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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/318

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

Napoleon III concerning the unity of the Latin nations, and the necessity of their closer confederation under the hegemony of France, was, like his Life of Cæsar, an act of historical self-justification, a desperate endeavor to explain his own raison d'être, and thus set up a temporary prop to a rickety and rootless dynasty.

Panslavism may continue, for a time, to please the imagination and to fire the zeal of a people so peculiarly subjected, in many respects, to primitive social conditions and so powerfully swayed by primitive ideas as are the Russians; but Germany has long since outgrown the swaddling-clout of Panteutonism, and no ranting of anti-Semitic agitators and men of that ilk about ur-deutsch and rein-deutsch can permanently affect the public mind or elicit a favorable response in legislative enactments.

There is no cry so foolish or pernicious that it will not find a ringing echo in the empty brain-pan of some fanatic, no whimsey so silly and absurd that it will not be caught up and preached as a new gospel of universal redemption by a few pamphleteering demagogues or ill-balanced apostles of reform. Impecunious owners of poorly furnished and tenantless garrets are only too ready to let them to the first vagrant that knocks at the door, however seedy his appearance and doubtful his repute. Even the anti-Semitic crusade, so far as it has succeeded in getting a hearing and making any headway among sensible persons, has done so by appealing to the liberal spirit of the age and representing itself as a protest against the tribal exclusiveness of Judaism.

The constitution of the aboriginal tribe as a compact body of kinsmen, animated by feelings of hostility toward all other tribes, necessitated the intermarriage of blood-relations. If, on account of scarcity of females, or for any other reason, a man desired to wed a woman of another tribe, instead of wooing her as a friend, he waylaid her as a foe, stunned her with a blow of his war-club, and carried her off as booty rather than beauty to his camp, where she served him henceforth, not so much as his companion and helpmate as his slave and beast of burden.

Even after this tribal exclusiveness and isolation had ceased and a certain amount of amicable intertribal intercourse had grown up, it was still deemed more virtuous or, as we would say, more patriotic for a man to marry his own kin than to take his wife or wives from an alien people. The tribal religion also lent its special sanction to such nuptials. Survivals of this sentiment are found in the ancient customs and in the sacred scriptures and traditions of many nations, especially in the Orient.

Thus, in the Avesta, a marriage of next of kin (quaêtvadatha) is declared to be particularly praiseworthy and well-pleasing to Ahuramazda, the Good Spirit (Visparad, iii, 18). This "kinship-union" is a prominent article of faith in the Mazdayasnian creed