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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Nov. 1, 1920)
BROTHER JdR BRUTE?
(A&8& delivered by, William - Jennings
grtaWr Jorld Brotherhood Congress,
Washington,' D. 0. October 13, 1920.)
I appreciate the honor done me by the officers
of this -congress, and still more the opportunity
they-afford me, in allowing me to speak through
this-organization tolhe people of the world on
a subject, always of supreme importance and
never inpre important than now. The nations
arO' emerging from a war without a precedent
or parallel In all the annals of time. Thirty
millions of human beings have been sacrificed in
this war;- 300 billions worth of property has
been destroyed; public debts have increased
from 40 billions to 259 billions more than
500 per cent; paper money issues have grown
from" V billions to 5G while the gold reserve be
hind the paper has dwindled from 70 per cent
to 2'percent. Commerce, which ought to have
bound ,the nations together, 'has been the pri
mary caujie of this war; science, which should
minister to man "welfare, has furnished to the
cotfibatants effective instruments Of destruc
tion; kahd religion, which should have prevented
war, has .been its apologist I know of no great
er indictment that can be brought against the
Christian nations of the world than this, that,
1900 - years after the angels sang to the shep
herdC at Bethlehem their song of "Peace on
earth,-good will to men," the Christians have not
the Psalmist and Solomon used the .word' brut
ish in describing cortain kinds of men, and one
of the minor prophets calls down wrath upon
those who build a city with blood. Christ, it
will bo remembered, donouncod the hypocritoa
who devoured widow's houses and for a pretense
made long prayers.
And the distinction exists today. Were the
scribes any worse than the profiteers of today
wh,o steal from the provision basket and rob the
wardrobe? Were they any worse than the busi
ness men whoso policy of poisoning for profit
made puro food laws necessary? AVero they
worse than the employers who, but for the law,
would coin the lives of little children into larg
er dividends? Wore they worse than thoso who,
until prohibition prevented, made money by in
croasmjg the death rate among little children
and by manufacturing paupers and criminals by
the sale of intoxicants? Woro. they worse than
the men who plunder tho wheat fields of the land
by depressing prices just before harvest time.
War gives opportunity for supreme sacrifice
but it is neither desirable nor necessary. It
arouses all the brute in man; lifo Is pitted
against life, and a flood of passion drowns out
all kindly feeling. War creates a profession that
perfects itself in the art of slaughter and con
verts the taking of human lives into a science.
War creates standards of honor as false as that
yet found a way of settling their international;, which supported duelling. War teaches tho re-
disputes except by- killing each other on tho
battlefield. The great-branches of. the Christian
church have played leading parts in the war,
with Mohammedanism, Bhuddism, and Shinto
ism, also involved.
JThe world is weary of war. If blood is neces
sary for the remission of sins, enough has been
spilled to atone for the wrong donO by 'ail who
live upon the earth. If sorrow is ''necessary to,
fVperitanco ahd reform, enough tears have been
stfedto wash away all the crimes of the past,
(This. last plague would seem tathave been suf
ficient to release the world" from bondage , to
qred if so, mankind is ready to turn over a
new leaf and set about the task of finding a way
o "prevent war. The work will be made easier
by -the fact that equal suffrage brings woman's
conscience to the aid of man's judgment and thus
hastens the triumph of every righteous cause.
"My subject, as announced, is-"World Brother
hood and World Peace," but it is longer than
necesgary. Why say "both "World Brotherhood"
and "World Peace?" World Brotherhood .would
bring-World Peace, and World Teace implies
'"SVorld.-Brotherhood as a necessary condition pre
cedent, In order to focus attention-on the real
question Involved I shall take the liberty of giv
ing to jny address a different- title, namely,
-BROTHER or BRUTE? This is the choice that
each human being is compelled to make a
choice's distinct and fundamental as the choice
between God and Baal, and a choice not unlike
' Annealings between man and man are basQd
upon' one theory or the other they are either
brotherly, .or brutal; there is no middle ground.
One may ibe a vdry weak brother or a very feeble
brute -but each person is, consciously or. uncon
sciously, controlled by the sympathetic spirit of
brotherhood or hunts for spoil with the savage
hunger of the beast of prey.
J am not making a new classification; I, am
merely calling attention to a classification, that
has come down from the beginning of history.
Many years- ago I hejird a man from New
Zealand tell how a cannibal in that country once
supported his claim to a piece of land on the
ground that the title passed to him when he ate
the former owner. I accepted this story as a. bit
of humor," but it simply describes an Motoric
form of title. Even among the highly civUiwd
nations governments conveyed to their subjects
or pttisjeriB" land secured by conquest, tho lands
being tahen from the conquered by the conquer
ors; A tramp, so the story goes, being ordered
pntht a nobleman's yard rationed the owner a
Mtfe, The latter, .explained " the title to the
land had come down to him in m tbroke line
from father to son through a period .of 700 years,
beginning with an ancestor who fought for it.
iet's fight for it again," suggested the tramp.
To show, how ancient is the distinction that I
Em trffi to make clear. I remind you that both
venge is a virtue and retaliation a patriotic duty.
War leads to competitive cruelties, each side,
trying to outdo the other In destructlveness. It
one side drops deadly bombs on defenseless
cities and skills innocent noncombatants the
other side feels justified in repaying this barbar
ity in, kind; if one side drowns women and chil
dren at sea the other side feels justified in starv
ing women and children on land. If ono jddo
employs poisonous, gases, the other Bldo""an
swers with liquid fire.
War develops industries, that, depending upon
carnage for, their continued existence, capital
ize hationafMjeaiousies and fan race perjudicos
into "flame. Those who are enriched by war
propagate the most absurd theories what
theory could bo more absurd than that studious
ly spread throughout the world for a generation
by the militarists and manufacturers of muni
tions, namely, that preparedness perevents war?
.Now that all these blood stained doctrines
have been refuted by the most awful of wars, the
world, groaning under the weight of burdens
grevious to be borne, may bo willing to accept
brotherhood as the only hope of peace, as well
.as the only escape from bankruptcy.
Without attempting to speak for anyone else,
and without any desire to bind anyone else by
my conclusions, I bog to submit a few of the.
fundamental principles upon which such a broth-"
erhood, must, in my judgment, rest.
First, a-belief in God. .We -trace our kinship
to each other through the common Father of us
all. This belief in t3od must be a real, control
ling belief. -A complacent acquiescence In tho
statement that there is a God is not sufficient.
We must be obedient to the commandment;
Thou shalt love thy Lord thy God with all thy
heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy
mind. It must be a whole-hearted, whole-souled,
whalcrininded belief in a Creator, with every hu
man life a part of His plan.
Without this belief we cannot have that con
sciousness of God's presence in the daily life
"which Is necessary to enable man to withstand
the temptations that come to him to imitate the
brute. A sense of responsibility to God for
every thought and word and deed is the most
potent influence that acts upon the life; for ono
man kept in the' straight and narrow way by fear
of prison walls a multitude are Kept rigiueuuu
tice Without that belief one cannot unuersianu
how' sin brings its own punishment. Among the
beasts strength is accompanied by no sense of
responsibility; only man understands and then
only when he believes in God that he must re
strain his .power and respect the rights of
others. Only man understands and then only
when he believes in God that the laws of the
Almighty protect the innocent by bringing upon
tho dinner the affects of his own aln; Xo a
Hon,. howe6r Broat, and no group of nalionf,
howovftr atronpr oan do wrong with impunity. .
Tho very doing of wrong works tht ruin of thos
who are guUty no matter how powerJoss their
victim? may be to protect or avenge thamselve.
Most of tho crimen committed by nations arc
duo to an attempt on tho part of tho hi
authority to establish for nations a nyitom of
morals totally different from that which In bind
ing upon the individual. Nothing but a real
belief in Clod and confidence in tho immutabil
ity of His doeroos can stay the arm of strength
in Individual or nation.
Second, man must believe In God in order to
understand that ho In mado in the Imago of hi
Makera belief which loads him to look upward
for guidance. I hope you will pardon mo if in
this connection I give oxpraslon to a growing
conviction, namely, that the doctrine, commonly
known as tho Darwinian theory, that tracas
man's ancestry back to tho- bculo in tho most,
paralyzing influence with which civilization has
had t(f contend during tho Inst century. When
one boglns his family troo with the boaatH of tho
Hold ancestor worship becomes a dangerous ro-
ligion, not to. Hp oak of tho possibility of his bor
rowing his othlcs from tho junglo,
Nietzsche carried tho Darwinian theory to its '
logical conclusion, and died iu an Insane asylum
aftor ho had promulgated a philosophy that con
demned domocracy an tho refugo of tho weak
ling, denounced Chriatlnnty as a system calcu
lated to make degenerates out of mon, denied
tlio exlstenco of God, overturned all standards
of morality, eulogized war as both noceB&ary
and desirable, praised hatred because It loads to.
war, denied to sympathy and pity any rightful'
plapo in a manly heart and endeavored to sub-
stitute tho worship of tho Huperman for tho wor
ship of Jehovah.
Benjamin Kidd, In a recent book entitled "The
Science of Power," calls attention to tho Darwfa
ian theory as developed by Nietzsche and appHtMl
by German militarists, and ho also points out'
how that theory is reducing industry to the brwt
basis in Europe by robbing it of all spiritual
elements and by giving supremacy to the crutt
doctrine that "tho individual efficient for him- '
self" is the basis of progress.
Third, I present the moral code of Cartel as
tho only philosophy that fits Into every human '
need and furnishes a solution of every problem
that can vex a human heart or perplex society.
If the world is to bo brought into harmonious
co-operation, what better guldo can we have
than the teachings of the Prince of Peace in th '
Sermon on the Mount?
Fourth, Christ taught that service Is tho rneas
uro of greatness. Man had been prone to moan?
uro his ImportancO by his power -to compel tbj,
service oi oinera; unnsi royurauu iu urwur uup
turned the thought of tho world toward the do
ing of good. This ono revolutionary doctrine
will, when universally applied, remove tho chief
cause of conflict between both individuals and-"'
nations. When life is estimated by its outgo;
rather than by Its income thorejwill be neither
ar or rumors of war. X.
Our nation, I submit, has now such an oppor
tunity to serve tho world as no nation hag had
and as this nation never had before. Tho Allies
owe us nearly 10 billions of dollara and they can
not pay It. If they did pay it they would have
to collect it from their enemies, and they could 4
not collect this sum in addition to their own de
mands without sewing tho seeds of a war moe
bloody than the one out of which we havo comre..
Our nation can use this debt to buy world peace,,
universal and perpetual.. It can afford to x;ancl ,
this dobt on condition that tho terms of the
'treaty are so modified as to bring tho nation?
of Europe together In friendship wl co-opera
tion. Then, universal disarmament will be pos
sible; then the burden of militarism can b
lifted from the backs of the toileru of tho world;
fiion wa mav exnect the ushering in of that glad.
nrophetic day when swords snau ne neaien mv
f nvarrnmfi evil with good. Injury begcta m
.,; whiii kindness conauers the spirit that, -jd
leads to the doing of wrong.
ci-rfti r.hrfst announced as the second corns
mandment that each should love his neighbor a;
himself. This does not mean mai r
i, fnrfiffArflnt to his own welfare; it would proflll
a neighbor little to be loved as we love ourj
selves if we-feft no Interest in ourselves. Sell-!
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