Page:The voice of an oppressed people.pdf/23

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IN THE EUROPEAN CRISIS

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the population is slower than in Germany. For not merely is the birth-rate falling in Germany also, but it should be remembered that the overwhelming majority of German economists accept in their theory of population the leading ideas of Malthus, and are not inclined to see in this precipitate augmentation of the population an undoubted proof of physical and moral vigour.

But let us assume for a moment that the increase of the population, the surplus of the birth-rate over the death- rate, can be applied as a standard to physical and even moral health and strength. In that case the population principle applies as much to Germany as to other countries. Students of the question know that England during the nineteenth century is the only instance of a country where the population was trebled; and it is equally worth noting that in the Bohemian countries the Czech population increased more rapidly than the German population. Will the German ultra-nationalists admit the consequences of their own logic in these and other cases?

To sum up the argument: Physical greatness and strength, being ipso facto always relative and correlative, is no warrant, no foundation of right and of prerogatives; seventy is certainly far more than ten, but have the seventy the right to deprive the ten of their bread? Have they the right to use force?

6.—The German jingoes appeal to history. History, they argue, shows that small states are slowly but surely disappearing and serving as a material for the big ones. Compare the hundreds of small states in the Middle Ages and even in modern times—they are absorbed and swallowed up by the bigger ones; Prussia herself is an instance of such absorption, but France, Italy, England also—in a word, all big states were formed out of small ones. History then proves that the law of political development makes the formation of great states and nations unavoidable. Small na-