The Tyranny of Shams/Chapter III
THE FOLLIES OF SHAM PATRIOTISM
When warfare is abolished, and men no longer peep at their foreign neighbours over hedges of bayonets, there will be a number of less important international absurdities to remove. Some three hundred years ago, we discovered that the earth was a globe. To-day we are appreciating that this globe is the property of the human race, and that the friendly co-operation of all branches of the race is extremely desirable. National efforts and sacrifices are undone by international waste and disorder. We begin to perceive this, and the most sober of us must look forward to a time when the scattered and antagonistic elements of the race will agree upon some graceful design of a City of Man, and unite in constructing it.
That familiar phrase, the Brotherhood of Men, sounds rather hollow in the ears of many. I am avoiding pretty phrases and disputable creeds and subtle philosophies—I am trying to keep in direct contact with the realities of life—and therefore I do not use it. But the sincere sentiment behind it, the feeling that we men and women do form one large family in possession of an immense and infinitely fertile estate, and that we will develop our property more advantageously for each of us if we act as though we were brothers, can hardly be challenged. The question of the exact expression of our relationship to each other may be left to poets and scientists.
Those lighter shams of patriotism, which I shall describe in this chapter as hampering the march of the race, will be recognised even by men who, with Carlyle or Nietzsche, refuse the title of brother to some of their fellows. We ourselves smile at them sometimes, and at the cheerfulness with which we endure the grave inconvenience they put on us; and they will certainly provoke the laughter of the scholars who will some day learnedly discuss the question whether we men and women of the twentieth century were or were not civilised. They have, it is true, a much more serious aspect; they are important auxiliaries of the war-god. On the whole, however, they are shams that we ought to kill with ridicule and bury with genial disdain. They are practices or institutions which we have plainly inherited from the barbaric past, when men were slaves of tradition, kingly or priestly, and dare hardly use their own intelligence on their own habits. In this age of ours, when we are at last becoming the masters, instead of the slaves, of our traditions, they are regarded by large bodies of men and women in every civilised country as stupid, anachronistic, and mischievous.
In fact, there is here again no serious difference of opinion. One has not to force one’s way through some controversial thicket before one can discover the correct path of reform. The way lies perfectly clear before us, and we can enter it at any time when we have the collective will to do so. One might again describe the proposal, not as a “reform”—since many people instinctively shrink from the word reform—but as a business-proposition of the simplest and most profitable character. I speak of those false and antiquated freaks of patriotism which keep different groups of human beings speaking different languages, using different weights and measures, wrestling with each other’s mysterious coinage, collecting each other’s stamps, and stumbling against the many other irritating diversities which make one part of the earth “foreign” to another. It may seem to imply some lack of sense of proportion to pass from so grave a subject as war to these matters, but a very little reflection will show how closely they are connected.
The first and most ludicrous of them is the stubbornness with which each fragment of the race prides itself on having a language of its own. This confusion of tongues has irritated and inconvenienced and helped to exasperate against each other the various sections of the human community for thousands of years, although we could suppress it at will in half a generation. Millions of us have an acute and constant experience of the absurdity of the system. In our schools, where mind and body require the fullest possible attention during the few years of training, we devote a large proportion of the time to teaching children how the same idea may be expressed by half a dozen different sounds. The higher the class of school, the more valuable and skilled the teacher, the more time must be wasted in learning how ancient Greeks and Romans, or how Germans and French and Italians, have invented different sounds from ours for expressing the same ideas. The slenderness of the protest one hears against this polyglot system from educators themselves is amazing. They have, it is true, begun to rebel in large numbers against the teaching of dead languages, but comparatively few of them support the increasing demand for that adoption of a common tongue which would do so much for the advance of education.
Those whose parents did not happen to be wealthy enough in their youth to send them to schools which have the distinction of teaching “languages” are hampered in a hundred ways. If they travel, they must pay sycophantic waiters and couriers to give them a dim understanding of the human world through which they pass. Even in their own country they cannot order a dinner at any well-ordered restaurant without first studying a lengthy vocabulary of superfluous sounds, or without practising a dozen little hypocrisies to conceal their ignorance. In large colonial hotels, where hardly a single person who does not speak English is ever found, one receives a “menu” with the usual intimidating array of French phrases. “You ought to supply dictionaries with this sort of thing!” said an angry young squatter, taking a seat beside me in the Grand Hotel at Melbourne, to the waiter. If you are travelling for business, or even transacting business at home, you must have your foreign correspondents and agents; and with their aid you follow dimly the very interesting advances and experiments that are being made in your department abroad. Our Governments must pay more heavily for diplomatic and consular service. Our books and magazines make a parade of foreign phrases which have not yet become as familiar as English. Our shopkeepers add twenty-five per cent, to the cost of our linen by calling it “lingerie.”…
We are tormented in a hundred ways, yet we contemplate this absurd muddle and waste with as resigned an air as if we still believed that the Almighty had, in a fit of temper, created the confusion of tongues at ancient Babel. So subtle and strong is the hold of custom on us that we rarely even ask ourselves whether this is a wise or an unalterable arrangement. We hear with indifference, if not with amusement, of societies which propose to adopt one international tongue in the place of this ridiculous confusion; we languidly picture to ourselves little groups of long-haired faddists meeting in bleak halls to attract our duller neighbours to the cultivation of one more innocent enthusiasm. We have not time for these things. When a sensible man has given adequate time to business and pleasure, he has, he says, no hours to spare for these idealistic luxuries. Yet a moment’s serious reflection would show us that the sole aim of these “faddists” is to make life less crowded and laborious, to lighten our business and add to our pleasure, to introduce common-sense into a large part of our conduct. To such strange contradictions and absurdities does this resolve to resist innovation bring us.
Most people are, perhaps,—if they ever give a thought to the matter,—under the impression that it is a mountainous and impracticable task to introduce such a reform into the life of the world. It is, on the contrary, one of the simplest and most practicable reforms to which men could set their hands. It is even less controversial a measure than the abolition of war. There are few prejudices of our time which have not attracted the ingenuity of some faddist or other; but this is one of the few. More emphatically here than in the case of war, all that we need is the will of the majority to change our anachronistic practice. When one regards the entirely uncontroversial nature of the reform and the immense economy it will entail, it is hardly unreasonable to hope that this will of the majority may soon be secured.
I assume that, when we agree to direct our “Governments” to carry out this elementary improvement of international life, they will summon an international commission of philologists, educators, and commercial men, whose business it will be to create a new language. This step will not be taken until the voluntary movement for reform has reached such proportions as to arouse the interest of politicians; but in the end we rely on governmental action, as it is necessary to reform schools and Parliaments. This international commission will, no doubt, examine impartially such languages as Esperanto. Possibly these existing international tongues will be found more complex than an ideal language ought to be, and less attentive to the finer values of speech. For the simple purpose of expression it is possible to create a tongue far less complex than any in use in the civilised world today: a tongue that could be learned in a few months even by the untrained intelligence. It would proceed on the entirely opposite principle to that of modern word-makers: the principle, for instance, that changes “fireworks” into “pyrotechnics” (a piece of bad Greek for good English), or “gardening” into “horticulture.” The use of this debased Latin and Greek in science has a certain advantage under our present polyglot system, as it is an approach toward international agreement, but it is making more onerous than ever the burden of our languages. We want a simple means of expression and intercourse, with a power of expanding to meet the advance of thought and discovery without needing to run to such lengths as “diaminotrihydroxydodecanoic acid.” No existing national speech would meet the purpose, least of all English; but it would be advisable to have some regard to aesthetic interests in framing a new language, and the old tongues would supply a good deal of material in this regard. The success of the poet depends on qualities of words as well as qualities of imagination, and we have no wish, like Plato, to exclude poets from the ideal commonwealth. We should retain large numbers of these short expressive words.
Great numbers of people hesitate in face of this proposal because they feel that it is a very large innovation, however simple and indisputable it is in principle. They contemplate such things as a nervous child gazes on the sea from the steps of a bathing machine. Intellectually, a few such plunges would be of incalculable service to our generation. One can understand people hesitating before some disputed economic or political scheme, but to shrink from adopting plain and large reforms such as this is not a sign of health. We need to purge our sluggish imaginations of their prejudices, to brace our intellectual power, to take pride in our creativeness.
When the new international tongue is ready, a few years will suffice to make it prevail over the older languages in the leading countries which helped to set up the commission. It will become the one speech of the school, the press, commerce, law, government, and, possibly, the church. The travelling public will, as every Esperantist knows, at once discover the advantage. The commercial world will find it a splendid economy and a priceless boon to international trade. A man will be able to travel from London to Tokyo with as little difficulty as from Woolwich to Ealing; and it will be found that when the foreign tongue, which so instinctively suggests to us the uniform of an enemy, has disappeared, one of the worst obstacles to mutual good-feeling will be removed. When the Englishman can talk to the Berliner with perfect ease,—I assume that all beginnings of dialect would be suppressed as mercilessly as weeds in a well-kept garden,—just as a citizen of London now talks with a citizen of New York or Sydney, a very dangerous chasm will be bridged. It is quite certain that the calamitous attitude of modern Germany could not have proceeded to such a dangerous pitch if the Imperialist and other literature which is responsible for it had been intelligible to the whole of Europe. A few students of particular aspects of German life were more or less acquainted with it, and we refused to believe them. Now we discover, to our amazement, that a neighbouring nation has for decades been openly educated up to a pitch of unscrupulous aggression, and the world has been threatened with an incalculable catastrophe. I am not overlooking the real reasons for this development, but I say confidently that it would have been impossible if a national literature were not generally confined within the nation which produces it.
In the school the advantage would be very considerable. Our overstrained and bespectacled children would be spared several hours a day of their school-work or home-work. The whole ancient and modern-language section of the curriculum would be suppressed, and this suppression, with other reforms which I will describe later, would enlarge the teacher’s opportunity of giving real education and spare the pupil a great deal of devastating brain-fag. For the education of older people the gain would be almost as great. A Birmingham artisan could read the latest novel of d’Annunzio or latest play of Hauptmann without the assistance of expert or inexpert translators. All the older literature that is worth preserving would be translated by specially qualified interpreters into the new tongue, and the originals would then become the toys of leisured pedants. If, as I suggested, a proper attention to word-values were secured in the making of the new tongue, there is no reason why it should not express poetical sentiments as gracefully and pleasantly as any existing tongue.
Is there any utopian element in this scheme? Most people will probably recognise that the only bit of utopianism in it is the expectation that the majority of any nation can be induced to adopt it. That might seem to justify one in using impatient language about the wisdom of the majority of us, but it is no reflection on the scheme itself. The reformer, however, is ill-advised in reflecting on the intelligence of his fellows. Carlyle’s “twenty-seven millions, mostly fools,” discovered in the end that all their follies, which he so vigorously denounced in his Latter-Day Pamphlets, were more permanent and accurate than his “eternal verities.” It is usually want of leisure or immediate profit which alienates the public from schemes of reform. Possibly a scheme which so plainly promises more leisure to us and a very considerable profit may hope to win attention. The reform of spelling I, of course, take as an integral part of the scheme.
But this reform of international intercourse must take a more comprehensive shape than the mere suppression of this confusing plurality of tongues. It is just as foolish of us to maintain a plurality of weights and measures, of coinage and postage-stamps, of social and civic and juridical forms. Even if we confine our attention to the leading civilised nations, we find in these respects a confusion which outrages the elementary instincts of commercial life and lays a monstrous burden of superfluous trouble on us all. Travellers and business-men endure it year after year with the most amazing patience. Men who would be fired to instant action if they found a trace of such disorder in their domestic or commercial concerns resign themselves to this colossal muddle of international intercourse as calmly as if it were a providential and entirely sacred arrangement. I remember once passing rather rapidly from Lucerne to London, by way of Wiesbaden, Cologne, and Brussels: on another occasion by way of Cologne and Amsterdam. The hours one has to spend in calculating coinage (or lose the exchange-value), the worry expended in struggling for stamps or dinners in the less familiar tongues, the confusion of train-rules and street-usages and civic regulations, reflect a system of chaotic disorder; to say nothing of the “sizes” of boots or collars you need, the weight of tobacco or fruit, and so on.
All this is a portentous example of slavery to tradition, whether the tradition be reasonable or no. We have not the slightest regard for the historical development of this muddle and the peculiar folly of retaining it in our generation. Our earlier ancestors measured their woollens or their corn or their mead by the simple standards that are apt to occur to primitive peoples. Even, however, where the same standard occurred to, or commended itself to, different and remote communities, its vagueness was fatal. “A thousand paces” (a mille, as the Romans said) seemed a fair reckoning for long distances, but the stretch varied, and we have Irish miles and German miles and English miles and nautical miles. Our ounces and yards and pints are as intelligent as most of the other things which the ancient Briton invented, but, being British, they seem sacred to us. A hundred years ago a far superior standard, the decimal system, was put before us, but our fathers felt that it smacked of the French Revolution and Napoleon and atheism. We smile at their prejudice, yet we have no greater disposition to alter our unintelligent ways. The German would be horrified at having to reckon his distances in kilometres. The British lion, the French or German or Russian or American eagle,—there is a marvellous love of that symbol of aspiration and progress,—or the rising sun of Japan, must have its own system of weights and measures and coins. Passing through a strip of Canada some months ago I had, from lack of the local stamps, to entrust my post to a kindly waitress; and was, of course, robbed. Of late years, Australia has patriotically resolved to have its own coins, and has fought parliamentary battles over its stamps.
The often-imagined visitor from another planet would not be so much surprised at this extraordinary and costly muddle of patriotic shams as at our faculty for progress in commerce and industry amidst it all. We seem to be quite blind to the larger applications of our modern doctrine of efficiency. Regarded as an economic system, which it really is, the international arrangement of our civilised world is full of crudities which are more worthy of a Papuan pedlar. The contrast between the methods of a large Chicago store or a British or German engineering-business and the methods we retain in far larger and more important concerns will one day be a subject of amazement. The evil of which I am speaking eats into the very heart of an industrial and commercial system which prides itself on its order, economy, and efficiency. Yet this comprehensive muddle is contemplated almost without protest by business-men. If it were merely the leisure hours of travellers which were dissipated in this abstruse study of foreign tongues and coins and customs, we might merely deplore proverbial vagaries of taste. But the abuse is immeasurably greater than this; the advantage we should gain by this scheme of unification can scarcely be calculated. One would think that the reform was really difficult to achieve, or lay under the frown of some imposing school of theologians or moralists or economists!
I omit from the list of perversities whatever is the subject of serious economic controversy. Such things as national tariffs, for instance. However arguable the question may be in England, even the free-trader usually appreciates in such a country as Australia the plea for a protective tariff. There is, at all events, a very serious controversy on the general issue, and it would not be expedient to include among plain reforms any scheme of universal free-trade or universal protection. It is enough to point out that certain obvious, stupid, and mischievous survivals of old conditions gravely hamper our international intercourse. The prestige of our civilisation, as well as a common-sense view of our interest, demand that we shall suppress them. More disputable reforms may be considered afterwards. Our usual method is, one fears, to discuss the more disputable reforms first.
It is difficult to conceive any plea being put forward on behalf of these irrational old customs, but a sufficiently ingenious and superficial apologist might claim that patriotism bids us maintain them. There is no doubt that the work of reform will have to proceed over the bodies of a number of the pettier patriots. No one can suppose that the task of unification will be accomplished without friction. German professors and Bulgarian politicians will protest against this pernicious cosmopolitan spirit, this horrible wish to denationalise us, this tampering with the sources of national energy. Ardent Irishmen and Welshmen will form very talkative associations for the defence of “the grand old tongue.” Rival languages will be put forward, and Esperanto will strain its hitherto respectable resources in denouncing Volapük or the new official speech. French and English and German savants will heatedly press the claims of ideal words in their respective languages to be taken over, and pamphleteers will discuss whether Herr Professor Doktor Schmidt did or did not contribute more suggestions than Professor Smith. A higher criticism of the new language will spread its pale growth like a parasitic fungus.
What is patriotism? In the sense in which the word is still widely, if not generally, understood, it stands for a sentiment that belongs essentially to a pre-rational age and cannot survive unchanged in a rational age. This does not mean that a rational age has no place for sentiments; it means that the sentiments must not affront reason. We cannot at once pride ourselves on being paragons of common-sense, yet slaves to a sentiment which common-sense must not examine too closely. Loyalty to that larger national family to which we belong: cordial and generous support of its interests: sacrifice, if need be, for its just ambitions: pride in its worthy achievements, even in its worthier superiorities—these are useful and intelligible sentiments, and it is not unreasonable to make a flag the visible symbol of these just interests and achievements. But a blind and undiscriminating devotion to flag or king, a glorification of our national family above others in the fashion of the Middle Ages, a refusal to ask if the demands of our rulers are just or if the interests we are pressed to support are sound and equitable, an obstinate pride in a thing because it is British or German, whether it be wise or no—these are sentiments entirely at variance with the best spirit of our age. We may recognise that even the crude old patriotism has contributed much to the advance of civilisation. This gathering of men into rival national groups has forced the pace, and has at times developed noble qualities. But we must admit also that the same patriotism has inspired hundreds of unjust and stupid wars, and has maintained on their thrones kings and queens who ought to have been dismissed with ignominy.
The progress of civilisation does not entail the suppression, but the refinement, of sentiment, as is very plainly seen in the supposed implications of patriotism. When it is urged that these absurd national diversities of speech and coinage must be sustained on the ground of patriotism, we ask at once which sound element of patriotism could demand such an anachronism? It is, surely, only the spurious medieval sentiment that could dictate so utter an absurdity! Will the interests of England be endangered because we remove a very serious burden from its economic life and its educational activity? Shall we be less prosperous, less happy, less respected, for correcting an antiquated and foolish practice? These things, we may reflect, were not stupid at the time when they were developed. The resolute patriot may, if he wills, take pride in the relative ingenuity of the people who invented them. Each separate national system was the outcome of special conditions, and the slender commerce between the different communities at the time they were developed did not require a rigorous international standard. One bartered by the piece or the lump. But it is sheer folly to ignore the modern transformation of international life: to fancy that our unwillingness to exert ourselves, even for our own advantage, may be ascribed to some lofty virtue.
It need hardly be said that I am not cherishing a dream of spreading at once over the entire planet a uniformity of language and coins and standards. The leading civilised nations might, within a few years, adopt such a scheme; and a certain number of the smaller and less advanced nations, which aspire to membership of the civilised group, would probably accept the reform speedily enough. On the other hand, the permeation of the lower races with our ideas would be a slow and difficult process: a part of that general task of civilising the whole race which we have sooner or later to confront. This difficulty does not at all affect the advantage we should gain by adopting a scheme of unification within the family of civilised nations, and it cannot be pleaded as a reason for postponement. But all the reforms I have hitherto discussed will, when they have spread over the more highly organised countries, find a temporary check in this chaotic jumble of peoples on the fringe of civilisation, and it may be useful to discuss the principles which ought to inform our attitude toward them.
Our generation looks out upon these backward branches of the race, not only with a finer sentiment and a stricter regard for principle than any previous generation did, but with a very much clearer knowledge of their meaning. We may, of course, be faithless to our principles in cases: we may black-slavery and denounce as “a gospel of dirt” the scientific revelation which threw light and hope on inferior types of manhood.wrap a piece of frank buccaneering of the old type in hypocritical humanitarian phrases. The general attitude is, however, more enlightened, as these pieces of hypocrisy themselves show. We may or may not hold the doctrine of universal brotherhood; at least we understand the true relation of these more backward races to ourselves, and we are in a much better position to determine our right and our duties. We have advanced considerably since, little more than half a century ago, a stern moralist like Carlyle could defend
The chief difference is that we now see the true relation of the lower races to the higher. It is false to say, as Carlyle did, that some races were created with higher gifts than others, and were therefore divinely appointed as the master-races. The notion is as absurd as the old and profitable legend of the laying of a primitive curse on Ham and his black descendants. Difference of geographical conditions is the chief clue to the unequal development of the various branches of the race. I have in various works developed this theme and will not linger over it here. You have at the start the same human material and capacities in all the scattered groups. But some have been for ages isolated from the stimulating contact of races with a different or a higher culture, and this is the essential condition of advance. Others have, by sheer chance, been so situated that they enjoyed this stimulation in an extraordinary degree. On this principle we can understand the birth of civilisation in that fermenting mass of peoples which settled between the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf ages ago, and the direction of the advancing stream of culture, partly eastward to India and China, but mainly in the more favourable north-western direction.
It is, therefore, no difference of aboriginal outfit, but a difference in the chances of migration and situation, which accounts for the cultural diversity of races. Yet we must not at once infer that any lower race can, on this account, be drawn from its isolation and lifted to the higher level. There is reason to believe that a race loses its educability if it remains unprogressive for too long a period. The physiological reason may be that the skull closes firmly, at a relatively early age, over the brain in a people in which expansion of brain after puberty has not been encouraged. Take the three “lower races” of Australasia. The Tasmanian was one of the oldest and least cultured branches of the human family, and he died out within a century after contact with the whites. The Maori of New Zealand is the most recent and most advanced of the three aboriginal races. With the Polynesian, he is closely related to the European or race, and is certainly educable. The Australian black comes between the two in culture and in the period of his isolation. Australian scientific men who have made the most sympathetic efforts to uplift the black tell me that they have failed, and the race seems to be doomed.
These scientific principles have discredited the old legendary notions about the lower races, but we must not as yet make dogmas of them. Nothing but candid and careful experience will show which races are educable and which ineducable. It is very probable that such peoples as the wild Veddahs of Ceylon, the Aetas of the Philippines, the Yahgans of Tierra del Fuego, and some of the Central African groups, will prove ineducable. Other races which have been considered “savage” are already proving educable, either as a body or in large numbers of instances. Many peoples have not been tested at all. We are only just at the fringe of this vast and interesting problem.
In regard to the races which, after humane and thorough experiment, prove entirely ineducable, the solution does not offer much difficulty. Once their primitive habits are disturbed, and they begin to live on a pension allotted them by the European nations which have seized their territory, they gradually die out. A very good case may be established by those writers who hold that races which cling incurably to barbarism ought to be painlessly extirpated, or prevented from multiplying. Such races as the Australian blacks are quite familiar with a process of sterilisation which does not interfere with their enjoyment of life. On the other hand, the life led by these domesticated but ineducable savages is hardly worth preserving at all. However, as they are disappearing, one need not press that point. The claim of sane humanitarians, that we have no right to interfere with their conditions and seize their territory, is quite unsound. The human family has a right to see large fertile regions of the earth developed. Who regrets to-day that the Amerinds were pensioned in order to find room for Canada and the United States and Brazil and Argentina? Who does not see the advantage of peopling Australia with a fine and advancing civilisation of (eventually) twenty or thirty million progressive whites instead of a few hundred thousand miserable aboriginals?
At the other end of the scale we have, as I said, peoples who are most probably or certainly educable. At a hazard one might instance the Thibetans and Siberian Mongolians, the Koreans, the Maoris and Polynesians, the Lapps (of the same blood as the Finns), and a large number of Asiatic and African peoples. We must keep in mind the high civilisation reached by the Amerinds of Peru, whereas their modern descendants, the Quichwas, seem so negligible. In Africa there is a vast amount of experiment and classification to do, and already the pure Bantu races are furnishing scores of men who are susceptible of a university education. I know several of them who are as competent and well-educated as the average English university man.
Has the white race a duty (“the white man’s burden”) to attempt to civilise the coloured races? I speak in general terms, of course. It is sheer insolence to regard the Chinese or Burmese—one must not mention the Japanese—as lower races. Now, speaking in the abstract, as a matter of general moral principle, the white has no clear duty to civilise the coloured races. The sentiment of brotherhood may inspire a feeling of duty in some, but one cannot build firmly on that phrase. It is, however, not an abstract ethical question. The white men have, in point of fact, spread over the globe, and they are in a fair way to occupy all the territory on which the coloured races (except the Chinese and Japanese and Burmese) were settled. Only an attitude of general unscrupulousness could ignore the obligation which this seizure of territory implies. England and Germany have, for instance, occupied the islands of the Pacific and made their inhabitants a “subject race.” They have done this, not only with a gross lack of discrimination between the Polynesian (who is certainly educable) and the much lower Melanesian, but with a quite cynical idea of the “civilising” process. The work has been left to sailors and travellers, who have decimated the population by spirits and syphilis, or to the crudities of Christian missionaries. The joy of native life has been killed, and the enforcement of clothing (which the natives naturally cast off in the cooler evening, when the sensitive European was not able to see them) has led to an appalling amount of pneumonia and phthisis. We have done much to turn a wonderfully happy and healthy people into a gin-drinking swaddled caricature of a Bank Holiday crowd.
But the lists of our crimes in dealing with the lower races need not be given here. If we white people are to go out among the more backward coloured races, and to profess that we are assuming the paternal function of administering their territory, we must act on some principle. It is rather late in the history of the world to send out civilising expeditions which consist of missionaries presenting copies of the Sermon on the Mount, and soldiers and merchants who, in flagrant contradiction to the Sermon on the Mount, exploit the natives and appropriate their soil. There must be a serious attempt to educate them, and then an elimination of the unfit. Africa will prove a formidable region for this discriminating work. The Mohammedans themselves have already proved that many of its peoples are capable of culture.
We have a special problem in our treatment of races which, like the Hindus and Egyptians, have already been drawn into the white system. Let us be quite candid with ourselves in this matter. We appropriated their territory for our advantage, not theirs, and our professed modern sentiments are compelling us to say that we are not in possession of their territory in their interest. We protect the Hindu from native despots, the Egyptian from a cruel Mahdi or Pacha, the retired official tells you. However, I do not propose that we should investigate the title-deeds of all our existing empires as regards their oversea possessions; nor do I in the least advocate the dismemberment of such large unities as the British Empire. But the principle on which some would stake our existence in India or Egypt, the maxim that “What we have we hold,”—which is often illustrated by a picture of a particularly stupid-looking bull-dog guarding the British flag,—is the first principle of the pickpocket and the burglar. Modern sentiment has to grant colonial empires a sort of “Bula de Composicion,” such as the Spanish Church, for a consideration, grants to pickpockets. The best compromise is that the peoples which are to-day linked in empires should remain linked; not as dominant and subject peoples, but as sister-nations working out the destiny of the race according to the highest standards. This implies that, as they assimilate Western culture (as the Hindus are quite rapidly doing), they shall be more and more entrusted with the administration of their own countries. The very different situation of colonies need not be discussed. When Australia and Canada find, if they ever do find, that it is to their interest to set up complete independence, they will not cut the cable: they will cast it off as calmly and confidently as they now cast off the cable of an Orient liner on the quays at Sydney.
Along these lines we may forecast the future, and very slow, drafting of the more backward peoples into the homogeneous family of the more civilised races. The unification of languages, coinage, etc., will be gradually extended to them. But it is not my purpose in this work to contemplate remote tasks and contingencies. A great and practicable reform lies at our doors. The overwhelming majority of the race are already incorporated in civilised nations, and the work of organisation amongst these is urgent and comparatively easy. I am not advocating a fantastic and lofty scheme for which one needs to be prepared by the acceptance of advanced humanitarian sentiments. What I am pleading for is the application to international life of our treasured maxims of common-sense and efficiency. Those simple and indisputable maxims condemn in the most stringent terms the patriotic shams which we suffer to perplex and burden our life. Let us run the planet on recognised business principles.