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CHAP. V lectualism which pivots the whole social life of an age on its knowledge and beliefs. But these are one-sided theories and cannot explain the past as successfully as they explain the present.

It is reasonable to suppose that men's attitudes and actions depend most on what most worries them. When they worry Determin- chiefly about what the Unseen will do to them, the course of

as Prime

ers of


society will be most affected by developments in the field of religion. When they lie awake for fear their property or their lives will be taken, their attitude toward everything will depend on how it is related to the security-furnishing organization, i.e., the State. When their supreme anxiety is where the next meal is coming from, they will be for everything that promises to promote economic success and against everything which appears to hinder it. As soon as one worry is soothed it ceases to shape the course of history and some other supreme worry takes charge.

Theory of the





F races differ in their original tendencies and in their response to the ideas by which original tendencies are moulded into desires, they will not develop the same type of society. The question comes up, then, whether each race of men is marked out for a distinct social destiny and whether the contrasts we find among contemporary peoples in respect to character, manner and institutions are to be explained in terms of race.


The ignorant always invoke race to account for any peculiarity common to a certain stock. Why is the Chinese a conservative? Race. Why is the Turk a fatalist? Race. Why is the Semite a monotheist? Race. Why is the Nordic a Protestant? Race. The vulgar wonder why the Chinese toil so hard, the Jews trade, the English follow sport, and the Germans engage in philosophical speculation, until some one tells them, "It 's in the blood." Then they go away satisfied.

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Have Their

Origin in



As soon, however, as we explore the social history of a people National we come upon good grounds for many of its puzzling traits. The Jew's distaste for farming is seen to be a traditional attitude ased by confinement in the Ghetto for several centuries and debarment from owning farm land. The proverbial thriftlessness. of the Irish peasant is traceable to centuries of alien landlordism and rack-renting. Were it a race trait it would show also in his cousins, the Welshman, the Cornishman and the Breton. The passion of the Dutch for cleanliness seems to be product of a social standard made possible by easy access to water. In parts of China threaded by canals the standards of cleanliness. are much higher than where water is not close at hand. On the other hand, the small use of water by the masses in Italy is said to be connected with the fact that many of the towns are vated on a hill so that water has to be brought from a distance.

CHAP. VI The national traits of the Japanese seem queer to us, and here

if anywhere one is attempted to appeal to race. But it has been made clear that such Japanese peculiarities as self-immolation in battle, ritual suicide and exaggerated politeness are products of the severe feudal compression from which they have only recently escaped.

to Frove
of Propen

sity May
Be Due to

Races certainly appear to differ in the strength of their native propensities. There is an imposing stock of facts which seem to prove that the Negro has a fiercer sex appetite than other men, that the South Italian has a bent for murder, that the Irishman of them has an uncommon taste for fighting, the Jew for money-making,

Motives to


the gypsy for wandering, the Levantine for lying, the Slav for Propensity anarchy, the Frenchman for gesticulation, the Yankee for asking

personal questions. The trait is there to be sure; but is it because the owner has a stronger proclivity than we, or because he lacks the idea or social standard which prompts us to inhibit our proclivity? The Yankee has seen no reason to repress his inquisitiveness, the Slav lacks the social experience which generates reverence for law, the Jew is not heir to leisure-class ideals, the Frenchman has developed no standard which excludes gesticulation, the Negro like all primitives has not canalized his sex appetite.

Nevertheless, there Are Congenital Race Differences


Nevertheless, after making due allowance for the moulding of a people's psyche by the products of its social evolution, there remain veritable differences in race mind. There is a mountain of evidence that the Northern peoples of Europe (Irish, Scotch, Scandinavians, Slavs) and most nature peoples are more intemperate than Southern races like the Portuguese, Spaniards, Italians, Greeks and Semites. The latter have known strong drink for some thousands of years and their members possessed of an uncontrollable love of vinous exhilaration drank themselves to death long ago. If the physical environment can thus mould the appetite it is likely that other contrasts have been produced by processes we do not yet understand.

Indications of

Before the immigration boards of inquiry the emotional inEmotional stability of the South Italians stands out in the sharpest contrast to the self-control of the Hebrew and the stolidity of the Slav. They gesticulate much, and usually tears stand in their eyes.

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When two witnesses are being examined, both talk at once, and CHAP. VI
their hands will be moving all the time. Their glances flit
quickly from one questioner to the other and their eyes are the
restless uncomprehending eyes of the desert Bedouin between
walls. Yet for all this eager attention, they are slow to catch
the meaning of a simple question and often it must be repeated.

ness of the

Mindful of these darting eyes and hands, one does not wonder Explosivethat the Sicilian will stab his best friend in a sudden quarrel Sicilian Temper over a game of cards. Other nationalities shun railroad camps with many Italians. Contractors are afraid of them because the whole force will impulsively quit work, perhaps flare into a riot, if they imagine one of their number has suffered a wrong.

Lack of

The principal of a school with four hundred Sicilian pupils observes that on the playground they are at once more passionate and more vindictive than other children. The teacher "has to sit on the lid all the time." Their restlessness keeps the truant officer busy and their darting flickering attention denies them concentration and the steady telling stroke. For all their seem- Ballast ing alertness, when at fourteen they quit school, they are rarely beyond the third or fourth grade. These people are not primitives. Their ancestors were civilized when ours went in skins. Yet if such people had populated the American colonies is it likely they would ever have given the Declaration of Independence to the world?

1 The Northerners seem to surpass the South Europeans in innate
ethical endowment. Comparison of their behavior in marine disasters
shows that discipline, sense of duty, presence of mind, and consideration
for the weak are much more characteristic of North Europeans. The
South Europeans, on the other hand, are apt, in their terror, to forget
discipline, duty, women, children, everything but the saving of their own
lives in shipwreck, it is the exceptional Northerner who forgets his duty
and the exceptional Southerner who is bound by it. The suicide of the
Ital an officers on board the doomed Monte Tabor, the Notice, and the
Ae, is in striking contrast to the sense of responsibility of the North-
errers in charge of the Cimbria, the Geiser, the Strathcona, and the City

f Paris. Compare the mad struggle for the boats among the South
Extoneans on La Bourgogne, the Ailsa, and the Utopia, with the self-
possession of the Scandinavian emigrants on the W'aesland and the Den-
mark, and the consideration for women and children shown on the sinking
Mohegan, the Waesland and the Titanic." Ross, The Old World in the
New, p. 205.

If the difference be attributed to inhibition by traditional social standards, how shall we account for the excellent behavior of American negroes in some of the disasters above mentioned?


tiveness in Aymarás but not in Kechuas

On the Andean uplands all observers are impressed by the Self-Asser self-assertion and strength of character of the Aymará Indians of Bolivia as compared with the Kechuas of Peru at about the same level of culture. The latter experienced the Inca civilization and perhaps their long subjection to the patriarchal régime of the Incas had the effect of taking the iron out of their blood. The self-assertive individuals sooner or later bumped up against the established order and came to grief, while the pliant and docile survived and multiplied.




As one goes about in Japan and notes the indefatigable striving ness of the for beauty among even the common people, whereas the Chinese, the authors of the civilization the brown people borrowed, make no great sacrifices for beauty's sake, one infers that the Japanese inherit a specific sensitiveness to beauty. The only white people which can be compared with them in esthetic endowment is the French. It is perhaps significant that peoples gifted esthetically are extraordinarily vibrant to sex.


Long a sceptic, I have concluded that the famed "Celtic temperament" is no mere literary myth. Celtic mythology is to Norse mythology what an Orinoco jungle is to a Yukon forest. In the Sagas of Iceland the fancy never runs riot as it does in the legends of Connemara or Brittany. Compare the American-born Scandinavians with the Irish born here. Professors notice that lads of the former breed are slow to grasp the principles of the machinery explained in the college of agriculture and need a diagram to supplement oral description of a ventilating system. A physical director working among Scandinavians observes that his boy scouts can not "size up" a camp site till the brush had been cleared from it. His gymnasts could gishness of not "get the hang" of the new gymnasium till the scaffolding


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was down. The Scandinavian merchant is said to put little visualizing into his advertising. As business man he is a "stand patter" lacking the American's power to anticipate developments and to foresee a business where none exists. As farmer he lacks vision of the future of his soil. As investor he is unspeculative, for large remote profits do not appeal to him. As labor leader he lacks vision and idealism. As advocate he makes a hard

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