do.
As these three nations would be guaranteeing our peace, no other nation would dare disturb it. Becoming the guardians of our peace, they would forever be removed from becoming our enemies. It is as logical to pay insurance against war as to pay foreign companies for insurance against fire.
All new ideas are opposed. The greater the benefit the greater the opposition. When steam was talked of for foreign navigation, two great scientists wrote a book and proved that it would be impossible to cross the ocean by steam, and the book came from the press just in time to go on the first ship that did cross by steam.
When railroads were first proposed in England, people fought them because the trains would scare the cows and spoil the milk! When machine looms came, the world was sure that thousands would starve who then ran hand looms; this almost caused a revolution in England. But the people did not starve because of the machine looms; they made work for all and more work and better pay.
When the linotype machine came, the printers were up in arms. It would take the bread out of their mouths. What was the result? More work than ever for printers at better wages. No more tramp printers; it was now a dignified trade with good wages. This is what the linotype machine did.
Can it be possible that the people who manufacture guns and all death dealing machines, really hope that they will never be used?
It is impossible to believe that anyone making such instruments could ever wish to profit by a new way to murder. They hope that they can sell these engines of destruction, but that they will only be used in practice.
I remember a friend who invented a new gun. It was a wonder; it could cut its initials in holes on any man on whom it was trained, and a flour sieve would be as practical on the surgeon's operating table as a man who had held a long distance conversation with that gun.
He came to me, but I said, "No, I do not want stock in anything that kills." He said, "Oh, there will never be any more war. This gun will only be used for practice, but the nations must buy it. There is a fortune in the stock." I answered, "Well, if it will only put debt burdens on nations, I do not want to profit by that."
So I cut out investments in death or burden-producing machines. No Red Cross nurse will ever have to work over some victim of any gun that my money has paid for, and no wife will ever be widowed nor child made fatherless by any death-dealing machine made with my money.
How is it that a man so humane that he cannot kick a dog will put his money in some back-acting, anti-clinker gun, warranted to kill two where only one was killed before?