The only label I will wear is that of an old fashioned, free thinking, free speaking American. I don't believe that democracy was advanced by the last war, nor that this war will advance religion or morality. Nor do I believe that we can save civilization by destroying the civilization that gave us our music, our research methods. My loyalty is to my fellow Americans to save them from the gullibility of twenty years ago, when we squandered our wealth and resources. But again, due to those emotionally aroused by British propaganda, we are wasting our resources on war, when we might be building a better America.
March 29, 1940
War is waste, of lives, of labor, of wealth, and of the earth's resources, soil, oil, metals, that can never be replaced.
When Coolidge in the 'twenties said the cost to us would be 100 billions, that seemed extravagant.(1) Our loans to the Allies, cut down, still remain 12 billions. Our national debt of 44 billions is largely the result of war.(2) And pensions now seem inevitable for the two million surviving participants, if votes continue to count.(3)
What did the last war cost? No one has yet dared to estimate. Costs have been arrived at by adding amounts appropriated.(4) 370 billions, the Encyclopedia Americana gives for the World War, more than the total property value of the U. S. But that's only a small part of the cost, which did not end with the close of the war. Add the cost of eighteen or more wars since, the cost of armaments since, the cost of the present war which grew out of it. And that's not the whole cost.
"More soil probably was lost from the World War, between 1914 and 1934 than in the whole previous human history", Jacks and Whyte tell us in " The Rape of the Earth" ( Faber & Faber, 1939). "Today, destruction of the earth's thin, living covering is proceeding at a rate unparalleled in history . . . fertile regions will become uninhabitable deserts. Already a million square miles of desert has been formed."
John Durant, who has brought the figures up to 417 billions, writes, "Strip six inches of topsoil from the face of the earth and the world becomes a desert without life, without human beings. The rich Persian fields, where Darius ruled, are now deserts. North African plains where Hannibal defended the rich lands of Carthage are now but burn