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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/37

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THE WONDERFUL CENTURY.

properly used, should bring peace and plenty to all, but which when seized upon by the spirit of militarism directly lead to enmity among nations and to the misery of the people.

The first steps in this military development were the adoption of a new rifle by the Prussian army in 1840, the application of steam to ships of war in 1840, and the use of armor for battle ships in 1859. The remainder of the century has witnessed a mad race between the nations to increase the death-dealing power of their weapons and to add to the number and efficiency of their armies, while all the resources of modern science have been utilized in order to add to the destructive power of cannon and both the defensive and the offensive power of ships. The inability of industrious laboring men to gain any due share of the benefits of our progress in scientific knowledge is due, beyond everything else, to the expense of withdrawing great armies of men in the prime of life from productive labor, joined to the burden of feeding and clothing them and of keeping weapons and ammunition, ships, and fortifications in a state of readiness, of continually renewing stores of all kinds, of pensions, and of all the laboring men who must, besides making good the destruction caused by war, be withdrawn from productive labor and be supported by others that they may support the army.

And what a horrible mockery is this when viewed in the light of either Christianity or advancing civilization! All the nations armed to the teeth and watching stealthily for some occasion to use their vast armaments for their own aggrandizement and for the injury, of their neighbors are Christian nations, but their Christian governments do not exist for the good of the governed, still less for the good of humanity or civilization, but for the aggrandizement and greed and lust of the ruling classes.

The devastation caused by the tyrants and conquerors of the middle ages and of antiquity has been reproduced in our times by the rush to obtain wealth. Even the lust of conquest, in order to obtain slaves and tribute and great estates, by means of which the ruling classes could live in boundless luxury, so characteristic of the earlier civilization, is reproduced in our time.

Witness the recent conduct of the nations of Europe toward Crete and Greece, upholding the most terrible despotism in the world because each hopes for a favorable opportunity to obtain some advantage, leading ultimately to the largest share of the spoil.

Witness the struggles in Africa and Asia, where millions of foreign people may be enslaved and bled for the benefit of their new rulers.

The whole world, says Wallace, is but a gambling table. Just