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D DDDi ommna 





An unemotional Statement of the Things 
that arc happening to him now, and of 
the iwtnediMc Possibilities confronting him 














5, UNION Now? 39 








13. CHRISTENDOM . . , 118 








18. SHINTOISM 167 






24. SUMMARY 230 



NOTES 249 



I HAVE BEEN ASKED to set down as simply and clearly as I 
can, in one compact hook, the reality of the human situation; 
that is to say I have been asked to state the world as I see it 
and what is happening to it. This is the result, 

A very large part of my conscious life has been a struggle 
for effective knowledge. I have attempted to collect and 
summarise existing knowledge so that it could be made 
available in human living, and to induce other and abler 
people to take up the same work, I have worked also to 
bring together incompatible systems of thinking about real- 
ity, systems which ignore each other stupidly and wastefully, 
and are manifestly answerable for much fundamental con- 
fusion in human thought. These unresolved, contradictory 
philosophies and theologies encumber the human mind, and 
their irresolution is largely due to an elaborate mutual dis- 
regard. I am exceptionally intolerant of such inconsistencies, 
because if I attempt to deal with them they worry and en- 
tangle me* I cannot make the necessary reservations and 

The peculiar strength and the peculiar weakness of my 
mind are one and the same quality. Put favorably, mine is a 
very direct mind; put unfavorably, it is unsubtle. I am 
impatient of complicating details and conventional mis- 
statements because I am afraid of them. The reader will find 



this book ego-centered, for so we all began, and also in- 
sistent. I hammer at my main ideas, and this is an offense 
to delicate-minded people. If a door is not open I say it is 
shut, and I am impatient with the suggestion of worldly 
wisdom that it may be possible to wangle a way round. Yet 
there may be a way round if you do not lose yourself getting 
there. You have been warned that I shall not be with you 
in any such uncertain enterprise. I work not simply for 
knowledge but for a stark clarity of thought about it. It 
seems to me a fair challenge to demand a lucid statement 
of- the vision of the universe to which this directness of 
inquiry and assemblage have brought me. 

That vision may affect many readers as unflattering to 
human self-esteem. I cannot help that; it is the way in which 
reality has unfolded itself before me. 

By way of Introduction I will tell how I came to see the 
world as I do. Then in the subsequent sections I will give 
the conclusions at which I have arrived today. I will tell 
what I first saw of life. How I saw it. How I was allowed 
to see it. How my range of vision extended. How knowl- 
edge, experience and imagination accumulated and horizon 
opened beyond horizon. 

I was born in a rather unprosperous home; there was no 
nursery and most of my waking day was spent in an under- 
ground kitchen. Very little remains in my memory now of 
that first world, my infantile world. As I saw it then, it 
seemed to be the only world. When I put together the notes 
for this Introduction, I sat for a time, doing my utmost to 
recall what picture of the world I had in early childhood. 
I get scarcely anything at all 

It must have been a very limited picture. I had few gen- 


eral ideas. Or none. For instance, my mind was not living 
in a ilat world or a round world or anything of that sort, 
I was not bothering about any shape or size of the world. I 
was entirely incurious about all that. I was just living in 
"the world/' I was informed that there was a home for 
little children above the bright blue sky, but I do not 
remember that that interested me in the slightest degree. 
I was rather more concerned about Old Bogey who 
would come and fetch me if I told fibs and so on, and 
I rather disliked (but I did not think very much about) 
a certain divine eye that was always watching me generally 
with disapproval But as far as my recollections go, I was 
much more afraid of bears, tigers, black men, red Indians 
and other dangers, lurking in the shadows upstairs and round 
the corner. That infantile world was a world of vivid, im- 
mediate, inconsecutive realities against a background of 
nothingness that evoked no curiosity. There was the house 
next door, there was the moon, there was night, there was 
day and so forth. Why not? With the utmost effort, that is 
all I can reconstruct of the world I saw before I began to 
read books and see pictures, go for walks, go to school, and 
inspect and inquire with the freedom of seven or eight 
years old. 

I have a fuller conception of what I was seeing after that 
stage. My imagination was being used to amplify and ex- 
tend what I saw and heard and felt directly. A rather foggy 
time-background was taking shape. I heard about "Once 
upon a time/* before I existed. I had a jumbled idea of old 
England, mostly forests with turrets peeping out o them, 
old Paris, Rome, where it was always -Nero and Christians 
fighting beasts in the Coliseum. My historical ideas centered 


upon Windsor Castle. I had seen Windsor Castle, and I 
firmly believed that that grandiose round tower, which 
George the Fourth clapped upon it, was built by William 
the Conqueror. Rome, Greece, Babylon, Jerusalem and 
Egypt, arranged anyhow, crowded the background, and the 
Creation, seen across the shining waters of the Flood and a 
curious procession of very, very, very old gentlemen 
Methuselah beat the record sealed up the vista of the past. 

I was interested in geography chiefly because it provided 
varied scenery for imaginary adventures. I thought China 
and Japan were made to be laughed at, though their porce- 
lain and silks and fans were clever. I knew that there were 
also savages for whom Britain provided missionaries and 
machine-guns. Savages were generally cannibals and wore 
few or no garments, which seemed to me very rude of them 
indeed. I knew the world was round because everybody told 
me so. If they had told me the world was cone-shaped or 
flat, I should have known that with equal conviction and 
it was only years afterwards that I realized how difficult it 
is to prove that the world is a globe. There were upper 
classes one respected and lower classes that one didn't, 
and poor people had to work, and that was how things 
were. The nearer I could edge up to the upper classes the 
better it would be for me. 

So I saw the world about the year 1880, when I was rising 
fourteen years old, and I think most of my readers will 
agree with me that I was seeing the world then in a very 
distorted and foggy fashion. And yet I was seeing it as 
most people in Great Britain were seeing it at that time. 
I was seeing it as vast multitudes of people arc seeing it 
today. I was seeing it as it was shown to me. For a score of 


causes. These processes of primitive waste were too rela- 
tively slow to be perceptible from lifetime to lifetime. So 
these thinkers of yesterday talked of unchanging human 
nature. You cannot change human nature, they said. They 
relied upon the fabled promise of the rainbow, they had it 
straight from the Creator's mouth, that while the earth still 
remained, seedtime and harvest should endure. 

The order of events seemed a sure, unfailing routine. And 
in much the same way, our ancestors, until a couple of 
dozen centuries ago, thought the world was flat. They 
thought the sea they sailed upon flat without qualification, 
and it required a considerable amount of mental exercise 
for them to realize that the apparent plane of the ocean 
surface was really curved and that the faster and farther 
they sailed the more effectively they would realize how the 
round earth was falling away from their first assumptions. 
All their old landmarks would then vanish one after an- 
other. Astounded navigators found unfamiliar constellations 
in the heavens. Within two dozen centuries man has been 
discovering that he lives not on a flat earth but upon a globe, 
and within the last ten, that he is not the center of the uni- 
verse but a denizen of a very second-rate planet. He has had 
to readjust his general ideas about life to that, and to a cer- 
tain extent he has adjusted them. To a certain extent only. 

And similarly our historical imaginations, quite as much 
as our geographical imaginations, live today in a vastly 
enlarged system of perspectives. We know that the ever- 
lasting hills are not everlasting, that all our working con- 
ceptions of behavior and destiny are provisional and that 
human nature and everything about it is being carried 
along upon an irreversible process of change. Our historical 


I forget when it was I began to realize that the world as 
it had been presented to me was not a trustworthy picture 
of reality, that in effect I was being lied to about life. I began 
doubting quite early in life. The religion they put before 
me was queer, muddled stuff, metaphors about unfatherly 
fathers and sacrificial sons, blood offerings and blood-drip- 
ping sacrificial lambs (in suburban London!), an irrational 
fall and a vindictive judgment, stuff that took refuge from 
any intelligent questions behind a screen of awe, mystery 
and menace, so that my reason did not so much reject it as 
fail altogether to accept it. What they called morality seemed 
planned to thrust me into some nasty secret corners and 
leave me there. I had some bad times, fearing a God whom 
I felt but did not dare to think a spy, a bully, a tyrant and 
fundamentally insane, and it was only after terrific distresses 
and terrors that I achieved disbelief. Fear lingered in my 
mind long after definite faith had dissolved. 

The sublunary world they imposed upon me was equally 
difficult to accept. The history they taught me wound up at 
1700, which was queer when one came to think about it. 
But even then I must have read books about the French 
Revolution and George Washington and the Roman Re- 
public, and they had upset my simple faith in the inevita- 
bility of our political order, the dear Queen and all the 
rest of it. A sixpenny book by the late Henry George came 
into my hands and set me thinking crudely, destructively, 
but profitably about rent, wages and suchlike matters. Some 
rumors about a science called geology reached me. I had 
already observed for myself in the pictures in Wood's 
Natural History that different species of animals had quite 
needless resemblances to one another, if it was indeed true 


that they had all been made separately. Then about that 
time my schoolmaster set me reading science textbooks to 
earn Education Department grants for him, and suddenly 
I woke up to the existence of a vast and growing world of 
thought and knowledge outside my ordinary circle of ideas 
altogether. My heavens opened, and the world as I had 
seeivit hitherto became a flimsy veil upon the face of reality. 

I have heard other people who have had similar experi- 
ences to mine tell of the thirst for knowledge they experi- 
enced. I suppose I had that thirst in good measure, but far 
stronger was my anger at the paltry sham of an education 
that had been fobbed off upon me; angry resentment also at 
the dismal negligence of the social and religious organiza- 
tions responsible for me, that had allowed me to be thrust 
into the hopeless drudgery of a shop, ignorant, misinformed, 
undernourished and physically under-developed, without 
warning and without guidance, at the age of thirteen. To 
sink or swim. I was too young to make allowances for the 
people who were exploiting and stifling me. I did not realize 
that they were quite charming people really, if a little too 
self-satisfied and indolent. I thought they had conspired to 
keep me down. It wasn't true that they had conspired to 
keep me down. But I was down and they didn't bother. 
They took my inferiority as part of the accepted order. They 
just trod on me. But I did not discriminate about their re- 
sponsibility. I hated them as only the young can hate, and 
it gave me the energy to struggle, and I set about struggling, 
for knowledge. I was bitterly determined to see my world 
clearer and truer, before it was too late. 

To this day I will confess I dislike the restriction and dis- 
tortion of knowledge as I dislike nothing else on earth. In 


this modern world it is, I hold, second only to murder to 
starve and cripple the mind of a child. Emasculation of the 
mind is surely more horrible than any degrading bodily 
mutilation. In our modern world we recoil from the delib- 
erate manufacture of human dwarfs, harem attendants and 
choristers, but the world still swarms with mental cripples, 
who follow the laws of their own distortion and scarcely 
suspect they are distorted. 

I have indicated the limits of my world outlook in 1880. 
By extraordinary good luck I caught up to something like 
contemporary knowledge in the course of a few years. In 
seven years, before I was twenty-one, I contrived never 
mind how to secure four years of almost continuous study, 
and three of these were at the Royal College of Science, and 
one under the professorship of the great Huxley, Darwin's 
friend; and by 1887 the world as I saw it had become some- 
thing altogether greater, deeper and finer than the confused 
picture I had of it in 1880. Mentally, we all travel at our 
fastest, I suppose, between fourteen and twenty-one. Many 
of my readers will know from their own experience what 
I mean when I say that for me these years remain in my 
memory as if all the time I was putting together an immense 
jig-saw puzzle in a mood of inspiration. These were the 
most exciting years in my life. I had been blind and I was 
learning to see. The world opened out before me. By '88 
I saw the world, not precisely as I see it today, but much 
more as I see it today than as I saw it in 1880. There has 
been a lot of expansion and supplementing since, but noth- 
ing like a fundamental reconstruction. 

Now how did we because I was one of a generation of 
science students how did we see the world in '88? Time 


had opened out for us, and the Creation, the Fall of Man 
and the Flood, those simple fundamentals of the Judaeo- 
Christian mythology, had vanished. Forever. Instead I saw 
a limitless universe throughout which the stars and nebulae 
were scattering like dust, and I saw life ascending, as it 
seemed, from nothingness towards the stars. 

In the eighties the prevailing ideas about space and time, 
matter and energy, were simpler than they are now. Space 
and time just went on forever, we thought. We students 
used to talk about the fourth and other dimensions, but 
when I wrote a story for the students' magazine and identi- 
fied time with the fourth dimension, I thought I was being 
very original and paradoxical indeed. We also had very 
definitely limited ideas about the amount of energy latent 
in the universe, and it seemed to us that our world would 
probably "freeze up" in a few million years. Still even that 
gave us a long time ahead, and we thought humanity might 
see and do tremendous things. We knew the broad outline 
of the history of life in time; we knew that our ancestors 
were apes, and it seemed possible that man would go on to 
a power and wisdom beyond all precedent. 

But our ideas of that progress we anticipated were re- 
markably restricted. Our imaginations were relatively un- 
stimulated. For example, our world, as we saw it then, knew 
nothing of radio or to be exact it knew of radio transmis- 
sion as a curious laboratory experiment, the Hertzian waves 
-v-and its ideas about atoms and the statement of physical 
processes, were naive in the extreme. We doubted if avia- 
tion was possible, we doubted if electric fraction was possi- 
ble, we associated submarines with the fantasies of Jules 
Verne, and we considered his Around the World in Eighty 


Days an extravagant dream. Our interpretation of mental 
actions was trivial and shallow almost beyond comparison 
with what we have now. 

As I compare the world as I see it now, with that world 
I contemplated fifty years ago, I realize how greatly the pic- 
ture has unfolded and how much understanding has intensi- 
fied. So far as its scale and texture go, so far as space and 
time, the atoms and the threads and substance of the picture 
go, the world as I see it today is altogether more marvelous, 
mysterious and profound. 

It is not only that our analysis of the rhythms and inter- 
play of the physical elements of the universe has been 
elaborated and rephrased in far more effective modes. In the 
foreground and middle distance also, concerning affairs 
upon this planet and the more obvious and immediate ac- 
tivities of life, our enlightenment has been immense. Thanks 
largely to Freud and his disciples and successors, there has 
been an immense advance in our self-knowledge. I would 
put Freud side by side with Darwin as a significant figure in 
human enlightenment. These two men are cardinal not 
so much on account of the actual elucidations they produced 
but 'because of the questions they asked and the method o 
their questioning. Our knowledge first of our own motives 
and impulses and then of mass-thought and mass-action, has 
become beyond comparison more lucid and practical, thanks 
primarily to the initiatives of Freud. 

One immediate result of this rapid progressive enlarge- 
ment and confirmation of our former outlook has been a 
tremendous wave of optimistic assurance in the minds of 
liberal-minded, freely thinking people. They have taken 
progress in discovery, in intelligent social organization, in 


the conquest of want, disease, ignorance, as something 
almost as inevitable as the precession of the Equinoxes. That 
progress has had the air of something quite independent of 
the daily lives and mass responses of everyday people. There 
was nothing anyone need do about it. It came; it unfolded; 
it increased. Progress! The men of science, the inventors, 
clever people somewhere were doing it all for us and all 
we had to do was to sit back and marvel and accept the 
cornucopia. There are the facts before us, the novelties, the 
triumphs, perpetually reinforced. In the world as I see it 
today, the powers and possibilities of human effort appear 
enormously greater than they did in 1888. And still they 
increase. Still the prospect and the promise expand. 

The case for optimism about physical wants is stronger 
now than ever. So far as economic circumstances go, the 
world could be organized to provide every living soul upon 
it with abundant food, housing and leisure, and that with- 
out either direct compulsion to toil or any irksome monot- 
ony of employment. We have passed in a single lifetime 
from a general neediness to a practicable plenty for all The 
story is too familiar to need exhaustive recapitulation here. 
Aviation and radio communication have abolished distance. 
In 1888 the unity of the world as one community was a re- 
mote aspiration; now it has become an imperative necessity. 
Fifty years ago none of us dreamt of the freedom and full- 
ness of life that is now a plain possibility for everyone. To 
many hopeful people in die past few decades, an age of 
power, freedom and abundance has seemed close at hand. 
Eye has not seen nor ear heard, it is only now entering into 
the human imagination to conceive, the wonder of the years 
to come. 


And now suddenly we are confronted by a series of dis- 
tresses and disasters, of a nature to convince the most hope- 
ful of us that all this happy assurance was premature. We an- 
ticipated too easily, too greedily and too uncritically. TTiese 
new powers, inventions, contrivances and methods, are not 
the unqualified enrichment of normal life that we had ex- 
pected. They are hurting, injuring and frustrating us 
increasingly- They are proving dangerous and devastating 
in our eager but unprepared hands. We are only beginning 
to realize that the cornucopia of innovation may perhaps 
prove far more dangerous than benevolent. 

What we may call the scientific world has recognized 
this quite recently. There have been great stirrings of con- 
science in various scientific organizations upon the question 
of the misuse of science and invention, and how far the 
man of science may be held responsible for that misuse. 
The Associations for the Advancement of Science in Britain, 
America and Australia have been moving under the initia- 
tives of such men as Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins, Lord 
Rutherford and Sir Richard Gregory. The British Associa- 
tion has created a special Division, not merely a new sec- 
tion but a sort of collateral to itself, for the study of the 1 
social relations of science. The fate of this Division will be 
of considerable interest from our point of view. I have been 
privileged to attend some of its deliberations and two di- 
vergent lines of tendency have been very evident. One is 
plainly to organize and implement the common creative im- 
pulse in the scientific mind so as to make it a vital factor 
in public opinion; that was the original impulse which 
evoked the Division; the other is to restrain any such de- 
velopment of an authoritative and perhaps embarrassing 


criticism of the conduct o public affairs and to keep the 
man of science modestly to his present subordination. 

It would carry us too far afield to discuss here how far 
the consciences of men of science may be able to get the 
upper hand of a trained and experienced governing class, 
so as to insist upon such collective ideals as they are able to 
formulate, and how far a trained and experienced governing 
class may maneuver this medley of distressed and protesting 
intelligences into the position of a roster of mere "experts" 
available if called upon by the authorities, and otherwise out 
of consideration. 

It is conceivable that the scientific worker is even now 
walking into a net; that increasing areas of his inquiries and 
experiments are falling under the restrictions of "official 
^ecrets"; and that far beyond the more obvious realms of 
physics and chemistry, fields of investigation that have no 
direct bearing upon warfare are likely to come under con- 
trol, as favoring subversive ideas undermining the military 
morale of the community. In Nazi Germany this has hap- 
pened already to psychological science, to mathematical 
physics and ethnology matters quite outside armament and 
strategy. An almost complete strangulation of the unham- 
pered publication and exchanges of the free scientific period 
is visibly within the range of contemporary possibility, and 
the world of scientific workers, as we know them, even 
with that "Division" to rally them, appears a feeble folk 
to resist the influences making for that extinction. 

No one has ever explored the bases of intellectual freedom 
in the modern community, and they may prove to be far 
more flimsy than the intellectual worker, flinging his mind 
about in the apparent security of his study, imagines. 


It is not simply the forcible misuse of purely mechanical 
inventions that is producing such frightening retrogressions 
of those brave, free hopes that culminated in the later twen- 
ties. Every fresh development of radio, of the film and mass 
information generally, and all the new educational devices 
to which we had looked for the rapid spread of enlighten- 
ment and a common world understanding, are being sub- 
ordinated more and more to government restriction and 
the service of propaganda. They were to have been the 
artillery of progress. They are rapidly being turned against 
our mental freedoms with increasing effectiveness. 

Plainly, it is high time we looked more closely into the 
causes of these disconcerting frustrations of our recent large, 
bright anticipations of a world of plenty and expansion. 
What is the real position of Homo sapiens in relation to 
his environment? Has he the mastery we assumed he had, 
or did we make a profound miscalculation of his outlook? 
Have we been indulging in hopeful assumptions rather 
than facing the realities of his case? Upon that question the 
subsequent summary concentrates. 


SINCE THE DAY WHEN Herbert Spencer launched the word 
"Sociology" upon the world, the study of the general ques- 
tion of what is happening to mankind has made great ad- 
vances. Sociology or, to give it a more recent and better 
name, human ecology has become a real science, analyz- 
ing operating causes and forecasting events. Our awareness 
of our circumstances is altogether more lucid than the 
world outlook even of our fathers. We have, flowing into 
the problem of human society, a continually more acute 
analysis of its population movements, of its economic proc- 
esses, of the relation of its activities to the actual resources 
available* We no longer talk with quite the same pompous 
ignorance as the history teachers of our youth, of the rise 
and decay of Empires and of the march of civilization from 
East to West or from West to East, it is much the same 
and suchlike plausible caricatures of the current of events. 
With the increase in our knowledge and understanding 
quite new conceptions of the prospects and problems of 
humanity unfold before us* 

The infiltration of biological ideas into sociology and 
human history, it has to be recognized, is a process still 

only beginning. The enlightenment of the middle nine- 


teenth century through the destructive analysis of the Crea- 
tion myth, went on in the face of vast resistances, and not 
the least of these were in the schools. The new conceptions 
threatened the very bases of belief oh which right conduct 
seemed to rest. Men shrank from following out the plain 
implications of the new discoveries. And so either they were 
denied, irrationally and frantically, or they were minimized, 
they were admitted, yes, but as obscure, remote matters, 
that had little or no significance in the "broader issues" of 
life. So that they could be taught in a sterilized form or 
ignored altogether. There was a period of controversy, very 
disastrous to the old dogmas, and then a phase of defensive 
silences* Open fighting was abandoned and the established 
beliefs dug themselves in. 

It is still possible for bright youngsters at the universities 
to enter upon the "advanced" study of history, philosophy 
and economics, in the blackest ignorance of general biology. 
A majority of them remain in that ignorance, with a deep- 
ening scholastic hostility to this science, which sits like a 
neglected creditor at their doors. They have established a 
social prejudice against this dreaded line of thought and 
body of knowledge in which they have no share. They suc- 
ceed in putting it upon the all too snobbish and sensitive 
young that somehow the biological reference is not quite 
the thing. It isn't done. It isn't to be thought about. There 
is an indecency in it. The young university philosopher, 
historian or economist is in many cases not so much biolog- 
ically ignorant as biology-proofed. 

It is because of such mental gaps and barriers that it is 
necessary to recapitulate here certain facts about life, which, 
although they are matters of general knowledge today be- 


yond question and almost beyond cavil, might nevertheless, 
so far as any effective realization of their bearing upon our 
general social, political and religious behavior goes, be 
totally unknown. Yet they bear upon the problems of the 
present urgently. Contemporary political discussion remains 
indeed mere maundering empiricism, a tissue of guesses, 
ill-founded assertions and gossip, until they are brought 
into court. 

This contrast of established knowledge and its effective 
application is a very remarkable one. Men can know a 
thing and yet know it quite ineffectively if it contradicts 
the general traditions and habits in which they live. It is 
well to understand that at this stage in our analysis, because 
it bears very directly upon the review of human possibilities 
to which this summary is directed. 


ONE OF THE MOST striking differences between the outlook 
of our grandparents and that of a modern intelligence to- 
day is the modification of time values that has occurred. 

By the measure of our knowledge their time-scale was 
extremely shallow. They had scarcely any historical per- 
spective at all. They looked back to a past of a few thousand 
years and at the very beginning of time as they conceived 
it, they saw human life very much as it is now: it was a 
more or less balanced system of certain social types: rulers 
and ruled, hunter and cultivator, priest and soldier. This 
they regarded as the immemorial life of man. They saw the 
life of city and cultivated land, desert and sea, throughout 
all the interval, spreading perhaps, changing in a few par- 
ticulars, enriched rather than altered by inventions and dis- 
coveries, but essentially the same. Their range of observation 
and comparison was too limited for them to realize that by 
clearing forests, overstocking grasslands, destroying soil, 
they were slowly impoverishing and devastating many of 
the regions into which they spread. They did not connect 
the rise and fall of empires with a factor of unforeseeing 
waste in that normal life of theirs. They ascribed such 
drifting of population and energy as they observed to other 



causes. These processes of primitive waste were too rela- 
tively slow to be perceptible from lifetime to lifetime. So 
these thinkers of yesterday talked of unchanging human 
nature. You cannot change human nature, they said* They 
relied upon the fabled promise of the rainbow, they had it 
straight from the Creator's mouth, that while the earth still 
remained, seedtime and harvest should endure. 

The order of events seemed a sure, unfailing routine. And 
in much the same way, our ancestors, until a couple of 
dozen centuries ago, thought the world was flat. They 
thought the sea they sailed upon flat without qualification, 
and it required a considerable amount of mental exercise 
for them to realize that the apparent plane of the ocean 
surface was really curved and that the faster and farther 
they sailed the more effectively they would realize how the 
round earth was falling away from their first assumptions. 
All their old landmarks would then vanish one after an- 
other. Astounded navigators found unfamiliar constellations 
in the heavens. Within two dozen centuries man has been 
discovering that he lives not on a flat earth but upon a globe, 
and within the last ten, that he is not the center of the uni- 
verse but a denizen of a very second-rate planet. He has had 
to readjust his general ideas about life to that, and to a cer- 
tain extent he has adjusted them. To a certain extent only. 

And similarly our historical imaginations, quite as much 
as our geographical imaginations, live today in a vastly 
enlarged system of perspectives. We know that the ever- 
lasting hills are not everlasting, that all our working con- 
ceptions of behavior and destiny are provisional and that 
human nature and everything about it is being carried 
along upon an irreversible process of change. Our historical 


ideas reach back now through vistas of millions of years, 
we see humanity emerging from sub-human conditions, 
from the life of relatively solitary apes, at distances in the 
nature of a quarter of a million years, we know with in- 
creasing precision of the onset of a social hunting life in 
those distant ages, we are able to trace the beginnings of 
agriculture in a period of two or three hundred centuries, 
and by the new scale, the development of cities, language, 
law, religious organization, and all the various adaptations 
of humanity to the new conditions of a regular food sup- 
ply, all that social system which seemed as eternal as the 
heavens, appear now events of yesterday, devoid of any 
finality whatsoever. That fixity of the normal human life 
which our great-great-grandfathers assumed as a matter of 
plain common sense, we discover was a ^transient dream. 
As our perspectives open, it vanishes. 

The rapid progress of social psychology, human ecology 
and all the ill-defined activities of human and general biol- 
ogy is opening our eyes, it is opening even the eyes of our 
trained historians and our social teachers, to the real nature 
of our everyday social life. It is brought home to us that the 
human species for the last twenty or twenty-five thousand 
years has been living in such a continuously accelerating 
process of change as no other animal species has ever been 
called upon to face. And it is also being forced upon our 
reluctant attention that the species Homo sapiens is no 
privileged exception to the general conditions that determine 
the destinies of other living species. It prospers or suffers 
under the same laws. These laws can be stated compactly, 
and there is nowadays very little dispute about them, even 
in matters of detail. 


WHAT IN GENERAL TERMS are the relations of a species to the 
world about it? 

.A species may be living in practical harmony with its 
environment or it may be more or less out of balance with 
its surroundings. 

In the former case it may continue recognizably the same 
species, living the same life, age after age. Any tendency 
to excessive numbers may be corrected by a correlated in- 
crease in the types that prey upon it, and there will be no 
definite biological encouragement for such variations and 
mutations as occur. Harmless mutations may indeed pro- 
duce varieties and sub-species, and, as Henry Fairfield 
Osborn long ago pointed out, there may be purely muta- 
tional. efflorescences; the correlation of a species to its en- 
vironment is never hard and exact; but only a minority of 
mutations seem to be without some quality of advantage 
or disadvantage. Abnormal individuals in a species in prac- 
tical equilibrium will generally be eliminated, and the spe- 
cies as a whole will pursue the even tenor of its way indefi- 

There are species that have been under no necessity to 

adjust themselves to circumstances over vast periods of 



geological time. But they are exceptions to the general 
ecological spectacle of species balancing themselves in a 
changing world. Most existing species, when their affairs 
are scrutinized as a whole, are discovered to be in a state 
of imperfect adjustment to their circumstances, and to be 
either undergoing adaptation to meet new requirements or 
to be losing ground in the struggle if one may call any- 
thing so essentially passive a struggle^-to survive. Over a 
large part of the animal and vegetable kingdoms, adaptation, 
the working adjustment of the species under stress, is 
made, if it is made at all, by the selective frustration and 
killing off of less well-adjusted individuals. Variations and 
mutations it is not necessary to enter here into the contro- 
versial question of their causes; suffice it that they occur 
variations and mutations, indifferent, favorable and unfavor- 
able, play a considerable part in this selective adjustment. 
The adjustment is either sufficient or insufficient. In the 
latter case, the species dwindles and disappears. In the 
former, the species undergoes modification; it survives, 
changed, as a new species or as several new species accord- 
ing to the imperatives of its altered conditions. 

All this again is practically common knowledge today. 
Most educated people know about it even if they do not 
think very much about it, or link it up with other systems 
of ideas in their minds. It needs to be repeated plainly here 
in view of that possibility of disregard. 

The general history of life in the past is, as everybody 
knows, one of failure and defeat rather than adaptation. 
Great groups of living things have arisen, had their hey- 
day, and then passed altogether from the scene, giving place 
to more plastic and adaptable forms of life. Comparatively 


insignificant forms with novel accommodations arise to 
take their place. 

When we contemplate that greater past that science has 
unfolded for us, we see great groups and orders of mighty 
creatures dominating the earth, enormous reptiles, huge 
mammals flourishing and then waning and passing away. 
They have not kept pace with change; their exuberance has 
been almost a defiance of change; and change has overcome 
and obliterated them. The geological record can be pre- 
sented, certain assumptions being granted, as on the whole 
a great progression, but that does not alter the fact that it 
is also a history of the ruthless extinction of whole species, 
genera and orders of living things. There are tremendous 
massacres in the geological record. 

One of the greatest of these occurred at the close of the 
Mesozoic period, when in the course of perhaps only a few 
hundred thousand years, a vast reptilian fauna, ichthyosau- 
rus, plesiosaurus, tyrannosaurus and so forth, an equally 
wonderful flora, scores of genera of ammonites and so on 
and so forth, were thrust out of existence. We know little 
or nothing of the changes that made so many hitherto suc- 
cessful forms of life impossible. We know surely only that 
they occurred. A change from conditions of all-the-year- 
round equable temperature to wide seasonal alternations of 
heat and cold may have resulted from some planetary dis- 
turbance. More recently there have been parallel massacres 
of groups of the early mammals, and there can be no ques- 
tion that today we are, from the geological point of view, 
living in a phase of exceptional climatic instability, -in a 
series of glacial and interglacial ages, and witnessing an- 
other destruction of animal and plant species on an almost 


unparalleled scale. The list of species extinguished in the 
past hundred years is a long one; the list of species threat- 
ened with extinction today is still longer. No new species 
arise to replace those exterminated. It is a swift, distressful 
impoverishment of life that is now going on. And this time 
the biologist notes a swifter and stranger agent of change 
than any phase of the fossil past can show man, who will 
leave nothing undisturbed from the ocean bottom to the 
stratosphere, and who bids f air to extinguish himself in the 

This species man is, as we all know, one of a great series 
of species which we can speak of roughly as cerebral ani- 
mals. These are the mammals who have dominated the 
earth since the beginning of the Tertiary period and which 
display throughout a rapid development of the cerebral 
cortex. This cerebral cortex was a novelty in the history of 
life, and it brought with it a fresh, distinctive method of 
individual adaptation to special circumstances. It quickened 
the response of a species to changing conditions very greatly. 
Learning from experience appears indeed but very rudimen- 
tarily in cold-blooded vertebrata; it is only in the birds and 
mammals, and particularly in the latter, that it becomes of 
real importance in adaptation. Essentially the cerebrum is 
an organ for the storage and application of memories. It 
enables individuals to learn by experience. The history of 
the mammals in particular is a history of memory develop- 
ment. All through the Tertiary period, it is to be noted, 
brains in every group of mammals increase in relative size 
and complexity. With every increase, the power of learning 
from experience and of supplementing direct impulse by 
conditioned reflexes increases. A young fish or reptile comes 


into the world with a practically complete, almost unalter- 
able set of instinctive responses. It survives or fails by its 
inherited outfit. Apparently it can learn to a certain extent, 
but it learns very little. A young mammal comes into life 
far less conclusively equipped, a tabula rasa, prepared to 
learn. It learns. And the ampler its cerebral equipment, the 
more it learns to take care of itself. To begin with, it is 
sillier and less certain than the cold-blooded type; it stands 
in need of protection; in the end it is far better adapted to 
meet the special conditions it faces. 

Moreover, the young mammal and, to a rather different 
extent and in a rather different fashion, the young bird do 
not simply learn from individual experience. Generally 
speaking there is also a protective relationship between the 
parent and the new individual. By example and often by 
direct intervention the young individual is taught. It heeds 
and imitates. 

As we ascend the scale of cerebral development the pos- 
sibility of teaching increases. It becomes possible to domesti- 
cate and train these higher-brain animals in just the measure 
that their brains are developed. You can teach very little 
to a fish or a reptile, but directly you come to the higher 
cerebral mammals you are confronted by the new possibility 
of establishing an artificial, taught, motive system to control, 
supplement or altogether replace natural instinct. You must 
catch them young. Then you can socialize them and get to 
quite remarkable working understandings with them. The 
shepherd's dog, the blind man's dog, the polo pony, the 
polite, house-trained cat, are examples of the immense indi- 
vidual adaptability which is achieved through the establish- 
ment of a taught, secondary self in the cerebral cortex. None 


of these creatures are behaving in accordance with the pri- 
mary tendencies they have inherited. They are behaving in 
accordance with an adaptive mental superstructure imposed 
upon their natural dispositions. It enables them to survive 
not simply as tolerated but as contributing individuals in a 
complex social organization which otherwise would have 
had no alternative but their extermination. They would have 
suffered the fate that is overtaking the unteachable Tasma- 
nian Devil or the unteachable Tasmanian Wolf. 


AT THIS POINT AGAIN it may be well to take stock of the dis- 
cussion we are unfolding. We have been restating, very 
plainly and directly, established facts in general ecology, and 
we are going on now to develop this restatement in relation 
to the particular position and outlook of the human species. 
There is no need to apologize for this biological resume, 
elementary though it is. It is vitally necessary to our state- 
ment. It is absolutely impossible to approach the urgent and 
distressful problems of the present time with any hope of 
lucid solution until this general background of knowledge 
is definitely present in the mind. 

From now on we shall encounter an increasing amount 
and variety of resistance to our application of these almost 
universally admitted facts. From this' point on, many read- 
ers will be quite unaccustomed to seeing human social life 
in the light of ecological science. There is a sort of barrier 
in their minds. It is not because they do not know, but be- 
cause they see the two sets of facts apart. They will experi- 
ence a strong resistance to this invasion of this reserved 
region of human affairs by these really quite incontrovertible 
ideas, because in this reserved region their minds are already 



strongly occupied by idea systems that are incompatible 

with it. ... 

It has been pointed out how the species of brain-animals 
cooperate with circumstances in teaching their offspring to 
adapt themselves to the exactions o their environment. But 
in th case of man, and to a quite exceptional extent, be- 
cause of an immense development of speech and gesture, 
the taught stuff in the cerebrum becomes of overpoweringly 
greater importance than mere hard experience, and we find 
the behavior system of the individual ' molded to social 
co-operation and collective needs, not only by tradition and 
other forms of education but by institutions and law. Man, 
above everything else, is an educated animal, socially con- 
trolled. He is no longer primarily or even mainly a creature 
of instinct and brief individual experience. That phase in 
evolution lies a million years behind him. His instincts 
alone and without correction would fail him utterly as a 
behavior control in his present circumstances. 

There is a relatively enormous artificial supplement to 
the natural man in all of us. We talk of our "selves" and of 
being freemen, but much the greater part of our activities 
today we perform as parts not of one simple, greater organ- 
ism, human society, but, what is more complex, as parts of 
a number of greater organisms profession, township, nation, 
religion, club, class, and so forth, which are all woven to- 
gether into what we call human society and our social re- 
actions. What we do as purely spontaneous individuals is - 
hardly more than a narrow choice between prescribed 
things. The home we live in, the clothes we wear, the food 
we eat, the way we go about the world, are all substantially 
imposed upon us by forces exterior to our personalities. 


They are social products and more and more do they be- 
come social products. 

The socialization of human life, the relative increase of 
the factor supplied by society, is still going on quite rapidly. 
There was a time, for instance, not so many generations ago, 
when most people built their own homes, made their own 
clothes, got their own food, taught their own children. Now 
the building trade, clothing trade, the provision shop, and 
the public school see to all that. 

This applies with even greater truth to our minds. A mere 
fraction of our knowledge is self-taught. What we know 
again is nine-tenths hearsay. We have heard, we have read. 
The stuff in our heads was mainly put there by society. To 
the biologist an ordinary ape is just a natural ape, but a 
man is a natural man plus a great cerebral accumulation of 
directive ideas, prejudices, antagonisms, tolerances and con- 
ceptions of what he ought and ought not to do, which wrap 
about him and fit him into the social body to which he be- 
longs. From the biological point of view all this cerebro- 
social accumulation of knowledge, beliefs and ideas, respon- 
sibilities and dependency, is as much a natural adjustment 
to needs and environment as a claw or a skull or a swim- 
ming bladder; it is a thing of the same kind, though it dif- 
fers enormously in the relative swiftness and breadth of its 
adaptability to changing conditions. It is subject to the 
same ecological laws. 

The growth of this mental superstructure upon the primi- 
tive ape-man of the later Tertiary period can now be traced 
in its broad lines without very much difficulty. Any attempt 
to make a general outline of human history falls almost 
uncontrollably into the form of a story of developing com- 


munication, learning and co-operation between the primor- 
dial ape-man family groups. The outline of history as one 
whole is, and must be, a history of communication and so- 
cialization. It is compelled to apprehend primary processes 
that the older type of history, with its preoccupation with 
separate communities, was equally compelled to ignore* It 
begins necessarily with the origins of speech, gesture, draw- 
ing, observances, and taboos. 

With every such development, the association of human 
animals in groups collectively more efficient in the appro- 
priation of food supplies became easier. The family group 
grew into the tribe and tribes grew larger. Their growing 
awareness of the seasons is apparent in the archaeological 
record; their growing ability to co-operate in the semi- 
domestication of animals and the first agricultural tentatives 
is now quite clearly traceable. These are no longer matters 
to dispute about. With the development of agriculture and 
the beginnings of settlement, man, the new sort of social- 
ized man, appears as a rapid and immense biological suc- 
cess. His growing communities spread swiftly, growing as 
well as multiplying and spreading, and displaying every 
symptom of an unprecedented surplus of biological energy. 

A few millenia ago the life which our great-grandfathers 
considered to be the normal and immemorial life of man- 
kind was well under way. It had grown up, biologically 
speaking, speaking by the standards of geological time, with 
the rapidity of a puff-ball, and those who lived it were un- 
aware that there had ever been any other way of human 
living. Such was life. And it was still, although they did not 
perceive it in the least, under a stress of accelerating change. 

The changes in the conditions of human life during the 


last twenty or thirty thousand years have been mainly 
brought about by the acceleration of invention through in- 
creasing co-operation and the release of material and social 
power. There have been no doubt climatic and geographical 
changes, but their share has been relatively less important. 
The essential story of history and pre-history is the story 
of the adaptation of the social-educated superstructure of the 
animal man to the novel problems with which his own en- 
terprise and inventiveness have been continually confronting 
him. Law, religion, education, are from the ecological point 
of view, names we give to the cardinal aspects of this process 
of adaptation. Each generation in these growing and spread- 
ing societies was told a story of its relation to the community 
into which it had to fit itself and given an account of the 
acquiescences and co-operations expected from it. The im- 
peratives of law, education, religion, all flowing into one 
another and sustaining one another, were expressed, and in 
these early stages of mental development could only be ex- 
pressed, by anthropomorphic myths. Natural selection has 
no care for scientific precision. There is no immediate sur- 
vival value in truth. To this day the survival value of the 
critical habit of mind is questionable. It sufficed for the 
purposes of nature if the myths and the system of observ- 
ance, the things that were too awful to do and the things 
that it was fatal to leave undone, made for the survival of 
the community as a whole. The adaptive superstructures, the 
laws, rules and beliefs, that were favoring human survival, 
varied in different regions, but they varied within the limits 
set by the conditions of specific survival. A certain primary 
resemblance of the tribal gods and of the tribal stories and 
of the behavior systems of the differentiating social classes, 


waited upon the spread o the "normal" way of life about 
the earth. Parallel circumstances evoked parallel adjust- 
ments. Generally the pattern included a tribal ancestor god, 
a priesthood taking care of the calendar and medicine, a 
morality of propitiation and self-restraint. 

Step by step, as human inter-communication increased, 
communities grew larger. And as they grew larger they de- 
veloped something, of which curiously enough we are only 
beginning to grasp the profound importance today; they 
developed a superfluity of young men. 

From the point of view of the biologist Homo sapiens 
was making an almost excessive success. He was repeating 
the exuberance of the great Mesozoic reptiles or the early 
Tertiary deinotheria. The species was not only holding its 
own, it was spreading and multiplying by leaps and bounds. 
And the front of its biological advance was this surplus of 
young men. Young men, full of beans as people say, and 
looking for trouble. 

Hitherto historians have failed to recognize the great im- 
portance of this trouble-making stratum. It is well to 
underline it here. It is a primary social fact. I have been 
reading recently the works of Mark Benney, Low Com- 
pany and The Truth about English Prisons (Fact, March 
1938), who is rapidly becoming a leading authority on crim- 
inology, and he reminds tne very strikingly of how nonsen- 
sical it is to talk of a criminal class as a different sort of hu- 
man being. It is in its origins more and more of an age class. 
Every sort of energetic rnale human being is a potential 
criminal, if nothing else is found to occupy and interest 
him. These expanding human societies in the past were 
needing less and less energy per head to be sure of their 


food supply and security. Something had to be done to and 
for these young men, and the easiest way of keeping them 
out of mischief, keeping them disciplined in fact and the 
numbers of them down, was war. 

Primitive war was a necessity forced upon the human 
community by biological success through the production of 
a surplus of young males. It appeared with herding and 
agriculture and it was naturally associated with them. In 
Papua and the Mandated Territory of New Guinea, one 
can still see humanity in a sort of equilibrium at that stage 
of development. There you have a population of over half 
a million, still living in small independent communities, 
each with its own conceit of itself, its peculiar petty customs 
and prejudices. These New Guinea peoples are by no means 
a monotony of barbarism. They present indeed a great va- 
riety of physical and mental types, and their social and 
artistic possibilities are very considerable. Up to the present 
they have solved their population pressure by spells of not 
too destructive warfare. There is a little killing-off and then 
things settle down again. Now, under the parental care of 
the Canberra government, their warfare is to cease, and 
what will happen to these peoples is very uncertain. They 
may be subjected to economic exploitation far more tragic 
than warfare. 

You can write human history in a variety of ways, but 
one way of writing it would be to consider how, age after 
age, humanity has met the problem of What to do with out 
sons. There was war and what was generally associate i 
with war, conquest and colonization. Roman Britain, for 
instance, was conquered by the surplus offspring of the 
Saxon shore. In my native county, Kent, traces survived until 


a very recent period o the custom of gavelkind. The elder 
sons were sent off marauding and the youngest kept the 
home. You can re-write the history of all the great popula- 
tion movements in terms of the pressure of the young male 

It should be particularly evident as an operating cause in 
the history of the last two centuries, and it would be if his- 
tory were properly told. Every community can be shown to 
be either sending out the plethora of its population as emi- 
grants and settlers, or reducing it by warfare, or else suffer- 
ing from acute social trouble, such social trouble as the 
words Russian Hooligans, Chinese Boxers, Moonlighters, 
Nazis, Fascists, revolutionary terrorists, gangsters, will call 
to mind. The young man surplus, if it is not consumed, is 
the main source of rebels, revolutionaries and disturbances 
of all kinds* Somehow that tension must find relief. The 
comparative social stability of the nineteenth century was 
largely due to emigration and the settlement of new lands. 
Now there are no more new lands open to immigration. 

Moreover this tension has been greatly intensified by the 
huge increase of productive efficiency through invention 
and the use of mechanical power, which has diminished 
the number of young men who could look forward to a 
fairly secure, properly rewarded, sufficiently interesting mar- 
ried life. 

Invention and discovery in production have intensified 
this age-long human problem and contributed to the pres- 
ent exceptional drift towards warfare and social convulsions. 
People stand in the young man's way and he is ready to 
get rid of them in any fashion suggested to him. That drift 
towards a social killing-off, and the necessity of justifying 


it, explain the eagerness with which race difference, class 
difference, any sort of difference o complexion, language or 
usage, nationalism and imperialism, are exalted into com- 
batant provocations today. You can waste a lot of time 
arguing about this or that ism. The essential fact is the ac- 
cumulating tension of unsatisfied youth, and these isms 
are mere formulae of relief. 1 

Warfare and social conflict have for long ages released 
the plethoric human species towards the relief of a blood- 
letting. So it has been through all the ages of recorded his- 
tory. With the relatively puny means of destruction available 
before the age of invention and innovation, it was no more 
than an excretion of inconvenient energy. For some hun- 
dreds of centuries humanity got along in this way. War be- 
came part of the accepted human rhythm, just as the mas- 
sacre' of the drones is part of the natural rhythm of the 
honey bee. Laws, customs, morals, sentiments and thoughts 
were adapted to it so as to make it natural and easy. If it 
were not for the outbreak of invention and discovery during 
the past century, man might have gone on drumming and 
trumpeting his way through long ages yet to come, going 
to his priest to bless his flags, facing the day of battle bravely, 
and either dying on the field of honor, or surviving to raise 
another generation for the same experience. 

But that inventive urge in the species has suddenly, in 
what is by the geological and biological scales a mere flash 
of time, altered all that. It has made war something entirely 
different and it has put quite a new face on the political 
ideas, the working conceptions of right and wrong, of duty 
and service that have hitherto kept the varied and fluctuat- 

1 See Note 4A. A falling birth-rate does not affect this. 


ing patchwork of human communities going. It has strained 
and distorted the problem of adaptive survival almost be- 
yond recognition. That, concisely, is the clue to the human 
situation today. 

Let me try to give the gist of this vast change. It is a 
change in human power and scope. 

First as to the increase in socially available power. Before 
the change, except for a little wind power or water power, 
the only power available for human purposes was a little 
animal power, horse, ox, elephant, camel, llama, or what 
not, and man power. The gross total of power units that 
sufficed to run everything that was going on in Great 
Britain in a day in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, everything, 
was probably much less than the total of units that is con- 
sumed today in running the lighting and transport alone of 
such a city as Manchester or Kansas City. And again all the 
energy of marching, shooting, stabbing, hacking, running 
to and fro at the battle of Agincourt was probably less than 
the energy released by one single high explosive shell in a 
modern bombardment. 

Until this change in the total of available power occurred, 
the great majority of mankind toiled habitually to get food, 
clothing and shelter. They were under an obligation to do 
so or want. A small minority contrived in various ways to 
live by the toil of others and spend, and except for such 
parasitism there was no way to leisure. Now a steadily 
dwindling number of people, using power machinery and 
modern contrivances, can produce the essentials of life in 
excess of all our requirements. Never before in the history 
of life has any animal had such a fantastic increase in its 
ability to make or destroy. 


That is the first aspect of the contemporary change. A 
second is what is called the abolition of distance. Even more 
fantastic in relation to past tradition is the increase of speed 
from point to point. The maximum of speed at which an 
Elizabethan man could travel was limited by a horse. He 
could send an uncertain and difficult message a hundred 
miles a day. He had beacon fires of course, but they do not 
carry any explicit messages. 1 He could see for a few miles. 
Now abruptly this creature can travel in comfort three hun- 
dred miles an hour, he can see and talk to his fellow-man 
on die other side of the earth, he can murder him at vast, 
increasing distances, he knows what is happening all over 
the world almost instantaneously. And his health improves 
and his vitality is greater. On the average he lives almost 
twice as long and twenty times as actively and variously 
as his great-great-grandfather. Now that distance has been 
abolished, he lives with increasing restlessness cheek by 
jowl with all the rest of mankind. So far a biologist might 
count him an unqualified success in the struggle for life 
except for one disconcerting thing. He is ceasing to breed. 
His numbers are now passing a maximum and seem fated 
to decline, at least for some decades ahead. Woman for a 
variety of reasons is betraying an increasing disinclination 
to bear children. Man's conquest of nature may prove a 
sterile conquest. '< 

His reproduction is falling off and his behavior traditions 
and controls, and more particularly the war tradition, are 
producing the most devastating tragedies among his com- 
munities. The effect of the increase of power has been to 
exaggerate the impact of the war drive monstrously. One 

* See Note 4&. 


may compare the human species today to a steamship that 
has long sailed the seas with engines roughly adequate to 
its needs, until some malign influence has suddenly gone 
down into the engine-room and, without any consultation 
with the ship's officers, amplified the power of the engines a 
thousandfold. Now they are flying loose out of control, 
lashing the ship to pieces, and threatening to sink it alto- 
gether. The captain upon the bridge gives impotent orders; 
the engineers dodge the pounding shafts and the escaping, 
searching, scalding steam. 

Because of the way in which science and invention have 
brought us all into intimate contact and put high explosives 
into our hands, war has become a process of destruction 
that spares neither age nor sex, it is no longer a selective 
elimination of the surplus young men, it is a colossal wast- 
age of material resources, a rapid disintegration of the social 
organization, robbed of all the glories and gallantries that 
once adorned it. In the past it was a corrective and almost 
tonic process. Now it has become a rapid wasting disease, 
a galloping consumption of the human species. 


Is IT POSSIBLE FOR man to recover control, or is this shatter- 
ing return to destructive violence the beginning of the end 
of the career of Homo sapiens? Let us hold firmly to the 
broad conceptions of ecological science that have brought us 
thus far. The human species is, as a whole, dangerously out 
of harmony with these new conditions. Either its powers of 
adaptation will be sufficient to readjust it to the new de- 
mands, and it will go on to a new phase of survival, or, 
like any other living species, it will be defeated, shattered 
and ultimately wiped out. There are no other possibilities. 

There is no time for any of the slower and more ancient 
methods of adaptation. The readjustment needed must be 
a mental readjustment. In that alone is there any hope for 

In view of what has gone before it is plain that that men- 
tal readjustment must involve three main essentials. In 
varying measure these essentials are already widely recog- 

First and most obviously the idea and tradition of war 
must be eliminated. For that, quite a- large number of 
people seem to be more or less prepared. They desire it, 
even if they have yet to discover the price that must be paid 
for it. Secondly, and what is not nearly so widely conceded, 



the vast and violent wastage of natural resources in the hunt 
for private profit that went on during the nineteenth cen- 
tury, must be arrested and reversed by the establishment of 
a collective economy for the whole world. And thirdly, in 
view of the stress of those young people, the resultant world 
organization must be of an active, progressive, imaginatively 
exciting nature. That surplus energy of youth, male and 
female, must be used up. It is the drive and essence of life; 
it is life itself. It must in each generation be "getting on." 
It must be doing things, making or re-making with an 
effect of conquest and general participation. The earlier years 
were preparation; the later, relieved of the high fever and 
impatience of that full onset of vitality, are appreciation, de- 
liberation and the continual broadening-out of the human 

These three propositions, peace, collectivism and incessant 
new enterprise, are interdependent and practically insepa- 
rable. One cannot be realized without the other two. In 
stating these propositions we are not in any way "laying 
down the law." The law is in the nature of things. We are 
merely stating as precisely as possible the unconditional 
terms that our race manifestly has to expect. 

To what extent is contemporary thought and education 
moving towards the abolition of war? 

An increasing number of us are realizing that the age of 
independent sovereign states and empires throughout the 
world, free to make war and prepared to make war, each 
separated from the other by barriers of language, religion, 
historical delusions and those differences in habits of life 
which are called national cultures, is coming to an end, 
obviously, rapidly; and at present not one of us can say 


with any confidence what sort of world order can replace 
it. A world order we feel there must be, but as to how it is 
to be attained, we are all at sixes and sevens. 

The world of man has to become, has in a chaotic dis- 
order of conflict already become, one community one 
disorderly community. In the days of Oliver Goldsmith, 
what happened in China, happened in China, and did not 
matter a rap to anyone in England, If every time one fired 
a gun in England, he remarked, a man died in China, no- 
body would mind in the least. The shooting would go on. 
Now what happens in China, happens everywhere in the 
world; that is to say it is known and affects life everywhere. 
The crude fact of the world-wide community is here now. 
The open questions arise when we consider how this in- 
evitable coming together of our communities can and will 
be recognized and established as a world order. 

We have indeed already seen one attempt to reconstitute 
human affairs so as to eliminate this destructive process of 
modern war, in the League of Nations experiment. That, 
we realize now, was an extremely naive attempt to stop the 
current of history and to preserve forever just those na- 
tional separatisms and strangulating boundaries against 
which the stars in their courses are fighting. Certain mini- 
mum changes were to be made to "end war" while every- 
thing else was to go on just as it had been going on before. 
Sovereign states, organized essentially for defense and ag- 
gression, were to form a League to end combat. Simply that. 
The conception of an organized World Pax, after it had 
played its part in the warfare of propaganda, after it had 
been used to build up false expectations of a new start in 
life for the German people, was taken over at Versailles 


and translated into the ideology of Foreign Offices and the 
diplomatic services. These essential organs of the old regime 
were instructed to supersede themselves and they were left 
to work out the task, and quite naturally they did nothing 
of the sort. The League Covenant completely disregarded 
that perennial problem of the restless young men, and it 
gave no attention to the absolute necessity of reconstructing 
economic life upon a collective basis throughout the world. 
These are matters about which diplomacy has never con- 
cerned itself. They do not enter into diplomatic or political 
education, which is at least the better part of a century 
out of date. 

At the end of less than a score of years the failure of the 
League of Nations experiment is complete, and we will 
spend no time on enlarging upon that fruitless interlude of 
half-hearted idealism. Suffice it to say that for many excel- 
lent minds it has blocked the way to a realistic treatment of 
the human problem for two decades. We find now in 1939, 
a rough reproduction of the world situation of 1914-18. We 
find three aggressive military states threatening the whole 
world, and we find a number of threatened states contem- 
plating some sort of loosely organized resistance to that 

How loosely with what dangerous looseness that or- 
ganization is still contemplated is illustrated by a book that 
has recently been given quite serious attention in Britain 
and America. This is Union Now by Clarence K. Streit He 
proposes that right now there shall be a "federal" union 
of fifteen now independent states which he describes as 
democracies. They are the United States of America, the 
British group, Finland, France, Holland, Belgium, Switzer- 


land, Denmark, Norway, Sweden. It is not a League or a 
war alliance he proposes but a permanent federation on the 
American model, with a common foreign policy, common 
money, common armed forces, common control of inter- 
state and foreign trade and a common citizenship. He 
sweeps aside such questions as the status of India, colonial 
possessions, the various monarchist traditions involved, as 
secondary questions. Soviet Russia he balances on the brim 
of his project with a query on the whole an encouraging 
query. Apparently the federated democracies are to have 
great local economic autonomy within the limits of the fed- 
eral constitution. 

Before we look into Mr. Streit's proposals more closely, 
it will be worth while to get this loose word "democracy" 
defined. The special interest of his book here lies in the fact 
that it has been well received by a considerable number of 
considerable people. It is an intimation of how rapidly 
opinion is moving towards the conception of a new world 
order transcending existing boundaries. So far it is a book 
to be welcomed. But it is also an indication of the extreme 
vagueness still prevalent about the necessary material and 
mental conditions of such a world order. Its pseudo-prac- 
tical short-sightedness is almost as manifest as the boldness 
of its intention. 

I do not believe that a world order can come into exist- 
ence without a preliminary mental cosmopolis. I may be 
mistaken in that. Political federation, loose and confused at 
first, may precede and impose the necessary mental adapta- 
tions. That is too round-about and slow a process for the 
limitations of my imagination. World democracy, I believe, 
would get lost on the way. 


SINCE AT ANY TIME now we may find ourselves fighting, 
enduring and dying for "democracy; 5 it seems worth while 
to ask for some clear definition of what democracy means, 
so that we shall not only fight for it, but be prepared to see 
that in the end we get it. When you question people closely 
in the matter, you will encounter a considerable variety of 
answers, but you will find as you sort them out and arrange 
them that they do tend to converge and point in a common 
direction. There is a vital intention beneath the endless mis- 
uses and perversions of the word. 

Towards what do these diverse statements converge? 
What is the reality, implicit and potential, that gives its liv- 
ing, present appeal to the word democracy? 

Two words that will come out very frequently in the defi- 
nitions that are given you are "freedom" and "liberty." 
Frequent, but not quite so frequent, are such phrases as the 
"right" of individuals and communities to "self-govern- 
ment." A few people will make a vote the symbol of de- 
mocracy. But all of them can be brought into agreement 
that democracy means the subordination of the state to the 
ends and welfare of the common individual Very prevalent 
is an attitude of negation. Democracy, it is declared, is an 



0/2#-movement. It demands the protection of the individual 
life from the state. It is anti-Fascist, anti-Nazi, anti-Commu- 
nist, anti-war since there is no liberty in a state o siege 
it is the denial of the right of the state organization to in- 
terfere in the life of the common individual except for the 
common convenience and with the common consent. 

All this is matter of general agreement, but in all these 
phrases, there is an element of idealistic overstatement, and 
as soon as we attempt to bring them into effective contact 
with the realities of life, we find ourselves involved in some 
of the standing controversies that have exercised humanity 
since human thought and discussion began. We are re- 
minded that there is no such thing as absolute freedom or 
absolute servitude. Limitless freedom, anarchy, would be 
a world of chaotic conduct, ruled only by impulse, a jungle 
life. All freedom in any society is conditional; it is a com- 
promise; it implies "rules of the game," that is to say, law. 
Behind all actual social behavior there is the suggestion of 
a defined give-and-take, a "social contract." The social con- 
tract may vary between the extremes of a contract of blind 
obedience on the one hand and a contract to undertake no 
collective action whatever without a plebiscite, an entirely 
impracticable subordination of the law to mass impulse, on 
the other. Between these extremes and with a declared bias 
for conscious, free, individual action whenever it is practi- 
cable, this democracy falls. 

Now the desire for conscious, free, individual action is 
innate in the normal human being. But it can be inhibited 
by fear of known or unknown consequences, by indolence 
and following the drift, and by a complex of infantile dis- 
positions to imitate and obey. The herd instinct is very 


strong in the immature human animal. It will follow a 
leader or stampede like a cow, and find great relief from 
perplexity in doing so. The preference of democracy for the 
practical maximum of conscious, free, individual action re- 
quires a justification beyond the mere faltering desire in our 
hearts to "stand up, look heaven in the face and be a man." 

For the normal man, unrestrained democracy is a very 
exacting way of living indeed. It asks too much of his nat- 
ural resources. In a thousand situations even a wise or able 
man may find himself unable to decide upon the line of 
action that is fairly the best for himself and also the best 
for the general good, and in ten thousand he will find a 
fatal delay in his decisions. For that reason, a detailed, com- 
prehensive, agreed-upon, accessible and understandable sys- 
tem of laws, which are really rules for behavior in predi- 
gested situations, is a necessary preliminary condition for a 
modern democracy. A taxi-cab tariff or the rule of the road 
or a minimum wage is a convenient elementary instance of 
the way in which conscious, free, individual action is set 
aside to the general benefit in a modern, democratic com- 
munity. We extend that principle nowadays to rates of in- 
terest and inordinate profits, to the acquisition of land and 
many forms of property and to an increasing number of 
ordinary transactions. Our modern democratic community 
would frustrate its own declared aims without a complete, 
detailed, legal framework enforced by a judiciary and a 
police acting strictly under the law. The man who in a 
breath will say "I am a democrat" and also "I am a rebel" 
is simply a fool. 

The contrast between democracy and the forms of com- 
munity with which it is generally contrasted lies essentially 


in this reliance upon law. In a democracy a man does or 
should know, or should be easily able to ascertain, exactly 
"where he stands," what he must do, what he may do, what 
cannot be done, and he should be able to say with the ut- 
most confidence, "You be damned" to any illegal order or 
request. The laws that restrain and protect him have received 
his implicit or expressed consent, and he has a reasonable 
right to attempt to alter them if he finds them uncongenial, 
but until they are altered they must be respected by all, 
small or great, in the community. The President or ruling 
assembly is as much bound by the law as the meanest 

Oh the other hand the dictatorships and undemocratic 
social organizations generally, subject a large part of the 
common man's activities to uncovenanted restrictions, inter- 
ference and compulsion. It is plainly contrary to the spirit 
of democracy that a man should sell himself into slavery 
or bind himself indefinitely to unquestioning obedience. The 
care of democracy for freedom extends to the protection of 
a man from his own desperate necessity. No democracy 
would tolerate Esau's bargain. Most existing dictatorships, 
indeed, claim a sort of legality based upon some forced 
plebiscite, some snatched election. But your inquiries will 
make it plain that the consent of the governed in a democ- 
racy can never be a finally silenced and irrevocable consent. 
It must be a continuing consent. It must be subject td sus- 
tained revision and renewal. From the point of view of 
democracy all absolutisms are illegal, and resistance to their 
commands is as justifiable as resistance to any less general 
hold-up or act of violence. 

This fundamental legalism of democracy has been and 


is a deterrent to swift collective action, and the history of 
human government is very largely a history of attempts to 
reconcile the bickering gradualism of legal and deliberative 
government under democratic conditions with the needs 
of special emergencies. Before flood, fire, pestilence, earth- 
quake, war, and especially in war, men have had to relin- 
quish their liberty of individual action more or less com- 
pletely to a higher command of some sort with unqualified 
immediate powers. The original "dictators" of the Roman 
system were essentially legal officials, and one of the primary 
riddles of human society has been the resumption of power 
by the community at the end of a period of crisis. A democ- 
racy needs to be in a state of perpetual vigilance against the 
specialist. From Osar to Stalin, democracy has been trapped 
into one-man tyrannies by crises. 

But historical analogies are always misleading, and mod- 
ern crises become more and more elaborate affairs and less 
and less controllable by single individuals. None o these 
modern dictatorships has yet been tried out in a sustained 
war. It is at least highly doubtful whether the vast commu- 
nities of today, if they are able to develop a class of com- 
petent public servants, with a co-operative morale and a 
sense of public criticism, may not attain an efficiency and a 
toughness far beyond that of a system subjected to the 
freaks and inspirations of a single individual. But they must 
work in the light. They must work with the distinctive 
freedom and the conscious individual co-operation of a 
team of football players, and they must be subjected to the 
continual criticism of an understanding public opinion with 
unlimited freedom of expression and with an ultimate, if 
deferred, right of intervention. 


This conception of the superior flexibility and efficiency 
of free teamwork, as against dictatorially planned work, is 
very attractive to the democratically-minded, but it may 
easily be exaggerated. For example, Tom Wintringham in 
his English Captain lays great stress on the technical superi- 
ority of free men, inspired by a common idea, over the con- 
script soldiers of a dictatorship. He was in the fortunate 
position of leading a battalion of English volunteers, ex- 
ceptionally intelligent and enthusiastic, picked men who 
wanted to fight, who were keen to fight, and unanimous at 
least in their hostility to the Franco pronunciamento. Of 
such individuals, unanimous for the services that engage 
them, an enlightened democracy should no doubt consist. 
But when one turns to the story Major Jose Martin Blasquez 
tells in / Helped to Build an Army, of the internal struggles 
and indiscipline of the defenders of the Republic, one real- 
izes that practical freedom of initiative may achieve the 
most disastrous confusion. 

There is indeed no guarantee of either immediate or ulti- 
mate victory in democracy. On that we must insist. There 
is no inherent magic successfulness in democratic freedom. 
Democratic freedom may be much more vulnerable than 
slavery, less easy both to attain and maintain. It may be 
that few or none of us realize yet the full price that may 
have to be paid for it. 

None the less it is only through the attainment of a real 
world democracy that there is any hope for the ultimate 
survival of our species. 

In many of the replies one will receive to the demand 
for a clear definition of democracy, one will get some refer- 
ence to that magnificent outbreak of the common sense of 


mankind, the first French Revolution, That remains still a 
cardinal event in the history of human liberation. It was 
not the beginning of liberation but it was its most outstand- 
ing assertion. The democracy of America, the radicalism of 
Britain in its most vigorous phase, derived plainly from that 
French initiative. And since in those days titles and priv- 
ileges were the most conspicuous infringements of men's 
liberties, democracy from the outset would have none of 
them; it was equalitarian without qualification. It was re- 
publican, it denied and repudiated any form of class rule 
whatever and whenever it is still in health it remains re- 
publican and equalitarian. 

But conditions in eighteenth-century France were peculiar 
in the fact that then the conspicuous offense against human 
liberty was class privilege. For many people in those days 
the possession of private property was a means of inde- 
pendence, freedom of ownership seemed a reasonable provi- 
sion for democratic liberty, and only a few realized that, 
released from class tyranny, the free play of proprietorship 
might create advantages and disadvantages as wide and 
socially wasteful, as subject to "abuses," as the class privileges 
of the older regime. Throughout the first revolutionary 
period the spirit of democracy found itself puzzled, mocked 
and frustrated by economic inequality. Men freed from the 
tyranny of privileges found themselves oppressed by a tyr- 
anny of advantages. The common man, theoretically free 
and independent, discovered himself in the grip of an ex- 
panding economic system that made free competitive em- 
ployment only another form and to many it seems a 
scarcely preferable form of serfdom. Political equality by 
itself proved in practice to be no equality at all. 


Accordingly when we pursue our inquiries into the 
meaning of democracy today, we find a definite cleavage 
from this point onward in the replies to the question of 
"What is democracy?" An increasing number will be forced 
to agree that collective economic controls, "Industrial De- 
mocracy," as Beatrice Webb first phrased it very happily, 
in her study of co-operation (1891), constitute a necessary 
completion of the democratic proposition. A dwindling mi- 
nority clings to the private profit system as the logical 
method of the sturdy individualism of the revolution. But 
the general implication of modern democracy is that unre- 
strained economic advantage can be an even graver in- 
fringement of human liberty than privilege. Modern democ- 
racy is not only legalism and equalitarianism; it is socialism. 
It sets its face against all abuse of the advantages of owner- 

Democracy is socialism, and also, by a natural extension 
of its equalitarianism as the problem of world law becomes 
urgent, it is cosmopolitan. Almost tacitly democracy has ac- 
cepted and assimilated the necessity that law must be world 
law and equally protective of every individual human being. 

So far as cosmopolitanism goes, modern democracy re- 
verts to far older revolts of human common sense against 
racial, national and class distinctions. Since the rise of Bud- 
dhism there has been hardly any broad religious initiative 
that has not at least paid lip service to this idea which, in 
Christianity for example, is incorporated in the formula of 
an impartial divine fatherhood and an equal brotherhood 
of man. In The Outline of History the association of cos- 
mopolitanism with theocrasia and the appearance of the 
syncretic universal religions is traced. There was a double 


impulse from below and from above; the desire of the ex- 
panding empires to fuse local particularisms into a larger 
order under the God-Emperor was in accordance with the 
craving of normal common sense to escape from the irksome- 
ness of obviously artificial estrangements. Dr. T. J. Haar- 
hoff, quoting W. W. Tarn's Alexander and the Unity of 
Mankind, declares that Alexander "was the pioneer of one 
of the supreme revolutions in the world outlook, the first 
man known to us who contemplated the brotherhood of 
man or the unity of mankind." This is an exaggeration of 
a significant fact. Cosmopolitanism, universal brotherhood, 
has indeed been appearing and reappearing in human 
thought for at least the past four and twenty centuries, like 
sunshine trying to break through a cloudy sky. 

Now the "democracy" that found its expression in the 
first French Revolution, the American Revolution and the 
liberal movement throughout the world, was not only in- 
complete upon the economic side and had, later and with 
difficulty, to become socialist in order to preserve its liber- 
ating intention, but also it was very sketchy and indefinite 
in the matter of education. 

This was due to the fact that the ideology of the Great 
Revolution was essentially middle-class in its origins. It 
sprang from a social stratum already educated and so satis- 
fied with the sufficiency of its general education and so ac- 
customed to a supply of books and pamphlets, that it did 
not realize that there was anything exceptional in the knowl- 
edge and freedom of thought it enjoyed. It did not even 
apprehend its immense and immediate obligations to the 
Encyclopaedists in organizing its ideas. It took their contri- 
bution for granted. It launched its generous proposition of 


universal equality indeed, but not only did it fail to realize 
the need to insure freedom from economic pressure, but 
also it neglected to organize the education of the community 
as one whole. The American Revolution, in this respect, 
with, for example, its provision of State universities, seems 
to have been ahead of the French. Nevertheless it took the 
better part of a century for democracy to realize, even to a 
limited extent, the third vital implication of its demand for 
liberty, equality, and fraternity, which was the free and 
necessary universal education of the democratic community 
to a common level of understanding and co-operation. Com- 
munities in which every mentally normal citizen can at 
least read and write, have existed for less than a century. 
Communities in which the common education rises much 
above that level do not yet exist. 

That freedom and equality are incomplete without freely 
accessible knowledge and free and open discussion is a nec- 
essary completion of the democratic idea, but it is one upon 
which the inquirer into the meaning of democracy will get 
the least assurance. If he asks leading questions, he will get 
a general admission that universal education and sound, 
ample information upon every matter of collective concern 
are necessary elements in the democratic proposition, but 
unless he himself introduces the matter he will hear very 
little insistence upon this vital completion of the democratic 

He will indeed encounter a certain amount of impatience 
if he stresses this matter. Ordinary people resent being told 
that they are undereducated or wrongly educated. To the 
common man and woman today, prepared though their 
minds seem to be now for a socialist cosmopolis of a quite 


generous type, education still means just any old education, 
and news is what a press run entirely for profit and political 
and social ends, and (in the British system) a government- 
controlled radio, choose to tell them. It is the education 
they have grown up to, and so far they have not been awak- 
ened to its insufficiency. They want to carry out these new 
conceptions of life at that level To raise that level seems to 
them irksome and uncalled for. 1 

It is still possible therefore for the equalitarian impulse 
to be effectively frustrated in practice by deliberate and 
systematic miseducation and misinformation. The common 
man and woman know now in general terms and pretty 
definitely what they want, but they still do not know how 
to state and demand what they want. Private enterprise is 
able to defend its appropriations quite eff actively, because it 
owns the press almost entirely, the news agencies and the 
distributing trades, and so it can distort values and distract 
the public from crucial issues in the boldest fashion. There 
is no countervailing equipment of the public mind in the 
common schools. These are essentially conservative institu- 
tions, adapting the common man to the social order in 
which he finds himself, preparing him for that state of life 
to which he has been called, and giving him no reasonable 
intimations of the great drama of change in which he has 
to play his part. As we have shown, the whole mechanism 
of modern life demands organized collective control. The 
stars in their courses will not suffer the world scramble of 
exploitation that wasted so much human possibility in the 
nineteenth century to go on. Our species cannot afford it 


under any conditions. But in face of the essential ignorance 
of the modern "democratic" community, the enterprising 
owner, the profiteer that is to say, can keep his grip upon 
his advantages far more effectively than he can in the face 
of a dictator with unqualified powers. He can resist social- 
ization far more effectively. 

Against the capitalist's obstructive power the willfulness 
of the dictator is able to operate far more vigorously than 
the will of the under-educated, ill-informed and suggestible 
"democracies." So that in certain ways the dictatorships 
have undoubtedly been able to get ahead of the "demo- 
cratic" states. They have gone further on the way to social- 
ization. While the industrial exploiter or the rich man 
struggles to keep his grip on the recalcitrant worker below, 
the dictator of the totalitarian state takes him firmly by the 
collar. Wealth finds itself handled with an extraordinary 
disrespect. Dictatorships imply collectivism. They are forced 
to collectivism in the face of bargaining wealth and the un- 
easy claims of their own supporters. They are forced to- 
wards a comprehensive efficiency. The only effective response 
to totalitarian collectivism on the part of a freedom-seeking 
community is a scientifically planned and directed socialism. 

From the economic point of view, the whole difference 
now between the reality of dictatorship and the ideal of 
democracy, when it is worked out to its practical comple- 
tion, is the difference between socialization in the dark, with 
all the progressive corruption, appropriation and inefficiency 
that spring up in the dark, and socialization in the light of 
an alert and implemented public opinion; between socializa- 
tion by compulsion or socialization by enlightened consent. 


From the point of view of the individual the difference 
is one between a deadening servitude and a continual par- 
ticipating enlargement of responsible life. No existing in- 
stitutions coming to us from the past can represent democ- 
racy as it is thus conceived; it is a far bolder thrust towards 
a new order than any of these adventurer systems that stand 
in its path. 

If now we fill in the gaps in the current conception of 
democracy by insisting upon complete educational equali- 
tarianism, if we dot the i's and cross the /s that are still 
undotted and uncrossed, if we transcend any accepted con- 
temporary rendering of the idea, then "democracy" does 
indeed become a very magnificent conception of a new life 
for man. 

If democracy means economic justice and the attainment 
of that universal sufficiency that science assures us is possible 
today; if democracy means the intensest possible fullness of 
knowledge for everyone who desires to know and the great- 
est possible freedom of criticism and individual self-expres- 
sion for anyone who desires to object; if democracy means 
a community saturated with the conception of a common 
social objective and with an educated will like the will of a 
team of football players to co-operate willingly and under- 
standingly upon that objective; if democracy means a com- 
plete and unified police control throughout the world, to 
repress the financial scramble and gangster violence which 
constitute the closing phase of the sovereign state and private 
ownership system; then we have in democracy a conception 
of life for which every intelligent man and woman on earth 
may well be prepared to live, fight or die, as circumstances 
may require. 


But that rounded-off and completed realization of democ- 
racy is still only establishing itself against great resistances 
in the human mind. It is not as yet established there. And 
still less is it established as the guiding faith of any political 
or social organization whatever. 


'WHERE IN ALL THIS collection of governments Mr. Streit 
would have us federate, is there one that satisfies this plain 
bare statement of the growing and deepening significance 
of the democratic idea? 

France depends for its mental expression upon an alliance 
of reactionary papers and for its foreign policy upon an 
association of diplomatists and army chiefs, which has held 
together throughout its dynastic and political fluctuations 
in one consistent policy for the security and advancement of 
La France. America tempers a wide tolerance of free speech 
and personal criticism with a press-sustained persecution of 
labor leaders, radicals, "reds" and "agitators*" generally. Its 
press, if less centralized than the French and so less con- 
certed, is equally commercial. The freedom of expression 
of its university professors is pinched between the possibility 
of dismissal for excessive outspokenness from above and the 
attacks of the press-man from below. The American record 
of successfully framed-up cases against troublesome workers' 
leaders is a long and discreditable one, and one need only 
glance reproachfully at the distressful history of color 
prejudice, unincorporated townships and the exploitation 



of penal labor in the more backward states. And yet these 
two are the "democracies" par excellence. 

Most of the European states invited to Mr. Streit's feder- 
ation are not even democratic in profession. Sweden, Nor- 
way, Denmark, Holland and the British Empire are mon- 
archies; the monarch professes to act only on the advice of 
his or her ministers, but as a matter of fact the court is a 
center of social and administrative influence of an entirely 
undemocratic sort. A crown is the symbol of graded priv- 
ilege. In the place of Hcil Hitler or the Fascist salute, these 
royalist peoples, at the sound of their particular Royal 
Anthem, stand stiffly to attention with an air of ineffable 
reverence. It is a quite parallel act of worship, and as com- 
plete a repudiation of the personal responsibility of de- 

The disintegrating British Empire is now, one has to 
recognize, a system of government almost completely out 
of popular control. Practically it has undergone a reactionary 
revolution in the last decade, and a loose-knit combination 
of court, church, army and wealth, intensely class-conscious, 
intensely self-protective, has resumed control of affairs. It is 
an oligarchy skillful in the assimilation of useful or formi- 
dable individuals but without the slightest disposition to 
amalgamate with anything else on earth. Its ruling motive 
is the fear of dispossession. Decisions involving peace or 
war are made without any pretense of consulting any sur- 
viving popular will, and the whole capitalist press, the 
cinema, the radio and indeed all possible means of in- 
fluencing opinion, concentrate upon the assertion of the 
rightness and inevitableness of these decisions. Dissent is 
a muffled and ineffective squeaking, and any inconvenient 


facts are kept from the public by requests for suppression 
that are in effect commands. There is a special Form D sent 
round to the press which it is extremely unwise to defy. 
Most of the acts of Mr. Chamberlain since September 1938 
have been as irresponsible as those of any Dictator, equally 
unscrupulous and far more shameful. He has indeed made 
himself a Dictator by tact and betrayal instead of by violent 
seizure. There is in the long run very little to choose between 
a bully dictatorship and a "tact" dictatorship. The latter 
may be less crushing but more insidious in its attack upon 
human dignity. 

These are the practical realities Mr. Streit has to face. The 
will for federation in any of these governments is more than 
doubtful even if presently they have their backs to the wall. 
They will all fight for their separate sovereignty to the last. 

No doubt it is true that, in spite of much human incon- 
sistency, much confused thinking and many local abuses, 
there is still a powerful disposition throughout all the 
Atlantic and Scandinavian communities towards liberty, 
equality and world brotherhood. It breaks out in literature, 
discussion and conduct. It expresses itself plainly in books, 
spontaneous press writing, plays and films. This is most 
manifest in America and there is in consequence a growing 
disposition of the British authorities to intercept and censor 
the too outspoken American weekly press. An increasing 
number of English readers subscribe to American periodicals 
to learn what is being hushed up in their own country. 

With every acceleration of communications this American 
influence will increase. Moreover, there are plenty of Ameri- 
can professors manifestly disposed to take the risk of out- 
spokenness and say what they like. If at times they veil their 


meaning a little from the possible hostility of the unintelli- 
gent in a deliberate obscurity of technicality that sometimes 
borders on jargon, that does not prevent their speculating 
very boldly about economic, social and international proc- 
esses, muck more boldly and freshly than their English 

Again the bitter jests of such a French periodical as Le 
Canard EncMine are saturated with the soundest democratic 
scorn and derision. The desire of a considerable section of 
enlightened Frenchmen to sustain and complete the mighty 
impetus of the Declaration of the Rights of Man is genuine 
and obstinate. They will not willingly suffer France to 
desist from her traditional task of world enlightenment. 
For some years, in the face of overwhelming financial and 
political difficulties, there has been a gallant attempt to pro- 
duce a modern encyclopaedia, which might repeat the pre- 
paratory role of the original Encyclopaedists for the vaster 
needs of today. 1 Neither Americans nor British, with their 
vastly greater resources, have attempted anything so compre- 
hensive and illuminating. It would be possible to quote 
hundreds of instances, names, books, speeches, utterances 
and acts, to show that all round and about the world in a 
great multitude of still all-too-dispersed intelligences, democ- 
racy lives and advances. 

But these evidences of a considerable and growing will 
for a reasonably complete democracy do not alter the fact 
that the directive forces in control of this miscellany of 
states Mr. Streit and his disciples would have us federate, 
are scarcely more democratic in structure and method than 
those running the frankly anti-democratic states. 

1 See Note 7A, the Italian Encyclopedia. 


Indeed, to call the present world convulsion a war be- 
tween the "allied democracies" o the world and "totalitarian 
states," is putting all too fine a name upon it. The reality 
will be a war of established governments and governing 
systems claiming to represent "democracy" but quite un- 
willing and unprepared to set themselves to realize the 
modern democratic idea, against expansive desperado gov- 
ernments that have shown themselves -contemptuous of 
democratic pretensions and dangerous to the general peace. 
It will be another war for the alteration or preservation of 

It is almost impossible to hope that this complex of war- 
fare towards which the world is drifting can assume any 
other form than a confused alliance against these more 
lawless military powers, whatever formal victories or defeats 
ensue. It is incredible that there will not be a steady deteri- 
oration in human morale through the stresses of the strug- 
gle. If the so-called aggressor states are defeated, their 
unfortunate common people will be saddled with the war 
guilt of the governments that have enslaved and ruined 
them. They will be made to "pay" again. Another insincere 
attempt to organize "collective security" on the lines of the 
League of Nations, another unstable League of victors, will 
simply accumulate the necessary resentments for another 
collapse into still more violent conflict. Fresh brigand ad- 
venturers will appear, trading on the shame and despair of 
the vanquished. 

It is this that makes the approach of this second world-war 
storm so black. Whichever side emerges at any particular 
phase as victorious, is really a secondary issue. The practical 
loss of freedom, the usurpation of controls, seems inevitable. 


The possibility of an emergence of any sort of enhancement 
of democracy from the threatened mUe seems very slight 
indeed. Democracy is still too incomplete, unorganized and 
unprepared to bring about any such happy ending. Ca- 
tastrophe is still steadily outrunning education. We are at 
present rapidly experiencing a repetition of 1914-1919 on 
a vastly more disastrous scale. 


IF WE HOLD FIRMLY to that same systematic assembling of 
universally acceptable statements which has brought us thus 
far, it is not overwhelmingly difficult to state the nature of 
the mental adaptation that is needed to arrest this present 
drive towards biological disaster for Homo sapiens. If it has 
become necessary for him to be re-educated as a conscious 
world citizen, to be prepared to take his place in a collective 
world fellowship, then plainly the realization of this neces- 
sity is the framework upon which his social being must be 
rebuilt. The scientific vision of life in the universe and no 
other has to be his vision of the universe. Any other leads 
ultimately to disaster. And since the existing educational 
organization of the world does not provide anything like 
that vision nor establish the necessary conceptions of right 
conduct that arise out of it, it needs to be recast quite as 
much and even more than the political framework needs 
to be recast. This may involve, it will almost certainly in- 
volve, such a Kulturfytmpf as the world has never seen 
before. But since it is the only possible line of survival, that 
effort has to be faced. Unless there is sufficient mental and 
moral vigor in our race to achieve the educational readjust- 
ment, then there seems to be nothing that can possibly arrest 
the present dtgringolade of Homo sapiens. 



LET us BE AS full and explicit as possible about this reorgan- 
ization of man's mental superstructure, this reconditioning 
of his apparatus for adaptation, that we are stressing. 

And here again there is nothing original and hardly any- 
thing that is fairly controversial in what will be stated here. 
The only originality lies in an adherence to one consistent 
line of thought, to carrying the broad and practically indis- 
putable statements of modern ecological science, unimpaired, 
into the field of current human affairs and refusing to be 
deflected or complicated by secondary and irrelevant con- 

It happens to have been my role throughout life to assem- 
ble facts and interpretations of fact, bearing upon man's 
power of controlling his future. From the days of that para- 
doxical fantasy, The Time Machine (1894) onward, my 
mind, partly no doubt by the accidents of life, but partly 
also, I think, by a natural predisposition, has been directed 
more and more definitely to the question of what is likely 
to happen in the future. And looking back upon this half- 
century of discussion and suggestion and tracing its devel- 
opment phase by phase, a very remarkable change in the 
whole tenor of human thought becomes manifest. 



It is only now, indeed, as I bring all these things together 
to review, that I realize how our attitude to past and future 
has changed since the later-Victorian period. There has been 
an almost complete reorientation, at once profound and 
subtle, of our minds with regard to time. 

Briefly: the intelligence of the nineties attached much 
more importance to the past and much less to the proba- 
bilities of the days to come, than do any contemporary 
minds now. It was living in what appears now as an almost 
static present. The past supplied a picturesque system of 
justifications for the established state of affairs, but it was 
the established state of affairs alone which had any quality 
of reality. There was a widespread feeling that nothing 
more of primary importance was ever likely to happen. 
Life as we knew it was a leisurely game of consequences. 
It is difficult now, even for those of us who were already 
living in those days, to recall the entire absence of 
urgency that prevailed. We were carried along by habit 
and that false sense of security which the absence of funda- 
mental crises engenders. To most of my generation in the 
eighties and nineties, all the cardinal discoveries of science 
seemed to have been made, all the great political systems 
established for good, the world permanently apportioned 
among the Powers. We had a sort of feeling that Queen 
Victoria, under whose rule everybody up to high middle 
age had been born, would go on living forever. The future 
was something in another universe, in another dimension. 
One could say or think anything one liked about it because 
it did not seem to matter in the least. 

This habit of mind lingered long after the beliefs on 
which it had been established had decayed. It lingers still. 


One factor in the steadily accelerated swing from tradi- 
tionalism and legalism to futurism, that presently began, was 
certainly the enlargement of our horizons by the realization 
of evolution and geological time and the breaking of the 
barriers set to our imaginations by the myth of the Creation 
and the Fall. But at first there was how can one put it ? 
an intellectual but not a practical release. It was still possible 
in The Time Machine to imagine humanity on the verge of 
extinction and differentiated into two decadent species, the 
Eloi and the Morlocks, without the slightest reflection upon 
everyday life. Quite a lot of people thought that idea was 
very clever in its sphere, very clever indeed, and no one 
minded in the least. It seemed to have no sort of relation 
whatever to normal existence. 

To a large extent, I shared that detachment. If I was 
imaginatively futurist, I was for all practical purposes con- 
temporaneous. The possible extinction of humanity appeared 
to be something so remote that it never gave me a moment's 
real- uneasiness in those days. The future was still no more 
real than dreamland. 

But all that has changed, and I have come through the 
phases of that change. Now the questions: "What is going 
to happen?" and "And then what will happen?" dominate 
an increasing number of awakening minds among which I 
am moving. We live in a planning world. Everything we 
do is becoming preparatory and anticipatory. Today has 
vanished almost completely in our enormous preoccupation 
with tomorrow. 

I suppose I have responded as much as anyone in my 
generation to this mental rotation. There is no need there- 
fore for me to apologize for using myself as the trace of the 


flow of thought during the past half century. I happen to 
be the most convenient trace. If I were not so, then some- 
body else should be writing this book instead of me. 

To begin with I used the future as a field for purely 
imaginative play. After The Time Machine I wrote some 
more futuristic stories. But as one followed another I found 
I was less and less interested in the artistic business of mak- 
ing the tale plausible and more and more in the scientific 
interest of making it probable. The turn of the century set 
many of us forecasting in earnest. My natural bias or my 
journalistic instinct, or maybe both in unison, moved me 
to write Anticipations (1900), in which I threw the teller 
of fantastic tales aside altogether and set myself speculating 
about the coming years. I was moving with the times. The 
book caught on; it was more successful than most novels; 
it was one of the first of such books to sell well. I will not 
say anything of its guesses, some happy, some wildly out. 
But it left me with the persuasion that here was something 
needing to be done and which could be done much more 
thoroughly than I had done it. My sense of the importance 
and reality of the future increased. 

In 1902 I was reading a paper to the Royal Institution, 
The Discovery of the Future, in which I was boldly assert- 
ing the need to realize and accept a forward-looking system 
of values. I presently found myself in correspondence with 
various parallel groups abroad which, half in defiance and 
half in burlesque, were proclaiming the Futurist doctrine. 
Among them was Signer Marinetti, who came to London 
reciting, in a tremendous voice, the most astounding Futurist 
poetry. He resented with extreme bitterness the English 
and American tourists in Italy with their red guide-books 


like catalogues at a sale. He was, he said, prepared to destroy 
all the historical monuments in the peninsula. He demanded, 
loudly and violently, a living country and not a museum of 

The impulse spread, but still for a great number even of 
progressive-minded people it retained a quality of unreality. 
It was an exuberance for them, a lark, a fashion. This Futur- 
ist stuff, they felt, could not last. In practice they still clung 
to the established order for their permanent values. It was 
the shock and stresses of the Great War that wrenched them 
away finally from this assumption of permanent stability 
towards a reluctant, imperfect recognition of the greater 
importance of the anticipatory aspect of life. It was like the 
internal change-over that must happen in a bar of iron when 
it is magnetized. And many quite intelligent people were 
not wrenched away. They kept up their resistances, and a 
large body of the educated still resist as we shall see. But 
the forward-looking section accumulated conviction; their 
sense of reality continued to shift away more and more 
decisively from the thing that is to the thing that is to be. 
The Discovery of the Future became by degrees a matter-of- 
fact statement for me instead of a daring thesis. I believed 
in it as time went on much more than I had done when 
first I launched it. 

As the war unfolded before me, my mind was increasingly 
obsessed by the problem of how the war would end and 
what would come after the war. Imaginative people were 
guessing and inferring and making plans. The word "plan" 
became more and more frequent; at length no newspaper 
was complete without it. A Ministry of Foresight was sug- 
gested. We busied ourselves in making the New Map of 


Europe, the New Map of the World. The idea of a "League 
of Nations" emerged amidst this ferment of anticipatory 
projects. An interesting phase in all this forward-looking 
peering was the War Aims controversy, I happened to be 
working in Northcliffe's Ministry of Propaganda in Enemy 
Countries. 1 I was in particular directing the propaganda in 
Germany, and, in co-operation with Dr. J. W. Headlam- 
Morley, I induced our Crewe House colleagues to draw up 
a memorandum upon the allied war aims and submit it to 
the Foreign Office for endorsement. "This," we said, "is 
what we suppose we are fighting for, and if we can get 
this we shall be satisfied and the war will be at an end. Is 
that so? We cannot go on with our work properly unless 
we know its objective." The War Office was profoundly 
shocked. Whatever else in the world had been affected by 
the rotation of the human mind towards the future, the 
Foreign Office has remained immune. There, at any rate, 
war was what it always had been. You fought your way to 
your enemy's capital and you then "dictated terms." The 
objective of a war was victory. To reveal your terms before- 
hand was not done. So the Foreign Office never committed 
itself to a binding endorsement of our War Aims Memo- 
randum, and it never warned us of various secret under- 
standings that affected it. It remained in the self-satisfying 
pose of a superior body tolerating us and using us according 
to the best diplomatic traditions. And at length at Versailles 
the terms were dictated. 

Until the German capitulation we went on with our 
development of the League of Nations movement, commit- 
ting ourselves to very definite promises to the German 

a See Secrets of Crewe House by Sir Campbell Stuart. 


people, in the hope that our engagements would be hon- 
ored at the Peace. They were not honored. We had taken 
the utmost pains in our propaganda to distinguish between 
the German people and the Hohenzollern government, and 
to hold out hopes of a speedy return to the fellowship of 
nations and a reasonable prospect of recuperation to a 
chastened and republican Germany. The victorious Foreign 
Offices treated all that as new-fangled rubbish. The Quai 
d'Orsay in particular seemed obsessed with a dream of oblit- 
erating Germany, of dividing it up so that it would never 
reassemble itself. They continued to kick Germany about 
until Germany became frantic with shame and hate, until 
Germany passed from reason to screaming fury. Its scream- 
ing fury found its incarnation at last in Hitler. He did not 
hesitate at the thought of war. He demanded war. He did 
not hesitate at the possibility of a subsequent social revolu- 
tion. The victors of Versailles found Red Revolution even 
more terrifying than flaming war, and he played upon that 
terror. They passed from arrogance to propitiatory terror. 
This madman, they felt, might do anything. History became 
an attempt to humor and appease a lunatic who after all 
and that was the worst of it for them was not always quite 
so mad as he seemed. 

All that is now quite familiar to everyone. What concerns 
us more directly here are those meetings and movements 
and discussions that occurred when the idea of the League 
of Nations was being shaped. These deliberations brought 
home to me the confused divergence of historical preoccu- 
pations among those taking part in them. Their minds were 
full of broken scraps of history, irrational political prejudices, 
impossible analogies. Everyone saw the idea from a different 


angle and seemed prepared to realize it by the hastiest of 
compromises. The Outline of History was the direct out- 
come of the experience I gathered in these discussions. At 
fyrst, in conjunction with L. S. Woolf 1 and one or two 
others, I tried to organize a Research Committee, which 
would set itself to think out the full significance and possi- 
bilities of this great idea. We made William Archer, who 
was badly out of a job just then, the salaried secretary of 
this body. With much internal friction we compiled The 
Idea of a League of Nations, Prolegomena to the Study of 
World Organization, and The Way to the League of Na- 
tions: A Brief Sketch of the Practical Steps Needed for the 
Formation of a League. These booklets are still available 
for the collector. Then President Wilson came to Europe 
and we were swept aside, because he had his own ideas, and 
very crude ideas they were, of a League that would make 
the world safe for democracy. But the difficulty of producing 
these two reports opened my eyes to the enormous obstacles 
in the way of all volunteered co-operation. It seemed impos- 
sible to hold a team together. They differed upon endless 
points and they would not come together to hammer diem 
out. They were all too intent upon what they considered 
more immediately important things. Our chief financial 
supporter deserted us to go off wool-gathering upon his own 
lines. 2 He could not see what need there was for all this 
highbrow research. But we were all going off upon our own 
lines. We had already disintegrated before we were disre- 
At a conference with some representative Americans at 

1 Author of an excellent book, International Government (1916). 
fl See Note 9A expanding this. 


the Reform Club during the war, I pointed out the urgent 
need for a general history of mankind which would con- 
solidate people's ideas about the establishment of some sort 
of World Pax. Everyone thought it was a good idea. But 
here again was something which was nobody's business in 
particular. There was no time to go about collecting, per- 
suading and editing the academically right people. One 
might as well have asked Lord Acton to write something. 
An Outline of History had to be done soon, even if it had 
to be flung together and, getting help wherever I could 
find it, I flung one together. 

I did it as well as I could, I worked enormously, and the 
strenuous hostile criticism to which it has since been sub- 
jected has revealed hardly any serious errors of statement. 
But a lot o it was headlong writing. It seemed to me at the 
time that if I and a few people could show that there was 
a shape to history, then it would be easy, since there is no 
copyright in the past, for the professional historians to rectify 
any serious flaws and do it better. They did nothing of the 
sort, and, failing that better performance, The Outline of 
History was launched upon a world conspicuously in need 
of just that assemblage of information. It had a fantastic 
success. Millions of copies have been sold and it has been 
translated into practically every important language in the 
world except Italian. Fascist Italy could not tolerate the 
candid criticism of the Roman Empire. 

I was probably rather excited by this astonishing boom. 
I do not know about that because I was not watching myself 
very closely. But I think that even at the time I did realize 
that this immense sale was no tribute to my authorship. It 
was something much more significant. It was the revelation 


of a world-wide hunger for adequately summarized knowl- 
edge on the part of multitudes whom the schools had sent 
empty away. 

It seemed to me that this aching void probably extended 
far beyond the field of history. I knew that the general public 
throughout the world was being kept in the blackest ig- 
norance of modern biological knowledge, evolutionary 
thought, modern ideas about individuality and modern psy- 
chology. I have already told in the Introduction how I 
realized that in my own case. With the assistance of Dr. 
Julian Huxley and my son, G. P. Wells, I produced a far 
more competent companion volume to The Outline of His- 
tory, The Science of Life. It is fuller and more searching 
and better done than its predecessor, but its success was by 
no means astronomical. 

Then I turned to the most difficult and original of all these 
encyclopaedic essays, The Wor\, Wealth and Happiness of 
Mankind. This was an attempt to rescue social, economic 
and monetary "science" from the medieval scholasticism, 
the theorizing unworldliness, in which it still wanders. It 
was also an attempt to get behind the arbitrary assumptions 
upon which the Marxist doctrine of a necessary class war 
is based. Instead of jumping into the matter in the accepted 
academic style from some crudely plausible assumption, I 
approached these questions as a special branch of human 
ecology, and opened the matter out from a realistic survey 
of human life as a going concern. I began with a survey of 
the substances and power in the service of man, and thence 
I pursued a series of interrogations, How? and Why? up to 
government and education. 

It was a laborious task; I chose some unsuitable collab- 


orators from whom I had to disentangle the enterprise with 
considerable expense and difficulty; but in the end I man- 
aged to get every section of it "vetted" by authorities of the 
first rank. It is sound and tested matter. 

In the end the book failed to earn the attention I think it 
deserved. The title may have been unpromising to the 
ordinary reader, the manner of its marketing unsuitable. It 
might have had better fortune as An Outline of Social and 
Economic Knowledge. I am convinced there is as great a 
public ready for a summary of facts and ideas upon social, 
political and monetary matters as there is for historical and 
biological digests. The book did not get to them. The world 
of economists and so forth ignored it completely but then 
it is their practice also to ignore one another completely, to 
ignore almost everything completely. I find a sort of recog- 
nition of it in Barbara Wootton's brilliant Lament for 
Economics (1938), for which I am discouraged enough to 
be grateful. She is not biologically trained, she is probably 
quite ignorant of general ecology, but her realization that 
economics has still to become a science and can only become 
a science by admitting the descriptive treatment and exami- 
nation of actual things and processes, is perfectly clear. 

One other book I must mention here. The Salvaging of 
Civilization was written originally to be delivered as lectures 
in America, a project frustrated by a bout of influenza. 
Therein, borrowing a phrase from Dr. John Beattie Crozier, 1 
I launched the idea of a "Bible" for civilization. In this idea 
of a "Bible" for the new social and political order, it is plain 
that Dr. Crozier and myself are groping our way and get- 
ting very near to a full realization of the scale and nature 

1 See Note 9s for his dates and two chief works. 


of the mental readjustment incumbent upon the world. This 
new "Bible" of ours is the .World Encyclopaedia, to which 
I am coming, in embryo. I will not recapitulate the various 
other papers, pamphlets, books, with which I documented 
my successive mental readjustments, because they are ceas- 
ing to have anything more than a minor, personal signifi- 
cance. I was traveling along a road that a number of my 
contemporaries were following. 

Step by step the more responsive elements in my genera- 
tion were being forced towards a complete recognition of 
the need for a realistic preparation for the future, if our 
existence henceforth was to be anything better than a me- 
chanical response to the blows of adverse fate that were 
beating upon us now, faster and faster. We were asking 
"What shall we do?" and more realistically "What have 
we to do?" and it was plain that the answers to these ques- 
tions needed setting down as the necessary articles of asso- 
ciation for a world-wide revolutionary effort. There may 
have been a slight slackening of this mental fermentation 
during the phase of the Fatuous Twenties, but it was revived 
with the mounting sense of urgency that came with the 
Frightened Thirties. Crisis appeared following crisis, each 
more menacing than the last it was like the Pacific surf 
coming in before a rising gale and what had we prepared 
for these crises ? 

By the early thirties I was one of those who were becom- 
ing fully aware that the systematic reconditioning of our 
mental life was not a secondary but a primary need for all 
mankind. It has beyond all question become now the most 
urgent and important thing in the world. 


And also I was realizing the unsatisfactoriness of such 
detached, uncoordinated work as writers of my type were 
doing. A number of us were all saying very much the same 
sort of thing, but without much co-ordination or anything 
mutual in the way of consequences. We could plead that 
we were pioneering and exploring, but that is merely a 
provisional plea. There comes a time to have done with 
sketches and samples. There is a quantitative element in real 
affairs. Doing something does not amount to very much 
unless you do enough. 

The achievement of the French Encyclopaedists has always 
appealed very strongly to my imagination. Diderot and his 
associates had scented the onset of change; they had set 
themselves, in the measure of their times, to prepare and 
equip the ideology of the new world they anticipated. They 
worked against great difficulties and within hampering lim- 
itations, but they did produce a new, inspiring conception 
of a world renewed. They gave a definite form and direction 
to the confused and powerful liberal impulses of their time. 
Their assembled thought materialized in the American and 
French revolutions and in a great heartening of the creative 
spirit of man throughout the whole world. They lived in 
an age of comparatively small things. The public capable of 
understanding and transmitting their ideas was a limited 
one. But it became very clear to me that what was needed 
in the face of the oncoming challenges of our time was 
essentially a new Encyclopaedism commensurate with the 
relative vastness of our new occasions. 

I set myself to the development of this idea of a modern 
Encyclopaedism which should assemble facts and suggestions 


with the same insistence upon scientific reality and the same 
exclusion of irrelevances that has controlled the establish- 
ment o the world outlook I have put before the reader. 

In a small book, World Brain (1938), the reader will 
find the substance of my proposals stated more fully 
and explicitly than is convenient here. I would be glad 
if the reader could find time to get and read it. I have made 
a sort of campaign for this new Encyclopaedism and I con- 
tinue to work for it to the best of my ability. World Brain 
is a book, quite bold and uncompromising in substance, but 
still with a distinctly propitiatory manner. It makes clear 
and definite proposals for a world-wide reconstruction of 
what we call higher education. What I call the permanent 
World Encyclopaedia is projected as a permanent institu- 
tion, a mighty super-university, holding together, utilizing 
and dominating all the teaching and research organizations 
at present in existence. This is shown to be not only a plaus- 
ible and practicable idea, but an idea already finding a 
material embodiment in part and detail, through the com- 
mon-sense needs of the scientific and technical world. A 
permanent World Encyclopaedia, as I show in that book, is 
indeed crystallizing into existence, but at a pace altogether 
too slow for the urgency of the human situation. Bound up 
with this in the same book is a frank survey of what the 
citizen of a modern democratic world should know that is 
to say, a scheme for an adequate modern education. This 
survey constituted my address as President of the Education 
Section of the British Association at Nottingham in 1937. 
It is much more provocative in its manner than the Royal 
Institution lecture of which it forms the complement. It 


completely excluded both the Bible mythology and national 
and imperial history from the educational scheme. 

Throughout 1937 I was doing what I could to promote 
this new Encyclopaedism I had in mind, but with very litde 
effect, and in the autumn I went to America and lectured, 
as World Brain relates. There is no need to recapitulate that 
American discourse here, but what is very apparent to me 
as I re-read the book, is the sacrifice of intensity in the effort 
to make it interesting and attractive. I am trying out ways 
and means in a very discursive spirit. I attempt some dis- 
arming jests. I write as though there was still quite sufficient 
time in hand to bring about the new mental orientation. 
I still had that feeling. Taking myself as a fair sample of the 
more progressive thought of my time, it is plain that up to 
the publication of World Brain in the spring of 1938 we 
were still not fully aware of the nearness of a culminating 
crisis in human affairs. 

That forced itself upon our attention in spite of ourselves. 
We were compelled by the rush of circumstances to realize 
not only the unqualified soundness, but also, what is by no 
means the same thing, the urgent and fundamental im- 
portance of our intellectual convictions. 

In the summer I was invited to be the guest of the Austral- 
ian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of 
Science at Canberra, and this involved giving an hour's 
discourse. I was becoming more and more impatient with 
the failure of the new encyclopaedia idea to secure any ener- 
getic support, and also I was growing more and more im- 
patient with my own personal ineffectiveness in the matter. 
I determined to use this invitation to assert still more plainly 


and clearly to myself among other hearers the case for a 
new encyclopaedia and a radical revision of the world's edu- 
cational organization. In Canberra I gave this address the 
tide of The Role of English in the Development of the World 
Mind, for reasons I have set out in a note at the end of this 
book. 1 1 repeated this lecture with some slight modifications 
as a public lecture in Sydney Town Hall, under the title of 
The Human OutlooJ^. Substantially this book is an expan- 
sion of that address. Its line of thought is the same; its 
conclusions are the same. It is fuller, much more explicit 
and more closely reasoned, and its application to current 
aff airs is closer and, to rny mind, inescapable. 

In addition I volunteered to read another paper to the 
Education Section at Canberra. I called it A 'Provocative 
Paper on the Poison called History. This also was made 
into a very largely attended public lecture, at which debate 
would have been impossible. It was an hour's show. As I 
wanted to bring whatever opposition there might be to my 
thesis into the light of clear statement, I suggested that the 
Education Section should provide time for its discussion. 

The reception of these lectures and addresses was very 
typical of the transitional state of mind in which we are all 
living, even the most enlightened of us. They were, you 
must take my word for it, vividly successful. They were de- 
livered in a setting of compliments and applause. I had 
been stimulating, amazingly stimulating. I had said things 
that had long needed saying. I had given them all food for 
thought of the most invigorating kind. Distinguished men of 
science came to thank me earnestly for the plainness of my 
statements. And so on. 

3 For the advantages of English see Note 9c. 


And then everything went on just as it had been going 
on before. The stimulant seemed to evaporate at once and 
the food was certainly not assimilated. 

The Right Honorable William Hughes, that distinguished 
Australian statesman, had very kindly consented to preside 
over my Town Hall lecture and at the end of it he ex- 
pressed his appreciation. "God save us all," he said, and 
then, advancing to the front of the platform, he led the 
audience with the singing of "God Save the King." Every- 
body stiffened up to attention. I had been stating as lucidly 
as I could the reasons for believing that the human species 
was already staggering past the zenith of its ascendancy 
and on its way through a succession of disasters to extinc- 
tion. And then we shook off the disagreeable vision, and 
lifted up our voices in simple loyalty to things as they are. 

The discussion of that "provocative paper" by the Educa- 
tion Section was still more remarkable. I had denounced the 
teaching of the Judaeo-Christian mythology as historical 
fact, in the most emphatic terms. Not a single Christian 
teacher appeared to reply to that challenge. Most of them, 
including the masters in one or two progressive schools who 
had been most anxious to turn my publicity value to ac- 
count, contrived to have a parallel conference with another 
Section. In place of a discussion upon the crucial points I 
had sharpened, we had a series of brief, disconnected ad- 
dresses by various educational officials, public characters 
and thoughtful people, about education in general, speaking 
in an elevated and discursive spirit, making many admirable 
but irrelevant philosophical remarks and including much 
autobiographical material. The avoidance of the essential 
issue was complete. And it was quite deliberate. The dis- 


cussion was over and nothing had come of it and things 
were still very agreeably as they always had been. Tea was 

Now these were not consciously backward people. They 
knew indeed that they were the elite of Australasian prog- 
ress. These Associations for the Advancement of Science 
throughout the world, the British, the American and the 
Australasian, are essentially assemblies of well-informed and 
liberal and progressive minds. But the real world of our 
Conference was still this wholly present world in which 
there are parents to consider, promotion to consider, dis- 
missals, retirements, a world of knighthoods and honors. 
I went away pondering these things. Presently let me con- 
fess it, lest I seem to claim to be anything better than a sam- 
ple of a generation I found myself discussing rather keenly 
the terms upon which I would lecture in Sydney. 

Plainly we are not moving fast enough. We are still bal- 
ancing in this strange phase of indecision between the 
actual present and the inevitable future. Even what we may 
call the more advanced intelligences vacillate and fail to 
sustain their constructive faith. The established, habitual 
present remains their real world. They may be profoundly 
disturbed intellectually. They may be greatly unsettled 
and alarmed by the ever-increasing uncertainty of life, but 
still, in the exact sense of the word "realize," they fail to 
realize the urgent, implacable future. As the legendary gen- 
deman who sat over his drink in the bar of the sinking 
Titanic remarked: "Well, anyhow, the damn thing hasn't 
gone down yet." 

They are all continually relapsing towards acceptance of 
the prevalent contemporaneous outlook because that is what 


is most natural in the normal human make-up. At any sign 
of respite they yield to it. Alertness to the future, we have 
to realize, is a novel and artificial thing in life. It has to be 
constantly refreshed and sustained. Minds must be trained 
and accustomed to it; it is a matter of social atmosphere 
much more than individual intelligence. They have to be 
held up to it by something stronger and more permanent 
than themselves. 

It is only in such an educational organization as I have 
been deducing from our present needs and, I hope, fore- 
casting here, in such a permanent organization of knowl- 
edge, systematically assembled, continually extended and re- 
newed and made freely and easily accessible to everyone, 
that there is the slightest hope of our species meeting the 
serried challenges of destiny that advance upon it. It is im- 
possible to be steadily futuristic, solo, without a sustaining 
social organization which will give as assured and habitual 
a quality to the forward orientation of the everyday life as 
is now possessed by the unprogressive world of today. 

And that organization fails to materialize. 

I am impatient and at the same time I do not know how 
to accelerate matters. I do not think this is simply a case of 
the distress of an old man in a hurry. There is every justifi- 
cation for hurry in the world about us. I think that however 
young and hopeful I might be, I should still be intensely 
impatient to see this movement for human re-education 
quickened and implemented. 

This reconditioning and reorientation of the human mind 
has to be undertaken not merely against the innate resist- 
ances to changing conditions in everyone's make-up. These 
innate resistances are organized very powerfully and effec- 


tively, and the nature of their organization is one we have 
now to examine. And also we are working against time. It 
is this time factor that casts the darkest shadow upon the 
possibility of a single, clear-headed, creative, happily inter- 
ested, war-free human community emerging from the re- 
turning chaos of the present to dominate our planet through 
long ages still to come. 

Years ago I threw out a sentence that caught the attention 
of that very great and lucid historian, James Harvey Rob- 
inson. He picked it up and repeated and commended it and 
gave it a wide publicity. The outlook for mankind, I had 
written I think in The -Salvaging of Civilization \$ "a 
race between education and catastrophe." 

Today catastrophe is well on its way, it is losing no time 
at all, but education seems still unable to get started, has 
indeed not even readjusted itself to start. The race may, 
after all, prove a walk-over for disaster. 



HERE A PERSONAL FACTOR comes in, which, I think, should 
be explained to the reader. 

. We are now in a field of thought from which it is im- 
possible to banish a temperamental estimate of values. I 
find a certain defeatism has invaded my mind in the course 
of the past year. I anticipate very little happiness in the 
residue of my life. I feel that the odds are very heavily 
against any such educational revolution being even attempted 
in my lifetime there will be no Pisgah glimpse of the 
promised world for me and that in all probability my last 
years will be passed in a very ugly and distressful phase of 
human history. In many quarters I am unlikely to be a 
persona grata, A spell of ill-health involving bodily discom- 
fort and a considerable ebb of mental resilience is con- 
tributing to this depression. These are my circumstances. 
That matter of health is comparatively a minor issue. But 
quite apart from any bodily depression, the spectacle of evil 
in the world during the past half-dozen years the wanton 
destruction of homes, the ruthless hotinding of decent folk 
into exile, the bombings of open cities, the cold-blooded 
massacres and mutilations of children and defenseless gentle 
people, the rapes and filthy humiliations and, above all, the 
.' ; ' '" ' :- ' ' 85 ' ' ' ' -.. . ' . .'. . . 


return of deliberate and organized torture, mental torment 
and fear to a world from which such things had seemed 
wellnigh banished has come near to breaking my spirit 

Said an old friend of mine the other day: "If only we 
could get away from events for a spell! If only we could get 
together as we used to get together and laugh!" 

Children still laugh. Laughter is born again in each gen- 
eration. What is past is over and done with for those who 
did not share in it. Life begins again incessantly. The 
sequence of birth and death is a continuing amnesty, but 
for my generation there have been things so unforgettable 
and disappointments so bitter that for us laughter has be- 
come almost a brutality. The dead past is dead but not for 
us. We have been too near it and we are splashed with 
blood. 1 

It is well to remind the reader that though all that follows 
is written as. objectively and truly as I can, it is overshadowed 
by these misadventures of my generation and mental type. 
The younger the reader is the more he or she should be 
able to discount the discouragement of our shadows. 

And a consideration he must bear in mind in weighing 
what I am putting before him is the probability that there 
is a kind of egotistical intolerance in every definitely elderly 
mind. That is almost inevitable. Through a long life a com- 
plex system of ideas is built up upon a framework of con- 
cepts and associations determined by early circumstances. 
One qualifies, modifies, extends, superimposes significance 
upon this primary structure, but after a time it becomes 
irreplaceable. It may not be the best possible foundation, but 

1 See Note 10A for a schoolgirl's reaction to A.B..P. 


the more it has to carry, the less it can be changed. It is like 
a business that has grown up in reasonably convenient 
premises, they might be better laid out perhaps, but there 
is no possibility now of completely revising the lay-out. The 
going concern must carry on. But it becomes more and more 
difficult to rephrase one's ideas or to recognize them when 
they are rephrased. So that I may be much less alone and 
outstanding than I am disposed to think. 

The nearer my beliefs are to reality the more probable 
it is that similar minds may be traveling along parallel, if 
not identical, lines of thought to practically the same con- 
clusions, approached perhaps from a different starting-point 
and so differently phrased. I suspect and indeed I hope 
that I do not allow fully for that. 

For example, there is the peculiar dialect of so many 
minds in the war generation who resorted to communism 
and the Communist Party to express their recoil from the 
existing state of affairs. It was the handiest formula for any 
sort of organized dissent. Many of them not all, alas! 
are emerging to a broader conception of what can be done 
with life, but they still speak with a strong Marxist accent. 
Some few, and my friend J. B. S. Haldane is among their 
number, seem to be resolved like Lenin (but without the 
justification of his circumstances) to read a wisdom and 
profundity into the sage of Highgate which was certainly not 
there. His Haldane Memorial Lecture (Birkbeck College, 
May 24th, 1938), was, to my mind, a brilliant yet obstinately 
perverse overvaluation of the role of Marx (and Engels) in 
human thought, which may well have made the worthy 
uncle whom he was commemorating turn in his grave. Lord 
Haldane also professed the Hegelian faith and that was his 


nephew's justification. This lecture made the most of Marx, 
I insist, and more also. And then more. 

Now I have always had a peculiar contempt and dislike 
for the mind and character of Karl Marx, a contempt and 
dislike that have deepened with the years. I have given it 
the liveliest expression I could contrive in "The Shaving of 
Karl Marx" in Russia in the Shadows and in the "Psycho- 
analysis of Karl Marx" in The World of William Clissold. 
My only regret for these brief essays is that I could not 
infuse more sting and challenge into them. I have watched 
the tradition of Marxian bad manners and Marxian dog- 
matism wrapping like a blanket of fog round the minds of 
two crucial generations. They seemed to me to be lost in 
the fog. It was difficult for me to think they could be ad- 
vancing under that fog. 

Yet when, for example, I turn over such a book as The 
Social Function of Science by that very considerable writer, 
Professor J. D. Bernal, F.R.S., I get at times, in spite of his 
very distinct Marxist twang, a curious sense of parallelism 
and co-operation. And much that J. B. S. Haldane said in 
his lecture, I find as I read it over again, I could subscribe 
to, except that I reject the Marxist attribution. 

I am reminded of the story of an Englishman who had 
a more or less rudimentary cultural conversation with a 
Japanese gentleman. The latter broke into an oration, a gab- 
ble, a flow of unfamiliar sounds which sounded like no 
known human speech. Then something clicked over in the 
hearer's mind. He made some rapid transpositions and light 
broke upon him. He was hearing one of the most familiar 
of Shakespeare's speeches in English! English of a different 


I have been asserting, in a phraseology that no doubt owes 
much more than I realize to the phrases and assumptions of 
the liberal, protestant, progressive world of half a century 
ago, a view of the human outlook, that seems to me to be 
irresistibly convincing if one accepts a known series of facts. 
The truer and more inevitable that view is, the more prob- 
able it is that intelligent men, starting from all sorts of 
different standpoints, will converge upon the same conclu- 
sions. In English of a different tint. Indeed, it will be the 
completest disproof of my contentions, if there is not that 
convergence, if my conclusions do not reappear independ- 
ently, crop up from a variety of starting-points and yet work 
out towards practically the same pattern. If the compelling 
facts do, as I assert, lie plainly on the face of things, 'that 
must be so. But probably, because I have a phraseology of my 
own, I shall be among those least able to recognize it. 

And another thing that anyone who has spent most of 
his mental energy in trying to give the fullest and most em- 
phatic expression to the truth as he perceives it, may easily 
underrate, is the tacit insubordination of many of the sup- 
pressed and formally silenced minds who are apparently 
disciplined against us. It is well to recall that all that out- 
break of liberal questioning, the Protestant Reformation, 
which did so much to prepare the way for the French 
Revolution, was due almost entirely to the mental insurrec- 
tion of friars or priests. They had had to take their creeds 
seriously, and they had brooded over their dogmas until 
they found them unbearable. There was no effective attack 
from without upon Church teaching throughout the whole 
Reformation period. There were close at hand in the alien 
disbeliefs of Jew and Moslem, a tacit denial of the Catholic 


faith, but these provoked no reforming zeal. All that came 
from within. And conversely the Jesuit Counter Reforma- 
tion was the work of a group of romantic-minded laymen 
led by a court-bred gallant who had been wounded and 
crossed in love. The seven founders of the Society of Jesus 
were with one exception laymen. They were excited out- 
siders. They believed crudely and without qualification. They 
had had none of that intimate instruction of the mind from 
which questionings arise. They were, so to speak, the Nazis 
of Roman Catholicism. 

But that is a passing comment. The more relevant point 
is the indisputable, obstinate tendency of common sense to 
assert itself in minds deliberately trained in any elaborate 
system of intolerance and error. Fanatics are madmen who 
find a masochist pleasure in strangling their own doubts, 
there is no dealing with them; but wherever there is dis- 
cussion and mental training there lurks in every organized 
dogmatism a class of potential rebels. Hidden allies and 
half-hearted antagonists may be waiting to come over to a 
movement for the radical reconstruction of human ideology 
as it gathers strength. They are, so to speak, among the 
undisclosed reserves of progress. 

Moreover, in further mitigation of my defeatist mood, it 
has to be borne in mind that while there is still life in a 
species no biological defeat is complete. Men and women 
of my type of mind and my generation, however the odds 
work against us, have no alternative to a stoical persistence 
in our convictions until our courses are run. We may have 
to admit regretfully a loss of buoyancy and of the ability 
for flexible mental co-operations. That is our private affair. 
In that we are just as much war casualties as those who may 


have suffered physical disablement in battle but are not yet 
completely incapacitated. Our injuries narrow down the 
scope of our service, but they furnish no justification for 
abandoning a loyal participation in the struggle. Our cause 
may still be winning. 

Finally, as to the urgency of all this, let it be remembered 
that nothing is more difficult than estimating possibilities in 
time, and that timing here is a factor of primary importance. 
Disaster seems to me to be advancing upon us, but it may 
be that I am overlooking or underestimating the possibility 
of some intercalary slowing-down in the pace of change. 
I may be failing to perceive possible delaying forces. Some 
unexpected development of anti-aircraft technique might, 
for example, greatly minimize the destructiveness of air 
raids and the possibility of surprise wars. 1 The world may 
be held back from disaster for a time by the very weight and 
strain of its own armaments. It may be false to assume that 
sooner or later guns will go off of their own accord. Guns 
can rust and explosives disintegrate. A balance of power 
may be possible for longer years than I suppose, heavy and 
burthensome years perhaps, but still not years of complete 
catastrophic collapse. 

In that pause, many people will be thinking hard, and 
the human intelligence may find methods of discussion and 
organization unknown to us. I find myself unable to imagine 
any such respite, and so I cannot bring it honestly into my 
account-rendered of the world, but there may be such a 
possibility. That gives no excuse for slackening, but it does 
justify a certain hopefulness. 

With that I think I can finish with myself as a typical 

1 See Note 10s for such a possibility. 


sample in evidence in this survey of the reaction of Homo 
sapiens to his present dangers. These ego-centered passages 
are not really so egotistical as they will seem to be to the 
antagonistic reader. It is auto-vivisection. I was by far the 
best and handiest rabbit for this demonstration. 

Allowing for my own loss of individual hopefulness and 
that probable narrowing down of co-operative tolerance in 
my mind, the conclusions I am presenting to you remain 
nevertheless sound, grimly sound. The prospect for our 
species is just as stern and implacable, charged just as much 
with bracing uncertainty. The issue upon which I am in 
doubt is not whether I am right or wrong about the facts 
I have assembled; it is simply whether you of the new 
generation can be sufficiently braced in time. There, maybe, 
I do you an injustice. That is what I am saying. 

What I have admitted in qualification of my own ebb of 
confidence, is no justification whatever for mere optimistic 
trumpetings "I believe in the ultimate triumph of civiliza- 
tion" and so forth. We have heard so much of that kind 
of hysteria. Without personal and organized devotion it 
means less than nothing. It is desertion under cover of a 
declaration of faith. 

There are always plenty of well-meaning people in the 
world ready to relax at the slightest encouragement, and 
the surest preparation for disaster is the enervation of senti- 
mental overconfidence. Face your adversary at his worst and 
most menacing, and then you will know best how to set 
about him. Rational adaptation, I admit, may be achieved 
ultimately, but only heroically, at a great cost. The odds 
are against it, rest assured, if not perhaps so heavily against 
it a$ nowadays they seem to be, to me. 



WE ARE NOW IN a position to reconsider the nature of the 
various established systems that block the way to the read- 
justment of the human species as one single, continually 
progressive and creative world community, and to make a 
rough estimate of the way in which they are operating at the 
present time. We arrive with minds cleansed and refreshed 
by our survey of the biological situation, at the political, 
social and religious realities of today. 

Legally the world's affairs are in the control of a mis- 
cellany of sovereign states, and each embodies itself in a 
government of politicians and officials, deeply concerned 
in maintaining the bargaining autonomy of the particular 
regime which gives them their importance, and prepared 
to offer a spirited resistance to any invasion, conquest or 
amalgamation of brave little (or big or old) Ruritania, or 
whatever state it is. That is how the political map of the 
world presents things to us. But very few of these legal 
governments are real cultural entities. It is only one or two 
sovereignties that embody a complete cultural system of 
their own. For all practical purposes the British Empire is 
such a system, with a curiously loose yet persistent will and 
tradition, sustained by a very distinctive literature of bi- 



ographies, memoirs, collected letters and speeches and the 
like, and a quite definite religion or religious substitutes 
the Anglican compromise between Protestant and Catholic 
Christianity. Still more complete is the Nazi Germany of 
today, which indeed is now strenuously self-sufficient even 
to the extent of a distinctive science, art, literature, history, 
clothing, dietary of its own. But most of the other states 
play their game of international competition over a sort of 
map which does not necessarily correspond to their spheres 
of sovereignty. They are like estates, farms and fields spread- 
ing over a substratum of soils and geological formations. 

It is to these underlying foundation realities of the world 
situation that we must first direct our attention. 

As the facts assembled in The Outline of History showed 
very clearly, the expansion in size of the early empires 
(saving only Egypt with its Nile) was dependent upon two 
advances in communication, writing and road-making. 
These expanding empires of the second and first millennia 
B.C. put a great strain upon the tribal and petty national 
religions (which in those days included the science and 
morality) of the smaller states they incorporated. A work- 
ing compromise was found in a sort of fusion of the ab- 
sorbing and absorbed cultures. A rejuvenated religion was 
produced by a mutual modification of ceremony and myth. 
The corresponding gods of these syncretic religions adopted 
each other's names as aliases, or they became different 
"aspects" of a consolidated deity (theocrasia). A general 
similarity in these more primordial tribal cults greatly facili- 
tated this syncretic process. 

About these primordial religions we now have a consid- 
erable body of assured knowledge. And this is not we 


must underline here knowledge in dispute. It is not a col- 
lection of theories we are bringing into court; it is an 
assemblage of facts. What we have to cite here is no more 
questionable than the facts of evolution and ecology that 
have been assembled in the earlier sections of this book. It 
is indeed knowledge that is not made accessible to every- 
one; that is the default of our educational systems; it is 
steadfastly ignored by many people who find it inconvenient 
and distasteful; but that does not affect its truth. 

We know that these early religions were systems of fear 
and propitiation, that they centered upon the primary im- 
portance of a seasonal blood sacrifice, and that that sacrifice 
was the function of a priesthood, which was also in charge 
of the calendar and of whatever medical knowledge existed. 
From The Golden Bough of Sir James George Frazer, O.M., 
and from Forerunners and Rivals of Christianity, by F. 
Legge (published by the Cambridge University Press), the 
unbiased reader can realize for himself how this cannibal 
blood sacrifice has been refined at last into the Mystery of 
the Mass, which will indeed have very little mystery left 
for him if he faces the facts these writers, with no unneces- 
sary emphasis nor any partisan purpose, put plainly before 
him. 1 

These investigations into the beginnings of religion have 
accumulated steadily throughout the past half-century. It is 
only by great efforts of censorship, by sectarian education 
of an elaborately protected sort and the like, that ignorance 
about them is maintained. 

These seasonal blood-sacrifice religions had a wide range 
of local variation, their theogonies differed widely in some 


of them, mystical, secret mother-nature goddesses lurked 
behind the great father god; in others, the totem animal 
prevailed but in all their forms they sustained the fear- 
begotten idea of blood salvation. Two dozen centuries ago 
they were already suffering through the pressure not only 
of syncretic necessity but from the increasing skepticism of 
the awakening human intelligence. They still cumbered the 
earth with a multitude of temples and priesthoods, for where 
there is an endowment you can always find someone to be 
a priest, but they were producing complex developments of 
their theological explanations. 

Ptolemaic Alexandria was a hot-bed of religious elabora- 
tion. At the Serapeum, before the middle of the third cen- 
tury B.C., it had produced a trinity with a sacrificial son, 
who is slain and ascends to the Father and becomes the 
Father. There were a regular and secular clergy, monks 
with tonsures, a choral Easter ceremony; and the worship 
of the goddess Isis bearing the infant Horus in her arms 
anticipated the Catholic adoration of the Virgin Mary down 
even to minor details. The hymn "Sun of my Soul, thou 
Saviour dear/' addressed originally to the hawk-sun-god 
Horus, has become a Christian hymn. In the- temples one 
saw collections of ex-votos hung up in gratitude for mirac- 
ulous cures and escapes, and the ceremonial purchase and 
burning of votive candles was encouraged. The hope of a 
glorious immortality which was little stressed in the earlier 
religions outside Egypt was a central fact in this religious 
scheme, and so, too, was an insistence upon the material 
resurrection of the (in Egypt usually pickled) body. All this 
was going on nearly three centuries before there was a 
Christian in the world. 


But very few Christians know these facts. They are all to 
be found fully documented in Legge (op. cit.). 

We must turn now to a second factor in the basis of 'the 
cultural life of Europe and the Europeanized world, the 
Sacred Book. 

While religious cults were limited in their range and 
appealed at most to a few thousand votaries, it was possible 
to sustain 'them by direct teaching and initiation, but as 
greater empires grew with the development of writing and 
land and sea communications, there appeared a new demand 
and also a new facility for mental organization. This was 
the written word. Spreading over the old sacrificial pagan- 
ism, there presently appeared what one may distinguish as 
Book religions. Every great religion in the world today, 
whether it does or does not preserve the tradition of the 
cannibalistic blood sacrifice, is a Book religion. 

The first of the Sacred Books to affect the Western world 
was the collection of Hebrew writings constituting the core 
of what is now called the Old Testament. It came into 
existence as a natural result of the series of misfortunes that 
happened to the various communities speaking the closely 
related Semitic languages which had dominated the Western 
world a thousand years before the Christian era. These 
were the Babylonian, Phoenician and Carthaginian states, 
the Jews who had been deported to Babylon and then 
returned to Palestine, and a variety of trading colonies and 
settlements in association with these Semitic-speaking cen- 
ters. In the course of a few centuries these highly civilized 
and intelligent trading empires and cities, in common with 
various other old-world communities, collapsed under a 
series of barbarian raids and conquests coming from the 


North. Most of these Northern barbarians spoke languages 
of the Aryan group. Between the Homeric Age and the 
third century B.C. they had, as the Persians, the Greeks and 
Macedonians, the Romans and Gauls, become masters of 
the larger part of the Mediterranean world, leaving the less 
warlike, Semitic-speaking peoples, inter alia, subdued and 
scattered and defeated but still trading, sustaining a financial 
network, navigating the seas and going to and fro in the 
world. They remained in possession of these roles because 
they knew more about them. The conquerors, as they be- 
came civilized, availed themselves, with a certain suspicion 
and resentment, of these superior gifts and facilities of the 
defeated. The Semitic business methods were ready-made 
for the new kings and aristocrats and warriors. They learnt 
to use them slowly and left them largely in Semitic hands. 

During the course of these conquests there was naturally 
a great intermingling of blood. The subjugated Semitic and 
pre-Semitic peoples were certainly in the majority in the 
Latin, Greek, Persian 'and Macedonian empires; history 
records no general ban upon intermarriage, and we can 
hardly doubt that the actual blood of the ruling Aryan- 
speaker was the smaller factor in that continually stirred-up 
mixture which is now the European and Europeanized 
world of today, 1 

But traditions were less easily assimilated. Throughout 
that millennium which culminated in the Roman Empire, 
in all the ports and cities there must have been groups of 
households and business organizations struggling to main- 
tain a level of refinement and behavior higher than that of 
their rulers, and eager also to preserve their business cor- 

1 See Note 11s on the racial unity of mankind. 


respondence and a sympathetic understanding with their 
kindred throughout this new world that had annihilated 
and discredited their separate religious systems. They needed 
a Book to unify them, they were ripe for a Book, and the 
Book was ready for them. 

It was in Babylon and Judaea and in the towns of these 
regions that those Jewish sacred writings first appeared. 
They contained two overlapping versions of the old Baby- 
lonian cosmogony, together with the myths of the Creation, 
the Serpent-Enemy, the Fall, the Flood and the Tower of 
Babel. They also contained the story of a Promise and of a 
Chosen People who were destined to recover all and more 
than their ancient ascendancy. But at a price. These Chosen 
People had to keep themselves aloof from the Gentile world. 
They must preserve their precious distinctive habits and 
usages intact. They must remain aloof and enduring, until 
a promised Messiah came to lead Israel to its final triumph 
over the rest of mankind. 

The appeal of these Scriptures to. the needs and imagina- 
tions of these scattered peoples on the defensive must have 
been irresistible. In a century or so Carthaginians, Phoeni- 
cians, Babylonians disappear from history, and all over the 
world of their former activities the Jewish communities 
appear, centering upon the schools of Babylon and Jeru- 
salem with a consolidating literature and a religion. In this 
stage they proselytized freely. Probably the proselytizing 
was chiefly among kindred and sympathetic Semitic-speak- 
ers, but there were also Tartar and other tribes which were 
won over. The blood-sacrifice tradition was sustained by 
the priests in the Temple until the fall of Jerusalem to 
Vespasian in 70 A.D. Then the sacrifices ceased and the Sacred 


Book with its semi-authoritative accretions became the link 
of Jewry throughout the world. . . . 

So -the first of the great Book religions on which our 
civilization rests arose. Hard upon its diffusion followed 
Christianity, its unidentical twin. 

Christianity began as a Jewish sect, as the Books of the 
New Testament tell very simply and clearly; it was still 
entirely Jewish after the Crucifixion; and it was only 
through the initiative of Saint Paul that the ranks of the 
elect were opened to the uncircumcised. After the Four 
Gospels, the New Testament is largely occupied with Paul's 
reconstruction of the Nazarene cult. It is all very plain to 
anyone who reads these books without theological prepos- 
sessions. His brilliant intelligence seized upon the idea of 
presenting Jesus as the sacrificial king of the blood-sacrifice 
tradition. Jesus, he declared, was the Lamb by whose blood 
we were saved though as a matter of fact crucifixion is 
hardly a more bloody death than hanging. He had died, 
said Saint Paul, not only for the Jews but for all men who 
would accept his sacrifice. This, for the stricter Jews, was 
an intolerable relaxation of their divine bargain. But some, 
less profoundly convinced of the Messianic hope, realized 
the attractive quality of the Pauline teaching. 

The medium of diffusion for Christianity remained for 
a time the scattered Jewish communities. Throughout the 
first and second centuries Judaism and its offshoot, Christi- 
anity, the latter becoming more and more Gentile and anti- 
Jewish, spread and bickered side by side throughout the 
whole extent of the Roman Empire. The pagan world, 
although it was also in a state of great social and religious 
unrest the two things seem to be inseparable had no com- 


parable nexus for the production of alternative sacred 
writings that could stand up against the dissemination of 
these Judaeo-Christian legends and mythology. So that these 
latter provided the written factor in the foundations of 
civilization throughout the entire Western world. 

Later, another Book religion, Islam, swept for a time 
across the Mediterranean scene, with very considerable re- 
actions upon medieval science and thought. But that influ- 
ence, and the effects of a vast multitude, myriads indeed, of 
less distinguished "Sacred Book" cults, are outside our 
present discussion. 

It is necessary to recall these well-known though per- 
sistently neglected facts -here because they establish a gen- 
eral statement that what we may call roughly Western 
culture the mental adaptation of mankind to social and 
political life, from -the Pacific coast westward across the 
Atlantic to farthest eastern Russia, up to as late as the second 
Russian Revolution in 1917 was based upon an interrelated 
system of Bible-centered Book religions which had either 
obliterated or assimilated the more ancient blood-sacrifice 

Let us now review the chief forms these foundation re- 
ligions take in our world today. 



FIRSTLY, BECAUSE OF ITS illuminating quality, we must con- 
sider the progressive segregation of the Jewish community. 
It has diverted, wasted and sterilized an amount of ability 
and moral energy that mankind at large can ill spare* In 
the previous section we have shown how naturally it arose 
out of the state of world affairs of the centuries before and 
after the Christian era, and how the realistic genius of Saint 
Paul sought an escape from its perilous limitations. From 
the very beginning, there must have been men of vision 
among the Jews who realized and rebelled against the moral 
isolation to which they were being condemned, there must 
have been a continual seeping-away of individuals to the 
larger opportunities of the outer world, but the uncom- 
promising tradition carried by the old Bible and the associ- 
ated writings which grew into the Talmud has been suffi- 
cient to hold together a core of inassimilable and aggressive 
'orthodoxy to this day clinging obstinately to every detail of 
ritual, behavior and avoidance that emphasized the central 
legend of a Chosen People. 
It is this orthodox remnant and its behavior and influence, 

the repercussions it evokes and the dangers to which it has 



exposed the whole Jewish community, which constitute the 
Jewish problem. There would be no distinctive Jewish ques- 
tion at all were it not for this remnant and its activities. 

The whole question turns upon the Chosen People idea, 
which this remnant cherishes and sustains, which it is the 
"mission" of this remnant to cherish and sustain. It is essen- 
tially a bad tradition, and the fact that for two thousand 
years the Jews on the whole have been very roughly treated 
by the rest of mankind does not make it any the less bad. 
Almost every community with which the orthodox Jews 
have come into contact has sooner or later developed and 
acted upon that conspiracy idea. A careful reading of the 
Bible does nothing to correct it. 

Every sort of man is disposed to get together with his 
own sort of people and prefer them to strangers. That is 
the natural disposition of our species, fair play to the out- 
sider is one of the last and least assured triumphs of civiliza- 
tion, but the indictment against the Jewish community is 
'that their religion of a Chosen People takes this universal 
human vice, justifies it and stimulates it to the form of a 
persistent organized attitude of self-exclusion from the com- 
mon fellowship of the world. 

Everywhere the same reaction occurs and everywhere the 
Jew expresses his astonishment. Not only Christians but 
Turks have resorted to pogroms. In contact with the Arab, 
the Koran-taught Arab from the desert, who shares the 
Jew's cosmogony, who practices similar dietetic taboos, who 
is equally free from Trinitarian theology and sacrificial 
bloodshed, and has indeed a much stronger claim to be 
called Semitic, the angry reaction to the theory and practice 
of a Chosen People, to the practice much more than the 


theory, is just as violent as it is in any other part of the 

It is this Chosen People tradition and still more the habit 
o mind which betrays itself in those who have come under 
its influence, which is the ever-recurrent cause of the trouble. 
It seems to me beside the mark to look for any other. 1 

Estimates of the number of Jews in the world vary be- 
tween fourteen and sixteen million. The latter figure is given 
by Louis Golding in The Jewish Problem and by Lewis 
Browne in the careful and scholarly work he has entitled 
so flippantly, How Odd of God. ("How odd of God to 
choose the Jews!" W. N. Ewer.) This is not a very great 
total. They have and always have had abundant and well- 
cared-for families. Probably outside the range of definitely 
associated Jews, there has always been a much larger world 
of sympathetic kin, sharing and affected by the feelings of 
the stricter core, capable of co-operating with it and re- 
sponding to modifications of the central idea, but gradually 
slipping away beyond recall. 

As we have noted in 11 (and see also Note HB) most 
of us probably have a more or less considerable proportion of 
"Jewish" blood in our veins, using "Jewish" *& the larger 
sense. But orthodox Judaism has always been a narrower 
and intenser strain. It has passed through phases of leakage 
and recovery. The Protestant Reformation was a phase of 
leakage. Browne doubts whether there were half a million 
Jews in Europe in 1600, "fewer than were to be found in 
Castile alone four hundred years earlier." 

Of the sixteen million Jews today, Browne estimates that 
there cannot be more than four million who are strict ad- 

1 See Note 12A for a further discussion of this point 


herents to and observers of the Law and that perhaps an- 
other six million are what he calls semi-observant; they are 
lax about food and drink and the Sabbath, but when it 
comes to celebrating marriages, funerals, taking an oath 
and so forth they follow the ancient formulae, they attend 
the main annual feasts, they pay their pew rents and do 
their full duty by the Jewish charities. They are very much 
like the Anglicans who don't go to Church very much but 
would never dream of being married in a registry office. 
Then comes another three million who have become entirely 
indifferent to the Law. They do not attack it, but they put 
it aside. Yet they cling as nationalists to the solidarity it has 
preserved through the ages. They are Reform Jews or Radi- 
cal Nationalists, like the law-disregarding young Jews of 
Palestine. Mr. Browne is himself a Reform Rabbi and he 
can write incidentally: 

"There are certain writers who become tremulously nos- 
talgic and tender when describing the life of those pietist 
Jews. Ensconced in laurel-embowered English cottages, or 
seated in cafes on Montparnasse, such writers will wax 
ecstatic as they discourse on the effulgent 'mysticism' en- 
haloing the ghetto hovels. But that, I fear, is because they 
have never entered those hovels. Had they done so they 
would in all likelihood realize unless sentimentality had too 
thickly blurred their sight that life in them is not bathed 
in the lambent light of unearthly wisdom: that instead it is 
dark and scabrous with superstition." 

The remaining three of these sixteen million Jews are 
rapidly ceasing to be Jews at all, and he notes with a sort of 
calm amazement that "a cult which has lasted for centuries 
could be shattered in a decade." The younger generation 


has been given equality in the U.S.S.R,, excellent schools 
and a new and exciting creed. Nominally they remain Jews, 
and their language, Yiddish, is one of the national languages 
recognized by the Union. But Hebrew has vanished the 
Law, the Promise and Jehovah! 

And at this point Browne and I part company. Judaism 
may vanish in Russia under communism, he has to admit, 
but it will live on elsewhere not by virtue of its own quality 
but because of Gentile intolerance. He argues that Gentile 
intolerance makes the Jews and keeps them together. I argue 
that the Jews make themselves and that Gentile intolerance 
is a response to the cult of the Chosen People. To get down 
to ultimate things, we are in substantial agreement, I find, 
in that we desire a world, enlightened, scientifically admin- 
istered, free, a world-wide new civilization open to everyone, 
where there will be neither Jew nor Gentile, bond nor free. 
Nevertheless we differ diametrically in our interpretation of 
the root cause of the Jewish problem, and as a consequence 
upon the question where the tentative for denationalization 
should begin. Thirteen million Jews at least still make 
the implacable Gentile the justification for their own per- 
sistence. They still hold to that hard core of national sep- 
aratism in spite of the steady evaporation of every traditional 
religious justification. Yet they have a world-wide organ- 
ization for calling off that attitude and the Gentiles have 
no corresponding representative network to speak for them 
to the same extent. The Holy See has recently condemned 
racialism very clearly and definitely. So has the White 
House. . . . 

But let me go on with what I believe is the truer version 
of the Jewish story, and the reader, with a glance at the 


notes at the end whenever he needs confirmation, must 
judge between me and the defenders of persistent Jewish 
nationalism. 1 

The hostile reaction to the cult of the Chosen People is 
spreading about the entire world today. In the past the Jews 
have been subjected to much resentful treatment and much 
atrocious cruelty and injustice, now here, now there, but 
there has never been such a world-wide I will not use the 
word anti-Semitism because of the Arab I will say anti- 
Judaism. Now, because of the physical unification of the 
world, the resentment against the theory and practice of a 
Chosen People is much quicker and more contagious than 
it used to be; it is becoming world-wide and simultaneous. 
The idea is becoming everywhere more and more intolerable 
than it has ever been before. 

The cultivated, exaggerated, national egotism of the 
Chosen People has never been so conspicuous as it has been 
in the present century and particularly since the War. As 
their ritualism has weakened their nationalism has increased. 
I recall a conference that took place in '19 or '20 in a room 
in the House of Commons. A number of French writers 
had deputed Madame Madeleine Marx to discuss with vari- 
ous English men and women of letters the possibilities of 
concerted action and possibly organization in the cause of 
world peace and world understanding. In those days Israel 
Zangwill had adopted the role of Champion of the down- 
trodden and suffering Jewish race, and more particularly of 
that section of it which was to be found in the wealthier 
mansions of West Kensington and Tyburnia, en route from 
the East End to the House of Lords. He sustained its racial 

1 See Note 12s for that fuller discussion. 


pride, if indeed that needed sustaining. He insisted upon 
Israel's distinction and its inappeasable hunger for restora- 
tion to the land of the protracted Promise. He told them 
of the Dreamers of the Ghetto. He reminded them of their 
origins with humor and emotion. He helped them to feel 
"different/ 9 as the American car salesmen say, and mystically 
better. They were, he persuaded them, not really having the 
good time they seemed to be having; behind the brave face 
they put upon things they were weeping by the waters of 
Babylon. The true voice of Israel was to be heard not in 
the West End of London -but when it went off for a trip to 
Palestine and, following the customary routine, wailed at 
the Wailing Wall. Always he spoke of "My people." 

He brought his championship to our deliberations. We 
various British authors had had our trivial shares in the 
"war to end war," and we were very willing to fall in with 
any proposals that would help to rationalize the heated and 
punitive atmosphere of the Versailles peace. We felt that a 
peace that would indeed end war was slipping away from us. 
But we found this conference dominated by the communist 
dogmatism of Madame Marx, against which Bernard Shaw 
protested, and Zangwill's preoccupation with his "people." 
He laid down the conditions that would satisfy their needs; 
he insisted on what would satisfy them, what would make 
them willing to help us, and the difficulties an offended 
Jewry could create for us. So far as I could grasp his drift 
he was dealing with us as the British Empire. We were not 
the British Empire, but it was vain to protest. Zangwill was 
a very resolute character and that was the drama he had 
in mind. Just as in our private disputes he would insist on 
treating me as a devout Christian. Then he could say: "But 


your Saviour was a Jew!" Useless to plead that I was not a 
Christian, and that there might be considerable prepotency 
in the Holy Ghost. Zangwill was being the captive nation 
making his terms with the oppressor. It is the drama so many 
people still have in mind when discussing this question. 

In those days we in the victorious allied countries were 
all ready to believe that the world was really recovering from 
the War and entering upon a phase of comparative freedom 
and hope. We did our best not to think too much about the 
state of affairs in Germany. Everybody was talking of re- 
construction and rationalization, and it was possible to deal 
jestingly with things that have now become intolerably grim. 

The Zionist movement was the crowning expression of 
what I, in fiat contradiction to Mr. Browne, hold to be the 
obdurate insistence of orthodox and semi-orthodox Jewry 
upon their peculiarity. In the years immediately following 
the war, there was a lull even in the normal persecutions in 
Eastern Europe to which the orthodox were subjected. They 
suffered indeed during the civil disorders that preceded the 
consolidation of the Bolshevik government; Whites, Reds 
and Greens were alike guilty of pogroms of varying degrees 
of virulence, and there was in consequence a certain exodus 
westward, but as the new law and order were established 
in Russia these outrages ceased and the process of rapid 
assimilation, to which reference has already been made, 
began. But already the champions of Judaism were adver- 
tising to the whole world how implacably they insisted upon 
their eternal essential foreignness. They had demanded a 
national home, so that elsewhere they could be forever 
foreigners. They might within limits accept the advantages 
of citizenship of the country they lived in, but essentially 


they would not belong. They would vote, hold office, rule, 
but always with Zion in their hearts. They ignored the 
manifest fact that the day of small sovereign states is draw- 
ing to an end, and that in a world of ever-growing violence, 
to plant themselves massively in any particular area was to 
invite a wholesale disaster. 

Today when the whole world is being subtly pervaded 
with anti-Jewish feeling, and when the restraints upon the 
predatory and persecuting impulses in the human animal 
are being rapidly weakened, these implacable nationalists are 
still conspicuously seeking suitable regions where they can 
go on being a people by themselves, where, pursuing an 
ancient and irrational ritual so far as it suits them, they can 
sustain a solidarity foreign and uncongenial to all the people 
about them. 

No country wants them on such conditions. Why should 
any country want these inassimilable aliens bent on pre- 
serving their distinctness? Palestine is an object lesson. Until 
they are prepared to assimilate and abandon the Chosen 
People idea altogether, their troubles are bound to intensify. 
No one can help them while even a die-hard minority a 
minority that the general body of them does not disavow, 
a nucleus about which habit and association and sentiment 
gather very readily and to which it is easy f or lost sheep to 
return- prefers these exasperating pretensions of a special 
right and claim to becoming frankly and of their own 
accord common citizens of the world. 

These are the elementary facts of the quandary to which 
the Chosen People have come, the more relentless dragging 
the doubters and half-hearted with them. They are facts 
that have to be stated, even though matters are now coming 


to a complexion which gives a flavor of ruthlessness to their 
bare statement. 

Because this obdurate separatism which, after all, except 
for the growing trouble in Palestine, has been hitherto more 
of an irritant than a downright evil, is now conspicuous and 
challenging just at a phase in human affairs when it is be- 
coming extremely dangerous to be in any manner alien and 

In the last two paragraphs of 4, the essential facts of the 
present rapid dislocation of social order have been stated. 
Social disintegration is now a world-wide reality, it is a 
convulsive breaking-down everywhere of long-established 
systems of law and order, an almost cataclysmal dissolution. 
It is a process far vaster than this Jewish question we are 
discussing and it arises from causes that have no special 
connection with that trouble. But it catches up the Jewish 
question in its swirling eddies and spins it about so that its 
fluctuations become indicative of the character of the entire 

The Jewish question is already something very different 
from what it was a score of years ago when Zangwill cham- 
pioned and threw that glamor of racial romance and Mac- 
cabean heroism about the ancient ways. Those were tolerant 
days. At that time it was easy for people to fall away from 
the old observances if they chose and become Christians or 
unconforming skeptics. Now, and it is the most ominous 
aspect of the new phase, in many parts of the world the 
doors of escape from orthodox Jewry are being closed. These 
doors are not being closed from the inside; there i no way 
of closing them from the inside. They are being closed from 
the outside. Those who are disposed to apostasy are being 


turned back by the outer world. Nothing of this sort was 
happening twenty years ago. A number of people, and some 
of them are very sinister people indeed, are beginning to 
say, "You insisted upon being Jews. Jews you shall be." 

The operating causes in those wide alternations between 
social confidence, a sense of stability and a prevailing law- 
fulness and intolerance, and phases of insecurity, fear, dis- 
honesty and general unrighteousness, which have manifestly 
occurred in the human story, have still to receive anything 
but the most casual attention from the historian. Those 
happier periods, when the social machine was running 
smoothly, when men were able to move about freely 
and almost fearlessly, work with a sense of fair reward, 
when there was something definite and reasonably sat- 
isfactory and hopeful for most of the young men to do, 
have been by far the less frequent and the least secure. 
Order and peace have been precarious always in the growing 
human societies of the last four or five thousand years. There 
have been constantly recurrent phases of mutual pressure, 
expansion and that dislocation without which readjustment 
is impossible. Then doubt and suspicion invade men's minds. 
They lose that feeling that they are being properly taken care 
of; there is no confidence that services will be rewarded or 
debts paid; mutual trust gives way to suspicion. Social be- 
havior deteriorates. The strong and cunning no longer feel 
that the weak will be protected. The suspicious look for 
scapegoats to blame, for evil doers who have offended the 
gods, for conspirators. Particularly for conspirators, 1 

We do know and we have already stated in general terms 
the forces that have produced the particular phase of 

1 See Note 12c for The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, etc 


violent social disintegration that is going on today. They 
are world-wide and unprecedented. Socially they are more 
destructive than anything our species has ever faced before. 
The disintegrating changes in the social order of the past 
were probably due to much more localized and quite differ- 
ent influences: to unrecorded fluctuations in the relative 
welfare of classes, to the social shifting due to new economic 
processes, to the infiltration of foreign ideas and prac- 
tices, to foreign pressure, to epidemics no history can 
be complete without a proper study of the social sequelae of 
plague, the Black Death and the like to sustained bad 
weather, drought for example, over a number of years, to a 
stimulating and disorganizing influx of gold such as hap- 
pened after the discovery of America. These and a thousand 
other disturbing forces have been enough to tilt the always 
unstable and insecure social balance back to general distrust 
and convulsive, self-protective dishonesty. The adaptive cul- 
ture fails. Things go to pieces, Man reverts to his more 
natural state of a fear-and-desire-driven beast. 

In the history of any social system such periods of disor- 
ganization display almost parallel phenomena of demoral- 
ized mass action. The strong are looking for the weak not 
only individually but collectively in order to gratify their 
craving for power, the crowd is seeking the furtive enemies 
of the state, the fearful are looking for the strange wicked- 
ness and secret mischiefs that have brought about the dis- 
comforts o the time. In such an atmosphere any marked 
kind of people are liable to set upon, are liable to be ringed 
about for victimization and punitive plunder. 

Such a convergence of hostility has by no means been 
confined to the Jews. The Albigenses, for example, in the 


south of France, had no very special relationship to the 
Jewish community. They were a Christian sect with certain 
heretical ideas derived by way of Bulgaria from the Gnostics 
and Manichseans. They were charged, by their exterminators, 
to whom we owe most of the knowledge we have of their 
beliefs, with abnormal sexual practices. What is more cer- 
tain is that they protested vigorously against the corruptions 
of the Church and were markedly anti-sacerdotal. They 
spread throughout Provence and prospered throughout the 
twelfth century. Their movement was in several respects an 
anticipation of the Protestant Reformation. Whereupon the 
Church invoked the harder, ruthless and more Catholic 
north, and preached a Crusade against them. Moral and 
religious indignation and the prospect of loot implemented 
their destruction. Here we cannot tell the tale of massacres, 
burnings alive two hundred in one auto~da-ftihe sadistic 
terrorism and blackmail of the Holy Inquisition. . . - 

The Armenians again are another much massacred, non- 
Jewish but distinctive people. 

But it is the Jews who have generally been the marked 
people throughout the realms of Christendom and Islam. 
They have generally "got it first." And repeatedly the door 
has been slammed upon Jews who have been seeking to get 
away or were actually getting away from the threats that 
darkened over them* 

Lewis Browne gives a compact and effective account of 
the fate of the Marranos in Spain and Portugal. He tells of 
the forcible baptism and conversion of the Jews in 1391 in 
the face of a storm of popular hostility. The government, 
because of their financial and administrative usefulness, 
opened a door of escape for them. They were given the 


choice between exile and massacre or Christianization. A 
great majority chose the latter, and since all the synagogues 
were closed and the practice of the Jewish law sedulously 
suppressed, within three or four generations most of these 
baptized Jews became just as good or better Catholics than 
their neighbors. This from the outset was a huge disappoint- 
ment for those neighbors who had been whetting the knife, 
so to speak, for an orgy of murder and plunder. It seemed 
to them the meanest trick conceivable. They called these 
desperate converts the New Christians or more familiarly 
swine (=Marranos), and set as rigid a bar as possible on 
any intercourse with them. As Jews they had been "dogs" 
but now they were "swine." "Conversion indeed!" they said. 
"You don't get away with that" 

In complete good faith the majority of the Marranos in 
the next generation or so were Catholics, "These hapless 
creatures," says Browne, "took no pride in their past. On 
the contrary they were through and through ashamed of it 
and groaned that it be forgotten." That did not help them 
in the least. Massacre and detailed persecution closed in on 
them. The tale is fully told in Mr. Cecil Roth's History of 
the Marranos. It is a frightful story, but from the point of 
view of the present discussion it is almost the same story, 
Inquisition and all, as that of the Albigenses who were not 
Jews at all. 

An entirely parallel treatment has been meted out in the 
last decade to the Christian Jews in Germany. They have 
been herded back upon their orthodox brethren, in the same 
spirit and for the same reason that the Marranos were kept 
apart for destruction. We are witnessing now a swifter and 
vaster repetition of that Marrano tragedy. 


A time has come when a multitude of men and women 
of more than average intelligence, men and women who in 
reality have no essential racial difference from the average 
European, are finding themselves with no foothold what- 
ever upon the earth, dispossessed and hunted from country 
to country, marooned in impossible regions, deprived of the 
normal protection of the law, beaten up by anyone who 
chooses to beat them up, outraged, tortured, sterilized, 
stripped of everything, ill-treated in every possible way. They 
seek escape from one country to another, and the countries 
where they would take refuge, suffering now from the fast- 
spreading economic and social malaise of this current phase 
in human history, are more and more chary of receiving 
them even as assimilable individuals. Everywhere employ- 
ment is dislocated. Everywhere they encounter the protest: 
"We have our own unemployed!" 1 

A great book, a book of victims with thousands of au- 
thenticated cases, could be filled already with the tale of 
forced suicides, murders and abominations done upon these 
refugees, and there is no reasonable prospect of surcease. 
From the narrower point of view the compilation might be 
called The ]ewuh Boo\ of Martyrs, but from another it 
could be entitled The Natural Man, because its broader 
interest lies in the clear demonstration of what the inherent 
brute in man can do when the grip of law and order relaxes. 
It is a horrible recrudescence of primordial human reactions,- 
but that is no reason why we should shut our eyes to the 
role of the alien nationalism of the Chosen People in ex- 
posing them first and foremost before any other people to 
this accumulating outbreak of hatred, cruelty, bestiality and 

1 See Note 12D upon the refugee question. 


every sort of human ugliness. They are the first to suffer in 
the social dissolution of our epoch, because they have stood 
1 out most conspicuously. They are the most obvious "mur- 
'derees" and "plunderees." They come first. But they are only 
the first. . . . 

I have enlarged upon their case because it is not only con- 
spicuously challenging at the present time but because it 
brings into the picture most of the elements of the present 
human situation, the general disposition of any established 
community to adhere to forms and traditions of living long 
after their survival value has disappeared, the normal blind- 
ness of human beings to the onset of novel and more exact- 
ing conditions until disaster actually supervenes, the swift- 
ness with which social balance can now be overturned. 

I can see no other destiny for orthodox Judaism and those 
who are involved in its obloquy, unless that enormous effort 
to reconstruct human mentality for which I have been 
pleading amvesln time "to arrest their march to destruction. 
That, if it is to save our species, must be a reconstruction so 
bold and wide, an amnesty so fundamental, that it will 
sweep the religion of the Chosen People and this age-long 
feud of Juif and anti-Juif out of the living interests of man- 
kind altogether. 1 

1 For a practically identical view vividly expressed, read Wyndham Lewis's 
The Jews, are they human? 



FROM THE TRAGEDY OF Judaism we must turn now to Chris- 
tianity, that second and greater branch of the Bible tradition, 
which is the basis of contemporary Western civilization. The 
word Christianity has covered and still covers an immense 
variety of idea systems, but today it finds its most highly 
organized and active expression in the Roman Catholic 
Church. That too is a power transcending national and 
state boundaries and playing a distinctive part in molding 
human thought and destiny today* 

In certain respects Catholic Christianity is in diametric 
contrast to Judaism; in certain others the two cults run side 
by side. They have this in common that nearly everywhere 
they produce the feeling that they are alien cultures. They 
are apt to be suppressed by governments together, as in 
Hanoverian England and Hitlerian Germany, and to be 
emancipated together. But they differ fundamentally in the 
fact that while participation in Judaism after the early phase 
of eager proselytism became for many reasons difficult, 
Christianity from its beginning with Saint Paul (Acts xi, 26) 
onward has been a missionary religion, seeking and incor- 
porating converts throughout the whole world. 

It not only incorporated converts but it incorporated 



ideas. It sprang from the Jewish sect of the Nazarenes, but 
in the course of the three centuries before its forcible sta- 
bilization by Constantine the Great in 325 at the Council of 
Nicsea and the definitive formulation of its three creeds, the 
third-century Apostles 5 Creed, the fourth-century Nicene 
Creed, so much more explicit about the Trinity, and the 
Athanasian (of uncertain date and authorship) which finally 
cleared up the Trinity business for good and all in a drum- 
ming storm of intolerant nonsense, it had practically become 
a synthesis of all the chief religious cults of that mentally 
festering age. 

The Catholic Church emerged from these formative cen- 
turies as an organization of very considerable tenacity, but 
intellectually it was already the most extraordinary jumble 
of absurdities and incompatibilities that has ever exercised 
and perplexed the human intelligence. It accumulated accre- 
tions like a caddis worm. Still though now with more 
deliberation it assimilates. At a very early stage it devel- 
oped sexual obsessions unknown to its cognate Judaism. The 
Virgin Birth began to worry its usually celibate theologians. 
Jesus on one occasion (Matthew xx, 47-50) had very defi- 
nitely denied any religious importance to his mother, but 
with the taking-over of Isis and the Infant Horus, as the 
Virgin and Child, this was disregarded. The Virgin became 
a divine queen, very beautiful and adorable. St. Ignatius 
Loyola, contemptuous of the earthly attractions he had 
found unsatisfactory, vowed himself her Knight, and be- 
lieved there was a mutual devotion. That the intenser re- 
ligious succumb very readily to the suggestions of such 
phrases as "The Bride of Christ," one can find ample evi- 
dence for in the vast literature of the Christian mystics. It 


became necessary to sublimate the Virgin, the attractive 
Queen of Heaven. She had to be made "sinless" and born 
without "sin." So the theologians excogitated a "sinless" 
begetting for her. It is difficult to tell these things without 
a touch of derision. The doctrine of the Immaculate Con- 
ception emerged from their meditations. It was mainly a 
Spanish product, and there is a monument to the Immacu- 
late Conception outside the Alcazar in Seville. It is perfectly 
decent; it is a grouping of the divines, thinkers and spiritual 
heroes, grave and dignified figures, who contributed to the 
perfection of this profound discovery. For centuries, how- 
ever, this Immaculate Conception was not a matter of faith. 
It was made so by a bull of Pope Pius IX as recently as 1854. 
There was a great assembly of bishops and dignitaries in 
Rome from all parts of the world, a great gathering of adult 
men robed very beautifully and carrying themselves very 
seriously. A happy sense of a great consummation pervaded 
them. And now all good Catholics must believe in the 
Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, though what it 
is they think they are believing in I cannot imagine. 

And so, century by century, the great fabric of the faith 
goes on accumulating. It has become a sort of Cumberland 
Market of religious notions. 1 There is something from every- 
where in it and, wherein lies its chief attractiveness, some- 
thing for everybody. No single mind can cover that mighty 
mental jumble sale in its entirety, so that anyone willing 
to be converted has no difficulty in ignoring the less con- 
genial articles of the collection. You will, for example, find 
the sternest condemnation of socialism, no Catholic can be a 
Socialist, and then you will find that the author of the com- 

1 For a frank Catholic admission of this, see Note 13A 


pletest forecast of communism, commissars and all that, Sir 
Thomas More, has been canonized as a saint. 

The organization of the Church, with its confessional and 
its spiritual direction, facilitates this fragmentary approach 
to faith in every possible way. The convert is invited and 
trained to help in his own subjugation. He is implored to 
pray for light. He must bury his sense of humor. These, he 
is told, are serious matters. A hearty laugh at the metaphors 
of relationship in the triplex composition of the divinity 
would -shatter the whole process. Derision is the deadly 
enemy of Catholicism; it drives it to indignant persecution, 
indignant silence or indignant flight, according to the ex- 
igencies of the situation. 

Christianity picked up the Holy Trinity, it would seem, 
in the second century, and very manifestly from Alexandria. 
By that time Alexandria far more than Jerusalem had be- 
come the spiritual home of Christianity. Neither St. Paul 
nor Jesus insisted upon the fundamental importance of 
right views about the Mystery of the Trinity to their fol- 
lowers. To say the least of it, it was inconsiderate of them 
to leave it to the author of the Athanasian creed, centuries 
later, to formulate in terms of the now long-abandoned meta- 
physics of Alexandria, "The Catholic faith, which except 
a man believe faithfully he cannot be saved." Did Matthew 
know? Did Peter understand? It leaves one anxious about 
the ultimate fate even of St. Paul himself. 

Why do intelligent people accept this strange heap of 
mental corruption as a religion and a rule of life? That 
question will bring us back to that reorientation of the 
human mind, and that conflict between the actuality of the 
present and the accumulating reality of the future, to which 


I have devoted 9. They accept it because it is there before 
them and because it existed long before they did. They grew 
up to it and even if they were not actually born and bred 
Catholics, they saw it everywhere taken for granted and 
treated with respect, cathedrals and shrines, saints and 
martyrs, in art, in literature, in history, in the world about 
them. There is no reasoning in a stained-glass window, but 
there is an immense amount of conviction. To turn from 
the menaces of stark reality to established religion is to be 
immediately reassured. To turn from active, questioning 
minds to the company of the faithful is inexpressibly com- 
forting. And with that you get prescription and direction 
for all the main issues of life. The Church, the faithful 
about one, a vast volume of literature and history, agree in 
saying: "Don't trouble. You are all right. Do as we do and 
all will be well." At times I have tried to imagine what 
such a natural born scoffer and rebel as Mr. Hilaire Belloc, 
whose mental processes have always interested and dis- 
tressed me, thinks at Mass. But that is just when he suspends 
all tliinking. Credo quia absurdum, I suspect is the note of 
it, a triumphant revolt against his own intelligence. He be- 
came a scoffer and rebel against liberalism and scientific 
revelation because he resented their compelling convincing- 
ness. Any fool, he felt, could believe that. 

And it is equally easy to understand the attraction of the 
Catholic Church to those outside but within the influence 
of the fold. They are already half converts. They "go ove^" 
without the slightest examination of the fundamental ab- 
surdities of the faith. Conviction comes after a discussion 
of the A ]^ gt 2lir jSuK^fWMV apdjh 1 * validity (^j-h^ P^nf^fanf 
Orders. Such things are deKberate^vefy gravely. WxtETT 

"' '.,*,.'***""*****>? %-*---*** 


sense of enhanced importance, the convert takes to fjish on 
Tndays7is receiv^'attends Mass, feels unutter^le things. 
TJni^ ^"evealoJiimself. ItJs^aJJ^so' tremendously estab- 
lighed Quiescence, spiritual *pegg^qgpes. UnShtHe anxiety 

of the times taices hSdTo these rmjjjtys l?pi^ f act, they 

^r^j-ijHft. ^tflRr **** t *Mfttaf w* 1 * <Mtt <^n*w** a ^ . . . 
wilinpt recognize the element or malignity in the activities 

oFtiis gx^aforganization to^which they, are^ clinging. Even 
feel ffost"r3uctance ir^v^^gojt 


creative reality,, which would make ^ 

in this world of limitless A danger^ Ijmitlcs^ difficiu^ an 

Fantastic, defiantly absurd as this vast pile of the Faith 
becomes to anyone who dares to go into it and question it 
fearlessly, it is far less fantastic than the actual organization 
of the Church. Its central control rests with a close corpora- 
tion of priests, mainly Italians, the cardinals, who with 
scarcely a break have elected a continuity of Italian Popes 
for the last three centuries. Spiritually Italians must be a 
very superior people. 

In the Vatican, in entirely unveracious succession to St. 
Peter, sustained by a handsome subsidy from the Fascist 
government and the less reliable contributions of the faithful 
at large, the Holy Father, in the measure of his intelligence 
and the quality of his advisers, keeps his court and steers 
the Church through the pitfalls of this world. He has had 
the medieval education of a priest; his advisers have worn the 
mental blinkers of the devout, and just as far as they dare, 
they influence the political life of the world, according to 
their limitations and prejudices. In all the democracies the 
"Catholic vote'* obeys the tortuous wisdom of these scheming 


old anachronisms. Here tyrannies are blessed and here re- 
volts are fomented. The devout in France or Britain, for 
example, must support the Franco pronunciamento to the 
infinite injury of their own countries. 

Joseph McCabe in his History of the Popes tells the story 
of the Papacy with a certain bitter accuracy and an ample 
citation of authorities. The Catholic reader will, I know, 
feel that my recommendation of that outspoken book is in 
the worst possible taste. But let me nevertheless urge it upon 
his attention. It will trouble his mind, but it will purge it. 
But if he asks his co-religionists questions about it, they will 
make him feel as if he were making rude noises. 

When we try to estimate the role the Church is now 
playing in mundane affairs we have to realize that on earth 
it has no definite objective at all. It is a vast, self-protective 
organization which seeks merely to exist and if possible 
spread. Its friends are those who support and serve it; its 
enemies and its enmity has the unrelenting quality of an 
instinct are those who have thwarted, controlled and sup- 
pressed it. It is against Soviet Russia, against every Protestant 
system, against every country which insists upon secular 
education; it is on the side of every government, however 
corrupt and evil, which attends Mass and makes the sign 
of the cross. Its real objectives, it alleges, lie in another 
world. In some strange existence outside time and space 
the reckoning will be made, and those who have swallowed 
the Athanasian metaphysics, taken the advice of their priests, 
and performed all their religious duties, will enjoy heaven, 
and those who have fallen short will pass to heaven through 
a state called purgatory or descend into hell forever, accord- 


ing to the enormity of their disrespect. Bolsheviks, I assume, 
will all go to hell. 

In the past it was the custom of the Church to suggest 
that the sufferings in hell and purgatory were essentially 
physical tortures, and simple folk were given pictures of the 
damned being burnt in flaming bowls, tormented by red- 
hot pincers, racked and maltreated very richly and variously. 
The state of bliss was less fully particularized. Nowadays 
one hears remarkably little of either the upper or lower 
aspect of the future state. Yet why is there no copious and 
attractive literature upon the subject? Why are there no 
speculative anticipations? Why have Catholic poets recoiled? 
It should be a most fascinating preoccupation to imagine 
that unearthly loveliness ahead. There are not even im- 
postors to offer us dreams and visions. No one has ever 
produced a plausible page from a celestial Baedeker. Even 
Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress stops short at the gates of the 
Celestial City. We are left to imagine "these endless Sab- 
baths the blessed ones see." There is the Book of Revelation 
indeed, but who except cranks and lunatics reads the Book 
of Revelation? And that, after all, is symbolic prophecy and 
not to be mistaken for a picture of reality. The fact of it 
is that the majority of Christians are not even reasonably 
curious about the future life, and they are not curious be- 
cause they have no more positive belief in it than I have. 
They are Christians because it is the most convenient and 
agreeable pattern of life for them, and for no other reason 

And yet the Church is something more than a picturesque 
and reassuring frame for an everyday mode of living. It 


provides that, just as it provides dispensations, annulments 
of marriages for the wealthy, titles, blessings, missions, fes- 
tivals and displays, but such things are by the way. It exists 
primarily for itself. It is always anticipating and warding off 
dangers and occasionally it counter-attacks. There is an in- 
cessancy in its self-preserving activities, and in this present 
phase of world crisis it is encouraging much partisan activity. 

There comes to hand as I write a book, Crisis for Christi- 
anity by William Teeling, which summarizes very clearly 
the ideas of a Catholic reaction and recovery that are stirring 
the imaginations of the more active faithful I do not know 
who William Teeling is. His title page supplies no informa- 
tion beyond his bare name; he has written at least one other 
book, The Pope in Politics; but he seems to have met and 
discussed affairs with most of the leading Catholics in 
Europe; and I understand that that very peculiar body, the 
British Council, which spends 100,000 a year in endearing 
England to foreigners by sending them carefully chosen, 
if occasionally highly unrepresentative, samples of British 
thought and behavior to lecture and talk to them, has availed 
itself of his services. So that his book gives us not only the 
present Catholic outlook, but one at least of the many faces 
the now highly diplomatic and incalculable British Empire 
turns to the world. 

The first thing to remark about this book is that it com- 
pletely ignores the existence of any modern, scientific picture 
of the world. So far as I am able to judge, this is a real and 
not a deliberate ignorance. Mr. Teeling was probably edu- 
cated in a Catholic atmosphere from which such knowl- 
edge is excluded. He seems to have no idea of the 
Good Life except in what survives today of Christendom, 


White Christianity that is to say, finding its completest 
embodiment in the Roman Catholic Church. Regardless of 
the foreign missions, he fears that Christ may "desert 
Europe" and leave it "to be completely overrun by the 
Yellow Races or -the Black or the Comjnunists and to pass 
through horrors undreamt of even today." The most Chris- 
tian countries of Europe now, he says, are "Franco's Spain, 
Catholic Belgium and God-fearing Britain." Mrs. Nesta 
Webster, to whose mentality I have devoted a Note at the 
end of this book (Note 12c), could not have a livelier horror 
of Jews and Russia. Outside the Christian pale there is one 
single movement to which he turns with a certain hope 
and kindliness, and there I think he is probably giving us 
a fair reflection of the Vatican-centered mentality. He has 
met and discussed matters, it is to be noted, with the present 
Pope. He seems to be a fair sample of how Catholics think, 

He writes: "No matter what we may think of the Nazi 
leaders, or the methods they employ, they are at least instill- 
ing into the nation as a whole, and not only into those who 
might be their willing converts in a free country, a desire 
to help the maimed, to support one's neighbors, to work 
and live clearly, such as no democratic country is able to 
show. The democratic governments pay only lip service to 
much that is Christian, and they scarcely ever try to enforce 
it, while the Trade Unions and other socialist groups in 
this country" (i.e., Britain) "encourage, as indeed do some 
of the less-thoughtful Conservative die-hards, a form of class 
warfare which Christianity can never tolerate. 

"My own feelings are all in favor of a free democracy 
giving the opportunity to lead a Christian life, seeing that a 
willing Christian is worth more to God than an unwilling 


one. But if the democrats do not respond, and under the 
cloak of freedom carry on a most un-Christian life, can we 
expect that God should favor them, rather than a disci- 
plined body that at least is practicing some of the teachings 
of the Sermon on the Mount?" 

That is how the Church wishes to see the Nazis today. 
Our exponent ignores the implacable resolution with which 
the education of the young is being wrested from the Cath- 
olic teachers in favor of Wotan, and the bulk of this edify- 
ing book is a discussion of the possibilities of a sympathetic 
swamping of this Nazi movement by the incorporation of 
more and more Catholics into the Reich so that at last it 
will be possible to chip off the flapping ends of the swastika 
and restore the cross. It is all set out very attractively. The 
curious reader can learn how Dollfiiss on "Great Catholic 
Day" (Sept. llth, 1933) inaugurated the first German Cor- 
porative Christian State, and less explicitly how he stamped 
down socialism and labor. It was Dollfiiss who betrayed and 
destroyed the radical republic that had ruled in Austria from 
the end of the War. It was he who stood behind Major Fey's 
smashing-up of the workmen's dwellings that had been the 
pride of the socialist regime in Vienna (Feb. 1934). This 
was not only a frankly uncivilized act but a piece of political 
folly. 1 

It left him face to face with the Nazis. They assassinated 
him in July 1934, but the Catholic Corporative movement 
went on less confidently under Schuschnigg, until the for- 
cible realization of the Anschluss in 1938 by the Nazi army 
made Austria an integral part of the Reich. 

Ultimately Mr. Teeling thinks Nazi Germany will have 

1 John Gunther's Inside Europe is particularly good on this. 


an indigestion of Catholics. That is his hope. Large parts of 
Bavaria, Baden and possibly Wiirttemberg and the Rhine- 
land, are to break away and join up with Austria. Com- 
munism may gain control in Italy Mr. Teeling throws that 
out quite abruptly and gives no reason for his assumption 
and then the Vatican will have to make Vienna its head- 
quarters, Nazism and Fascism will be at a discount, and the 
Authoritarian State, founded on the suggestions of the Papal 
Encyclical Quadragesima. Anno (Pius XI, 1931) for a cor- 
porative society will be installed in Vienna, with the Em- 
peror Otto at its head and the Pope near by. 

There you have the sort of thing the energetic young 
Catholics of today can imagine; the sort of thing the present 
"God-fearing" British government is unobtrusively subsidiz- 
ing and spreading about, to the ultimate confusion of all 
Jews, atheists, men of science, Bolsheviks, Russians (but see 
tile Note 12c on Mrs. Nesta Webster.) . . . 

So much for the Catholic contribution to human adjust- 
ment today. 

We are too apt to forget the narrow educational limita- 
tions of those who figure as wise, unquestionable leaders of 
men. Everywhere that applies, we live in a medley of 
ignorant systems, but it is the Catholic culture I am now dis- 
cussing. It is a common tendency in our minds to believe 
that what we know clearly is also known clearly to other 
people. We are all too apt to believe that these dignified 
directors of human consciences know and understand the 
body of modern knowledge, that they have studied, judged 
it and rejected it. 

But these Catholic prelates, so imposing in their triple 
crowns and miters and epicene garments, are in fact ex- 


tremely ignorant men, not only by virtue of the narrow 
specialization of their initial education, but also by the inces- 
sant activities of service and ceremony that have occupied 
them since. They can have read few books, they can have 
had no opportunities of thinking freely. They are not nearly 
the cynical rogues so many non-Catholics think them; most 
of them are trying most earnestly to do right by the dim and 
dwindling oil-lamps inside their brains. They are quite 
ready to believe Mr. Belloc when he tells them, with that 
buoyant assurance of his, that Darwin was inspired by the 
ambition to abolish God in the universe. That fits in com- 
pletely with their prepossessions. Why should they seek 
further? Mentally they live in another universe from ours, 
and the pity is that materially our universes intersect. 

The slovenly, unorganized, intellectual world in which 
we and they live together, gives them no opportunity of 
grasping modern ideas without an impossible expenditure 
of perplexing inquiry. And to set against that we must re- 
member that their world of theological elaborations remains 
an unmapped jungle to the unbeliever. They may have some- 
thing to say to us but we are quite unable to get it, and con- 
versely. The mind of mankind is still like a scattered jig- 
saw puzzle, bits of knowledge here and bits of knowledge 
there and no common pattern visible. And until we have 
something in the nature of that permanent world encyclo- 
paedia I have tried to foreshadow, so matters must remain. 
That revival of the Holy Roman Empire under the Emperor 
Otto, which strikes a realistic modern intelligence as fan- 
tastically absurd, presents itself to the Vatican intelligence 
in the guise of sober and subtle statecraft. 


It is not necessary for us to wait for the return of -the Holy 
Roman Empire to appreciate the nature of the Roman Cath- 
olic Christian State. In Eire (formerly Southern Ireland) 
and in Spain, the Church rules and we can watch it in 
operation. Franco's Spain is still too busy cleaning up the 
Republican Opposition, by shootings, expulsions and pro- 
scriptions, to develop the Christian life in its complete beauty, 
but in Ireland, Catholicism has been in control for some 

A stringent censorship of books and publications and a 
fairly complete control of education have produced a first 
crop of young men, as blankly ignorant of -the modern 
world as though they had been born in the thirteenth cen- 
tury, mentally concentrated upon the idea of bringing the 
Protestant North under Catholic control in the sacred name 
of national unity. That tension of the young men to which 
so much social disturbance is due seems to be increasing. 
There has been a steady flow of emigrants to Great Britain, 
and recently there have been a number of bomb outrages 
designed to terrorize the British government into an aban- 
donment of Northern Ireland. These patriotic zealots set 
about their business in a vein of pious devotion. They take 
Mass and purify their souls by confession of everything 
but -the particular enterprise they have in hand. And if the 
British police deal sternly with these foolish, misguided 
youngsters, all Catholic Ireland will set up a. great outcry, 
possibly with more and better bombing, to avenge or release 
this new crop of national martyrs. 

The future of Ireland is incalculable. Hopeful Irishmen 
abroad have indulged in dreams of a restless and independ- 


ent-minded people tiring of priests, piety and patriotism 
and returning presently as an animating influence to world 
civilization. But how can these young men get the idea of 
that? We may perhaps find sounder intimations of Ireland's 
future in the experiences of the Catholic South American 
States. A people jyhich learns little forgets nothing, and the 
Church in Eire may be trusted to see to it that the young 
men of Ireland learn little and so sustain their tradition that 
inveterate animosities are dignified and desirable. The prob- 
abilities seem to point to murderous faction fighting, with 
Northern Ireland and England always to fall back upon in 
phases of comparative unity. There is a close temperamental 
kinship between the Irish and the Spanish, and the history 
of South America has already produced a series of bosses 
and pronunciamentos, vindictive massacres and pitiless wars. 

Never has there been such heroic, cruel, senseless warfare 
as those little Christian hells in South America have known. 
Paraguay under Solano Lopez fought on until its population 
was reduced from 1,300,000 to under a quarter of a million. 
Regiments were made up of boys between twelve and fif- 
teen, and women were enrolled to carry ammunition and 
stores. When these women could keep up no longer, they 
were either left to die by the roadside or, i there was any 
chance of their falling into the enemy's hands and yielding 
information, butchered out of hand. No doubt many a 
wretched young conscript rebelled against his lot, but what 
could he do ? He might hope for a change of leaders. He 
had no other ideas. It was impossible for him to have other 
ideas. 4 

The Roman Catholic Church, that clumsy system of frus- 
trations, that strange compendium of ancient traditions and 


habit systems, since it lies in the closest entanglement with 
the intellectual life of the Western world and still holds 
many millions in its grip, is certainly the most formidable 
single antagonist in the way of human readjustment to the 
dangers and frustration that now close in upon us all. 



THE CONFLICT OF JUDAISM and anti- Judaism is a tragedy in- 
volving the misery and destruction of at most a few million 
people, and were it not that the abolition of distance has 
made every one of us his brother's keeper, it would be an 
incident of secondary importance in the general collapse 'of 
civilization that is now going on. But the struggle of Chris- 
tianity to maintain its present ascendancy affects the larger 
part of the human race. The Roman Catholic Church is 
the most highly organized and efficient embodiment of 
Christian teaching, the Orthodox Churches of Greece, Ser- 
bia, Russia and the like are relatively negligible systems of 
ceremony and superstition, the British Imperial culture it 
will be more convenient to consider later, and the next 
group of world forces to which we must direct our attention 
is the Protestantisms, that series of movements and organiza- 
tions which has arisen through the incapacity or unwilling- 
ness of people to accept this or that outstanding incredibility 
of the Catholic faith. 

They protested. But for the most part they did not pro- 
test outright against the ensemble of Church beliefs. That 
would have been too awful for them. The earlier reaction 
was to discover some incompatibility between the Bible and 



the practice and teaching of the Church. The courage of the 
Protestant has grown by degrees. None of these earlier 
doubters were capable of facing, even in their secret hearts, 
the terrific isolation of denying Christianity. Such a denial 
was almost unthinkable in Christendom for those born 
within the pale, and they did not think it. For reasons we 
made plain in the preceding section, when we asked why 
it is that fairly well-educated people cannot merely remain 
but become Roman Catholics, these early dissentients clung 
quite desperately to the assertion of their essential orthodoxy. 

A convergence of mechanical inventions occurred in the 
sixteenth century to strengthen the Book against the priest; 
paper in sheets of a uniform size replaced parchment, and 
the rapid multiplication of books by printing from movable 
type became possible. Suddenly Europe was sprayed with 
Bibles and vernacular translations of the Bible, and the 
Church found itself assailed by a variety of new Protestant- 
isms that steadily gathered strength and enterprise. Men 
brooded dubiously over the inspired word. All the Protes- 
tants began as "reformers," and their original protests were 
the distressful cries of honest men, who were as I have 
noted iu an earlier section usually priests. 

But though the Church monopolized education, ruled 
men's minds, sanctioned and condemned conduct, adjudi- 
cated on political claims, preached crusades, excommunicated, 
put states under interdicts, and held an ever increasing accu- 
mulation of land and wealth, it had never secured a physical 
grip upon the secular arm* It trusted for obedience to the 
spiritual fears it could arouse and the civil inconveniences it 
could cause. It could turn state against state and subjects 
against their rulers. It could dissolve allegiances. In an 


illiterate world this gave it an effective security. Many mon- 
archs and princes lived in a 'state of uneasy resentment 
against the restrictions imposed upon their conduct. There 
was a continual struggle going on over such things as the 
appointment of bishops, the restriction of gifts and bequests 
to the Church, the taxation of its accumulating property. 
These lords and princes struggled and lived and died, but 
the Church had a massive continuity. Sooner or later it re- 
covered its concessions and advanced to further aggrandize- 
ments. So long, that is, as its moral power, its grip upon the 
minds and consciences of the people, remained. 

It could bluff its way through many scandals and abuses 
so long as faith was unimpaired. But these honest doubters 
and critics, with their arguments and proofs, gave a novel 
strength to the recalcitrance of the princes. Before, they had 
been recalcitrant like naughty boys, there had been fear and 
the possibility of repentance behind their outrages, but now 
they began to behave like youths growing up and discover- 
ing flaws and weaknesses in the character of the governess 
that hitherto even in their disobedience they had respected. 
They seized very gladly upon this new destructive criticism 
of the doctrines of the Church. They gave the reformers 
their protection and ample opportunity to spread their doc- 
trines. So that a thinly concealed desire for autonomy and 
the confiscation of the vast estates of the Church, mingled 
very remarkably with honest protestations in the Protestant 

All this is a matter of history. We need not recapitulate 
the process by which the new Protestant States that detached 
themselves from Rome sought first to utilize and then to 
limit this process of protesting and questioning, of which 


they had made such good use, by setting up government- 
controlled Established Churches. Nor need we do more than 
glance at the way in which Peter the Great took a leaf from 
the English Establishment and applied the same process of 
nationalization to the Orthodox Church in Russia. These 
Protestant State Churches play a diminishing role in the 
present drama of human aff airs. What is of greater interest 
for the purposes of our present inquiry is the inability of 
any of these would-be-religious settlements, as reading, writ- 
ing and controversy spread, to arrest the progressive release 
of the human intelligence. 

The implementing of the Bible by printing had two di- 
vergent results. The most conspicuous at first was a definite 
return towards the spirit of Old Testament Judaism. The 
Old Testament is the larger, more various and intriguing 
part of the Word. One theme in it, which appealed more 
to the reformers and thoughtful subjects generally than to 
the princes, was the Calvinistic theme, the assertion of a 
stern Theocracy, the rebuking and warning of kings by 
prophets, a republicanism under God. The other, politically 
more agreeable to the established rulers, attached less im- 
portance to predestination and more to the good works that 
came naturally from the Christian monarch. According to 
the former doctrine he might fail to be one of the elect and 
be denounced and disobeyed in this life and damned for- 
ever in the next, however amiable his behavior. According 
to the Lutheran alternative he justified himself by the in- 
evitable rightness of his works. 

Here we cannot enlarge on these attempts to adjust the 
new Bible Christianity to the needs of that period. But one 
very natural mental twist may be noted, and that was the 


widespread disposition of the Protestant Christians to iden- 
tify themselves with the Chosen People, either mystically or 
physically. It would need a small encyclopaedia to recapitu- 
late the writers, movements and societies that have sought 
to prove some magical migration of the "Lost Ten Tribes" 
to Western Europe. There are British Israelites of that per- 
suasion today. Such a jungle of absurdities it is, as could 
only flourish in an ill-instructed world. But one curious vari- 
ant upon this craving to be an elite with specific divine 
favor we shall have to consider when we come to estimate 
the value of the Nazi movement in the complication of 
human destiny. . . . 

The reversion of large parts of Christendom to Bibliolatry 
and the Chosen People idea was however only the first and 
most immediate result of the invention of printed books. 
Many accepted the authority and read and believed. But 
some read and thought and compared as they read. Gather- 
ing momentum more slowly was a new skepticism, which 
began to question the divinity of the Bible itself. 

The doctrine of the Trinity was on the whole one of the 
less fortunate acquisitions of the Catholic Church. It has 
always given trouble from the days of the Arian heresy 
onward. It gave Charlemagne an excuse for breaking with 
Greek orthodoxy on the profoundly important point whether 
the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father only or from the 
Father and the Son. Arian and Trinitarian, Latin and 
Greek the history of their wars was written in the blood 
of millions. With the increase of questioning in Christen- 
dom, that triplex divinity began presently not merely to 
untwist but to lose its second and third strands altogether. 


Men dared presently to call themselves Unitarian, bowing 
politely but distantly to the Biblical record. 

Then came another step. A fashion of skepticism spread 
among -the European nobility and gentry in the seventeenth 
and eighteenth centuries; bold spirits encouraged each other 
to the pitch of doubting and ridiculing the Bible altogether. 
They became naughtily wicked about it. They were deists. 
There were soon enough of them to live in easy understand- 
ing with each other. Voltaire and Gibbon typify their qual- 
ity. But atheism still remained a rather shocking extrava- 
gance. Only temerarious individuals professed so extreme a 
lack of belief, and usually it was associated with defiant 
blasphemies and a general pretension to extreme depravity. 
By this note of defiance in their excesses, these eighteenth- 
century atheists betrayed a lingering belief in the God they 
had denied. It was the ideas of God and good not only in 
the world about them but in themselves that they fought 

The bright young people who gathered about Sir Francis 
Dashwood at Medmenham Priory set out to be terrible fel- 
lows with their Hell Fire Club and their Black Masses, 
but how could one get the slightest thrill out of a Black 
Mass unless one had a lingering awe of the Mass itself? 
Without that much belief a Black Mass is an inane bur- 
lesque of nothing in particular. 

It is only in our own time that Protestantism, the pro- 
gressive etching away of belief by inquiry, has reached its 
natural finality in complete, untroubled disbelief in super- 
human authority. Even now many atheists prevaricate. If 
the word "God" means anything at all, it means a powerful 


being sufficiently anthropomorphic to have reciprocal rela- 
tions with the individual man. A God who is not a personal- 
ity is a contradiction in terms. But because of the ribald and 
ungenteel associations of the word "atheist," a great num- 
ber of atheistic thinkers and teachers and writers have clung 
ambiguously to the entirely deflated name of "God." God, 
they say, is -the Absolute, he is a force not ourselves making 
for righteousness, he is the whisper of conscience, he is the 
brainless Thinker responsible for the mathematical order 
of the world, he is immanence. These are mere subterfuges, 
God-shaped vacuums. 

A sort of theism in effect, a theistic feeling at the begin- 
ning of life, may be as innate as suckling. The natural and 
necessary disposition of all immature creatures to believe they 
are being taken care of, survives and will no doubt survive 
always. Even if they do not think in theistic terms they will 
still believe in protection. And throughout the Western 
world, in Christendom and Islam and Israel, children will 
be constantly hearing talk of God, so that a father-like divin- 
ity becomes the form of this basic feeling. Until a mind is 
fully adult, it finds great comfort in that ancient personifica- 
tion of a natural but transitory need. And there is still a 
disposition on -the part of unbelieving parents and of teachers 
who should know better to utilize this craving for depend- 
ence in the moral training of their children. Most educa- 
tional psychologists are convinced that it gives a better result 
in behavior to teach children that the right thing should be 
done, not because of an all-seeing eye or a loving Father in 
Heaven, but because it is simply just that the right thing 
to do. Innumerable Confucians and Buddhists have lived 


noble and beautiful lives without the assistance of an unseen 

Protestantism carried on to its end is a complete accef i- 
ance of the limitless, impartial and continually more wonder- 
ful universe that scientific inquiry is illuminating for us; 
that is to say, it culminates in atheism without qualification. 
Its final stage is a world of grown men, free from supersti- 
tious fear and free equally from belief in any guidance of 
the world that can relieve them from responsibility for the 
shortcomings and failures of our race. 



WE COME NOW TO the Nazi movement, which is, in its pos- 
sibilities of destruction, the most urgent challenge -the human 
mind and will have ever had to face. Nazi Germany may 
well bring down conclusive disaster on our species. Yet its 
intellectual content is naive, and its sudden extreme impor- 
tance the result of a convergence of accidents. A people al- 
most stupidly warlike, led by a maniac, threatens the world 
and holds in its hands all the exaggerated powers of de- 
struction modern science and invention have created. 

It is plain that the Fuehrer is insane; he shows all the 
symptoms of a recognized form of sex mania, the jealous 
fear and hate of the great raping black man who in his 
case becomes the Jew. Since in his case his obsession endan- 
gers the lives of people about him, he should be certified 
and put under restraint. But insanity has its advantages as 
well as its handicaps. It involves an abnormal concentration 
of purpose and nervous energy. In its phase of mania it 
abolishes or at least defers fatigue and sustains long spells 
of sleepless vigilance and penetrating distrust far beyond 
the compass of the normal man. These qualities alone never 
made any man the leader of a mighty nation. Hitler's in- 
sanity would have had little effect upon the world if it had 



not slotted veiy easily into certain essential needs of the 
German situation. But for that he might be shouting, froth- 
ing and orating in a madhouse at the present time. But it 
happened that he supplied just the inflexible spearhead, the 
inhuman pertinacity, required to give extreme expression to 
the feelings of a humiliated and outrageously treated people. 

The Nazi movement, or something essentially like it, was 
inevitable. Had there been no Hitler, or were Hitler to van- 
ish tomorrow, Germany would still be the problem sister 
among the European states, the embittered and crazy sister 
clutching the high explosive bomb. 

The Nazi movement was inevitable because she had a 
greater surplus of young people without reasonable hope of 
life than any other country in the world. They had no colo- 
nies to go to, no great business enterprises to develop; no 
employment of any sort. There you have the primary condi- 
tion for a desperate outbreak. If you want the state of mind 
of pre-Nazi Germany compactly rendered, read Hans Fal- 
lada's Little Man, What Nous? That post-war generation 
grew up to explode and it has exploded. What else could 
have happened? 

In 12 the conditions under which social order may 
degenerate into phases of suspicion, persecution, and 
plunder have been discussed. Post-war Germany displayed 
these conditions to an exaggerated degree. A new regime 
should have its own new education to explain itself to the 
community, but the staggering liberal Republican Germany 
of the twenties carried on without any revolution in its 
schools and colleges. They had become a great means of 
patriotic consolidation under the Hohenzollern regime, they 
had been purged and vetted for a third of a century to that 


end, and now they were hard at work establishing in the 
minds of a new generation the innocence of Germany for 
the war and the conviction that she had never been de- 
feated; she had been cheated and betrayed. She was suffering 
bitterly through no fault of her own. The teachers mined 
the democratic republic. Everything was ripe for an out- 
break of hysterical patriotism and a great pogrom before 
Hitler became of the slightest importance. 

And here another factor in the mentality of that domi- 
nating section of the German peoples which we may call 
Nordic-conscious came into play. Much of it was only 
less anti-Catholic than it was anti-Jewish. Its mentality had 
been framed upon the Lutheran interpretation of the Bible, 
and with a certain acceptable reversal it was possible to ap- 
ply the conception of a Chosen People to the Germanic 
world. The Nazis took that over in one magnificent plagi- 
arism. The Slav Prussians, the Alpine Bavarians, the 
melange of Gothic and Celtic peoples in the Rhineland, 
discovered that they were one single, pure race of beautiful 
blonds. They saw through their mirrors to the inner truth 
of themselves. They knew that in spite of appearances they 
had lovely, pure, blond souls. They turned upon the Jews 
and all foreigners with the completest paraphrase of the old 
Bible nationalism. And, wiser in their generation than the 
post-war liberal Republic, they have seized upon the schools 
and universities, and are doing their best to mold the men- 
tality of the entire Reich to this fundamentally Biblical idea 
of a militant Chosen People Germanized. 

Explicitly the new teaching retranslates Jehovah as Wotan, 
the old Kaiser's unser alter Gott f and flouts the most ele- 
mentary concepts of Christianity. But it is impossible to esti- 


mate with what consistency this new religion of heroic com- 
bat is being imposed upon the youth of the Reich. Variations 
in statement may set the brighter ones thinking. All the 
books have not been burnt. We do not know how much of 
social democracy remains beneath the Nazified surface. We 
do not know how much counter-propaganda is going on in 
the outwardly submissive and still tolerated Protestant and 
Roman Catholic congregations. 

I have cited Mr. William Teeling to show the Roman 
Catholic expectation of a German return to the faith, but I 
doubt whether he fully realizes the relentless vigor of the 
educational drive of the new religion. In Austria just as 
much as in Germany they are turning the children against 
parent and priest. Mr. Teeling, I think, counts his Catholics 
before they are hatched. He would be wiser to count them 
after they are educated. The complete de-Christianization 
of the entire Reich, of southern as of northern Germany, is, 
I think, the greater probability. 1 

But that involves no release of German thought; it is only 
a relapse into organized, relentless barbarism. Science in 
Germany has been silenced completely. There is no free sci- 
entific opinion any more. What remains of German science 
is enslaved to produce either secret discoveries of military 
importance or sustain the crazy ethnology of race superiority. 
But if research in non-German countries is forced, barbarism 
for barbarism, to adopt a reciprocal protective secrecy, it 
may not be long before Germany realizes a decline in her 
technical efficiency. She may cease to make discoveries 
herself and she may be able no longer to borrow them from 
abroad and develop them for her own purposes. This may 

1 See School for Barbarians by Erika Mann (1939). 


move her to some loosening of the gag on her laboratories 
and an attempt to re-open communications with the alien 
world outside. And that again may undermine that still 
very unstable Wotan. 

The problem of what will happen in Germany is the 
major problem of our immediate future. If the Nazi process 
continues upon its present lines, then all die world must be 
given over to the .servitude of war preparation, at least until 
Nazi Germany ceases to exist. So far, Germany has con- 
quered the earth already. The demonstration of the impos- 
sibility of independent sovereign states under modern condi- 
tions is complete. This finishes it. The declared Nazi objec- 
tive is to create a unanimous, belligerent Germany, a blood- 
thirsty nation, entirely tough and ruthless, resolved to use 
any weapons and any methods, however monstrous and de- 
structive, in its march to world dominion. It will fight and 
conquer, or blow the world to pieces. 

How will that drive to destruction end? It is possible but 
highly improbable that this desperate adventure may suc- 
ceed, and the whole world, or what is left of it, may cower 
at last at the feet of Wotan's Chosen People, its masters. Or 
that after a world storm of war, more horrible than any war 
has ever been, Germany may be defeated and stamped out 
by victors become at last as ruthless as their enemies. Or as 
a third possibility; something may occur within Germany 
to shake the Nazi solidarity. Many accidents are possible. 
Mental forces at present unrevealed may appear. All Ger- 
man thought is not in concentration camps. Individuals 
may die, new groupings may occur, resolution may falter 
at the eleventh hour. Every month that this tension endures 
without an actual explosion, the search for escape from 


Armageddon will become more intelligent both within and 
without Germany. The magnitude of the still impending 
danger will help more and more people to realize the mag- 
nitude of the reconstruction needed to restore safety and 
hope to mankind. Which means, inter dia, restoring security, 
hope and ample scope for energetic activities, to the stifled 
youth of Germany from whose exploited frustrations all 
this trouble has arisen. 

Before we leave this vital question of the German outlook, 
it may be well to note one sinister possibility in contempo- 
rary thought. Because of the peculiar filthiness and malignity 
of the Nazi concentration camps, because of the sheer hor- 
ror of the stories told by the more or less broken creatures 
who have escaped from them, there is a widespread dispo- 
sition to assert that Germans are particularly cruel; that they 
are indeed a specially evil-spirited variety of human being. 
Old stories of atrocities are being revived. Now this is to 
concede the Nazi claims to be a unique people. We cannot 
have it both ways, and, if we argue, as we have done in the 
preceding sections, that the Germans are not the pure blond 
Chosen People they imagine themselves to be, but a melange 
of Slav, Celtic, Gothic and Alpine elements with only a lan- 
guage to bind .them together, then we cannot also entertain 
this idea of a specific sadistic streak in Germans. 

Yet when we compare the evidence of those who have 
been interned in various countries, we find a general agree- 
ment in one respect, in regard to the attitude of the minor 
officials towards the prisoners, which at the first glance does 
seem to justify this particular charge against the Germans. 
There is a consensus of evidence by those who have been 


there, that in British and Russian prisons the attitude of the 
guard, the warder, -the turnkey and so forth is generally 
sympathetic to his charges. Fellow feeling is his quality. He 
regrets his instructions and does his best to mitigate them. 
At times he may lose his temper or dislike and bully some- 
one, but that is an individual lapse. But his German equiva- 
lent, there is no doubt of it, does his tortures with zest, hates 
his charges as though they were loathsome animals, and is 
ingenious in devising new pains and abasements and suf- 
fering for them. It is important that we should make up our 
minds about the real nature of this difference. If it is innate, 
then biologically it would be an excellent thing to kill all 

But most of us who have known and seen Germans in- 
timately have found them as humane and helpful as most 
people. They are generally more law-abiding than the Irish 
or the English. They like to be relieved of the dangers and 
troubles of responsibility by explicit directions. That may 
be a habit of mind due to a persuasion that this is a danger- 
ous world with which it is unwise to take liberties, and it is 
quite compatible with these cruelties. The position of the 
Germans in Central Europe has always exposed them to an 
exceptional imminence of warfare. The country has been 
overrun time after time by alien armies. Plunder and rapine 
have flowed over the land. The German-speakers lived for 
the most part in a great plain, they had no mountains in 
which they could hide. It was only by screwing themselves 
up to fighting pitch and facing all comers, that the divided 
German states were able to maintain themselves at all. They 
were called upon by their circumstances to be tougher fight- 
ers than any other Europeans. 


Toughness therefore is as much in the German tradition 
as it was, for other reasons, in the Spartan. They had to de- 
spise fear and pain in themselves, and that for most human 
beings means despising fear and pain in others. The Nazi 
is not a born tough. If he were changed at birth and put 
among gentle, fearless people, he would not be a tough at 
all He is a being innately as gentle as you and I, only he is 
inspired by an hysterical desire to be utterly tough. He re- 
fuses to give way to the horror of other people's torments, 
because from doing that it is only a step to giving way to 
pain and fear himself. And, attacking his own shrinking and 
disgust, he goes out of his way in a sort of desperation, to 
devise and inflict ruthless, disgusting and intolerable things 
on the recalcitrants, the evil-doers, the detected conspirators 
and we must remember that he has been made to believe 
them that committed to him for reformation. Deliberate 
cruelty is not a characteristic of limitless strength. Great 
strength may be heedless and unconsciously cruel, but not 
ingeniously and appreciatively cruel. It would get no thrill 
out of it. That is reserved for men and women who are in- 
wardly afraid. It is sensitive people who seek to sustain and 
fix themselves by outrages. 

Here it would take us too far from our main argument to 
examine other cases of torture and cruelty, the abominations 
done by Red Indian and Arab women for example, after 
battles. There is indeed no people on- earth against whom 
some phase of cruelty cannot be brought. The English as- 
sume themselves to be a particularly gentle people, and with 
some truth now. Yet consider the cockshies and bear- and 
bull-baiting that delighted their ancestors in the past and 
the extreme savagery of the penal laws at the end of the 


eighteenth century. There is a strain of cruelty, suppressed 
or overt, in every human being. It is inseparable from self- 
assertion and the craving to exercise power. . . . 

But enough has been said to qualify this charge of a spe- 
cial German cruelty. Those concentration camps must be 
forgotten if ever Germany comes to judgment. Vindictive 
reprisals may be part of the behavior pattern of a patriotic 
Irish Catholic who knows no better, but not of a civilized 
man. Let the dead past bury its grievances. They can have 
no part in the rational reconstruction of human life. . . . 

And here, apt to my argument, comes confirmation. Since 
I wrote the above I have had a talk with a man who has been 
in a German concentration camp, and he told me of how an 
official, instructed to give him, for no particular reason, 
thirty lashes, fell into conversation with him after the sec- 
ond stroke, found out that he had been the editor of an 
illustrated paper he liked, sat talking journalism, omitted 
the rest of the prescribed beating, saying only, "I suppose 
your friend here won't give us away," quite after the Rus- 
sian or English pattern. The friend was trustworthy. All 
fellow-prisoners are not trustworthy. One of the minor 
vilenesses of Dachau is that prisoners are bribed by petty in- 
dulgences and payments to report small relaxations of dis- 
cipline. And many are in such physical misery, craving to 
smoke, craving for taste of sweetness, that they do. 1 

1 See Stefan Lorant's I was Hitler's Prisoner. 



TOTALITARIANISM is NO NEW thing in the Western world. It 
is stated very completely in Hobbes' Leviathan. Leviathan 
is the State into which the individual life is almost com- 
pletely incorporated. Its will is concentrated on the sovereign 
who heads the collective monster by right divine. He makes 
war and peace, he raises up and casts down, he levies taxes 
as he will. Even while Hobbes was preparing his book for 
press, England decapitated Leviathan in the person of 
Charles the First. The practical difficulty of the Corporative 
State has always been the question who should be the head 
and how a new head should succeed its predecessor. The 
High Anglican Church upheld the monarchy and main- 
tained the hereditary principle, but the liberal gentry, the 
merchants and the tax-paying classes generally, were too 
much for the state monster. 

Except in the case of Franco's Spain and the extinguished 
Catholic Corporative State of Dollfiiss, the heads of the 
totalitarian states of today are usually sustained by "parties" 
of a distinctly gangsterish quality. At the cost of mental 
flexibility and adaptability, the corporate state gains a cer- 
tain immediate concentration of will. Our problem is to 
estimate what amount of mischief these obstinately knotted 



will systems may do with the monstrous weapons of the 
present time, before they themselves can be undone. It may 
be irreparable mischief. 

The Nazi culture has been weighed in the previous sec- 
tion. Now we turn to its weaker associate, fascism. This is 
immediately interwoven with the career of one single man, 
Benito Mussolini. Compared with Hitler he is sane, intelli- 
gent and human. He is vain, rhetorical and immensely ener- 
getic, with the energy not of morbid concentration but 
physical abundance. He is what many men would like to be. 
His career from his early days as a socialist conspirator, 
when oddly enough he was already nicknamed U Duce, to 
his present supremacy on the crest of middle age, is a fairly 
open book. It is laced throughout with a thread of the ridic- 
ulous. Where Hitler is an unqualified horror, Mussolini 
often is, as schoolboys say, a bit of an ass, which is much 
more endearing. Until we remember the castor oil cam- 
paign and the poison bombs in Abyssinia and the Lipari 
Islands, and Amendola and Mateotti and Roselli and the 
like, he is a lark. But then the lark stops singing. We know y 
absurdities about him from which he cannot escape, ^e 
have the researches of the curious and the revelations of inti- 
mates. Madame Balabanoflf x tells a fairly convincing story 
of his life at Geneva, Mr. G. Megaro 2 gives the particulars 
of his upbringing among the rebel spirits of the Romagna, 
quotes relentlessly from his early speeches, and shows with 
chapter and verse how strenuous have been his efforts to 
conceal the truth about his early career. That anxious eye on 
posterity, these absurd and belated efforts to escape the unre- 

*My Life as a Rebel ( 1938) . 

* Mussolini in the Making (1938). 


Jenting pens that pursue him, are naturally pleasing to a 
writer with a weakness for derision. 

But do not let us judge Mussolini only by the writings of 
his enemies. A more flattering study, written indeed in 
terms of unrestrained admiration, is My Autobiography. It 
was dictated by the Duce himself at the request of Mr. Rich- 
ard Washburn Child, if possible a more fulsome hero- 
worshiper than the autobiographer himself, and it is amus- 
ing to compare its evasive flourishes with the relentless doc- 
umentation of Megaro. If one learns little about the black- 
smith father one gets hitherto disregarded particulars about 
the aristocratic Mussolinis of former days and their armorial 
bearings and castles and so forth. Anybody on record who 
was ever called Mussolini seems to have been his ancestor 
and to have anticipated some or all of his distinctive quali- 

ties. 1 

Here we are not concerned either with biography or his- 
tory except in so far as they throw light on the present world 
situation, but it is of very great importance in our estimate 
of the future of fascism to realize that the personal vitality 
of its creator must now be passing its maximum. He was 
born in 1883. For some years there has been an increasing 
appearance of effort and uncertainty in his grandiose ges- 
tures. It is as if he felt Italy was slipping away from beneath 
him. He has manifestly become dependent on the tougher 
initiatives of Nazi Germany. He is less sure of the Church. 
Six years ago he was holding up Dollfiiss in Austria as a 
barrier against Hitler. And where is that barrier now? The 
Nazis look down on him from the Brenner Pass. He is 
losing face with his own people and his Nazi friends do 

1 See also Professor Salvemini's The Fascist Dictatorship in Italy (1928). 


little to help him in that matter. A few years ago it was 
dangerous to talk about him in Italy. Now they are talking. 

Can there be a second Duce to follow the first ? His high- 
spirited daughter and his son-in-law, Count Ciano, seem 
impatient to outdo his Fascist intemperance, but they will 
scarcely dare to attack and oust him, and it is not in his 
character to resign. Unless some unanticipated accident re- 
moves him from the scene, we shall have, not Giovinezza, 
but a middle-aged fascism to reckon with from now on. 

The Italian situation has several incongruous elements 
and their relative importance varies continually. The Vatican 
(face Mr. Teeling and his friends) seems now firmly dug 
in at Rome. Its relations to fascism have always lacked en- 
thusiasm; it has ideas of its own. In the case of Fascist col- 
lapse or national defeat, the monarchy also stands ready to 
return and save the country. If the monarchy returned, 
would it be liberal or Catholic totalitarian? And the for- 
eigner knows nothing of the possibilities of social discontent 
in Italy. Italy is a land peculiarly unfitted to stand the 
stresses of modern war. She is mostly coast line. She has no 
coal, and the Apennines are a thousand feet too low for her 
to have snowfields that would give her irrigation or water 
power. She can better defend herself against Germany in 
the Alps than against the sea power of France and Britain. 

All these considerations lead towards the same conclusion, 
that in the probable war tornado of the near future, Italy, 
if she is not clever enough to keep out of it, will play a sec- 
ondary and gesticulating role. She may suffer many things. 
She has not the fixed will, and she cannot afford to have the 
fixed will, for war, at which the Nazi culture aims. It is 
Nazi Germany which remains the danger center of mankind. 



THE NEXT NETWORK OF thought and behavior we must bring 
into this reckoning of world forces is the British Empire. 
British Imperialism, like Roman Catholicism, is a natural 
aggregation. No man planned it; it discovered itself in be^- 
ing. It is a crowned oligarchy, claiming to be democratic 
because it uses universal suffrage for election to one of its 
two Houses of Parliament, and to correct that it has an 
easily manipulated voting system and a proprietary press 
dependent on advertisement revenue for the information of 
its citizens. At no phase in history have the common people 
played a dominant part in the government of Great Britain, 
and in every phase the baronial oligarchy has prevailed. It 
is the tradition and education of this oligarchy which deter- 
mines the behavior of the Imperial Government and its role 
in contemporary world affairs. 

Runnymede is the typical scene in the pageant of English 
liberties; Magna Carta documents the fundamental British 
situation. Magna Carta secures the liberties of the baron and 
free yeomen of the realm from all the main abuses of un- 
qualified monarchy. It concedes no more rights to the churls 
and common folk of the land than it does to cats and dogs. 
About this central picture of the monarch amidst his bar- 



ons English history groups itself. The king is restive, but his 
peers are stern. They war with the Scots and the French 
and they conquer and parcel out Ireland. The Church car- 
ries on its habitual struggle for existence, asserts itself, is 
restrained; it becomes rich and is reformed and plundered. 
The Crown, with a Tory following and a sympathetic 
Church, tries to go back upon Magna Carta, asserting its 
divine right to absolutism, and one king is beheaded and 
another goes into exile with his family, leaving the oli- 
garchy, with a manageable new dynasty of Hanoverians, in 
possession. It over-exploits its American colonies and loses 
them, and it happens upon a greater Empire in the East. 

Never once in the proud island story does the will of the 
common people matter a- rap. Occasionally they give trou- 
ble; they get rather out of control after the Black Death; 
and a little later we find them asking quite inconclusively: 

"When Adam delved and Eve span 
Who was then the gentleman?" 

They subside into deepening misery with the industrial 
revolution, and they reappear in the nineteenth century 
struggling for nothing more than better wages and rather 
more tolerable living conditions. There was nothing very 
democratic about British trade unionism as we have de- 
fined democracy in 6 and hardly more in the Labor 
Party that derived from it. The British Labor Party has 
never displayed any ambition to direct the affairs of the 
Empire. It aspires to nothing of the sort. It acknowledges 
the class inferiority of the workers and haggles by means 
of strikes and votes for a more tolerable but admittedly in- 


ferior way of living. By diminishing the discomfort of the 
masses and mitigating and soothing the exasperations caused 
by excessive business enterprise, it plays a stabilizing role in 
the existing system. Not only is it utterly absurd to call the 
British government now or at any time in the past a demo- 
cratic government, but it flies in the face of manifest facts 
to deny that it is farther off now from anything that can be 
recognized as a democracy than it was thirty years ago. The 
old Liberal Party was liberal in its professions at any rate; 
the Labor Party is densely conservative. The British masses 
neither rule nor want to rule. They are politically apathetic. 
They do not produce outstanding individuals to express their 
distinctive thoughts or feelings, because they have no dis- 
tinctive thoughts or feelings to express. Outstanding indi- 
viduals of humble origin are obliged to fall into more or 
less easy acquiescence with the ruling system. There is noth- 
ing else for them to do. The oligarchy is privileged, it has 
to be served first at table with everything, office, honors, 
opportunity, but it is not exclusive, and that is one of the 
factors in its continued existence. 

I do not know of any comprehensive study of the educa- 
tion and training of the British ruling class throughout the 
ages. The feudal world was limited enough for a lord to 
get away with very little reading and writing. He had his 
clerk, his cleric, at his elbow, and he felt he could keep his 
eye on him. His world was all in sight. Leech, lawyer and 
priest knew their places and stuck to them. The renascence 
and the coming of the printed book altered all that. The 
medieval universities were swarms of poor scholars. The 
gentleman of the renascence had his tutor at home and 
went to grammar school and university. The grammar 


school became the narrowing portals through which the 
poor scholar had now to pass on his way to the learned 
professions. The Latin and Greek classics came into the 
Western world first as a stimulant and then, as the peda- 
gogues watered learning down to scholarship, as a distinc- 
tive culture. The British oligarchy of the sixteenth and sev- 
enteenth centuries conceived of itself as Roman patricians 
and was rather ashamed of its illiterate members. It made 
the grand tour with its tutor, achieved a sort of French and 
Italian and became artistic and architectural. The apt clas- 
sical quotation adorned the Parliamentary debates into the 
middle of the nineteenth century. After -that it became in- 
frequent. It was not that the classics were going out of 
fashion but that the standard of learning was sinking. 

Culturally the British oligarchy was at its best in the sev- 
enteenth century. It knew what it wanted and how to get 
it. It managed its estates ably. It built fine houses, it made 
great progress in agriculture; its younger sons went into 
trade and spread adventurously into America, India, China. 
A prolific Protestant clergy supplemented the supply of en- 
terprising young men. Yet a shadow fell upon the outlook 
with the Hanoverian importation, and Pope's Dunciad 
marked the change. The Goddess Dullness is enthroned: 

"And at her fell approach and secret might 
Art after art goes out and all is night." 

The oligarchy still ruled and flourished materially under 
that unstimulating dynasty, but it made no further progress 
mentally; it ceased to be alert and adaptable, it became ac- 
quisitive, tenacious and conservative. Because of these quali- 


ties it presently irritated the thirteen American colonies into 
separation. The French Revolution took it by surprise. When 
the French in their turn decapitated their king it was not 
flattered by the imitation. It was scared. The revolutionary 
mob, it realized, was something different from the Iron- 
sides. The Ironsides sang hymns and were sternly respect- 
able. These people from Marseilles sang a much more 
alarming song. 

The deterioration of an education is usually a complicated 
process. The mere fact that it is materially successful makes 
for uncritical contentment, and discredits change. Teaching 
falls into the hands of sound, orthodox, unenterprising men. 
It becomes humdrum. Interest shifts to the greater reality 
of the playing fields. The history of British education of 
the education of the oligarchy, that is to say, for popular 
education had hardly begun from, 1760 to 1860 is a his- 
tory of resistance to change and steady deterioration. 

The nineteenth-century British gentry had nothing like 
the full-bodied classical education of the preceding centu- 
ries; they had only the pedagogic vestiges of that education. 
Mathematical studies had been introduced, but they were 
as stylistic and useless as the pedants could* make them. By 
the middle of the nineteenth century the self-complacency 
of the British governing classes was being protected educa- 
tionally not only from the subversive ideas of the French 
Encyclopaedists and the French Revolution, but also from 
that more fundamental upheaval which was making biolog- 
ical science the key to a modernized mentality. A dwindling 
section of the upper classes could read French still; there 
was an attractive breadth in the French novel that the do- 
mestic fiction of the period did not display; but Voltaire 


and Gibbon were passing out of fashion. When gentlemen 
scoffed, Queen Victoria was "not amused." 

Within the narrowing field of their cultivated ignorance, 
the young gentlemen prepared themselves vigorously for 
Parliamentary and administrative careers, and they devel- 
oped an -enthusiasm for open-air sport and that primitive 
form of bath called the Englishman's tub, which was quite 
outside the ideology of their Tudor and Stuart ancestors. 
Many of them still shoot with distinction; others devote 
much time and attention to fly-fishing; others again culti- 
vate gardens and watch birds. They have developed a pecul- 
iar literature of their own; memoirs, biographies and auto- 
biographies, collections of letters and speeches, which estab- 
lish their social values and supply them with patterns for 
the careers they follow. This constitutes the bulk of their 
reading. So equipped, the British oligarchy, at the head of a 
vast and scattered medley of dominions, crown colonies, 
mandated territories, India, faces the vast occasions of our 

It is questionable whether it faces them with any ideas 
about their future at all. Or its own future or any future. 
Like the Catholic Church, its main purpose seems to be to 
hold on, aimless except for self-preservation. It means to go 
on with the sort of life its fathers have left it, forever if 
possible, and that apparently is all it means. Crown, Church, 
lords and gentry will just stick at what they are where they 
are, until something shatters and replaces them. And they 
will do this not out of any essential wickedness but because 
in fact they know of nothing better to do. 

The English-speaking world produces an abundance of 


thought and new ideas, and it has a reading public suffi- 
ciently large to secure the translation of any really original 
book written in any language under the sun. But that read- 
ing public is widely dispersed and the major part of it is 
probably outside the boundaries of the Empire. The British 
ruling class is shy of ideas and imaginative creation, it 
dreads and hates what it calls highbrow conversation, and it 
can have very little time to explore beyond its distinctive 
literature of personalities. A number of concepts and under- 
standings, a vast multitude of facts, that are known and 
clear to all well-informed peope, seem never to have entered 
the British ruling-class mind or to have entered it only in a 
crippled or belittled state. 

Here again, just as in our examination of the mutual un- 
awareness of Catholicism and skepticism, we may fall into 
the error of imagining that what is known to us must nec- 
essarily be known to other people. But in reality these peo- 
ple who rule the British Empire do not willfully ignore a 
great number of things, they are simply ignorant of them 
or ignorant about them which is quite a different matter. 
Ever since the first French Revolution, for example, the 
mind of the British ruling class has remained barred against 
any understanding of revolutionary democratic ideas. The 
French Revolution frightened them and they pulled down 
the blinds upon it. They chose to think that liberty means 
nobody doing any work, that equality means bringing the 
under-housemaid up into the drawing-room and sitting her 
down to play the grand piano, to her and the general em- 
barrassment, and 'that fraternity means embracing extremely 
unwashed untubbed people. Socialism again they regard 


as a dividing-up of all the property in the world into exactly 
equal shares for everyone. ("Inequality would come again 

Since the advent of a real social democracy would certainly 
mean very profound readjustments in life for them, these 
quick shorthand interpretations so to speak, are far more 
satisfying and sufficient than a sustained argument. They 
insist upon thinking like that, and if their sons and daugh- 
ters get other ideas they discourage them and "laugh them 
out of it" if they can. Everything indeed outside that little 
anecdotal world of theirs with its importances and routines, 
that world they would like to go on forever, they know as 
little about as possible; and since they have never looked at 
such projects and interpretations directly and intelligently, 
they cease to be projects and interpretations and are appre- 
hended vaguely as prowling monsters, threats and perils 
the Red Peril, the Yellow Peril, the Black Peril outside 
rational existence altogether. 

I have had plentiful opportunity of sounding the minds 
of socially well-placed people, and in common with all the 
world I have watched the political conduct of the Empire 
during the past few searching years. Manifestly the mental- 
ity now ruling is one in which "Bolshies" are the enemies 
of God and man, men who go east are "pukka sahibs,' 1 
royalties, beloved mascots whose very pet dogs are adorable, 
and workers honest drudges so long as they are not "spoilt," 
with only one weakness, susceptibility to foreign agitators. 
Americans it is understood are snobs in grain, but rich, and 
they should be kindly entreated. They will just simply fall 
down before the dear king and queen, whenever they get 


a chance. And also remember, "they cannot afford to see the 
British Empire overthrown," 

If the men get a little away from that sort of thing, the 
chatter of their women brings them back to it. Their women 
interfere a lot; the Colonel's lady is the typical figure of 
feminine influence throughout the social scale. In the army, 
in the Church, in politics, her good word raises up or casts 
down. All this is recognized openly in novels, in plays and 
social intercourse, but when it comes to political discussion 
and Times leading articles, then reality has to be wrapped 
up in a lofty pretentiousness. . . . 

This is undignified writing. This is in the worst possible 
taste. Yet I cannot explain the twists and turns of Mr. 
Neville Chamberlain unless I use the terms I do. How can I 
adorn him with splendid prose? I cannot see him as any- 
thing but essentially ignorant, narrow-minded, subcon- 
sciously timid, cunning and inordinately vain. He and his 
father, Joseph, before him appear to me as the appointed 
scavengers of the fading Imperial dream. Joseph Chamber- 
lain, with his mean yet extravagant idea of monopolizing 
the vast resources under the flag by means of an Empire 
Zollverein, aroused that convergent hostility of the Have- 
Not States, to which his son, with a sort of poetic justice, 
now makes his propitiatory surrenders. 

I do not think Mr. Chamberlain wants to "save the Em- 
pire." The Empire came and the Empire may have to go. 
He adheres to something less transitory. His more immedi- 
ate purpose, unless all his acts belie him, is to save the oli- 
garchy and its way of life from its predestined end. He 
cannot understand that that way of life is over forever. 


His family have been at such pains to achieve it, have been 
so eager, so clumsily eager, to serve it. Still he and his kind 
dream of friendly hospitable chateaux in a restored Holy 
Roman Empire or under a Spanish monarchy, and of a 
France, an Italy, a Greece made safe for the gentry again 
by the crushing out of all subversive forces. That I am con- 
vinced gives the ultimate range of the political vision of 
Mr* Chamberlain and his class. 

When New York made an Exhibition to stimulate imagi- 
nations about The World of Tomorrow, the British pavilion 
stressed the sentimental past, exhibited Magna Carta, crown 
jewels, pedigrees and an old English village. There was a 
genealogical diagram to demonstrate that George Wash- 
ington was "one of us." There was not the faintest anticipa- 
tion of that great fusion of English-speaking thought and 
activity throughout the world, of which all modern-minded 
men are dreaming. World Federation? Instead there was 
the most definite reminder that the British Crown and 
Church stood gently but inexorably in the way of anything 
of the sort. 

In the days before "Tariff Reform," it was possible for 
young Englishmen to dream of the Empire as a great prop- 
aganda and medium for liberal and broadening democratic 
methods, free migration, free trade and open speech, steadily 
weaving all the world together. It was a dream that cap- 
tured many an alien imagination, as for example, Joseph 
Conrad's, but now it is an altogether abandoned dream* The 
idea of the Empire as a step towards world unification has 
lost all plausibility, and while the Chamberlain school of 
statecraft engages in its propitiatory dispersal, the creative 


imagination turns to the still living possibilities of one com- 
mon culture of the English-speaking peoples. 

An increasing number of British people look now to the 
present President of the United States for some sort of 
world leadership. He is a good, liberal-minded fellow any- 
how, but in a sort of despair of anything better they do their 
best to exaggerate him. Britain herself produces no one to 
speak whatever liberal thoughts she has to the world. She 
has nobody of that quality, and even were there such a man 
it is difficult to imagine how under existing conditions he 
could emerge to popular attention. Without an objective, 
dumb, the Empire is becoming an anachronism, an Empire 
of passive and inadequate resistance. Its progressive disartic- 
ulation seems inevitable, and if after all the dream of a fed- 
eral reassembling of the English-speaking and English- 
reading communities struggles towards realization, it will 
owe very little to the Imperial tradition and organization. 
North America, with its looser, freer and more abundant 
mental activities, is far more likely to become the backbone 
of such a reconstruction, and to carry it out on a democratic 
rather than oligarchic ideology. Monarchy, Church, influen- 
tial families, experienced administrators and old Parliamen- 
tary hands, would merely clog and encumber the develop- 
ment of the social machinery necessary for a modernized 
world state. 

So far from exercising any further leadership in world 
affairs, Great Britain is much more likely to withdraw into 
itself. With a dwindling population, an inadequately pro- 
gressive educational system falling more and more behind 
the headlong needs of our time, and a shriveled prestige, 


the island may become unimportant enough to stand out 
altogether from the effort to effect a world synthesis. It may 
remain a crowned oligarchy yet for many years, fatuously 
content with itself and still as unaware as it is today of its 
continual decadence. Today in the Eastern world one can 
find a dozen anticipatory parallels, the self-satisfied and 
self-contained vestiges of what were once proud and im- 
portant ruling powers. 

Possibly this residual Old England, in addition to its 
hunting and shooting and fishing and race meetings and so 
forth, will carry on, will be almost forced to carry on, a 
small but bickering warfare with the equally decadent dic- 
tatorship of Catholic Ireland. In that manner, if the world 
fails to reconstruct itself, the British Islands seem likely to 
pass into the gathering darkness of the future. And if after 
all, mankind as a whole does meet the challenge of facts 
and the scientifically organized world state emerges, it will 
be into enlightenment rather than darkness that these 
island residues will dissolve. Macaulay's New Zealander 
may arrive after all, and when, according to the prophecy, 
he has visited the ruins of St. Paul's, he will be shown over 
the Houses of Parliament ("curious and rewarding," as 
Baedeker would put it) and do his puzzled best to imagine 
what that strange narrow life was like, assisted by extracts 
from Hansard, carefully preserved gramophone records of 
important speeches, enlarged photographs of Mr. Gladstone, 
movie glimpses of Mr. Neville Chamberlain in a state of 
indignation, and the still surviving political novels of Mrs* 
Humphry Ward. 



AND NOW WE MAY consider another great mental system 
ruling the minds and behavior of millions of men and 
women, which has recently become a leading factor in world 
destiny. This is Shinto, the official and compulsory religion 
of the Japanese. Formally, other religions are still tolerated, 
the Roman Catholic for example, but only on condition of 
ceremonial and practical acquiescence in the main doctrine 
of the creed* the recognition of the supreme divinity of the 
Mikado. Mr. A. Morgan Young has recently published an 
admirable summary of this culture, 1 and to this mainly I 
am indebted for the material of this section. He in turn 
gives his sources for whatever statements he makes, so that 
the interested reader can easily verify and expand what is 
given here. 

The basis of Shinto is the Kojiki, a compilation of the 
eighth century A.D. It is readable in its entirety only by 
scholars, its language being far more remote from the 
Japanese of today than eighth-century Anglo-Saxon would 
be from current English. For various reasons only portions 
of it have been modernized for general use. It begins with 
a sort of storm of Gods neither made nor begotten but 

*The Rjse of a Pagan State (1939). 



passing away. From this tumult emerge two highly sexual 
figures, Izanagi and Izanami, who might be described in 
Hollywood language as male and female "sex appeal." 
They respond to each other with tremendous vigor, beget- 
ting gods and islands and at last a Fire God who burns up 
his mother Izanami. But by this time Izanagi is so set on 
procreation that everything about him procreates; he throws 
off his clothes and they become sea gods and land gods. 
Finally he produces the Sun Goddess from his left eye, the 
Moon God from his right eye and the headlong Susa-no-o 
by blowing his nose. After which he seems to have retired 
and the Sun Goddess and Susa-no-o occupy the stage. 

After various remarkable adventures, no doubt of the 
greatest spiritual significance and full of lessons for the true 
believer, Susa-no-o meets a formidable damsel-devouring 
dragon with eight heads and other alarming accessories, 
makes the beast drunk with saki, and then kills it and cuts 
it up. But one of the tails resists and breaks his sword, be- 
cause in it there is hidden a better sword. This he extracts 
and presents to his sister the Sun Goddess. It lies today, 
thickly swathed in brocade, in the Family Shrine of the 
Imperial House in Tokio. It is one of the Three Sacred 
Treasures, the sword, the mirror and the jewel, which the 
Sun Goddess transmitted to her heirs, the divine Emperors, 
the living Gods of Japan. 

To the Western mind accustomed to a widely different 
system of myths and absurdities, this reads like monstrous 
nonsense. But it is wiser not to say that in Japan. For ex- 
ample, Mr. Morgan Young tells of what befell Dr. Inoue 
Tetsujiro, a loyal but liberal-minded Shintoist who ventured 
to doubt the authenticity of the Three Sacred Treasures. He 


was denounced, his publisher was penalized, and he was 
expelled from the Imperial University. Later on, while at- 
tending the memorial service of a friend, he was set upon 
by a gang of pious ruffians and beaten so that one eye was 
destroyed. So much for a man who had attempted to 
spiritualize and rationalize the Japanese faith. No one was 
punished for the outrage upon him, which indeed is 
only one sample among many of the spirit of renascent 
Shintoism. It is quite good form to jump at a man who 
uses a phrase or makes a gesture that seems lacking in 
piety, and stab him. It is like those fierce old colonels in 
England who assault people for not standing stiff to "God 
Save the King." 

Mr. Morgan Young makes some interesting suggestions 
about the temperamental make-up of the Japanese. There 
are important Mongolian strains in them, but he quotes 
Putnam Weale ( The Truth about China and Japan) to sup- 
port the thesis that the virile and dominating factor is 
Malay. Their clothing beneath the kimono, the construction 
of their houses, their lapses into moody murderousness are 
all Malay. He insists upon the constant recurrence of head 
hunting proclivities in their history. An unintelligent blood- 
thirstiness is in their nature and tradition. They have an 
inferiority complex with regard to Chinese and Western 
civilization, which takes the form of an extravagantly ag- 
gressive and assertive patriotism. I have followed my author- 
ities in these generalizations. So far as official Japan is 
concerned they seem to be thoroughly justified. They ac- 
count for the fact that the head of the state is not so much 
a leader as a mystically sacred symbol. The rulers of Japan 
today are Nazis without a Hitler, Fascists without a Musso- 


lini. In the animal world an acephalous monster is some- 
times, tougher to tame or destroy than one with a head. 

From the deliberate isolation of Japan in the seventeenth 
century when all the bickering Christian sects and in par- 
ticular Xavier's Jesuits were expelled, and the entry of 
foreigners and foreign travel prohibited absolutely until the 
barrier was broken down by Commodore Perry in 1853, 
there was an age of internecine feuds and exciting strife 
of every sort. Vendettas were honored. The play of the 
Forty-Seven Ronin, the most popular of Japanese plays, is 
the heroic consummation of a vendetta, ending, after the 
decapitation of the initiator of the feud, with the hara-kiri 
of these forty-seven heroes. Japan was indeed a romantic 
head-hunting preserve for the tough. And among the tough 
everywhere loyalty to the gang is the supreme virtue, loyalty 
to the gang and no mercy for the flats, the serfs, the common 
cattle, outside the gang. 

This is as true of the "wise guys" of Soho as it is of the 
gangsters of San Francisco. Wherever there are young men 
without proper employment the tough guy reappears. The 
ultimate sin is "squealing"; the crowning heroism is silence 
under the severest questioning; the master triumph is bril- 
liant outrage. These gallant fellows in Japan would rape or 
try their swords on peasants without compunction. In such 
an atmosphere of swagger and loyalty lived the Daimios, 
the feudal noblemen, and their henchmen the Samurai, until 
the barriers were forced and the outer world broke in. 

About the beginning of this century, the code of honor of 
these bickering toughs, the noble warrior's way of life, was 
idealized by a certain Dr. Nitobe, who wrote a book in 
English called Bushido, "through which the word was for 


many years far better known abroad than in Japan." He 
incorporated all the finest pretensions of European chivalry. 
His Samurai became the disciplined and fearless knights- 
errant of the world. It took in a lot of people including 
myself. In A Modern Utopia (1905), the world was taken 
care of by an order of "Samurai." They assumed the role of 
the Syphograuntes in the original Utopia, and in that they 
anticipated the Communist Party commissars very strik- 
ingly. Since 1900 we have had, inter alia, the Nazis, the 
Fascists, the Phalangists. I was thinking with my generation. 

In a lecture at the Sorbonne, in 1927, Democracy under 
Revision, I returned to that idea of a disciplined liberal 
"party." It arises naturally and inevitably out of the problem 
of contemporary indefiniteness and the relative ineffective- 
ness of intelligent people. 

Perry's guns in 1853 aroused that ringed-in Japan of blood 
feuds, hara-kiri and heroic decapitations to the existence of a 
dangerous and aggressive outer world. The Japanese nobles 
and their Samurai, given over altogether to pride, realized 
their enormous practical inferiority. While they had been 
enjoying life after their fashion, the outer world had stolen 
a march on them. It was plain they had to modernize or 
succumb like India, like Java. They had to learn the tricks 
of these foreigners and learn them quickly, their machinery, 
their weapons and generally how they did it. At first it 
seemed that Christianity might be part of the coveted advan- 
tages, and Japan thought seriously of making Christianity a 
state religion. After much recalcitrance and rebellion, the 
Shinto religion was revived and the country was unified 
under the divinity of the Mikado. 

Happily for the renascent Japanese, the British Empire 


suffers from practically incurable Russophobia. It is a con- 
stitutional disease of the British ruling class. Every assistance 
was given, material and mental, to the new forces of consoli- 
dation, and in the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) an East- 
ern Asiatic power shattered the prestige of Europe on land 
and sea alike. The Great War completed the job. After that 
there were no more inquiries for an adaptation of Christi- 
anity to the headship of a divine monarch a slight improve- 
ment upon the Royal Headship of the Established Church 
of England. Instead of Christianity, Shinto, a genuine home 
product, came into its own. 

And gradually, in association with the concentration of 
power in the warrior class, it has consolidated itself and all 
its absurdities as the sole religion of Japan, driving every 
alternative faith and conception underground. For the better 
part of the period of modernization since 1868, there has 
been a steady influx of Western science, Western ideas, 
Western radicalism into Japan. There were endless circles in 
which "advanced" ideas were discussed freely. With an 
astonishing swiftness that liberal Japan has disappeared. A 
few murders, a clean-up of schools and colleges, and the 
thing has been done. In the place of an intelligent people 
we face a national monomaniac. This, from our present 
point of view, is the most important aspect of the whole 

With an apparent singleness of purpose Japan has flung 
itself into the attempted conquest of China and the most 
reckless defiance of the chief naval powers of the world. 
Here, as in the case of Nazi Germany, we are left asking, 
"Where have all these reasonable mitigating people gone?" 


"Where" and this is perhaps even more to the point "has 
the rational element gone in those who have succumbed?" 
So many who once talked liberalism, seem now to be whole- 
hearted belligerent patriots. 

Our essential theme in this book is the possibility of 
changing the mental superstructure, the knowledge, idea 
and habit system of mankind. In that we hope. The tre- 
mendous rapidity of this last Japanese change-over is almost 
incredible. Is it an irreversible process ? And if so, what will 
it go on to next? Can it stand military defeat in China? 

Many things seem possible in this catastrophic world of 
today, but one of the higher probabilities of the present 
world situation seems to be the failure of the Japanese attack 
on her greater neighbor. China has astonished the world by 
her tenacity, by the steady unification of her resistance, by 
the emergence of a sort of pervading militant wisdom. The 
Japanese have been stupendously energetic and stupendously 
unoriginal. There has been much detailed cunning in their 
operations but no essential wisdom. Desperadoes may mur- 
der many people but they cannot divide and rule a hostile 
country. What will happen in their heads as they realize 
defeat with nothing but that childish Shintoism of theirs and 
a tradition and cant of swaggering victory to sustain them? 

Will it be wrath and social revenge? Many of these young 
warriors who landed in China full of the toughest dreams 
of heroism, victory, rape and authority, must now be in a 
state of profound disillusionment. They will have a sense of 
having been fooled. And in China unless I underestimate 
the quality of Chinese and Communist propaganda they 
will have met not only hardship but ideas. Sooner or later 


they must go back to a country where the endurance of the 
peasantry and the people has been tried to the breaking 

Here are the same factors that existed in Russia in 1918, 
the factors for a crude and violent social revolt. There is no 
greater threat to a government than the return of a defeated 
army. It will go ill in such an event with nobles and digni- 
taries and priests, and it is quite among the possibilities of 
the next few years that the last divine heir of the Sun God- 
dess, shorn of all divinity, may share a parallel fate to that 
of the last Little Father of Russia. Then, starting from an 
even lower level than Russia in 1918, Japan will have to 
reconstruct its social and economic life. 

That may be one possibility, but history never repeats it- 
self exactly, and revolutionary methods have changed very 
greatly in the last twenty years. As one turns these matters 
over in the mind, China looms not merely as a military but 
as a mental reality of the first importance. What systems of 
thought are operative there, what new systems of thought 
are worming their way into the brains and many authori- 
ties declare that they are rather above the human average 
of that immense multitude? That is a question of more 
importance in a forecast of the human outlook than any we 
have hitherto discussed. 



THE PRIMARY IMPORTANCE OF China in the current interplay 
of human forces is due not only to the fact that it is the 
greatest mass of human beings with any sort of solidarity in 
the world, but also to its manifest educability. It is not only 
the largest but now it is probably the most plastic mass on 
earth. Hitherto we have been weighing the influence and 
destinies of set and blinkered cultures. But in China, tradi- 
tion, cultural ideas, cultural methods are passing through a 
phase of extreme dissolution, the mind of every intelligent 
man is in a state of stimulated inquiry, and creative proposi- 
tions, if they could be presented there, would surely have a 
freedom and effectiveness such as no other part of the world 
can display. 

The immemorial basis of Chinese life is an industrious 
peasantry, the primary source of wealth, on whom the land- 
lord, the loan manager, the merchant, the tax collector have 
lived in a state of inconsiderate refinement for a long period. 
When the pressure of taxation or population becomes intol- 
erable, the peasant becomes a bandit and the tension is 
relieved. Bandits, says J. D. M. Pringle, are the Chinese 
equivalent of the "unemployed," they levy an unsystematic 



dole. There have never been any fixed impediments to peas- 
ants acquiring wealth or gentlefolk becoming poor, and so, 
though there has always been much poverty, it has pro- 
duced little class antagonism. No race difference exists be- 
tween rich and poor; there is no superimposed nobility, no 
chivalry with a strong military and hunting tradition. The 
absence of great natural barriers led to a precocious expan- 
sion of governments to a size that, almost from the outset, 
made a class of literate administrators more necessary and 
more important than soldiers. 

The early need for writing in China arrested its develop- 
ment beyond a quasi-pictorial and clumsily elaborate stage. 
It was wanted too soon, before it could undergo simplifica- 
tion into a syllabic or alphabetical system. This also contrib- 
uted to the distinctive quality of China, to the Chinese if 
we may coin a word para-democracy. The extreme diffi- 
culty of the written language did indeed put popular educa- 
tion out of the question and set a practical barrier between 
literate and illiterate more effective as between man and 
man than any Western class distinction, but at the same time 
the very difficulty of scholarship obliged the mandarinate to 
draw continually upon the clever sons of poorish homes. 
These special conditions converged to give China its distinc- 
tive social and political structure, a structure so difficult to 
alter without complete destruction, that so far neither inva- 
sion nor civil commotion has ever changed it in any essential 
particular. When for example the Manchus conquered the 
land, they merely founded a new dynasty and imposed the 
now vanished pigtail rather by way of assimilation than 
sublimation. So far. But now this refractory system has to 
face something more powerful than Hun or Manchu or 


Japanese; it has to face the change of scale, the change of 
pace, that is shattering all other human societies. 

The religious basis of the Chinese system is equally in 
contrast with the God-centered beliefs of the West. Confu- 
cianism, Taoism and Buddhism are all alike atheisms. There 
is no one God standing in any personal relationship to man. 
Confucianism is concerned entirely with the present life, it 
discourages speculation and inculcates an excessive an- 
cestor worship and respect for the state. It insists upon 
public service and dignified self-control, not to please a 
god but simply because that is the right way of living. 
Taoism is in contrast a religion of abandonment to nature. 
Politically it is anarchistic and around it cluster a great 
accumulation of superstitions, spiritualisms, spookisms and 
quasi-magic beliefs, incantations and astrology. Every folly 
of the wonder-lovers of today has been anticipated by Tao- 
ism. Buddhism teaches a transmigration of souls, souls that 
may be entirely unaware that the good and evil they experi- 
ence is due to their behavior in a previous embodiment. 

Essentially these religions are behavior systems or misbe- 
havior systems. Taoism is frankly anti-social, an imaginative 
dissipation of the mind and will, and Buddhism is at least a 
withdrawal from life. They are both what it is now fashion- 
able to call escape systems. Their teaching finds its Western 
equivalent in the "detachment" of Mr. Aldous Huxley. Both 
foster religious orders and inflict a great multitude of monks 
md nuns upon the community, and neither has anything of 
importance to contribute to that intelligent reconditioning 
3f the human mind which the present world situation de- 
mands. Politically and educationally, the yellow (or gray) 
:lad Buddhist monk with his begging bowl and his pimping 


possibilities is a social nuisance; the convent passes by insen- 
sible degrees into a common brothel. 1 But Confucianism is 
almost pedantically upright. It is the religion of a respectable 
totalitarianism. Whatever political backbone is found among 
the older generation of Chinese is in the tradition of Mencius, 
the disciple and exponent of the master. 

In the crucial period of the nineteenth century, China was 
more self-satisfied with itself than Japan, and altogether 
indisposed for fundamental change. It had no such sudden 
shock as Commander Perry gave the Japanese, and it had no 
consciously ruling caste to react effectively to a warning. It 
knew the European better than the isolated Japanese, and it 
had long since formed a poor opinion of the physical and 
moral bustle and inelegance of Western living. It found the 
Westerners ugly, truculent and requiring cautious manage- 
ment; but although they had a variety of curious mechanical 
advantages it deemed them despicable. Since it took on an 
appearance of Westernization, China held out against mod- 
ernization for half a century after the Japanese awakening. It 
endured much. We cannot even sketch that story here from 
the British Opium War onward. China's first reaction to 
these aggressions was violent xenophobia. This culminated 
in the Boxer outbreak (1900) and the punitive looting of 
the Summer Palace at Peking by the allied European powers. 
Still China would not pull itself together to fight Outlying 
parts of its Empire fell away; ports and provinces were 
seized; this did not affect the routine in the regions still 
intact. Even under direct foreign rule much of the old life 
still carried on. The ancient order seemed as incurably con- 
tented with itself as the British., 

1 See Lin Yutang's My Country and my People (1936). 


Here is how that keen and witty writer Mr. Lin Yutang 
characterized the Chinese way of living so recently as 1936. 
". . . Face, Fate and Favor. These three sisters have always 
ruled China, and are ruling China still. The only revolution 
that is real and that is worth while is a revolution against 
this female triad. The trouble is that these three women are 
so human and so charming. They corrupt our priests, flatter 
our rulers, protect the powerful, seduce the rich, hypnotize 
the poor, bribe the ambitious and demoralize the revolution- 
ary camp. They paralyze justice, render ineffective all paper 
constitutions, scorn at democracy, contemn the law, make a 
laughing stock of the people's rights, violate all traffic rules 
and club regulations, and ride roughshod over the people's 
home gardens. If they were tyrants, or if they were ugly, like 
the Furies, their reign might not endure so long; but their 
voices are soft, their ways are gentle, their feet tread noise- 
lessly over the law courts, and their fingers move silently, 
expertly, putting the machinery of justice out of order while 
they caress the judge's cheeks. Yes, it is immeasurably com- 
fortable to worship in the shrine of these pagan women." 

So Mr. Lin Yutang in 1936, and in 1936 he still despaired 
of any purposeful consolidation of his country for many 
years to come. But in three years Japanese military savagery 
has brought about a desperate unification beyond any fore- 

Mr. Lin Yutang is by nature and disposition a Taoist of 
the finer sort. He betrays at times a certain patriotic uneasi- 
ness and impatience, but these are lapses from his usual 
artistic self. For the most part he sustains a genteel detach- 
ment from the revolution of 1911 which ended the Manchu 
regime and the pigtail forever. He deplores the novel energy 


of Sun Yat Sen who "kept up his reading." He notes that 
Chiang Kai Shek and his financial ally T. V. Soong work 
"like horses." His heart turns back to "Merry old China" 
in all the infinite strength of laziness. "The racial tradition/' 
he concludes, "is so strong that its fundamental pattern of 
life will always remain." 

Nothing in the world is so perennial as that. The history 
of China since the fall of the Manchus displays altogether 
new forces at work. It is not the old, old story. However 
reluctantly, she now faces towards Cosmopolis, The republic 
was the creation of Chinese students who had been educated 
abroad or by foreign missions, and mostly they had been 
trained in America. Never before had there been a Chinese 
revolution fostered in exile. But this last one, like the kin- 
dred Russian one, was made by expatriates. Its revolutionary 
technique followed Western patterns. The Chinese Republi- 
cans borrowed ideas from the Communist Party, and the 
organization of the Kuomintang provided a nexus for the 
restless and intelligent throughout the Empire. Numerically 
the Kuomintang, like the Communist Party in Russia in 
1917, was a relatively small organization, but it was the only 
thing that had continuity and a definite will of its own in 
an otherwise planless chaos. 

This is not the place to review the stormy confusion of 
Chinese affairs since the establishment of the Republic; 1 
the experimental policies of Sun Yat Sen and the signifi- 
cance of his will, the treason of Yuan Shih Kai and his 
transitory usurpation of the Imperial throne, the clumsy 
attempts of the Russian Borodin to introduce an uncon- 

1 A compact summary is to be found in China Struggles for Unity, by 
J. D. M. Pringle and Marthe Rajchman. 


genial class war and to revive xenophobia in the form of 
anti-British Imperialism as a fundamental motive. He failed, 
and returned to obscurity in Russia, but the Party, under 
Chou En-lai, organized a successful peasant communist state 
in Kiangsi I say peasant communist because there was no 
attempt at collective farming and a very efficient Red Army. 
Driven out of Kiangsi, this Red Army retreated fighting for 
six thousand miles in one of the greatest retreats in history, 
and stood at last with its back to Soviet Russia in Shensi and 
the northwest. The intricate struggles between the Nanking 
government, the private armies of various warlords and the 
Red Army, need not concern us, nor the romantic and mys- 
terious cessation of the war against the "Reds." The fact 
became apparent to the Japanese that slowly and steadily 
China was being unified under one government. There was 
no time to lose. Like a fiery new birth came the tragic con- 
solidation of the Chinese national spirit in the face of intol- 
erable Japanese outrages. Today under the military and 
administrative ability of the energetic Chiang Kai Shek we 
have a China more united and purposeful than it has ever 
been before, and apart from its resolve for complete national 
emancipation, more incalculable than any other human 

So faded and nerveless are the old conceptions of life, so 
Taoist, that the entire collective mentality of China is now 
in effect a tabula rasa upon which it is possible to write 
almost any constructive idea* And what is written will be 
evidently determined very largely by movements in the gen- 
eral world mind outside the boundaries of China. The 
native contribution is in the nature not of initiatives but 
adaptive qualifications. Lin Yutang, in one of those invol- 


untary lapses of his from "detachment" into patriotic distress 
and irritation, notes that a dozen years after the death of 
Sun Yat Sen, who is by universal consent the father of the 
new China, no Chinese writer has yet displayed the energy 
and intellectual power .needed to write a full and competent 
account of tKe Founder's life and teaching. It would cer- 
tainly be an immense commercial success; it would be of the 
greatest political importance; and in that land of lassitude, 
evasion and passive resistance to change, nobody produces it. 

It would seem as though a Chinese mind must needs go 
abroad and lead a foreign life, before it can even begin to 
see China. And when it sees China it still depends upon a 
push from the exterior, for action. 

The most vital new thing so far that has been written 
upon this blank Chinese intelligence is a sort of commu- 
nism. In a later section we must examine communism as a 
world force, but here it is to be observed that just as Chinese 
democracy is not the same thing as Western democracy but 
a para-democracy, so Chinese communism is not by any 
means the Russian article, but a para-communism. It has 
rejected Borodin's crude ideas of liquidating the "rich," the 
class war and collectivized farming. It is essentially a peasant 
communism, a revolt against rent, taxes, debt, forestalling, 
speculative marketing and all the handicaps that enslave the 
little man. Its leaders are often the fanatical enthusiastic sons 
of wealthy men, sons who have read Marx and Lenin, but 
the responding rank and file are the commonalty. It educates 
earnestly and well, it carries on a propaganda by means of 
plays, concerts, meetings. It promotes a modernized script. 
It is making its people into newspaper readers. It is in fact 
producing a new sort of Chinese common man, with a 


genuine workers' and soldiers' solidarity. Everywhere the 
peasants, even those who do not belong to the Party for- 
mally, believe in it. Its "Red" Army is as sturdy as any China 
has ever seen, with partisan tactics peculiarly adapted to the 

A second set of ideas which is being scrawled across the 
Chinese tabula rasa is the New Life movement. This was 
deliberately created by Chiang Kai Shek as a rival and sub- 
stitute for communism. Chiang Kai Shek is at present the 
central figure on the Chinese stage; he has been fairly 
explicit about his ideas and motives, and there is consid- 
erable artlessness in what he says. He has an interestingly 
responsive and representative mind. He speaks with pro- 
found reverence of the influence of his mother in forming 
his character. She remained an earnest Buddhist to the end. 
She watched over his tender years. She trained him for an 
energetic life of public service and self-subordination. He 
took his early political leadership from Sun Yat Sen and the 
Kuomintang. Sun Yat Sen was a Methodist with a passion- 
ate desire to free his country from 'Western Imperialism." 
This brought him at last into close association with the anti- 
Imperialist Borodin. It was Borodin's aggressiveness and the 
killing of rich people and foreigners that estranged Chiang 
Kai Shek from Sun Yat Sen. 

Chiang Kai Shek became for a period militantly anti- 
Communist. His marriage with Miss Mayling Soong, a 
member of one of the richest families in China, may have 
had its subconscious influence upon him. His close associa- 
tion with the Soong family, and particularly with T. V. 
Soong, has relieved him of many temptations that have over- 
come other leaders less financially secure. Madame Chiang 


Kai Shek is a woman of manifest beauty and force of char- 
acter, and for some time she seems to have done the religious 
thinking for her husband. He was baptized as a Christian 
in 1930. Their type of Christianity is a simple evangelical 
bibliolatry, inclining to fundamentalism rather than to 
either modernism or Catholicism; it is fundamentalism with 
a dash of Buchmanism. Every day the Generalissimo reads 
his Bible and prays for guidance. He prays regularly and 
abundantly and says grace before he eats. In moments of 
doubt the sacred book is opened and consulted for an omen. 

The New Life Movement is not however professedly 
Christian, though it speaks in the name of the Christian Sun 
Yat Sen. It is essentially a patriotic behavior system, attack- 
ing opium, polygamy and "immorality" generally, tobacco, 
alcohol, tea, coffee, meat. It is in violent reaction from the 
enervation of Taoist self-indulgence. It expresses the realiza- 
tion of the middle and upper classes that things are getting 
serious for them. Its ambition is to be stern and powerful, 
to promote a "clean" and strenuous life. 

Chiang Kai Shek has been immensely impressed by Fas- 
cist and Nazi propaganda, he speaks in profound admira- 
tion of "the strength of present-day Italy and Germany," he 
swallows, as I did, the legend of Bushido ( 18) and 
like Mr. Teeling ( 13) he believes that the Nazi disci- 
plines make for brotherhood, obedience and particularly 
for that "cleaner" life of sexual and imaginative suppression 
which leaves the mind free for militant authority. (Both he 
and Mr. Teeling would be all the wiser and better for a 
cleansing month in the latrines at Dachau.) But since the 
aim of the New Life is power even more than purity, it is 
flatly opposed to any infringement of the rights of private 


property. It was indeed primarily organized for that end, 
as a counterblast to communism, and by its emphatic denun- 
ciation of Communists and "traitors" and its rigid insistence 
upon the payments of debts, it makes a special appeal to 
foreign finance. Its Methodist virtues are a means to an end. 
The end is self-righteous power. No doubt the New Life 
stimulates the open campaign against opium, vice and in- 
sanitary living, and no doubt it releases a genuine streak of 
solemn masochism in the composition of the Generalissimo, 
but how far the natural Chinaman will give himself whole- 
heartedly to the New Life remains to be shown. The failure 
of Prohibition in America and the social demoralization 
caused by it, seem to have had no lesson for Chiang Kai 

For my own part I believe in the complete honesty of 
Mr. and Mrs. Chiang Kai Shek, but it is plain that they 
have not the faintest conception of the demands that fate is 
making upon mankind. They sound indeed in all their pub- 
lished utterances, terribly limited and self-satisfied, and how- 
ever much we may be pleased to see China led to victory 
against the Japanese, that is no reason why we should exag- 
gerate the intelligence and vision of these two leaders, be- 
cause they are instrumental in that hoped-for deb&cle. 

Such are the chief forces that are operating to produce the 
China of tomorrow Chinese communism, or, to define it 
more clearly, para-communism, and this New Life which is 
plainly para-fascism. Neither is yet what one can call a com- 
manding force. They combine against the common enemy, 
but they have no real convergence. The end of the war with 
Japan will release rather than conciliate their oppositions. 
China liberated will become more and more definitely a 


battleground of world ideologies. She will waver between 
Soviet Russia and fascism, between Christianity o the J. D. 
Rockefeller type on the one hand and a tentative socialism 
after the fashion of the New Deal, rather to the left of the 
New Deal, on the other. One may well doubt if she has any 
initiative of her own to give the world. 

In most Chinamen there struggle a Confucian, a Taoist 
and a Bandit. To judge by the present state of things that 
completes the inventory. And yet there is an accumulation 
of artistic work, a record of invention and ingenuity to the 
credit of China, witnessing to something not covered by any 
of these three factors, to some constructive element that ex- 
isting circumstances have failed to release, some higher intel- 
lectual development which may still be waiting there for 
the proper evocation. 

This raises what is from our present point of view a very 
important issue. Is there a real scientific modernism, a con- 
structive originality, latent in that very respectable Chinese 
brain? Has it unexploited mental reserves? That is a ques- 
tion that might be extended far beyond the Chinese horizon. 
At present China is almost completely unaware of the eco- 
logical view of life. She has never heard about it. Science 
subsidizes no missions; it has failed even to organize its 
friends in defense of its own freedoms. Almost all this "new 
education" in China, that has been replacing the classics 
since the revolution, has been ear-marked for the service of 
some narrow dogmatism or other. Her brightest intelli- 
gences have had but a poor chance of any broader vision. 
So in China even more than in our Western world, political 
and social life is still a disastrous clashing-together of blink- 
ered minds. What she thinks new is already old. She is no 


more prepared to attack the gigantic problems of adjustment 
that close in upon her, in common with the rest of the 
world, than she was thirty years ago. 

In these thirty years she has done great things. The great- 
est has been to discover and assert her national independence 
and solidarity. And still she has everything to do. It is either 
a prelude to renascence or failure, to have installed a Meth- 
odist-Generalissimo in the place of the Son of Heaven, got 
rid of pigtails, given ijp smoking, drinking, swearing, neck- 
ing and suchlike scandalous behavior, and driven the opium 
traffic underground. Things will not stay at that. 

So China, because of its nascent state, because at present 
there is no deep-rooted system of ideas imposed upon her 
character and habits, presents, in the barest form, the uni- 
versal human problem. What prospect is there of an effective 
drive towards a scientific understanding of history and pres- 
ent realities, and of a reconstruction upon the lines of that 

Here again we must repeat the refrain of this book. 

There exist already scattered about the world, all the knowl- 
edge and imaginative material required to turn not merely 
these seething four hundred million people but the whole 
world into one incessantly progressive and happily inter- 
ested world community. All that is needed is to assemble 
that scattered knowledge and these constructive ideas in an 
effective form. The world cannot go on, a hydra-headed con- 
fusion of sovereignties; it has to concentrate its direction in 
a World Brain. The organization of a few thousand workers 
and the expenditure of a few score million pounds could 
.bring that indispensable organization into being. And I 
doubt if it will ever be done. 


It would give this rudderless world, as it drifts towards 
the rocks, a chart-room, a compass, a bridge and steering- 

It would change the face of human politics from the aim- 
less stare of dementia to understanding purpose. . . . 

To vary the image once more, in China, the greatest, most 
central and representative human accumulation in the world, 
the fields are manifestly "white unto harvest" for a compre- 
hensive renewal of civilization, the whole land aches for it, 
and there are no reapers; there are only spreading fires, 
trampling beasts in the corn, and a few weaklings gathering 
a handful of ears. 1 

a A very convincing and readable picture of China in dissolution is to be 
found in Miss Nora Wain's The House of Exile, and there are also the 
various effective and well-informed novels of Mrs. Pearl Buck, The Patriot 
for example, and The Good Earth. Edgar Mowrer's Mowrer in China is a 
convenient little book, compact, full, and understanding. 



ONLY VERY BRIEFLY AND, as it were, in parenthesis, is it pos- 
sible to glance at the future of the black peoples massed in 
Africa and their kindred in America. 

The argument of this book is framed on such a scale that 
the lives and deaths of scores of millions appear as details of 
microscopic size in relation to the general ant-hill Moreover, 
it has a perspective of its own. It looks from the directive 
centers of human thought, outwardly. Estimates of the popu- 
lation of tropical and southern Africa vary round and about 
one hundred and fifty million. Probably it is subject to con- 
siderable fluctuations. These millions live, hope, desire and 
suffer. But this great population is so remote from the cen- 
tral intellectual processes of mankind, it contributes so little 
to these processes, that it counts for far less than the sixteen 
million Jews, from whom, in spite of great handicaps, come 
men of science, original thinkers, mental workers of all sorts 
by the thousand. Later, but many decades later, the Negro 
mind may make a steadily increasing contribution to the 
World Brain. But at present it is held off by such a tangle 
of difficulties, obstructions and mind-traps as only the rarest 
and luckiest of natural geniuses may hope to overcome. 

In Lord Hailey's An African Survey (1938) and in Julian 



Huxley's Africa View (1931), the reader may learn some- 
thing of that tangle. There, for example, he will find a dis- 
cussion of the language problem. Is the young Negro of 
genius to begin his learning in some narrow dialect or in 
such a wider medium as Swahili, which still provides only 
a very limited literature for his study, or shall he be given as 
soon as possible the key to contemporary knowledge and 
thought, in English or some other European tongue? And 
where are the teachers and schools to be found for that? 
Even if he gets English, will it be good, fresh English? Will 
he encounter anything better than the faded methods, half 
a century stale, of a lower type of English school? Will it let 
him get to anything better than Bible Christianity, the his- 
tory of England and a nice Christmas story or so about holly 
and robins ? Where the Negro is apt to become a little ridicu- 
lous is in his exaggerated response to white religious teach- 
ing. He takes it in good faith and brings out its absurditiesj 
That is not his fault. Green Pastures and Father Divine are( 
products of white revivalist teaching; they are not natiW 
African creations. They smell of the camp meeting and not 
of the Heart of Darkness. We have no right to call a Negr<& 
a fool when it is our people who have made a fool of hinty 
Julian Huxley insists very definitely on the desirability 01 
biology and descriptive geography as the backbone of native 
African education and on the natural interest and aptitude 
of the African for such studies. There he would be on his, 
own ground. But because the African is ready for the right 
education, it does not follow that the governments in author- 
ity over him are. These poor-white schoolmasters can teach 
him nothing of the sort, because they know none of it 


There is a great conflict of testimony about the abilities 
of black Africa. His bitterest detractors are unable to deny 
the Negro an enviable sense of rhythm, natural good-humor 
and an instinct for civility, a sense of fun, brilliant mimicry, 
rich artistic aptitudes. And more than that. In the United 
States, in spite of the severest handicaps, black men have 
been able to struggle up to do distinguished scientific and 
literary work, and in South Africa it has been found neces- 
sary to protect skilled white labor from the competition of 
able colored people by discriminating against the apprentic- 
ing of natives to skilled trades and restricting "certificates of 
competency" in various mechanical employments to whites. 
Obviously you cannot put up barriers to protect yourself 
from the colored man and at the same time declare that he 
is incurably your inferior. 

The outlook for tropical and sub-tropical Negro life in 
the coming years is dark and indefinite. An adequate educa- 
tion, that would make a large proportion of that population 
conscious world-citizens, seems improbable, and the utiliza- 
tion of that great reservoir of ignorant animal vitality as a 
source of conscript soldiers or conscript laborers is highly 
probable. It is one of the good marks in the checkered record 
of British Imperialism that in Nigeria it has stood out 
against the development of the plantation system and pro- 
tected the autonomy of the native cultivator with the most 
satisfactory consequences to everyone concerned. But against 
that one has to set the ideas of white-man-mastery associated 
with Cecil Rhodes and sustained today by General Smuts, 
which look to an entire and permanent economic, social and 
political discrimination between the lordly white and his 
natural serf, the native African, Aj&d this in the face of the 


Zulu and Basuto, the most intelligent and successful of 
native African peoples. The ethnological fantasies of Nazi 
Germany find a substantial echo in the resolve of the two 
and a half million Afrikanders to sustain, from the Cape to 
Kenya, an axis of white masters (preferably of Dutch origin 
and speaking Afrikaans) with a special philosophy of great 
totalitarian possibility called holism, lording it over a subju- 
gated but much more prolific, black population. 

That racial antagonism makes the outlook of South Africa 
quite different from that of most of the other pseudo-British 
"democracies/' Obviously it is not a democracy at all, and 
plainly it is heading towards a regime of race terrorism on 
lines parallel and sympathetic with the Nazi ideal. The 
Afrikander will do his best to be a terrific fellow to the last, 
and he will see to it that the black insurrection gathering 
under his heel, is sufficiently under-educated and sufficiently 
embittered to behave savagely when its day of opportunity 
comes. He will always be rather afraid, and his fears will 
brutalize his treatment of his helots until he is intolerable. 
Slowly but surely a racial self-consciousness, a collective re- 
sentment, is being forced upon the Negro, not only in South 
Africa but throughout the world, and South Africa seems 
the inevitable theater for its release. 

But the fate of South Africa need not concern us now, 
beyond the plain probability that whether the Dominion 
follows the fate of Haiti or San Domingo or whether the 
sjambok holds its own, it is very unlikely to contribute any- 
thing of primary value to the reconstruction of human 
society upon a planetary scale. 

And so, too, we cannot consider here the possible survival 
or disappearance of that little group of human beings, the 


Australian blackfellows, with their undeniable artistry, their 
aptitude for mechanical work, and so subtle a sense of form 
that they invented the boomerang ages before the white man 
made his first experiments with the much simpler propeller. 
Nor can we bring in that great festoon of interesting and 
distinctive human societies which hangs across the sub- 
tropical seas from Singapore in the west throughout the 
Dutch East Indies and New Guinea to Guam in the east. 
Sixty million brown and yellow peoples they are, illiterate, 
unawakened, but for the most part excessively polite and 

The problem of all these colored peoples is a vast one, but 
vast as it is, it is still secondary to greater decisions. If the 
mind of the world can be pulled together so as to give our 
species a collective rational guidance, this problem will fall 
into proportion and be solved deliberately and sanely. The 
colored man will understand and be understood, he will get 
his fair chance, so that he will come at last to look the white 
man in the eye, feeling as equal to him as a musician does 
to an engineer, with as complete an acceptance of difference 
and as complete a mutual respect. But if we cannot achieve 
that intellectual readjustment, then the prospect is fear and 
more fear, cruelty and more cruelty, trampling suppressions, 
wild insurrections, massacres and reprisals, atrocities and 
counter-atrocities, and the ultimate waste of every good pos- 
sibility in these still largely unbroached reservoirs of human 

It is not in their own lands that the destiny of all these 
people will be determined. It is not on the "illimitable veldt" 
or in the tropical forest, not in mountain fastnesses or on 
stormy seas that their hope is to be found. Natural aptitud< 


is not enough. The inherent intellectual quality of a can- 
nibal savage or a coolie laborer, a starving share-cropper or 
an Abyssinian slave, may be as high or higher than that of a 
distinguished professor or a brilliant colonial administrator, 
but the latter is not simply his inherent self; he is that plus 
an education. The one is like a photographic plate that has 
been casually exposed to the light, it is an accidental blur; it 
means little or nothing. The other is a plate that has been 
exposed in a carefully focused camera. It means. It is 
related. The education and habits of behavior it imposes are 
the greater part of the civilized man. The better and fuller 
his education, the better the knowledge organization of his 
life, the higher he stands over the bare human being, and the 
more he and his kind control him and are responsible for 
human destiny. The only salvation of these threatened mil- 
lions lies through the patient, incessant ordering of the col- 
lective human mind. A man working in a study at Harvard 
or a student sitting, as Marx and Lenin sat in their time, 
in the Reading Room of the British Museum, may be link- 
ing ideas and devising phrases that will open the way of 
escape for all these menaced and benighted peoples to equal 
participation in a reconstructed world. 

And here is the place to apply the same line of reasoning 
to that great miscellany of peoples and cultures which is 
India. They seem destined to play only a secondary and 
supporting role in any unification of human affairs that is 
achieved, not by reason of any inherent inferiority, but be* v 
cause they are debarred by their complicated mental barriers 
and divisions from any collective understanding of modern 
constructive ideas. These hundreds of millions also I see as 
people struggling in a net. At present none of their cultural 


movements displays an original line of its own that amounts 
even to a slight contribution to world reorganization. Vague 
aspirations to an obviously fictitious nationalism of an imita- 
tive parliamentary kind, sustained by non-co-operation, pref- 
erential trading and the fasts of Mr. Gandhi, point to any- 
thing but the coming city of mankind. Starving on the 
doorsteps of the ruler in the Gandhi fashion is a curiously 
unfair appeal to the ruler's decency. Directly it is used 
against anyone tough enough to say "Starve then, and be 
damned to you," it ^becomes ineffective. 

There would be much to be said for an Indian nationalism 
based upon the idea of human brotherhood and the com- 
mon future of mankind. If all these peoples can be fused, 
'the whole world can be fused. But speaking generally Indian 
nationalism is no sort of synthesis; it is based on a common, 
understandable resentment at the British Imperial Govern- 
ment and on very little else. You cannot build a nation on a 
vanishing grievance. The old Raj is not going to last forever, 
and when it fades out the Hindu will still be wearing his 
caste marks and the Moslem slaughtering cattle at him in a 
derisive spirit. 

A culture which said "We are ignorant and divided and 
condemned to a collective sterility by our ignorance, and 
we mean to reorganize our mental energy and stock our 
minds to play our proper part in human unity/' would be a 
culture to respect. But even the Brahmo Sumaj, most liberal 
of Indian cultures, does not say that. It is universalist reli- 
giously, but it is not acutely educational. In India there are 
numerous rich men, great industrialists, wealthy maharajas 
and the like, but it has still to dawn upon any of them that 
a great, growing, liberating mass of knowledge exists in the 


world beyond the present reach of any Indian, and that there 
must be scores and hundreds of thousands of fine brains, 
which need only educational emancipation and opportunity, 
laboratories, colleges, publication facilities, discussion with 
the rest of the world, to add a continually increasing Indian 
contribution to the ever-learning, ever-growing World Brain. 
In India now there must be a score of potential unrealized 
Royal Societies, so to speak, running about in loin cloths 
and significant turbans and Gandhi caps and what not, 
running about at that lowly partisan level, and so running 
to waste. 

The British ruling class has been unable to impose modern 
ideas upon India for the simple reason that it does not pos- 
sess them itself. The indebtedness is the other way round. 
The British picked up the idea of caste from the Brahmins 
and gave very little in return. And other things they picked 
up. I do not know if anyone has ever made an estimate of 
the number of elderly gentlemen who return to Great 
Britain with gurus in tow, mysterious dodges for breathing 
down their spinal canals, Yoga and all that. They seem to 
be quite numerous. Man for man when it comes down to 
that sort of thing the Hindu is master. 

What modernization may come into Indian thought and 
life is much more likely to arrive tediously $pd belatedly 
from the north as an adapted communist propaganda, a 
propaganda modified perhaps by contact with whatever 
modern Western science may have come in by, through and 
in spite of British influence from the south. 



IT is DIFFICULT TO say whether on the whole dogmatic com- 
munism is to be regarded as a disaster that has happened to 
the growing discovery of the rational world state or an 
unavoidable phase in that discovery. In the earlier half of 
the nineteenth century and especially in the years of recov- 
ery from that embolism called Napoleon, there was a great 
bandying about of creative and pseudo-creative ideas, hu- 
manisms, varieties of socialisms, hand-specimen Socialist 
experiments, New Lanarks, Oneidas, Brook Farms. In all 
of them there was a subconscious feeling that something was 
still wanting, the ideas were incomplete. Such a phase of the 
collective mind is very distressful to impatient intelligences. 
They feel that nothing is being achieved; they want to "fix 
something and get on with it." At this pace, they feel, we 

shall get nowhere. 

i ' 

So they get into the ditch. 

Apt to the demands of such eager spirits came Marx. He 
was a man of vast intellectual ambitions, emulous of Darwin 
and Adam Smith. He seized upon that economic aspect of 
life which the political revolution had ignored, and he hung 
on to that. The "capitalist system," which was his misnomer 
for privately owned capitalism, had to be abolished and then 



social justice would ensue. He proclaimed the materialistic 
conception of history and the class war as the only prac- 
ticable way to social justice. 

Neither Adam Smith nor Darwin, with whom he was 
obviously disposed to put himself in competition, betrayed 
any sense of finality in his thought nor any ambition for 
leadership. They contributed and passed on, according to the 
new scientific morality. But Marx was of a more primitive 
and more immediately practical type of intelligence. He was 
for conclusive formulation, for dogma and an energetic 
revolutionary effort according to that dogma. He evoked a 
vigorous, rigid-spirited movement for the destruction of 
"capitalism" by an insurrectionary class war. He had no 
ideas, and he was probably incapable of producing ideas, 
about the peace that should succeed victory in the class war. 
It never entered his head that a powerful new organization 
of knowledge and will would be required to direct an eman- 
cipated world system. He was, to be plain about it, too lazy- 
minded. He invented a phantom, more insubstantial than 
the Holy Ghost, the proletariat. The ever-blessed proletariat 
would see to it all. 

The curious may read about that proletariat, and what is 
and what is not the dictatorship of the proletariat, and when 
the Party is the dictatorship and when it is not, and how the 
peasant comes in, in Joseph Stalin's Leninism. It is the 
Athanasian Creed of socialism. 

But these complications arose later, and at first the prole- 
tariat sans phrase sufficed. That the proletariat would solve 
everything with the hammer of Thor and the sickle of 
Rhea Cybele was an all too attractive doctrine for eager 
minds, and the communist movement, in perfect unison, 


contemned and despised the intricate and difficult business 
of foresight as "utopianism," and scientific criticism as a 
sinful want of faith. And so at last when czarism and pri- 
vate ownership of land and capital did collapse in Russia, 
and that great country was thrown into the hands of the 
communist leaders, they were totally unprepared with any 
conceptions of a better organization of affairs. 

The released Russia of October 1917 found itself wildly 
experimental. It had to reorganize a great community fallen 
into chaos, and it had only scraps of suggestion of how to 
set about it. Upon Lenin fell the immense task of rationaliz- 
ing Marxism and getting it to work. 

In 6 the question "What is democracy?" is asked 
and answered, and it is shown that the life of a human 
being can be full and free only if it is politically, economi- 
cally and mentally liberated; that is to say when it is living 
in a state of political equality, socialism and universal ade- 
quate education. Without that much realization, liberty, 
equality and fraternity are mere words. Marx and his Com- 
munist Party never fully grasped the third, the educational 
condition. How to direct? how to keep direction?: these 
were questions they never answered. They filled in the gap 
in their doctrines with that sprawling, muscular divinity 
with the 'hammer and sickle, who is in truth hardly more 
real than those symbolic Hindu gods with countless arms 
and extra parts who puzzle the realistic Western mind. 
Believe in Him, said they. 

In practice the Russian Communists were less elusive than 
their creed. If they fudged a pseudo-God, in order to get on 
with their revolution, they were still acutely responsive to 
modern democratic ideas. They set themselves with consid- 


erable energy and success to liquidate the illiteracy of the 
common people, but unfortunately they did not go on with 
the harder task of educating themselves. They did not real- 
ize the need for that Instead they suppressed disturbing 
discussion. They are today blinkered and boxed-in to an 
ideology as definitely restricted, within its wider limits, as 
that of the orthodox Jews, the British oligarchy, the Roman 
Catholic hierarchy or the Chinese patriots we have discussed 
in preceding sections. 

The Russian spectacle for the last twenty years has played 
an immense part in the thought and imagination of the 
young everywhere. When everything that can be said has 
been said against it, it still seems to be ahead of the rest of 
the world in its progress towards the practical realization 
of the complete democratic idea. Whether it will go on and 
keep that lead is quite another matter, but the improvement 
not merely in the material circumstances but in the spirit of 
the common people is beyond dispute. They were servile and 
now they are proud. They have a wholesome conceit that 
the world looks to them. That has been done at a price, yet 
nowhere else has anything been done to compare with it. 
America also has advanced in its ideas, as we shall note in 
the next section, but it started far ahead, five Centuries ahead, 
of Russia. 

But Russia may have achieved this much progress less by 
virtue of the Communist Party than in spite of it. The Com- 
munist Party did no doubt bring the spirit of revolutionary 
progress to Russia, but it was not in itself the spirit of revo- 
lutionary progress. It might well have been belter prepared 
for the task, and it might have produced men of a finer 
caliber and greater magnanimity. The darkest shadow on 


the Russian outlook today is its failure to produce a constel- 
lation of first-rate men able to evoke its general intelligence 
and speak for it to the world. Like most countries today, 
Russia does not seem to be putting her best men foremost 
She does not know how to find them and use them. She goes 
on being clumsy. Russia is faltering and losing its imagina- 
tive appeal. Her inability to deal with her internal difficulties 
without a series of trials and executions, so presented as to be 
extraordinarily repugnant to the Western mind, and the 
open and undignified bickering of Trotsky and Stalin, have 
done much to rob her of her once almost magical fascination 
for the undergraduate intelligence. That intelligence is now 
shocked and puzzled. It may easily stampede in some new 
direction, and the real greatness of the new Russia may be 
forgotten altogether in its superficial littleness. 

But how intolerable these ardent young Communists of 
the last fifteen years have been! What a rawness they have 
imparted to social and political discussion, all the world 
over! How unrighteously is the reasonable man tempted to 
rejoice at this present deflation of noisy, juvenile leftism! It 
is rare for the normal human being to attain to an adult 
mental independence before thirty, and it is rare for it to 
refrain from the vehement expression of opinions after 
eighteen. Satan finds some mischief still for idle youth to do. 
Its natural instinct is to rebel against its parents and the 
parental generation, which has brought it into the world for 
no end it finds explicable, and, since it is still much too timid 
intellectually to act alone, its disposition is to go over, lock, 
stock and barrel, to the organization in flattest repudiation 
of the flaccid home atmosphere. The good pagan's daughter 
goes Catholic and the Catholic's son goes Communist. And 


there they stick. They have made their little act of assertion, 
but they must still have the comforting feeling of something 
not themselves, something built up authoritatively, to which 
they can cling. The boy who runs away from home likes to 
get on to a ship and give himself up to that. If not, he 
usually comes home again. 

It is one of the primary difficulties of this creature Homo 
sapiens that it grows up, so far as bodily and willful energy 
goes, twenty years before its mind has ripened enough for it 
to think and act alone. The young want to do vigorous and 
effective things by eighteen, while their mental unripeness 
obliges them still to seek authority for the things they want 
to do. They cannot wait. They will respond to nearly any- 
thing that lets their energy loose, as a kitten will pursue a 
cork on a string. There we have the common clue to the 
storming young Nazi, the Irish patriot, the Spanish Anarch- 
ist Syndicalist, the bomb-throwing Zionist, the Shinto mili- 
tarist, the gangster, the Ku Klux Klansman. They are all 
forms imposed upon and accepted by that youthful surplus 
which is the imperative problem of our species, which will 
overstrain and wreck every social system until its insurgent 
need to be used is anticipated and satisfied. It has been made 
clear how this mental exuberance has been allayed in the 
past by wars and migrations, and why it is that these natural 
reliefs are no longer sufficient for the magnified destructive 
forces of the new time, 

In the last three years in Britain there have been three 
magnetic movements with an unaccountable attraction for 
unemployed vitality. Fascism, a fourth possibility, was hap- 
pily made repellently ridiculous for our sons in the person 
of Sir Oswald Mosley, but the impressionable young men 



who did not succumb to the God-guided woosh of Buch- 
manism or the high-toned Anglo-Catholicism of T. S. Eliot, 
fell very readily to the worship of the heroic Hammer-and- 
Sickle-God. They joined the Party, surrendered themselves 
to tasks and disciplines and strategies. They felt they had the 
revolution and all Russia behind them. How they maddened 
their serious elders, those undergraduates holding on with- 
out thought or question to the Party and being as rude as 
they knew how to critical liberalism, for all the world like 
naughty children holding on to nurse's apron strings and 
putting out their tongues at the grown-up passers-by! 

That particular adhesion seems to be drawing to an end 
after the political and intellectual waste of a generation of 
silly, gallant young lives. They exaggerated the perfection 
and finality of Soviet Russia. Some have died for that faith. 
Now the drift is all against the present regime, and instead 
of searching criticism we are likely to have partisan con- 
demnation. Yet there is a strong case for the existing regime 
in Russia. 

There, there has been and there is still a sustained, wide- 
spread and honest effort to build up a new social and eco- 
nomic order. It is only necessary to contrast the Russian 
drive with the relative ineffectiveness of the Kuomintang. 
In Russia "revolution" still means, for millions of minds, a 
new human beginning. In no other community is that idea 
of a new beginning so manifestly at work. It had had to 
work against bad social traditions and a widespread defen- 
sive subtlety and disingenuousness, with a people to whom 
punctuality and precision were strange ideas. Chekhov lived 
and died before the war, but his stories are saturated with 
the distress felt by a man with a modern scientific training, 


at the all too human indiscipline of the land he loved. The 
Bolsheviks, planless themselves, as we have seen, had to take 
over that world, shattered, impoverished, chaotic, invaded 
from every direction, and make a working system of it, 
some sort of new order, however rough and clumsy, or 
perish. And they have made a new order, rough and clumsy 
still perhaps in many aspects, but holding together, really 
holding together, and not nearly so rough and clumsy as it 
might have been. 

I have visited Russia thrice, in 1914, in 1920 and in 1934, 
I have had long talks with Lenin and Stalin, I have some 
well-informed and variously orientated Russian friends, and 
I have read a library full of books about Russia, pro and con, 
Like most of the world, I was amazed at those strange pub- 
lic trials and the killing-off of, among others, a majority of 
the original revolutionaries. And I think that of all my 
witnesses, I have learnt most from an American mining 
engineer, Mr. J. D. Littlepage, who wrote a book called 
In Search of Soviet Gold. 

There never was a writer so free from the taint of political 
prepossessions. He is no sort of ist or crat at all. But he likes 
mining to be done properly and shipshape, no fudging, no 
shirking, no waste, no stealing, no trickery. You have to 
come down heavily on that sort of thing. He thinks vigor- 
ously within his blinkers (excellent blinkers) of honesty and 
high efficiency. And he tells the story of how he was en- 
gaged to revive and reorganize the Siberian mines, copper 
and other minerals as well as gold. He tells pretty convinc- 
ingly and it is illuminating how Stalin was moved to 
start this revival, and of all the difficulties and complications 
of the task. At the Littlepage touch the vast, sinister phan- 


toms of Trotskyite conspiracies and organized capitalist 
sabotage vanish from the scene, the confessions of the ac- 
cused join the confessions of sorcerers during the witch 
mania, and we see the human reality of incompetent men 
trying to cover up the mess they are making of things, of 
wrongfully-appointed men holding on to their jobs by trick 
and subterfuge, of hates and jealousies, of elaborate misrep- 
resentations to save the face of groups involved in a common 
failure, of the manufacture of countervailing evidence, coun- 
ter-accusations, resort to influence in high quarters. These are 
the ways of imperfect, inadequately watched men every- 
where. The allied generals on the western front during the 
great war behaved similarly, though unhappily there was 
nobody to shoot them. And at the last come the confessions, 
to put a consistent face on the untellable tale of fudging and 
muddle-headness. Better persuade yourself you are a con- 
sistent conspirator than a self-protective fumbler, a snake 
rather than a worm, 

Littlepage makes you understand not only the slackness 
of the country and the disappointing output, but also the 
perplexity at the head of things, the inability to get sound 
information and to discriminate between merit and specious- 
ness. The head does not know whom to believe, grows suspi- 
cious and incalculable. The impulse of most of us when we 
cannot hit accurately is to hit hard. The shootings become 
understandable; take on the quality of necessity. After Little- 
page you can re-read the reports of those trials and begin to 
understand them. The wonder of Russia is that nevertheless 
so much has been done. 

I write with prejudice about communism, but it is not 
prejudice on its behalf. I have made it clear, I think, how 


intensely I detest Karl Marx and how greatly my mind has 
been irritated by the narrowly dogmatic communism of the 
young. Yet I am forced to a recognition of the real advance 
Russia has made since the revolution, not merely in material 
things. Will it go on? What for us is the significance of the 
new phase into which Russia is now passing? 

The mass of the new Russia still seems in its crude way 
to be revolutionary, in the best, the creative sense of the 
word. The great raw organism is still moving forward. But 
there is manifestly something wrong about the head of it. A 
great number of disillusioned young men in the Western 
world are saying now that it is Stalin who is to blame and 
proclaiming themselves Trotskyites. But the matter goes 
deeper than that. It is not really a personal matter. The 
organization at the head of things must be radically wrong 
to be put out of gear by a mere personal feud. It .must be so 
framed as to eliminate good types of mind and promote 
mediocrities. Lenin was a first-quality man, Litvinov is a 
much abler man than the run of diplomatists; apart from 
that the personalities directing Russian affairs vary from 
honest ordinary to intricately mean. It is preposterous to sup- 
pose that they are the pick of that Russian intelligence which 
has produced men like Mendeleev, Mechnikov, Pavlov, 
Pushkin, Maxim Gorky. . . * 

The headquarters organization upon the shoulders of the 
Russian giant is, to be plain about it, a head without a fore- 
head; it has a brain that lacks anything more than a rudi- 
mentary cerebrum. Russia, with an area of over eight million 
square miles and a gross population of one hundred and 
sixty-six million people, is being run by a directorate as 
antique and rudimentary in its nature as some small pro- 


nunciamento South American Republic or the tyranny of an 
ancient Greek city state. It has no knowledge organization 
at all. It has no powers of reflection. It has only the Com- 
munist Party which is dogmatic ignorance. It is a giant 
I speak of social structure and not of persons with the head 
of a newt. 

That is the absurd situation of Russia. Only, unhappily, 
nobody seems to consider it absurd. The country is still 
living on the mental impetus of Lenin and the democratic 
socialism of the nineteenth century. When that impetus is 
spent it will have nothing to fall back upon but die pre- 
posterous pretensions of personal government. 

It is this absence of a collective cerebrum that has made 
the present feud of the Stalinists and the Trotskyites pos- 
sible. Trotsky I have never met, but he seems to have a 
considerable personal vanity; Stalin I liked when I talked 
to him; I did not think he had an overwhelming intelli- 
gence, but I thought he was honest and strong and human. 
I have been disillusioned about him mainly by those foolish 
films of personal propaganda he has allowed to be made, 
Lenin in October, for example. Therein Trotsky is elabo- 
rately belittled and Stalin made the all-wise hero of the 
story. He stands over Lenin. Modestly but firmly he indi- 
cates the strategic points in the map and tells him what to 
do. Apparently he is trying to distort the whole history of 
the revolution for his personal glorification. 

Why do these two men behave in this way? Apparently 
they are posing for posterity. That was something Lenin 
never did. He was a man of the new order. Both Trotsky 
and Stalin are middle-aged and have very few years left now 
in which to do anything more for the world, and this is how 


they dissipate them. They are behaving as absurdly as Mus- 
solini. Few human beings are adult before thirty-five and 
most remain puerile to the end. Do they not understand 
that even if they are remembered they are in the busy 
world ahead certain to be misjudged? Nobody will have 
time to read whole books about them. One or another thing 
awaits these legends they are cherishing. If the world fails 
to readjust itself now, they will pass, with everything else 
that is human, into oblivion; and if it does readjust itself 
to its new occasions, then so far as they are remembered at 
all, they will be taken in hand by a more adult and motherly 
Clio and spanked and put in their places. 

I am amazed at these egotisms and astonished at the com- 
plete inability of the Communist rank and file, out of Russia 
at any rate, to avoid taking sides. Either they take sides or 
they wander away from the idea of creative revolution alto- 
gether, so completely are they dependent on the behavior of 
their Great Men. This is infantile. The man of the new 
world order, if ever it is to be attained, must learn to go 
right on without leaders, just as he must learn to go right 
on without God. 

What is happening to the body of Russia, obscured by 
this scuffle? The scuffle has so narrowed-down to personali- 
ties that a great deal may be happening outside it. It may be 
that in this matter my wish is father to my thought, but at 
any rate I believe that a more or less complete restoration of 
intellectual liberty in Russia in the next few years is a quite 
possible thing. The Russian, who, like the Englishman or 
the American, has grown up in an atmosphere of less im- 
mediate militant stress, is not nearly so docile as the Ger- 
man. There is an ineradicable disposition to humor and 


laughter in these less controlled peoples. They are earlier 
adult. I cannot suppose that the Nazi regime would tolerate 
for a moment those popular stories by Michael Zoshchenko, 
which hold up the weaknesses and discomforts of the Soviet 
regime to the gayest ridicule. Laughter can dissolve prison 
bars; it can outflank prohibitions. Russian writers are begin- 
ning to take liberties. 

The Russian mind is an insubordinate mind and an un- 
tidy one. This virtue and this vice may be two aspects of 
one quality. Russian thought lacks and needs the restraint 
of the more disciplined Western intelligence. It has that 
courage and irresponsibility which we associate with genius. 
A release of intellectual energy in Russia, corresponding 
with and responding to the appearance of a reorganization 
of knowledge and collective purpose and judgment in the 
West, would have a vastly stimulating effect upon the 
thought and will of the entire world. It would be an event 
of major importance in the mental reorganization of man- 
kind. And in the brightness of this new beginning it would 
hardly be observed that the Communist Party, the Comin- 
tern, too narrow, too insincerely dogmatic and "too clever by 
half," had unobtrusively disappeared, as I suppose that 
sooner or later it must do. 1 

x See R Borkenau's The Communist International (1938), a history which 
is also an analysis. 



FINALLY, IN THIS STOCKTAKING of human forces, we come to 
the countries more directly affected by the American and 
French revolutions at the end of the eighteenth century, the 
countries in which, beyond the shadow of the British oli- 
garchy, radical and liberal and democratic ideas have had 
a maximum freedom of expression. Chief of these, and 
charged now, it would seem, with the main burthen of their 
common destiny, is that third great mass of human beings 
with any sort of solidarity, the United States of America, 
China, Russia, North America; these vast countries make 
more than a third and nearly a half of humanity; they 
occupy most of the north temperate zone, which is the zone 
of maximum human energy, and with the British Empire 
they constitute the greater part of mankind. They are all 
fermenting with change. And the most freespoken, active, 
perplexing and various of all these great vats of destiny is 
the United States. 

The United States is of primary significance in world 
affairs for a number of reasons. In the first place its popula- 
tion is almost entirely literate, that is to say, it can read. How 
it reads and what it reads is another matter. There are no 
cheap books in America such as there are in Great Britain 



and France; most books worth reading can be got in Eng- 
land for sixpence, while in America they cost from ten 
times as much upward; and outside a limited world even 
prosperous people hear very little of any but those best sellers 
which follow each other like epidemics across the continent. 
But the newspaper Sunday supplements and the public 
libraries largely compensate for these present imperfections 
of the book supply. So the American public as a whole, over 
the vast areas it covers, is simultaneously accessible, if need 
be, to new ideas, and that accessibility is greatly enhanced by 
the nation-wide distribution of the cinema and the radio. 
And next it has a tradition of free discussion. The American 
says what he thinks, and even when he doesn't think he is 
apt to say it. You can always contradict him, and there is no 
handicap to help any opinion to win. 

Education is in the hands of the forty-eight state govern- 
ments of the Union, and varies widely in its standards and 
organization from state to state; schools, colleges and uni- 
versities are scattered abundantly over the land; they range 
from sheer imposture upward, and the best of them are as 
good as or better than anything else in the world. There are 
great endowments for education and for educational enter- 
prises. There are probably more highly educated people in 
the United States than in any other single country whatever, 
and when it comes to what we may call the half-educated, 
people whose minds, already loosely furnished, could easily 
be quickened, there is no comparison. In one or two back- 
ward states, modern scientific teaching of evolution, for 
examplesis prohibited in the state schools, and discrimina- 
tory obstacles are put in the way of the education of colored 
people. These are exceptions to a general freedom. The intel- 


lectual possibilities of this vast country are unlikely to be 
seriously threatened by invasion, extreme war stresses or civil 
convulsions for some time. They are threatened just enough 
to stimulate them and prevent their becoming lethargic. 

Like all the rest of the world, the Union has felt the 
impact of the new conditions of human life, the progressive 
abolition of distance, the immense increase of material 
power and the ensuing dislocations of economic and social 
order, but less confusedly and with more time and elbow- 
room for consideration than any other country. It has been 
able to look and see; it has been able to think more plainly 
about the change that has come upon us all. It has only 
realized in the last decade that it has an accumulating 
surplus of unemployed. 

There is a vast elementariness about the past hundred and 
fifty years in America. It is as if social and political life in 
the United States was simplified and made plain for demon- 
stration purposes to all the rest of the world. We have there 
in unqualified contrast the East and the West, the North 
and the South, White and Black; no petty nationalisms, no 
traditional hatreds, no language difficulties, no localized 
religions obscure the broad issues. The War of Independence 
left the country a democracy, democracy at its first stage, 
the state of political equality and individual liberty. The 
extension of the democratic idea to include socialism, educa- 
tional equality and universally accessible information, which 
we have traced in 6, scarcely affected America until the 
close of the nineteenth century. Throughout all that cen- 
tury she worked out the possibilities for good and evil of a 
hard individualistic democracy. The Civil War, though it 
arose out of a number of economic and political stresses, 


simplified out at last, to a logical completion of the equali- 
tarian idea by the abolition of slavery and the enfranchise- 
ment of the liberated slaves. 

Life throughout that period resolved itself into a scramble 
for wealth. The whole nation thought dollars, talked dol- 
lars. For several generations it was a distinctly exhilarating 
scramble. There were so much unexploited land, such re- 
serves of natural wealth available, that it was possible to 
accumulate vast fortunes and still find fresh employment for 
everyone who chose to work. After the civil war came a 
great development and organization of industry. American 
invention, American enterprise, soon led the world in the 
expansion of big business and the mechanization of life. For 
a time it was not realized that this march of Triumphant 
Democracy * was essentially the rape of virgin resources that 
could never be replaced. Triumphant Democracy poured 
across the continent, destroying the forests and so changing 
the climate for the worse, ploughing up pasture that pres- 
ently became sandy desert, exterminating animal species, 
using up coal, oil, mineral wealth as though there was no 
end to any of these things. 

It was only as the "Wonderful Century" drew to its end, 
that the immensity and the menace of Waste dawned upon 
people's minds. Everyone was so keen to get dollars that 
many of them forgot to get children, but the supply of labor 
for all that vast ploughing-up, cutting-down and tearing-out 
was sustained by a tremendous immigration. In 1906 a mil- 
lion immigrants poured into America, mostly people who 
knew no English and had a far lower standard of life than 
the native worker. They were divided among tKemselves 

1 Andrew Carnegie, Triumphant Democracy (1886). 


at first by their special ignorances; they supplied a far more 
manageable type of labor from the point of view of the 
exploiting employer. 1 The home-grown strain hoped to save 
money, get on, escape from employment, and so it was slow 
to develop any class solidarity until it realized that every 
door to hopeful competition was being closed upon it. Labor 
legislation in America therefore fell far behind that of Great 
Britain. Not only was the immediate real wealth of America 
being turned to dollars; a rapid deterioration of the common 
life was also going on. Very reluctantly would America ad- 
mit that the great uprush was over. Theodore Roosevelt's 
campaign for Conservation was the first practical recognition 
in America that Americanism had gone too far. 

This is not a history, but a survey of existing possibilities, 
and we will say nothing here of the events that exalted and 
depressed American life for the next third of a century, the 
war, the boom, the collapse, until we come to that nation- 
wide realization of crisis and panic that brought Franklin 
Roosevelt in as the savior of a staggering social system. 

Sometimes a work of art can do more to present reality 
than a whole library of reports and statistics, and that tre- 
mendous genius, John Steinbeck, in his Grapes of Wrath 
(1939), has given an unforgettable picture of the last stage 
in that process of material and moral destruction and dis- 
illusionment with which the story of sturdy individualism 
in America concludes. He gives it all, from the exhausted 
soil dribbling down to dust, to the broken pride, the hope- 
less revolt and the black despair of the human victims, 
without rhetoric, without argument, but with an irresist- 
ible effect of fundamental truth. 

1 See my The Future in America (1906) ; Two Studies in Disappointment. 


The crisis discovered a great man in Franklin Roosevelt. 
As I have written elsewhere, 1 he is a "patrician" rather in 
the vein of Lord Grey and Arthur BaLEour than a typical 
American politician. He is rich and his peculiar health 
makes him float rather above the level of everyday tempta- 
tions. He has the boldness of imagination needed to meet 
the challenges of the time, but he has the great gentleman's 
disposition to look to subordinates for the detailed execu- 
tion of his designs. None too soon he has carried America 
forward to the second stage of democratic realization. His 
New Deal involves such collective controls of the national 
business that it would be absurd to call it anything but 
socialism, were it not for a prejudice lingering on from the 
old individualist days against that word. 

At the beginning there was much talk of the Brain Trust, 
which he had gathered about him to realize the vast change- 
over of American aff airs he had in hand. I was tremendously 
excited by this Brain Trust idea, and I went off to America, 
as my Experiment in Autobiography relates, to have a good 
look at it. He had imagined that the universities could and 
would give him men of exhaustive knowledge and capacity 
in sufficient amount to create, on the spur of the moment, 
a civil service competent to meet the huge demands of this 
great transition he was so gallantly attempting. These Brain 
Trusters were what the universities produced for him. My 
wits were not quick enough to size them up at once. They 
seemed to be an extremely interesting and miscellaneous 
set of men, but I had a feeling from the outset that they 
were not going to justify the President's expectations. He 

1 Experiment in Autobiography, Chapter IX, 9, and World Brain f The 
Fall in America, 1937. 


was under an easy delusion about the American universities. 
He thought they were untapped reservoirs of wisdom. They 
are not. They were quite unable to give him the knowledge, 
understanding and responsive imaginations necessary to 
convert his magnificent gestures of social and economic 
reconstruction into a working reality. 

I went, a traveling note of interrogation, from him to 
Stalin, because I realized that the same insufficiency of 
mental resources and support which was baffling the Amer- 
ican President, the lack of any adequate mass and structure 
of administrative knowledge in the state, must also be 
crippling the socialist thrust in Russia. Was Russia meeting 
or attempting to meet that difficulty? In some way of its 
own? And in Russia I found Gorky in a dream of Russia's 
greatness, unfolding the plans of non-existent universities to 
my incredulous eyes, and nothing else but intolerant dogma- 
tists and intriguing commissars. 

Both Roosevelt and Stalin were attempting to produce a ' 
huge, modern, scientifically organized, socialist state, the one 
out of a warning crisis and the other out of a chaos, and the 
lack of a brain organization to give that state consciousness 
and coherence was a difference not in nature, but degree. 

The brain organization of the United States is not up to 
its new job. It needs to be revised, expanded, turned round 
to face the future. I have compared the head structure of 
the Russian giant to the brain of a newt. To carry on the 
biological analogy, the knowledge and will structures of 
the United States seem, to be somewhere about the level of 
a horse. It has a cerebrum all right; it remembers almost 
too well within a limited range, it shies at shadows, stam- 
pedes very readily, and has no particular zeal for learning 


new things. Something very much better than that is de- 

For the great, closely-organized, human community that 
socialism contemplates, a World Brain is essential The third 
aspect of a complete democracy is a tremendous educational 
expansion, that not only opens the way to the White House 
to Everyman but gives him the necessary mental equipment, 
if he can use it, to get there. Such an educational organiza- 
tion has been latent in America for a century and a half. 
The fathers of the Republic were not unmindful of it. In 
every state, land was set aside to supply the endowment 
for a state university, and sometimes that turned out well, 
and sometimes it did not. In addition, there were older en- 
dowments of the British type, and fresh benefactions ex- 
panded these and added to their number. The whole com- 
munity was concentrated upon that fascinating dollar hunt, 
but when one of the winners felt public-spirited and gen- 
erous, it seemed a fine thing to him to get some more 
knowledge and education for the people. And being es- 
sentially a business man, he went and bought the stuff; 
he bought the best in the market; and it did not occur to 
him and why should it ? that America might be in need 
of something at least as new and distinctive of her as the 
great business plants and concentrations that he and his 
fellow-magnates were, with such vivid immediate success 
and such ultimate bad consequences, making. So that the 
extensive and complicated university system of America 
remained essentially European, first upon the British pat- 
tern and then with an increasing German influence. To this 
day it clings to the medieval cap and gown, the degree- 
giving and medieval lecturing of the old world. 


Dollar preoccupation was almost as effective in leaving 
unchallenged the ascendancy of Europe and European pat- 
terns in the world of thought and artistic creation. Boston, 
which had played a vigorous part in British intellectual life 
in colonial days, resented this acceptance of inferiority, but 
until well into the latter quarter of the nineteenth century 
the European ascendancy was tacitly admitted in the rest 
of America. Lowell might complain of a "certain air of 
condescension" in the visiting English of his time. This 
air of condescension had this much justification that 
in many strata of the American world it was accepted. 
There were insurgent spirits and many protests indeed, but 
the War of Independence only reached the realm of literary 
criticism towards the turn of the century, and then it came 
as a great shock to the British writers of my generation, 
who had taken the American tribute for granted. Today 
no young American writer would dream of sedulously imi- 
tating or indeed resembling a British model. And in many 
fields of thought, the new history and sociological specula- 
tion for example, individual minds broke into distinctive 
American methods. Some thirty odd years ago the American 
climate, by way of a protest, killed all the cherished ivy on 
those red-bricked colleges, but it did nothing further in the 
matter. To this day the shape of the knowledge organiza-' 
tion and education, and particularly of the higher educa- 
tion, remains in precisely the same state of picturesque 
headlessness and material ineffectiveness as the older, nat- 
ural-grown, European disorder of institutions. The erection 
of facsimile buildings, Magdalen Tower in Chicago, for' 
example, is merely the extreme expression of this reverential 


The United States, let alone the world, cannot carry on 
now with an unorganized mentality, a scattered higher edu- 
cation that has no power over the press or the common 
schools or political consciences. It produces no adequate civil 
service, no well-informed and easily co-operative administra- 
tors. It cannot compass any of the major problems before 
the nation. The resort of the undergraduate world to the 
realities of the playing fields is a sure indication of the un- 
attractiveness of its array of subjects. They yell. Every uni- 
versity has a yell. And well may they yell and go wild and 
frantic in their stadiums, for their lives and their powers are 
being largely wasted. 

Yet it is in America now that the clearest hope for a 
beginning of that World Brain resides. A country habituated 
to the rapid development of vast commercial and industrial 
enterprises must surely be capable of attempting an intellec- 
tual and educational enterprise beyond the imagination of 
men bred in smaller and more tradition-ridden communi- 
ties. So far it has been impossible to awaken any influential 
and resourceful people to this patent, if unprecedented 
necessity. It is unhappily so novel that they seem afraid to 
realize how obvious it is and unavoidable. There is no time 
to lose about it. It is hard to guess what may happen when 
this abnormal phase of personal government by one in- 
spired, insufficiently able man of genius comes to an end. 
There is no one to replace him and nothing to replace him. 
Nothing is being prepared. America may relapse in quite a 
little time into something as acephalous and incalculable as 

And so I return to my refrain: rf We need a World Brain," 
and to my insistence that the creation of a greater mental 


superstructure to reorient the mind of the world is an en- 
tirely practicable proposal. 

At this point I imagine an angry critic interrupts. He has 
been skimming through this book he wouldn't deign to 
read it or mark the course of its argument looking for occa- 
sion for offense. And now he cries: '"Who are you, Mr. 
Know-all, to tell us that all these splendid institutions. Har- 
vard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Chicago, Johns Hopkins 
and a multitude of others, and abroad Oxford, Cambridge, 
Paris, London, Coimbra, Upsala, Tokio one could count a 
thousand galaxies of clustering colleges and dreaming spires 
and all these wise and good men, thousands of them, men 
of eminent learning, men of distinguished character, doctors, 
teachers, investigators, scholars, not one who is not in every 
respect a far better man than yourself, that all together they 
amount to nothing! that this great constellation, this veri- 
table shining skyful of gifts and powers is not sufficient for 
the needs of the world today! that altogether it amounts to 
no more, scale for scale what did you say? than the brain 
of a horse! that it needs something far more powerful, some 
far vaster embodiment of knowledge and purpose some 
queer fad of yours ?" 

To which I answer: What are they doing now? So far 
from lighting the world, the skies are so overcast that these 
starry constellations seem scarcely to be shining. 

And far from being "Mr. Know-all," I am in helpless igno- 
rance, in a sea of unconscious ignorance. There is one thing, 
and one thing only, I know, that you do not seem to know, 
and that is this that neither you nor I know enough nor 
know the little that we do know well enough, to meet the 
needs of the world's occasions. Unless we do something 


about this ignorance of ours, this universal blinkered igno- 
rance, we shall be overwhelmed, we shall destroy one 

If only some small fraction of the still considerable wealth 
and energy of America could be turned not merely to a 
campaign against the ignorance of others but against its 
own far more dangerous ignorance; if only this absolute 
necessity for an organized World Brain, a gigantic but still 
possible super-university, set above all these admirable but 
ineffective scattered foundations to utilize and consolidate 
them, if only that could fire the imagination of a few ener- 
getic spirits; then the whole outlook of the human species 
might still be changed. 

There is a last possibility to consider in this survey. Some 
such appeal as I am making may presently gather force, 
attract a measure, but an insufficient measure, of support 
and not enough critical attention. The thing may be tried, 
the effort may be made, and, as people say, it may fall into 
the wrong hands. Instead of a living World Brain we may 
have a sham World Brain. The effort may be made. Money 
may be forthcoming; the demand may grow. Something to 
look like a world encyclopaedic organization may be 
brought into being, good enough to pacify most of the 
clamor, good enough for those people who say you cannot 
have everything at once you must have a beginning. When 
embryonic tissue cannot build an organ it can still produce 
a cancer. We may have some large and plausible organiza- 
tion of platitudes, irrelevances and compromises, as adequate 
as an organization of knowledge as the old League of Na- 
tions was of world peace. There may be great academic 
comings and goings, ceremonies and solemn consecrations. 


And at last something in the nature of Dr. Nicholas Murray 
Butler and President Grover Whalen will appear enthroned, 
side by side, organizers of the World Brain triumphant, the 
World Brain of Tomorrow, brooding profoundly over the 
unmitigated destiny of mankind. 1 

That may be. The history of most religions supports this 
possibility. There is nothing whatever between the stars and 
the atoms to show why the end of Homo sapiens should not 
be absurd as well as tragic. The price of human salvation 
is eternal vigilance, incessant fearless criticism and unre- 
stricted wit. How can one tell beforehand whether that 
price will be forthcoming? Without unrestrained free 
speech and irreverence, how can we defeat the universal 
human tendency to be satisfied with and tolerant towards 
plausible, pretentious things ? There can be no rest, no tact- 
ful acquiescences, no mental toleration, no enfeebling 
politeness, in the Kulturfyimpf ahead, if man is to escape 
the evils that close in upon him. 

In the design of this book three primary themes interlace 
and pursue and develop each other. There is first, that in- 
vention and science have completely altered the material en- 
vironment of human life. Next, that the disruptive driving- 
force of an excess of bored and unemployed young men, 
which must in some manner find relief, will probably shat- 
ter human life altogether under the new conditions. And 
thirdly, that the existing mental organization of our species 
is entirely insufficient to control the present situation, which 
nevertheless might, with an adequate effort, be controlled. 
These are the Change of Scale theme, the Youth Pressure 
theme and the World Brain theme. The first two create the 

1 Cf . The Columbia Encyclopedia. 


problem to which the third indicates the only possible 

About the role of those young men; its cardinal impor- 
tance is still not recognized plainly by sociologists, historians 
and writers of contemporary history. In practice, however, 
it is plainly apprehended, and a very considerable amount of 
propaganda to capture the imagination of this vital stratum 
is carried on, and particularly by the more aggressive con- 
temporary states. They pursue their co-nationals abroad, 
and make strenuous efforts to win over opinion in neutral 
states and bring local conditions into parallelism with their 
own. Nazi patterns are being studied in South Africa, for 
example, and we have noted the Fascist disposition of Gen- 
eral Chiang Kai Shek. There is a great totalitarian propa- 
ganda, and now, awakening and responding to it, there is 

On the whole the totalitarians make the more exciting 
and attractive promises and give the brooding young man 
the most immediate prospect of authorized masterful activi- 
ties. Official Great Britain pays the dole and encourages no 
presumptuous hopes. But in America and elsewhere there 
is a definitely anti-Fascist organization called the World 
Youth movement. This is a brotherhood and fundamentally 
a pacifist organization, a combination of a great number of 
more specialized associations, which attempts to bring the 
opinions and demands of the young for security from 
massacre and for employment, training, adult education, 
health culture and so forth, to bear upon governing and 
administrative bodies, and exert a critical, helpful and 
mediatory influence upon their social welfare work. It has 
the open support of both the President and his wife, more 


particularly of Mrs. Roosevelt, and it extends its liaison 
work into most of the so-called democracies and Russia. 
Its activities vary with the country and occasion, but its gen- 
eral objective is to keep its young people busy with work of 
public importance, developing their capacity with use and 
experience. This World Youth movement claims to repre- 
sent and affect the politico-social activities of a grand total 
of forty million adherents under the age of thirty. Of 
these, twelve million are credited to Russia, though I can- 
not imagine how these figures are checked. It includes also 
a number of War Resisters whose ideas stop short at a re- 
pudiation of war. They will have nothing to do with war, 
but how human affairs are to be carried on in a warless 
world they do not trouble to think. Anyone else can bother 
about that, it seems, not they. They carry passive resistance 
to the pitch of know-nothingness. With a certain disapproval 
they offer us their bodies to be protected and their mouths to 
be fed. 

I mention the World Youth Movement here, but I am 
quite unable to estimate its possibilities. It may fade out It 
may play an important and increasing role in the consolida- 
tion of a new world order* 

The President and Mrs. Roosevelt, though they seem 
acutely aware that a developing Youth Movement may play 
an important part in the political drama of tomorrow, have 
neither of them betrayed any consciousness of the immense 
intellectual reorientation of which the world is now in such 
urgent need. Their circumstances have never directed their 
attention to that. I doubt if these two fine, active minds 
have ever inquired how it is they know what they know and 
think as they do. Nor have they ever thought of what they 


might have been if they had grown up in an entirely differ- 
ent culture. They have the disposition of all politicians the 
world over to deal only with made opinion. They have never 
inquired how it is that opinion is made. 

The only representative of Youth I have ever met who 
seemed to be aware that they were under-educated and im- 
properly educated were some Burmans I met in Rangoon. 
"We are taught to be clerks in European-owned factories," 
they complained. "What we want is technical knowledge 
and the science of our own country and circumstances so as 
to give us a clear conception of our role in the world. . . ." 

Now that was saying something. 1 

1 For a fuller factual and more hopeful analysis of the American process see 
C. A. and Mary R. Beard's The Rise of American Civilization and America 
in Midpassage. A characteristic statement of American notions is Speaking 
of Change, giving the ideas, attitudes and limitations of the late Edward A. 



WE HAVE NOW EXPOSED, in stripped outline, the primary 
factors in world affairs at the present time. In all these mat- 
ters I have written with the complete freedom of a bio- 
logically trained and uncontrolled observer. Sir Arthur 
Salter, for example, in his Security. Can We Retrieve It? 
(1939), writes with all the discretions and reserves of a re- 
sponsible politician who has to think and speak within the 
conventions that I, in my entire irresponsibility, can repudi- 
ate and kick aside. His thoughts are capped and gowned 
and mine are stark. He has an air of scarcely recognizing 
the realities I assemble. Nevertheless, his intelligence and 
integrity are manifestly forcing him towards a conception 
of public policy and the human future essentially the same 
as those I have stated concisely and brutally here. 1 

The cultural summaries made in the preceding sections 
from 11 onward may be offensive to many readers, if only 
because of their plainness, but they have been made with 
deliberation, they have been sustained when necessary by 
citation, and they will be much easier to run away from ' 
than to disprove. The political map is imposed upon these 
primary factors and more or less conditioned by them, very 

1 See Note 23A for a quotation from his Epilogue. 



much as it is imposed upon a contoured physical map of 
the world. It entirely distorts the truth to attempt to reduce 
this complex struggle for existence to any left and right 
antagonism. At the maximum simplification we have still 
to distinguish three absolutely divergent trends in ourselves 
and in the world about us. Each of these trends has its vari- 
ations, but these variations can be put very easily as species 
under one or other of these three genera. The divergence 
of the three main trends remains complete. 

The first of these trends embodies the inveterate disposi- 
tion of the normal man to accept his immediate circum- 
stances as he finds them and make the best of them for 
himself. He sticks to the creed he is born to or to the 
alternative culture that gives him greater comfort. One 
might write, indeed, not merely the inveterate disposition 
of the normal man but the inveterate disposition of every 
normal living thing. For the ordinary animal the loss of the 
sense of security releases panic, flight, violence vehement 
and usually quite unintelligent efforts to recover the con- 
fidence that has slipped away. It is only in the human 
animal, and probably it is only in the last two or three thou- 
sand years that there has been any disposition to look for- 
ward, even during a fairly prosperous social phase, beyond 
the prescribed social round, not only to anticipate and arrest 
danger but also to enlarge, enrich and alter life. There is a 
faint uneasiness. "Man looks before and after." For the first 
time in mental history the quality of reality is shifted from 
the present or from a past-present system to the future. 
Already in this book ( 9) the idea of a rotation of values 
in time has been developed in reference to European thought 
in the past half-century and with an auto-vivisection of one 


particular sample. Now we are able to envisage that forced 
rotation of the mind as a world phenomenon. 

Everywhere we note a natural, retrospective conservatism, 
and everywhere we have minds reluctantly and inadequately 
coming about and taking up the constructive challenge of 
the age. Such are the two main antagonistic trends in the 
mental life of the world today. The third trend goes neither 
backward nor forward; it is moral abandon. It is equally 
regardless of the reactionary passive peace desire and of the 
creative peace impulse* The manifest relapse of the world 
towards lawless warfare and recklessly destructive violence 
is due to the successful blocking of the road to the latter 
peace by the resistance of those who desire the continuance 
of the former. The deadlock between conservative instinct " 
and creative readjustment releases the suppressed beast, the 
unqualified egotist in the species, from control. It can only 
be recalled to discipline for good and all by the complete 
triumph of the new peace over the old. 

This triangular struggle is going on now not only in the 
human species as a whole but in every intelligent individual 
among us. It is the essential religious struggle of the time. 
In every one of us there is the disposition to acquiesce in the 
dear, familiar values, faith, creed, patriotism, culture, amidst 
which we began. In every one there stirs the protest against , 
a fatuous surrender to things plainly unstable and unsound; 
the protest and the creative desire even at the price of per- 
sonal loss and injury. Moments come when we feel that we 
"must speak out." And there is the ever-recalcitrant egotism 
which lies in wait for every phase of perplexity, inducing 
us to abuse every confidence put in us, to snatch the profit 
and pleasure and personal glorification that offer themselves. 


so that even leadership turns insensibly into a clamor for 
precedence, a jealous tyranny and the betrayal of all it set 
out to serve. 

So it is we are all constituted. "Let him who thinketh he 
stand, take heed lest he f all," 



THERE is NO CREED, no way of living left in the world at all, 
that really meets the needs of the time. 

When we come to look at them coolly and dispassionately, 
all the main religions, patriotic, moral and customary systems 
in which human beings are sheltering today, appear to be 
in a state of jostling and mutually destructive movement, 
like the houses and palaces and other buildings of some 
vast, sprawling city overtaken by a landslide. To the very 
last moment, in spite of falling rafters and bulging walls, 
men and women cling to the houses in which they were 
born and to the ways to which they have grown accustomed. 
At the most they scuttle into the house opposite or the house 
next door. They accuse each other of straining the partitions, 
overtaxing the material; they attack the people over the way 
for secret mining operations. They cannot believe such 
stresses can continue. The city is still sound enough, they 
say, if it is not too severely tried. At any pause in the wreck- 
age they say "What did I tell you? It's all over. Now we 
can feel safe again," and when at last they realize the in- 
evitability and universality of disaster, most of them have 

become too frantic to entertain the bare possibility of one 



supreme engineering effort that might yet intercept those 
seeping waters that have released the whole mountainside 
to destruction. 

Such a salvaging of the species is still just possible. That 
is as much as the most hopeful mind can say. 



IN A PREVIOUS SECTION ( 10) I have given my reasons for 
and against believing that this creative world peace I have 
shown to be possible, will be achieved in time to save our 
species from disaster. I fluctuate, I admit, between at the best 
a cautious and qualified optimism and my persuasion of 
swif tly advancing, irretrievable disaster. Now let me assem- 
ble the probable experiences before our children in the event 
of such a conclusive frustration of democratic and progressive 

This is a much easier task than an attempt to forecast a 
progressive triumph. Upon that it would be possible to 
speculate only in the most general terms. What the human 
intelligence, no longer hag-rid, released from that abject 
fear of change that has restrained it through the ages, what 
the released and implemented creative imagination of thou- 
sands of millions of free and happily active individuals 
might achieve, is beyond any anticipating. At the utmost 
we can produce words like vacant frames and empty show- 
cases, to indicate that undelivered wealth. We can talk of 
unhampered and unhurrying swiftness of realization, of 

universal variety, of abundance and balanced beauty. We 



are forced to take refuge as St. Paul did, when he evaded 
the greedy materialism of those who demanded a bodily 
resurrection from him, in "eye hath not seen nor ear heard, 
nor hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive" . , . 

It is impossible to foretell what the liberated human mind 
may produce, but at least we can foretell one certain reaction 
to what is given here. There are those who cling with an 
obstinate willfulness to the persuasion that a unified world 
must be a uniform and stagnating world. It is ridiculous, 
but they manage to believe it. "Horrible monotony," they 
say, "stress and servitude. Bolshevik tyranny. Prigs' Para- 
dise," and nothing will dissuade them. 1 Many, I am per- 
suaded, feel an intense jealousy of the possibility of a state 
of affairs better and happier than their own. It is an intoler- 
able thought for the greedier sort of mind that there should 
be any possible life finer than the one they live, a finer life 
that they will never share and which indeed they would be 
incapable of sharing. Their reaction to all forecasts and 
Utopias, possible or impossible, is self-protective hatred. They 
interrupt; they leap out with "That wouldn't suit me!' As 
indeed it would not. How inevitable is that uncomfortable, 
protesting laugh: "I'm glad I shan't have to live in this 
dreadful, tidied-up, drab, ordered world of yours." 

The ^congratulations are mutual. I won't even ask you, 
Madam, to read in your newspaper between the social and 
the sporting columns and mark how brightly and swiftly 
you and your kind drive down towards your destiny. 

On the other hand, mankind in defeat and decadence 
involves no great probabilities of mental novelty. There is 
nothing to alarm your self-complacency in that. It is the 

1 See, for example, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. 


world we live in now, only a little farther on and a little 
more so. We need not speculate outside the traditional, 
limited, human stuff, that dear old "unchanging human 
nature" of the past twenty or thirty thousand years. And to 
that we will now apply ourselves. 



IT WAS BECOMING EVIDENT to everyone that the present state 
of affairs could not continue. The greater part of mankind 
was living in the immediate fear of sudden, undeclared war. 
At any time, by night or day, with less than an hour's notice, 
the screaming sirens and the high explosive and incendiary 
bombs were expected to burst about us. Every other occu- 
pation was subordinated to the ill-conceived exigencies of 
air-raid precautions, and an ever-increasing proportion of 
our human and material resources was pouring into military 
preparations. Almost every intelligent human being and 
every township and community in Eur-Asia was in a state of 
mental tension which was rapidly approaching the breaking- 
point. Suicides were increasing. Lucid thinking became of- 
fensive and intolerable. People attacked and persecuted one 
another on flimsy excuses. Because of the limited and dis- 
torted idea systems in which they are living, they were, as 
we have seen in 11 to 22, incapable of setting about the 
necessary readjustments of relationship. We have dismissed 
any such outbreak of sanity, therefore, as improbable. There 
is no basis on which it can start. There will be no world 
unification, because our species is too distraught and divided 
for anything of the sort. 



What seems much more likely is a lapse into actual 
warfare, red war, on a planetary scale. This will not be a 
clearly conceived war carried out with the intention of estab- 
lishing a world peace. Governments will pretend it is that, 
but fundamentally it will be a fit of frantic violence with no 
rational objective whatever. The first offensive was just as 
likely to come from the so-called "democratic" as from the 
"dictator" side. 

As we have shown quite clearly by an appeal to mani- 
fest facts, the threefold forces making for conflict are to 
be found busily active in every existing human community 
the evil patriotic and religious traditions, the horribly 
magnified weapons, the relative excess of unemployed young 
men but the states where the pressure of these forces, be- 
cause they were most pent up, has produced its maximum 
effect in menace and belligerent gestures, will be marked 
as the aggressor states. rt They will be assailed by a loose 
alliance of incongruous countries animated by the diverse 
motive systems we have scrutinized, and agreed only upon 
the need of suppressing these desperado nations. The en- 
suing war is likely to be briefer but far more violently 
destructive than the previous world war, because while that 
war began at a level of equipment which permitted a steady 
increase in the supply of munitions almost to the end when 
the losers collapsed through material and moral exhaustion, 
the combatants this time start from the beginning at some- 
thing like a maximum of armament, and will reach the 
breaking-point much earlier. Staying power will decide the 
formal victory, which is less likely to be decisive even than 
the surrender of the eleventh of November, 1918. 


The material and moral destruction of the actual warfare 
will certainly be enormous. The population stratum of mili- 
tary age will be largely killed, mutilated, poisoned or 
mentally unbalanced, and after it, will come a generation or 
so, which has been more and more undernourished, under- 
educated, demoralized and mentally distorted, as the con- 
centration upon preparation (guns for butter) and the actual 
stress, noise and disorder of the conflict, have made a 
normal growth impossible for them. Vast resources of power 
will have been wasted for good and all, and the land and 
the sea bottom will be littered with smashed-up aeroplanes, 
shattered tanks, twisted railway trucks, burnt-out aerodromes 
and a great abundance of sunken ships and stores. Exoduses 
of population hardly less frightful than battle routs will 
have dislocated all sanitary balances, and famine and its 
follower, pestilence, will have swept the world. Even the 
influenza epidemic which followed the previous Great War 
killed more people than were actually slain in battle. This 
time the sanitary disorganization will certainly be much 
greater and the possibilities of morbid infections far more 
various. Probably there will be a deliberate spraying of dis- 
ease germs to assist this, more natural mischief. There will 
have been much gratuitous bombing of cities. There will 
have been a great burning and smashing-up of human habi- 
tations which no one will have had energy to replace, and 
such a destruction of beautiful buildings, works of art and 
irreplaceable loveliness of all sorts, as will make the feats of 
the Huns and Vandals seem mere boyish mischief. All that 
lies plainly ahead. 

And when at last one side admits defeat, and peace is 


proclaimed upon the world battlefield, what will be the situ- 
ation? The defeated will be treated as the incurably guilty 
parties. If that were so, if there were incurably malignant 
peoples, then the wholesome thing to do would be to mas- 
sacre them carefully and completely. Mankind will balk at 

Instead of any such biologically conclusive settlement, 
there will be, once again, a punitive peace. The victors, to 
the best of their ability, will make the losers pay. The losers 
will be quite unable to pay. Further punitive measures will 
then become necessary. Modern war is a very impartial 
process, and the victors will probably have suffered quite 
as much and even more material and social devastation than 
the vanquished. They will be in no mind for generosity. 
No country in the world, even those that have preserved a 
technical neutrality, alert under arms, will emerge from the 
storm at anything like the level of civilization at which it 
stands today. There will be less freedom of speech, less op- 
portunity to speak freely, far more fear and far more danger 
of frantic mass impulses. 

In 11 to 22 there has been an attempt to estimate the 
general trend of the main idea systems of the world. Here 
we may recapitulate the conclusions to which that survey 
points. What is going on now? 

A very considerable festering of minds is no doubt occur- 
ring. People arc reading and thinking feverishly but they 
are often thinking wrong and with an assisted wrong-head- 
edness. Patriotic and religious teachings surround them, and 
subtle and insidiously mischievous suggestions. The arts of 
propaganda in enemy countries improve rapidly. There is 
no country in the world where enemies are not sowing tares 


with constantly increasing effectiveness. Every form of dis- 
content is fomented with a skill and energy worthy of a 
better cause. The suggestions of desperate and destructive 
revolt that men may fear to whisper to their neighbors, will 
come to them from abroad. 

We have seen that the break-up of the British Imperial 
system in face of a complex of insurrectionary movements, 
troubles on which the sun will never set, has a high degree 
of probability. The conflict of the new Nazi religion with 
Catholicism is plain and open, we have studied it in the 
ingenuous speculations of Mr. Teeling, and beneath the sur- 
face of most of the established systems of today, some queer 
development of social dissent is latent. The present ebb of 
communism is no end to insurrectionary class war. It is mut- 
tering vaguely, it may be unorganized and criminal, but it 
will be none the less socially destructive. We have noted the 
waning charm of the Italian dictatorship and the lamentable 
tendency of original sin to emerge as murder and fanatical 
cruelty under the very shadow of obscurantist Christian 
teaching. Where Spanish and Portuguese are spoken the 
pronunciarnento flourishes with undiminished vitality. 

America has a transitory unity and stability under the 
protean aspects of the New Deal, but no one knows what 
will follow when the extremely personal direction of Frank- 
lin Roosevelt ceases. There may be a heavily financed drive 
to put back the New Deal and return to a hard-faced busi- 
ness individualism. Big business has used some rough meth- 
ods in the past and may resort to still rougher methods 
again in an atmosphere that has become much less tolerant 
of the old forms of firmness. Not without reason do Ameri- 
cans talk of their Bourbons. That once unorganized alien 


labor has become assimilated and unified and more capable 
of meeting pseudo-legal violence with extra-legal violence. 
The country that produced Franklin Roosevelt also pro- 
duced at the same time Huey Long and an unprecedented 
regime of gangster terrorism. And in the same period came 
the revival and the suppression of the intimidations of the 
Ku Klux Klan. Things have a way of beginning in Amer- 
ica, running large and rank, and then coming suddenly to 
an end. This applies to evil and hopeful things alike. Every- 
thing may occur in some part of the United States or an- 
other, and the country may still retain an apparent unity. 
With a strong personality the White House may concentrate 
the nation, as it were, into one mind; with a less vigorous 
head that federal unification relaxes and the continental 
expanse is revealed as a miscellany of divergent issues. War 
and Roosevelt might impose a temporary national person- 
ality upon the United States that would vanish again in a 
subsequent reaction, giving place to a state of affairs as in- 
coherent and variegated as Europe. The apparent solidarity 
of the United States may be as personal as any dictatorship; 
it may be accidental and not essential. 

The question of what will come after Roosevelt opens a 
vista of localized possibilities varying between dull conflict, 
boss rule and chaotic violence, and the corresponding ques- 
tion of what will come after Stalin opens up not a vista but 
darkness. We have weighed up the uncertainties of China 
and Japan, and there too there is no assurance of stability 
and many intimations of degenerative revolution. A Japanese 
collapse would probably disintegrate China again, for noth- 
ing but patriotism holds China together. 

So we have left as the main factors in the settlement after 


the second world war, a patchwork of staggering govern- 
ments ruling over a welter of steadily increasing social dis- 
organization. The settlement after the next world war will 
be only a prelude to further conflict. Informal warfare will 
succeed the formal struggle. What else can happen? Victors 
and vanquished will go to pieces and rearrange themselves. 
There is no body of ideas in existence, no tradition or frame 
of a world law to which an appeal can be made, that can 
carry on the shattered, mentally and morally overstrained, 
but still heavily armed combatants to any sort of world 
synthesis. The seizures and pronunciamentos that followed 
the Treaty of Versailles will recur more abundantly and on 
a more sustained and uncontrollable scale. 

Since any new synthesis is improbable, the names of the 
existing main political systems are likely to continue long 
after they have lost any real authority, just as the idea of the 
Empire prevailed among the barbarians in the Dark Ages. 
The Union Jack, the Swastika, the Cross, or the Stars and 
Stripes may still float over a thousand dissociated gangs 
and tribes, claiming its authority, just as the Roman Eagle 
survived as a legally dominating reality in man's imagina- 
tions, side by side with the Church, long after Rome was 

Now it may be thought that so much political and social 
dissolution may mean an ebb of invention and a break-up 
of the industrial organizations that supply the destructive 
apparatus which is smashing up the existing order so rapidly 
and uncontrollably. The human process will go back, it 
may be fancied, to a mechanically feeble barbarism, and a 
new system of expanding states may finally reconstruct 
civilization. It will be the Dark Ages over again, a planetary 


instead of a merely European Dark Ages. Homo sapiens 
will be given a second opportunity. There will be a return 
to primitive home-made weapons, non-mechanical transport, 
a new age if not of innocence yet of illiteracy, and slow, 
feeble and less lethal mischiefs will return to the world. 
But history never repeats itself, ecological processes are ir- 
reversible, and there are many considerations that make it 
improbable that the new barbarism which is coming upon 
us will have even a material resemblance to the barbarism 
of sixteen centuries ago. It will be much tougher, with a 
livelier and wickeder intelligence, and it will retain a far 
more destructive equipment. 

Because it is proving impossible to assemble and organize 
knowledge and sane ideas for the establishment of a world 
civilization, it does not follow that knowledge already scat- 
tered about the earth will be destroyed. It may become 
generally inaccessible and secret, but it njfay continue avail- 
able in workable fragments to a number of enterprising 
people, A vast store of metallurgical and industrial tech- 
nique was completely lost with the downfall of the Roman 
Empire, 1 but then the record of principles and processes 
was very flimsy and vulnerable. Many technical secrets were 
never written at all and none were printed. Even down to 
the past century that sort of thing went on; a number of the 
processes in Wedgwood's china factory, for example, were 
transmitted verbally from one worker to another. Some of 
the older men carried secrets with them to the grave, and an 
analytical chemist had to be called in and the processes 
laboriously rediscovered before the firm could go on pro- 
ducing its characteristic wares. That was a survival of old- 

1 Rendered rather -vividly in George Gissing's Veremilda, 


world methods. Under such conditions the old techniques 
disappeared in a generation or so. But nowadays scientific 
and technical knowledge is embodied in so huge a number 
of printed and widely distributed publications, the body of 
people in contact with those records is so large and varied, 
that even in a world of deepening and extensive disorder, 
it will still be possible to assemble knots and groups of men 
capable of carrying on the production of most of the lethal 
devices now in use. Postal and railway organization may go 
to pieces, newspapers disappear, roads become impassable 
and gas supply, drainage, and public lighting cease, because 
such things depend upon a widespread social co-operation, 
and still there may be radio transmission, aeroplanes and 
high explosives, which do not demand anything like the 
same general participation. 

It does not follow that mechanisms and contrivances will 
disappear in reverse order to that in which they ap- 
peared. It may have taken long years of research and 
the contribution of thousands of scientific workers to dis- 
cover an explosive or a poison, but when that has been 
attained only a recipe and material are needed for its pro- 
duction. It has become a part of "our human heritage." 

This is evident for example in the steady increase of 
bomb-making and bomb-throwing in the world. It is a 
growing feature of the normal social life. Every morning 
now we read in our newspapers of the young braves of the 
Irish Republican Army throwing their cheap but effective 
bombs in Great Britain, the Jew boys and the Arab boys 
bomb each other with ever-increasing zeal and bloodier 
results, bomb outrages comment on the new regime in 
Spain, they multiply in India, in the occupied areas of 


China. In a world of deepening misunderstandings and 
grievances, there is no reason to doubt that they will become 
as common as road accidents and as little thought of, a part 
of the normal give and take of politics. People will harden 
their hearts to their consequences until the bomb comes to 
themselves, and then their enlightenment will be too late. 

The world emerging from the next great war, then, will 
be a tougher world, more disunited than ever, abounding 
still more in concealed aims and secret preparations and the 
fears and suspicions they engender. What else can it be? 
The open forum of the scientific world will have disap- 
peared and the suggestion of any cosmopolitan ideas will 
have been suppressed, as a weakening of combatant morale. 
In every country. For the neutral powers, if any remain, 
will still have had to be mentally as well as materially "pre- 
pared-" Human beings who can do nothing else to gratify 
their craving to exercise power, love to suppress and help 

No doubt great numbers of people will have felt the 
irrational evil of all this shrinking of thought into strategic 
holes and corners, but they will have had less and less , 
opportunity of getting together, or even clearing up their 
own minds sufficiently to take effective action. Many of 
them, under the stress of their conscious helplessness, will 
lapse into mystical religiosity, will refuse to bear children, 
will resort to suicide or the quasi-suicide of non-resistance. 
Many will take refuge in opiates. The Japanese are doing 
their utmost to spread the use of opium and heroin among 
the Chinese, and they will probably succeed in affecting 
their own troops also. The ideas and expedients of birth 


control, now they have spread about the earth, will not 
be easily forgotten. 

More and more will the world be for the tough, for the 
secretive, the 'treacherous and ruthless. Cities will be dan- 
gerous labyrinths and the countryside an exposure to attack. 
Ever and again some group or some individual by luck or 
cunning may achieve a certain width of conquest and estab- 
lish a peace of terror. Subservient millions may rejoice then 
for awhile that at last strong government has come back 
to the world. They will accept an imposed religion, a last 
revival of Christianity a la Franco perhaps, or of that "clean" 
Nazi creed, or something on the evangelical lines General 
Chiang Kai Shek seems to favor; they will observe a dictated 
morality and a mutual censorship. Any intellectual revival 
is improbable. This light of free science will have sunken 
and gone out long since; what remains of technical knowl- 
edge will be in the safe hands of properly ordained men. 
The first thing a youth attracted to mechanical or medical 
knowledge will do, will be to take orders and put himself 
under safe direction. History will have shriveled down to 
the Creator myth again, but the popular imagination will be 
titillated and appalled by a dim and dying tradition of a 
former age, our age, of sinful knowledge, of lawless indul- 
gence, of unconsecrated loves, of a terrible disrespect for cus- 
toms and taboos and sacrifices and priests, that brought 
great misfortunes upon mankind. A new "World before 
the Flood" it will be. 

A few secret doubters may exist, bookish, silent, hinting 
and whispering men men, for a more "wholesome" use 
of womankind will leave women little time for reading 


who will pore guiltily over the unfulfilled promises of a 
golden age to come, in the old books which men wrote 
when they still had pride and hope. There may be some 
wistful whisperings, some weak attempts at a new Free- 
masonry. But the necessary adaptation of human thought to 
turn the tide of decadence is something too wide and open 
in its nature to be brought about by any sort of secret organ- 
ization. What can be done by timid men who are forced to 
squeak and scamper like mice behind the arras? 

Art may have an Indian summer. The dictator may even 
build some fine buildings for most of them build mon- 
asteries, cathedrals, palaces, before he passes. There may be 
portrait painting and portrait pieces of an ennobling type, 
glorified history, an effort at a technically lower level to 
recall the Venetian bravura of Titian, Tintoretto and Paul 
Veronese. At any rate we shall not live to see that last Art 
Age. Then, because there will be no correction for the 
material stresses of a static system, the darkness will close 
in again. There will be peasant revolts, an exhausting war 
or dynastic trouble. So human affairs have gone in the past, 
and so, without any fundamental change in human mental- 
ity, they must continue to go, so long as they go on at all. 

The coming barbarism will differ from the former bar- 
barism by its greater powers of terror, urgency and destruc- 
tion, and by its greater rapidity of wastage. What other 
difference can there be without a mental renascence? The 
average life will be steadily diminishing, health will be 
deteriorating. The viruses and pestilential germs will resume 
their experiments in variation, and new blotches and in- 
fections will give scope for pious resignation and turn men's 
hearts again towards a better world beyond the stars. There 


will be a last crop of saints and devotees. Mankind which 
began in a cave and behind a windbreak will end in the 
disease-soaked ruins of a slum. What else can happen? 
What other turn can destiny take? 

If Homo sapiens is such a fool that he cannot realize what 
is before him now and set himself urgently to save the situa- 
tion while there is still some light, some freedom of thought 
and speech, some freedom of movement and action left in 
the world, can there be the slightest hope that in fifty or a 
hundred years hence, after he has ]?een through two or 
three generatibns of accentuated fear, cruelty and relentless 
individual frustration, with ever diminishing opportunity of 
apprehending the real nature of his troubles, he will be col- 
lectively any less of a fool? Why should he undergo a magic 
change when all the forces, within him as without, are 
plainly set against it? 

There is no reason whatever to believe that the order of 
nature has any greater bias in favor of man than it had in 
favor of the icthyosaur or the pterodactyl. In spite of all my 
disposition to a brave looking optimism, I perceive that now 
the universe is bored with him, in turning a hard face to 
him, and I see him being carried less and less intelligently 
and more and more rapidly, suffering as every ill-adapted 
creature must suffer in gross and detail, along the stream 
of fate to degradation, suffering and death. 

That, compactly, is the human outlook, the only possible 
alternative to the willful and strenuous adaptation by 
re-education of our species now forthwith that I am 
urging in this book. Adapt or perish, that is and al- 
ways has been the implacable law of life for all its 
children. Either the human imagination and the human 


will to live, rises to the plain necessity of our case, and a 
renascent Homo sapiens struggles on to a new, a harder 
and a happier world dominion, or he blunders down the 
slopes of failure through a series of unhappy phases, in the 
wake of all the monster reptiles and beasts that have flour- 
ished and lorded it on the earth before him, to his ultimate 
extinction. Either life is just beginning for him or it is 
drawing very rapidly to its close. This is no guess that is 
put before you, no fantasy; it is a plain and reasoned 
assembling of known facts it* their natural order and rela- 
tionship. It faces you. Meet it or shirk it, this is the present 
outlook for mankind. 



Note 4A. A shrinkage of the gross population, one may note, 
under the new conditions, though it foreshadows an ultimate bio- 
logical defeat, does not in itself compensate for that superfluity of 
unemployed and dangerously restless young men stressed in the 
preceding paragraphs. It does nothing to stabilize the community. 
Not merely increased productivity per head due to technical progress 
but also the prolonged activity of skilled older people will still be 
diminishing employment and the young man's prospects of normal 
assuagement. A falling birth rate or for that matter a rising one is 
no relief for that primary social tension, which is essentially a matter 
of proportion and not of scale. An island community of a few 
hundred people will still be unstable if it includes a few dozen 
young men with nothing definite to do. 

Note 4s. Semaphore signaling systems seem only to have been 
invented in the Napoleonic period, though it is remarkable they were 
not attempted in the great Empires of Egypt, Persia, China and 

Note 6A. It is true that in Great Britain there are certain organi- 
zations, the Plebs League, for instance, and the Workers' Educa- 
tional Association, which owe their existence to the realization that 
the traditional education, meeting as it does the requirements for 
upper and middle class survival, may not be entirely adequate for 
the needs of an awakening democracy. But in practice there is little 
of the interrogative and creative spirit of science in the work of 
these quasi-rebel bodies. A rash conceit of finality pervades them. 
One need only turn over the pages of Plebs to realize the glib, trite 
omniscience of its attitude. The aim throughout is not knowledge but 
equipment for the political class war; it is to assemble and supply 



predigested controversial material for the Labor politician (research!), 
prepare and train "speakers'* for the Labor cause, and sustain the 
profound satisfaction of its clientele in such education as they have 
already derived from the general atmosphere of their upbringing. 
At a Royal Society Dinner one can stand up and say "We are all 
self-confessed ignorant men, oui* common aim is inquiry and better 
knowledge; we want to know, and that is why we are here to- 
gether." But that sort of thing would provoke either indignation or 
derision in the Little Bethel of a workers' educational gathering. 
They have the Gospel; they know. Labor is going to take over 
things and the millennium will ensue. The Plebs League, it seems, 
has a doctrinal feud with the kindred Communist Party; I cannot 
understand why. It preaches practically the same stuff. No seminary 
for the missionaries of some eccentric sect was ever more specialized 
and narrow-minded. 

Note 7A. There is a very full and well-illustrated Italian (Fascist) 
Encyclopaedia one of the many evidences of the higher mental level 
of the Fascist as compared with the Nazi regime but I have never 
seen any competent examination of this work in any English, Ameri- 
can or French review. I have no idea of what this attractive-looking 
publication gives, what it conceals, what it may suggest or misrepre- 
sent, and short of learning Italian and reading it through I do not see 
how I can find out. No university professor anywhere in the world 
seems to have bothered yet to put a research student or so on to this 
task. But why should he care? Why on earth should he care? It 
would be infringing on journalism. It would be vulgar. There is 
always something more to be done in the best academic tradition 
about the probable sex life of Leonardo da Vinci or the personal 
resentments of Dante, which will touch no current controversial issue 
and still satisfy the highest standards of academic erudition. 

Note PA. See Lord David Davies, The Problem of the Twentieth 
Century (1930), Suicide or Sanity (1932) and various publications 
of the New Commonwealth Society. 

Note 93. Dr. John Beattie Crozier, 1849-1921. Author of The 
Religion of the Future (1880) and A History of Intellectual Develop- 
ment (1897-1901). 

NOTES 251 

Note 9c. "The world-wide English language is destined, I think, 
to serve as the primary medium in this renascence of the human 
spirit. Unquestionably that renascence must ultimately be cosmopoli- 
tan, but to begin with it is likely to find its fullest and 4 most lucid 
expression in one or the other, or maybe one or two, of the existing 
thought and language systems in the world. What are they? What 
other systems are there? There is the Latin cultural group expressing 
itself in French, Italian and Spanish. In the past French has been 
the common medium, but it is by no means certain that it will 
remain so as intellectual suppression progresses in Italy and Spain. 
Then there is the great Slavonic sprawl whose medium of expression 
is Russian. There is the German system and, last and most wide- 
spread and convenient of all, there is the English-speaking network. 
I want to point out to you that for the next few decades at any rate, 
the burthen and responsibility for human mental progress or human 
mental failure will rest principally upon the series of communities 
using the English tongue either as a mother tongue or as a cultural 
language. It is becoming the lingua franca of the so-called "democ- 
racies." Matters may change later, but that is the present state of 
affairs. These communities are far more free to discuss, learn and 
publish than any other people in the world. 

Germany as an organized country has, for a time at least, with- 
drawn herself from any claim to a share in the moral or intellectual 
leadership of the world. The burning of the books by the Nazis was 
a symbolical act of detachment from the free mentality of mankind. 
The expulsion of such men of science as Einstein and Freud, and 
the assertion of the racial hallucinations of Hitler in place of estab- 
lished ethnology, were practical demonstrations of the same with- 
drawal. Dogmatic nationalism has stamped upon science and free 
thought and the German mind and retired into itself. And so too 
has the Russian. Before the Great War, the Russian language and 
literature were the medium for civilized thought not only through- 
out Russia but all over the Slavonic-speaking world of southwest 
Europe. In the summer of 1938, just before the destruction of 
Czechoslovakia, I took part in a small conference upon Slavonic 
culture in Prague. It was attended by representatives of all the Slav- 


speaking countries except Poland, and I found that everyone in that 
meeting spoke and liked speaking Russian. But the present Russian 
government has seen fit to sterilize this Russian influence by a sys- 
tematic suppression of free speech, free discussion and free publica- 
tion. For all practical purposes this leaves only the French- and 
English-speaking systems. The French intelligence at its best is lucid, 
brave and enterprising, still finer I think in its quality than any 
other in the world,, but it works upon a much narrower base than 
the English. The very precision of French deprives it of an amplitude 
of expression of which English is capable. So we come to the con- 
clusion that if the human race is not to go on slipping down towards 
a bottomless pit of wars, conquests and exterminations, it must be 
through the rapid and zealous expansion and reorganization of the 
intellectual and education organizations of the English-speaking 

But let me make it clear that when I say English-speaking, I say 
it without any shadow of political propaganda, Anglo-Saxon radi- 
calism, dear-old-Englandism, British imperialism or any shallow- 
wilted stuff of that sort- 1 am thinking of the things our language 
carries, and can carry, and not of our contemporary "culture/' And 
I think of a flexible language expanding to meet every fresh need. 
English is a very adaptable language; it borrows and assimilates 
words and idioms very freely; and when I speak of the English of 
the future, I have in mind something much more copious and power- 
ful than the "correct English" of the academic scholars. It can 
already narrow down to Basic or expand to express a thousand 
delicate shades of meaning. I think of it as stripped of any remain- 
ing idiomatic complications with a reformed spelling and a con- 
tinually expanding vocabulary. 

Even now English brings together into one creative fermentation 
a vast diversity of peoples, from the Maori to the Eskimos; it 
enables an educated Indian to talk to an educated Norwegian or an 
educated West African Negro. It can bring all the thought and 
learning of the world within their understanding, as no other lan- 
guage can do. It translates everything of importance in every other 

NOTES 253 

language under the sun. Its center of gravity is now the United 
States of America, but every several community which participates in 
its free exchanges contributes its distinctive experiences. See, for 
example, how the mental world of Australasia receives practically 
everything that America or Britain can give it, and in return pro- 
duces great men of science, brilliant artists, writers, thinkers, . . . 
(Adapted from the Canberra lecture on The Role of English in the 
Development of the World Mind.) 

Note 10A. While I was working on this chapter a little friend 
of mine who draws rather cleverly sent me a card to wish me a 
Happy Easter. Below that she had drawn two chicks emerging from 
their eggs with their little heads in gas masks over the legend "Be 
Prepared." I find my little niece's jest rather a grim one. But maybe 
there is an idea in that, a topical touch, for the Nativities they will 
be setting up next Christmas in bomb-devastated Madrid, now that 
Catholicism has waded through blood to its own again. It would be 
a halfhearted incarnation that did not fully share the anxieties and 
precautions of our distressful life. 

Note 10B. Since the 10 was first drafted, a very revolutionary 
device has come to hand in Major Muir's invention of the "air 
mine." This is a balloon-sustained mine which can be set adrift in 
the air at any level, and which will drift before the wind until it 
contacts with a plane and destroys it. It is too small to be seen and 
avoided. It can be timed to keep the air for a definite time, a day 
or a week or so, and then explode and come down. These air mines 
are cheap to produce and they could be made quickly and released 
in enormous quantities. So long a.s they were up they would make 
the air impossible for any sort of air transport, civil or military; they 
would in fact for the time being eliminate the air altogether. I have 
consulted several authorities in this matter, and they agree upon its 
entire practicability. But obviously there are considerable obstacles 
to its being properly tried out. The combatant air forces detest the 
idea. Still there we have the possibility of putting the air completely 
out of action whenever we wish it, and of restoring war to its 
ancient and slower two dimensions* 


Note HA. It is the practice of those who find the results of 
scientific inquiry unpalatable, to stigmatize such statements as we 
have assembled here as "cocksure" and declare them as dogmatic 
as any other dogmas. They will make it a personal matter if possible, 
as though I individually had made it all up, or got it wrong, and 
was being rather absurd about it. And then "Yah!", and they think 
no more about these uncongenial things. But I am no more respon- 
sible for the facts in this book than a telegraph messenger is for 
the cable he brings, I have been simply gathering up undisputed 
statements, and they remain intact, however brilliantly I can be 
discredited personally. 

Alternatively these recalcitrant spirits will have it that it is science 
which is "cocksure." That is a flat misrepresentation of the scientific 
spirit. Experimental science, natural science which is what everyone 
understands by "science" nowadays, is never assured and final. That 
is where it differs from all other established systems of belief, and 
that is why I speak of it throughout this book as a new thing in the 
development of human mentality, new within the past century or so. 
The true symbol of natural science is a note of interrogation. A better 
name would be research. It questions until some false assumption is 
laid bare or destroyed. It tries out and rejects or accepts. And still 
it questions. It is rare that it reverses its carefully tested conclusions 
it is another defensive invention that "Science is always con- 
tradicting itself" but continually it advances beyond these con- 
clusions and restates with increasing precision and enrichment. The 
utmost the man of science says to the religious dogmatist is "la view 
of this and that, your general statement is unsound," or, "In view of 
this and that it must be untrue." 

Note HB. "The number of one's ancestors increases as we look 
back in time. Disregarding the chances of intermarriage, each one 
of us had two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, 
and so on backward, until very soon, in less than fifty generations, 
we should find that, but for the qualification introduced, we should 
have all the earth's inhabitants of that time as our progenitors. For a 
hundred generations it must hold absolutely true, that everyone of 

NOTES 255 

that time who has issue living now is ancestral to all of us. That 
brings the thing quite within the historical period* There is not a 
palaeolithic or neolithic relic that is not a family relic for every soul 
alive. The blood in our veins has handled it." 

From H. G. Wells. First and Last Things, "The Being of Man- 

There are, however, certain qualifications to be made to this state- 
ment of our common ancestry if it is to pass unchallenged. In every 
generation there is an elimination of half the genetic elements. The 
individual is not a mixture of the total ancestry of his four grand- 
parents. He is a compound of a quarter of their genes. And in addi- 
tion he may be a mutation. Genes are transmitted in associated 
groups, but these groups fall infinitely short of carrying a complete 
personality. They carry traits, but the traits are carried separately. In 
so-and-so we may remark this and that trait of his Grandfather 
William but they are mixed with traits from other progenitors; the 
practical reappearance of Grandfather William is a mathematical 
improbability verging on the impossible. Of all this and how there 
are recessive characteristics masked by dominant ones, but capable 
of reappearing in offspring, the reader will find a dear and full 
account in The Science of Life. 

A common ancestry does not therefore involve a common physiog- 
nomy, and at any time an individual or a type may turn up in which 
some once prevalent type virtually reappears. Mr. George Bernard 
Shaw, for example, is a very exceptional person today, but Etruscan 
tombs and potsherds reveal a departed world of quasi-George Bernard 
Shaws. There are quasi-Cromagnards in La Dordogne and the 
Canary Isles today. Certain regions, certain dimates, seem to attract 
and favor their own special types and tend to revive them. That all 
English people are descended from William the Conqueror and 
most of the population of the earth from Abraham, implies brother- 
hood indeed, but not uniformity. The fact that if humanity survives 
so long, everyone alive will be the descendant of every fertile indi- 
vidual among us today exposes the absurdities of family and national 
pride, but it does not mean that the dance of the genes will not give 


us an incessantly restored human variety, in which every individual 
will be consciously or unconsciously seeking the region, the occupa- 
tion and the associates most congenial to his make-up. 

Note 12A. Some of those who, in spite of much subsequent en- 
lightenment, still cling, out of natural affection and association, to 
traditions of their home and upbringing that have become a dear 
and necessary part of themselves, take refuge, I know, in the plea 
that the idea of the Chosen People has become altogether spiritu- 
alized, that they are now segregated not for an ultimate conquest but 
for a mission. Their mission is to serve and exalt all mankind. 

There is moreover another line of sublimation with a bolder 
appeal, and that is the line taken by that great neglected genius, 
David Lubin, the founder of the International Institute of Agricul- 
ture in Rome. His Israel was indeed an Israel with a mission, but 
then he claimed everyone who participated in constructive work as 
one of the elect. To Lubin I was an honorary Israelite. 

"But why then call it Israel?" I protested. 

This sort of transfiguration of the objectives of the Chosen People 
is all very well in apologetic discussion, but there is nothing to 
sustain it in the normal ceremony and practice and teaching of the 
cult, which remains a narrow and troublesome nationalism. Let 
these sublimators repudiate the Bible and the Promise and say what 
they mean plainly. Then we shall be better able to believe in their 
assertions of an exalted inaggressive modernization, 

Note 12s. Louis Golding (in The Jewish Problem) argues that 
anti-Judaism is due to the fact that the Jews cried "Crucify him," 
when Jesus came before Pilate. Jesus, as everybody knows, was 
crucified (a particularly Roman method of execution) not by the 
Jews but by the Roman Pontius Pilate. Countless people who 
criticize the Jews today are extremely impartial about the Crucifixion, 
and I find it difficult to believe that Mr. Golding, who, I presume, 
is himself a product of orthodox Jewish education, is so entirely 
unaware of the effect of this Chosen People cult upon the outside 
world as he seems to be. He ignores it absolutely. 

Browne also, refusing to face that primary issue, accounts for the 
unpopularity of the Jewish community in an entirely different 

NOTES 257 

manner. He theorizes brilliantly about Jews being urban while non- 
Jews are rustic. Certainly the Semitic-speakers were prevalently urban 
in the first century B.C. The balance, says he, must be corrected and 
all will be well. So the Jew, he decides (1935) had better go to 
Palestine and dig himself out of his troubles. Both writers then 
launch out into an account of the great intellectual superiority of 
Jews to Gentiles, wholesome rather than ingratiating reading for a 
puffed up Gentile, and cite a, string of names, Sigmund Freud, for 
instance, and Einstein and so on, who are as a matter of fact no 
more orthodox Jews than I am. They are citizens of the world, they 
work for all mankind. Even now Freud is busy, he tells me, in a 
patient analysis of the legend of Moses. Moses, he concludes, was an 
Egyptian! His monotheism was Akhnaton's sun worship. (Moses 
and Monotheism.) 

Both Golding and Browne are typical of a vast literature on the 
Jewish question. There is no need to multiply instances. Neither, 
I think, realizes quite clearly what it is that encompasses them, be- 
cause they are themselves enveloped in it. They accept this taught 
and cultivated idea system, this ex-religious bias, this artificial 
solidarity I am arraigning, as though it was in the nature of things 
and could not be prevented, and thence they wander off into a 
limitless jungle of controversial irrelevances, of the rights and 
wrongs of ancient hates, misunderstandings, persecutions and 
reprisals, to which there can be no conclusion. 

But the eloquent and emotional Mr. Josef Kastein, who dedicates 
his History and Destiny of the Jews quite incongruously to the 
entirely unorthodox Einstein, concludes his Jews in Germany with 
the real irreconcilable note: 

**. . . we were once in Egypt. Already we have compelled a 
Pharaoh to set us free. We have outlasted the Pyramids. We shall 
outlast the denials of all those who surround us," 

As a matter of fact the Pyramids were there a long time before 
the Jews. 

I reiterate that the whole scheme and purport of this book is to 
insist upon the supreme decisive importance of what in 4 I have 
called the mental superstructure of the human animal. The recon- 


struction of its idea system is its only practicable method of adapta- 
tion, and here is an. idea system that resists and evades reconstruc- 
tion very obstinately. In 8 and 9 I have assembled and sum- 
marized the nature of the great intellectual effort which is needed 
if our species is to adjust itself to the terrific new conditions that 
have risen about it. The Jewish conflict disregards this, cuts athwart 
it, arrests and prevents it, like a noisy quarrel in a laboratory. All 
the countervailing evil inj the world cannot make a bad tradition a 
good one. Killing or ill-treating a man does not put him in the 
wrong, but also, we have to remember, and that is not so easy for 
the liberal-minded, it does not put him in the right The idea of the 
solidarity of the Chosen People, evade it or not, remains the funda- 
mental Jewish idea, and this fundamental Jewish idea, like any 
other nationalism, is an offense against the unity of mankind. 

Note 12c. Persecution mania is a well-known form of insanity. 
With certain variations of phrase and form, due to the current ideas 
of the period, it presents an almost stereotyped pattern through the 
ages. Formerly it was usually witches and warlocks who were sup- 
posed to be at the root of the matter. Anyone odd, anyone different, 
came under suspicion, old crones and afflicted and odd-looking men 
were distrusted, and very often the suspects caught a touch of the 
infection and tried doing the things they learnt were so potent. 
Multitudes of sorcerers have confessed, under no great duress, to 
impossible crimes. They brewed potions, stuck pins in wax images, 
cast spells, sent familiar spirits to gibber and creep and whisper in 
the night. 

Madness like everything else moves with the times; it clothes 
itself in new fashions while remaining essentially the same. Nowa- 
days the witches have become "Occult Powers." They use hypnotism, 
electricity, infections (Pah!), they radio voices making threats and 
evil suggestions. Every prominent publicist continually gets letters 
from sufferers with this type of obsession. Such delusions may easily 
make the patient a danger to himself and others, and then he is 
"certified" and taken care of. But in times of social movement and 
stress this disorder may become contagious, witness the witch mania 
of the early seventeenth century. It is then more difficult to deal with, 

NOTES 259 

Like a dark shadow to the rational objections that can be made to 
the in-and-out double nationalism of the Jews, there is a sustained 
campaign of sinister suggestion with a considerable literature of 
its own. 

Some years ago four or five books written by Mrs. Nesta Webster 
attracted considerable attention. She is a very competent writer and 
so sound a Christian, of a faith so uncritical, that she is quite 
unable to understand that many honest people find a vast amount 
of Christian doctrine impossible. How impossible, I have sought to 
show in 13 and 14. To her there is nothing good except in 
Christianity, and this is so obvious to her that any objection to the 
faith seems necessarily part of some diabolically hatched conspiracy. 
She has set herself with the greatest industry to trace and fak 
together the long-drawn succession of Cabalists, Gnostics, Mani- 
chaeans, the Old Man of the Mountains, Knight Templars, Satanists, 
Rosicrucians, Illuminati, Freemasons, Rousseau, Voltaire, Cagliostro, 
^Madame Blavatsky, Mrs. Besant, Trade Unions, Anarchists, Socialists, 
Theosophists, Communists, Those Bolsheviks, a frightful horde all 
plotting and getting hold of power and handing it on and doing 
down Christianity and the Christian life. Her books are written with- 
conviction enough to make one look under the bed at nights. She 
has never quite committed herself to those famous forged Protocols 
of the Elders oj Zion which were published as the articles of associa- 
tion so to speak of that world conspiracy, but she stoutly maintains 
that though that book may not be genuine, it nevertheless shows 
the sort of thing of which the Jews are capable. Her book Secret 
Societies and Subversive Movements concludes: "For behind the 
concrete forces of revolution whether Pan-German, Judaic or Illumi- 
nist beyond that invisible secret circle which perhaps directs them 
all, is there not yet another force, still more potent, that must be 
taken into account? In looking back over the centuries at the dark 
episodes that have marked the history of the human race from its 
earliest origins strange and horrible cults, waves of witchcraft, 
blasphemies and desecrations how is it possible to ignore the 
existence of an Occult Power at work in the world? Individuals, 
sects, or races fired with the desire of world domination, have pro- 


vided the fighting forces of destruction, but behind them are the 
veritable powers of darkness in eternal conflict with the powers of 

I should describe Mrs. Nesta Webster as a perfectly sane and 
capable person with insane ideas, so widely do I disagree with her. 
I believe her influence has spread far beyond the circle of her actual 
readers. Milder forms of the same intellectual malaise at any rate 
are now very prevalent throughout the more prosperous classes in 
Great Britain and America. It is the only way to account for the 
behavior of Mr. Neville Chamberlain, for example, or Lord Rother- 
mere, the British newspaper proprietor, towards the Jews, towards 
Russia, during the past two or three years. Mr. William Teeling 
again, to whom I refer in 13, is another case. A tepid passive 
Christianity is becoming an aggressive pro*Christianity tinder the 
stresses of the time. 

Note 12v. Sir Norman Angell and Mrs. Dorothy Frances Buxton, 
in a very clear and almost pressingly persuasive book, You and the 
Refugee (Penguin Books, 1939), argue for a practically unrestrained 
admission of these outcasts. They show in particular how beneficial 
a large refugee immigration might be to the British Empire. It 
would bring in new trades, new skill, find fresh work for the 
unemployed, and in Great Britain arrest the approaching decline in 
population if that is desirable. Their plea for a more generous 
treatment of refugees, so far as assimilable individuals are con- 
cerned, is unanswerable. 

But our authors* arguments- for an inassimilable immigration en 
bloc are less convincing. That would only renew the trouble at a 
later, date. There is no time to begin that old history again in new 
regions and among fresh difficulties. Disaster is advancing too rapidly 
upon our entire species. Jewish nationalism like every other nation- 
alism must end and end soon. And even though the plea of existing 
unemployment is an irrational social barrier to assimilable immi- 
grants, it is, in a country where the sense of social insecurity is 
growing, where confidence in the intelligence and good faith of the 
government is diminishing, and where large masses of the popula- 
tion, and especially the accumulation of untrained and unemployed 

NOTES 261 

young men, see no dear prospect of a tolerable life ahead, none the 
less a barrier. Implicitly the British authorities admit: **We do not 
know how to handle our own people, we are getting more and more 
bothered by everything and if these people come into our muddle, 
there is bound to be serious trouble." And so in effect they give 
them up to destruction, not outrageously and openly as the Germans 
do, but by looking in the opposite direction, and delaying action. 

In a scientifically organized, forward-looking social order, there 
will be no people unemployed and there will be no difficulty what- 
ever in the movement of population from point to point. The whole 
world will be everyman's and the fullness thereof. The bare possi- 
bility of such a rational order sustains whatever hope there is for 
mankind in this present survey of the human outlook. But this 
world we are living in is not a rational world and the harsh reality 
we have to face when we cast the Jewish horoscope is this dosing-up 
of the avenues of escape. 

Already in the past year or so, a multitude, scores and possibly 
hundreds of thousands, must have been done to death. And still 
it goes on. . . 

In You and the Refugee, however, I came upon one passage that 
affected me very disagreeably and I think I ought to say a word 
about it here. It is too germane to this discussion to omit: 

"Not all Jews are Zionists, but all Jews will resent the letting 
down of Zionists, the surrender of Zionists ta Arab terrorism. And 
their resentment will be world-wide. We do not perhaps realize the 
possible repercussions. 

"The power of world Jewry is moral the power of journalists, 
writers, dramatists, scientists. It is worth while for an Empire as 
gravely menaced as the British to have that power on its side." . . . 

That is a threat and a very evil and embittering threat. Happily 
it is not made by Jews but by two overofficious Gentile champions 
on their behalf, I do not see things from the Imperialist standpoint 
.. of these authors. I think the British Empire has outlived its useful- 
ness. But the consolidation of the English-speaking people as the 
vehide of a world civilization is quite another matter, and a matter 
of great urgency. Yet unless the British government does what it 


is told ia Palestine, the Chosen People, we are told, will devote 
themselves to preventing that consolidation. I think that is a very un- 
happy suggestion indeed. It does no justice to the intellectual quality 
of Israel. I doubt if any representative Jewish writer could be quoted 
in support of it. But it is exactly what the Jews are accused of doing 
by their worst enemies- My first reaction to it, until I realized that this 
dream of vindictive sabotage was a purely Gentile invention, was 
acute resentment and anger. I believe these two authors would be wise 
to take that tactless and unjustifiable passage out of any further 
editions of their well-intentioned book. 

Note BA. "We Catholics acknowledge readily, without any 
shame, nay with pride, that Catholicism cannot be identified simply 
and wholly with primitive Christianity, nor even with the Gospel 
of Christ, in the same way that the great oak cannot be identified 
with the tiny acorn. There is no mechanical identity, but an organic 
identity. And we go further and say that thousands of years hence 
Catholicism will probably be even richer, more luxuriant, more 
manifold in dogma, morals, law and worship, than the Catholicism 
of the present day. A religious historian of the fifth millennium 
AJJ. will without difficulty discover in Catholicism conceptions and 
forms and practices which derive from India, China and Japan, and 
he will have to recognize a far more obvious 'complex of opposites/ 
It is quite true, Catholicism is a union of contraries. But 'contraries 
are not contradictories/ . . . The Gospel of Christ would have been 
no living gospel, and the seed which He scattered no living seed, if 
it had remained ever the tiny seed of A,D. 33, and not struck root, 
and had not assimilated foreign matter, and had not by the help of 
this foreign matter grown up into a tree, so that the birds of the air 
dwell in its branches." Professor Karl Adam, The Spirit of Cathol- 
icism (1938). 

For reasons I have made perfectly clear in this book, I do not 
believe there will be any Roman Catholic Church at all in the fifth 
millennium A.D., but (see 18) it is amusing to speculate how 
the successors of Professor Karl Adam, long before then, would 
have plaited into the Trinity that God of Male Sex Appeal from 
whose left eye sprang the Sun Goddess, while he blew Susa-no-o, 

NOTES 263 

the dragon-slaying Susa-no-o, from his nose. It is, I agree, not at all 
improbable, given the survival and continual growth of the Church. 
Morgan Young, in the book I have cited in the text, tells that 
the great assimilation prophesied by Professor Karl Adam has 
already begun. The crude early Christians, still in the "acorn" phase, 
preferred martyrdom to burning a pinch of incense to the Roman 
God-Emperors, but the more catholic-spirited Church of today has 
already established friendly relations with the Shinto faith, Japan 
and Rome have exchanged envoys, and the Japanese Catholic bows 
in the Shinto temples in acquiescence to the local supremacy of the 
Emperor-Divinity over the Vatican. 

Note 23 A. Sir Arthur's Epilogue begins: "Shall we never pluck 
the best from fate and find the Golden Mean? Must we ever choose 
freedom without order, or order without freedom? Must justice 
and mercy bring always weakness in their train, and strength bring 

"Shall Peace be never made between equals, but imposed always 
by victor upon vanquished? Must every peace treaty sow the seeds 
of future war? Shall the strong never be magnanimous and the 
weak never secure justice? Must success always sap the will, and the 
humiliation of defeat incite only to revenge? Shall wars with chang- 
ing victors be for ever the dire fate of men? 

"We, the free democracies of the world, have the virtues bred and 
nursed in the pursuits of peace. That is not enough. We need also 
the sterner virtues fortitude, daemonic energy, the will to act- 
and to act together." (p. 385.) 

". . . willing cooperation and the endurance which is only possible 
to an instructed people who understand the purpose of their effort 
and approve it." (p. 384.) Sir Arthur Salter, Security. Can We 
Retrieve It? (1939).