Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/409

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SCIENCE with its applications has been one of the principal factors leading to peace and international good will. Science, democracy and the limitation of warfare are the great achievements of modern civilization. They have advanced together almost continuously from the beginnings of the universities of Bologna, Paris and Oxford in the twelfth century to their great triumphs in the nineteenth century and the present promise of their complete supremacy. It may be urged reasonably that science is the true cause of democracy and that science and democracy together are the influences most conducive to permanent and universal peace.

The applications of science in industry, agriculture and commerce, in the prevention of disease and of premature death, have abolished the need of excessive manual labor. It long ago became unnecessary for the great majority of the people to be held in bondage in order that a few free citizens might have education and opportunity, and slavery has been gradually driven from the world. The vast progress of scientific discovery and invention in the nineteenth century has reduced to a moderate amount the daily labor required from each in order that all may be adequately fed, clothed and housed. The death-rate has been decreased to one half; the ensuing lower birth-rate has freed nearly half the time of women and reduced proportionately the labor of men. The period of childhood and youth may be devoted to universal education, and equality of opportunity can be given to all. It is no longer needful to depend on a privileged class to conduct the affairs of government and to supply men of performance. Those selected from all the people as most fit can be given the preparation and opportunity needed to enable them to become leaders, and every one can take an intelligent share in political affairs and in appreciation of the higher things of life.

In giving us democracy science has made its greatest contribution to the limitation of warfare. It must be admitted that a democratic people may be inflamed into a mob mad for war; but this is not likely to happen in the case of a war of policy or of aggression. In the past wars have been more often due to the ambitions, difficulties and intrigues of kings and princes than to the passions of the people, and the decrease of wars has been largely a result of the establishment of constitutional governments and of the legalization of the methods of conscription and taxation. If a declaration of war or an ultimatum leading to war were subject to a referendum, the vote being taken not too