To be a successful institution, one of great and lasting benefit to humanity, the proposed league of nations must be founded on the realities and not the potentialities of international existence,--on what is; not what might be. The chief matter concerning which much of the discussion on this subject lies in error is that not infrequently the parties in debate place an improper degree of faith in the goodness of human nature: too much, as in the case of notable English publicists; too little, as in the case of some of our lesser statesmen in America.
In answer to the question: "Are we ready for such a league?" one is tempted to reply: "We are as ready, as we ever shall be." For the truth is, that the world has reached that stage in political development at which it is proper to consider and put into practice a more rational means of settling international disputes than by the accustomed resort to arms. To the intellectually timid this seems such a daring and impetuous leap from the secure confines of precedent, over the chasm of unfathomable disaster, to the safe but somewhat precarious region of a new and better international life, that they lose no opportunity to be-little its advantages and magnify its difficulties. Such men are utterly out of tune with the age in which they live; in their minds they are living in the day when "might took the place of right, and the weak were oppressed, and the mighty ruled with an iron rod."
Whether the late war is really to be the last, as many of us hope, or whether there are certain inevitable causes of war existing in human society and inseparable from it, we do not know. What we, as college men, should give most concern to is, that war is a most irrational and barbarous method of settling disputes between states, and that we, as citizens in embryo of the greatest democracy of the world, should by striving for better government and better men to run that government, make possible the realization of the ultimate purpose for which this league was founded: the reign of law and the institution of perpetual peace.