Pacifists, Turks, and Duty
CONGRATULATIONS to Jane Addams, who declines to be a slave to her own logic.
Nobody was more sure that it was wicked to fight, during all that awful time when we had to fight, than she; and nobody has been more emphatic about it than she ever since.
Yet we learn that she recently spoke at a Near East protest meeting in Chicago, urging, like the other speakers, that the nations would stop the terrors of that land of massacres. If this means anything, it undoubtedly means an appeal to force.
And, to their credit, be it said that most Pacifists, including the religious sort, really would like to have somebody request the Turks to stop the massacres, and to have the Turks reply by return mail that it would be a pleasure to do so. Which, no doubt, shows that the Pacifists have a heart. But here is the difficulty with their position. When an immoral, devil-driven government or people starts out to make war against a defenseless people, there are only two alternatives which strong nations -- the parties of the third part -- can adopt. They may acquiesce, with a greater or less degree of protest according to their pleasure; or they may send their armies to stop the atrocities by force. The Pacifists condemn the latter course, yet seem dissatisfied with the results of the former.
When the Germans started out against the Belgians and the French and the Serbians, the Powers met their advance by force. Jane Addams and the Pacifists thought that was all wrong.
When the Turks started out against the Armenians and the Assyrians and the rest of them, the Christian world has done exactly what Jane Addams and our religious Pacifist newspapers have been preaching. The Christian world has shown mild disapproval -- and done nothing. And hundreds of thousands of Christians have been massacred, no nation offering to come to their rescue. Even America has been made powerless because the Jane Addamses and the religious Pacifist press have lulled our people into thinking that it was no longer necessary to fight in the interest of humanity; no, that it was no longer even right to do so; and certainly that is a comfortable gospel for a war-worn and war-tired people to accept.
Thank God that Jane Addams has at length revolted against her own gospel of Pacifism, and wants the nations to do something -- which can only mean that they shall back up protests by ultimatums, and ultimatums by force. Even Jane Addams can scarcely suggest any other cure for the situation.
Now let our religious Pacifists and other sweet-tempered people who are urging that the Church shall never again countenance our nation going into war, face realities. Do they really think that the attitude of the civilized nations toward the massacres of the Near East is more in accordance with the mind of God than their attitude toward Germany and Austria eight years ago? If the world had adopted toward the Kaiser the attitude it has adopted toward the Turk, would not the story of the Armenians and the Assyrians have been duplicated many times over in all the lands that the Germans and Austrians overran? What, then, do they think would have been the condition of the world [today] -- with the Kaiser the absolute monarch over five continents.
Perhaps Jane Addams has saved her soul by voicing a protest against the acquiescence of the nations [page 2] in the repeated massacres of the Near East, though she has indicted her own logic. But which of our religious Pacifists dares to face the Judge of all the world on that awful Dies Irae and find the blood of the slain staining his hands, because his gospel of Pacifism held back the nations from the forcible restraint of those who make war upon the innocent when the strong permit them to do so?
If a dozen thugs assault a defenseless wayfarer, any Pacifist in the land would call a policeman and countenance the punishment of the thugs. If two dozen thugs assault two wayfarers they would do the same; or if three dozen thugs assault three wayfarers. But if a nation of thugs assault several hundred thousand wayfarers, and another strong nation intervenes to stop it, that is war. And our religious Pacifists avow that the Church must never again countenance war!
How happy the devil must be at such a gospel!
Brava, Jane Addams, for leaving their ranks at last! But what a mess it makes of your attitudes toward war during these eight years that have last past!