The Barbarism of Berlin eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 53 pages of information about The Barbarism of Berlin.

But this quality in Prussia does have one effect which has reference to the same quest of the lower civilisations.  It disposes once and for all at least of the civilising mission of Germany.  Evidently the Germans are the last people in the world to be trusted with the task.  They are as shortsighted morally as physically.  What is their sophism of “necessity” but an inability to imagine to-morrow morning?  What is their non-reciprocity but an inability to imagine, not a god or devil, but merely another man?  Are these to judge mankind?  Men of two tribes in Africa not only know that they are all men, but can understand that they are all black men.  In this they are quite seriously in advance of the intellectual Prussian; who cannot be got to see that we are all white men.  The ordinary eye is unable to perceive in the North-East Teuton, anything that marks him out especially from the more colourless classes of the rest of Aryan mankind.  He is simply a white man, with a tendency to the grey or the drab.  Yet he will explain, in serious official documents, that the difference between him and us is a difference between “the master-race and the inferior-race.”  The collapse of German philosophy always occurs at the beginning, rather than the end of an argument; and the difficulty here is that there is no way of testing which is a master-race except by asking which is your own race.  If you cannot find out (as is usually the case) you fall back on the absurd occupation of writing history about prehistoric times.  But I suggest quite seriously that if the Germans can give their philosophy to the Hottentots, there is no reason why they should not give their sense of superiority to the Hottentots.  If they can see such fine shades between the Goth and the Gaul, there is no reason why similar shades should not lift the savage above other savages; why any Ojibway should not discover that he is one tint redder than the Dacotahs; or any nigger in the Cameroons say he is not so black as he is painted.  For this principle of a quite unproved racial supremacy is the last and worst of the refusals of reciprocity.  The Prussian calls all men to admire the beauty of his large blue eyes.  If they do, it is because they have inferior eyes:  if they don’t, it is because they have no eyes.

Wherever the most miserable remnant of our race, astray and dried up in deserts, or buried for ever under the fall of bad civilisations, has some feeble memory that men are men, that bargains are bargains, that there are two sides to a question, or even that it takes two to make a quarrel—­that remnant has the right to resist the New Culture, to the knife and club and the splintered stone.  For the Prussian begins all his culture by that act which is the destruction of all creative thought and constructive action.  He breaks that mirror in the mind, in which a man can see the face of his friend and foe.


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The Barbarism of Berlin from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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