even if a number of leading spirits amongst them said: “Yes, we see what is wanting to our civilization, we see that the average man is a danger, we see that our newspapers are a scandal, that bondage to the common and ignoble is our snare; but under the circumstances our civilization could not well have been expected to begin differently.
What you see are beginnings
, they are crude, they are too predominantly material, they omit much, leave much to be desired — but they could not have been otherwise, they have been inevitable, and we will rise above them” ; if the Americans
frankly said this, one would have not a word to bring against it. One would then
insist on no shortcoming, one would accept their admission that the human problem is at present quite insufficiently solved by them, and would press the matter no further.
One would congratulate them on having solved the political problem and the social problem so successfully, and only remark, as I have said already, that in seeing clear and thinking straight on our
political and social questions, we have great need to follow the example they set us on theirs.
But now the Americans
seem, in certain matters, to have agreed, as a people, to deceive themselves, to persuade themselves that they