Protection

The world is always tangling itself in new beliefs about protection. With guns gone and treaties broken, the human sense of protection may seem to vanish. And yet, ask the average man if he believes in God and he will be most emphatic in his affirmation that he does. In the same breath he will usually reject the Biblical symbols for protection. Perhaps, if the plowshare took on the dimensions of a dreadnaught and the pruning hook could be readily transformed into a spear, the mortal would be satisfied with them. Arbitration and mediation are good in theory and quite possible in practice if the passions of men can be governed. When a labor strike erupts the serenity of the business world, while ships lie idle and builders drop the level and hammer for weapons of bargaining, arbitration is resorted to as a means of adjusting the difficulties. If the resultant decision is satisfactory to the striker, he returns to his hammer and the ships, while the employers shout their disapproval of arbitration, and viceversa. If each of them gets his pound of flesh, well and good; arbitration is then a success; but woe to the theory of arbitration if displeasure upsets one side or the other.

Since individuals constitute the nation, the average individual case proves the nation's case, and arbitration with other nations often degenerates into a bargain-counter proposition, menacing the welfare of friendship and progress. Gluttony, greed, and self-seeking crop out in nations whose make-up is on the dead level of selfishness, and, consequently, the inspiration that is needed to move them to great accomplishments drops into the mire of petty provincialism, seclusion, and stagnation.

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