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to help. The big, say the small, are too enterprising ;
they make money, and keep motor-cars. That is
unfair. Put a stop to it. In passive Britain the
State would answer, That is your affair ; open a
big shop yourself, and borrow a motor-car. The
German State says yes. It says yes, because under
Universal Suffrage the small man's vote is as good
as the big man's, and it is fifty times more numerous.


The State therefore flopped down a punitive tax
on the big shops that trade in various goods, and
let the small shops go free.

At this time the skilled trades discovered that
they were ruined. Impudent outsiders competed.
So they asked the human State to revive the medi-
aeval guilds ; to forbid men to work as cabinet-
makers, goldsmiths, plumbers, engravers, and forgers
unless they served apprenticeship, passed examina-
tions, paid fees. This would quench competition.
Since competing outsiders have votes, and out-
number skilled insiders, the State did not give way.
It set up mock guilds with the right to examine, and
the right to take apprentices. This checked in-
adequately competition ; so deep growls are audible

The bankrupt theatres turn to the saviour State.
They are all, they say, going to the dogs. The
vicious, immoral, vulgar, sensation-fed kinemato-
graph has ruined them. Thirty theatres last year
closed, and two thousand men were made beggars.
So the helpful State must tax, regulate, and censor
the kinematographs to death. And this the kindly
State is about to do. The kinematographs will
retort by asking the State to meddle with theatres.
The theatre, they say, is a one-horse, superannuated
bore ; were it not for its vicious persistency the
regenerative kinematograph would circle the earth.


Already they are making defence. They print cari-
catures. One shows the dramatic authors waiHng
to the shade of Goethe. " The Kino has ruined our
business ! " say the authors. " Nobody goes to
the Theatre ! " " Then you," says the Shade,
" write kino plays, and nobody will go to the kino."
Of course, the Universal State lacks this individualist
wit. It will pass a law to help the Theatre against
the Kino, and then another law to help the Kino
against the Theatre, thus denying — but not at cJl
infringing — man's inalienable right to succeed in
life, and to fail.

All this enriches Germany with scores of laws
unknown elsewhere, laws which meddle with free-
dom of contract, and fiercely restrict the subject's
sovereign will. Infringement of liberty goes so far
as denial of the right to lie. Not, of course, in politics
— ^there all nations equally vindicate an immemorial
privilege — but in business. In genuine culture-
states, as Germans say, lying and business are as
inextricably one as whisky and soda. In obscurantist
Germany business lying is a crime. With the pretext
of preventing unfair competition a law was passed
against lying in business. The law says that what
you say about your goods must be true. You must
not push their sale by even an unicellular untruth.
If you lie in advertisements you may be sent to gaol.
It is a crime to advertise a great reduction of prices


unless the reduction is provably great ; and if you
hurry up buyers with the harmless prevarication,
" Only a few left/' you go to gaol. It is a lie to
create the appearance that a specially favourable
offer is being made unless the offer is really specially
favourable. Even the honourable antediluvian
lie about bankrupt stock is a crime. A bankrupt
stock must really have come from a bankrupt ; and
if the seller throws into a bankrupt stock a few
things which do not belong to it, then he is a criminal
liar. Under threat of gaol the shopkeeper must
say truthfully in his advertisements whether his
sale is seasonal, stocktaking, clearance, bankrupt,
or other ; and if he says it's a clearance sale, and
throws in things which he has only just bought,
he may go to gaol for a year. Newspapers must
see that their advertisements are true. They may
not print lies — except on editorial pages.

The German State, as result of its universal
meddling, marches straight to Socialism, and its re-
actionary pohtics only serve to veil the fact. With
a weak left hand it makes war on Social-Democrats ;
but with a strong right hand it does what Socialists
want. Not for nothing are the Tory State-meddle
professors called " Chair Socialists." For forty
years, ever since the Tory professor Adolf Wagner
abjured laisser faire, these Tory meddlers have been
telhng everyone that Socialist Socialists are wrong,


and that Socialist measures are right. Both Tories
and SociaHsts, with differences, want the same.
SociaUsts want a meddhng demagogic State with a
proletarian Kaiser ; and Tories want a meddling
aristogogic State with Herr Heydebrand, the Con-
servative chief, as Kaiser ; and the Kaiser as public
orator. Both proclaim that the State must meddle,
regulate, command, and forbid to exhaustion-point.
Prince Biilow likened the Socialist Socialists to
Nicholas II. He might as well have compared the
Tory Socialists to that dusty despot Herr Bebel.
Both sides in public things want their noses every-
where ; and both sides in party affairs indiscrimin-
ately bully and spy.

As fruit of the general meddle craze, Too-Much-
Government is the fashionable wail. Zuvielregieren !
Too much social legislation, too many factory laws,
too much meddling with contracts, too many
administrative, police, sanitary, and other regu-
lations for things which need no regulation at all
Herr Police Prefect Jagow's edict on the compulsory
angle of Street-crossing brought things to a head.
But the ill is as old as Frederick. Bismarck growled
savagely about Beamtenherrschaft, the domination
of bureaucrats ; and now books, pamphlets, and
articles explain every month that the beneficent
State does far too much, and that it might for at
least a couple of generations beneficently do nothing


at all. Trades Councils say that the universal
meddUng makes serious obstacles for Industry ;
the chief organisation of metallurgical works says
that there is " a perfect mania for regularising and
paragraphing everything " ; Herr Professor Bern-
hard prints pages of complaints. He says that the
ardent authorities jealously compete in wealth of
meddling. He cites growls from business men about
"unmeaning paragraphs which regulate every action
and reduce the men to the state of marionettes."
Factory walls glow with rules forbidding workmen
to sleep as they drive waggons, and warning wielders
of sledge-hammers not to knock out brains. And
the inductive workman reasons that everything
not verboten is implicitly approved.

State Insurance makes things worse. Its framers
proclaimed it would need no bureaucratic centralisa-
tion. Redtapeless self-governing organs were to
administer the laws. Once the laws were made the
central government might rest. This hope is frus-
trated. The laws work badly when left alone. They
bring scandals, chaos, litigation. To keep the wheels
a-moving needs oil in the shape of more meddling
from Berlin ; and the trend of amendments is to
recognise this ; and to return control to State hands.
So the ills of meddling are checked by more meddling;
and Too-Much-Government is remedied with the
drug of Much-too-Much-Government.


From zeal to stop injustice the human State does
more injustice than the unjust. It allows con-
scientious policemen to override vicious compacts,
until no compacts are made at all. The famous
Employment Agencies Law is an instance. Before
it Germany had public and private employment
agencies and registry offices. Then the social
reformers set to work. They put policemen in
control ; and let them frame schedules of the maxi-
mum fees which agents might require for finding
employment for workers and finding Labour for
employers. To charge more became an offence.
The law covered all occupations from directorial
work in breweries down to domestic service and
journalism. The policemen, guided by Old-Prussian
Thrift, cut the prevaihng fees to atom-point. Fifteen
shillings was the most an intermediary could charge
for getting you a well-paid post as engineer, bank
manager, or medical officer ; and the most that might
be charged for getting you work as hotel-manager
was six shillings. The law ruined agents. It ruined
also others. It ceased to be worth while, for the
sake of some odd shilUngs, to negotiate well-paid
posts for work-seekers. The industries growled that
the mechanism of employment was put out of gear ;
and the police-made fee-list had to be radically
changed. The human State did not lose heart.
It measures its beneficence by wealth of laws.


multiplication of bureaucrats ; by clamour of over-
regulated interests which say that it has done too
much ; by tumult of under-regulated, expectant
interests which say that it has done too little.

The British faith needs revision that things are
good because German. Even patriot Herr Gamradt
prefers our railways ; and says that Britons would
change their minds about Nationalisation if first
they changed their nationality. If instead of
thundering through Prussia in the Nord-Express,
and comparing it with a local third-class carriage
down Chatham way, they travelled cheap on Prussian
local trains. They would find that Prussian trains
are slower, dearer, and less comfortable than
English ; and perhaps — though that is less certain
— that they're worse for business and trade.
The complaint here is that the State is greedy ;
forgets its own principle that ** State railways are
no milch-cow ; no financial resource of the State " ;
and for thirty years has been piling up railway
surpluses, taken from the public pocket. Prussia's
State railways pay 7J per cent on money invested,
while the private railways pay 3 J, and the State
can borrow money at 3|. Since the Guarantee
Law of 1882, a quarter of a milliard pounds have
been diverted from Railway profits to the needs
of the State. The railway capital account shows
the result. The railways are valued at a thousand


million. The money invested is £475,000,000.
£150,000,000 has been paid off. So the State has
created from nothing values of £675,000,000. If
English companies accumulated such wealth people
would break their windows, and the growl for
Nationalisation would double its strength. Also
German fares and freight rates are high — for the
inferior services rendered. Germans who best
know England prefer the English railway system,
as they prefer other things Enghsh.

Popular discontent with the State as meddler
and peddler docs not check the German Tory
Socialist's zeal. The Tory Socialists think that
meddling has only begun. The greatest ** Chair "
Sociahst, Excellency Actual Government Privy
Councillor Professor Dr. Theol.h.c, Dr. Jur., leg.,
polit. Adolph Wagner foresees an age when the
human State will meddle so violently, so universally
that the modest, tentative meddUng of to-day will
seem anarchical passivity. Like all Chair Socialists,
Herr Wagner is a fierce Tory, royalist, and Chau-
vinist ; he abhors Socialists elsewhere than in
Chairs ; and would like to execute them and their
programme on one and the same day. He preaches
that the coming State will control the disposition
of wealth. It will dictate to individuals how they
may, and how they may not, invest. This must
be done, because the State will levy heavier taxes


on the rich ; and the rich — as indeed they threaten
— might invest their wealth in less human, less
meddle-mad lands, or take their wealth abroad,
and evade the taxes. The coming State will stop
that. It will rule against investment of capital
abroad ; and it will punish as criminals men who
break the rule. It will forbid citizens to emigrate ;
it will trade in everything ; it will fix by public
authority the prices of necessaries ; it will revive
sumptuary laws ; and if the human German eats,
drinks, dresses, dwells, or motors with more than
human moderation he will end inhumanly, Prof.
Wagner thinks, in gaol.

The realisation of this is not far off. If not by
the State then by the town, whose meddling and
enterprise-killing enterprise are just now being
sharply resented. Some profit from the meddling.
You can get a municipal Housing Bureau to find
you a flat for nothing ; and landlords can register
their houses there, and save agents' fees. But
house-agents, Hke the employment agents, close
down. The human Town laughs at them, raises
their rates, and proceeds to exterminate butchers.
You can buy Danish beef in municipal shops which
make no profit ; and you can buy municipal fish
at cost price next door. You can buy municipal
potatoes. In suburban Friedenau you can see a
Berlin municipal rabbit-farm. Some towns sell


milk ; some have started stock-farms, and one
breeds swine and sells citizens pork. Retailer,
wholesaler, producer all suffer. And no parlia-
mentary power is needed ; for Stein's emancipating
Town Ordinance bids the commune do what it

Herr Gamradt says he has no prejudice against
these activities. His trade is not threatened ; and
he gains rather than loses. The city helped him
gratis. From the municipal Housing Office he got his
flat ; he dines agreeably upon municipal (Zeeland)
veal ; and when the flat brings ague and the veal
dyspepsia, he cures both ills at a municipal spa. In
one week he went municipally to Karlsbad for his
dyspepsia, to Ems for throat and ague, to Marienbad
for his municipally fostered paunch ; and to-morrow
he's off to Vichy, Kissingen, Bad Gastein, and
Soden. He may turn up at Buxton. The fact is,
meddling municipal Schonebcrg, in South Berlin,
has made it possible to visit before breakfast all
these regenerating places, and return cured to work.

Schonebcrg lately opened, down Herr Gamradt 's
way, a fine municipal park. Three years ago there
was a yellow sand-flat, strewn with bottles, boots,
and bits of the Lokal-Anzeiger. To-day on the
sand-flat rise artificial hills ; there are artificial
municipal rivers and a lake ; and artificial municipal
trees (sustained by wires). And some genial munici-


palist proposed an artificial spa. So they built a
wood pavilion ; and stocked it under care of an
expert with waters from all the spas, all natural
waters kept at natural warmth. The organisation
was good. The " Cure-guests " got tickets of identi-
fication ; and their own numbered tumblers, so
there was no risk of catching some other man's gout.
It was hygienic, German, and just. And every
morning, mostly from seven to nine, the stricken
" cure-guests '' assembled ; twenty sickly individuals
extremely fat or inordinately thin, catarrhal, rheu-
matic, arthritic, or hoarse ; and walked round the
Kurhaus and conversed on chalk-stones, empyema,
Bright 's disease, and the effect of aviation on middle-
aged airmen with emboli. It was a merry crowd.
You could have Yoghurt, mare's milk, and other
cures, and imagine yourself one of Metchnikoff's
Bulgars who died aged lOO (from wounds at the fall
of Kotchana).

The worst of this back-yard spa was its all-too-
human facility. It fostered a spasmodic spa-
mode. It created disease. Dr. Gamradt approached
it in relative health — except for ague and dyspepsia;
on Monday he felt an uncommon, threatening vertigo;
on Tuesday he had twinges of gout ; on Wednesday
. . . By Friday he had at least a dozen ailments,
and as the morning was hot, he drank deep from Ems,
Vichy, and two Karlsbad springs. He then sampled


Wildunger. And this curative enthusiasm led to
unexpected scenes.

His fellow-sufferers, who had at first ignored,
began to look at him with honest surprise, and
then with unquestionably sincere sympathy. They
whispered as he passed ; and once he caught the
phrase : " complications of malady." On Thursday
a crippled antiquary patted him on the back,
and said consoHngly : " Stick to the cure. You'll
recover. When I was your age I had scurvy, neuritis,
malaria, Bright 's disease, and enlargement of the
spleen. I went to all the spas in succession, and now
I'm as strong as a horse." On Sunday, when Herr
Gamradt ordered Weilbacher water, the gloomiest
looks were turned on him. " He gets worse," said
the invalids. " Hardly a day without some new
disease." And the black-haired girl, who under
charge of a specialist, filled the numbered tumblers,
shook her head. She couldn't change a twenty-
mark note ; and refused to sell on credit. " It's
risky . . . it's risky," she said.

Naturally she didn't mean to give offence ; but
Herr Gamradt read in her Frisian eyes the reflection :
" Suppose he should die this evening, who will pay
for his drinks ? "



Zu Potsdam trepanierte ich,

Den Koch des grossen Friederich ;

Ich schlug ihm mit dem Beil vor'n Kopf ;

Gestorben ist der arme Tropf.

{.Song of Doctor Etsenbarf.)

OFTEN while supine, fruitless England dal-
lies, determined Germany acts. Excellency
Herr Actual Privy Aulic Councillor Pro-
fessor Dr. Med., Jur., et Sc. Eugene Rothstein-
Gottingen is a case in point. Whether it was that
his life-work was biology, or that prescient Deter-
minists had fixed his Christian name, no man knows,
but certain it is he took an interest in race-culture
from the cradle of that high science. And where
others dreamed and hypothesised he worked. The
hope of rearing a race of young Germans as strong
and virtuous as Tacitus 's, with the mentality of
Helmholtz, and the aesthetic sensibility of Kaiser
Wilhelm the Second lured him, unresisting, on.
First, indeed, as an unattainable ideal. But later
it appealed to him as an immediate, practical

problem ; and finally as a thing intimate, domestic,



inextricably mingled with his everyday interests as
citizen and man.

He began with the sub-phylum Vertebrata, class
Aves. But the presumptuous scholars whom he
took into counsel despised the modest plan to raise
hens with the strength and virtue of Teutones, the
mentality of Helmholtz, the aesthetic sensibility of
Kaiser Wilhelm the Second. They counselled him
brazenly to purchase stout and brainy men and
maids, and to apply to these those principles and
laws by which man's degenerate race has produced
a knightly lineage of pigs. Hcrr Dr. Rothstein
winced. As a family man in whom Gottingen
prudery checked the amorahty of Science, he con-
demned the human pig-farm. So the problem of
finding ways to test his theses, to mate half-Junos,
half-Minervas with half-Hercules, half-Apollos, and
bring forth babes as stately as the first, as wise as
the second, as sinewed as the third, as lyric as the
fourth — this problem plagued Herr Dr. Rothstein ;
and he had to take potassium bromide to bring on

But a ray of hope entered Herr Rothstein 's life
when he remembered his not inconsiderable power
to guide the reproductive destinies of his own bright
offspring. The three kind, gracious daughters,
Fraulein Grete, Fraulein Roschcn, and Fraulein
Parnassia, were all, as people said, nubile, and free


from entanglements. True, not one of them was a
dream of beauty ; but Herr Rothstein rightly held
that beauty will be ignored by eugenic generations ;
and, Heaven be thanked, his children inherited their
father's penetrating brain and their mother's useful
Western Mecklenburg physique.

Each was eugenic in some distinctive way. Crete
— fair, slightly angular, abnormally strong — was
clever, sharp for social interests, a member of the
Bund fur MuUerschutz. Roschen — ^her parents'
favourite — had a disfiguring birthmark and splendid
health. Also, though not intellectual in the baser
sense, she had an enquiring brain and an acid,
ironic tongue. Parnassia was round and dark — she
leaned towards art. At thirteen she had recited
her Ode to Grief at Fraulein Schwanke's Higher-
Daughters' School; at sixteen she had printed the
elegiac Tears of Night, and now, though still in law
an infant, she was half-way through her masterpiece,
Methusaleh, Aetat. 278. The circumstances that
only two years separated Crete from Parnassia ;
and that there were five healthy brothers (among
them twins), indicated a fecund, philoprogenitive
strain ; and the thought that such stock by ill-
judged mating might be lost to Eugenics so vexed
Excellency Herr Actual Privy Aulic Councillor
Professor Dr. Med., Jur., et Sc. Rothstein that he
had to double his dose of potassium bromide.


It was only after a wordy wrestle with Herr Privat-
Docent Beck (the promising histologist) that Dr.
Rothstein resolved to eugenise his line. By eugenis-
ing he meant the finding for his daughters bride-
grooms without taking into account the obsolescent
detriment of Love. Also he would ignore wealth.
Strength, intellect, moral would be sufficient mar-
riage settlements. Grandchildren with the strength
of Teutones, the brain of Helmholtz, the aesthetic
sensibility of Kaiser Wilhelm the Second would need
no heritage of dross. But when he communicated
his plan to Herr Privat-Docent Beck, the plan was
laughed at as absurd.

In condemning Applied Eugenics, Herr. Dr. Beck
was not disinterested. He hoped next Semester to
get a professorial Chair ; and he held without any
eugenist arrieres-pensees that Fraulein Roschen
would make him an adorable wife. Without serious
intent Fraulein Roschen had given encouragement.
On the morn of his verbal wrestle with Herr Roth-
stein he had sat with her among the balcony petu-
nias ; and had given her his doctorial dissertation
on histology and a kiss. She returned both.

Being unaware that uneugenic Fate was dragging
his favourite daughter along Love's abandoned path,
Herr Dr. Rothstein set to work. Husbands, strong,
manly, clever, humane, of irreproachable lineages —
these were all his thoughts. And the grandchildren


to be ! Herr Dr. Rothstein sometimes woke early
of a morning, and lay on his back thinking of the
adorable, chubby, rosy babes ; each weighing twelve
pounds and lisping "Grandfather" at birth; solving
M. Fermat's theorem in their second lustrum; and
cutting capers in the playground before they cut
their teeth. And he shut his eyes ecstatically ; and
dreamed of the incomparable race to be when the
issue of the Rothstein Frauleins would have spread
its regenerative influence over a grateful earth.

It was in this humane and reverent spirit that he
made his high choice. The bridegrooms chosen even
more than realised the chooser's exacting ideal.
First was Herr Fichte, the brilliant young Stuttgart
oculist, a remote collateral kinsman of the patriot
philosopher, whom indeed he resembled in much.
The oculist was strong, rosy, five times a prizeman,
an athlete, an amateur photographer, a skilful
player of skat. He would suit, Herr Rothstein
reasoned, Grete. Second came Herr Engineer Dr.
Karl Griitze. Herr Griitze, the professor thought,
disregarding Herr Dr. Beck, would marry Roschen.
The engineer was stout, abnormally broad-shoul-
dered ; he had four medals from Charlottenburg
Technological High School ; his grandmother was
a niece of Humboldt ; his grandfather had made
a three days' speech in the Frankfurt Parliament,
and fought a duel with Bismarck. At Stockholm


his brother had beaten the English champion at
bridge. And last, for musing Parnassia, came Herr
Lieutenant Siegfried vom Rinnstein, whose body
had stepped direct out of Ouida's novels, whose soul
out of Kant's Prolegomena. In these three heroes'
families was not one drunkard, editor, or suffragette,
but there were athletes, scholars, poets, explorers,
abductors, duellists, and privy councillors. Their
fecundity was unexampled. Among Herr Griitze's
ancestors was old Herr Landrat Griitze, who lived
to ninety, married thrice, and left twenty-four
children (among them twins) and two epics. It was
this which decided Herr Rothstein to wed Roschen
to Griitze ; his favourite, he fondly said, should
have the most eugenic husband ; and from this
combination he expected the finest progeny of all.

But what of the inchoate romance of Roschen and
Herr Privat-Docent Beck ? What of the popping
of questions ? Dr. Rothstein made certain pitiful
match-making manoeuvres, and failed. Herr Fichte,

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Online LibraryEdward EdgeworthHuman German → online text (page 11 of 20)