Israel Zangwill (1): Global melting pot?

For even if America — humanity's last hope — is narrowing into Americanism, America is, after all, a very large place — a Roman Empire in itself, in fact; and "the culmination of modern history," so far from lying in every petty swashbuckling race setting up for itself, is seen to consist in their fusion. A few such leviathans and we may easily fasten them with a hook. The coming Indian Nationality will also be the synthesis of a sub-Continent. Nor can the wave of rabid racialism long submerge the real "New Europe," which even in war two groupings suffice almost to cover. For our friend the Law of Contiguous Co-operation is still at its Alexandrine quest. And if the ultimate bounds of Nationality are fixed — as they obviously are — by the limits of Contiguous Co-operation, where are those limits to-day? Immensely enlarged by the same factors that have shrunk the planet — Steam and Electricity. Without Steam and Electricity to link America, it would have been by now a Europe, the separate States turned into Nations; with Steam and Electricity no racial rancour can ultimately prevent an America arising in Europe, with our Nations for States. The very disorder of the world to-day is a proof of the world-order that has been broken. With a world-post, Esperanto, and some two hundred international associations, civilisation was fast developing a nervous system. When I go to Barcelona and ride in a penny tram and to Venice and ride in a penny steam-boat, I feel that the pre-national period has returned, if by an ugly route, and, with lower links than cathedrals and universities. The demands for a Peace-League of the Powers are less a desire for an ovine or bovine tranquillity than a recognition that war between any of them is civil war. The very Manifesto of the Allies proclaiming "the principle of Nationalities" proclaims equally the contradictory principle of a World-League — contradictory because with the removal of Danger the essential nerve of Nationality must be dulled and its bristles moulted. For full-flavoured Nationality the price is War.

SOURCE: Zangwill, Israel. The Principle of Nationalities (New York: The Macmillan company, 1917), pp. 94-96. (Conway Memorial Lecture Delivered at South Place Institute, on March 8th, 1917.) [Boldface mine—RD]

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