From “We Who Dare to Say No to War”. The following is an excerpt from William Graham Sumner’s Essay about the effects of the Spanish-American war. The whole thing is amazing and I could have quoted it all.
“The point is that each of them repudiates the standards of the others, and the outlying nations, which are to be civilized, hate all the standards of civilized men. We assume that what we like and practice, and what we think better, must come as a welcome blessing to Spanish-Americans and Filipinos. This is grossly and obviously untrue. They hate our ways. They are hostile to our ideas. Our religion, language, institutions, and manners offend them. They like their own ways, and if we appear amongst them as rulers, there will be social discord in all the great departments of social interest. The most important thing which we shall inherit from the Spaniards will be the task of suppressing rebellions.”
“Now, the great reason why all these enterprises which begin by saying to somebody else, We know what is good for you better than you know yourself and we are going to make you do it, are false and wrong is that they violate liberty; or, to turn the same statement into other words, the reason why liberty, of which we Americans talk so much, is a good thing is that it means leaving people to live out their own lives in their own way, while we do the same. If we believe in liberty, as an American principle, why do we not stand by it?”
Why don’t we stand by it? Why do we seem to need to be involved in everything around the world? Reading things like this does give me hope though. The battle has been going on for a long time. It’s not new to our era.
This idea of letting people alone to do what’s best for themselves where they are is not just for politics. People’s personal lives can be ruled by this idea as well. Why do we as a human race need rule over others? If more people took better care of their immediate surroundings instead of harassing others about what they do, we’d all be in a better state.