Chapter XIV

FORCE AS AN ARGUMENT


Everything responds to the pragmatic test. Does it succeed is the great question. Happiness is the object of life. One question to be addressed to every proposal concerning the individual is: Does it bring happiness? The thing called human force is an expression of human reason. It is the way reason goes into action. Force is the capacity to effect change and to prevent change. In connection with peace and war, force means the use of physical violence in the place of reason or of nonresistance. Reason and nonresistance against force are higher and later attributes in the human evolutionary process. Nonresistance prevails in animal life. Quiet animals with little or no power of physical attack or of defense do survive; predatory animals disappear. Cows multiply because man wants them; wolves have no friends. Chickens increase; hawks are not protected. Creatures with a capacity to get along with other creatures inherit the earth. Man has multiplied and overrun the world; he can live with other men and neighboring creatures. Among men are the predatory and the preyed upon. The communist-fascist-nazi practice has been to prey upon and destroy those of other classes. This practice by the use of force would make all men into one class throughout the world. Thus far it has failed to get beyond a minority. This predatory class suffers the same opposition as predatory animals. The animal that preys upon others is feared and hated. The preyed-upon desire its extermination. Nature has a way of translating desire into action, in discriminating against destructive forces. The predatory is conspired against, outlawed, and vanquished by its kind or by the things upon which it preys. It exterminates its own livelihood. Of the two kinds of animals, the predatory and the peaceful, the former requires the latter, but the latter can thrive without the existence of the former. The predatory are not necessary; the peaceful are necessary.

Force appears in modern society because of the unbalance of things. The people and the nations, that have the most, require laws and police and armies to prevent those who have the least from attacking them. In the absence of democracy and justice, if there were no police and armies, those who have not would take from those who have until possessions were equalized. But the attack would not end there. It would go on and on until there was a new set with more and a new set with less than they had before. The same process would be repeated until laws and police and arms were set up by the Haves to protect themselves from the Have-nots, or until a democratic and just civilization were created. Force is the agency of stability in an unintelligent world. Police and arms are necessary to maintain a state of injustice where injustice is to be maintained as a fixed institution. Injustice is preserved and perpetuated by forces called the "powers of justice" in the hands of political governments. Injustice is stabilized by force. Unless it is thus stabilized, society would be vacillating and chaotic where it is not sufficiently intelligent to create democracy and justice as the basis of its civilization. Where injustice prevails, morals decay and men deteriorate unless other salutary forces are brought to bear. Fortunately such forces are at work in the more civilized countries.

Force in society, like crutches, should be made unnecessary. If the cripple were cured of his malady, if health in the individual could prevail, lameness that calls for crutches would not be present, and crutches would not be necessary. If a state of justice can be instituted and men can be educated as to the best ways to happiness, unjust inequalities will disappear and force will be unnecessary.

Once all nations were armed. At the end of World War II only three were armed. And the United States was in a position to reduce the number to one. That was a critical period in history. But if history can be believed, the preponderance of power in one nation is temporary. Every nation that has had it has lost it. The opportunity offered the United States at that critical juncture was to relinquish its supremacy of power to a sovereign power vested in a union of all nations. For a peaceful world the sovereign power can not be vested in one nation, for that sovereignty will always be challenged by another or by a coalition of others. Ultimately it will be lost. The most dangerous persons in the world can be those nice people who desire that their country, the best in the world, shall dominate the world for the world's good--and theirs. They are the archpatriots. Rome under Caesar had them. France under Napoleon had them. The United States has them. They are the enemies of peace--and of their own country. Its collapse and subjugation can be guaranteed if they have their way.

Pick out the most civilized nation in the world. Let it have control of the atom bomb. Let it conquer the world and try to make the world conform to its standards, and the result will be its conversion to autocracy and the decay of its civilization. A conqueror can not remain a constant conqueror and continue democratic. An autocratic nation can not remain civilized. All this is predicated upon the historic experience which teaches that democracy is essential to a permanent civilization and that democracy can not be limited but must prevail universally or it is but a temporary device. The world has now become so small that each nation is neighbor of every other nation. Prosperity in one and poverty in others, democracy in one and autocracy in others, justice in one and injustice in others, are no longer endurable. The world can no longer be part free and part slave. Force to maintain inequalities can no longer be depended upon. It is for these reasons that problems supposedly solved by force are not solved. A man is knocked down because he calls another man a liar, but he remains as much of a liar as before.

Force is often needed to counteract force. A man uses force to defend himself against a falling tree or against a mad animal, and he will do so against a flying javelin or against a madman. People who defended themselves against the mad Hitler acted naturally. Force was imposed against force. Pragmatically good force is used as a protection against bad force, and whichever conquers is destined to be entitled the good force. This is a matter of semantics and of power psychology.

Substitution of justice and moral satisfaction for force in settling human problems is the task of the developing civilization. Men once settled disputes with fists, stones, and clubs. Then they moved on to the use of pistols. Gentlemen determined who was the greater gentleman by this means. These methods of making decisions are fading out under the impact of growing civilization and the expanding understanding of human values. The stronger is not the better--not even the stronger. Now war remains the only respectfully recognized use of force to decide man's problems. As other expressions of force become obsolete under the advancement of understanding, so war may be expected to follow the same course and disappear.

Substitution of cooperative methods for competitive methods must be looked to for the accomplishment of this end. This substitution is slowly taking place. It is true that men cooperate in making war as well as in maintaining peace; but cooperative practices represent training in democracy, and democracy makes for human friendships and for the equalities of opportunity that characterize stable peace and that militate against the causes of war.


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