XI. “THE WHITE MAN’S BURTHEN”
One of the most curious aspects of the British “Pacifist” is his willingness to give over great blocks of the black and coloured races to the Hohenzollerns to exploit and experiment upon. I myself being something of a pacifist, and doing what I can, in my corner, to bring about the Peace of the World, the Peace of the World triumphant and armed against every disturber, could the more readily sympathise with the passive school of Pacifists if its proposals involved the idea that England should keep to England and Germany to Germany. My political ideal is the United States of the World, a union of states whose state boundaries are determined by what I have defined as the natural map of mankind. I cannot understand those pacifists who talk about the German right to “expansion,” and babble about a return of her justly lost colonies. That seems to me not pacificism but patriotic inversion. This large disposition to hand over our fellow-creatures to a Teutonic educational system, with “frightfulness” in reserve, to “efficiency” on Wittenberg lines, leaves me—hot. The ghosts of the thirst-tormented Hereros rise up in their thousands from the African dust, protesting.
This talk of “legitimate expansion” is indeed now only an exploiter’s cant. The age of “expansion,” the age of European “empires” is near its end. No one who can read the signs of the times in Japan, in India, in China, can doubt it. It ended in America a hundred years ago; it is ending now in Asia; it will end last in Africa, and even in Africa the end draws near. Spain has but led the way which other “empires” must follow. Look at her empire in the atlases of 1800. She fell down the steps violently and painfully, it is true—but they are difficult to descend. No sane man, German or anti-German, who has weighed the prospects of the new age, will be desirous of a restoration of the now vanished German colonial empire, vindictive, intriguing, and unscrupulous, a mere series of centres of attack upon adjacent territory, to complicate the immense disentanglements and readjustments that lie already before the French and British and Italians.
Directly we discuss the problem of the absolutely necessary permanent alliance that this war has forced upon at least France, Belgium, Britain and Russia, this problem of the “empires” faces us. What are these Allies going to do about their “subject races”? What is the world going to do about the “subject races”? It is a matter in which the “subject races” are likely to have an increasingly important voice of their own. We Europeans may discuss their fate to-day among ourselves; we shall be discussing it with them to-morrow. If we do not agree with them then, they will take their fates in their own hands in spite of us. Long before A.D. 2100 there will be no such thing as a “subject race” in all the world.