Candle in the Wind: A Play in Three Acts

Candle in the Wind: A Play in Three Acts

Candle in the Wind: A Play in Three Acts

Candle in the Wind: A Play in Three Acts

Excerpt

Those who are old enough to remember the nineteen-twenties will recall one curious fallacy of that decade, a belief more extraordinary than the prosperity that accompanied it. The victory over Germany and the efflorescence of invention that went with and followed the war staggered men's minds. They saw the earth and its creatures in a bright new scientific light in which the customs of our ancestors appeared to be based on inexplicable and ridiculous taboos. Religion was not only questioned, but put aside. Social codes were scrutinized under microscopes, and scrapped along with the rules of Leviticus. There was a general belief that men were done with the foolishness of wars and conquest as a method of settling differences. On this side of the Atlantic at least, we thought men had learned better than to try again to grasp the steering wheel of the earth by violence. We closed our eyes to smoking volcanoes of malignity, wondering foolishly how men would adjust themselves to a life in which there was no more hell fire. We believed that the war had been a mistake, that no war was worth fighting, even for the victor; that Gandhi was right, that non-resistance was more powerful than force, that the conqueror destroyed himself automatically, that good and evil came in unavoidable waves, that good would inevitably turn into evil and evil into good with the passage of years. We rejected the war between good and evil. We would fight it no more. Villains were made villains by circumstances, and we must fight the circumstances, not the poor, individual wretches whose anti-social actions caused trouble. Peace conferences were held and humane agreements concerning the usages of war were . . .

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