As we advance in civilization, safety of each individual life is greater and greater. In time we will guarantee that the tiniest ovum, at the moment of conception, shall have all the rights of life of an adult. The women themselves will insist that it is murder to destroy an ovum. Selection will bring this about by the greater death rate of the women who commit abortions upon themselves. Of course, this will take a long time, for, as already explained, early abortions are not considered murder, either ethically or legally at present. In the meantime, this lessened death rate by cessation of abortions will cause an instant reduction in the birth rate. We are gradually waking up to the fact that we must place a higher value on human life. It is too great a burden to raise a child merely to sacrifice it in the end. Life may be as cheap as dirt among savages and barbarians, but civilized men come high. That is the real reason for the tremendous outcry against war. We have called attention to the benefits of war - as clarifying population, the elimination of the timid and evolution of strenuous types, and the beneficial blood lettings to kill the surplus. It is now time to look at the evils, and how they may eliminate wars in due time, that is, if the birth rate permits, for if we have too many babies, they must fight for our estate.
Wars have been diminishing in frequency from the time that savage man was perpetually at war and never at peace. In addition, in every war there is a progressive increase in the destructiveness of the weapons, yet a progressive decrease of fatalities, both numerically and proportionately. Only since the invention of gunpowder have armies been subsisted from home, and the art then arose of keeping up lines of communications and supplies from a base. Before this they "lived on the country," and an invasion must have caused awful destruction of life. The plan was found useless when Louis XI devastated Southern France and moved the people North, as the only and successful means of defeating the invading Italians. Russia did the same to Napoleon.
There is a modern compensation working against warfare, and it is of such extreme power that it is quite likely to succeed in time. When populations were thin, each man had to be a soldier or die, and leaders of men were invariably the best soldiers. In modern times populations are too numerous for all to go to war, and the fighting is done by a part. Self-sacrificing soldiers are still to be had on demand, because of what we might call the first law of nature - preservation of the species. Since modern war exposes to death only those who have this gallantry in excess, it has a natural result of killing off the most soldierly. The least soldierly who stay at home are the best fitted to survive in modern life, and this slow process of weeding out the warriors, if continued long enough, would eventually put a stop to war from the inability to get the men. The people themselves will refuse to go to war except to repel enemies, and invasion of civilized nations by another will probably not then occur. Even now, with all the sensational journalism to get up glory and splendor for soldiers, there is a tendency to smile at the spectacular part. No matter how volunteers may sacrifice themselves for the stay-at-homes, they are soon forgotten and left to struggle for employment - their old positions often being occupied by stay-at-homes. Until recently it was even the law to keep volunteers out of their civil service positions. Business men and corporations are quite generally forbidding employees from joining the National Guard, or at least discountenancing enlistments.
Formerly, when all men fought, perfect measures were taken to care for their families. The widow became the wife of the eldest surviving brother - the Levirate. Now we find that when a man is killed in battle his wife and children must suffer, because the pension given them by taxing the stay-at-homes for whose benefit the husband died, is not sufficient for their support. Marriage, then, is already a bar to soldiering except in countries where everybody must do his share of national defense, and pensions are not given except for disability. Married men carry on the nation, the others are weeded out, and this also tends to eliminate the fighting instinct, though it is so far off that we need not bother ourselves about it. Nevertheless, it has already gone so far that we had to resort to the draft in the Civil War, and the British discussed the same measure during the Boer War. Russia had to drive many a peasant to Manchuria. Modern leaders are more and more rarely its soldiers, and modern nations are not all soldiers by any means. The great future world nation cannot exist until non-fighting units are evolved.*
Anthropologists have repeatedly shown the deterioration in nations, following war. In France, for instance, procreation during the Prussian War of 1870 was left to the defective who could not enlist, so that the children born the subsequent year were very defective. War takes "the best we breed," and the cry goes up to stop the waste. Hovelacque and Herve * show how modern war eliminates the best and tends to deteriorate nations. Nevertheless, this deterioration is only a temporary affair after all, and in spite of all that is against the modern soldier, he does have an advantage after the fighting is over - which only takes a few of the best we breed and aids the survivors.