The Healing of Nations and the Hidden Sources of Their Strife eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 139 pages of information about The Healing of Nations and the Hidden Sources of Their Strife.
foundation of actual life, of practical capacity, of honest and square living, and of mutual help instead of mutual robbery, they will infallibly collapse, or pass into strange and alien hands.  Now is the critical moment when with the enormous powers of production which we wield it may be possible to make a new start, and base the social life of the future on a generous recognition of the fellowship of all.  How many times have the civilizations of the past, ignoring this salvation, gone down into the gulf!  Can we find a better hope for our civilization to-day?

It is clear, I think, that any nation that wants to stand the shock of events in the future, and to hold its own in the vast flux of racial and political changes which is coming on the world, will have to found its life, not on theories and views, or on the shifting sands of literature and fashion, but on the solid rock of the real material capability of its citizens, and on their willingness, their readiness to help each other—­their ingrained instinct of mutual service.  A conscript army, forced upon us by a government and becoming inevitably a tool for the use of a governing class, we do not want and we will not have; but a nation of capable men and women, who know what life is and are prepared to meet it at all points—­who will in many cases make a free gift of their capital and land for such purposes as I have just outlined—­we must have.  Personally I would not even here—­though the need is a crying one—­advocate downright compulsion; but I would make these things a part of the recognized system of education, with appropriate regulations and the strongest recommendations and inducements to every individual to fall in and co-operate with them.  Thus in time an urgent public opinion might be formed which would brand as disgraceful the conduct of any person who refused to qualify himself for useful service, or who, when qualified, deliberately refused to respond to the call for such service, if needed.  Under such conditions the question of military defence would solve itself.  Thousands and thousands of men would of their own free choice at an early age and during a certain period qualify themselves in military matters; other thousands, men and women, would qualify in nursing or ambulance work; other millions, again, would be prepared to aid in transport work, or in the production of food, clothing, shelter, and the thousand and one necessaries of life.  No one would be called upon to do work which he had not chosen, no one would be forced to take up an activity which was hateful to him, yet all would feel that what they could do and did do would be helpful to the other ranks and ranges, and would be solidaire with the rest of the nation.  Such a nation would be sane and prosperous in time of peace, and absolutely safe and impregnable in the hour of danger.

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The Healing of Nations and the Hidden Sources of Their Strife from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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