1920s >> 1923 >> no-223-march-1923

Thoughts of a scientist

“I am not afraid of the priests in the long run. Scientific method is the white ant which will slowly but surely destroy their fortifications. And the importance of scientific method in modern practical life—always growing and increasing—is the guarantee for the gradual emancipation of the ignorant upper andlower classes, the former of whom especially are the strength; of the priests.”

(“Life and Letters,” Vol. III., Page 330).

“I have not the slightest doubt about the magnitude of the evils which accrue from the steady increase of European armaments ; but I think that this regrettable fact is merely the superficial expression of social forces, the operations of which cannot be sensibly affected by agreements between Governments.

In my opinion it is a delusion to attribute the growth of armaments to the “exactions of militarism.” The “exactions of industrialism,” generated by international commercial competition, may, I believe, claim a much larger share in prompting that growth. Add to this the French thirst for revenge, the most just determination of the German and Italian peoples to assert their national duty; the Russian Pan-slavonic fanaticism and desire for free access to the ‘western seas’ ; the Papacy steadily fishing in the troubled waters for the means of recovering its lost (I hope for ever lost) temporal possessions and spiritual supremacy; the “sick man,” kept alive only because each of his doctors is afraid of the other becoming his heir.

When I think of the intensity of the perturbing agencies which arise out of these and other conditions of modern European society, I confess that the attempt to counteract them by asking Governments to agree to a maximum military expenditure,, does not appear to me to be worth making ; indeed, I think it might do harm by leading people to suppose that the desires of Governments are the chief agents in determining whether peace or war shall obtain in Europe.”

T. H. HUXLEY. (Page 323)

(Socialist Standard, March 1923)

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