Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/657

This page has been validated.
639
LINGERING BARBARISM.

Is it a matter for surprise, then, that Jewish persecution has found a foothold in the universities, among boys at their studies; that this German youth hurrahs for Treitschke, that Slavonic sprout, with his exclusive German utterances; or that their trainers in classics need to be reminded of good morals by paying them in the same coin they use to enlighten the babes and sucklings committed to their care?

Why should these boy-pupils, these buff-jerkined and jack-booted swaggerers, ingrained and inwrought in their very baby natures with the notion of distinction in ranks, not fall upon the "old-clo' peddler fellows," and all the more savagely because these dare to aim at becoming their rivals? How can one expect them to be just to descendants of an alien race, when it has been preached and crammed into them, from their breech-clout days, that the world's weal depends on their race alone; that their seed alone is called to lordship; and that all other nations in their rottenness are intended for nothing else but for service as their subjects and self-sacrifice to their mastery?

The root of the matter lies very much deeper. The world of antiquity, on which the education of our youth has been nourished since the middle ages, and is fed now, was founded on the institution of slavery; its whole existence would be as inconceivable apart from slavery as would be the aboriginal German world without woman's servile labor for her lazy lord and husband. The ancient German Tacitus drew was a hunter and fighter, stretched at odd times on his bear-skin, guzzling and gambling, while his Thusneldas and serfs did all the work for him, tilling the ground and sweating for his food. That was the German civilization which our students chant in their songs; and its traces are the tattoo-scars across their faces, of which they are so proud, though these are mere proofs of clumsiness, not signs of dangers met.

All the cultivation of the middle ages rested on so-called classical studies, which are bound up in the closest relations with barbarous and violent use of power. The Spanish mock stateliness of mediƦval scholasticism is indivisible from the savagery of mediƦval university life, and we have accepted it in these modern days along with the rest of our inheritance, and find it cherished and protected in our universities by the powers that be.

Our age strives and struggles for the recognition of the exact sciences which have thoroughly penetrated our life, as opposed to those systems of so called humanist education handed down to us from the middle ages. Unresting, unfaltering, exact science presses forward with its methods and results. It feeds and clothes us, multiplies our means of intercourse, controls our whole political and domestic economy, masters our thought and our feeling, and daily wins us new fruits of good in the struggle for existence. It knows no distinctions of peoples, castes, and nations; no qualification of territory or geographical restriction. There is no such thing as German steam-power,