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defence and every child must be saved not alone for its own sake or its parents, but for the continuance of the nation.
This war has shown us the value of developing the bodies of our young people. Wherever soldiers have been in the making there has been demonstrated what a change military training brings about in the recruits, converting youths of poor physique into erect, strapping, ruddy athletes. It is hard to realize they are the same human material, but for the first time in the lives of most of them they have learned how to live. When compelled to endure hardships such as they never knew before, or lie in hospital recovering from wounds, the fitness secured by training is decided factor in their favor. When the cruel war is over and welcome peace has stilled the stirring drum, shall the call for this physical fitness be no longer made? The need of it will not pass away. The demands of peace make it necessary that every youth be made as perfect as possible. And this applies equally to girls. The country which would produce a hardy race must have strong women as well as strong men.
Nationally, we had almost completely ignored the cultivation of the body. We make it compulsory for every child to submit to years at school for the sake of intellectual training. But its physical development has been left largely to chance and nature, and then when we call for soldiers we find a third of our youth unfit. It must be the state's business to attempt in every possible way to develop the physical life of our young people. Even if it meant the taking of a whole year for necessary training it would be a national boon, adding as it would, 5 or 10 years to the life of the individual. The time for trusting to luck and letting things slide has surely passed. Benjamin Franklin said wars are not paid for in war time. The bill comes later. This is a sad truth, but the bill will be settled the sooner if we make the most of the rising race.
The war will hasten some scheme to provide all who need it with medical care. Often among the working classes disease leads to distress and distress to disease, and charity in some form has been obliged to assist in destroying this vicious circle. Free hospitals have arisen but this condition is not ideal, yet the man with meager income must accept this charity. A better plan appears to be that of an insurance under which all wage-earners are compelled while well to accumulate a reserve which will defray part, at least, of the expense during periods of disability. Some such plan has just been pressed on the British to provide in case of illness or injury adequate care for all persons whose income is less than $800 a year. Nine-tenths of the general practitioners in the British Isles have entered into the scheme.
On this Continent, little attention has been given to a measure of this kind, but it seems probable that whether medical men like it or not a similar one will become law on this side of the Atlantic.
The war has brought about a curtailment in the abuse of alcoholic drinks. For some years past there has been a revolution going on in regard to intoxicants. The world-wide attack on liquor at the outbreak of the war was simply the crystallization of an antagonistic sentiment which had been slowly forming based on scientific evidence of the physiological and social effects of alcohol drinking
There is no reason to suppose that the great temperance wave is a passing thing which will ebb when the excitement of the war is over. Unless all signs fail, it represents a permanent gain whose far-reaching benefits members of this Association will be the first to appreciate. It is not the moral reformers who have brought prohibition to pass. There is now a solid body of educated sentiment behind the law. Business corporations are roused against the liquor traffic as they certainly were not 25 years ago,
now recognize that whiskey and efficiency make a poor team.
The world has traveled a long way since that first teetotaller applied for life insurance and was charged an extra premium because total abstinence was so dangerous to health.
Social standards even in England, which still retains a bad pre-eminence in drunkenness, have marvelously changed since the days of Charles Dickens, who was quite unconscious that intemper
anything more than an amiable weakness of generous We are abolishing the bar. We still have the bottle. The quack-medicine vendor is busier than ever. Money is plenty and he wants some of it. He uses mental suggestion and interests us. He is a specialist in distortion who probes into the ordinary sensations of healthy people and perverts them into symptoms. Every bill-board, newspaper, fence-rail
, barn and rock thrusts out a suggestion of sickness as never before. The only
and convivial hearts.
vulnerable point to attack the vicious traffic is the advertising. If governments forbid that as they should, the next generation will be healthier and richer. If we are going to let imagination play let us exercise it on suggestions and symptoms of health.
The world is moving rapidly in these days and to women is being granted their rightful place. They are being given the ballot, not as a reward for what they had done in the war, but because they possessed the patriotism and the intelligence which entitle them to share in the conduct of public affairs.
We have been struck by the readiness with which our boys have responded to the country's call, and have admired their cheerfulness, but more impressive has been the heroism of the mothers, the wives, the sweethearts and the sisters, who have sent forth the best we breed without a murmur. Theirs is the harder task to go quietly on with the daily routine while the heart is in France with the boys they love. While many talented ones have been prominent in public service, behind them lies a great army of women who are not known outside of their own small circle, and who are yet the nation's richest possession, its most sacred trust, who make life attractive, and freedom possible and worth while. We would never have had such valiant armies in France if it had not been for the brave women at home. The advent of women into political life means purer government and the coming of long overdue reforms in the laws of the land.
Even our religion will be a better brand because of the war. Creeds count for little over there and will never again divide men as they have done. Less and less emphasis is put on the sweet bye and bye, and men's thoughts are turning to the service of their fellows here and now. They are recognizing the practical unity of religion and the square deal all round. And so it will come to pass,
“ That mind and soul, according well
But vaster.” The war is teaching us the value of thrift, that exceedingly useful virtue which most men practise only when they must. But unpopular as it has been, stern national necessity is now helping to restore it to its rightful place. On this continent we have not as yet gone far in this direction. But in the Motherland there is another story. For over two years not a single new pleasure
auto has been manufactured. Big social functions are not merely bad form—they have ceased altogether.
The traffic in luxuries in certain cases has been entirely wiped out. Everybody is wearing old clothes and saving the wool for the boys in the trenches, and saving the food that the army may be properly fed. England is practising economy such as she never did before, and the strange thing is that apparently business is better than it was in the days of more luxurious living. One reason for this condition is undoubtedly the fact that everybody is working. The scale of living for the rich has been lowered, but the scale of living for the poor has been raised. This is probably a help to both. The pinch really comes, however, on the middle classes whose salaries have not increased, but whose expenses have gone up by leaps and bounds. And yet there is no grumbling. The men who grumbled at everything in pre-war times are now silent when they have really something to grumble about. England in prosperity may sometimes be hard to put up with, but England in adversity is magnificent.
The war has done much for us if it has done nothing more than to reveal men to us. Before the war, we judged them by their petty virtues or petty faults, and we thought we judged correctly; but now we see that under it all lay a capacity and a willingness for self-denial and cheerful self-sacrifice that we had never suspected. The real nature of men has come to the surface, and we stand amazed at the goodness and grandeur of it. On this side the Atlantic, we have not yet seriously tackled the luxury question, but we shall have to deal with it in radical fashion, before our war debts are paid. Luxuries, whether they be costly or the smaller ones in which poorer men indulge, are not a necessity to national development or to individual happiness, and their abolition does not either ruin trade or make men discontented and unhappy. If the war teaches us this it will mean much for our future national and individual well-being.
Hospital superintendents, who are responsible for maintaining hundreds of lives and the operation of many acres, may be vital factors in both saving and producing, and thus play the game. It may be the only war service some of us can render.
With France all the time within a few days of starving; with Great Britain relying on us for 65 per cent of her essential foods ; with the wheat of Argentina and Australia too distant to be available, Northern America must step into the breach to avert famine for a warring world and the fate that has overwhelmed the greatest empires of the past. A time of food shortage is at the door. It is hard to take it to heart while money is plenty. But money will not take the place of bread. By eating no more than we need, and by stopping waste, a good deal can be done to relieve the situation. At any rate, a good habit will have been formed.
But the common sense way of undertaking to prevent famine is to increase the food supply. This cannot be done in every land. Some nations are cultivating every foot that has not a building on it. But on this Continent the case is different. Here there are yet countless acres waiting for the breaking plow. In Great Britain they are tilling every available plot, and it is of just as vital importance to us that we increase production here as there. We are equally concerned in the outcome of the war.
Recently governments passed a law enacting that every ablebodied adult must be engaged in some useful occupation. If enforced without fear or favor it would set to work the tramp and the pampered son of the foolish rich man alike. Everyone would become a producer of wealth. It would be good for the country and still better for the idler himself. Idleness, whether of the poor or rich, is a crime against the state and is also the fruitful parent of vice and degeneracy. Ideals are changing; the gentleman is now a respectable citizen who toils in his country's service.
Distant though we be from the din and smoke of the battlefields, there is opportunity for us to prove ourselves heroes in the strife. These stars must not be left to do it all.* Each uld take to heart that,
“ It isn't the task of the few-
* Referring to the "service flag” behind the speaker's desk with more than 90 stars, representing members of the Association in the army medical service.