Skip to main content

Full text of "Man In The Modern World"

See other formats

of "racial" elements in the populations involved. But such incom-
patibility, if it be a reality, must have existed for many centuries in
the populations before these disturbances declared themselves. Such
explanations therefore inevitably lead to an inquiry as to the extent
to which the claims to "racial unity," which are involved in recent
nationalist controversy, have a basis in reality.
A further question necessarily arises in this connection. Even if we
assume that for any given national unit it were possible to establish
a specific physical type—which it is not—would there be any evidence
for the view that it were best that this type should be fostered and its
survival encouraged to the exclusion of all other types ? In coming
to a conclusion we must remember that every people has ascribed to
itself special powers and aptitudes. Such claims may, at times, as-
sume the most ridiculous forms. There is not one but a multitude of
" chosen peoples.95 Some of the most sweeping claims made for the
British, by Kipling for instance, are closely similar to the claims made
for the tribes of Israel by the authors of certain Biblical books.
Truly ye come of The Blood; slower to bless than to ban.
Little used to lie down at the bidding of any man.
There's but one task for all,
One life for each to give,
What stands if Freedom fall?
Who dies if England live?
With The White Man's Burden may be compared the forty-ninth
chapter of the book of Isaiah:
The Lord hath called me from the womb. . , . And he said unto
me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified. ...
It is a light thing that thou shouldest . . . raise up the tribes of
Jacob and restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for
a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the
end of the earth. . . . That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go
forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves!
When, too, we read in Madison Grant's The Passing of the Great Race
that the greatest and most masterful personalities have been of Nordic
type, we can make a shrewd guess at its author's general appearance!
A flaw in his line of thought is that the very same claims are made
by many groups that are by no means predominantly Nordic. Passages
claiming leadership of the world can, in fact, be elicited in abundance
from French, German, Italian, Russian, and American literature, to
say nothing of the literatures of smaller groups. Nations, races, tribes,