This section is from the book "Principles Of Sociology With Educational Applications", by Frederick R. Clow. Also available from Amazon: Principles of sociology with educational applications.
But strife always involves waste. Looking at a football game, one thinks how much constructive work might be accomplished with the energy there expended. Read a few pages of the Congressional Record and estimate the time wasted in apparently fruitless wrangling. There have always been persons who hope for the cessation of struggle. They hope to see war abolished as a relic of barbarism, and strikes abolished as industrial war. The socialists would suppress competition for private gain. There is much preaching of universal brotherhood and love. Peace is so commonly held before us as an ideal that we almost forget what it means. It means the sway of a single all-powerful, all-pervading government which can suppress strife.
And he will judge between the nations, and will decide concerning many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
And the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain. - Bible, "Isaiah," 11,4; XI, 6-9.
But it is impossible to conceive of an all-pervading government. Such hopes sometimes result in changing the form of the struggle; they never suppress it. Struggle of some kind always goes on, and with pretty much the same intensity. The matter-of-fact spectator who laments the waste of energy at the football game probably forgets the hazing which formerly so largely characterized student life. The settlement of international disputes without war is only a transfer of the struggle to the realm of diplomacy or industry. If the socialists should capture every government on earth and put their plan in operation, it would only substitute for business competition as we know it the competition of persons for places in the state system of industry, or strife between political parties for the control of that system
Natural selection is nature's way of securing efficiency, and nature will not be thwarted. Nature knows no nirvana, no dolce far niente. The summons to combat comes, perhaps, when I should prefer to rest or do something else. I must answer and have all my powers up to standard, or else I must step down and out that others may take my place. If the institutions I love do not thus hold me up to my duty, I may see them overwhelmed with ignominy, and I shall go down with them. The institution that has everything so benevolently organized within that there is no struggle - no rivalry, no strife for place, no turning down of this project and acceptance of that - has already begun to decline.
It is internal weakness that most often limits or destroys. Democracy will grow as far as it shows itself capable. Kaiser and Czar together could not keep down democracy in Russia, but the Bolsheviki, working on the inside, could wreck it. The limit to the control of labor organizations over industry and of student self-government over schools is set by the capacity, integrity, and public spirit of the leaders whom the democratic method puts forward, rather than by the self-interest of capitalists or faculties.
"Life had a wrangling birth. On the head of every one of us rests the ancestral curse of fifty million murders."
. . . Has hate been necessary, and is it still necessary, and will it always be necessary? Is all life a war forever? . . . - Wells, Mr. Britling Sees It Through, p. 290.
. . . Ethical philosophers, removed from contact with the facts of life, have evolved, as inferences, a set of ideals and dogmas about human relations which they have succeeded in putting into the minds of the emotional and susceptible. These arbiters of ethics and their following raise horrified outcries at the imposition of the death penalty, at the public lashing of a wife-beater, at the insistence upon an adequate discipline in schools. They make the home a hothouse instead of a toughening training school for life, turning loose upon society undisciplined products prone to disregard the rights of their fellows in society as they have overridden under indulgence the rights of their fellows in the home. Sentimentalists, warm of heart, but soft of head, petition complaisant executives to let loose upon society the wolves that have been trapped and should have been eliminated once for all; to set the scotched snakes free again. The pseudo-heroic and pathetic aspects of the life of a black-hearted criminal are rehearsed until he seems to be a martyr and the just judge who condemns him a persecutor and a brute. All of which is done by volatile spirits under the illusion that they are thereby conserving the delicacy of the "ethical sense," or what not, instead of proving recreant to plain duties as members and supporters of civilized society. - Keller, Societal Evolution, pp. 69, 70.