I do not think the importance of the subject we have been discussing this evening can be over-estimated. If we cannot find some way out of the morass that we have been struggling in for the last few years, I see little hope for civilization or humanity. There is, of course, no difference of opinion between any of us as to the evils of war and as to our desire to get rid of them. But I submit to you, Mr. Chairman, and to the House, there is a great difference of opinion as to how we can best get rid of war. That is the vital question we have to consider and decide.
I am free to admit the difficulties of the situation. I am free to admit it is a most difficult subject to discuss between ourselves, because it touches some of the deepest feelings, instincts, prejudices and passions in humanity. I remember reading some few years ago a very significant little tract by the late Professor William James of Harvard University, one of the most eminent psychologists this age has seen. In this tract he stated in effect: That in human affairs reason was a very small factor, while passion and prejudices were the big factors. He said that reason was like a little sandbank in a wild and hungry ocean, but as the sandbank may increase gradually through the drifting of sand upon it, under the action of the storms and waves from all directions, so the accumulation of reason may grow in spite of the fury of the waves of passion and prejudice that beat upon it from all directions. That perhaps is a parable of life and history, and I think our effort ought to be if possible to add some increment to that little sandbank of reason, which perhaps in this instance may
preserve humanity from destruction, and also our sons and daughters and the future generation from destruction. In this matter there is a good deal of muddy thinking. We are under an obligation in this, as in other matters, to try to clear our thought from the influence of those waves of passion and prejudice to which I have referred. Going back to the outbreak of the Great war in 1914-