ing sand." (5) Add cost of dictators, loss of opportunity, freedom, democracy, to the estimate. "Volcanoes grow dim and the stars reel and swim" when the mind attempts to estimate,--figures no longer mean anything.(6)
So let's go back to our own country, America, and see if we can estimate the cost, not in dollars merely, nor in property destroyed, nor in the lives ended, nor in the expectancy value of the future labor of the dead or incapacitated. The lives that still go on, (7) frustrated, the decreased efficiency of those who survive, are the big loss. Idle labor, idle plants, due to economic dislocation consequent on the war, have cost us about 300 billions, the Monopoly Commission was shown.(8)
Some will denounce anyone who asks "How much?" as amoral, without soul. "What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his soul?" But who is it now telling us how to save our souls, and what do they hope to gain? To save our souls, then, shall we destroy the lives of others and leave the world a desert for our survivors?
There has never been a good war nor a bad peace, Benjamin Franklin and other wise men have told us. If this is a good war,--and there are those who say it is, for religion, morality, what you please,--it must be the first one. But they told us in 1918 that that was the last war, to put down militarism, to spread democracy.
Were they right? How much shall we stake on their being right this time? Let those fight who wish, but shall we let them take by force our sons for cannon fodder? Will the world be better for it if they do? May 15, 1940