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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Sept. 1, 1915)
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The Effects and Results of War Hurtful,
Not Helpful to Civilization
It Is remarkable, if not instructive,
to read and ilea: expressed the many
views upon tho effects and results of
the present great European war.
How the end is to affect this or
that nation; how militarism will be
destroyed and peace secured as a
permanent blessing for mankind are
questions asked and agitated.
But no one who reads history or
who is not swayed by favoritism will
seriously t impressed with the be
lief that conditions will be material
ly different from what they were be
fore the war began.
Human advancement has been ra
ther circular than in a straight line
the extension, or rather the ad-.
vance hatf been but the increase in
the size of the circle.
While much talk is inauiged in
about the self-denial and self-sacrifice
throughout the nations of Eu
rope which are bound to bring per
manent change in conditions, and
sure to secure c, . uplift in both polit
ical and social conditions among all
classes, history forbids us to indulge
the hope of a realization of this pic
ture. Men from the beginning of civil
ization have be.- doing just what
they are doing in 'Europe today, de
voting themselves to war and to
peace, to service of king and country,
to acts of heroism, to rare display
of patriotic-Talor, to works of devo
tion to duty, to deeds 'of self-denial,
to patient suffering, to endurance. of
huiieer and tfatieue. to dan ere
passed, and t hardships present and I
rtiTAVVv ,1.1 r .,.!.. .1.
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All this is but -history repeating
itself: . i ,m , .
All this' is but what men. in ajl
ages have been repeating, yet drop
ping back after each . struggle was
ended to about the same level as. be
fore it began. . . . -
In some cases, a little lower level
was found, in others a somewhat
higher onei , ,
If the meeting demands and hard
ships of war heroically or successful
ly exercised any permanent or bene
ficial influence on , the character of
any people, this .world would today,
he very much better than it is..
Humanity lacks much of attaining
the exalted position which, .its suffer
ing from war has earned for it.
The experience is that the licen
tiousness aroused, the heartlessness
which comes from scenes of blood
and ruin, off-set the good, resulting
from the strength of character built
That successful war brutalized hu
manity, and an unsuccessful war
made it timid and deceitful was in
the earlier ages, the lesson taught.
This was. especially true of the,
Assyrians and the natipn? they con
quered. . i .
Moral and political reaption as well
as hate and prejudice are the fre
quent results of war.
Rome wrote her vengeance In the
destruction of Carthage,
Modern times and nations have
not been any better than were ' the
ancients. . , '
After the .Pjiritans in England
came ..the license of the reign of
Charles II. , . " '
From the wars of Louis XIV the
grand monarch of France came the
demoralization which culminated the
French revolution and the execution
of Louis XVI.
This was followed by the Napole
It is true, and a most notable fact,
however, that the result of our civil
nln 18,61 18G5 has been the
most wondrous for recuperation, for
reconstruction, for. human uplift and
betterment tho world ever saw: still
the moral strength of American
character is not today what it was
before the war.
xrumicai ana rel crious irton of
is tho result which all human experi
ence teaches us to expect.
Are we, now at pcaco in this coun
try, wanting warwanting it with
any of tho warring nations or with
Mexico? Montgomery (Ala.) Jour
TORPEDOING A MXTII
With painstaking care our neigh
bor tho Sun has inquired Into Mr.
jioosevcii's ort-reneatcd rnntmitimi
right and wrong havo lost-much of :that under Tho Hague convention it
their former vigor.
We tolerate wrongs and even
excuse themsuch as the people two
genefratlons ago would havo unhesi
This tremendous European experi
ence is ho new thing.
It is just what not only Europe, but
all the world bas gone through with
To whatever age one looks, there
is nothing to encourage the hope that
the war will improve conditions in
The very magnitude of the conflict,
if nothing else, would destroy all
hope of improvement.
! Tho world for at least two gener
ations has seen its brightest and
There is nothing truer in history
than that human advancement has
been through years of peace and that
human debasement and misery fol
That Europe will in every import
ant respect bp the worse for the war,
was our bounden duty" to provent or
resist tne Herman invasion of Bel
gium, and finds, of course, that no
bounden duty" or any othor duty
in respect to Belgian neutrality ever
rested upon tho United States.
This has been ono of tho most per
sistent myths of tho war. It was
first dragged into tho light of pub
licity, wo believe, by Robert Bacon,
who was secretary of state for a few
days in tho Roosevolt cabinet. Mr.
Bacon brought It home from Europe;
Mr. Roosevelt seized upon it as an
issue that might bo used against
President Wilson; various English
newspapers accorded it a place In
their columns, until tens of thousands
of credulous persons came to believe
that the United States was under
some sort of treaty obligation by tho
terms of Tho Hague conventions to
protect the neutrality of Belgium.
No such obligation ever existed.
Any person who will take the pains
to read Convention V., "respecting
the rights and duties of neutral pow
ers and persona in case of war on
land," can ascertain for himself In
ton minute that tho United Slate
government had na moral or legal
responsibility whatovcr for tho neu
trality of Bolglura, and that tho con
vention Itself, by its own terms and
provisions, had no binding forcd up
on any of the belligerent in this war,
to say nothing of other neutrals. But
even if tho convention had boon In
effect, the obligations of tho United
States wore nullified by tho rcscrva
tion that "nothing contained In this
convention shall bo so construed an
to require the United States to depart
from its traditional policy of not In
truding upon, interfering with or en
tangling itself In the political mirB
tlons of policy or internal adminis
tration of any foreign state."
Now York World.
A RESPONSIBLE GOVERNOR
What a determined governor, can
do toward the enforcement of law And
decency was shown by Luther E. Hall,
governor of Louisiana, when the sher
iff of a parish and tho prosecuting at
torney, who was his son, would not
closo a big gambling den near Now
Orleans. They still refused when the
governor ordered them to close it So
Governor Hall closed It himself with
"Tho governor of a stato Is Just as
responsible for lawlessness as tho lo
cal officers, and if they refuse to sup
press it, the du'y rt tho governor Is
to act," said Governor Hall after
ward a truth which applies as well
to Missouri as to Louisiana. Kansas
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Copyrighted, 1915, by John T. McCutcheon.
FATHER AND SON
-McCutcheon in the Chicago Trfbun.
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