The Great Illusion - A Study of the Relation of Military Power To National Advantage


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I have, therefore, added an appendix dealing with certain criticisms based upon the nature of the first Balkan War, in the course of which I attempt to show just how the principles elaborated here have been working out in European politics. That American interest in the problems here discussed is hardly less vital than that of Europe I am even more persuaded than when the first American edition of this book was issued in It is certain that opinion in America will not be equipped for dealing with her own problems arising out of her relations with the Spanish American states, with Japan, with the Philippines, unless it has some fair understanding of the principles with which this book deals.

Its general interest even goes farther than this: no great community like that of modern America can remain indifferent to the drift of general opinion throughout the world on matters wrapped up with issues so important as those of war and peace. Chapter III.

The great illusion; a study of the relation of military power to national advantage

The great illusion. Chapter IV. The impossibility of confiscation. Chapter V. Foreign trade and military power. Chapter VI. The indemnity futility. Chapter VII. How colonies are owned. Chapter VIII. The fight for "the place in the sun". The human nature and morals of the case Chapter I.

The psychological case for war. The psychological case for peace.

A glance over the common incidents of Europe's history will show the profound change which has visibly taken place, not only in the minds, but in the hearts of men. Things which even in our stage of civilization would no longer be possible, owing to that change in human nature which the military dogmatist denies, were commonplace incidents with our grandfathers.

Indeed, the modifications in the religious attitude just touched on assuredly arise from an emotional as much as from an intellectual change. A theology which could declare that the unborn child would suffer eternal torment in the fires of hell for no crime, other than that of its conception, would be in our day impossible on merely emotional grounds.

What was once deemed a mere truism would now be viewed with horror and indignation. Again, as Lecky says, "For a great change has silently swept over Christendom. Without disturbance, an old doctrine has passed away from among the realizations of mankind. Not only in the religious sphere do we see this progress. In a civilization, which was in many respects an admirable one, it was possible for slaves to be slaughtered because one of them had committed some offence; for a lady of fashion to gratify a momentary caprice by ordering a slave to be crucified; and, a generation or two since, for whole populations to turn torture into a public amusement and a public festival; for kings, historically yesterday, to assist personally at the tortures of persons accused of witchcraft.

Fian, accused of having caused a storm at sea. The bones of the prisoner's legs were broken into small pieces in the boot, and it was the King himself who suggested the following variation and witnessed the execution of it: the nails of both hands were seized by a pair of pincers and torn from the fingers, and into the bleeding stump of each finger two needles were thrust up to their heads! Does anyone seriously contend that the conditions of modern life have not modified psychology in these matters?

Does anyone seriously deny that our wider outlook, which is the result of somewhat larger conceptions and wider reading, has wrought such a change that the repetition of things like these in London, or in Edinburgh, or in Berlin, has become impossible? Or, is it seriously argued that we may witness a repetition of these events, that we are quite capable at any moment of taking pleasure in burning alive a beautiful child?

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Does the Catholic or the Protestant really stand in danger of such things from his religious rival? If human nature is unchanged by the progress of ideas, then he does, and Europe's general adoption of religious freedom is a mistake, and each sect should arm against the other in the old way, and the only real hope of religious peace and safety is in the domination of an absolutely universal Church.

This was, indeed, the plea of the old inquisitor, just as it is the plea of the Spectator to-day, that the only hope of political peace is in the domination of an absolutely universal power:. There is only one way to end war and preparation for war, and that is, as we have said, by a universal monarchy. This dictum recalls one, equally emphatic, once voiced by a colleague of the late Procurator of the Holy Synod in Russia, who said:.

There is only one way to ensure religious peace in the State, to compel all in that State to conform to the State religion. Those that will not conform must, in the interests of peace, be driven out. Lecky, who of all authors has written most suggestively, perhaps, on the disappearance of religious persecution, has pointed out that the strife between opposing religious bodies arose out of a religious spirit which, though often high-minded and disinterested he protests with energy against the notion that persecution as a whole was dictated by interested motives , was unpurified by rationalism; and he adds that the irrationality which once characterized the religious sentiment has now been replaced by the irrationality of patriotism.

Lecky says:. If we take a broad view of the course of history, and examine the relations of great bodies of men, we find that religion and patriotism are the chief moral influences to which they have been subjected, and that the separate modifications and mutual interaction of these two agents may almost be said to constitute the moral history of mankind.

Is it to be expected that the rationalization and humanization which have taken place in the more complex domain of religious doctrine and belief will not also take place in the domain of patriotism?

Catalog Record: The great illusion : a study of the relation | HathiTrust Digital Library

More especially, as the same author points out, since it was the necessities of material interest which brought about the reform in the first domain, and since "not only does interest, as distinct from passion, gain a greater empire with advancing civilization, but passion itself is mainly guided by its power. Have we not abundant evidence, indeed, that the passion of patriotism, as divorced from material interest, is being modified by the pressure of material interest?

Are not the numberless facts of national interdependence, which I have indicated here, pushing inevitably to that result? And are we not justified in concluding that, just as the progress of rationalism has made it possible for the various religious groups to live together, to exist side by side without physical conflict; just as there has been in that domain no necessary choice between universal domination or unending strife, so in like manner will the progress of political rationalism mark the evolution of the relationship of political groups; that the struggle for domination will cease because it will be realized that physical domination is futile, and that instead of either universal strife or universal domination there will come, without formal treaties or Holy Alliances, the general determination for each to go his way undisturbed in his political allegiance, as he is now undisturbed in his religious allegiance?

Perhaps the very strongest evidence that the whole drift of human tendencies is away from such conflict as is represented by war between States is to be found in the writings of those who declare war to be inevitable. Among the writers there is not one who, if his arguments are examined carefully, does not show that he realizes, consciously, or subconsciously, that man's disposition to fight, far from being unchanged, is becoming rapidly enfeebled.

Take, for instance, one of the latest works voicing the philosophy that war is inevitable; that, indeed, it is both wicked and childish to try to prevent it. Notwithstanding that the inevitability of war is the thesis of his book, Homer Lea entitles the first section "The Decline of Militancy," and shows clearly, in fact, that the commercial activities of the world lead directly away from war.

Trade, ducats, and mortgages are regarded as far greater assets and sources of power than armies or navies. They produce national effeminacy and effeteness. Now, as this tendency is common to all nations of Christendom - indeed, of the world -since commercial and industrial development is world-wide, it necessarily means, if it is true of any one nation, that the world as a whole is drifting away from the tendency to warfare.

A large part of Homer Lea's book is a sort of Carlylean girding at what he terms "protoplasmic gourmandizing and retching" otherwise the busy American industrial and social life of his countrymen. He declares that, when a country makes wealth, production, and industries its sole aim, it becomes "a glutton among nations, vulgar, swinish, arrogant"; "commercialism, having seized hold of the American people, overshadows it, and tends to destroy not only the aspirations and world-wide career open to the nation, but the Republic itself.

The national ideals, even of the native-born American, are deplorably low:. There exists not only individual prejudice against military ideals, but public antipathy; antagonism of politicians, newspapers, churches, colleges, labour unions, theorists, and organized societies. They combat the military spirit as if it were a public evil and a national crime. In that case, what, in the name of all that is muddleheaded, becomes of the "unchanging tendency towards warfare"?

What is all this curious rhetoric of Homer Lea's and I have dealt with him at some length, because his principles if not his language are those which characterize much similar literature in England, France, Germany, and the continent of Europe generally but an admission that the whole tendency is not, as he would have us believe, towards war, but away from it?

Here is an author who tells us that war is to be forever inevitable, and in the same breath that men are rapidly conceiving not only a "slothful indifference" to fighting, but a profound antipathy to the military ideal. Of course, Homer Lea implies that this tendency is peculiar to the American Republic, and is for that reason dangerous to his country; but, as a matter of fact, Homer Lea's book might be a free translation of much nationalist literature of either France or Germany. I cannot recall a single author of either of the four great countries who, treating of the inevitability of war, does not bewail the falling away of his own country from the military ideal, or, at least, the tendency so to fall away.

Thus the English journalist reviewing in the Daily Mail Homer Lea's book cannot refrain from saying:. Is it necessary to point out that there is a moral in all this for us as well as for the American? Surely almost all that Mr. Lea says applies to Great Britain as forcibly as to the United States. We too have lain dreaming.

We have let our ideals tarnish. We have grown gluttonous, also. Shame and folly are upon us as well as upon our brethren. Let us hasten with all our energy to cleanse ourselves of them, that we can look the future in the face without fear. Exactly the same note dominates the literature of an English protagonist like Mr. Blatchford, the militarist socialist. He talks of the "fatal apathy" of the British people.

They will shout for the Empire, but they will not fight for it.

The Great Illusion - A Study of the Relation of Military Power To National Advantage The Great Illusion - A Study of the Relation of Military Power To National Advantage
The Great Illusion - A Study of the Relation of Military Power To National Advantage The Great Illusion - A Study of the Relation of Military Power To National Advantage
The Great Illusion - A Study of the Relation of Military Power To National Advantage The Great Illusion - A Study of the Relation of Military Power To National Advantage
The Great Illusion - A Study of the Relation of Military Power To National Advantage The Great Illusion - A Study of the Relation of Military Power To National Advantage
The Great Illusion - A Study of the Relation of Military Power To National Advantage The Great Illusion - A Study of the Relation of Military Power To National Advantage

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