quarta-feira, 19 de junho de 2013

Race and Bureaucracy by Hannah Arendt

Or The First Radical White Loser in the Western Society: "The Boers were the first European group to become completely alienated from the pride which Western man felt in living in a world created and fabricated by himself." 


Two new devices for political organization and rule over foreign peoples were discovered during the first decades of imperialism. One was race as a principle of the body politic, and the other bureaucracy as a principle of foreign domination. Without race as a substitute for the nation, the scramble for Africa and the investment fever might well have remained the purpose­less “dance of death and trade” (Joseph Conrad) of all gold rushes.

Without bureaucracy as a substitute for government, the British possession of India might well have been left to the recklessness of the “breakers of law in India" (Burke) without changing the political climate of an entire era.

         Die Groot Trek - The Long Trek

Both discoveries were actually made on the Dark Continent. Race was the emergency explanation of human beings whom no European or civilized man could understand and whose humanity so frightened and humiliated the immigrants that they no longer cared to belong to the same human species. Race was the Boers’ answer to the overwhelming monstrosity of Africa—a whole continent populated and overpopulated by savages—an explanation of the madness which grasped and illuminated them like “a flash of lightning in a serene sky: ‘Exterminate all the brutes.’” (1)

This an­swer resulted in the most terrible massacres in recent history, the Boers’ extermination of Hottentot tribes, the wild murdering by Carl Peters in German Southeast Africa, the decimation of the peaceful Congo population —from 20 to 40 million reduced to 8 million people; and finally, perhaps worst of all, it resulted in the triumphant introduction of such means of pacification into ordinary, respectable foreign policies. What head of a civilized state would ever before have uttered the exhortation of William II to a German expeditionary contingent fighting the Boxer insurrection in 1900: “Just as the Huns a thousand years ago, under the leadership of Attila, gained a reputation by virtue of which they still live in history, so may the German name become known in such a manner in China that no Chinese will ever again dare to look askance at a German.” (2)

While race, whether as a home-grown ideology in Europe or an emer­gency explanation for shattering experiences, has always attracted the worst elements in Western civilization, bureaucracy was discovered by and first attracted the best, and sometimes even the most clear-sighted, strata of the European intelligentsia. The administrator who ruled by reports (3) and de­crees in more hostile secrecy than any oriental despot grew out of a tradi­tion of military discipline in the midst of ruthless and lawless men; for a long time he had lived by the honest, earnest boyhood ideals of a modern knight in shining armor sent to protect helpless and primitive people.

And he fulfilled this task, for better or worse, as long as he moved in a world dominated by the old “trinity—war, trade and piracy” (Goethe), and not in a complicated game of far-reaching investment policies which demanded the domination of one people, not as before for the sake of its own riches, but for the sake of another country's wealth. Bureaucracy was the organization of the great game of expansion in which every area was considered a stepping-stone to further involvements and every people an instrument for further conquest.

Although in the end racism and bureaucracy proved to be interrelated in many ways, they were discovered and developed independently. No one who in one way or the other was implicated in their perfection ever came to realize the full range of potentialities of power accumulation and destruc­tion that this combination alone provided. Lord Cromer, who in Egypt changed from an ordinary British charge d’affaires into an imperialist bureaucrat, would no more have dreamed of combining administration with massacre (“administrative massacres” as Carthill bluntly put it forty years later), than the race fanatics of South Africa thought of organizing massacres for the purpose of establishing a circumscribed, rational political community (as the Nazis did in the extermination camps).


I: The Phantom World of the Dark Continent

Up to the end of the last century, the colonial enterprises of the seafaring European peoples produced two outstanding forms of achievement: in re­cently discovered and sparsely populated territories, the founding of new settlements which adopted the legal and political institutions of the mother country; and in well-known though exotic countries in the midst of foreign peoples, the establishment of maritime and trade stations whose only func­tion was to facilitate the never very peaceful exchange of the treasures of the world. Colonization took place in America and Australia, the two con­tinents that, without a culture and a history of their own, had fallen into the hands of Europeans.

Trade stations were characteristic of Asia where for centuries Europeans had shown no ambition for permanent rule or intentions of conquest, decimation of the native population, and permanent settlement. (4) Both forms of overseas enterprise evolved in a long steady process which extended over almost four centuries, during which the settle­ments gradually achieved independence, and the possession of trade stations shifted among the nations according to their relative weakness or strength in Europe.
The only continent Europe had not touched in the course of its colonial history was the Dark Continent of Africa. Its northern shores, populated by Arabic peoples and tribes, were well known and had belonged to the Euro­pean sphere of influence in one way or another since the days of antiquity. Too well populated to attract settlers, and too poor to be exploited, these regions suffered all kinds of foreign rule and anarchic neglect, but oddly enough never—after the decline of the Egyptian Empire and the destruction of Carthage—achieved authentic. independence and reliable political organ­ization.



European countries tried time and again, it is true, to reach beyond the Mediterranean to impose their rule on Arabic lands and their Chris­tianity on Moslem peoples, but they never attempted to treat North African territories like overseas possessions. On the contrary, they frequently aspired to incorporate them into the respective mother country. This age-old tradi­tion, still followed in recent times by Italy and France, was broken in the eighties when England went into Egypt to protect the Suez Canal without any intention either of conquest or incorporation. The point is not that Egypt was wronged but that England (a nation that did not lie on the shores of the Mediterranean) could not possibly have been interested in Egypt as such, but needed her only because there were treasures in India.

While imperialism changed Egypt from a country occasionally coveted for her own sake into a military station for India and a stepping-stone for further expansion, the exact opposite happened to South Africa. Since the seventeenth century, the significance of the Cape of Good Hope had de­pended upon India, the center of colonial wealth; any nation that established trade stations there needed a maritime station on the Cape, which was then abandoned when trade in India was liquidated.

At the end of the eighteenth century, the British East India Company defeated Portugal, Holland, and France and won a trade monopoly in India; the occupation of South Africa followed as a matter of course. If imperialism had simply continued the old trends of colonial trade (which is so frequently mistaken for imperialism), England would have liquidated her position in South Africa with the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. (5) Although today South Africa belongs to the Commonwealth, it was always different from the other dominions; fertility and sparseness of population, the main prerequisites for definite settlement, were lacking, and a single effort to settle 5,000 unemployed Englishmen at the beginning of the nineteenth century proved a failure. Not only did the streams of emigrants from the British Isles consistently avoid South Africa throughout the nineteenth century, but South Africa is the only dominion from which a steady stream of emigrants has gone back to England in recent times. (6)

South Africa, which became the “culture-bed of Imperialism” (Damce), was never claimed by England’s most radical defenders of “Saxon- dom” and it did not figure in the visions of her most romantic dreamers of an Asiatic Empire. This in itself shows how small the real influence of pre­imperialist colonial enterprise and overseas settlement was on the develop­ment of imperialism itself. If the Cape colony had remained within the framework of pre-imperialist policies, it would have been abandoned at the exact moment when it actually became all-important.

Although the discoveries of gold mines and diamond fields in the seventies and eighties would have had little consequence in themselves if they had not accidentally acted as a catalytic agent for imperialist forces, it remains remarkable that the imperialists’ claim to have found a permanent solution to the problem of superfluity was initially motivated by a rush for the most superfluous raw material on earth. Gold hardly has a place in human produc­tion and is of no importance compared with iron, coal, oil, and rubber; instead, it is the most ancient symbol of mere wealth. In its uselessness in industrial production it bears an ironical resemblance to the superfluous money that financed the digging of gold and to the superfluous men who did the digging.

To the imperialists’ pretense of having discovered a permanent savior for a decadent society and antiquated political organization, it added its own pretense of apparently eternal stability and independence of all functional determinants. It was significant that a society about to part with all traditional absolute values began to look for an absolute value in the world of economics where, indeed, such a thing does not and cannot exist, since everything is functional by definition. This delusion of an absolute value has made the production of gold since ancient times the business of adventurers, gamblers, criminals, of elements outside the pale of normal, sane society. The new turn in the South African gold rush was that here the luck-hunters were not distinctly outside civilized society but, on the contrary, very clearly a by-product of this society, an inevitable residue of the capitalist system and even the representatives of an economy that re­relentlessly produced a superfluity of men and capital.

The superfluous men, “the Bohemians of the four continents” (7) who came rushing down to the Cape, still had much in common with the old adven­turers. They too felt “Ship me somewheres east of Suez where the best is like the worst, / Where there aren’t no Ten Commandments, an’ a man can raise a thirst.” The difference was not their morality or immorality, but rather that the decision to join this crowd “of all nations and colors” (8) was no longer up to them; that they had not stepped out of society but had been spat out by it; that they were not enterprising beyond the permitted limits of civilization but simply victims without use or function. Their only choice had been a negative one, a decision against the workers’ movements, in which the best of the superfluous men or of those who were threatened with superfluity established a kind of countersociety through which men could find their way back into a human world of fellowship and purpose. They were nothing of their own making, they were like living symbols of what had happened to them, living abstractions and witnesses of the absurdity of human institutions. They were not individuals like the old adventurers, they were the shadows of events with which they had nothing to do.

Like Mr. Kurtz in Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness,” they were “hollow to the core,” “reckless without hardihood, greedy without audacity and cruel without courage.” They believed in nothing and “could get (themselves) to believe anything-anything.” Expelled from a world with accepted social values, they had been thrown back upon themselves and still had nothing to fall back upon except, here and there, a streak of talent which made them as dangerous as Kurtz if they were ever allowed to return to their homelands. For the only talent that could possibly burgeon in their hollow souls was the gift of fascination which makes a “splendid leader of an extreme party.”

The more gifted were walking incarnations of resentment like the German Carl Peters (possibly the model for Kurtz), who openly admitted that he “was fed up with being counted among the pariahs and wanted to belong to a master race.”  (9) But gifted or not, they were all “game for anything from pitch and toss to wilful murder” and to them their fellow-men were “no more one way or another than that fly there.” Thus they brought with them, or they learned quickly, the code of manners which befitted the coming type of murderer to whom the only unforgivable sin is to lose his temper.

There were, to be sure, authentic gentlemen among them, like Mr. Jones of Conrad’s Victory, who out of boredom were willing to pay any price to inhabit the “world of hazard and adventure,” or like Mr. Heyst, who was drunk with contempt for everything human until he drifted “like a detached leaf . . . without ever catching on to anything.” They were irresistibly attracted by a world where everything was a-joke, which could teach them “the Great Joke” that is “the mastery of despair.” The perfect gentleman and the perfect scoundrel came to know each other well in the “great wild jungle without law,” and they found themselves “well-matched in their enormous dissimilarity, identical souls in different disguises.”

We have seen the behavior of high society during the Dreyfus Affair and watched Disraeli discover the social relationship between vice and crime; here, too, we have essentially the same story of high society falling in love with its own under­world, and of the criminal feeling elevated when by civilized coldness, the avoidance of “unnecessary exertion,” and good manners he is allowed to create a vicious, refined atmosphere around his crimes. This refinement, the very contrast between the brutality of the crime and the manner of carrying it out, becomes the bridge of deep understanding between himself and the perfect gentleman. But what, after all, took decades to achieve in Europe, because of the delaying effect of social ethical values, exploded with the suddenness of a short circuit in the phantom world of colonial adventure.

Outside all social restraint and hypocrisy, against the backdrop of native life, the gentleman and the criminal felt not only the closeness of men who share the same color of skin, but the impact of a world of infinite possibili­ties for crimes committed in the spirit of play, for the combination of horror and laughter, that is for the full realization of their own phantom-like existence. Native life lent these ghostlike events a seeming guarantee against all consequences because anyhow it looked to these men like a “mere play of shadows. A play of shadows, the dominant race could walk through un­affected and disregarded in the pursuit of its incomprehensible aims and needs.”


The world of native savages was a perfect setting for men who had escaped the reality of civilization. Under a merciless sun, surrounded by an entirely hostile nature, they were confronted with human beings who, living without the future of a purpose and the past of an accomplishment, were as incomprehensible as the inmates of a madhouse. “The prehistoric man was cursing us, praying to us, welcoming us—who could tell? We were cut off from the comprehension of our surroundings; we glided past like phantoms, wondering and secretly appalled, as sane men would be, before an enthusiastic outbreak in a madhouse.

We could not understand because we were too far and could not remember, because we were traveling in the night of first ages, of those ages that arc gone leaving hardly a sign—and no memories. The earth seemed unearthly, . . . and the men .. . No, they were not inhuman. Well, you know, that was the worst of it—this suspicion of their not being inhuman. It would come slowly to one. They howled and leaped, and spun, and made horrid faces; but what thrilled you was just the thought of their humanity—like yours—the thought of your remote kinship with this wild and passionate uproar” (“Heart of Darkness”).

It is strange that, historically speaking, the existence of “prehistoric men” had so little influence on Western man before the scramble for Africa. It is, however, a matter of record that nothing much had happened as long as savage tribes, outnumbered by European settlers, had been exterminated, as long as shiploads of Negroes were imported as slaves into the Europe- determined world of the United States, or even as long as only individuals had drifted into the interior of the Dark Continent where the savages were numerous enough to constitute a world of their own, a world of folly, to which the European adventurer added the folly of the ivory hunt.

Many of these adventurers had gone mad in the silent wilderness of an overpopulated continent where the presence of human beings only underlined utter soli­tude, and where an untouched, overwhelmingly hostile nature that nobody had ever taken the trouble to change into human landscape seemed to wait in sublime patience “for the passing away of the fantastic invasion” of man. But their madness had remained a matter of individual experience and with­out consequences.

This changed with the men who arrived during the scramble for Africa. These were no longer lonely individuals; “all Europe had contributed to the making of (them).” They concentrated on the southern part of the con­tinent where they met the Boers, a Dutch splinter group which had been almost forgotten by Europe, but which now served as a natural introduction to the challenge of new surroundings. The response of the superfluous men was largely determined by the response of the only European group that ever, though in complete isolation, had to Jive in a world of black savages.

The Boers are descended from Dutch settlers who in the middle of the seventeenth century were stationed at the Cape to provide fresh vegetables and meat for ships on their voyage to India. A small group of French Huguenots was all that followed them in the course of the next century, so that it was only with the help of a high birthrate that the little Dutch splinter grew into a small people. Completely isolated from the current of European history, they set out on a path such “as few nations have trod before them, and scarcely one trod with success.” (10)
The two main material factors in the development of the Boer people were the extremely bad soil which could be used only for extensive cattle-raising, and the very large black population which was organized in tribes and lived as nomad hunters. (11) The bad soil made close settlement impossible and prevented the Dutch peasant settlers from following the village organization of their homeland. Large families, isolated from each other by broad spaces of wilderness, were forced into a kind of clan organization and only the ever­present threat of a common foe, the black tribes which by far outnumbered the white settlers, deterred these clans from active war against each other. The solution to the double problem of lack of fertility and abundance of natives was slavery. (12)

Slavery, however, is a very inadequate word to describe what actually happened. First of all, slavery, though it domesticated a certain part of the savage population, never got hold of all of them, so the Boers were never able to forget their first horrible fright before a species of men whom human pride and the sense of human dignity could not allow them to accept as fellow-men. This fright of something like oneself that still under no circum­stances ought to be like oneself remained at the basis of slavery and became the basis for a race society.


Mankind remembers the history of peoples but has only legendary knowledge of prehistoric tribes. The word “race" has a precise meaning only when and where peoples are confronted with such tribes of which they have no historical record and which do not know any history of their own. Whether these represent “prehistoric man,” the accidentally surviving specimens of the first forms of human life on earth, or whether they are the “posthistoric" survivors of some unknown disaster which ended a civilization we do not know. They certainly appeared rather like the survivors of one great catas­trophe which might have been followed by smaller disasters until cata­strophic monotony seemed to be a natural condition of human life. At any rate, races in this sense were found only in regions where nature was par­ticularly hostile. What made them different from other human beings was not at all the color of their skin but the fact that they behaved like a part of nature, that they treated nature as their undisputed master, that they had not created a human world, a human reality, and that therefore nature had remained, in all its majesty, the only overwhelming reality—compared to which they appeared to be phantoms, unreal and ghostlike. They were, as it were, “natural” human beings who lacked the specifically human character, the specifically human reality, so that when European men massacred them they somehow were not aware that they had committed murder.


Moreover, the senseless massacre of native tribes on the Dark Continent was quite in keeping with the traditions of these tribes themselves. Ex­termination of hostile tribes had been the rule in all African native wars, and it was not abolished when a black leader happened to unite several tribes under his leadership. King Tchaka, who at the beginning of the nine­teenth century united the Zulu tribes in an extraordinarily disciplined and warlike organization, established neither a people nor a nation of Zulus. He only succeeded in exterminating more than one million members of weaker tribes. (13) Since discipline and military organization by themselves cannot establish a political body, the destruction remained an unrecorded episode in an unreal, incomprehensible process which cannot be accepted by man and therefore is not remembered by human history. Slavery in the case of the Boers was a form of adjustment of a European people to a black race, (14) and only superficially resembled those historical instances when it had been a result of conquest or slave trade. No body politic, no communal organization kept the Boers together, no territory was definitely colonized, and the black slaves did not serve any white civilization.

The Boers had lost both their peasant relationship to the soil and their civilized feeling for human fellowship. “Each man fled the tyranny of his neighbor's smoke” (15) was the rule of the country, and each Boer family repeated in complete isolation the general pattern of Boer experience among black savages and ruled over them in absolute lawlessness, unchecked by “kind neighbors ready to cheer you or to fall on you stepping delicately between the butcher and the policeman, in the holy terror of scandal and gallows and lunatic asylums” (Conrad). Ruling over tribes and living parasitically from their labor, they came to occupy a position very similar to that of the native tribal leaders whose domination they had liquidated. The natives, at any rate, recognized them as a higher form of tribal leader­ship, a kind of natural deity to which one has to submit; so that the divine role of the Boers was as much imposed by their black slaves as assumed freely by themselves. It is a matter of course that to these white gods of black slaves each law meant only deprivation of freedom, government only restriction of the wild arbitrariness of the clan. (16) In the natives the Boers discovered the only “raw material” which Africa provided in abundance and they used them not for the production of riches but for the mere essen­tials of human existence.

The black slaves in South Africa quickly became the only part of the population that actually worked. Their toil was marked by all the known disadvantages of slave labor, such as lack of initiative, laziness, neglect of tools, and general inefficiency. Their work therefore barely sufficed to keep their masters alive and never reached the comparative abundance which nur­tures civilization. It was this absolute dependence on the work of others and complete contempt for labor and productivity in any form that trans­formed the Dutchman into the Boer and gave his concept of race a distinctly economic meaning. (17)

The Boers were the first European group to become completely alienated from the pride which Western man felt in living in a world created and fabricated by himself. (18) They treated the natives as raw material and lived on them as one might live on the fruits of wild trees. Lazy and unproductive, they agreed to vegetate on essentially the same level as the black tribes had vegetated for thousands of years. The great horror which had seized European men at their first confrontation with native life was stimulated by precisely this touch of inhumanity among human beings who apparently were as much a part of nature as wild animals. The Boers lived on their slaves exactly the way natives had lived on an unprepared and unchanged nature. When the Boers, in their fright and misery, decided to use these savages as though they were just another form of animal life, they embarked upon a process which could only end with their own degeneration into a white race living beside and together with black races from whom in the end they would differ only in the color of their skin.

The poor whites in South Africa, who in 1923 formed 10 per cent of the total white population (19) and whose standard of living does not differ much from that of the Bantu tribes, are today a warning example of this possibility. Their poverty is almost exclusively the consequence of their contempt for work and their adjustment to the way of life of black tribes. Like the blacks, they deserted the soil if the most primitive cultivation no longer yielded the little that was necessary or if they had exterminated the animals of the region. (20) Together with their former slaves, they came to the gold and dia­mond centers, abandoning their farms whenever the black workers departed. But in contrast to the natives who were immediately hired as cheap un­skilled labor, they demanded and were granted charity as the right of a white skin, having lost all consciousness that normally men do not earn a living by the color of their skin. (21) Their race consciousness today is violent not only because they have nothing to lose save their membership in the white community, but also because the race concept seems to define their own condition much more adequately than it does that of their former slaves, who are well on the way to becoming workers, a normal part of human civilization.

Racism as a ruling device was used in this society of whites and blacks before imperialism exploited it as a major political idea. Its basis, and its excuse, were still experience itself, a horrifying experience of something alien beyond imagination or comprehension; it was tempting indeed simply to declare that these were not human beings. Since, however, despite all ideo­logical explanations the black men stubbornly insisted on retaining their human features, the “white men” could not but reconsider their own human­ity and decide that they themselves were more than human and obviously chosen by God to be the gods of black men. This conclusion was logical and unavoidable if one wanted to deny radically all common bonds with savages; in practice it meant that Christianity for the first time could not act as a decisive curb on the dangerous perversions of human self-consciousness, a premonition of its essential ineffectiveness in other more recent race so­cieties. (22) The Boers simply denied the Christian doctrine of the common origin of men and changed those passages of the Old Testament which did not yet transcend the limits of the old Israelite national religion into a super­stition which could not even be called a heresy. (23) Like the Jews, they firmly believed in themselves as the chosen people, (24) with the essential difference that they were chosen not for the sake of divine salvation of mankind, but for the lazy domination over another species that was condemned to an equally lazy drudgery. (25) This was God’s will on earth as the Dutch Reformed Church proclaimed it and still proclaims it today in sharp and hostile contrast to the missionaries of all other Christian denominations. (26)

Boer racism, unlike the other brands, has a touch of authenticity and, so to speak, of innocence. A complete lack of literature and other intellectual achievement is the best witness to this statement. (27) It was and remains a desperate reaction to desperate living conditions which was inarticulate and inconsequential as long as it was left alone. Things began to happen only with the arrival of the British, who showed little interest in their newest colony which in 1849 was still called a military station (as opposed to either a colony or a plantation). But their mere presence—that is, their contrasting attitude toward the natives whom they did not consider a different animal species, their later attempts (after 1834) to abolish slavery, and above all their efforts to impose fixed boundaries upon landed property—provoked the stagnant Boer society into violent reactions. It is characteristic of the Boers that these reactions followed the same, repeated pattern throughout the nineteenth century: Boer farmers escaped British law by treks into the interior wilderness of the country, abandoning without regret their homes and their farms. Rather than accept limitations upon their possessions, they left them altogether. (28) This does not mean that the Boers did not feel at home wherever they happened to be; they felt and still feel much more at home in Africa than any subsequent immigrants, but in Africa and not in any specific limited territory. Their fantastic treks, which threw the British administration into consternation, showed clearly that they had transformed themselves into a tribe and had lost the European’s feeling for a territory, a patria of his own. They behaved exactly like the black tribes who had also roamed the Dark Continent for centuries—feeling at home wherever the horde happened to be, and fleeing like death every attempt at definite settle­ment.

Rootlessness is characteristic of all race organizations. What the European “movements" consciously aimed at, the transformation of the people into a horde, can be watched like a laboratory test in the Boers' early and sad attempt. While rootlessness as a conscious aim was based primarily upon hatred of a world that had no place for “superfluous” men, so that its de­struction could become a supreme political goal, the rootlessness of the Boers was a natural result of early emancipation from work and complete lack of a human-built world. The same striking similarity prevails between the “movements” and the Boers' interpretation of “chosenness.” But while the Pan-German, Pan-Slav, or Polish Messianic movements’ chosenness was a more or less conscious instrument for domination, the Boers’ perversion of Christianity was solidly rooted in a horrible reality in which miserable “white men” were worshipped as divinities by equally unfortunate “black men.” Living in an environment which they had no power to transform into a civilized world, they could discover no higher value than themselves. The point, however, is that no matter whether racism appears as the natural result of a catastrophe or as the conscious instrument for bringing it about, it is always closely tied to contempt for labor, hatred of territorial limita­tion, general rootlessness, and an activistic faith in one’s own divine chosen­ness.

Early British rule in South Africa, with its missionaries, soldiers, and explorers, did not realize that the Boers’ attitudes had some basis in reality. They did not understand that absolute European supremacy—in which they, after all, were as interested as the Boers—could hardly be maintained except through racism because the permanent European settlement was so hope­lessly outnumbered; (29) they were shocked “if Europeans settled in Africa were to act like savages themselves because it was the custom of the coun­try,” (30) and to their simple utilitarian minds it seemed folly to sacrifice pro­ductivity and profit to the phantom world of white gods ruling over black shadows. Only with the settlement of Englishmen and other Europeans dur­ing the gold rush did they gradually adjust to a population which could not be lured back into European civilization even by profit motives, which had lost contact even with the lower incentives of European man when it had cut itself off from his higher motives, because both lose their meaning and appeal in a society where nobody wants to achieve anything and everyone has become a god.

II: Gold and Race 

The diamond fields of Kimberley and the gold mines of the Witwatersrand happened to lie in this phantom world of race, and “a land that had seen boat-load after boat-load of emigrants for New Zealand and Australia pass it unheeding by now saw men tumbling on to its wharves and hurrying up country to the mines. Most of them were English, but among them was more than a sprinkling from Riga and Kiev, Hamburg and Frankfort, Rotter­dam and San Francisco.” (31) All of them belonged to “a class of persons who prefer adventure and speculation to settled industry, and who do not work well in the harness of ordinary life.... [There were] diggers from Amer­ica and Australia, German speculators, traders, saloonkeepers, professional gamblers, barristers..., ex-officers of the army and navy, younger sons of good families.... a marvelous motley assemblage among whom money flowed like water from the amazing productiveness of the mine.” They were joined by thousands of natives who first came to “steal diamonds and to lag their earnings out in rifles and powder,” (32) but quickly started to work for wages and became the seemingly inexhaustible cheap labor supply when the “most stagnant of colonial regions suddenly exploded into activity.” (33)



The abundance of natives, of cheap labor, was the first and perhaps most important difference between this gold rush and others of its type. It was soon apparent that the mob from the four corners of the earth would not even have to do the digging; at any rate, the permanent attraction of South Africa, the permanent resource that tempted the adventurers to permanent settlement, was not the gold but this human raw material which promised a permanent emancipation from work. (34) The Europeans served solely as super­visors and did not even produce skilled labor and engineers, both of which had constantly to be imported from Europe.

Second in importance only, for the ultimate outcome, was the fact that this gold rush was not simply left to itself but was financed, organized, and connected with the ordinary European economy through the accumulated superfluous wealth and with the help of Jewish financiers. From the very beginning “a hundred or so Jewish merchants who have gathered like eagles over their prey” (35) actually acted as middlemen through whom European capital was invested in the gold mining and diamond industries.

The only section of the South African population that did not have and did not want to have a share in the suddenly exploding activities of the country were the Boers. They hated all these uitlanders, who did not care for citizenship but who needed and obtained British protection, thereby seem­ingly strengthening British government influence on the Cape. The Boers reacted as they had always reacted, they sold their diamond-laden possessions in Kimberiey and their farms with gold mines near Johannesburg and trekked once more into the interior wilderness. They did not understand that this new influx was different from the British missionaries, government officials, or ordinary settlers, and they realized only when it was too late and they had already lost their share in the riches of the gold hunt that the new idol of Gold was not at all irreconcilable with their idol of Blood, that the new mob was as unwilling to work and as unfit to establish a civilization as they were themselves, and would therefore spare them the British officials’ annoying insistence on law and the Christian missionaries’ irritating con­cept of human equality.


The Boers feared and fled what actually never happened, namely, the industrialization of the country. They were right insofar as normal production and civilization would indeed have destroyed automatically the way of life of a race society. A normal market for labor and merchandise would have liquidated the privileges of race. But gold and diamonds, which soon pro­vided a living for half of South Africa’s population, were not merchandise in the same sense and were not produced in the same way as wool in Aus­tralia, meat in New Zealand, or wheat in Canada. The irrational, non-func­tional place of gold in the economy made it independent of rational produc­tion methods which, of course, could never have tolerated the fantastic dis­parities between black and white wages. Gold, an object for speculation and essentially dependent in value upon political factors, became the “lifeblood” of South Africa (36) but it could not and did not become the basis of a new economic order.

The Boers also feared the mere presence of the uitianders because they mistook them for British settlers. The uitianders, however, came solely in order to get rich quickly, and only those remained who did not quite succeed or who, like the Jews, had no country to return to. Neither group cared very much to establish a community after the model of European countries, as British settlers had done in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. It was Barnato who happily discovered that “the Transvaal Government is like no other government in the world. It is indeed not a government at all, but an unlimited company of some twenty thousand shareholders.” (37) Similarly, it was more or less a series of misunderstandings which finally led to the British-Boer war, which the Boers wrongly believed to be “the culmination of the British Government’s lengthy quest for a united South Africa,” while it was actually prompted mainly by investment interests. (38) When the Boers lost the war, they lost no more than they had already deliberately abandoned, that is, their share in the riches; but they definitely won the consent of all other European elements, including the British government, to the lawlessness of a race society. (39) Today, all sections of the population, British or Afrikander, organized workers or capitalists, agree on the race question, (40) and whereas the rise of Nazi Germany and its conscious attempt to trans­form the German people into a race strengthened the political position of the Boers considerably, Germany’s defeat has not weakened it.

The Boers hated and feared the financiers more than the other foreigners. They somehow understood that the financier was a key figure in the com­bination of superfluous wealth and superfluous men, that it was his function to tum the essentially transitory gold hunt into a much broader and more permanent business. (41) The war with the British, moreover, soon demon­strated an even more decisive aspect; it was quite obvious that it had been prompted by foreign investors who demanded the government’s protection of their tremendous profits in faraway countries as a matter of course—as though armies engaged in a war against foreign peoples were nothing but native police forces involved in a fight with native criminals. It made little difference to the Boers that the men who introduced this kind of violence into the shadowy affairs of the gold and diamond production were no longer the financiers, but those who somehow had risen from the mob itself and, like Cecil Rhodes, believed less in profits than in expansion for expansion’s sake. (42) The financiers, who were mostly Jews and only the representatives, not the owners, of the superfluous capital, had neither the necessary political influence nor enough economic power to introduce political purposes and the use of violence into speculation and gambling.

Without doubt the financiers, though finally not the decisive factor in imperialism, were remarkably representative of it in its initial period. (43) They had taken advantage of the overproduction of capital and its accompanying complete reversal of economic and moral values. Instead of mere trade in goods and mere profit from production, trade in capital itself emerged on an unprecedented scale. This alone would have given them a prominent position; in addition profits from investments in foreign countries soon in­creased at a much more rapid rate than trade profits, so that traders and merchants lost their primacy to the financier. (44) The main economic char­acteristic of the financier is that he earns his profits not from production and exploitation or exchange of merchandise or normal banking, but solely through commissions. This is important in our context because it gives him that touch of unreality, of phantom-like existence and essential futility even in a normal economy, that are typical of so many South African events. The financiers certainly did not exploit anybody and they had least control over the course of their business ventures, whether these turned out to be common swindles or sound enterprises belatedly confirmed.

It is also significant that it was precisely the mob element among the Jewish people who turned into financiers. It is true that the discovery of gold mines in South Africa had coincided with the first modern pogroms in Russia, so that a trickle of Jewish emigrants went to South Africa. There, however, they would hardly have played a role in the international crowd of desperadoes and fortune hunters if a few Jewish financiers had not been there ahead of them and taken an immediate interest in the newcomers who clearly could represent them in the population. The Jewish financiers came from practically every country on the con­tinent where they had been, in terms of class, as superfluous as the other South African immigrants.

They were quite different from the few estab­lished families of Jewish notables whose influence had steadily decreased after 1820, and into whose ranks they could therefore no longer be assimi­lated. They belonged in that new caste of Jewish financiers which, from the seventies and eighties on, we find in all European capitals, where they had come, mostly after having left their countries of origin, in order to try their luck in the international stock-market gamble. This they did everywhere to the great dismay of the older Jewish families, who were too weak to stop the unscrupulousness of the newcomers and therefore only too glad if the latter decided to transfer the field of their activities overseas. In other words, the Jew;,.h financiers had become as superfluous in legitimate Jewish bank­ing as the wealth they represented had become superfluous in legitimate industrial enterprise and the fortune hunters in the world of legitimate labor. In South Africa itself, where the merchant was about to lose his status within the country's economy to the financier, the new arrivals, the Barnatos, Beits, Sammy Marks, removed the older Jewish settlers from first position much more easily than in Europe. (45) In South Africa, though hardly any­where else, they were the third factor in the initial alliance between capi­tal and mob; to a large extent, they set the alliance into motion, handled the influx of capital and its investment in the gold mines and diamond fields, and soon became more conspicuous than anybody else.

The fact of their Jewish origin added an undefinable symbolic flavor to the role of the financiers—a flavor of essential homelessness and rootlessness —and thus served to introduce an element of mystery, as well as to symbol­ize the whole affair. To this must be added their actual international connec­tions, which naturally stimulated the general popular delusions concerning Jewish political power all over the world. It is quite comprehensible that all the fantastic notions of a secret international Jewish power—notions which originally had been the result of the closeness of Jewish banking capital to the state's sphere of business—became even more virulent here than on the European continent. Here, for the first time Jews were driven into the midst of a race society and almost automatically singled out by the Boers from all other “white” people for special hatred, not only as the representatives of the whole enterprise, but as a different “race,” the embodi­ment of a devilish principle introduced into the normal world of “blacks” and “whites.” This hatred was all the more violent as it was partly caused by the suspicion that the Jews with their own older and more authentic claim would be harder than anyone else to convince of the Boers' claim to chosenness. While Christianity simply denied the principle as such, Judaism seemed a direct challenge and rival. Long before the Nazis con­sciously built up an antisemitic movement in South Africa, the race issue had invaded the conflict between the uitlander and the Boers in the form of antisemitism (46) which is all the more noteworthy since the importance of Jews in the South African gold and diamond economy did not survive the turn of the century.

As soon as the gold and diamond industries reached the stage of imperialist development where absentee shareholders demand their governments' polit­ical protection, it turned out that the Jews could not hold their important economic position. They had no home government to turn to and their posi­tion in South African society was so insecure that much more was at stake for them than a mere decrease in influence. They could preserve economic security and permanent settlement in South Africa, which they needed more than any other group of uitlanders, only if they achieved some status in society—which in this case meant admission to exclusive British clubs. They were forced to trade their influence against the position of a gentle­man, as Cecil Rhodes very bluntly put it when he bought his way into the Barnato Diamond Trust, after having amalgamated his De Beers Company with Alfred Beit’s Company. (47) But these Jews had more to offer than just economic power; it was thanks to them that Cecil Rhodes, as much a new­comer and adventurer as they, was finally accepted by England's respectable banking business with which the Jewish financiers after all had better con­nections than anybody else. (48) “Not one of the English banks would have lent a single shilling on the security of gold shares. It was the unbounded confidence of these diamond men from Kimberley that operated like a mag­net upon their coreligionists at home.” (49)

The gold rush became a full-fledged imperialist enterprise only after Cecil Rhodes had dispossessed the Jews, taken investment policies from Eng­land’s into his own hands, and had become the central figure on the Cape. Seventy-five per cent of the dividends paid to shareholders went abroad, and a large majority of them to Great Britain. Rhodes succeeded in inter­esting the British government in his business affairs, persuaded them that expansion and export of the instruments of violence was necessary to protect investments, and that such a policy was a holy duty of every national govern­ment. On the other hand, he introduced on the Cape itself that typically imperialist economic policy of neglecting all industrial enterprises which were not owned by absentee shareholders, so that finally not only the gold mining companies but the government itself discouraged the exploitation of abundant base metal deposits and the production of consumers’ goods. (50) With the initiation of this policy, Rhodes introduced the most potent factor in the eventual appeasement of the Boers; the neglect of all authentic industrial enterprise was the most solid guarantee for the avoidance of normal capitalist development and thus against a normal end of race society.

It took the Boers several decades to understand that imperialism was nothing to be afraid of, since it would neither develop the country as Aus­tralia and Canada had been developed, nor draw profits from the country at large, being quite content with a high turnover of investments in one specific field. Imperialism therefore was willing to abandon the so-called laws of capitalist production and their egalitarian tendencies, so long as profits from specific investments were safe. This led eventually to the aboli­tion of the law of mere profitableness and South Africa became the first example of a phenomenon that occurs whenever the mob becomes the dominant factor in the alliance between mob and capital.

In one respect, the most important one, the Boers remained the undisputed masters of the country: whenever rational labor and production policies came into conflict with race considerations, the latter won. Profit motives were sacrificed time and again to the demands of a race society, frequently at a terrific price. The rentability of the railroads was destroyed overnight when the government dismissed 17,000 Bantu employees and paid whites wages that amounted to 200 per cent more; (51) expenses for municipal gov­ernment became prohibitive when native municipal employees were replaced with whites; the Color Bar Bill finally excluded all black workers from mechanical jobs and forced industrial enterprise to a tremendous increase of production costs. The race world of the Boers had nobody to fear any more, least of all white labor, whose trade unions complained bitterly that the Color Bar Bill did not go far enough. (52)

At first glance, it is surprising that a violent antisemitism survived the disappearance of the Jewish financiers as well as the successful indoctrination with racism of all parts of the European population. The Jews were certainly no exception to this rule; they adjusted to racism as well as everybody else and their behavior toward black people was beyond reproach. (53) Yet they had, without being aware of it and under pressure of special circumstances, broken with one of the most powerful traditions of the country.

The first sign of “anormal” behavior came immediately after the Jewish financiers had lost their position in the gold and diamond industries. They did not leave the country but settled down permanently (54) into a unique position for a white group: they neither belonged to the “lifeblood" of Africa nor to the “poor white trash.” Instead they started almost immediately to build up those industries and professions which according to South African opinion are “secondary" because they are not connected with gold. (55) Jews became manufacturers of furniture and clothes, shopkeepers and members of the professions, physicians, lawyers, and journalists. In other words, no matter how well they thought they were adjusted to the mob conditions of the country and its race attitude, Jews had broken its most important pattern by introducing into South African economy a factor of normalcy and pro­ductivity, with the result that when Mr. Malan introduced into Parliament a bill to expel all Jews from the Union he had the enthusiastic support of all poor whites and of the whole Afrikander population. (56)

This change in the economic function, the transformation of South African Jewry from representing the most shadowy characters in the shadow world of gold and race into the only productive part of the population, came like an oddly belated confirmation of the original fears of the Boers. They had hated the Jews not so much as the middlemen of superfluous wealth or the representatives of the world of gold; they had feared and despised them as the very image of the uitlanders who would try to change the country into a normal producing part of Western civilization, whose profit motives, at least, would mortally endanger the phantom world of race. And when the Jews were finally cut off from the golden lifeblood of the uitlanders and could not leave the country as all other foreigners would have done in similar circumstances, developing “secondary" industries instead, the Boers turned out to be right. The Jews, entirely by themselves and without being the image of anything or anybody, had become a real menace to race society. As matters stand today, the Jews have against them the concerted hostility of all those who believe in race or gold—and that is practically the whole European population in South Africa. Yet they cannot and will not make common cause with the only other group which slowly and gradually is being won away from race society: the black workers who are becoming more and more aware of their humanity under the impact of regular labor and urban life. Although they, in contrast to the “whites," do have a genuine race origin, they have made no fetish of race, and the abolition of race society means only the promise of their liberation.

In contrast to the Nazis, to whom racism and antisemitism were major political weapons for the destruction of civilization and the setting up of a new body politic, racism and antisemitism are a matter of course and a natural consequence of the status quo in South Africa. They did not need Nazism in order to be born and they influenced Nazism only in an indirect way. There were, however, real and immediate boomerang effects of South Africa's race society on the behavior of European peoples: since cheap Indian and Chinese labor had been madly imported to South Africa when­ever her interior supply was temporarily halted, (57) a change of attitude to­ward colored people was felt immediately in Asia where, for the first time, people were treated in almost the same way as those African savages who had frightened Europeans literally out of their wits. The difference was only that there could be no excuse and no humanly comprehensible reason for treating Indians and Chinese as though they were not human beings. In a certain sense, it is only here that the real crime began, because here every­one ought to have known what he was doing. It is true that the race notion was somewhat modified in Asia; “higher and lower breeds,” as the “white man” would say when he started to shoulder his burden, still indicate a scale and the possibility of gradual development, and the idea somehow escapes the concept of two entirely different species of animal life. On the other hand, since the race principle supplanted the older notion of alien and strange peo­ples in Asia, it was a much more consciously applied weapon for domination and exploitation than in Africa.

Less immediately significant but of greater importance for totalitarian governments was the other experience in Africa's race society, that profit motives are not 'holy and can be overruled, that societies can function ac­cording to principles other than economic, and that such circumstances may favor those who under conditions of rationalized production and the capital­ist system would belong to the underprivileged. South Africa's race society taught the mob the great lesson of which it had always had a confused premonition, that through sheer violence an underprivileged group could create a class lower than itself, that for this purpose it did not even need a revolution but could band together with groups of the ruling classes, and that foreign or backward peoples offered the best opportunities for such tactics.

The full impact of the African experience was first realized by leaders of the mob, like Carl Peters, who decided that they too had to belong to a master race. African colonial possessions became the most fertile soil for the flowering of what later was to become the Nazi elite. Here they had seen with their own eyes how peoples could be converted into races and how, simply by taking the initiative in this process, one might push one’s own people into the position of the master race. Here they were cured of the illusion that the historical process is necessarily “progressive,” for if it was the course' of older colonization to trek to something, the “Dutchman trekked away from everything,” (58) and if “economic history once taught that man had developed by gradual steps from a life of hunting to pastoral pursuits and finally to a settled and agricultural life,” the story of the Boers clearly demonstrated that one could also come “from a land that had taken the lead in a thrifty and intensive cultivation .... [and] gradually become a herds­man and a hunter.” (59) These leaders understood very well that precisely because the Boers had sunk back to the level of savage tribes they remained their undisputed masters. They were perfectly willing to pay the price, to recede to the level of a race organization, if by so doing they could buy lordship over other “races.” And they knew from their experiences with people gathered from the four corners of the earth in South Africa that the whole mob of the Western civilized world would be with them. (60)

III: The Imperialist Character

Of the two main political devices of imperialist rule, race was discovered in South Africa and bureaucracy in Algeria, Egypt, and India; the former was originally the barely conscious reaction to tribes of whose humanity European man was ashamed and frightened, whereas the latter was a con­sequence of that administration by which Europeans had tried to rule foreign peoples whom they felt to be hopelessly their inferiors and at the same time in need of their special protection. Race, in other words, was an escape into an irresponsibility where nothing human could any longer exist, and bureauc­racy was the result of a responsibility that no man can bear for his fellow- man and no people for another people.

The exaggerated sense of responsibility in the British administrators of India who succeeded Burke’s “breakers of law” had its material basis in the fact that the British Empire had actually been acquired in a “fit of absent­mindedness.” Those, therefore, who were confronted with the accomplished fact and the job of keeping what had become theirs through an accident, had to find an interpretation that could change the accident into a kind of willed act. Such historical changes of fact have been carried through by legends since ancient times, and legends dreamed up by the British intelligentsia have played a decisive role in the formation of the bureaucrat and the secret agent of the British services.

Legends have always played a powerful role in the making of history. Man, who has not been granted the gift of undoing, who is always an un­consulted heir of other men’s deeds, and who is always burdened with a responsibility that appears to be the consequence of an unending chain of events rather than conscious acts, demands an explanation and interpreta­tion of the past in which the mysterious key to his future destiny seems to be concealed. Legends were the spiritual foundations of every ancient city, empire, people, promising safe guidance through the limitless spaces of the future. Without ever relating facts reliably, yet always expressing their true significance, they offered a truth beyond realities, a remembrance beyond memories.

Legendary explanations of history always served as belated corrections of facts and real events, which were needed precisely because history itself would hold man responsible for deeds he had not done and for consequences he had never foreseen. The truth of the ancient legends—what gives them their fascinating actuality many centuries after the cities and empires and peoples they served have crumbled to dust—was nothing but the form in which past events were made to fit the human condition in general and political aspirations in particular. Only in the frankly invented tale about events did man consent to assume his responsibility for them, and to con­sider past events his past. Legends made him master of what he had not done, and capable of dealing with what he could not undo. In this sense, legends are not only among the first memories of mankind, but actually the true beginning of human history.

The flourishing of historical and political legends came to a rather abrupt end with the birth of Christianity. Its interpretation of history, from the days of Adam to the Last Judgment, as one single road to redemption and salva­tion, offered the most powerful and all-inclusive legendary explanation of human destiny. Only after the spiritual unity of Christian peoples gave way to the plurality of nations, when the road to salvation became an uncertain article of individual faith rather than a universal theory applicable to all happenings, did new kinds of historical explanations emerge. The nineteenth century has offered us the curious spectacle of an almost simultaneous birth of the most varying and contradictory ideologies, each of which claimed to know the hidden truth about otherwise incomprehensible facts. Legends, however, are not ideologies; they do not aim at universal explanation but are always concerned with concrete facts. It seems rather significant that the growth of national bodies was nowhere accompanied by a foundation legend, and that a first unique attempt in modern times was made precisely when the decline of the national body had become obvious and imperialism seemed to take the place of old-fashioned nationalism.

The author of the imperialist legend is Rudyard Kipling, its topic is the British Empire, its result the imperialist character (imperialism was the only school of character in modern politics). And while the legend of the British Empire has little to do with the realities of British imperialism, it forced or deluded into its services the best sons of England. For legends at­tract the very best in our times, just as ideologies attract the average, and the whispered tales of gruesome secret powers behind the scenes attract the very worst. No doubt, no political structure could have been more evocative of legendary tales and justifications than the British Empire, than the British people’s drifting from the conscious founding of colonies into ruling and dominating foreign peoples all over the world.

The foundation legend, as Kipling tells it, starts from the fundamental reality of the people of the British Isles. (61) Surrounded by the sea, they need and win the help of the three elements of Water, Wind, and Sun through the invention of the Ship. The ship made the always dangerous alliance with the elements possible and made the Englishman master of the world. “You’ll win the world," says Kipling, “without anyone caring how you did it: you’ll keep the world without anyone knowing how you did it: and you’ll carry the world on your backs without anyone seeing how you did it. But neither you nor your sons will get anything out of that little job except Four Gifts—one for the Sea, one for the Wind, one for the Sun and one for the Ship that carries you.... For, winning the world, and keeping the world, and carry­ing the world on their backs—on land, or on sea, or in the air—your sons will always have the Four Gifts. Long-headed and slow-spoken and heavy —damned heavy—in the hand, will they be; and always a little bit to wind^ ward of every enemy—that they may be a safeguard to all who pass on the seas on their lawful occasions.”

What brings the little tale of the “First Sailor” so close to ancient founda­tion legends is that it presents the British as the only politically mature people, caring for law and burdened with the welfare of the world, in the midst of barbarian tribes who neither care nor know what keeps the world together. Unfortunately this presentation lacked the innate truth of ancient legends; the world cared and knew and saw how they did it and no such tale could ever have convinced the world that they did not “get anything out of that little job.” Yet there was a certain reality in England herself which corresponded to Kipling’s legend and made it at all possible, and that was the existence of such virtues as chivalry, nobility, bravery, even though they were utterly out of place in a political reality ruled by Cecil Rhodes or Lord Curzon.

The fact that the “white man’s burden” is either hypocrisy or racism has not prevented a few of the best Englishmen from shouldering the burden in earnest and making themselves the tragic and quixotic fools of imperialism. As real in England as the tradition of hypocrisy is another less obvious one which one is tempted to call a tradition of dragon-slayers who went enthusi­astically into far and curious lands to strange and naive peoples to slay the numerous dragons that had plagued them for centuries. There is more than a grain of truth in Kipling's other tale, “The Tomb of His Ancestor," (62) in which the Chinn family “serve India generation after generation, as dolphins follow in line across the open sea." They shoot the deer that steals the poor man's crop, teach him the mysteries of better agricultural methods, free him from some of his more harmful superstitions and kill lions and tigers in grand style.

Their only reward is indeed a “tomb of ancestors" and a family legend, believed by the whole Indian tribe, according to which “the revered ancestor . . . has a tiger of his own—a saddle tiger that he rides round the country whenever he feels inclined." Unfortunately, this riding around the countryside is “a sure sign of war or pestilence or—or some­thing," and in this particular case it is a sign of vaccination. So that Chinn the Youngest, a not very important underling in the hierarchy of the Army Services, but all-important as. far as the Indian tribe is concerned, has to shoot the beast of his ancestor so that people can be vaccinated without fear of “war or pestilence or something."


As modern life goes, the Chinns indeed “are luckier than most folks.” Their chance is that they were born into a career that gently and naturally leads them to the realization of the best dreams of youth. When other. boys have to forget “noble dreams," they happen to be just old enough to trans­late them into action. And when after thirty years of service they retire, their steamer will pass “the outward bound troopship, carrying his son east­ward to the family duty," so that the power of old Mr. Chinn’s existence as a government-appointed and army-paid dragon-slayer can be imparted to the next generation. No doubt, the British government pays them for their serv­ices, but it is not at all clear in whose service they eventually land. There is a strong possibility that they really serve this particular Indian tribe, gen­eration after generation, and it is consoling all around that at least the tribe itself is convinced of this. The fact that the higher services know hardly anything of little Lieutenant Chinn's strange duties and adventures, that they are hardly aware of his being a successful reincarnation of his grand­father, gives his dreamlike double existence an undisturbed basis in reality. He is simply at home in two worlds, separated by water- and gossip-tight walls. Born in “the heart of the scrubby tigerish country" and educated among his own people in peaceful, well-balanced, ill-informed England, he is ready to live permanently with two peoples and is rooted in and well acquainted with the tradition, language, superstition, and prejudices of both. At a moment's notice he can change from the obedient underling of one of His Majesty's soldiers into an exciting and noble figure in the natives' world, a well-beloved protector of the weak, the dragon-slayer of old tales.

The point is that these queer quixotic protectors of the weak who played their role behind the scenes of official British rule were not so much the product of a primitive people's naive imagination as of dreams which con­tained the best of European and Christian traditions, even when they had already deteriorated into the futility of boyhood ideals. It was neither His Majesty’s soldier nor the British higher official who could teach the natives something of the greatness of the Western world. Only those who had never been able to outgrow their boyhood ideals and therefore had enlisted in the colonial services were fit for the task. Imperialism to them was nothing but an accidental opportunity to escape a society in which a man had to forget his youth if he wanted to grow up. English society was only too glad to see them depart to faraway countries, a circumstance which permitted the tolera­tion and even the furtherance of boyhood ideals in the public school system; the colonial services took them away from England and prevented, so to speak, their converting the ideals of their boyhood into the mature ideas of men. Strange and curious lands attracted the best of England’s youth since the end of the nineteenth century, deprived her society of the most honest and the most dangerous elements, and guaranteed, in addition to this bliss, a certain conservation, or perhaps petrification, of boyhood noblesse which preserved and infantilized Western moral standards.

Lord Cromer, secretary to the Viceroy and financial member in the pre­imperialist government of India, still belonged in the category of British dragon-slayers. Led solely by “the sense of sacrifice” for backward popula­tions and “the sense of duty” (63) to the glory of Great Britain that “has given birth to a class of officials who have both the desire and the capacity to govern,” (64) he declined in 1894 the post of Viceroy and refused ten years later the position of Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Instead of such honors, which would have satisfied a lesser man, he became the little-publi­cized and all-powerful British Consul General in Egypt from 1883 to 1907. There he became the first imperialist administrator, certainly “second to none among those who by their services have glorified the British race”; (65) perhaps the last to die in undisturbed pride: “Let these suffice for Britain’s meed— / No nobler price was ever won, / The blessings of a people freed / The consciousness of duty done.” (66)

Cromer went to Egypt because he realized that “the Englishman straining far over to hold his loved India [has to] plant a firm foot on the banks of the Nile.” (67) Egypt was to him only a means to an end, a necessary expansion for the sake of security for India. At almost the same moment it happened that another Englishman set foot on the African continent, though at its op­posite end and for opposite reasons: Cecil Rhodes went to South Africa and saved the Cape colony after it had lost all importance for the English­man’s “loved India." Rhodes’s ideas on expansion were far more advanced than those of his more respectable colleague in the north; to him expansion did not need to be justified by such sensible motives as the holding of what one already possessed. “Expansion was everything" and India, South Africa, and Egypt were equally important or unimportant as stepping-stones in an ex­pansion limited only by the size of the earth. There certainly was an abyss between the vulgar megalomaniac and the educated man of sacrifice and duty; yet they arrived at roughly identical results and were equally respon­sible for the “Great Game" of secrecy, which was no less insane and no less detrimental to politics than the phantom world of race.

The outstanding similarity between Rhodes’s rule in South Africa and Cromer’s domination of Egypt was that both regarded the countries not as desirable ends in themselves but merely as means for some supposedly higher purpose. They were similar therefore in their indifference and aloofness, in their genuine lack of interest in their subjects, an attitude which differed as much from the cruelty and arbitrariness of native despots in Asia as from the exploiting carelessness of conquerors, or the insane and anarchic oppression of one race tribe through another. As soon as Cromer started to rule Egypt for the sake of India, he lost his role of protector of “backward peoples” and could no longer sincerely believe that “the self-interest of the subject- races is the principal basis of the whole Imperial fabric." (68)

Aloofness became the new attitude of all members of the British services; it was a more dangerous form of governing than despotism and arbitrariness because it did not even tolerate that last link between the despot and his sub­jects, which is formed by bribery and gifts. The very integrity of the British administration made despotic government more inhuman and inaccessible to its subjects than Asiatic rulers or reckless conquerors had ever been. (69) Integrity and aloofness were symbols for an absolute division of interests to the point where they are not even permitted to conflict. In comparison, exploitation, oppression, or corruption look like safeguards of human dig­nity, because exploiter and exploited, oppressor and oppressed, corruptor and corrupted still live in the same world, still share the same goals, fight each other for the possession of the same things; and it is this tertium comparationis which aloofness destroyed. Worst of all was the fact that the aloof administrator was hardly aware that he had invented a new form of govern­ment but actually believed that his attitude was conditioned by “the forcible contact with, a people living on a lower plane." So, instead of believing in his individual superiority with some degree of essentially harmless vanity, he felt that he belonged to “a nation which had reached a comparatively high plane of civilization" (70) and therefore held his position by right of birth, regardless of personal achievements.

Lord Cromer's career is fascinating because it embodies the very turning point from the older colonial to imperialist services. His first reaction to his duties in Egypt was a marked uneasiness and concern about a state of af­fairs which was not “annexation" but a “hybrid form of government to which no name can be given and for which there is no precedent." (71) In 1885, after two years of service, he still harbored serious doubts about a system in which he was the nominal British Consul General and the actual ruler of Egypt and wrote that a “highly delicate mechanism [whose] efficient working de­pends very greatly on the judgment and ability of a few individuals ... can ... be justified [only] if we are able to keep before our eyes the possibility of evacuation ...  If that possibility becomes so remote as to be of no practical account . . . it would be better for us ... . to arrange . . . with the other Powers that we should take over the government of the country, guarantee its debt, etc." (72) No. doubt Cromer was right, and either, occupa­tion or evacuation, would have normalized matters. But that “hybrid form of government" without precedent was to become characteristic of all im­perialist enterprise, with the result that a few decades afterwards everybody had lost Cromer’s early sound judgment about possible and impossible forms of government, just as there was lost Lord Selbourne's early insight that a race society as a way of life was unprecedented. Nothing could better char­acterize the initial stage of imperialism than the combination of these two judgments on conditions in Africa: a way of life without precedent in the south, a government without precedent in the north.

In the following years, Cromer reconciled himself to the “hybrid form of government”; in his letters he began to justify it and to expound the need for the government without name and precedent. At the end of his life, he laid down (in his essay on “The Government of Subject Races”) the main lines of what one may well call a philosophy of the bureaucrat.

Cromer started by recognizing that “personal influence" without a legal or written political treaty could be enough for “sufficiently effective super­vision over public affairs" (73) in foreign countries. This kind of informal in­fluence was preferable to a well-defined policy because it could be altered at a moment's notice and did not necessarily involve the home government in case cf difficulties. It required a highly trained, highly reliable staff whose loyalty and patriotism were not connected with personal ambition or vanity and who would even be required to renounce the human aspiration of having their names connected with their achievements. Their greatest passion would have to be for secrecy (“the less British officials are talked about the better"), (74) for a role behind the scenes; their greatest contempt would be directed at publicity and people who love it.

Cromer himself possessed all these qualities to a very high degree; his wrath was never more strongly aroused than when he was “brought out of [his] hiding place,” when “the reality which before was only known to a few behind the scenes [became] patent to all the world.” (75) His pride was indeed to “remain more or less hidden [and] to pull the strings.” (76) In ex­change, and in order to make his work possible at all, the bureaucrat has to feel safe from control—the praise as well as the blame, that is—of all public institutions, either Parliament, the “English Departments,” or the press. Every growth of democracy or even the simple functioning of existing democratic institutions can only be a danger, for it is impossible to govern “a people by a people—the people of India by the people of England.” (77) Bureaucracy is always a government of experts, of an “experienced minority” which has to resist as well as it knows how the constant pressure from “the inexperienced majority.” Each people is fundamentally an inexperienced majority and can therefore not be trusted with such a highly specialized matter as politics and public affairs. Bureaucrats, moreover, are not sup­posed to have general ideas about political matters at all; their patriotism should never lead them so far astray that they believe in the inherent good­ness of political principles in their own country; that would only result in their cheap “imitative” application “to the government of backward popula­tions,”which, according to Cromer, was the principal defect of the French system. (78)

Nobody will ever pretend that Cecil Rhodes suffered from a lack of vanity. According to Jameson, he expected to be remembered for at least four thousand years. Yet, despite all his appetite for self-glorification, he hit upon the same idea of rule through secrecy as the overmodest Lord Cromer. Extremely fond of drawing up wills, Rhodes insisted in all of them (over the course of two decades of his public life) that his money should be used to found “a secret society ...to carry out his scheme,” which was to be “organized like Loyola’s, supported by the accumulated wealth of those whose aspiration is a desire to do something,” so that eventually there would be “between two and three thousand men in the prime of life scattered all over the world, each one of whom would have had impressed upon his mind in the most susceptible period of his life the dream of the Founder, each one of whom, moreover, would have been especially—mathematically— selected towards the Founder’s purpose.” (79) More farsighted than Cromer, Rhodes opened the society at once to all members of the “Nordic race” (80) so that the aim was not so much the growth and glory of Great Britain—her occupation of the “entire continent of Africa, the Holy Land, the valley of the Euphrates, the islands of Cyprus and Candia, the whole of South Amer­ica, the islands of the Pacific, .... the whole of the Malay Archipelago, the seaboards of China and Japan [and] the ultimate recovery of the United States” (81) — as the expansion of the ‘‘Nordic race” which, organized . in a secret society, would establish a bureaucratic government over all peoples of the earth.
What overcame Rhodes’s monstrous innate vanity and made him dis­cover the charms of secrecy was the same thing that overcame Cromer’s innate sense of duty: the discovery of an expansion which was not driven by the specific appetite for a specific country but conceived as an endless process in which every country would serve only as stepping-stone for further expansion. In view of such a concept, the desire for glory can no longer be satisfied by the glorious triumph over a specific people for the sake of one's own people, nor can the sense of duty be fulfilled through the con­sciousness of specific services and the fulfillment of specific tasks. No matter what individual qualities or defects a man may have, once he has entered the maelstrom of an unending process of expansion, he will, as it were, cease to be what he was and obey the laws of the process, identify himself with anonymous forces that he is supposed to serve in order to keep the whole process in motion; he will think of himself as mere function, and eventually consider such functionality, such an incarnation of the dynamic trend, his highest possible achievement. Then, as Rhodes was insane enough to say, he could indeed “do nothing wrong, what he did became right. It was his duty to do what he wanted. He felt himself a god—nothing less.” (82) But Lord Cromer sanely pointed out the same phenomenon of men degrad­ing themselves voluntarily into mere instruments or mere functions when he called the bureaucrats “instruments of incomparable value in the execution of a policy of Imperialism.” (83)

It is obvious that these secret and anonymous agents of the force of ex­pansion felt no obligation to man-made laws. The only “law” they obeyed was the “law” of expansion, and the only proof of their “lawfulness” was success. They had to be perfectly willing to disappear into complete oblivion once failure had been proved, if for any reason they were no longer “in­struments of incomparable value.” As long as they were successful, the feeling of embodying forces greater than themselves made it relatively easy to resign and even to despise applause and glorification. They were monsters of conceit in their success and monsters of modesty in their failure.

At the basis of bureaucracy as a form of government, and of its inherent replacement of law with temporary and changing decrees, lies this supersti­tion of a possible and magic identification of man with the forces of history. The ideal of such a political body will always be the man behind the scenes who pulls the strings of history. Cromer finally shunned every “written in­strument, or, indeed, anything which is tangible" (84) in his relationships with Egypt—even a proclamation of annexation—in order to be free to obey only the law of expansion, without obligation to a man-made treaty. Thus does the bureaucrat shun every general law, handling each situation sepa­rately by decree, because a law’s inherent stability threatens to establish a permanent community in which nobody could possibly be a god because al would have to obey a law.

The two key figures in this system, whose very essence is aimless process, are the bureaucrat on one side and the secret agent on the other. Both types, as long as they served only British imperialism, never quite denied that they were descended from dragon-slayers and protectors of the weak and therefore never drove bureaucratic regimes to their inherent extremes. A British bureaucrat almost two decades after Cromer's death knew “adminis­trative massacres” could keep India within the British Empire, but he knew also how utopian it would be to try to get the support of the hated “Eng­lish Departments” for an otherwise quite realistic plan. (85) Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India, showed nothing of Cromer’s noblesse and was quite characteristic of a society that increasingly inclined to accept the mob's race standards if they were offered in the form of fashionable snobbery. (86) But snobbery is incompatible with fanaticism and therefore never really efficient.

The same is true of the members of the British Secret Service. They too are of illustrious origin—what the dragon-slayer was to the bureaucrat, the adventurer is to the secret agent—and they too can rightly lay claim to a foundation legend, the legend of the Great Game as told by Rudyard Kipling in Kim.

Of course every adventurer knows what Kipling means when he praises Kim because “what he loved was the game for its own sake.” Every person still able to wonder at “this great and wonderful world” knows that it is hardly an argument against the game when “missionaries and secretaries of charitable societies could not see the beauty of it.” Still less, it seems, have those a right to speak who think it “a sin to kiss a white girl's mouth and a virtue to kiss a black man’s shoe.” (87) Since life itself ultimately has to be lived and loved for its own sake, adventure and love of the game for its own sake easily appear to be a most intensely human symbol of life. It is this underlying passionate humanity that makes Kim the only novel of the imperialist era in which. a genuine brotherhood links together the “higher and lower breeds,” in which Kim, “a Sahib and the son of a Sahib,” can rightly talk of “us” when he talks of the “chain-men,” “all on one lead-rope.” There is more to this “we”—strange in the mouth of a believer in imperialism—than the all-enveloping anonymity of men who are proud to have “no name, but only a number and a letter,” more than the common pride of having “a price upon [one’s] head.” What makes them comrades is the common experience of being—through dan­ger, fear, constant surprise, utter lack of habits, constant preparedness to change their identities—symbols of life itself, symbols, for instance, of happenings all over India, immediately sharing the life of it all as “it runs like a shuttle throughout all Hind," and therefore no longer “alone, one person, in the middle of it all,” trapped, as it were, by the limitations of one’s own individuality or nationality. Playing the Great Game, a man may feel as though he lives the only life worth while because he has been stripped of everything which may still be considered to be accessory. Life itself seems to be left, in a fantastically intensified purity, when man has cut himself off from all ordinary social ties, family, regular occupation, a definite goal, ambitions, and the guarded place in a com­munity to which he belongs by birth. “When every one is dead the Great Game is finished. Not before.” When one is dead, life is finished, not before, not when one happens to achieve whatever he may have wanted. That the game has no ultimate purpose makes it so dangerously similar to life itself.


Purposelessness is the very charm of Kim's existence. Not for the sake of England did he accept his strange duties, nor for the sake of India, nor for any other worthy or unworthy cause. Imperialist notions like expansion for expansion's or power for power’s sake might have suited him, but he would not have cared particularly and certainly would not have constructed any such formula. He stepped into his peculiar way of “theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die" without even asking the first question. He was tempted only by the basic endlessness of the game and by secrecy as such. And secrecy again seems like a symbol of the basic mysteriousness of life.

Somehow it was not the fault of the born adventurers, of those who by their very nature dwelt outside society and outside all political bodies, that they found in imperialism a political game that was endless by definition; they were not supposed to know that in politics an endless game can end only in catastrophe and that political secrecy hardly ever ends in anything nobler than the vulgar duplicity of a spy. The joke on these players of the Great Game was that their employers knew what they wanted and used their passion for anonymity for ordinary spying. But this triumph of the profit- hungry investors was temporary, and they were duly cheated when a few decades later they met the players of the game of totalitarianism, a game played without ulterior motives like profit and therefore played with such murderous efficiency that it devoured even those who financed it.

Before this happened, however, the imperialists had destroyed the best man who ever turned from an adventurer (with a strong mixture of dragon- slayer) into a secret agent, Lawrence of Arabia. Never again was the experi­ment of secret politics made more purely by a more decent man. Lawrence experimented fearlessly upon himself, and then came back and believed that he belonged to the “lost generation." He thought this was because “the old men came out again and took from us our victory" in order to “re-make [the world] in the likeness of the former world they knew." (88) Actually the old men were quite inefficient even in this, and handed their victory, together with their power, down to other men of the same “lost generation," who were neither older nor so dissimilar to Lawrence. The only difference was that Lawrence still clung fast to a morality which, however, had already lost all objective bases and consisted only of a kind of private and neces­sarily quixotic attitude of chivalry.

Lawrence was seduced into becoming a secret agent in Arabia because of his strong desire to leave the world of dull respectability whose continuity . had become simply meaningless, because of his disgust with the world as well as with himself. What attracted him most in Arab civilization was its “gospel of bareness ... [which] involves apparently a sort of moral bareness too," which “has refined itself clear of household gods." (89) What he tried to avoid most of all after he had returned to English civilization was living a life of his own, so that he ended with an apparently incomprehensible en­listment as a private in the British army, which obviously was the only in­stitution in which a man’s honor could be identified with the loss of his individual personality.

When the outbreak of the first World War sent T. E. Lawrence to the Arabs of the Near East with the assignment to rouse them into a rebellion against their Turkish masters and make them fight on the British side, he came into the very midst of the Great Game. He could achieve his purpose only if a national movement was stirred up among Arab tribes, a national movement that ultimately was to serve British imperialism. Lawrence had to behave as though the Arab national movement were his prime interest, and he did it so well that he came to believe in it himself. But then again he did not belong, he was ultimately unable “to think their thought” and to “assume their character.” (90) Pretending to be an Arab, he could only lose his “English self” (91) and was fascinated by the complete secrecy of self- effacement rather than fooled by the obvious justifications of benevolent rule over backward peoples that Lord Cromer might have used.

One genera­tion older and sadder than Cromer, he took great delight in a role that de­manded a reconditioning of his whole personality until he fitted into the Great Game, until he became the incarnation of the force of the Arab na­tional movement, until he lost all natural vanity in his mysterious alliance with forces necessarily bigger than himself, no matter how big he could have been, until he acquired a deadly “contempt, not for other men, but for all they do” on their own initiative and not in alliance with the forces of history.

When, at the end of the war, Lawrence had to abandon the pretenses of a secret agent and somehow recover his “English self,” (92) he “looked at the West and its conventions with new eyes: they destroyed it all for me.” (93) From the Great Game of incalculable bigness, which no publicity had glorified or limited and which had elevated him, in his twenties, above kings and prime ministers because he had “made 'em or played with them,” (94) Lawrence came home with an obsessive desire for anonymity and the deep conviction that nothing he could possibly still do with his life would ever satisfy him. This conclusion he drew from his perfect knowledge that it was not he who had been big, but only the role he had aptly assumed, that his bigness had been the result of the Game and not a product of himself.

Now he did not “want to be big any more” and, determined that he was not “going to be respectable again,” he thus was indeed “cured ... of any desire ever to do anything for myself.” (95) He had been the phantom of a force, and he became a phantom among the living when the force, the function, was taken away from him. What he was frantically looking for was another role to play, and this incidentally was the “game” about which George Bernard Shaw inquired so kindly but uncomprehendingly, as though he spoke from another century, not understanding why a man of such great achievements should not own up to them. (96) Only another role, another function would be strong enough to prevent himself and the world from identifying him with his deeds in Arabia, from replacing his old self with a new personality. He did not want to become “Lawrence of Arabia," since, fundamentally, he did not want to regain a new self after having lost the old. His greatness was that he was passionate enough to refuse cheap compro­mises and easy roads into reality and respectability, that he never lost his awareness that he had been only a function and had played a role and there­fore “must not benefit in any way from what he had done in Arabia. The honors which he had won were refused. The jobs offered on account of his reputation had to be declined nor would he allow himself to exploit his suc­cess by profiting from writing a single paid piece of journalism under the name of Lawrence." (97)

The story of T. E. Lawrence in all its moving bitterness and greatness was not simply the story of a paid official or a hired spy, but precisely the story of a real agent or functionary, of somebody who actually believed he had entered—or been driven into—the stream of historical necessity and become a functionary or agent of the secret forces which rule the world. “I had pushed my go-cart into the eternal stream, and so it went faster than the ones that are pushed cross-stream or up-stream. I did not believe finally in the Arab movement: but thought it necessary in its time and place." (98) Just as Cromer had ruled Egypt for the sake of India, or Rhodes South Africa for the sake of further expansion, Lawrence had acted for some ulterior unpredictable purpose.

The only satisfaction he could get out of this, lacking the calm good conscience of some limited achievement, came from the sense of functioning itself, from being embraced and driven by some big mo .ement. Back in London and in despair, he would try to find some substitute for this kind of “self-satisfaction" and would “only get it out of hot speed on a motor-bike.” (99) Although Lawrence had not yet been seized by the fanaticism of an ideology of movement, probably because he was too well educated for the superstitions of his time, he had already ex­perienced that fascination, based on despair of all possible human responsi­bility, which the eternal stream and its eternal movement exert. He drowned himself in it and nothing was left of him but some inexplicable decency and a pride in having “pushed the right way." “I am still puzzled as to how far the individual counts: a lot, I fancy, if he pushes the right way." (100) This, then, is the end of the real pride of Western man who no longer counts as an end in himself, no longer does “a thing of himself nor a thing so clean as to be his own” (101) by giving laws to the world, but has a chance only “if he pushes the right way,” in alliance with the secret forces of history and necessity—of which he is but a function.

                     He is a genius, man!

When the European mob discovered what a “lovely virtue” a white skin could be in Africa, (102) when the English conqueror in India became an ad­ministrator who no longer believed in the universal validity of law, but was convinced of his own innate capacity to rule and dominate, when the dragon- slayers turned into either “white men” of “higher breeds” or into bureau­crats and spies, playing the Great Game of endless .ulterior motives in an endless movement; when the British Intelligence Services (especially after the first World War) began to attract England’s best sons, who preferred serv­ing mysterious forces all over the world to serving the common good of their country, the stage seemed to be set for all possible horrors. Lying under anybody’s nose were many of the elements which gathered together could create a totalitarian government on the basis of racism. “Administrative mas­sacres” were proposed by Indian bureaucrats while African officials declared that “no ethical considerations such as the rights of man will be allowed to stand in the way” of white rule. (103)

The happy fact is that although British imperialist rule sank to some level of vulgarity, cruelty played a lesser role between the two World Wars than ever before and a minimum of human rights was always safeguarded. It is this moderation in the midst of plain insanity that paved the way for what Churchill has called “the liquidation of His Majesty’s Empire” and that eventually may turn out to mean the transformation of the English nation into a Commonwealth of English peoples.

My "neighbor" in Hannover, Linden Nord Lindener Marktplatz 2





Notes:

1. Joseph Conrad, “Heart of Darkness” in Youth and Other Tales, 1902, is the most illuminating work on actual race experience in Africa.

2.  Quoted from Carlton J. Hayes, A Generation of Materialism, New York, 1941, p. 338.—An even worse case is of course that of Leopold II of Belgium, responsible for the blackest pages in the history of Africa. "There was only one man who could be accused of the outrages which reduced the native population [of the Congo] from between 20 to 40 million in 1890 to 8,500,000 in 1911—Leopold II.” See Selwyn James, South of the Congo, New York, 1943, p. 305.

3. See A. Carthill’s description of the “Indian system of government by reports” in The Lost Dominion, 1924, p. 70.

4. It is important to bear in mind that colonization of America and Australia was accompanied by comparatively short periods of cruel liquidation because of the natives' numerical weakness, whereas “in understanding the genesis of modern South African society it is of the greatest importance to know that the land beyond the Cape's borders was not the open land which lay before the Australian squatter. It was already an area of settlement, of settlement by a great Bantu population." See C. W. de Kiewiet, A History of South Africa, Social and Economic (Oxford, 1941), p. 59.

5. “As late as 1884 the British Government had still been willing to diminish its authority and in1iuence in South Africa" (De Kiewiet, op. cit., p. 113).

6. The following table of British immigration to and emigration from South Africa between 1924 and 1928 shows that Englishmen had a stronger inclination to leave the country than other immigrants and that, with one exception, each year showed a greater number of British people leaving the country than coming in:
7. J. A. Froude, "Leaves from a South African Journal” (1874), in Short Studies on Great Subjects, 1867-1882, Vol. IV.

8. lbid.

9. “Quoted from Paul Ritter, Kolonien im deutschen Schrifttum, 1936, Preface.

10. Lord Selbourne in 1907: "The white people of South Africa are committed to such a path as few nations have trod before them, and scarcely one trod with success.” See Kiewiet, op. cit., chapter 6.

11. See especially chapter iii of Kiewiet, op. cit.

12. “Slaves and Hottentots together provoked remarkable changes in the thought and habits of the colonists, for climate and geography were not alone in forming the dis­tinctive traits of the Boer race. Slaves and droughts, Hottentots and isolation, cheap labor and land, combined to create the institutions and habits of South African society. The sons and daughters born to sturdy Hollanders and Huguenots learned to look upon the labour of the field and upon all hard physical toil as the functions of a servile race” (Kiewiet, op. cit., p. 21).

13. See James, op. cit., p. 28.

14. “The true history of South African colonization describes the growth, not of a settlement of Europeans, but of a totally new and unique society of different races and colours and cultural attainments, fashioned by conflicts of racial heredity and the oppositions of unequal social groups" (Kiewiet, op. cit., p. 19).

15. Kiewiet, op. cit., p. 19.

16. (The Boers’) society was rebellious, but it was not revolutionary" (ibid., p. 58).

17. "Little effort was made to raise the standard of Jiving or increase the opportunities of the class of slaves and servants. In this manner, the limited wealth of the Colony became the privilege of its white population.... Thus early did South Africa learn that a self-conscious group may escape the worst effects of life in a poor and unprosperous land by turning distinctions of race and colour into devices for social and eco­nomic discrimination" (ibid., p. 22).

18. The point is that, for instance, in “the West Indies such a large proportion of slaves as were held at the Cape would have been a sign of wealth and a source of pros­perity”; whereas “at the Cape slavery was the sign of an unenterprising economy ... whose labour was wastefully and inefficiently used" (ibid.). It was chiefly this that led Barnes (op. cit., p. 107) and many other observers to the conclusion: “South Africa is thus a foreign country, not only in the sense that its standpoint is definitely un­-British, but also in the much more radical sense that its very raison d'etre, as an attempt at an organised society, is in contradiction to the principles on which the states of Christendom are founded.”

19. This corresponded to as many as 160,000 individuals (Kiewiet, op. cit., p. 181). James (op. cit., p. 43) estimated the number of poor whites in 1943 at 500,000 which would correspond to about 20 per cent of the white population.

20 “The poor white Afrikaaner population, living on the same subsistence level as the Bantus, is primarily the result of the Boers' inability or stubborn refusal to learn agricultural science. Like the Bantu, the Boer likes to wander from one area to another, tilling the soil until it is no longer fertile, shooting the wild game until it ceases to exist” (ibid.).

21. “Their race was their title of superiority over the natives, and to do manual labour conflicted with the dignity conferred upon them by their race. ... Such an aversion degenerated, in those who were most demoralized, into a claim to charity as a right” (Kiewiet, op. cit., p. 216).

22. The Dutch Reformed Church has been in the forefront of the Boers' struggle against the influence of Christian missionaries on the Cape. In 1944, however, they went one step farther and adopted “without a single voice of dissent" a motion oppos­ing the marriage of Boers with English-speaking citizens. (According to the Cape Times, editorial of July 18, 1944. Quoted from New Africa, Council on African Af­fairs. Monthly Bulletin, October, 1944.)

23. Kiewiet (op. cit., p. 181) mentions “the doctrine of racial superiority which was drawn from the Bible and reinforced by the popular interpretation which the nine­teenth century placed upon Darwin’s theories.”

24. “The God of the Old Testament has been to them almost as much a national figure as He has been to the Jews. . ..I recall a memorable scene in a Cape Town club, where a bold Briton, dining by chance with three or four Dutchmen, ventured to observe that Christ was a non-European and that, legally speaking, he would have been a prohibited immigrant in the Union of South Africa. The Dutchmen were so electrified at the remark that they nearly fell off their chairs" (Barnes, op. cit., p. 33).

25. “For the Boer farmer the separation and the degradation of the natives are or­dained by God, and it is crime and blasphemy to argue to the contrary" (Norman Bent- wich, “South Africa. Dominion of Racial Problems." In Political Quarterly, 1939, Vol. X, No. 3).

26. “To this day the missionary is to the Boer the fundamental traitor, the white man who stands for black against white” (S. Gertrude Millin, Rhodes, London, 1933, p. 38).

27 “Because they had little art, less architecture, and no literature, they depended upon their farms, their Bibles, and their blood to set them off sharply against the native and the outlander” (Kiewiet, op. cit., p. 121).

28. “The true Vortrekker hated a boundary. When the British Government insisted on fixed boundaries for the Colony and for farms within it, something was taken from him.... It was best surely to betake themselves across the border where there were water and free land and no British Government to disallow Vagrancy Laws and where wtl:ite men could not be haled to court to answer the complaints of their servants" (Ibid., pp. 54-55). “The Great Trek, a movement unique in the history of colonization" (p. 58) “was the defeat of the policy of more intensive settlement. The practice which required the area of an entire Canadian township for the settlement of ten families was extended through all of South Africa. It made for ever impossible the segregation of white and black races in separate areas of settlement ... By taking the Boers beyond the reach of British law, the Great Trek enabled them to establish ‘proper' relations with the native population” (p. 56). “In later years, the Great Trek was to become more than a protest; it was to become a rebellion against the British administration, and the foundation stone of the Anglo-Boer racialism of the twentieth century" (James, op. cit., p. 28).

29. In 1939, the total population of the Union of South Africa amounted to 9,500,000 of whom 7,000,000 were natives and 2,500,000 Europeans. Of the latter, more than 1,250,0 were Boers, about one-third were British, and 100,000 were Jews. See Nor­man Bentwich, op. cit.

30. J. A. Froude, op. cit., p. 375.

31. Kiewiet, op. cit., p. 119.

32. Froude, op. cit., p. 400.

33. Kiewiet, op. cit., p. 119.

34. “What an abundance of rain and grass was to New Zealand mutton, what a plenty of cheap grazing land was to Australian wool, what the fertile prairie acres were to Canadian wheat, cheap native labour was to South African mining and industrial enterprise" (Kiewiet, op. cit., p. 96).

35. J. A. Froude, lbid.

36. “The goldmines are the life-blood of the Union ... one half of the population obtained their livelihood directly or indirectly from the goldmining industry, and ... one half of the finances of the government were derived directly or indirectly from gold mining” (Kiewiet, op. cit., p. 155).

37. See Paul H. Emden, Jews of Britain, A Series of Biographies, London, 1944, chapter “From Cairo to the Cape.”

38. Kiewiet (op. cit., pp. 138-39) mentions, however, also another “set of circumstances": "Any attempt by the British Government to secure concessions or reforms from the Transvaal Government made it inevitably the agent of the mining magnates .... Great Britain gave its support, whether this was clearly realized in Downing Sreet or not, to capital and mining investments.”

39.“Much of the hesitant and evasive conduct of British statesmanship in the gen­eration before the Boer War could be attributed to the indecision of the British Gov­ernment between its obligation to the natives and its obligation to the white com­munities ... Now, however, the Boer War compelled a decision on native policy. In the terms of the peace the British Government promised that no attempt would be made to alter the political status of the natives before self-government had been granted to the ex-Republics. In that epochal decision the British Government receded from its humanitarian position and enabled the Boer leaders to win a signal victory in the peace negotiations which marked their military defeat. Great Britain abandoned the effort to exercise a control over the vital relations between white and black. Downing Street had surrendered to the frontiers” (Kiewiet, op. cit., pp. 143-44).

40. “There is ... an entirely erroneous notion that the Africaaners and the English­speaking people of South Africa still disagree on how to treat the natives. On the contrary, it is one of the few things on which they do agree” (James, op. cit., p. 47).

41. This was mostly due to the methods of Alfred Beit who had arrived in 1875 to buy diamonds for a Hamburg firm. “Till then only speculators had been shareholders in mining ventures ... Beit's method attracted the genuine investor also” (Emden, op. cit.).

42. Very characteristic in this respect was Barnato's attitude when it came to the amalgamation of his business with the Rhodes group. “For Barnato the amalgamation was nothing but a financial transaction in which he wanted to make money ... He therefore desired that the company should have nothing to do with politics. Rhodes however was not merely a business man. . . ." This shows how very wrong Barnato was when he thought that “if I had received the education of Cecil Rhodes there would not have been a Cecil Rhodes" (ibid.).

43. Compare chapter v, note 34.

44. The increase in profits from foreign investment and a relative decrease of foreign trade profits characterizes the economic side of imperialism. In 1899, it was estimated that Great Britain's whole foreign and colonial trade had brought her an income of only 18 million pounds, while in the same year profits from foreign investment amounted to 90 or 100 million pounds. See J. A. Hobson, Imperialism, London, 1938, pp. 53 ff. It is obvious that investment demanded a much more conscious long-range policy of exploitation than mere trade.

45 Early Jewish settlers in South Africa in the eighteenth and the first part of the nineteenth century were adventurers; traders and merchants followed them after the middle of the century, among whom the most prominent turned to industries such as fishing, sealing, and whaling (De Pass Brothers) and ostrich breeding (the Mosenthal family). Later, they were almost forced into the Kimberley diamond industries where, however, they never achieved such preeminence as Barnato and Beit.

46. Ernst Schultze, “Die Judenfrage in Sued-Afrika,” in Der Weitkampf, October, 1938, Vol. XV, No. 178.

47. Barnato sold his shares to Rhodes in order to be introduced to the Kimberley Club. “This is no mere money transaction," Rhodes is reported to have told Barnato, “I propose to-make a gentleman of you.” Barnato enjoyed his life as a gentleman for eight years and then committed suicide. See Millin, op. cit., pp. 14, 85.

48. “The path from one Jew [in this case, Alfred Beit from Hamburg] to another is an easy one. Rhodes went to England to see Lord Rothschild and Lord Rothschild ap­proved of him” (ibid.).

49. Emden, op. cit.

50. “South Africa concentrated almost all its peacetime industrial energy on the pro­duction of gold. The average investor put his money into gold because it offered the quickest and biggest returns. But South Africa also has tremendous deposits of iron ore, copper, asbestos, manganese, tin, lead, platinum, chrome, mica and graphite. These, along with the coal mines and the handful of factories producing consumer goods, were known as ‘secondary' industries. The investing public's interest in them was limited. And development of these secondary industries was discouraged by the gold- mining companies and to a large extent by the government" (James, op. cit., p. 333).

51. James, op. cit., pp. 111-112. "The Government reckoned that this was a good ex­ample for private employers to follow ... and public opinion soon forced changes in the hiring policies of many employers.”

52. James, op. cit., p. I 08.

53. Here again, a definite difference between the earlier settlers and the financiers can be recognized until the end of the nineteenth century. Saul Salomon, for instance, a Negrophilist member of the Cape Parliament, was a descendant of a family which had settled in South Africa in the early nineteenth century. Emden, op. cit.

54. Between 1924 and 1930, 12,319 Jews immigrated to South Africa while only 461 left the country. These figures are very striking if one considers that the total immigration for the same period after deduction of emigrants amounted to 14,241 persons. (See Schultze, op. cit.) If we compare these figures with the immigration table of note 6, it follows that Jews constituted roughly one-third of the total immigration to South Africa in the twenties, and that they, in sharp contrast to all other categories of uitlanders settled there permanently, their share in the annual emmigration is less then 2 per cent.

55. Rabid Afrikaaner nalionalist leaders have deplored lhe fact thal there are 102,000 Jews in the Union; most of them are while-collar workers, induslrial em­ployers, shopkeepers, or members of the professions. The Jews did much to build up the secondary industries of South Africa—i.e., industries other than gold and diamond mining—concentrating particularly on the manufacture of clothes and furniture" (James, op. cit., p. 46).
56. Ibid., p. 67-68.

57. More than 100,000 Indian coolies were imported to the sugar plantations of Natal in the nineteenth century. These were followed by Chinese laborers in the mines who numbered about 55,000 in 1907. In 1910, the British government ordered the repatria­tion of all Chinese mine laborers, and in 1913 it prohibited any further immigration from India or any other part of Asia. In 1931, 142,000 Asiatics were still in the Union and treated like African natives. (See also Schultte, op. cit.)

58. Barnes, op. cit., p. 13.

59. Kiewiet, op. cit., p. 13.

60. “When economists declared that higher wages were a form of bounty, and that protected labour was uneconomical, the answer was given that the sacrifice was well made if the unfortunate elements in the white population ultimately found an assured footing in modern life.” “But it has not been in South Africa alone that the voice of the conventional economist has gone unheeded since the end of the Great War ... In a generation which saw England abandon free trade, America leave the gold standard, the Third Reich embrace autarchy, ... South Africa's insistence that its economic life must be organized to secure the dominant position of the white race is not seriously out of place” (Kiewiet, op. cit., pp. 224 and 245).

61. Rudyard Kipling, “The First Sailor,” in Humorous Tales, 1891.

62. ln The Day's Work, 1898.

63. Lawrence J. Zetland, Lord Cromer, 1932, p. 16.

64. Lord Cromer, “The Government of Subject Races" in Edinburgh Review, Janu­ary, 1908.

65. Lord Curzon at the unveiling of the memorial tablet for Cromer. See Zetland, op. cit., p. 362.

66. Quoted from a long poem by Lord Cromer. See Zetland, op. cit., pp. 17-18.

67. From a letter Lord Cromer wrote in 1882. Ibid., p. 87.

68. Lord Cromer, op. cit.

69. Bribery “was perhaps the most human institution among the barbed-wire entangle­ments of the Russian order." Moissaye J. Olgin, The Soul of the Russian Revolution, New York, 1917.

70. Zetland, op. cit., p. 89.

71. From a letter Lord Cromer wrote in 1884. Ibid., p. 117.

72. In a letter to Lord Granville, a member of the Liberal Party, in 1885. Ibid., p. 219.

73. From a letter to Lord Rosebery in 1886. Ibid., p. 134.

74. Ibid., p. 352.

75. From a letter to Lord Rosebery in 1893. Ibid., pp. 204-205.

76. From a letter to Lord Rosebery in 1893. Ibid., p. 192.

77. From a speech by Cromer in Parliament after 1904. Ibid., p. 311.

78. During the negotiations and considerations of the administrative pattern for the annexation of the Sudan, Cromer insisted on keeping the whole matter outside the sphere of French influence; he did this not because he wanted to secure a monopoly in Africa for England but much rather because he had "the utmost want of confidence in their administrative system as applied to subject races” (from a letter to Salisbury in 1899, Ibid., p. 248).

79. Rhodes drew up six wills (the first was already composed in 1877), all of which mention the “secret society." For extensive quotes, see Basil Williams, Cecil Rhodes, London, 1921, and Millin, op. cit., pp. 128 and 331. The citations are upon the authority of W. T. Stead.

80. It is well known that Rhodes’s “secret society" ended as the very respectable Rhodes Scholarship Association to which even today not only Englishmen but members of all “Nordic races," such as Germans, Scandinavians, and Americans, are admitted.

81. Basil Williams, op. cit., p. 51.

82. Millin, op. cit., p. 92.

83 Cromer, op. cit.

84. From a letter of Lord Cromer to Lord Rosebery in 1886. Zetland, op. cit., p. 134.

85. "The Indian system of government by reports was . • . suspect [in England]. There was no trial by jury in India and the judges were all paid servants of the Crown, many of them removable at pleasure. . .. Some of the men of formal law felt rather uneasy as to the success of the Indian experiment. ‘If,’ they said, ‘despotism and bureaucracy work so well in India, may not that be perhaps at some time used as an argument for introducing something of the same system here?' " The government of India, at any rate, “knew well enough that it would have to justify its existence and its policy before public opinion in England, and 'it well knew that that public opinion would never tolerate oppression” (A. Carthill, op. cit., pp. 70 and 41-42).

86. Harold Nicolson in his Curzon: The Last Phase 1919-1925, Boston-New York, 1934, tells the following story: “Behind the lines in Flanders was a large brewery in the vats of which the private soldiers would bathe on returning from the trenches. Curzon was taken to see this dantesque exhibit. He watched with interest those hundred naked figures disporting themselves in the steam. ‘Dear me!,' he said, ‘I had no conception that the lower classes had such white skins.' Curzon would deny the authenticity of this story but loved it none the less” (pp. 47-48).

87. Carthill, op. cit., p. 88.

88. T. E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, Introduction (first edition, 1926) which was omitted on the advice of George Bernard Shaw from the later edition. See T. E. Lawrence, Letters, edited by David Garnett, New York, 1939, pp. 262 ff.

89. From a letter written in 1918. Letters, p. 244.

90. T. E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, Garden City, 1938, chapter i.

91. Ibid.

92. How ambiguous and how difficult a process this must have been is illustrated by the following anecdote: “Lawrence had accepted an invitation to dinner at Claridge’s and a party afterwards at Mrs. Harry Lindsay's. He shirked the dinner, but came to the party in Arab dresses. This happened in 1919. Letters, p. 272, note I.

93. Lawrence, op. cit., ch. i.

94. Lawrence wrote in 1929: “Anyone who had gone up so fast as I went ... and had seen so much of the inside of the top of the world might well lose his aspirations, and get weary of the ordinary motives of action, which had moved him tiH he reached the top. I wasn't King or Prime Minister, but I made 'em, or played with them, and after that there wasn't much more, in that direction, for me to do" (Letters, p. 653).

95. Ibid., pp. 244, 447, 450. Compare especially the letter of 1918 (p. 244) with the two letters to George Bernard Shaw of 1923 (p. 447) and 1928 (p. 616).

96. George Bernard Shaw, asking Lawrence in 1928 “What is your game really?", suggested that his role in the army or his looking for a job as a night-watchman (for which he could “get good references") were not authentic.

97. Garnett, op. cit, p. 264.

98. Letters, in 1930, p. 693.

99. Ibid., in 1924, p. 456.

100. Ibid., p. 693.

101. Lawrence, op. cit. , chapter i.

102. Millin, op. cit., p. 15.

103. As put by Sir Thomas Watt, a citizen of South Africa, of British descent. Se Barnes, op. cit., p. 230.

In: Hannah Arendt. The Origins of Totalitarism. New York, 1973, p. 185-221.

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