THE progress of science in the past century has reduced the world to the unity of interdependence. A civil war in America brings starvation to the cotton towns of Lancashire. An injury to the credit-structure of Germany may involve a panic on the Paris Bourse. Not less notable than this web of complex interweaving is the pace at which change proceeds. Feudal Japan can become, as it were overnight, the modern state. Men are still living to whom the railway was an incredible innovation; and their children will doubtless watch aerial traffic blot out the distance between London and New York.
We pay, of course, the price for scientific development. The complexity that ensues involves a necessary fragility in the machine. The working of our social institutions depends, as never before, upon the maintenance of peace. The mechanisms of civilization are so delicate that they respond like the needle of the compass to every gust of wind; and without their continuous functioning we are, to continue the metaphor, like sailors upon an uncharted sea. We cannot maintain the vast system of interrelationships we have built unless men are prepared to follow consistently the path of reason in their affairs. We need a minimum of social unity that will at least persuade mankind that the path of social change is a matter for deliberation and argument, not for violence and physical conflict.
Yet our interdependence has not procured a unified outlook. Racial hatred, national suspicion, the war of class and class, all these remain to emphasize to us the error of optimism. Confidence, in fact, is the more dangerous because the weapons that science has placed at the service of destruction are now so powerful that their utilization is incompatible with civilized life. We have learned in the last decade that the impulses of savagery that are loosed by war are utterly destructive of the foundations of a decent existence. If men cease to trust the goodwill of institutions, if, that
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