Home > Uncategorized > H.G. Wells: A time will come when a politician who has wilfully made war will be as sure of the dock and much surer of the noose than a private homicide

H.G. Wells: A time will come when a politician who has wilfully made war will be as sure of the dock and much surer of the noose than a private homicide

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

H.G. Wells: Selections on war

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H.G. Wells
From The Salvaging of Civilization (1921)

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Teaching then is the initial and decisive factor in the future of mankind, and the first duty of everyone who has the ability and opportunity, is to teach, or to subserve the teaching of, the true history of mankind…Men and women can help the spread of the saving doctrine in a thousand various ways; for it is not only in homes and schools that minds are shaped. They can print and publish books, endow schools and teaching, organize the distribution of literature, insist upon the proper instruction of children in world wide charity and fellowship, fight against every sort of suppression or restrictive control of right education, bring pressure through political and social channels upon every teaching organization to teach history aright, sustain missions and a new sort of missionary, the missionaries to all mankind of knowledge and the idea of one world civilization and one world community; they can promote and help the progress of historical and ethnological and political science, they can set their faces against every campaign of hate, racial suspicion, and patriotic falsehood, they can refuse, they are bound to refuse, obedience to any public authority which oppresses and embitters class against class, race against race, and people against people. A belligerent government as such, they can refuse to obey; and they can refuse to help or suffer any military preparations that are not directed wholly and plainly to preserving the peace of the world. This is the plain duty of every honest man to-day, to judge his magistrate before he obeys him, and to render unto Cæsar nothing that he owes to God and mankind…Blatant, aggressive patriotism and the incitements against foreign peoples that usually go with it, are just as criminal and far more injurious to our race than, for example, indecent provocations and open incitements to sexual vice; they produce a much beastlier and crueller state of mind, and they deserve at least an equal condemnation. Yet you will find even priests and clergymen to-day rousing the war passions of their flocks and preaching conflict from the very steps of the altar.

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The day is not remote when disregardful “patriotic” men hectoring in the crowd will be twisted round perforce to the light they refuse to see. First comes the idea and then slowly the full comprehension of the idea, comes realization, and with that realization will come a kindling anger at the vulgarity, the meanness, the greed and baseness and utter stupidity that refuses to attend to this clear voice, this definite demand of our racial necessity. To-day we teach, but as understanding grows we must begin to act. We must put ourselves and our rulers and our fellow men on trial. We must ask: “What have you done, what are you doing to help or hinder the peace and order of mankind?” A time will come when a politician who has wilfully made war and promoted international dissension will be as sure of the dock and much surer of the noose than a private homicide. It is not reasonable that those who gamble with men’s lives should not stake their own.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. rosemerry
    July 25, 2013 at 6:06 am

    If only!!

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