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Man has carried over many instincts from his tree life. To hold his poise on branches was more important than the quest of food itself, for a single slip might have proved fatal. To avoid this, a highly developed instinct was essential to which all habitual automatic reactions were closely connected with this maintaining of bodily balance. The necessity was paramount for tree life, for every relaxation might have resulted in the sudden cessation of life itself. At night there were many difficulties to contend with. Sleep must come and how then were involuntary movements to be controlled? In particular, how could sudden movements upon awakening be avoided? The answer was found in the instinct to freeze into absolute immobility when startled by fright. Man when violently aroused at night by a loud noise will become rigid with expectancy which is nothing more than the operation of this ancient instinct.
Prenative man was an animal that lived and worked by day. His habits were not nocturnal and he seldom by choice went forth from his lair during the hours of darkness. This love of daylight and the corresponding aversion to darkness was probably due to the great reliance placed upon the sense of sight. It is this instinct which no doubt accounts for mankind's instinctive dislike and fear of darkness.
The sense of place and in particular the power to find one's way back home is very strongly developed instinctively in all roving animals as well as man. As it survived in ourselves, it is called å sense of direction; but it is also a sense of position, of one's own position relative to the landscape and in particular to one's starting place.
It is seen then that a great many of our actions may be accounted for by the survival of instincts which once had survival value, but have outlived their day. They may be referred to prehistoric times in general or to a special aspect or period, such as that during which man lived for the most part in caves. But before the cave period came the prairie period with the conclusion of which we are familiar. It would be strange if cave life, prairie life and primitive civilization had not left many traces in the form of instincts peculiar to those stages of man's evolution.
The most usual explanation of instinct has relied upon the so-called generic method and assumes the social customs which are observed among civilized people and the surviving instincts are the result of stamping in through long experience of some reaction which has been inherited by each succeeding generation. They all have their roots far into the remote ancestry of the race instead of recent periods. The environment of man has undergone profound changes during the last hundred years and it is not irrevalent to say that as a result of this rapid change in culture, man finds himself with a culture that is far removed from the instincts which proved their fitness for survival in an environment extremely different from that in which they are expected to function at present.
It is of enormous advantage that we possess instincts, for on the whole they act in the right direction and they enable mankind to meet emergencies for which slow-moving reason would be too late. But there is no guarantee that an instinct will stop acting where it should. The difference between primitive and civilized life appears especially in the degree to which rational control has been established for such instinctive promptings. In man, reason must function in conjunction with instinctive promptings in order to secure the rational relation of desire and ultimate ends to be achieved. It is only this which will produce an ethical culture and an enduring civilization.
LOWBROWS, HIGHBROWS, AND NATIONAL DEFENSE
BY ELBRIDGE COLBY
HE other day a friend argued very strenuously with me
against the plea for national defense, which is always advanced whenever a question is raised concerning the maintenance of an army and a navy. He said that this country is not in danger of attack and never has been in danger. He pointed out that the American colonists were really responsible for the Revolution because they resisted governmental methods employed by British representatives. Resisted them by accumulating arms. Started the war by firing upon "red coats" on a little march just outside of Boston and made the war a serious issue by indicting a king and declaring the colonial independence. We prosecuted what has been called a limited war against France in 1798-1800 by authorizing naval attacks upon her commerce. We resented British interference with our own commerce, ships, and sailors; and declared war against that country in 1812. We got involved in a boundary dispute with Mexico and moved our troops to the frontier line which we claimed, and then when our armed advance was resisted, we solemnly announced that a state of war existed by an Act of Mexico itself. In 1861 when certain states attempted to withdraw from the federal union, the North was not defending itself, but was really combining to subdue the South. In 1898 after our ultimatum to Spain had finally been accepted, we decreed a blockade, and voted our army and navy to support Cuban freedom. Our action was accepted by Spain as a declaration of war which Congress was compelled to antedate four days. Our real purpose in going to war with Spain was to put an end to the intolerable disturbances in that Caribbean Island which, continuing for years almost within sight of our shores, had become a menace to our peace and tranquility. In 1917 it was we and not Germany who declared war. All of these things, he said --arguing that our pleas for self-defense are contrary to the facts of history.
It is interesting that such a plea as ours for National Defense should be so subject to attack on historical grounds. Yet it seems necessary to resort to a simple plea in order to reach the average mind of the average citizen. The normal man is best appealed to on his selfish side. To counteract the pacifist propaganda as to costs of military establishments and the monetary value of tax rate reductions, the defense advocate has to speak of protecting our shores from invasion and hostile occupation. Everyone understands self-defense. It is understood generally to be a sufficient excuse for homicide. It underlies the constitutional provision which prohibits search and seizure of a man's property without a legal warrant. We all have a strong sense of possession and like to retain what is ours. The "defense of hearth and home” is valid logic in the common minds of common men. Yet there is a sounder line of thought for more intellectual men.
The theory of national defense is combined closely with the whole principle of modern government. Even the liberal, socialistically inclined Ramsay MacDonald celebrates his initiation as Britisn Premier by securing additional aircraft and cruiser appropriations from the British Parliament. A responsible statesman sees to the support of his government.
International lawyers are among the few people in the world acquainted with international affairs and with means of international communication and cooperation. They would naturally -one would think-be most likely to be interested in world-wide organizations. Yet those very international lawyers commenced their studies by scrutinizing the principles of national sovereignty, national independence, and national rights. Indeed, it is not too much to say that most of our distinguished international lawyers are among the most ardent nationalists we have in this country. One authority says the right of self-preservation is the first law of nations. Another authority says this right is the first of absolute and permanent rights, and serves as a fundamental basis for a great number of accessory, secondary or occasional rights. An essential condition for the continuance of wars, and therefore the continuance of the doctrine of national defense, is the doctrine of separate sovereignty. Israel Zangwill was perfectly correct when he said that the way to abolish war was to do away with all frontier lines, custom houses, restrictions on immigration, and separate national sovereignties. So long as separate sovereign states continue owing no duties to higher organizations and insistently maintain their rights—so long as international law, not only permits, but actually emphasizes this condition—there will always be questions at issue between nations that are not justiciable. Arbitration treaties may be drawn. Arbitration courts may be established. Yet the arbitration treaties always exempt from their scope questions affecting national rights, policies, interests and honor. Arbitration courts have no compulsory jurisdiction and are without power to enforce their decrees. For some things the ultimate arbitrament is that of war. It is not by chance that the statuesque figure of justice bears a sword.
Almost one hundred years ago, when the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court handed down a decision nullifying the course of action taken by the State of Georgia against the Indian nation of the Cherokees, the gentleman then in the presidential chair remarked, “John Marshall has made his decision-now let him enforce it !" Georgia scoffed at the opinion of the Supreme Court. The mandate was never obeyed. The power to enforce the jurisdiction of the court did not operate. So long as there is no such power, or so long as such existing power does not operate, the courts are useless. But when there is such a power and it does operate, their opinions are the guides to policy. The armed power merely enforces the policy. Without the power, the policy is impotent.
From 1861 to 1865 the United States needed armed forces to suppress a rebellion. The doctrine of state sovereignty without our union had been a series of trouble ever since it was discussed in the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Intensified from year to year by the slavery question a conflict of ideas became a conflict of laws. The conflict of laws became a conflict of peoples until horizontal lines across the continent could have divided the respective forces. The conflict of the two peoples finally became a conflict of rifle and cannon. The conflict ceased to be an argument in constitutional law and became on the one hand a denial and on the other hand a support of the law of the land itself. From 1861 to 1855, as General Sherman later said, the Supreme Court was paralyzed. Its rights and decreees were treated with contempt south of the Potomac and the Ohio. It could not sum