The Place Of Force In Social Development -- By: Philip Stafford Moxom

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 075:299 (Jul 1918)
Article: The Place Of Force In Social Development
Author: Philip Stafford Moxom

The Place Of Force In Social Development

Philip Stafford Moxom

In the early summer of 1914 the general state of mind in this country, and to a considerable extent in other countries, especially England and France, though less in France than in England, was one of complacency as to the progress which had been made toward permanent international peace. Two peace conferences had been held at The Hague, the first in 1899 and the second in 1907, and much had been accomplished in the way of formulating principles which, when approved by the various governments represented in the conferences, would attain the quality of international law. Important guarantees of international peace, however, were withheld by certain powers, notably by Germany followed by Austria. Thus these conferences signally failed, though the completeness of the failure appears not to have been fully perceived, save by individual minds. Actually Europe was slumbering over a volcano. Here and there a solitary voice, vox clamantis in deserto, uttered a note of warning, but for the most part this was unheeded.

In America peace workers, cooperating with persons of like mind in other countries, were making plans and issuing

a call for an ecumenical council, the first in history, the one great object of which was to align all the churches of Christendom in a united effort to promote international good-will. The various Protestant bodies were to send delegates to meet in Constance, Baden, on August 2, 1914, and the Catholic bodies were to send delegates to meet a little later in Liege, Belgium. The former were assembling in Constance when suddenly a war storm unparalleled in history burst forth, and the German army plunged into Belgium and Luxemburg on its ravaging way to France.

The dreamers of peace had a frightful awakening, and the world saw with amazement an irruption of deliberate and malignant barbarism. In the war thus begun every Hague convention was violated, and international law was flung to the winds. Since that fateful day in August, 1914, a score of nations have been involved in a devastating tempest of incredible conflict in which millions of men, women, and children have perished, many millions more have been torn into helplessness by the missiles of war and wasted by disease and famine, and fair and fruitful lands have been turned into deserts, populous only with graves.

With the experience of these past three and a half years oppressing and almost paralyzing the mind, it is difficult to recall the dreams of peace that seemed so promiseful, or to consider with calmness the question concerning the place of force in the social development of mankind. But out of all the confusion ris...

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