“Aversion to just war can arise from one of four causes; (1) unconscious physical cowardice engendered by long years of peace, (2) hysterical idealism produced from incomplete training in pure science, (3) mental bias derived from an erratic, temperamental intellect, and (4) that plain, obtuse servility which copies and spreads the opinions of others. Under the first head of unconscious physical cowardice we must group the sobbing sisterhood who sigh forth in melody of questionable musical and poetical value that ‘They Didn’t Raise Their Boys to be Soldiers’. Physical cowardice is not always for one’s self; it may be sympathetic cowardice for others; but its unfailing sign is the exaggerated importance and gravity of human suffering. This ‘cowardice’ may sometimes do immense good in lessening the minor discomforts of life, but it must not be allowed to exceed its province and sap the virile vigour of the nation. Among the hysterical idealists we may group the well-meaning clergyman who, in spite of Martin Luther’s defense of the soldier, declares that ‘was it un-Christian’; as well as the ethical entusiast who tells us that ‘man has outgrown war’. Quite as hysterical is the socialist or anarchist who in his beer-barrel declamation creams out that ‘war is only the tool of rulers who aggrandise themselves at the expense of the masses’. The Quakers are an organised embodiment of this erratic idealism. The third or mentally biased class of pacifist is seldom to be distinguished from the idealist; perhaps idealism itself is a form of mental bias; but the line must be drawn to distinguish betwixt those whose idealism comes from defective education and those who are idealists defective comprehension. Class four, the copyist element, is probably the most abundant of all. It embraces every part of our lower orders, and could be turned into a fiery, militaristic body if the suitable demagogue were provided.”
▪ H. P. Lovecraft, “The Renaissance of Manhood” The Conservative 1:3 (October 1915) as reprinted in H. P. Lovecraft, The Conservative – The Complete Issues 1915-1925 (Arktos, 2014) extract from page 59.