Lewis George Janes.

The short way with the Filipinos online

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To thp Editor of iho Tran.^cript :

The shflilow of the "man on liorscback" U^oms ominously against
onv political horizon. General ^lerritt says we have -outgrown the
constitution," and brushes it aside without even a military salute or
a voUev over its grave in the mad rush for conquest and military
dDminatiou. Admiral Sampson says our sacred obligation to Cuba
is of no account: -'We are there; we intend to rule, and that is
all there is of it." And now comes General Shaffer, uttering in
a Presbyterian church and apparently without rebuke, a sentiment
more barbarous and bloodthirsty than any which can be quoted from
the semi-civilized people who we profess to believe, arc not capable
of self-government.

General Shaffer said he thought a military government was the
only form of government the people of the Philippines would respect.
He laid it down as a general principle that not one foot of ground
gained by as much as one drop of American blood should be given up.
^' ISIy plan would be," he said, " to disarm the natives of the Philip-
pine Islands, even if we have to kill half of them to do it. Then I
would treat the rest of them with perfect justice." ( !)

Over the dead bodies of five million people, if necessary, this
American general would march to the conquest of those distant
islands ; pe'ople guilty of no crime of which George Washington and
Thomas Jefferson were not also guilty ; guilty of no act which has
not hitherto been regarded by all true Americans as a virtue.

This is the logic of imperialism. Let all Americans heed it well,
and see whither it leads. It is the logic of all efforts at the enforced
"civilization" of the weaker races. "We don't want the Phdip-
pines," wrote a good friei,id to me the other day; "neither are the
Filipinos capable of self-government, in my judgment. They need a
dictator and a strong hand. Doubtless many will die in the new
reVime, but those that survive will be a better race." This gentleman
sincerely thought he was applying the logic of nature's own evolu-
tionary method to this question. lie was mistaken. The ettorts of
our Anodo- Saxon nations to civilize inferior races by force have all
been tragical failures. Witness New Zealand, where about 10,000
l^laoris survive out of 700,000 who were there a century ago. Wit-

ness the Hawaiian Islands, where Captain Cook found a quarter of a
niilliou of natives in 177G (he estimated the number at 400,000), and
wliere barel}' 3'), 000 of pure Hawaiian blood, all "Christians," now
survive to tell the tale of the tragical taking- off of their forefathers,
by imported disease, rum and the enforced change of habits under the
new regime of '"civilization." It is not the testimony of history that
" the best survive." The strongest and ablest resist and are killed
off. Those lackiug in vitality, who supinely submit to the inevitable,
are the ones who survive. It was so with the IMaoris, the Ilawaiians,
the American Indians. It is the fate of all peoples on Avliom condi-
tions of life are forced in advance of their functional development.

Does the tragedy of the passing of these peoples bring any ade-
quate compensation to the world? The sociologist and ethical teacher
is compelled to say " no." It brutalizes and debases the conqueror.
It perpetuates des[)otic methods of government. It prolongs the evil
reign of militancy, and so dela3-s all efforts for social, political and
industrial reform. It debases labor and gives rise to class distinc-
tions, and so delays the dawn of human brotherhood. In so far as it
secures the domination of one type of civilization it prevents that
variation of types which is an essential condition to all progress.
When a single race or civilization dominates the world it will ring the
death-knell of the human race.

The Maoris, the Hawaiians, the Filipinos, tiie Cubans, are all
more comi)etent to rule themselves than we are to govern them, judged
by any test that implies their permanent betterment and survival as u
people. We have begun at the wrong end in our efforts to civilize the
world. No savage race ever failed to meet the approaches of a supei'ioi-
people with friendly salutations and receptive minds for all that makes
for their true'' uplifting when they have been ai)proaclied in a just
and humane spirit. Science supplements the assurance of ethics and
religion that the way of peace and brotherly kindness is the only way
to help the weaker races. The path of conquest is gory with the blood
of victors and victims alike, and its method is condemned by the cold,
clear judgment of social science as emphatically as by the Sermon on

the Mount.

Lewis Ci. .Taxes.
Cami5Rti>gk, January 12.


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Online LibraryLewis George JanesThe short way with the Filipinos → online text (page 1 of 1)