Translated from the Polish


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In an investigation of the relation of race to civilisation, the question of the psychological consequences of crossing cannot be avoided. Opinions were and are divided. Among enthusiasts for cross-breeding the Hegelian Michelet, mentioned earlier, has gone furthest. According to him humanity is tending to the recovery of its primordial racial unity, which will occur through the melting of all existing races into one “middle” race, as is happening in America; with the brotherhood of all mankind to follow. Similar optimists were Bastian, Bodichon and Krzywicki, with Oberziner among the younger men. A. Reibmayr and 0. Lorenz restricted the advantage of cross-breeding to elements ethnically close to each other. Lenz also limits crossing, considering it a condition of any advantage that the parties should be suited to each other, and not very different in spiritual qualities. Eduard Meyer advocated cross-breeding, but with the reservation that the influences on both sides must melt into internal unity.462 If they had also asked themselves the question which influences lent themselves to this kind of fusion and which did not, they would have been on the right track for an investigation of the crossing of civilisations; but this step was not taken.

The opponents of crossing are headed by Gobineau (18161882). For him everything in history which is positive derives from racial purity, from cross-breeding everything which is evil. While a race is pure it has one way of thinking and one logic, so that institutions correspond with desires and are fixed, permanent, unchanging. In a heavily mixed society “first there is maximum disturbance, then unhealthy stagnation, in the end death”. When even the noblest race dissolves into the flood of the ignoble, the disappearance of civilisation must be the consequence. Whether the pure white race found itself at pole or equator, the spiritual centre of the world would be there. The “Aryan race” must, therefore, be protected against mixed blood. The Aryans of southern and eastern Europe have enormously lowered their own level by mixing their blood; this can be seen, among other things in the egalitarian tendencies of the democracy which has developed among them. For although in ethnically mixed elements the superior race provides the unifying civilising factors, over a period this superior race degenerates, while the lower race by no means rises to the other’s original level. The hierarchy of race is obscured and we approach equality, then degeneration in ethnic relations. Higher values disappear in the mixture. The superficial spread of civilisation goes for nothing, since “inevitable laws drive humanity towards ethnic unity which is a foretaste of decline and a portent of unavoidable death”. Even the Semitic race, in the hierarchy of races coming immediately after the Aryan, when mixed with the latter brings about Aryan degeneration. The Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian peoples, standing for the purity of “Aryan” blood, have kept their superiority — so argues Gobineau.463 Le Bon expressed the same ideas even more emphatically. In his view “man is always and before all else, a representative of his race”. He proclaimed that “historic races” decline and perish through cross-breeding. He was the first to declare that in former times the Aryans in India and then the English in their colonies preserved unity and strength because they did not inter-marry. He also first drew attention to the flooding of the United States of North America by foreigners, and to the fact that France faces the same threat. He feared that as a result the United States might one day fall into civil wars which must end with the country’s disintegration into several hostile states. He told France that a third of her population would be Italian, and another third German, which would be “worse than the severest military defeat”. And so the racial problem towers above everything in history. Rome fell through such “peaceful invasions”, although the barbarians tried to continue Roman civilisation, deceiving themselves with the idea even under the last Merovingians, so that all Charlemagne’s acts were conceived with it in mind. This Roman civilisation was never overthrown (renversée), but came into the hands of different races who formed a “new historical race”, and so a new civilisation. The most dangerous things are revolutions, which affect a nation’s way of thinking. The basic reason for the fall of the Persians and Romans was the change in their mental make-up (constitution mentale) following a decline of character — here crossbreeding is always highly dangerous. For this reason half-caste countries must be ruled with an iron hand, otherwise they will be in perpetual anarchy. The danger of cross-breeding can be neutralised only on three conditions: the inter-breeding races must not differ overmuch in numbers or psyche, and must have lived over a long period in identical environmental conditions; only then may a new race emerge.464

It is evident from this line of thought that Le Don, like Cobineau, succumbed to the illusion of the identity of civilisation and race, as a result of which both confused a mixture of civilisations with a mixture of races. They correctly invoke the psyche and wrongly connect it with race; the ad hoc notion of “historic race” is no way out of the confusion.

Lapouge, that advocate of caste society, went even further. In his view the mental inequality of races is basically irremediable, and all crossing brings degeneration and reduces fertility. Friedrich von Hellwald forecasts disintegration of both blood and spirit with regeneration precluded; for the lower do not rise through cross-breeding, while the higher decline.

Pittard has lately brought up very seriously the question of the future of the United States, where there are about 8,000,000 negroes and 2,000,000 mulattoes who multiply twice as fast as the negroes and are worth even less. In face of all this the worthy anthropologist inquired what would be the ethnic appearance of the States in 100-150 years’ time.465

Today complaints about the offspring of mixed unions are commonplace. But Eugen Fischer is of another opinion. Having investigated the offspring of Boers and lawfully-wed Hottentot wives in Rehoboth, he discovered that these descendents are superior to Hottentots in intellect and character, but show less ability than their fathers.466 Yet would it not be as well to wait for one more generation of this “experiment”? For experience shows that one cross is not the same as another. After all, two famous anthropologists have been of Indian origin: Iroquois in the case of Hervitt and the Omaha467 tribe in the case of La Fleche. Pittard expresses the view that inter-breeding between, for example, Scandinavians and Germans of Nordic race may be advantageous, but the “amalgamation” of two highly different races is “extremely dangerous” — and he even goes as far as to inquire whether, in.view of these anthropological facts, the struggle against marriage between relatives is necessary.468 In all these examples it is necessary to reflect whether crossing of races or of civilisations is in question. In India which is the greater gulf, of race (and which? — there are not a few) or of civilisation, where the father is of Latin civilisation and the mother of Brahmin?

It must thus be bome in mind that mixture of races does not always bring with it mixture of civilisations, since several races may belong to the same civilisation, and normally they are races somatically close to each other (neighbours). The conclusion suggests itself that crossing may take place with advantage inside the frame of the same civilisation, while the mating of individuals of different civilisations is dangerous. Was Gobineau not close to this discovery when he wrote of a “single logic” inside the frame of one pure race? What is it he calls “way of thinking”, if not system? With his eyes on race, he was thinking of civilisation but he wrote “race”.

If it were really a question of race, a mixture of civilisations must always have accompanied a mixture of races. There would also never be a pure civilisation, since history knows no pure races. In any case we know from ordinary experience that somatic inferiority or superiority (sickness or health) does not bring with it a similar spiritual state, but very often the opposite. In view of this, psychological differences represent not a racial problem but simply one of civilisation.

It has happened that racial expansion has taken place in inverse proportion to that of a civilisation. Sometimes a race which has been successful in expanding simultaneously suffers the decline or even loss of its own civilisation, adopting a new one from the vanquished. In such cases, the physically weaker complete the expansion of civilisation. But even in inter-breeding between individuals belonging not only to different races but at the same time to different civilisations, there is no inevitable crossing of civilisations. Is there any lack of those whose contact with civilisation of any kind is nil? Such a person passively submits to the civilisation of another so that on one side nothing is offered towards a crossing of civilisations, on neither side, when both are passive.

Those entering into the details of this problem are subjected to the danger of exaggeration because of an inclination to consider all psychical differences between parents and children as results of cross-breeding — whereas children are rarely on exactly the same level as their parents, but normally higher or lower. This is common-place and it is not necessary to wander through the world and its races to discover.

Experience also shows that civilisations may cross without any anthropological crossing at all. The whole of Europe is today a testing-ground for exactly such a mixture of civilisations. For civilisations spread by their own roads, without needing racial cross-breeding to clear the way for them.

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