Page images
PDF
EPUB

some the fancy that a non-Christian Oriental race may be able to dominate Christendom in the future, we have to face the fact that a non-Christian and an Oriental people financially rule Western civilization to-day. The world's finances are practically in the hands of a race persecuted by Christianity for thirteen centuries, a race undoubtedly modified in the Occident by large interfusion of Western blood, but nevertheless markedly preserving its Oriental and unmistakable characteristics. And the recent anti-Semitic manifestations in Europe represent the modern acknowledgment of Aryan inability to cope with particular powers possessed by that race. I might even cite from a remarkable German study, published about ten years ago, and written to prove that whenever the percentage of Hebrews in a Gentile population begins to exceed a certain small figure, then "life becomes intolerable for the Gentiles." But I wish to call attention to general rather than to special superiority. The intellectual power of the Jew is by no means limited to business. The average of Jewish ability surpasses that of the so-termed Aryan in a far greater variety of directions than is commonly known. Out of 100,000 Western celebrities, the proportion of Jews to Europeans in philology, for example, is 123 to 13; in music, it is 71 to 11; in medicine, it is 49 to 31; in natural science, it is 25 to 22. In departments of genius as diverse as those of chess-playing and acting, the Jewish superiority is also powerfully marked. It has been said that the Jewish capacity was developed by Christian persecution; but, not to mention the fact that such persecution selected its victims rather from

Mr. Galton goes on to prove that, could we raise the average ability to the Athenian level, or two grades higher, the result would be that for every six men of extraordinary ability whom England can now produce, she would then produce thirteen hundred and fifty-five.1 PerPerhaps so gifted a race will never again appear upon earth. Yet it has utterly disappeared. Probably the remark will be made that its disappearance was due chiefly, as Mr. Galton seems to believe, to moral laxity. Well, the very title of Dr. Pearson's book ought to have indicated to those who reviewed it superficially that he was considering the probable results of moral laxity upon modern civilization. One of our dangers is to be sought in the ever-increasing greed of pleasure and the decay of character. The mental and the moral capacities of the so-called higher races are showing, Dr. Pearson believed, those signs of exhaustion which would indicate that the maximum development of our civilization has almost been reached. The fact is certainly significant that the most naturally gifted of all European races, the French, is showing itself, like the Athenian race, relatively though not normally infertile. There are doubtless other causes for this, such as those considered by Mr. Spencer; but the decay of character can scarcely be the least. For all Occidental civilization this will be one of the perils from within. The peril from without will be the industrial competition of the Far East.

Before we consider Dr. Pearson's views, another remark may be offered about the exaggerated belief of the Western races in their own unparalleled superiority. Monstrous as may seem to

1 Hereditary Genius, "On the Comparative Worth of Different Races," pages 329-332, edition of 1892. Concerning the physical development of the Greek race, I would recommend the reader to glance at Taine's extraordinary grouping of evidence bearing on the question, in his Philosophie de l'Art and in

L'Idéal dans l'Art. Mr. Mahaffy has written a book to prove the English boy superior to the Greek boy; but his argument involves the denial of facts accepted by equally good authority. 2 Principles of Biology, vol. ii. chap. xii.

3 I take the figures accepted by Lombroso. See his Man of Genius.

the best than from the worst of a Jewish population, this explanation would place within comparatively recent times the evolution of mental powers which have distinguished the race from the most ancient times. Jewish capacity was rather the cause than the consequence of persecution. Ages before Christianity (as might be inferred even from Genesis and from Exodus, or from the book of Esther) the race had been hated and persecuted because of its capacity. That capacity was restrained by special legal disabilities in Rome. It provoked murder and pillage even under the tolerant rule of the Arabs in Spain; 1 and the attitude of Mohammedan races toward the Jews in Africa and in Asia has been, on the whole, scarcely more tolerant than that of Christian nations.

1

So much for the fancied mental supremacy of the Western nations. The delusion that other races are providentially destined to disappear before the socalled Aryan has been attacked by Dr. Pearson with a vast array of systematized facts and observations, including the results of studies made by himself in many parts of the world. Although it is true that some races, unable to bear the discipline of our civilization, have already disappeared, or are quickly disappearing, such as the Tasmanian and Australian aborigines, certain Maori peoples, and North American Indian tribes, -Dr. Pearson has shown that these accomplished or threatened extinctions. illustrate only the exceptions to the general rule of the effect of Western expansion upon alien races. Under our social system the condition of being able to live is to work hard, to work steadily, and to work intelligently. Those unable to do this either perish at once, or sink into the slough of vice and crime which underlies all our civilization, or else find themselves reduced to a condition of mis

1 For particulars of the rising against the Jews in Spain under the Arabs, see Dozy's history.

ery worse than any normal experiences of savage life. But there are many inferior races, both savage and semi-savage, which thrive under the discipline of the higher races, and so multiply after the introduction of Occidental order into their territory that their multiplication itself becomes an effective check upon the further growth of the dominating race. Thus the Kaffir has multiplied under British protection, and the Javanese under Dutch. Thus the populations of the Straits Settlements and of British India steadily increase. The history of the various English, French, and Dutch colonies yields wide evidence that many weaker races, far from vanishing before the white, greatly increase in number. Such increase necessarily sets a limit to white multiplication in those regions, — seeing that all labor needed can be supplied by natives at rates for which no white men would work, even supposing the climate were in all cases favorable to Europeans.

[ocr errors]

Climate, however, is another question in this relation. Climate also sets a limit probably a perpetual limit to the expansion of the higher races. The tropics, apparently, can never become their habitat. In what has been termed the "pyrogenic region" the white races cannot maintain themselves without the aid of other races. Their domination now, as in the past, we find to depend upon constant supplies of fresh strength from a colder region, and their numbers have never increased beyond an insignificant figure. The West Indies, from which the white race is slowly but surely vanishing, furnish a strong example: the estates are passing into the hands of the former slave race. Tropical Africa may be held, but never can be peopled by Europeans. Left to themselves for a few generations, the English in Hindustan would vanish utterly, like those Greek conquerors who, after Alexander, ruled Indian kingdoms. The state of Spanish and Portuguese tropical colonies in both hemispheres tells

eloquently the story of the limits set by of society has changed toward the indus

nature to white expansion.1

In the temperate zone, where the Western races come into contact with races indubitably civilized, though in some respects less highly organized, the former can only temporarily gain ground, for the white races can be most effectually underlived by peoples of nearly equal intelligence in production and in commerce. The Occidentals may conquer and rule, but they have even less chance of multiplying at the expense of Chinese than of multiplying at the expense of Hindus. All the great Oriental races have proved themselves able to learn enough of the wisdom of the West to more than hold their own in matters of manufacture and trade. Under Occidental government a civilized Oriental race not only grows, but grows rich. In the matter of labor, whether common or skilled, the white artisan has no chance to compete with Orientals upon their own soil, or — cept in the manufactures wholly depending upon the applied sciences upon any other soil. White labor has never been able to compete on equal terms with Oriental labor.

V.

---

ex

Those confessions, which all European nations have made at various epochs of their history, and which some have made in our own time, of inability to cope with the Jewish people upon equal terms have other sociological meanings than such as might be implied by difference in average mental ability. They must also be considered as suggestive of the incapacity of societies not yet emerged from the militant stage to compete with a people essentially commercial from an epoch long anterior to the foundation of those societies. It is noteworthy that just in proportion as the militant form

1 Long before Dr. Pearson, Herbert Spencer had noticed these limits. He had also observed, "With social organisms, as with individual organisms, the evolution of superior types does not entail the extinction of all inferior ones."

trial, anti-Semitic feeling has diminished, whereas it is strengthened again by any reverse social tendency. The most essentially industrial nations, America and England, to-day give no exhibitions of anti-Semitic feeling; but with the military expansion of other societies or the marked return to military forms we find the sentiment reviving. Russia, Germany, and even republican France have given manifestations of it; those of Russia proving absolutely mediæval and ferocious.

Now, we must remember, while considering the question of future race competition in the Far East, that the evolution of Occidental civilization from the militant toward the industrial state is yet far from complete, as its propensities to aggression bear witness; while the Chinese, however much below our level in certain phases of development, are a people that reached the industrial type of society thousands of years ago.

In Dr. Pearson's book it is plainly stated that the industrial competition of China would be incomparably more dangerous to Western civilization than that of any other nation, not only because of its multiformity, but also because it is a competition to which nature has set no climatic limits. Thrifty and patient and cunning as Jews, the Chinese can accommodate themselves to any climate and to any environment. They can live in Java or in Siberia, in Borneo or in Thibet. Unlike the modern Jews, however, they are more to be feared in industry than in commerce; for there is scarcely any form of manual skilled labor at which they are not capable of killing white competition. Their history in Australia has proved this fact. But in commerce also they are able to hold their own against the cleverest merchants of other races.

(Sociology, vol. ii.) But Mr. Spencer has never given detailed attention to the special problems first studied in detail by the author of National Life and Character.

They are adepts at combination, excellent financiers, shrewd and daring speculators. Though not yet rivals of Europeans in that class of production dependent upon the application of modern science to manufacture, they have given proof of ability to master that science whenever the study can profit them. They are learning thoroughly the commercial conditions of every country which they visit; and though the history of their emigration began within recent times, they are already to be found in almost every part of the world. They have swarmed along the coasts of North and South America, and found their way to the West Indies. Every part of the East knows them. They do business in the cities of India; they created Singapore. They have multiplied in the Malay peninsula, in Sumatra, in Hawaii, in numbers of islands. They are said to have provoked, by threatening the existence of Dutch rule in Java, the massacre in which nine thousand of their race perished. Both Australia and the United States have found it necessary to legislate against their immigration; and the Chinese ability to supplant the Malay races in the Eastern tropics has produced astonishing results within the memory of men now living.

What America and Australia have been obliged to protect themselves from, all Europe may have cause to fear before the close of the next century. Once China has been penetrated by the forces of Western civilization, her population will begin to display new activities, and to expand in all possible directions. Chinese competition will have to be faced, probably, very much sooner than had been expected.

VI.

A very significant fact bearing upon this problem has been furnished by the influence of Occidental civilization in Japan.

Although the author who declared the Western type of society to be, in many

respects, "one of the most horrible that has ever existed in the world's history" was certainly more than half right; although it is true that we see "boundless luxury and self-indulgence at one end of the scale, and at the other a condition of life as cruel as that of a Roman slave, and more degraded than that of a SouthSea islander;" although our civilization be one which opens the gate of fortune to aggressive cunning, and closes it as long as possible against the highest qualities of character and of intellect, nevertheless that civilization enormously multiplies the chances for energy, for talent, for practical abilities of almost every description. While crushing and destroying in one direction, it opens a hundred ways for escape in another. Though the feeble, the stupid, and the vicious are brayed alive, the strong, the clever, and the self-controlled are not only aided, but are compelled to better themselves. The condition of success is not merely that effort shall be constant, but also that the force of the effort itself shall be constantly increased; and those able to fulfill that condition without a mental or a physical break-down are tolerably certain to win at last what they wish, perhaps even more than they wish. While the effort exacted is large, the return is, in the majority of normal cases, more than proportional. Life must be lived upon a bigger scale than in the past; but the means so to live can be earned by the more vigorous. Although, by the law of antagonism between individuation and genesis, the higher races ought to be the less fertile races, other conditions being equal, they are not so, having been able to create for themselves conditions unknown in previous eras, and opportunities still undreamed of by races accustomed to simple natural living. Hence the phenomenon that a nonAryan race, able and willing to adopt Western civilization, or even to submit contentedly to its discipline, will begin to multiply more rapidly under the new

conditions, even while those conditions entail forms of suffering previously unknown. Up to a certain stage of development the opportunities of life will be increased even more than the difficulties; for previous resources will be enlarged, and new ones found and developed, while countless means of conquering natural obstacles will be furnished by scientific knowledge to those capable of using them.

Penetrated by the influences of Western civilization, the population of Japan began almost simultaneously to expand. Within twenty-two years it has increased more than twenty-five per cent. In the year 1872 it was 33,110,825. In 1892 it was 41,388,313. It is now over 42,000,000. And this increase has been in despite of repeated epidemics, and great losses of life due to floods and earthquakes. Improved sanitation, enforcement of hygienic laws, attention given to drainage and to systems of water supply have certainly helped the increase, but could not alone explain it. The explanation is to be sought rather in the greatly widened opportunities of life furnished by the sudden development of the country. During the same period the increase in the total volume of the export and import trade has been 534 per cent. The total of customs duties has more than quadrupled. Wages are said to have risen 37 per cent.1 Among facts showing agricultural development is the increase in the area of cultivated land. That of land under wheat and barley is put at 58.5 per cent, and of land under rice at 8.4. Improved methods of agriculture may help to account. for the increase of rice production by 25.5 per cent during the last fifteen years alone. In the same period of fifteen years, the increase in silk production has been 300.2 per cent, and in that of tea

1 Probably at the open ports only. I take these figures from the Japan Daily Mail, which republished them from the Kokuminno-Tomo. I personally know, however, that in some pro

[blocks in formation]

I think that the myriad new opportunities to earn a little more than a good living which this immense expansion implies should suffice of themselves to account for that increase of population which is even now offering a new problem to the Japanese government, and which has been only temporarily met by the acquisition of Formosa and the Pescadores, by the project for a Japanese Mexican colony, by the shipment of laborers to Hawaii and to other places, and by the overflow into Australia, where the Japanese labor question threatens to become as unpleasant as was the Chinese question in Dr. Pearson's time. The whole meaning of this increase of population will best appear when I remind the reader that, in one sense of the term, the Japanese are by no means a fertile race. Large families are comparatively rare, a family of nine or ten children being quite uncommon, and the birth of twins so rare as to be considered an anomaly. Nevertheless, the Japanese population has increased over 25 per cent, while that of England has increased only about 7 per cent. This, of course, is temporary, and a check must eventually come; but the period of that check is apparently still far off.

Imagine, then, the consequence of a corresponding commercial and industrial development upon a Chinese population of four or five hundred millions, - probably more fertile than the Japanese, declared by the Japanese themselves superior in all the craft of commerce and the secrets of finance, matchless as mere mechanical workers, and capable of liv

vinces there has been yet practically no rise in wages worth mentioning. The cost of skilled labor in the open ports has increased greatly.

« PreviousContinue »