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Newspaper Page Text
THE DOCTRINE OF NECESSARY CRUELTY ON
EARTH IS THE GREAT DELUSION OF SCIENCE
SAYS HERBERT QUICK.
(Copyrighted, 1914, by the News
paper Enterprise Association.)
If I were triplets, I might answer
all the letters I receive from my mil
lions of readers. But, being just an
ordinary person, I can only reply to
a few of them. Once in a while, how
ever, I get a letter which makes so
important a point that I am obliged
to take note of it.
Mr. Frank Murphy of Verdigree,
Neb., has just written me such a
criticism. . Here is his letter:
"I am not a scholar, but think am
capable of thinking some thoughts.
Your story, 'When. Glory Ceased,'
shows you have the right kind of
heart. Your 'Good Ship Earth' is the
masterpiece of intelligence. Your af
ticles have the true ring that a spade
is a spade, and fair play is your
" 'When Glory Ceased' is all right
in your heart, all wrong in your head.
Just mention any living thing that
has not been constantly at war. Tell
us of anything not born to cruelty.
The large oak dwarfs the sapling,
kills it or .makes underbrush of it.
Everything was made to kill or dwarf
something else, and man worships or
pretends to worship the Maker of
this! Is there a Maker or, like Topsy,
did everything just grow? I am 60
years young. I have never felt occa
sion to worship any being that puts
any other being to pain. Now did the
above thought just grow, or by what
contradictory element was pain
made common compulsory, and the
wish to alleviate pain an impossible
thing to carry out?
"Yes, Herbert, your heart is where
it belongs, but your head is the other
fellow in the case."
Mr. Murphy raises the, great ques
tion of this age. Is altruism either
practicable or possible?. Does it har
monize with the facts of nature? ,
The doctrine of necessary cruelty
is a great delusion of science. It is
based on a logical absurdity. For it
assumes that, because all organisms
are engaged in an eternal warfare
with each other, man must always
war with his own organism, man,
either in the slaughter of arms or the
more cruel warfare of competition.
But the facts of nature do not sup
port it. Man must always struggle,
but not necessarily with man. He
must always struggle with other or
ganisms. He wars with predatory
beasts. When he conquers he takes
.up the struggle with such organisms
as weeds ana rodents and insects
rival organisms always. He in invad
ed by minute plants and animals
which cause disease, and he must
war with them. He must promote the
animals and plants which will feed
and clothe him, and he must extir
pate' or quell those which do not.
This is his eternal struggle.
But neither man nor the higher an
imals has any necessary struggle
with his own kind. Bees have solved
this problem by co-operation. So
have the prairie dogs of -Mr. Mur
phy's own vicinity.
Like the bees, we shall eliminate
the drones from our society, not by
stinging them to death, but by mak
ing workers of them. We shall cease
to eat our own young in the sweat
shop and factory. We shall make the
fullest use of that organ which we
possess to a degree immeasurably
greater than any other animal the
brain. And we shall find that the
cruelty which Mr. Murphy thinks in
evitable is not only unnecessary, but
wasteful and impracticable. The only
thing really practicable is unselfish
ness; and the Sermon on the Mount
as a rule of science as well as of
ethics reaches perfection. And when
that tact is realized we shall by that
very realization offer to whatever god