A realistic but
hopeful view of the future wherein Rotary's new President sees the
demand for hard work now
THE CARNAGE of war and
the suffering in its wake are not new. Every age since the memory of man
runneth not to the contrary has known the conflict of ideas and the
clash of arms. Yet never in the past has the world contained so many
frictional points as irritate it today. Once again a complexity of these
frictions has set off a world war—a world war with all the threatening
aspects of a worldwide revolution. From it, all peoples will emerge
Rotary could not have
prevented this war. Rotary cannot stop it. What, then, is the place of
our movement of 210,000 business and professional men and 5,000 Clubs in
this world at war?
Rotary's task is to
plan now for peace. For peace will come.
Whether it will come in one year, five years, or 15 years, no man can
say—but we dare not use that uncertainty as an excuse for inaction.
This time a mere
holiday from war will not satisfy. The peoples of the world will demand
a just peace—a peace based upon the dignity of the human soul and framed
for the economic and spiritual happiness of all. If they do not get it,
worse wars will follow.
So there is a job to
do now— and I call upon you, my fellow Rotarians, to help and to lead in
the doing of it. What is that job? It is the systematic removal of those
points of friction, which cause wars and foredoom peace treaties to
failure. That is largely a hometown job.
You know your problem
better than I. You know the roots of restlessness in your town as I know
them in mine, and as business and professional leaders, we can help to
eradicate them. The problem goes back, does it not, to what men want?
What does a normal man want? In simplest terms, he wants a job and some
assurance of continued work, a chance for his children, independence
when he is old, and he would like to feel a part, not a chattel, of his
employer's business. He wants security.
Does every deserving
man in your town and mime have it? Security for all, Labor Minister
Ernest Bevin recently told the Rotary
Club of London, is what Britain is fighting for. How to guarantee
that security without taking away, in exchange, the precious, hard-won
rights of the individual is the troubling issue.
When peace does come,
great problems, which are only the extensions of man's individual
problems, will come with it: The just distribution and allocation of raw
materials—imperative if nations are to survive. The reopening of world
trade channels (will all the old bottlenecks and barriers on land and
sea still be there?). The sudden stoppage of the gigantic arms industry.
The demobilization of millions of fine young men. The vast problem of
cushioning the financial shock that peace is almost certain to bring.
and I know Rotary's limitations—but we also know its capacities. We know
that we can do something. With a world full of reasons for pessimism, I
am not pessimistic. For my faith in the ultimate triumph of goodness and
kindliness is as deep as my faith in a Power infinitely greater than
man's. Yet in that faith I find no excuse, no reason, for resignation.
TELL a story in my Montana town, which, I understand, has won wide
circulation in a recent clever book. Not so many years ago, in Butte, we
smelted copper ores in huge "stink piles," heaps of ore and wood that
smoldered all around the city. The sulphurous and arsenical fumes, and
smoke, which arose from them, joining with fog, often made Butte dark at
midday. Because of this, our vegetation was scarce indeed. One day an
old English miner came to Butte. The grimness of Butte palled upon him.
He rented a small shack upon the hill, and in the yard back of it he
found rocks and weeds. He removed the rocks and weeds, put in some
fertilizer and seed, and then watered the plot the whole summer long. It
blossomed into a beautiful garden. All Butte went to see it. One day his
minister called, and, wishing to drive home a spiritual truth, said,
"Bill, it seems to me that God and you have done a great job with this
Bill, silent for a
moment, replied, "Yes, but you should have seen it when only God had
J. Davis, of Butte, Montana, at midnight on 30 June 1941,
attained Rotary's highest office, the international Presidency. This is
his unveiling of his program of work for the 1941-1942 Rotary year. His
motto, or emphasis for the year? “Peace Will Come.” Page 7 of the
July 1941 issue of The