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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/655

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THE ETHICAL VIEW OF PROTECTION.

groups or communities, and then the same relation existed between the large communities that had hitherto existed between the smaller groups. They all felt the need of protection, and this desire for protection led them to build larger and stronger walls, and to devise new methods of defense.

The only advantage was—and it was a great one—that, instead of a lot of little groups all fighting with one another, there were now large communities, and the chances for fighting were correspondingly decreased. But the process of assimilation once begun could not stop, because man, if he was to be anything more than a fighting animal, must agree to live on friendly terms with his fellows and cultivate the arts of peace. The process went on: communities that had gradually grown to have similar ideas united into still larger communities; tribes became states, and then, at last, states became nations.

Now the idea of the necessity for protection has so long been dominant with the various associations of men that these associations, even in our days of general enlightenment, do not readily believe that it can be given up. A man who has been living for years in a wild country where he has been liable to attacks from savages at any moment, does not readily adapt himself to the new conditions of mutual trust when he comes to live again among civilized and peaceful folks. You will find him still sleeping with his revolver at his side, and when he walks abroad he has his eye out for a possible ambush. So it is with the associations of mankind that have developed from the far-back barbarous groups. They know that the conditions of existence have changed, they know that if they are peaceable and industrious they will not be molested; but the idea of protection still lurks in their minds, and they feel that they must have it in some form, or be at the mercy of the rest of mankind, whom they wrongfully regard as enemies, but who are by nature as peacefully inclined as themselves.

And so we find man, as intelligent and enlightened as he is today, still clinging to this relic of barbarism, this system of organized selfishness known as protection. The trade of man is no longer fighting, the trade of man is now to devise inventions for his own comfort, and although we find some great associations maintaining vast standing armies in conformity with the spirit of protection, the chief occupation of man is with the arts of peace. The arts of peace and warfare are incompatible; one builds up and the other tears down; one creates, the other destroys; hence it is generally acknowledged that warfare is an evil which must soon be abolished. Men can not fight and at the same time till the fields, work in factories, construct railways, write novels, preach sermons, and paint pictures. Men are beginning to see now that