Morals in the West - Page 4


The former French President Poincaré was also head of the anti- alcohol society, and stated in a book on the World War : "French youth! Your biggest enemy is drink! Do more than skirmish with Germany! Take up arms against drink! Drink caused more spiritual and material damage in 1870 than the war with Germany then cost France. The drink which pleases your palate is a deadly poison. It ages you prematurely and robs you of half your lifetime, rendering your body far more vulnerable to the attacks of disease and infirmity of all kinds."
"The Reader's Digest" Persian edition reported that in Germany "in one year some 150,000 cases are tried in the criminal courts on charges arising from misuse of alcoholic drinks." A United States Cabinet Secretary said, according to "Health Magazine" (No. 12, Year 5): "We must keep an eye on the effect of alcoholism on our finances. Experts tell us that their research fixes the cost to the state (apart from private costs) at $15,000,000,000 in one year. Of this one billion dollars goes to hospitalization, five billion to public assistance and charity, two billion to police and similar costs, seven billion to courts and prison charges. Over and above this must be set the fact that the tax on alcohol only brings in $8 billion to the Treasury."
Nor is the Soviet Union immune. The Tehran Daily "Ettela'at" (No. 13108) reports the institution of severe measures to diminish the dangerous levels of alcohol consumption there, since, the Premier of the U.S.S.R. declared: "Alcohol has caused an increase in the crime level, a rise in absenteeism from factories, and a fall in production such that the state must perforce undertake a far more severe campaign against this."
The same addiction must be blamed for many air-accidents. The industrial psychology specialist Dr. Clement Korn Gould, in an article in the Persian edition of "The Reader's Digest" (No. 37, Year 26), lays the majority of accidents of U.S.A. airlines to this account, both amongst hired pilots and private owners of planes and helicopters. He adds: "Research has established that the majority of air crashes are due to inattention, often due to alcoholic after-effects on the minds of pilots and co-pilots, and this more among Americans than any other nationality.
"Further, investigation has demonstrated that a majority of pilots involved in crashes had imbibed during the flight. The increase in air crashes has made responsible authorities determined to get to the root of the causes; and their researches have shown that a large number of accidents during the last few years have been due to drunkenness in the pilots or to their sexual indulgence before the flight."
Shortages and Uncharitableness
Daily increasing affluence and the technological revolution have produced deep divisions in human living. One group of human beings rakes in huge dividends from investments in trusts or cartels or companies, and seems able to have anything it wants, to such an incredible extent that some even provide luxury accommodation for their dogs and cats. Another group scrapes up a miserable livelihood at subsistence level, hardly able to lay hold of the barest essentials of life.
All thinking people feel pangs of conscience at the desperate sufferings allowed in all parts of the world by modern social conditions. Many misfortunes, which in the past would in a very short time have been alleviated, now fester on as uncured tragedies. No wonder a violent hate against those who enjoy excess riches invades the hearts of the under-privileged!
The developed countries make a global effort to improve their economic conditions: but with no advantage to the masses—indeed, even to the disadvantage and decline of poorer lands. So the class difference gapes wider. Many lands groan under poverty and famine.
"The Ferdosi Magazine" of July 28th, 1948, in an article on "Nutrition", makes the following points:
1. Underdeveloped lands number 2,500 million inhabitants, of whom 500,000,000 suffer from undernourishment;
2. 1,500 million suffer from malnutrition;
3. As a direct or indirect consequence, 8,000,000 die of hunger annually.
In Brazil alone a quarter of a million infants die annually from under-nourishment. In India infant mortality balances the natural increase of population. The food an average American family throws away as waste daily, equals the food of the average Indian family for four days.
Worse, some unscrupulous and frivolous persons cause artificial shortages of foodstuffs in order to raise prices and line their own pockets, hard-heartedly ignoring the fact that these foodstuffs might lengthen the lives of untold millions. Legislation to suppress such inhuman prodigal self-indulgence could end hunger in the world very quickly. So says the periodical "Enlightened Thought" (719): "In 1960 125 million tons of grain for bread disappeared from the warehouses of America. It would have sufficed to fill the bellies of India's more than 500 million inhabitants for a year. America destroys a great deal of her harvest annually simply to keep prices up. Capitalist institutions in the West have deliberately caused starvation to increase throughout the world. America fills silos and warehouses with foodstuffs. They then compel poor nations to purchase at high prices to the detriment of their economy. Thus a few selfish power-hungry persons pile up fortunes while being, in fact, guilty of the murder —no less—of millions of innocent fellow-humans."
Philosopher Bertrand Russell writes: "During the last 14 years America has spent 4,000 million dollars on purchasing its farmers' surplus wheat crops. Millions of tons of wheat, barley, maize, cheese, butter have piled up in American storehouses and rotted, simply to keep up prices on the world market : and now they are marking mountains of butter and cheese 'unfit' with a color-code, to prevent the price of dairy products falling."
Sociologist and philosopher Stanwood Cobb writes in his "Lord of Two Ka'abas" (p.145/6): "Expansion in technology, industry and scientific instruments has produced a deeper sense of our moral poverty. Developed lands cannot boast of ethical superiority over backward nations. Modern materialist civilization is full of inner contradictions and incongruities, between words and actions, between thought and speech, between reason and feeling. Materialist culture in its various manifestations proclaims the theoretical equality of all human beings; but in practice produces inequities and injustices in the ethical, intellectual, social, spiritual and family spheres, and fanatically vindicates these wrongs.
"Democracy claims to be 'Government of the people by the people for the people'. But at its best it is oligarchy, and soon turns to dictatorship of an individual.
"It claims to aim at 'the greatest happiness of the greatest number'. In fact, it gives rise to frustration, failure, anxiety, misery.
"It encourages altruism and a social conscience in its rhetoric, but its policies are selfishness run riot, with. no regard for the fate of others. Individuals and groups that get in the way are trampled ruthlessly underfoot. This age surpasses all others known to history in exploitation, profiteering and power-hunger."

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