Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/158

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toward modern civilization, the Japanese are in full harmony with the nations of Europe. It is their mission to bring modern civilization to Asia. This they are literally doing in Korea, one of the most interesting experiments in the reclamation of a dying nation undertaken in modern times, comparable to our sanitation of the Canal Zone of Panama. At the same time, the hold of Japan on Korea, like our hold on Panama, rests on the right of arbitrary seizure.

The main justification of the exclusion of Japanese unskilled laborers must be found in the economic conditions on the two sides of the Pacific. It is our theory in America that there should be no permanent class of unskilled laborers, and that it is the duty as well as the right of every man to make the most of himself.

In most other nations, a permanent lowest class which must work for the lowest wages and do the menial service of society is taken for granted. This theory is affirmed in the Chinese proverb, "Big fish eat little fish, little fish eat shrimp: shrimp eat mud." It is no part of our policy that shrimps should remain shrimps forever. Cheap labor is exploitable to the injury of labor of a higher grade. There is then a degree of justice in the contention for the exclusion of the cheapest and most exploitable type of laborers, whatever their race or the country from which they come.

There is also legitimate ground for fear that a wide-open door from Asia would crowd our Pacific coast before the natural population of America has found its way there. Such a condition would add to the economic wealth of the coast at the expense of social and political confusion.

Many honest men fear the advent of large numbers of Japanese as likely to provoke racial troubles similar to those which exist in the south. I do not share this opinion. No race is more readily at home in our civilization than the cultivated Japanese. That the rice-field coolie does not assimilate is because of his crude mentality and his lack of any training, either Japanese or American. This is broadly true, though among these people are many of fine instincts and marked capacity. The condition of mutual help and mutual tolerance in Hawaii shows that men of a dozen races can get along together if they try to do so. The problem of the south is the problem of slavery; the problem of the half white, the man with the diverging instincts of two races, this status changed in an instant, by force, from the position of a chattel to that of a citizen. It is the problem of the half-white man given political equality when social equality is as far away as ever. No bar sinister of this sort nor of any other kind separates the European from the Japanese.

Social reasons for exclusion have a certain value. The Japanese are the most lovable of people, which fact makes them the most clan-