CIVILIZATION'S LAST HOPE
By ARTHUR CAPPER, United States Senator from Kansas
Delivered over radio, December 3, 1939
Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. VI, pp. 215-216.
SPEAKING today from the Nation's Capital, I should like, as a lifelong Republican and as a Senator, to endorse all that the distinguished Speaker of the House of Representatives, my friend Mr. Bankhead, said in his recent radio address regarding the need for Moral Re-Armament. Especially timely was his assertion that "it is making many of us realize that if we sincerely want nationalunity, it is no use expecting the other party to make all the first moves; that our own party has possible faults which need correction in the national interest; and that it is a patriotic duty to have a spirit of national co-operation here at home."
The senior statesman of my party, former President Hoover, spoke from long experience of international as wellas of national affairs when he sent the following message in connection with the great national meetings for Moral Re-Armament held in Washington and New York last Spring. His words are more than ever true today. I quote:
"The world has come out of confusion before because some men and women stood solid. They held safety for the world, not because they knew the solutions to all these confusions, not because they even had the power to find solutions. They stood firm and they held the light of civilization until the furies passed because they individually held to certain principles of life, of morals, and spiritual values. These are the simple concepts of truth, justice, tolerance, mercy, and respect for the dignity of the common man. To hold and lift these banners in the world will go far to solve its confusions.
"What the world needs today is to return to sanity and to moral and spiritual ideals. At the present time nothing so concerns the progress of mankind."
I think the people of this country, and of the world, are tired equally of politicians who put party before country, and of countries which pursue national policies contrary to their neighbors' interest. In this all of us alike have been to blame.
The ordinary citizen today is seeking desperately for a new leadership. He knows that the old leadership of expediency and self-interest—whether enlightened or unenlightened —has only succeeded in hurrying the world faster and faster to catastrophe. He will follow any man, any party, almost any system, if only he can be sure of finding there an answer to the riddle of life, and a chance to give his all in a cause he loves.
The President of the United States, at the outbreak of war, called for a national policy based on the fundamental moralities and the spirit of the New Testament. He said that in seeking peace at home now, we can some day be of even greater help in creating peace abroad. He asked thatpartisanship and selfishness be adjourned, and that national unity be the thought that underlies all others.
This ideal has never before been attained in this country— if in any country. But that does not mean it is an impossible ideal. It can be had at a price—the price of each of us honestly facing where we and our party have been wrong, being willing to put that wrong right, and allowing the guidance of God to rule every act and policy.
The Republican Party will never win the confidence of the electorate unless we are willing to clean house at home—unless we ask ourselves whether we do not condone within our own ranks many of the very practices of which we accuse the other party. Similarly America can never hope to win the confidence of the world unless we also recognize our share of guilt in the present chaos, and decide to do differently in the future.
Speaking as one with some experience in international affairs, I should like to say that in these momentous days it is not enough to long for peace. Nor is it enough to appeal for it. We must learn the art of making peace—and for the peace-maker, whether individual or nation, the first inescapable requirement is to start at home.
We may as well realize that we cannot hope to save our cherished institutions unless we are willing to permeate them with a new spirit. We may as well realize that we cannot hope for national unity unless we first shoulder our share of blame in hindering that unity. We may as well realize that world peace will remain an idle dream unless individually and collectively we shed our prejudices, our apathies, and our fears, and start afresh in the spirit of Moral Re-Armament.
If we who are sometimes called statesmen value the verdict of history, to say nothing of our country's well-being, we will read the handwriting on the wall before it is too late, and throw every energy and influence we possess behind this cause which is civilization's last hope.