1900 Figures Forecast a Century's Dangers

— Nothing less than a full perusal of the interesting and remarkable collection of answers received by the Sunday World Magazine to its question, “What is the chief danger that confronts us in the new century?” can serve to show how many and varied are the forms of coming peril.

The chief danger is war, say Mr. Stead and Mr. Carnegie; imperialism and militarism, say Karl Blind and John Dillon and J. Keir Hardie; mammon worship, says President Schurman; tyranny, says “Ouida;” our armies says Frederic Harrison; our naval armaments says Sir Walter Besant; the increasing influence of wealth, says William J. Bryan — an opinion which is echoed by Cardinal Gibbons, Joseph Arch, M. de Blowitz, Walter Crane and M.E. Braddon. William Watson thinks the danger is greed, Dean Farrar that it is drink, George R. Sims that it is insanity, Sarah Grand that it is laxity in the matter of marriage; and while Flora Annie Steel thinks that woman’s rights is the coming danger Mrs. Mary Baker G. Eddy thinks it is insufficient freedom.

Most remarkable of all are the opinions of otherwise intelligent thinkers that the press is really the coming danger. According to Conan Doyle it is the “ill-balanced, excitable and sensation-mongering press;” according to Stanley Weyman it is the “irresponsible press;” according to Max O’Rell it is “an irresponsible and unbridled press,” or what Max Beerbohm calls “jumpy journals,” or what T.M. Healy simply calls “the newspapers.”

This is an appalling array of dangers. Whether they are real or imaginary, it is no less a public service to have pointed them out. The world is optimistic enough to believe that the twentieth century, following the unvarying course of human history, will meet and overcome all perils and prove to be the best that this steadily improving planet has ever seen.

‘What is the Chief Danger, Social or Political, That Confronts the New Century?’ New York World and St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Dec. 30, 1900

The Rev. Hermann Adler, chief rabbi of Great Britain

The recrudescence of racial antipathies and national animosities.

Sir L. Alma-Tadema

The increasing loss of respect for work.

Susan B. Anthony

The chief danger, socially and politically, that confronts the coming century lies in man’s ignoring woman in the making and executing of the laws that govern the world — in man’s egotism, which causes him to think he can run the government machine alone. Not until he calls to his aid the woman by his side, counting her opinion at the ballot-box in the election of every officer so that from President to policeman all must recon with her, will the world be redeemed from the social and political corruption which are now sapping and undermining the very foundations of our Republic. Yours, not for the millennium but the beginning of its possibility, Susan B. Anthony.

Joseph Arch

A large accumulation of wealth on the one hand and a large increase of pauperism on the other.

William Archer, the famous dramatic critic

I think the need of the coming century is some sort of socialism, while the danger is that it should take the form of a military socialism, mechanically enforced, instead of a democratic socialism organically developed.

The Archbishop of Armagh

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