Peace Forums Get Under Way With Lecture (Vol. 2, Issue 7)
The International Relations Club’s new program of peace forums was inaugurated last Wednesday evening with Mr. August Claessens, noted speaker and author, delivering the opening lecture.
Mr. Claessens, who was a member of the N.Y. Legislature from 1918-20 and was twice ejected
from the House because of his anti-war leanings, attacked the subject of peace and war from the point of view of social psychology.
Tracing the history of the effect of the environment on the individual from early childhood to adulthood, he pointed out the fact that we are constantly coming into contact with forces literally seething with warlike tendencies. Our games, pictures, monuments, paintings, text-books, our entire culture, are to a great extent. warlike. “War spirit,” he said, “is as inescapable as the language you and I pick up.”
Continuing further from this approach, he showed that there was an endless state of hostility not only between workingman and employer but between each individual and his neighbors. Only a radical change in our culture, eliminating all war-producing factors could possibly relieve mankind from the spectre of war. We need a world possessing a more cooperative economy before our hopes can be realized.
As to the possibilities of another world conflict, Mr. Claessens prophesied that because of conditions in Spain today and because the people had not learned a lesson from the Great War, another Armaggedon was probable.
He concluded with the statement that with increasing wars, more and more people would become anti-militaristic and in time to come, a majority of the people would refuse to participate, and thus would the problem of war solve itself.