MAN IN THE MODERN WORLD
almost interchangeable terms. So far has this gone that many
nationals, if questioned, would reply that their compatriots were all
of one "race," with a proportion, more or less insignificant, of " aliens,"
who, by some means or other, have acquired their national status.
A very little reflection and knowledge will show that this view is un-
tenable. The belief, however, survives in many quarters where it
should have become extinct, sometimes with the idea of "stock" sub-
stituted for "race." Our statesmen, who should know better, often
speak of the "British race,53 the "German race," the "Anglo-Saxon
race," the "Jewish race," etc. Such phrases are devoid of any
scientific significance. The speakers should usually substitute some
such word as "people" or "group"for the word "race" if they desire
to convey any meaning—and if they do not wish to play into the
hands of Hitler and those who think like him.
It was a remarkable consequence of the Great War that, perhaps
for the first time in history, peace treaties were directed toward the
revision of the political map on lines which aim at having a basis in
so-called "ethnic realities." For this purpose the "racial" argument
was constantly put forward in terms of what, in the current phrase of
the time, was called "self-determination," with occasionally some
regard for the rights of the so-called "racial" (usually linguistic or
In the discussion which accompanied the settlement of the peace
treaties there was inevitably much confusion of thought in regard to
these so-called "racial questions." As an illustration of the lengths
to which such confusion of thought may go, it may be mentioned that
in the discussion on the Polish Corridor it was even suggested as a
means of finding the "racial" affinities of the inhabitants of the area
involved, that the question might be settled by consulting the voting
lists of the last election!
"Raea" and "Stood"
Associated with the vague idea of "race" is the idea, almost equally
vague, of "blood." The use of this word as equivalent to "relation-
ship" is itself based on an elementary biological error. In fact there
is no continuity of blood between the parent and offspring, for no
drop of blood passes from the mother to the child in her womb. The
misconception is very ancient and is encountered among many peoples
on a low cultural level. This false conception gained scientific cur-
rency from a mistake of Aristotle, who held that the monthly periods,
which do not appear during pregnancy, contribute to the substance
of the child's body (Aristotle, De Generation Animalium, I, § 20). The