I just finished reading “The Revolt of Asia” (1927), a copy of which I had picked up in Europe. It provides an interesting between-the-wars perspective on the receding influence and power of the white man (AKA the fall of Western colonialism) – especially in Asia.
A few things struck me about the book. Firstly, it never ceases to amaze me how quickly the English language changes – even specifically American English. There were a few usages that I know would be considered incorrect by today’s standards – such as “Scotch” for “Scottish”. Perhaps the speedy evolution of Western languages goes hand in hand with a forward-looking philosophy and cultural and technological advancement. But the constantly changing street slang does not support such a hypothesis.
In any event, Mr. Close gives us an intimate view of the precursors to modern “liberalism” which are bringing about the downfall of Western civilization. He repeatedly refers to the United States as a “white nation”. For example (pg. 284):
The destiny of the United States, unknown to most of its present citizens, has from the nation’s embryonic beginnings been determined by Asia. In the future even more than the past, relationship to Asia will mould the history of the leading white nation.
There was no question, in Close’s mind, that America was a “white nation”, nor was there any doubt that it would continue to be a white nation for the indefinite future. Close was, for his time, rather liberal and he urged fair treatment for all the races of mankind. He encouraged the United States to accept as many non-white foreigners as their respective countries accepted Americans. In fleeting references, throughout the book, he makes it clear that he holds racism to be evil – and that Americans are more guilty of it than others. In this spirit, the last few pages are dedicated to this topic.
Here are his words:
Elements in Western Race Prejudice
Since America must be the determining factor in the great crisis it is well to speak in closing of race prejudice. This, rather than political or property disputes, would arouse the public opinion to throw America athwart of Asia’s aspirations. How will we analyze this trait in the white mind? Added to the primitive dread of the stranger: the feeling that “we do not like them because we do not know them and we will not know them because we do not like them,” there seem to be four cultural elements. There is the pride of culture, like that of the ancient Greeks. Our word “barbarian”, from their term for all aliens, still expresses the feeling. There is pride of religion, remnant of the medieval perversion of Christianity which transformed acceptance of the most inclusively loving and humble teacher earth has known, into a ground for arrogance. The tone in which “pagan” and “heathen” are often pronounced, tells the story. There is pride of political efficiency, inherited perhaps from Rome, causing us to despise those unpossessed of organized power. Last to grow, perhaps, is the pride of scientific and mechanical achievement – that which impels a Westerner to identify sanitary plumbing and speedy communication with “civilization.” Does our preeminence in these things justify an attitude of superiority? More pertinent still, is it going to last? What about the rapidly approaching time when Asia demonstrates as much capacity in “culture”, Christianity, nationalism, and mechanical equipment as we? Will we be as much at a loss to justify our attitude of racial superiority when no longer able to maintain it, as was the young educational officer with whom we talked on the train leaving Gandhi?
America has walked boldly into the danger of drawing lines of racial discrimination. The feeling in Japan we know well. The American Consul-general in Calcutta was asked by a high-class Hindu: “I suppose your country bars us out because we are not an independent nation. Once we attain national dignity that stigma will be removed?” Our official thought it as well not to try to explain. Shortly after our contact with this man of splendid physique, bright mind and high character, really of our own race, but “browned by a few millenniums of sun,” I met a weazened, degenerate Semite in Persia. “I’m going to America to become an American citizen!” he boasted. “Can you?” I asked in astonishment. “Why, of course! Persians, you know, are white.”
Back in America, I related the incident to my boyhood schoolmate, clerk of the Immigration Committee of the House of Representatives. He was secretary to the Committee chairman, a man above reproach.
“Never mind,” he assured me humorously. “As long as God and Albert Johnston are watching over this nation it will not be overrun by Persian undesirables. Only one hundred are admitted each year under the quota.”…
We have come to a time when any prolonged attempt of any race or nation or class or sex to dominate another can only bring destruction to both.
It is let live and live.
It is tolerance, or death.
It is easy to see why the edifice of white racial solidarity in America so easily collapsed. If Mr. Close’s perceptions of American “racism” are accurate, then it was built upon a foundation of sand, at least by today’s standards. Perhaps those four pillars of white racial consciousness were good enough back then, but they are not good enough today. Now we must rebuild white racial consciousness – but this time, it must be built upon updated, and firm, foundations. Otherwise, the very tolerance that Mr. Close promoted will bring us death.