Chapter VII

The End of Easy Wars

The function of war as one of the dynamics of democracy has been little recognized in the dominant social thinking of the past century and a half. The reasons are simple and obvious. One is that liberal thinkers have generally ignored the necessity and nature of social dynamisms as such. They have not recognized that, judging solely from history, stagnation in any culture is far more normal or usual than what we have been accustomed to think of as progress. Primitive or semi-savage peoples have perpetuated themselves for hundreds and thousands of years with slight cultural change or advancement and then, on the dynamic impulsations of large scale and organized warfare, swiftly developed a great civilization, like that of Athens or Rome. A second reason for prevailing ignorance about the dynamic function of war has been the historically unfounded dogma that war is abnormal, temporary and wholly destructive. The probabilities are that war will continue, as in the past, to be a normal and necessary human way. Certainly nothing has transpired under democracy or capitalism to render war less normal or less necessary as a social dynamism.

The fact is that democratic and capitalistic civilization has multiplied and intensified war motives and means. It has aggravated interest conflicts which produce war. This, capitalism has done by increasing disparities between the Haves and the Have-nots and by culminating in the economic stagnation which is now chronic under peacetime capitalism. This stagnation makes war a welcome way of escape to full activity. In addition to giving men more reasons to fight each other, our capitalistic civilization has given them better education, technique and tools with which to fight. Progress under our civilization has created more problems than solutions; more reasons for war than peace and more interest conflicts than interest harmonies. There is no need of offering proof. One has only to pronounce two words which the liberal optimists cannot argue away: the second world war and unemployment.

For the first time, two major world wars have occurred within one generation. So much for progress towards peace. For the first time in the history of the American nation, perpetual deficits to mitigate agricultural distress and unemployment are a necessity. These are facts, not opinions. So much for progress towards peace, order and abundance.

It is now the fashion for the believers in collective security to argue that, if war is not prevented, civilization will perish. They are doubtless right in calling war one of the mightiest factors in the destruction of a civilization—when a civilization is in decay. Where they err, however, is in not perceiving that if war destroys, it also creates civilizations, and that, also, a civilization can perish from stagnation quite as well as from war. Probably capitalism will perish in war rather than in stagnation for the simple reason that those in control will, before the system collapses in stagnation, turn to war. This indeed is already happening. But if, instead of slowly succumbing to stagnation, our capitalist civilization is destroyed in war, this will not prove that it could have been preserved by an avoidance of war. An old person may die of overexertion or any one of scores of preventable diseases or millions of preventable accidents. But it does not follow that any person can live forever by merely avoiding all preventable diseases and accidental causes of death. Old age is not preventable. The fact is that life is perpetuated by birth rather than the prevention of death. War creates as well as destroys civilizations. War is a process of birth as well as death.

The necessary dynamic forces of any society are effective motivations to social unity and social activity. Liberal capitalism has not developed an enduring sufficiency of such motivations as a dynamic substitute for war. War and religion since the dawn of history, and trade since the end of the eighteenth century, have been the great unifying and activity generating forces of human society. The pre-capitalist civilizations were unified and energized mainly by war or religion or some combination of both, with trade a wholly minor social force. Roman civilization, for instance, was a typical example of a war society and economy, while that of Egypt, for centuries, was pre-eminently religious. Rome, of course, was never without religion nor Egypt without armed might. The difference between martial Rome and priestly Egypt in the matters of war and religion was one of degree and emphasis. In neither civilization, any more than in other pre-capitalist cultures, was trade or the businessman ever a dynamic or dominant factor.

By the time of the discovery of the Americas some of the ruling classes in Europe, particularly in Italy and the Hanseatic cities of northern Europe, had become deeply interested in trade, as the Renaissance created tastes which could only be satisfied by considerable imports from the East. This era and these processes may be called the gestative period of modern capitalism. But, broadly speaking, in all civilizations prior to the nineteenth century, business, such as there was, had about the same function and importance as the quartermaster corps has for a fighting army: a useful but subservient service. The businessman, even under capitalism, was a camp follower rather than a leader in endless easy imperialist wars. He was a profiteer on the unearned increment of rising land and business property values, all resulting from growth of population and settled territories.

Below are given lists of the wars of the three major democracies during the century and a half preceding the twenties:

Wars of England


North American (and with France).


First Mahratta War.


War with Netherlands.


First Mysore War.


Second Mysore War.


Revolutionary War (with France)


War with Denmark.


Second Mahratta War.


War with France.


Sepoy Revolt.


War with Russia.


War with Sweden.


War with United States.


Goorkha War.


Hundred Days War (Waterloo).


Third Mahratta War.


First Burma War.


Ashanti War.


Burma War.


Intervention in Portugal.


War with Turkey.


Intervention in Netherlands.


War with Afghanistan.


Egyptian Insurrection.


War with China.


Sikh Wars.


Intervention in Uruguay.


Intervention in Argentina.


Kafir War.


Second Burma War.


War with Russia.


War with Persia.


War with China.


Mutiny of the Sepoys in India.


Ashanti War.


Maori War.


Wu with Abyssinia.


Ashanti War.


War with Afghanistan.


Zulu War.


War in Transvaal.


War of the Sudan.


Occupation of Egypt.


Third Burma War.


Ashanti War.


War of the Sudan.


Intervention in Crete.


Boer War.


Boxer Insurrection.


Somali War.


Tibet Expedition.


War on the Northwestern Boundary of India.


World War.


Afghan War.

(Total for 150 years: 54 wars, lasting 102 years, or 68 per cent of the time.)

Wars of France


War with England (North America).


Second Coalition War.


Insurrection in San Domingo.


First Coalition War (against Dutch, Rhenish, Italians, Spanish).


War in Vendee.


War with England.


Egyptian Expedition of Napoleon.


War with England.


Third Coalition War.


War with Russia and Prussia.


War with Spain.


War with Austria.


War with Russia.


War against German States (Hundred Days War- Waterloo).


Spanish Expedition.


War with Turkey.


War on Madagascar.


War with Holland.


War with Portugal.


War in Algeria.


War in Mexico.


War in Argentina.


War with Morocco.


Expedition to Uruguay.


War on Madagascar.


War in Cochin China.


Roman Expedition.


Crimean War.


War with Annam.


Austro-Italian War.


Syrian War.


War for Papal State.


Cochin-Chinese War.


War in Mexico.


War with China.


War in Rome (against Garibaldi).


Franco-Prussian War.


War in Tonkin.


War on Tunis.


War with Tonkin.


War on Madagascar.


War with China.


War on Dahoney.


War on Sudan.


War on Morocco.


War on Siam.


War with Tonkin.


War on Madagascar.


Boxer Insurrection.


War on Morocco.


World War.


Riffian War.

(Total: For 150 years, 53 wars lasting 99 years, or 66 per cent of the time.)

List of Principal Wars, Military Expeditions, Occupations, Campaigns and Other Disturbances, Except Domestic Troubles, in Which the United States Has Participated in the First 158 Years of Its History



Time Consumed

War of the Revolution

Apr. 19, 1775

Jan. 14, 1784

8 yrs. 9 mos.

Wyoming Valley Disturbances and Shays's Rebellion


Jan. 5, 1787

5 yrs.

Northwest Indian Wars and Whisky Insurrection

Jan. 1790

Aug. 1795

5 yrs. 8 mos.

War with France

July 9, 1789

Sept. 30, 1800

2 yrs. 3 mos.

War with Tripoli

July 10, 1801

June 4, 1805

3 yrs. 11 mos.

Northwest Indian Wars

Nov. 1811

Oct. 1813

2 yrs.

War with Great Britain

June 18, 1812

Feb. 17, 1815

2 yrs. 8 mos.

War with Algiers (Naval)

Mar. 1815

June 1815

4. mos.

Seminole Indian Wars

Nov. 20, 1817

Oct. 31, 1818

11 mos.

Yellowstone Expedition

July 4, 1819

Sept. 1819

3 mos.

Blackfeet Indian Wars

Apr. 1, 1823

Oct. 1, 1823

6 mos.

LaFevre Indian War

June 1817

Sept. 1827

3 mos.

Sac and Fox War

Apr. 1, 1831

Oct. 1, 1831

6 mos.

Black Hawk War

Apr. 26, 1832

Sept. 21, 1832

5 mos.

Nullification Troubles in So. Car.

Nov. 1832

Feb. 1833

3 mos.

Cherokee and Pawnee Disturbances

June 30, 1833


6 yrs. 6 mos.

Seminole Indian War

Nov. 1, 1835

Aug. 13, 1842

6 yrs. 9 mos.

War with Mexico

Apr. 25, 1846

May 30, 1848

2 yrs. 1 mo.

Various Indian wars with Cayuse, Navaho, Comanche, Kickapoo, Snake, Sioux, Seminole, etc.



13 yrs.

Civil War

Apr. 15, 1861

Aug. 20, 1866

5 yrs. 4 mos.

Various Indian wars



25 yrs.

Sioux Indian War

Nov. 23, 1890

Jan. 19, 1891

2 mos.

Apache and Bannock Indian Troubles

June 30, 1892

June 30, 1896

4 yrs.

Spanish-American War

Apr. 21, 1898

Apr. 11, 1899

1 yr.

Philippine Insurrecrion

Apr. 11, 1899

July 15, 1903

4 yrs. 3 mos.

Boxer Expedition

June 20, 1900

May 12, 1901

11 mos.

Cuban Pacification

Sept. 29, 1906

Apr. 1, 1909

2 yrs. 6 mos.

First Nicaragua Expedition (Marines)

July 1912

Aug. 1925

13 yrs. 1 mo.*

Vera Cruz Expedition

Apr. 21, 1914

Nov. 26, 1914

7 mos.

First Haiti Expedition (Marines)

July 1915

Dec. 1915

5 mos.

Punitive Expedition into Mexico

Mar. 15, 1916

Feb. 5, 1917

11 mos.

Dominican Expedition (Marines)

May 1916

Dec. 1916

7 mos.

The World War

Apr. 6, 1917

July 2, 1921

4 yrs. 3 mos.

Second Haiti Expedition (Marines)

Apr. 1919

June 1920

1 yr. 2 mos.

Second Nicaragua Expedition

Aug. 24, 1926

Jan. 2, 1932

5 yrs. 5 mos.

In 158 years there was warfare practically all the time.

All great civilizations were brought forth in war. Ours is no exception. Only our creative wars were, on the whole, up to the end of the nineteenth century comparatively easy and usually most profitable for the victors, the now satisfied democracies. The main difference between the two great wars of this century and those of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, is that the twentieth century wars of the liberal democracies have not been easy or profitable. This difference marks a turn for the worse in the history of democracy and capitalism. It is true that the first world war of the twentieth century was harder on Germany than on the victorious Allies and also that the latter gained nearly a million square miles of territory as a result of that war. Still it was a hard and unprofitable war for the winners. For the losers, it was merely a prelude to revolution and more war which will prove hard and may also be unprofitable for the Have-nots. Be that as it may, one thing is sure: the wars of this century between the Haves and the Have-nots will not prove either easy or profitable for the Haves. The dynamism of easy wars is over so far as democracy and capitalism are concerned.

Democracy needs easy wars, of conquest and exploitation. American democracy was founded by a feudal slavocracy and a mercantile plutocracy. The New England democrats caught in Africa, transported and sold the slaves whom the southern lovers of freedom subsequently exploited. Chattel slavery, a fundamental American institution of the founding fathers of our democracy, was based on the most naked possible use and violence. Greek democracy was also based on slavery and war, a fact often overlooked by those who idealize Hellenic culture. The Anglo-American devotees of what they consider to be Greek civilization have been for the greater part disciples of Plato, whose philosophic idealism was never exemplified by Greece in her prime. Plato was a product of Greek decadence who came well after the end of the great period of Athens. No great civilization in Athens or anywhere else has ever flourished on platonic idealism. Platonism has been an affectation of pre-Renaissance church scholars and Renaissance and Anglo-Saxon scholars living in retreat from the world. It has never governed post-Renaissance nationalism or Anglo-Saxon imperialism any more than it ruled the Athens of Pericles. It has made a major contribution to Western civilization in that it has furnished a philosophic basis for Utopianism which has been a potent cultural influence in the post-Renaissance culture of the West. Utopianism, alias escapism, however, important as it has been and still is as a cultural force, must be recognized for what it is, a part of the psychopathology of an advanced civilization. It attains its greatest historical importance as a factor of decadence. In terms of psychopathology, it represents the attempt of the mind to flee from reality into a world of ideals, i.e., dreams and wishful thinking, and to achieve by processes of rationalization what cannot be achieved through processes of realization. The psychopathology of idealism or escapism is not to be regarded as always or necessarily abnormal. On the contrary, it is normal for every one to seek escape from reality into a world of day-dreams some of the time. We are all part-time escapists or day-dreamers. Escapism becomes dangerous only when carried too far, as when an individual or a society indulges in it to the exclusion of an amount of realistic effort necessary for survival in the eternal struggle for existence. This psychopathology is the basis of much eighteenth-century rationalism and nineteenth-century liberal legalism. It is the psychological basis of the fictions and contrary to fact assumptions of our law, politics and economics. It represents the triumph of mind over matter—on paper and in dreams. The triumph of man is always the triumph of his will, served by the indispensable instrumentality of his mind or reason. The triumph of man, however, must always be the triumph of the entire man, of his emotions as much as his reason, of his viscera as much as his cranium. It is the triumph, not only of the whole man but of man really, not ideally, integrated with his society and environment. A bloodless triumph of an ideal presupposes a bloodless man. Heaven, not earth, is the abode of such men.

The territory of this republic was wrested from the Indians and developed by slavery. When chattel slavery proved less profitable than wage slavery, it was abolished by the dominant northern factory interests through a bloody victory over the weaker southern slavery interests. During the entire era of Anglo-Saxon democracy and capitalism, or from Queen Bess's piracy along the Spanish Main down to the Boer War (the last war to be won by British imperialism), force, violence and war were basic to the system. And this warfare was invariably easy and profitable for the Anglo-Saxons. It was gunpowder versus bows and arrows; the technology of the white man against the primitive or savage arts of the darker races. Anglo-Saxon democracy needed this unequal warfare and human exploitation just as Greek democracy needed slavery and perpetual war on inferior barbarians in order to flourish.

In the more equal wars between the British and the French or the British and the Dutch, or the British and the American colonists, there was always plenty left over for the losers, and there was never a necessity for the Anglo-Saxons to resort to conscription until 1916 or to capital levies until now. The loss of the American colonies left the British still with the largest empire on earth. The British victories over the French and the Dutch still left the latter with vast colonial empires and allowed the French to build up a mighty colonial empire during the mid-nineteenth century after the French defeat at Waterloo. Even the wars between comparative equals, as between the British and the French, did not force Britain to adopt conscription or subsequently prevent winners and losers alike from acquiring further territories during the nineteenth century at the expense of the darker races. In those days the conquest of new territories, as in India, Asia and Africa or markets, as in China, was profitable as such conquest could not possibly prove today. In those days there was always plenty of demand at remunerative prices for all the raw materials and all the manufactures that could then be produced. To say that the nineteenth-century wars of the capitalistic democracies were comparatively easy and profitable is no disparagement of the courage of the soldiers and pioneers of that day. It is no reflection on the bravery or skill of the bullfighter to point out that the bull usually loses.

The ease or difficulty of war for any given people at any particular time is, of course, purely relative. It is practically always possible for a large nation to resort to war, however difficult war may be; and war, under the most favorable circumstances, is never without risks and difficulties. Granting that warfare or conflict is the dynamic principle both of capitalism and socialism, it is important that, by reason of the greater ease of war for the British in the nineteenth century than today, resort to this dynamism offered more attractions and fewer deterrents to the democracies during the nineteenth century than now. Formerly the Haves fought, usually with success, for more territory or markets. Such war objectives were always physically attainable and materially advantageous to the winners. Today the democracies are fighting for the security of their possessions, which is not attainable. It is hard for a realist to believe that forty million Frenchmen will ever win security by victory over eighty million Germans, or that the two hundred and forty million people of the satisfied democracies of America, Britain and France can ever enjoy security as against the four hundred million land hungry Russians, Germans, Japanese and Italians. The land rich Russians are as hungry for territory giving them outlets on the warmer seas as the land poor Germans and Italians are for more granaries. The Haves now want peace with plenty where formerly they wanted wars of aggression to get plenty. But the Have-nots do not now want peace with poverty. And it is the dissatisfied Have-nots who now call the tune the satisfied Haves must pipe to.

As already stated, the dynamic function of war has always been and still is today that of obviating stagnation and anarchy by creating the necessary drives to social activity and unity. Without these products of war, a high civilization has hitherto been impossible. It remains to be demonstrated that a requisite quantity and quality of social unity and activity for a high civilization can be achieved otherwise than through war. Welfare and civilization have flourished only where and when people have been collectively united and motivated, as in war, by common aims and a common danger. Europe emerged from the barbarism of the Dark Ages when and because the discovery of new continents, the birth of new religious cults and the growth of nationalism gave rise to wars which created the necessary drives and disciplines for social unity and activity. Luther gave Europeans new religious passions and Columbus gave them new territories to fight over. It proved better for welfare and the advancement of culture to have national than private warfare. By reducing warfare to that occurring only between nations and by reducing the number of states through the formation of large empires, welfare is served and civilization advanced. In these ways, larger areas within which social cooperation may be successfully practiced are created and preserved.

The substitution, of large-scale public for small-scale private warfare since the rise of nationalism, following the Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation has been mistakenly acclaimed by many as good ground for the hope that public warfare would eventually go the way of private warfare into limbo. The taking of this view shows again a failure to grasp the central point of the present chapter. The great gift to welfare and civilization of nationalism was a pattern of warfare which imposed social unity where the preceding pattern of private warfare had failed to create such unity, but had rather promoted disunity. Public warfare was not only a substitute dynamism for private warfare but a vast improvement, socially considered. And the great civilizations of the past, like that of Rome, exemplified the superiority of a regime practicing public warfare over contemporary and more backward regimes tolerating private warfare because they were insufficiently civilized and unified to practice public warfare. An essential difference between a tribe of cannibals and a civilized people is to be found in their respective ways of warfare.

In the trend of the past four centuries from private to public warfare, from small political units to larger ones, there has never for one moment been a trend towards peace or away from warfare. Least of all since the Wilsonian collective security myth was made the rationalization of the most foolish declaration of war in history, the one we made on Germany in April 1917. Most significant of all, there has not even been a serious quest after a substitute dynamism for public war. The peace movements, schemes and machinery of the past forty years have not aimed at the development of a substitute dynamism for war but merely at the prevention of war, not for the benefit of all mankind but for the benefit of the satisfied who wanted their plenty with peace while the dissatisfied majority endured their poverty in impotency. The peace crowd, of course, have sought to formulate and put into operation substitutes for war as an adjuster of international differences. But they have simply not grasped the more important function of war as a necessary social dynamism. If one told the leaders of the different peace movements as late as 1932, the depth of the depression, that unemployment was the most serious war danger, as I did in my Is Capitalism Doomed? published in March 1932 and written in the autumn of 1931, one was met, as I was, with incredulous and pitying glances from liberal thinkers who could then see no connection whatever between unemployment and war.

This incomprehension of the economics and social dynamics of war is mainly due to the almost complete failure of the thinkers and writers in all fields of the social sciences during the rise of modern capitalism ever to take a realistic view of social facts like war and the necessary function of dynamism. This failure was due partly to humanitarianism and partly to hypocrisy, During an era in which the American, British and French empires were being built by almost continuous warfare, it may have been commendably humanitarian to wish for a social order free of war but it was downright intellectual dishonesty not to recognize that continuous warfare was one of the major dynamisms of the democracies in that era and, it was sheer hypocrisy then to argue as did the liberals, that war was exceptional, abnormal and avoidable. A commendably honest exception to the general rule may be found in Professor Carr’s history of the two decades from 1919 to 1939 in which he frankly recognizes that international peace has become really “a special vested interest of the predominant powers” rather than a general interest. This must remain true as long as present inequalities of economic opportunity prevail both among nations and among individuals within nations.

Religion, it would seem, is the only probable substitute for war as a social dynamic. It has, of course, served most often as an auxiliary of, rather than as a substitute for, war. Interestingly enough, Christianity, on its face a cult of universal brotherhood and peace, has, as yet, never produced a civilization or been identified with one which was not continuously characterized by war. In all the great Christian civilizations the main function of Christianity, so far as war has been concerned, has been to sanctify, multiply and intensify wars.

Volumes can be filled with documentary evidence of the foregoing statement. Professor Ray Hamilton Abrams, a University of Pennsylvania sociologist, published seven years ago a book entitled Preachers Present Arms which he was easily able to fill with facts showing how American churchmen helped put America into the first world war of the twentieth century. In 1916 Rabbi Stephen S. Wise asked “Are we to enter the armament gamble in which every nation loses?” A year later he was calling for “slaughter of the Boche.” In 1914 Bishop William T. Manning was praying for peace. In 1918 he was calling peace talk “thinly disguised treason.” Cardinal Gibbons was blessing the boys with the injunction, “Go forth to battle and victory, and God will be with you.” Alfred C. Dieffenbach, editor of the Unitarian Church Register, wrote: “Christ . . . would take bayonet and grenade and bomb and rifle and do the work of deadliness.” Henry B. Wright, a Y. M. C. A. leader, said, “I would not enter this work till I could see Jesus himself sighting down a gun barrel and running a bayonet through an enemy’s body.” Newell Dwight Hillis, one of the nation’s leading Congregationalist ministers, went up and down the land making speeches to sell Liberty bonds in which he worked his audiences up to a frenzy of passion and hate by a dramatic recounting of tales, largely false, of French and Belgian victims of German rapists. The men of the gospel and peace retailed atrocity stories and the religious publications ran Liberty Loan ads such as this: “KILL THE HUN—KILL HIS HOPE. Bayonet and bomb—both kill! One kills the Hun, the other kills his hope. Buy U. S. Government bonds.” Christian ministers and preachers of moral idealism have to wait for a war to go to town. Only then are they really potent moral forces. Only then are their hearers in considerable numbers and to any significant extent swayed by their oratory. War makes the Christian ministry and church temporarily dynamic and influential. That, doubtless, is why they invariably are so enthusiastic for war. It enables them to sell religion, temporarily, and to make it, for the duration of the war, important. It gives the Christian minister a brief spell of social importance and compensation for his chronic inferiority complex. As this book went to the publishers a front-page headline of a New York daily screamed in bold type, “Churchmen say Christians can’t remain neutral. Thirty-three leading Protestants aver ethical issues in war force ‘responsible’ stand.” It is inconceivable that a headline should have carried the news, “Bankers say the rich can’t remain neutral.” It would be easy to find thirty-three leading bankers who think that, but they would not have the effrontery to formulate such a view in the didactic tones of these thirty-three men of God and lay brethren. It takes the ministers of the gospel to whoop up a modern war. The plutocracy are mere camp followers of modern wars. The preachers furnish the moral leadership for war. Only they can mobilize the folk deity and the public conscience for the big killing.

Christianity, of course, has not been the dominant creative force in any Christian civilization since the Renaissance. Christianity has been distinctly inferior to war and trade as a dynamism. It has made the following not unimportant contributions, however, to the prevailing culture: (1) It has provided moral sanction for the legal safety and enforcement of property rights; (2) it has encouraged attitudes necessary for capitalism such as those favoring abstinence, thrift, saving, investment, interest, profits and private enterprise; (3) it has helped to keep the poor, poor in spirit and the meek acquiescent in their earthly lot. In short, Christianity has not developed a dynamic substitute for war. It is merely on tap when needed as an emotional auxiliary to war and property rights.

The economic mechanics of religion are similar to those of war and are obvious and simple. To demonstrate the role of religion as an employment creator in the past, it should not be necessary to rehash ancient or medieval history or to spin much economic theory. It should suffice merely to gaze upon the colossal religious ruins of the past all over the world and upon the churches and temples built hundreds of years ago which are still in service. The construction of the religious public works of the past fully and continuously absorbed the surplus labor and production of entire communities for centuries. Given enough religion or enough war, there will never be unemployment. The reasons are simple and obvious: First, there is no limit to the expenditure a community can make on war or religion except its capacity to produce minus its minimum requirements for subsistence. Second, religious or war motives have always proved sufficient to call forth maximum expenditure and sacrifices. The big point is that the activity or inactivity of any community is determined by the adequacy or inadequacy of the motivations to activity it can develop. No machine will move without sufficient motive power. Our economic machine has not been slowed down by reason of technical defects, inadequate resources or the satiation of human desires. It has been slowed down because it is dependent on profit motivations which, in the changed circumstances of current trends, are no longer adequate. Therefore, the civilized world turns to war as the only escape from stagnation.

War and religion are two creators of economic demand which do not have to depend on profits. Expenditures on war or religion obviously afford satisfactions deemed by the people who make them to be worth the sacrifices and costs involved. Otherwise, they would not be made. War and religion generate their own motivations for centuries on end. The pursuit of individual profits does not. For centuries the Romans found plenty of motives to carry on wars and the Egyptians to build pyramids. But capitalists have run out of motives for building railroads and Empire State buildings in less than a hundred years. The saturation point in capitalistic investment is soon reached. In war and religion it never is, and that is why capitalism is a temporary way while war and religion, like the poor, are with us always.

The essence of our economic difficulty today is an insufficiency of new private investment which, in turn, is due solely to an insufficiency of profit motivations. This failure of private investment, as we are told ad nauseam, is due to changed conditions reducing profit incentives and opportunities. The solution, we are told by professional economists, businessmen and conservative investors is to end these changed conditions diminishing the number of opportunities to make profits. They do not for a moment entertain the question whether this be possible. I am sure that it is not, otherwise, I reason, it would take place since there is such unanimity of desire to have it happen. If people fail to remain young, I am forced to infer that it is impossible not to grow old. It is as simple as that. I do not any longer waste my time trying to prove to doubting optimists that it is impossible to restore the necessary conditions for the successful functioning of private capitalism. Those who take my view do not have to prove their case. They need only challenge the optimists to prove their theses by achievement. After all, the tax collector presents my case much more convincingly than I can possibly do. The democracies are proving it by turning to war because they cannot otherwise escape from stagnation.

In terms of the concrete or specific, it may be said that, as between the building of a million dollar movie house and a million dollar church or armory there is no difference so far as current employment and production are concerned. There is, however, this important difference: the movie house can be built under capitalism only as long as it appears likely that the masses will have enough purchasing power to pay the necessary admissions to make the building a profitable venture. But in the religiously and militarily dominated society, the wealthy or the ruling class, along with the masses, always contribute enough to the cult or to the state to insure full employment. If there is a

limit to what can be invested for profit, there is no limit to what can be spent for the glory of God or for war. An economic historian has calculated that during the thirteenth century France built over a billion dollars’ worth of churches and cathedrals. In precapitalist days the building of pyramids, the Inca temple at Macchu Pichu, which I once spent a day climbing a mountain in the Andes to visit, a Roman wall or a medieval fortress was much more of a job provider than similar projects would be today with the use of modern technique and labor-saving machinery. All of which merely proves that, with our present labor supply and productive efficiency, we shall need to build several times as many pyramids and temples or to fight several times as costly wars as did our ancestors centuries ago. And the probabilities are that we shall.

The theoretical case for capitalism and democracy rests upon a denial that unemployment is ever anything more than temporary and local. This denial rests on the further refusal to admit that the rich will ever hoard their savings. These ostrich-like reactions to now current facts are obviously absurd.

The spiritual aspect of war and religion as social dynamisms is even more important than the purely economic aspect just discussed. The central fact of the spiritual aspect of the break-down of capitalism and democracy is a loss of faith in the values of the system. This, of course, is receiving widespread attention by disturbed liberals. The more naive and intellectual of them are earnestly crying out for a revival of faith in the values which are often verbalized in such terms as liberty, individual initiative, private property rights and free competition. The more terre á terre businessmen merely ask for a revival of confidence. The trouble is that the chief values of capitalism and democracy are no longer either credible or practicable. But the values of religion and war are always both credible and practicable.

The cardinal value of capitalism is prosperity. Other values are competition and laissez-faire. But you cannot revive confidence in prosperity when it is not just around the corner. And you cannot believe in competition when you cannot successfully practice it. Materialistic values can be believed in only as long as they can be materialized. The values of war and religion, on the contrary, can always be realized. One can always suffer and die for one’s faith or one’s country. One cannot always get six per cent with safety, buy land or stocks on a rising market or have two cars in every garage. And there’s the rub for capitalism. The rich and the poor can always follow a St. Francis into a life of asceticism and suffering or a Hitler into a war to build a greater Germany. But one cannot always get rich quick.

The spiritual values of war and religion are collective heroism, suffering, self-sacrifice and discipline—the will to suffer as well as the will to power or mastery. Religion and war can always realize and rationalize these values. War and religion give men something to suffer and die for. They give suffering a purpose and meaning as well as a satisfying and exalting quality. The failure of capitalism makes men suffer without giving to their suffering either a decent purpose or a rational meaning. If a man suffers in war, he is a hero; if he suffers for his faith, he is a saint; if he suffers under capitalism, he is a sucker. There is dignity as well as fulfillment in being a hero or a saint but not in being a jobless failure under capitalism. There is a vast difference between suffering for something and suffering from something. People will suffer in war for their country or under persecution for their faith. They will suffer in war for their country until the failure of their government makes their suffering seem futile. They may then revolt as the Russian people did in 1917.

Today capitalism or business is not fighting or leading a fight for the people. It is merely stagnating, in the absence of war, and thereby imposing untold hardship on innumerable victims. Those who imagine that people will not readily turn from stagnation to war or some crusading new political faith merely because the change may increase the people’s suffering do not know human nature. People are not instinctively averse to suffering and hardship, only suffering and hardship must have a meaning and purpose. Even death on the battlefield or martyrdom for one’s faith has been for millions of people in the past life’s grandest and most exalting experience. But how can anyone feel exaltation over suffering due to the failure of business to provide employment and a decent living? How can one feel that he is heroically upholding the glorious values of liberty when he is merely a passive victim of business impotence or incompetence? The appeal to heroic devotion to the liberties of capitalism is naive. If these liberties are worthy of devotion, of practicing rather than preaching, they must inspire it.

The values of economic freedom and competition fail to inspire faith when they cease to be practicable or when their practice leads to anarchy and chaos, as at present. One can, of course, make a philosophic value of anarchy. But capitalism and democracy have not given the people that type of philosophy. On the contrary, they have made values of order, efficiency and ease. Businessmen and workers have no taste for the joys of philosophic anarchy. Nor is the anarchy resulting nowadays from extreme competition and economic freedom the sort of thing a philosophical anarchist might long for in a life comparatively free from moral, legal and conventional restraints. The worker in the bread line has as much regimentation as the soldier, but the latter has regimentation with dignity. The businessman being put through bankruptcy is subject to coercion equal to that of any authoritarian government, but it is uncompensated by security. Neither the worker nor the businessman enjoys the type of anarchy which results from the breakdown of prosperity or excessive competition. A taste of such anarchy breeds a deep and abiding sense of frustration and futility, not of freedom.

In any brief review of the dynamic function of easy wars in the successful rise of capitalism and democracy it would be a serious omission not to call attention to the fact that nationalistic wars tempered the anarchy and contradictions of private competition. Both war and religion necessarily impose collective unity. Their practice unites large numbers of people in interests and feeling. Private competition, on the contrary, must always tend to destroy social unity. During the nineteenth century, two conditions permitted at the same time the preservation of the private competitive system and a satisfactory degree of national unity: The first was the already discussed factor of continuous warfare of a sort that was generally easy and lucrative for the peoples of the three great democracies of the present day, whether such warfare was ostensibly imperialistic as that of Britain and France or whether it was, as in the case of the American colonies, frontier settlement warfare against the aborigines. The second condition was the political immaturity of a vast majority of the electorate of that period, wherefore, in general, they competed under and not over the rules, leaving the making of rules largely to the landed slavocracy of the South and the mercantile plutocracy of the North in the case of the United States, and, in the case of Britain, to a single and fairly compactly knit together ruling class.

An entire community can practice competition in an orderly way only in war or in competition with an outside community. Thus, in war-time, each warring community operates internally on the basis of cooperation and externally on the basis of competition. In this way there is order within and anarchy without. It is obviously an inevitable condition of any society of sovereign nations that it be characterized by anarchy. Multiple sovereignties are merely a synonym for anarchy. International anarchy is a corollary of national sovereignty. That numerous company of idealists and theorists who profess to wish to substitute in the international sphere the rule of law for the rule of anarchy while at the same time preserving national sovereignty is composed of persons who are either singularly obtuse or intellectually dishonest. Anyone who does not understand that, under the rule of law, there can be but one sovereign, not several, does not understand the meaning either of law or sovereignty.

But, although war has been throughout history a force for anarchy as among nations, it has been a force for social cohesion and order as within nations. Between chronic international anarchy and national order there is no necessary contradiction. The fact is that capitalistic democracies have needed the centripetal force of foreign warfare to offset the centrifugal force of private competition. It may be that socialism within the nation can develop enough forces of unification to obviate the necessity for the internally unifying forces of foreign war, though this may now well be considered doubtful. Certainly, ever since the Renaissance and Protestant Reformation, Western civilization has needed the unifying forces of national and imperial wars. Individualism, or the disuniting force of private competition, has made this need of foreign war all the greater. The free play of individual or minority group self-interest tends to make any community go to pieces. The counter forces of unification necessary for social order under capitalism have had to be largely generated by the continuous waging of easy and successful foreign wars. Now the democracies no longer have easy foreign wars to offset the disuniting forces of capitalism, which, in its maturity, is nothing but unmitigated class war.

*The Nicaraguan Expeditions amounted to continuous occupations under the hollow pretexts of protecting American lives and property and assisting the Nicaraguan Government with the supervision of elections, the maintenance of order and economic rehabilitation. During one of the many bloody phases of these prolonged adventures in dollar diplomacy, the Sandino rebellion of 1927-1930, our marines lost 135 killed and 66 wounded in action while the Nicaraguan “bandits,” the term applied by our Government to Nicaraguan patriots who opposed our intervention, lost over 3000. This was about one half of one per cent of the total population of Nicaragua. Had American casualties in the World War been in the same ratio to our population, our total killed would have been 550,000 instead of around 50,000 as they actually were. Our glorious little war against the Haitian Cacos in 1920 Cost 2500 Haitian lives. I am able to write advisedly as well as feelingly of these minor episodes of American imperialism because I happened to have served in the American diplomatic service in both Nicaragua and Haiti during brief periods of both adventures. I was the American charge d’affaires in Nicaragua in August 1926, who, at the direction of the State Department, sent the telegram asking for the marines to come back as being needed to “protect American lives and property.” General Smedley Butler, who feels as I do about these chapters in American imperialist history, fought in the first marine intervention in Nicaragua in 1912 and also commanded the marines for a time in Haiti. He also wears two Congressional Medals of Honor.