Chapter 9 New World
Another great dispute was also coming to the fore, namely between the classical humanists and the eugenists, who urged that the time had come for man to â€˜take charge of his own evolutionâ€™ and create a new and more highly developed human type. They believed that by genetic control the range of intelligence and sensibility could be immensely increased. To this the classicists replied that any such rash adventure might undermine the constitution of the race and bring chaos into the well-tried order of the world. By all means let minor eugenical researches be carried out for increased health, longevity, and the prolongation of mental maturity, but the hope of transforming human nature into something superhuman must not be entertained.
The Germans still gave the world great music, monumental works of philosophy (increasingly often written in English) and meticulous applications of science. Their organizing ability expressed itself throughout the world in the great preponderance of Germans in the control of cosmopolitan institutions such as the World Commissions for Health, Postage, Radio, Transport. Indeed there were those who murmured that the Germans had at last achieved their dream of world empire. The Russians, freed from their delusion of imperialism, rightly claimed the worldâ€™s admiration for their powers of insight into personality and their spirit of comradeship. The Tibetans, ever-respected for the glorious victory that they had won against the forces of darkness through their spiritual discipline, were universally regarded as the main fastness of the spirit. The more subtle and more diverse Indians, however, were becoming the main interpreters of spiritual experience to the rest of the world. The North Americans, now the leading pioneers in industrial invention, and also in manâ€™s ever-increasing astronomical exploration, claimed in addition that they were leaders in the important task of digesting and co-ordinating the other cultures. The Chinese, who in virtue of sheer numbers and the continuity of their civilization played an immense part in forming the culture of the new world, ensured that the ordinary man should indeed within his powers be a cultured man, and provided him with a subtle and humane pattern of personal conduct. Thus at the outset of the phase of Utopian development there was great cultural diversity among the peoples. Of course, to excel in any one cultural direction an individual had not necessarily to belong to the people which was its chief exponent. Indeed, in every cultural sphere outstanding contributions might be made by individuals of any nation. Moreover, some cultural activities were far more international than others. Most of the natural sciences, for instance, depended on many peoples equally. But on the whole, and in the long run, each people gained its special reputation, and to excel in any sphere a man must if possible start by absorbing the contribution of the people that had done most in that sphere. Not that the talent of a people remained fixed for ever. Reputations might be lost, and new ones made. Indeed each people was capable of surprising the world with achievement in directions hitherto unattempted by it. Few would have expected that the Russians, after an age of fanatical materialism, would develop a special aptitude for mystical experience; still fewer that the minute and storm-racked population of the Shetland Isles would come to excel in philosophy to such an extent that the new little university of Lerwick vied with the great German and Indian seats of learning in this respect.
The condition of forestry in the latter days of the world-empire throws a strange light on the mental decay of the race. Wood-pulp had been the main raw material for many synthetic products. In early days, when the intelligence of the technicians was still effective, afforestation schemes had been organized so as to keep the balance of production and consumption. But latterly planting had seriously lagged behind felling. This may seem surprising, since the balance of planting and felling was part of the rigid and sacred technique of social organization. The cause of the ever-increasing discrepancy was very simple but completely hidden from the sluggish minds of the latter-day empire controllers. The original scheme had been calculated on the assumption that the art of forestry would continue to be practised with quick intelligence. Some margin had been allowed for accidents and errors, but not a fool-proof margin. When intelligence had declined, mistakes became more frequent, and less successfully repaired. Consequently the old sacred formulae failed. The forests slowly but surely dwindled. But according to the sacred scriptures of afforestation this was impossible, if the formulae had indeed been followed. Therefore it was impious to suggest that the forests were dwindling. Therefore anyone who began to suspect that this was happening turned a blind eye on the facts. Thus the rot continued without any attempt being made to stop it.
When the great attack was launched, the sky over Tibet was darkened by the invading bombers. Every town and village and all the great isolated monasteries were very soon destroyed. Lhasa, the spiritual heart of the country, was completely obliterated.
He then paid a generous tribute to the achievement of America and the ideals for which the rebels (he did not shrink from the word) were now (he recognized) making a sincere stand. He himself had learnt much from his tour, and he now had a proposal to make. He recognized that in the worldâ€™s present transitional state, a state of rapid and bewildering economic enrichment, there was much to be said for allowing a good deal of scope to private enterprise in industry. He recognized also that the motives of most of the American capitalists were generous social motives, and that the American peoples on the whole supported them. On the other hand the World Government could not tolerate any attempt to flout its authority; otherwise the whole new order, so painfully created and on the whole so beneficial, would soon break down. Authority, however, had been unhesitatingly asserted. The World Government could now afford to be generous. He therefore proposed, with his Governmentâ€™s full assent, a temporary arrangement allowing the Americas economic autonomy within the Federation. The World Government reserved the power of constant inspection of American industry and would not permit any infringement of the rights of the workers, as laid down in the preamble to the constitution of the Federation. Certain kinds of industry were excluded from capitalist enterprise entirely, such as armaments and the great means of expression. These, and education, were to be nationalized under the American state, subject to final control by the World Government. It also reserved a power of veto on any industry which it regarded as undesirable from the point of view of the world, and it might order American industry to produce some particular kind of goods needed by the world. Such work might be subsidized by the World Government. The American capitalists, then, must regard themselves as civil servants under the World Government, liable to dismissal and confiscation of their property if they broke the agreement, though paid for their services through the open market. The American peoples, of course, would regain the right to abolish the whole system of local capitalism at any time.