« PreviousContinue »
duty well performed supplement in loyal devotion the light-symbolized by the stars on this flag of those who have gone “over there."
The National Education Association gives to those who have welcomed it to Atlantic City a deep appreciation of their words and deeds of hospitality, and pledges in return a session full to the brim of patriotic thinking and doing.
The National Education Association is the clearing-house of intellectual methods. The unification of educational aims is the purpose of this colossal convention. It intends to compare professional aims and intensify education. It convened to study professional needs, to unify professional aims, and to intensify professional inspiration. This convention witnesses the creation of a commission on the reorganization of education in America with particular reference to conditions during the war, and to make preparation to meet conditions after the war. This commission has
upon it representatives from universities, normal schools, state departments of education, rural schools, and elementary schools. Our educational methods need changing. The public schools, I believe, have performed their duties better than any other department of public work. The National Education Association is the color guard of the army of civilization. It must become more straight-thinking, hard-working, mighty-loving, in order to make better citizens. It must be a means thru which the government, representing the spirit of America, can make its appeals to the people thru a scientifically and humanly organized school system. The schools exist for the sake of the children. The nation has need of the kind of children that only the best schools can train. The National Education Association stands for the child, for the home, for the nation, because only as these are strong and free and pure can the world hope for a world-civilization after the war.
A democracy is the most expensive form of government yet devised by mind of man in the demands it makes upon the intelligence, devotion, and integrity of all its citizens. A democracy, unlike a machine, must be the expression of developt vital forces if it is to live. For this reason there should be continuation schools, night schools, and opportunity schools where citizens of adult age can go, not only to learn the English language, but to receive instruction in all vocations. The National Education Association promises for July, in Pittsburgh, a purely patriotic convention, and then education in its international relations will be represented. There will be representatives from Great Britain, France, Italy, and America. If a league of nations is to be establisht after the war, and that is one of the things for which we are fighting, we must find a means of permanent unification. This link can be forged thru education better than in any other way, and so the National Education Association is preparing to confer with leaders of educational thought in all countries so that the system of each nation may add its contribution to the common educational treasure of the world. Therefore we hope that the national commissions for reorganization may eventuate in an international commission for the study of the child, not only as a citizen of this, our country, but as a citizen of the world. This will bring real brotherhood on earth, and democracy is but another name for brotherhood.
Mr. Chairman, members of the convention, and visiting friends, again I thank you for the welcome extended. In the name of all the states, from the shores of the golden Pacific to the gray Atlantic, from the shadow of the Rockies, where lies my home, from East and West, and North and South, I bring you greeting and offer the service of this, the greatest educational body in the world, in the mighty task of making America ready to accept leadership in the great days that are to come—the greatest task to which the God of Nations has as yet summoned any people—the supreme task of laying the foundations of a new social order thru a trained citizenry.
CHARLES S. WHITMAN, GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK
It is a distinction, Mr. President, not to be scorned, to be presented to this audience of representative educators as one of their guild. It is true, I did once attempt to teach school. My claim to brotherhood in this great teaching fraternity is slight indeed; but my respect for the profession which more than any other, perhaps, "richly exalts human life" is genuine. I do not employ mere idle words when I declare that it is my abiding conviction that the teachers of America and the schools they represent determine in large measure the destiny of the nation. You may call that statement a truism, if you wish. It will bear repetition. If I mistake not, educational systems which have controlled the destinies of nations are on trial before the world today.
But I have no thought of making an educational address. I must not forget that I am far removed from the guild. When the Department of Superintendence met in Kansas City last February this nation was still honestly trying to preserve the hopeless fiction of neutrality in the greatest war the world has ever seen. I thank God, with you, that this meeting of your Association finds the American people lined up—lined up where they belong.
It is not surprising that it took the average man in the street as well as our duly appointed agents in Washington considerable time to clear away the mirage of neutrality. Before the now historic midsummer of 1914, thoughtful men, men familiar with history and trained in the science of government, widely held the view that enduring peace was appearing upon the world's horizon, and that the sun had forever set upon great physical conflicts among nations. The two Hague Conferences, tho they did not accomplish fully their announst purposes, did much to promote this view. We had very generally and agreeably reasoned ourselves into the belief that war, with all its attendant horrors, was going to be impossible among civilized peoples.
There was ground enough for this painfully mistaken attitude. A thousand agencies were at work thruout the world that made for peace. The twentieth century had dawned upon man in possession of many marvelous new secrets of nature. This freshly acquired knowledge had widely been turned to practical account in adding to the creature comforts of the individual and in bettering human conditions generally. It was hardly to be supposed that men and nations that had done so much to conquer the earth and sea and even the air would not be able in some way to protect themselves against the awful ravages and wanton wastes of war. Men widely cultivated the fiction in this as well as in other countries that economic interests, vast business enterprises, awakened world-conscience, and the dictates of Christian civilization would somehow save the world from future wars.
We had our rude awakening. We did not reckon with the machinations of the Huns. The fundamental causes and issues of the war have been clearly stated many times, and by no one more clearly or forcefully than by the President of the United States. I shall not attempt to elaborate upon them here. I apprehend that you superintendents and principals and teachers will agree with me that no war between civilized nations is without great underlying cause, that the destinies of mankind have been frequently controlled by wars, and that every great conflict among nations determines whether a higher or a lower philosophy of life shall preside over the future of the race. We are reminded from time to time that the names of Marathon and Thermopylae shine like the stars thru all the ages because on those fields there met in physical combat principles of eternal signifi
It was not Greek and Persian who fought those battles; it was European liberty and oriental despotism. It was not simply Greek and Persian that met in those long-ago engagements, but the theories of life for which they stood. This war is nothing more than the ancient conflict of Greek and Persian ideals upon a broader field. It is a struggle, as it seems to me, to the death, between two radically different and inevitably hostile philosophies of life and government.
May I briefly point out a few of the evidences of the impassable gulf which lies between our Allies and ourselves on the one hand, and our enemies on the other, all of which are calculated to show that ours is the “will to serve," theirs the “will to power”?
Here are a few of the utterances of General Bernhardi in his book on Germany and the Next War. Events have proved him to be the faithful, if not duly appointed, mouthpiece of what Dr. Henry van Dyke calls “the Potsdam gang."
It is a persistent struggle for possession, power, and sovereignty, which primarily governs the relations of one nation to another, and right is respected so far only as it is compatible with advantage (p. 19).
An intellectual and vigorous nation can experience no worse destiny than to be lulled into a Phaeacian existence by the undisputed enjoyment of peace (p. 28).
Our people must learn to see that the maintenance of peace never can or may be the goal of a policy (p. 37).
But the end-all and be-all of a State is power (p. 45).
Those utterances characterize the policy and practice of Prussian militarism even tho they may now be disowned by the power that authorized them.
Now listen to more poisonous utterances by the mouthpiece of modern German philosophy. This quotation I take from page 130 of The Will to Power by Friedrich Nietzsche:
Christianity is a degenerative movement consisting of all kinds of decaying and excremental elements; it is not the expression of the downfall of a race, it is, from the root, an agglomeration of all the morbid elements which are mutually attractive and which gravitate to one another. . . . . It is therefore not a national religion, not determined by race; it appeals to the disinherited everywhere; it consists of a foundation of resentment against all that is successful and dominant. It is opposed to every form of intellectual movement, to all philosophy; it takes up the cudgels for idiots and utters a curse upon all intellect, resentment against those who are gifted, learned, intellectually independent: in all these it suspects the elements of success and donimation.
That is the utterance of one of the chief philosophers of the people who in the very words of their mad Kaiser have entered into an alliance, offensive and defensive, with Almighty God. And if that is not enough, listen to this further exposition by Nietzsche:
I regard Christianity as the most fatal and seductive lie that has ever yet existedas the greatest and most impious lie; I can discern the lost sprouts and branches of its ideal beneath every form of disguise, I decline to enter into any compromise or false position in reference to it-I urge people to declare open war with it. The morality of paltry people as the measure of all things; this is the most repugnant kind of degenerący that civilization has ever brought into existence (pp. 153-54).
And now, ladies and gentlemen, permit me to present a few quotations from the other side. And the first is this, and familiar to you all:
We (the American people) hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator, with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
And the second is this, from Washington's inaugural speech to both houses of Congress on April, 30, 1789:
I dwell on this prospect with every satisfaction which an ardent love for my country can inspire; since there is no truth more thoroly established than that there exists in the economy and course of nature an indissoluble union between virtues and happiness, between duty and advantage, between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity; since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained; and since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment intrusted to the hands of the American people.
One more familiar quotation. This from Lincoln's second inaugural address:
The Almighty has his own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses! for it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh!” If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which in the Providence of God must needs come, but which, having continued thru his appointed time, he now wills to remove, and that he gives to both the North and South this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to him. Fondly do we hope-fervently do we pray--that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled up by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid with another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said, “The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”
And so, ladies and gentlemen, I could multiply evidence by the hour to show that the ways of the Huns are not our ways. Out of this awful welter of war which has drencht the world in blood for three years and a half there seem to me to emerge for the guidance of the American people certain very clear fundamental principles:
1. There can be no peace by adjudication. There can be no peace except by the sword.
2. We are not at war simply with the royal family of Germany and its camp followers. We are at war with the whole German Empire. It is time to cease trying to distinguish between the leader and the led. The German people are impregnated with the false philosophy of their leaders, and we lose precious time by taking any other view of the grim business ahead of us.
3. One or the other of these conflicting world-forces must ultimately triumph.
4. There can be no peace for the world worth the having until the forces of absolutism are forever subjugated.
5. Peace for us at the price of overwhelming victory is now the only means for the preservation of civilization. Lincoln once said that a house divided against itself could not stand, and that this country could not exist half free and half slave. The very spirit of that great disciple of human freedom which has hovered tenderly over the American people for the last fifty-three years tells us in unmistakable terms today that a world divided