Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/101

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97
WAR AND MANHOOD

they breed" to the foreign service, while cautious, thrifty mediocrity filled up the ranks at home.

In his charming studies of "Feudal and Modern Japan," Mr. Arthur Knapp, of Yokohama, returns again and again to the great marvel of Japan's military prowess after more than two hundred years of peace. This was shown in the Chinese war. It has been more conclusively shown on the fields of Manchuria since Mr. Knapp's book was written. It is astonishing to him that, after more than six generations in which physical courage has not been demanded, these virile virtues should be found unimpaired. We can readily see that this is just what we should expect. In times of peace there is no slaughter of the strong, no sacrifice of the courageous. In the peaceful struggle for existence there is a premium placed on these virtues. The virile and the brave survive. The idle, weak and dissipated go to the wall. "What won the battles on the Yalu, in Korea or Manchuria," says the Japanese, Nitobe, "was the ghosts of our fathers guiding our hands and beating in our hearts. They are not dead, these ghosts, those spirits of our warlike ancestors. Scratch a Japanese, even one of the most advanced' ideas, and you will find a Samurai." If we translate this from the language of Shintoism to that of science we find it a testimony to the strength of race-heredity, the survival of the ways of the strong in the lives of the self-reliant.

If after two hundred years of incessant battle Japan still remained virile and warlike, that would indeed be the marvel. But that marvel no nation has ever seen. It is doubtless true that warlike traditions are most persistent with nations most frequently engaged in war. But the traditions of war and the physical strength to gain victories are very different things. Other things being equal, the nation which has known least of war is the one most likely to develop the "strong battalions" with whom victory must rest.

As Americans we are more deeply interested in the fate of our mother country than in that of the other nations of Europe.

What shall we say of England and of her relation to the reversed selection of war?

Statistics we have none, and no evidence of tangible decline that Englishmen will not indignantly repudiate. When the London press in the vacation season fills its columns with editorials on English degeneration, it is something else to which these journalists refer. Their problem is that of the London slums, of sweat-shops and child-labor, of wasting overwork and of lack of nutrition, of premature old age and of' sodden drunkenness—influences which bring about the degeneration of the individual, the inefficiency of the social group, but which for the most part leave no trace in heredity and are therefore no factor in the degeneration of the race. Such degradation is at once cause, effect