IN THE FUTURE

From The Tribunal 27th June 1918

This is a further update in a series of extracts from the No Conscription Fellowship’s journal, published in the UK between March 1916 and November 1918
For other extracts go to: http://nfpb.org.uk/tribunal

We take the following quotations from Mr. H.G. Well’s latest book, “In the Fourth Year: Anticipations of a World Peace.”

“After the war, if the world does not organise rapidly for peace, then as resources accumulate a little, the mechanical genius will get to work on the possibilities of these ideas that have been merely sketched out in the war. We shall have big land ironclads which will smash towns. We shall get air offensives – let the experienced London reader think of an air raid going on hour after hour, day after day – that will really burn out and wreck towns, that will drive people mad by the thousand. We shall get a complete cessation of sea transit. Even land transit may be severly hampered by aerial attack. I doubt if any sort of social order will really be able to stand the strain of fully worked out modern war. We have still, of course, to feel the full shock effects even of this war. Most of the combatants are going on, as sometimes men who have incurred grave wounds will still go on for a time – without feeling them. The educational, biological, social, economic punishment that has already been taken by each of the European countries is, I feel, much greater than we yet realise.

It becomes more and more plainly a choice between the League of Free Nations and a famished race of men looting in search of non-existent food amidst the smouldering ruins of civilisation. In the end I believe that the common sense of mankind will prefer a revision of its ideas of nationality and imperialism, to the latter alternative. It may take obstinate men a few more years yet of blood and horror to learn this lesson, but for my own part I cherish an obstinate belief in the potential reasonableness of mankind.

It is absurd to suppose that anywhere to-day the nationalisms, the suspicions and hatreds, the cants and policies , and the dead phrases that sway men represent the current intelligence of mankind. They are merely the evidences of its disorganisation. Even now we know we could do far better.

Never have I been so sure that there is a divinity in man and that a great order of human life, a reign of justice and world-wide happiness, of plenty, power, hope, and gigantic creative effort, lies close at hand. Even now we have the science and ability for a universal welfare, though it is scattered about the world like a handful of money dropped by a child; even now there exists all the knowledge that is needed to make mankind universally free and human life free and noble. We need but the faith for it and it is at hand; we need but the courage to lay our hands upon it and in a little space of years it can be ours.”

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