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Problems of Humanity - Chapter IV - The Problem of the Racial Minorities
At the very outset of our discussion, it would be wise to remember that the entire problem we are considering can be traced back to the outstanding human weakness, the great sin or heresy of separateness. There is surely no greater sin than this; it is responsible for the entire range of human evil. It sets an individual against his brother; it makes him consider his selfish, personal interests as of paramount importance; it leads inevitably to crime and cruelty; it constitutes the greatest hindrance to happiness in the world, for it sets man against man, group against group, class against class and nation against nation. It engenders a destructive sense of superiority and leads to the pernicious doctrine of superior and inferior nations and races; it produces economic selfishness and leads to the economic exploitation of human beings, to trade barriers, to the condition of have and have not, to territorial possessiveness and to the extremes of poverty and riches; it sets an important emphasis upon material acquisitiveness, upon boundaries, and the dangerous doctrine of national sovereignty and its various selfish implications; it breeds distrust between peoples and hatred throughout the entire world and has led since time began to cruel and destructive wars. It has today brought the entire planetary population to its present dire and dreadful condition so that men everywhere are beginning to realize that unless something is fundamentally changed, mankind is practically [88] already destroyed. But who will engineer the needed change and where is the leadership which will bring it about? It is a state of affairs which mankind itself must face as a whole; and by meeting and facing this basic expression of universal wrongdoing, humanity can bring about the needed change and is offered a new opportunity for right action, leading to right human relations.

From the angle of our subject, the problem of the minorities, this sense of separateness (with its many far-reaching effects) falls into two major categories; these are so closely related that it is well-nigh impossible to consider them apart.

First, there is the spirit of nationalism with its sense of sovereignty and its selfish desires and aspirations. This, in its worst aspect, sets one nation against another, fosters a sense of national superiority and leads the citizens of a nation to regard themselves and their institutions as superior to those of another nation; it cultivates pride of race, of history, of possessions and of cultural progress and breeds an arrogance, a boastfulness and a contempt of other civilizations and cultures which is evil and degenerating; it engenders also a willingness to sacrifice other people's interests to one's own and a basic failure to admit that "God hath made all men equal". This type of nationalism is universal and everywhere to be found and no nation is free from it; it indicates a blindness, a cruelty and a lack of proportion for which mankind is already paying a terrible price and which will bring humanity down in ruins if persisted in.

There is, needless to say, an ideal nationalism which is the reverse of all this; it exists as yet only in the minds of an enlightened few in every nation, but it is not yet an effective and constructive aspect of any nation anywhere; it remains still a dream, a hope and, let us [89] believe, a fixed intention. This type of nationalism rightly fosters its individual civilization but as a national contribution to the general good of the comity of nations and not as a means of self-glorification; it defends its constitution, its lands and its people through the rectitude of its living expression, the beauty of its mode of life and the selflessness of its attitudes; it does not infringe, for any reason, the rights of other people or nations. It aims to improve and perfect its own mode of life so that all in the world may benefit. It is a living, vital, spiritual organism and not a selfish, material organization.

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