One is tempted to define man as a rational animal who always loses his temper when he is called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason.
Of all the animals, man is the only one that is cruel. He is the only one that inflicts pain for the pleasure of doing it.
We must recognise the essential underlaying savagery in the animal called man, and return to older and sounder principles of national life and defense. We must realise that man’s nature will remain the same so long as he remains man; that civilisation is but a slight coverlet beneath which the dominant beast sleeps lightly and ever ready to awake.
There is no mode of action, no form of emotion, that we do not share with the lower animals. It is only by language that we rise above them, or above each other – by language, which is the parent, and not the child, of thought.
People speak sometimes about the “bestial” cruelty of man, but that is terribly unjust and offensive to beasts, no animal could ever be so cruel as a man, so artfully, so artistically cruel.
Often and often afterwards, the beloved Aunt would ask me why I had never told any one how I was being treated. Children tell little more than animals, for what comes to them they accept as eternally established. Also, badly-treated children have a clear notion of what they are likely to get if they betray the secrets of a prison-house before they are clear of it.
Of what use is it to please the herd? They are simply coarse animals — for all that is admirable in man is the artificial product of special breeding.
He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.