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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/545

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THE SPIRIT OF CONQUEST.

$12,000,000,000 for the year 1890,[1] and the figure goes on every year increasing in geometrical progression.

Further, the debts must be considered. The largest proportion of them are consequences of the idolatry for square miles. This entails an annual expenditure of $644,800,000 which we should not have to bear were it not for the ctesohedonic fallacy.[2]

Yet another factor has so far not been mentioned: men. The wars of the last three centuries have cost, at the lowest figure, 30,000,000 or 40,000,000 victims. Some authors raise this very moderate estimate to 20,000,000 per century. Without speaking of the frightful sufferings of these unfortunates, they represent an enormous capital.[3] Let us add, further, that these men, if they had not been killed, might have had children that now have no existence. "Without the wars of Napoleon I and Napoleon III Europe would have had 45,000,000 more inhabitants than it has, and they might have been producing $2,700,000 a year.[4]

We hope the reader will admit, after these considerations, that the indirect losses of war certainly exceed the direct ones. Still, adhering to our method of underrating rather than exaggerating, we will regard them as equal. We may therefore affirm that the spirit of conquest has cost, since 1618, in the group of European nations alone, the trifle of $80,156,800,000. Suppose we should go farther back—into antiquity even? Imagination refuses to set down the gigantic sums.

This is not all; the cost of civil wars has to be counted, for the conquest of power within the state is attended by massacres which are often not inferior to those of foreign ones. The chiefs of the Roman legions contending for the empire carired on as bloody and costly campaigns against their rivals as against the Parthians or the Germans. The war between Paris and Versailles in 1871 occa-


  1. See E. Reclus, Nouvelle geographie universelle (French edition), vol. xvi, p. 810.
  2. A justification of this figure may be found in my Luttes entre les sociétés humaines, p. 220.
  3. A half million negroes are massacred every year in Africa in the tribal wars, which also are caused by the ctesohedonic fallacy. Suppose each one of them might have earned $20 a year. Capitalized at four per cent, this sum would have amounted to $400,000,000.
  4. See my Luttes, p. 228. Let us say, in passing, that we owe our existing savagery partly to the ctesohedonic fallacy. When we think that the most rapid way of enriching ourselves is by seizing our neighbor's territories, the fewer defenders that territory has, the better. So all pretended political geniuses glorify themselves on having killed the largest number of their fellow-men. Cæsar boasted of having killed a million and a half of Gauls. At the moment of writing these lines a terrible accident has occurred at Santander. Hundreds of persons were killed by the explosion of a boat loaded with dynamite. Great pity was expressed for the victims. Collections for their benefit were taken in France. Suppose France and Spain were now at war. If somebody had blown up some thousand Spaniards in a fortress, we should have sung Te Deums. Oh, man's logic!