When the war was over and the workers in Europe were slowly finding their way homeward, I came, by accident, into a meeting where there were several young men. All had something very earnest to say and I went home, thanking God for those young men. I had seen a great vision and gained a great conviction that if there was no one else to abolish war, these young men could and would do it.
There are many young men here to-night. There are quite enough of you to abolish war were there no other agencies to do it. If there is a young man here who has not yet taken up this task, let me urge him to begin now. I am going to give you a new direction.
Every student of war should have a garden and in that garden he should mark off a square yard or two and transform it into a war laboratory. He will need a little knowledge of chemistry and poisons, a little about the queer behaviorism of insects, and he should be provided with a few armaments, such as trowels and spades. Then he goes to work, and directly the cause, the cure, and all the mystery of war will be spread out before him.
You remember that last year we had a great drought, and in the month of August in our part of the country every lawn was splotched with dead and dying grass. So we investigated. We tore that grass from the lawn and when we dug deeper, we found uncountable numbers of grubs, big fat ones, with huge mandibles. They had destroyed the grass and there they laid in the earth beneath, arranged exactly like raisins in a Christmas pudding.
We sent for an expert and the expert pronounced those grubs to be May Beetles. So we started a laboratory. The startling thing first found was something quite unexpected. These grubs were economists.
You know that at this time the professors from the universities have pretty much all come to conclusion that there are economic causes for war. They have written tons of books about it and any one of us now can talk quite blithely about economic causes of war. These beetles have professors, too, and they know all about economic causes of war.
These beetles have little measuring tapes, apparently. Every grub locates himself and then measures off in each direction four inches exactly. He does not allow another grub to get within his territory. When one grub moves, they all move and go deeper down into the earth, each one keeping away from every other grub by just four inches. Each grub knows the exact economic value of his four inches of territory and how much food and shelter it contains; that is, he knows how much he can eat within a given time.
Suppose in that laboratory of yours you drop in a few Japanese beetles. The American beetles will chase those Japanese beetles. When they fail to drive them out, there is a battle and upon that battlefield there are dead beetles – dead Americans and dead Japanese, but the Americans chase the Japanese beetles until there are none left. They are patriots and they are for the defense of the economic rights of their four inches square!
A wit said that when the Great War came to an end, every one knew it was over, but no one knew who started it or who had won it, or who was going to pay for it. Probably the reason is the confused method and the manner in which the bill has been presented.
You have heard about the Japanese chauffeur who made a bargain with a teacher to take her to school and home each day. When he presented her with the first bill, it was for "ten goes, ten comes, at fifty cents a went." Perhaps a similar bill makes reparations and war debts so difficult to comprehend.
On the eve of the signature of the Paris Pact, Mr. Kellogg wrote: "I must not claim that treaties of arbitration and conciliation or even treaties explicitly renouncing war as an instrument of national policy afford a certain guarantee." A week before the signing of that Kellogg Pact, Monsieur Briand said: "War is still a possibility, but it does not dominate the situation and the destiny of people as completely as it once did. The pact against war is merely a new obstacle to the frightful calamity which is war." And Dr. Stresemann at the same time said: "But the conclusion of the pact of peace of the world has not been definitely consolidated."
Why are statesmen like these great men so timid? Why are they so uncertain about the result of that pact and about the result of al else that has been done for peace? Why do they hesitate? Why do they pause? Why do they not know what to do and how to do it?
In Mr. Kirby Page's new book on "National Defense", which a recommend, he lays down six items in a program whereby national security may be obtained. I believe that program might be reduced to one item -- build up the agencies of peace and tear down the agencies of war.
In the world somewhere men must think straighter. They must argue with more logic. They must search more diligently for justice and honesty. Somewhere in the midst of such thinking the agencies of peace will emerge. And behind those agencies there will be statement unafraid.
The war story that I have liked best if the one about Lord French You remember it. A colonial reported: "We cannot hold out much longer; it is impossible." He replied: "I only want men who can do the impossible. You must hold out." And the line held.
Next winter there is going to be a disarmament conference. There are a great many questions between now and then to be considered. The most important is this: We almost failed on two disarmament conferences; - are we going to fail in the next? We must have men who will do the impossible there. We await their action.
When we have had a real disarmament, it will be the first break in the agency of war and we shall then have the courage and the conscience to build up the agencies of peace and to apologize for them no more.