The Rise of the Far West


SEEN from this angle, history offers possibilities far beyond the ambitions of all previous research, which has contented itself in the main with arranging the facts of the past so far as these were known . . . the possibilities, namely, of overpassing the present as a research limit, and predetermining the spiritual form, duration, rhythm, meaning, and product of the still unaccomplished stages of our western history; and reconstructing long-vanished and unknown epochs, even whole cultures of the past, by means of morphological connections.— SPENGLER, The Decline of the West

All readers of the Republic are struck by those passages in the sixth book where Plato ceases to speak as a Greek and becomes a Messianic prophet. In them, preëminently, the universality of his genius becomes apparent. He transcends the very culture of which he was the grand and final summarist, and dreams a culture that is to be, when the One Man, the King’s Son, the Philosopher, will lay the foundations of the City of Righteousness upon earth, and persuade the multitude to dwell in it. In much the same fashion, the universality of Saint Augustine’s genius becomes apparent, in his vision of a world of will which was never realizable in his own ‘ Magian ’ culture, but which came to be in the soul of the Western ‘Faustian’ man, born half a millennium after the eyes of the Bishop of Hippo closed forever.

Goethe also had his instant of clairvoyance: the instant in which he ceased to be merely the final symbolic spokesman of his culture, and became the prophet of a child-soul wherein was radically contradicted all that his own soul knew. To the contemporary European, the solution of the problem of Faust seems terribly tame and unconvincing. Goethe’s hero, his figure of Western man, it will be recalled, sets himself at long last to the redemption of a tract of seashore from the sea. Blind and old, he loses at length his wager, and implores the passing moment to abide: —

A marish skirts the mount, whose smell
Infecteth all the land retrieved.
To drain the festering sump as well!
That were at last the best-achieved.
I open room for millions there, a dwelling
Not idly sure, but to free toil compelling;
Green fields and fruitful, men and herds at home
Upon the earth new-wrested from the foam;
Straight-settled on the hill-strength, piled on
By swarming tribes’ intrepid industry.
Within, a paradise, howe’er so grim
The flood without may bluster to the brim.
And as it nibbles to shoot in amain
Flock one and all to fill the breach again
My will from this design not swerveth,
The last resolve of human wit,
For liberty, as life, alone deserveth
He daily that must conquer it.
Thus childhood, manhood, and grey old age here,
With peril girt, shall spend their strenuous year.
Fain would I see such glad turmoil,
With a free people stand on a free soil.
To such a moment past me fleeing,
Tarry, I’d cry, thou art so fair!

Nützliche Tätigkeit, useful activity, was the lesson Faust had to learn. If the European finds it tame and disappointing, the American, the Far Western man, is inclined to ask whether it was really necessary for Faust to resort to black magic in order to learn what seems to him the most transparent of life’s facts. He conceives himself, before all else, as a doer, and of things which he measures always by their usefulness. With him, an idea only has meaning when ‘something must be done about it.’ When nothing can be done about it, the idea fades into unreality and unimportance. ‘Actions,’ he insists, ‘speak louder than words,’ and means that useful activities are the chief symbols by which his being finds expression.

‘How do you react to this proposition?’ ‘My reaction is so and so.’ These are no mere vulgarizations of a laboratory term. They are meaningful symbols of the Far Western soul. Thought itself is a sort of action. When it is not, it is worthless. Those in charge of American education are more concerned over the control of ‘activities’ than they are over the imparting of erudition. A student who is not interested in activities is at best an eccentric, at worst a disgrace.

Behaviorism is a plaything of the schools in Europe. In America alone it has meaning, is a crude attempt to rationalize a deep, inner sense that will and consciousness, with all the intellectual faculties of the old psychology, are an immoral explanation of life. Life is a series of disjunct doings, behavior particles, in automatic response to a demand from without, not from within. The existence of this demand from without must be posited, for the activity must, somehow or other, be useful. If one acted upon an internal stimulus, a will, or a rational purpose, his action might be useless. One raises an umbrella because it is raining. Lo! his action is useful, and the rain is kept off. If he raised it because he willed it, or because he thought it best, or because he was inspired, his action might be useless, since the rain might not be falling at all.

Another crude rationalization of the same American trait was pragmatism — the die, so to speak, of which behaviorism is the coin. Pragmatism would test philosophical and logical behavior by its results. Pragmatism did not go far enough, since it only offered a test, by activity, of something — pure contemplative thought — which must have had an inner impulse, and which, apart from any tangible, useful activities it produced, might have satisfied an inner need, useless and luxurious.

The American feels that life itself is dependent upon useful activity. A will to live means little to him. Generally only moribund persons are said to possess it, as if it were a magic talisman, picturesque, but not likely to work. A person is full of ‘vitality’ when he is constantly in action, always doing something. There is, further, the belief, among Americans, that when a man’s work is done he dies. Saint Benedict taught that idleness is the enemy of the soul, but the Far Western man believes it to be the enemy of life in the flesh. As for a future life conceived as one of rest in God, or, more vulgarly, sitting around and playing harps, it is meaningless and abhorrent to the American. When Saint Theresa of Lisieux said that she would spend her eternity doing good upon earth, she won a permanent place in the American martyrology.


Enough has been said to illustrate the hypothesis that in America the vision of Goethe is realized, that the Far Western culture is a new thing and in it useful activity holds the same dominant place that the will held in Western Europe, or the spirit in the Magian soul, or the body in the culture of Hellas. It will be worth while, however, to make a parallel study of the attitudes of these four ‘souls’ in their three most significant modes of expression — politics, religion, art.

The Greek city-state was conceived corporeally. It was a natural embodiment which had laws of life identical with those of the individual. The Republic, it has been well pointed out, is not a dubiously tenable argument by analogy — the analogy, as we should say, between the organic life of an individual and a group. A substantial identity of state and individual is what Plato meant to imply by his illustration of the large and small letters. The corporeal notion of the state in Plato is strengthened by his description of its decay in terms of genealogical descent. The best state begets a timocracy, the timocracy begets an oligarchy, and so forth. Aristotle’s ideal size for a state is minuscule. Plato, in the Laws, suggests five thousand inhabitants. The state must be small enough to be seen. If parts of it were invisible, its corporeality would escape observation. Without corporeality, it was nothing.

The Magian state was, of course, the City of God. Men were bound together by a common experience of the breath of God. The Magian nation earned that name not because of a common ancestry, real or putative, but by reason of a common rebirth. Saint Augustine, it will be recalled, comments upon Cicero’s definition of a people. It is not every gathering of men, but one bound by a common sense of right, a consensus juris. To Saint Augustine, perhaps to Cicero as well, that consensus was a mysterious experience of divinity. There could be no common sense of right, said the Bishop of Hippo, unless the state worshiped the one true God.

The European, Faustian, state, as Gierke showed, is nothing but the enlargement of a sense of the group will from the tiny, primitive, German Genossenschaft (fellowship) into the great national communities of the nineteenth century. Rousseau provided the final formula for the European state in his grand conception of the ‘general will.’

The American awareness of the community is sharply distinguished from these. American political thought, in the sense of a conscious analysis and verbal description of inner political experience, is still crude and imitative of European models. When it develops we may be sure that it will follow the lines suggested by the term ‘mob psychology.’ Mob psychology is the behavior of a crowd of persons, especially those features of the behavior of the crowd which distinguish it from the behavior of an individual. Because a human collectivity makes the individuals which compose it act in a different way from that in which any one component individual would act, the American is aware of the existence of a community. McDougall, the Englishman, who can view the Far Western soul with some degree of objectivity, in his studies of what he calls the ‘group mind’ has best suggested the future lines of native American political thought. McDougall proves the reality of the group mind, not by proving its possession of a common will, but by showing that mobs behave differently from those who compose them.

The American sense of liberty is in sharp contrast with the European. The European concedes the individual a complete liberty of action, but aims at an absolute control of the will. The motto of Rabelais’s Abbey of Thelema, ‘Do what you will,’is to the European mind an innocent enough proposition. It does not conjure up a picture of crimes of violence and complete social disorganization. On the contrary, it is chosen as the motto of the most strict of communities, a monastery. Because it is an abbey, Rabelais inwardly feels that a group will is in control of the will of the inmates, so that, whatever they do, it will not be noxious to the community as such. To the American, the command, ‘Do what you will,’ on the contrary, suggests acts in the presence of which no community or culture could exist. It is, therefore, profoundly offensive, and America is right in banning Rabelais.

The common law of England, indeed of Europe, never punishes acts. There can be no punishment without ‘proof’ of a guilty intent. Malice of will alone is liable to punishment. The most amusing fictions have been devised to avoid the absurdities which would result if justice were really administered according to this doctrine. The courts have been compelled to argue in a circle that, in the absence of proof to the contrary, the evidence that a punishable act has been committed will be taken as evidence that the doer had a guilty intent. The fact that a man has stolen goods will be taken as proof that he was malicious when he did so.

This is so much nonsense to the American. All American punishment is designed to prevent the repetition of an illegal act by the same person. The American sees an analogy between the criminal and a mad dog. Reform of the will is impossible, but at least prison walls will prevent the criminal from offending again. Every American deeply approves the principle of the Baumes Laws, which punish not a guilty act, but the fact of repetition. The particular form of the Baumes Laws may be disapproved, or their practicability doubted, but the principle is accepted and will stand permanently in American penal philosophy.

Similar instructive contrasts can be made with respect to the sense of authority in the several cultures. The Greek democracy was in no sense the rule of all, but of a relatively large politeuma, or governing class, conceived as fitted to rule largely by natural endowment. The Guardians of the Platonic Republic must be men of golden natures in the first place, before their education begins. In the Magian world, all authority must bear the evident stamp of divinity. Even the Christian emperors, enunciating strictly civil law, continued to call themselves Divus, divine, knowing that their only title to be legislators was their participation in divinity. In the European culture, all authority depends upon the assumption that the lawgiver is the organ of the general will.

Far Western feelings about authority are only beginning to find expression in external politics. Almost from the beginning, the American imagination has been enthralled by the Presidency, and has never really understood or respected either the representativelegislative function or the judicial. By slow degrees, however, the executive department of the Constitution is gaining a complete practical ascendancy. Americans apotheosize their Presidents because they symbolize authority-in-action. In the latest Presidential election, the American soul realized its long-suppressed dream, and was actually allowed to elevate to the ‘highest office in the nation’ a man whom it thought of as a doer. On the other hand, American legislative bodies have followed the courts into general and publicly expressed obloquy. The Senate of the United States, which is really very much as it has always been, is now openly declared to be ruining the country, standing in the way of those activities of the Executive by which the country lives. He who says, ‘There ought to be a law,’ is a comic figure. The vast number of laws on the statute books is considered disgraceful, and the plea is for fewer laws, fewer and shorter sessions of legislatures, greater discretionary power in the Executive. The Englishman calls the will of his legislative an ‘act,’ and America still uses the term, but without in the least understanding why. To the Far Western soul, nothing is less like an act than a statute of Congress.


When Samuel Morse first made a public trial of the electric telegraph, the message he chose to transmit was, ‘What hath God wrought!’ The ejaculation might very well stand as the symbol of the American consciousness of divinity, of the Far Western apprehension of religion. God as Plato conceived Him, whose copy of the eternal ideas was Nature; Aristotle’s unmoved Mover; the Pentecostal God, whose breath made the prophets speak with tongues; the Holy Wisdom; the Pneuma — these are not the meanings which Godhead has for the American soul.

Set Morse’s message over against the cry of Pope Urban’s audience at Clermont, the cry which set the Crusades in motion and kept them in motion, ‘Deus vult!’ (It is the Will of God!), in order to estimate the gulf which separates American religion from that of Europe. The Crusades, the product of a God of Will, seem to America an utterly useless expenditure of blood and treasure. The will of God and His servants eventuating in such a vain exploit seems like the whim of a destructive child. ‘What hath God wrought!’ An instrument of unlimited usefulness. His activity, eventuating in an electric telegraph, is that aspect of Him which can seize the Far Western imagination and retain hold of it.

Henry Adams, child of an alien race, a family of pure Faustian culture domiciled in an unfriendly environment, with an insight deeper than he himself, perhaps, realized, set a prayer to a dynamo within a prayer to the Virgin. Electricity, as a ‘force,’ seemed to him comparable, in the nineteenth century, to the force of the Mother of God in the thirteenth. The Virgin is still the great symbol of the Faustian soul: a human being bringing forth infinity, by reason of its perfect correspondence to the Will of God. The European Adams realized this. The Virgin, dimly understood, was still to him, a late man of a dying civilization, the ultimate force, the supremely meaningful sign of his being. ‘A curious prayer, Our Lady, is it not?’ he asks, after his address to the dynamo. The Faustian soul is one with him in finding it curious. The dynamo means nothing to Europe. Like all the electrical conveniences it makes possible, like power-driven machinery, like telephone and telegraph, it is simply a ‘labor-saving device’ in Europe. Only the economists pay any attention to these matters. The life of Europe, sluggish and tired as it is, is grateful that labor is saved it, but goes its secular way quite as usual.

Not so America. The cults of automobile and radio have a meaning for Americans which can only be described as religious. Both cults, indeed, are very far removed from useful activity, yet both symbolize it in the highest degree. The automobile is the acme of mechanical, the radio of electrical, efficiency. Behind both of them stand stupendous industrial systems, in which countless individuals are usefully active. Filling stations, open day and night, are the wayside shrines; broadcasting stations the oracles or the diocesan centres of the Far Western religious organization.

The Far Western man cannot always be usefully active, and human laziness is such that even if he could be, he would not. Automobile and radio confer the illusion of useful activity. By the former, one is going somewhere in space; by the latter, one is going somewhere in time. Both provide the movement which is radical in all useful activity. Both, as we have seen, symbolize useful activity in more ways than one. By an attachment to them, as to sacraments, the Far Western man hopes for salvation from the body of this uselessness.

That God may be electricity is a favorite American speculation. That He is lurking in machinery is also a not unusual suspicion. Certainly an electric current, with the manifold useful activities which it engenders, and a smooth-running, efficient machine have something of the marvelous and divine about them. The Far Western imagination has made saints out of all its great prophets of electricity from Franklin to Steinmetz and Edison. Edison, indeed, like Alexander the Great, is already in his lifetime a demigod and something of an oracle. His friend Henry Ford, the prophet of the automobile, enjoys a devotion not much less idolatrous than that offered the Wizard of Menlo Park.

Unlike the cultures of Faust and of the Magi, the Far Western soul will never, probably, tolerate the emergence of a priestly caste. Upon men of whose useful activity there can be no doubt, Americans confer and will continue to confer the respect due to the anointed of God. But Americanism, as Pope Leo XIII noted, respects the active virtues only, and has no use for contemplation. Doctors, whose supposititious restlessness in the pursuit of scientific and healing truth, whose putative twenty-four-hour days devoted to curing the sick and preventing sickness, seem to epitomize useful activity, are all of them invested with a sacerdotal character by the American soul. As Europe has had its anticlericals, so America has its antimedicals, whose shrill protests against medicine only set in bold relief the depth of reverence felt for doctors. The white-coated ‘scientist’ of the advertisements who has discovered this or that, forbids this or that, recommends this or that, always wears a grave, fatherly, essentially sacerdotal mien, and, judging by the frequency of his appearance in the pages of America’s journals, deeply impresses those who read of his doings and sayings.

A priestly aura surrounds bankers as well. Alone among edifices devoted to commerce, banks seem hushed, even when they are noisy. Money and credit are black magic to Americans. The products of an alien culture, they are hothouse growths in the Far West, which has not yet produced a medium of exchange symbolic of its own economic life. Yet from money and credit all useful activities seem to flow, though, of course, the source of useful activity is far deeper than this. The banker inevitably appears to the American as a dealer in big medicine, a magician of the highest order. The American who approaches the desk of a vice president of a bank is somewhat comparable to the European who approaches the confessional. The conversation is marked by a similar nervousness on the part of the layman, a similar grave kindliness in assent or dissent on the part of the priestly executive. One may attack banks and bankers outside their doors and behind their backs. That is anti-clericalism. To attack them to their faces, within the sacred precincts, is sacrilege. The few who have ever done it tremblingly boast of their achievement the rest of their lives. A bank robber is, if public abhorrence be the measure of infamy, the most abandoned of criminals.

Christian ministers enjoy far less sacerdotal reverence than the doctors and bankers. Their enjoyment of it is strictly proportional not to their piety and prayers, not to their influence upon the divine Will, but to their useful activity. If they provide a plenitude of social services and embark on ambitious building schemes, they are conceded to be useful men in their communities and are revered. Such a minister stands on even terms with the doctor and the banker. Among the three there subsists a mutual respect based on fear of each other’s powers.

There is little or no distinction between Protestant minister and Catholic priest. Curiously enough, Father Boyd Barrett has recently suggested that the latter’s influence in America would be increased if he were married. A married man is of necessity a more usefully activeman. Not only would the married priest’s health be better, writes Father Barrett, but ‘there would be a stronger natural incentive for priests to preach well and make a success of their parishes if the comfort and prosperity of their family were dependent upon their so doing. Actually many priests are lazy, and let things drift because they lack natural incentives.’

The Far Western soul will not tolerate a priestly caste, a body of men commanding respect and obedience by reason of a ceremonial initiation into holy mysteries. No ceremony can make a man supreme in respect of useful activity. Nature or nurture may make him so. But no imaginable rite can clothe him with power over the God of the lightning and of the dynamo.

In the classical world, too, the bankers were priests, of the Delphian Apollo, or the Athenian Goddess, or of any of scores of temples which dotted the Hellenic landscape. The doctors were initiates in the cult of the god Æsculapius. As for the old tribal priests, who are more or less homologous to the Christian ministers of America, they were made socially useful by receiving minor political functions.

The question whether ‘Christianity’ will survive in America is rather an idle one. Cultures have always made their own religions. Magian Christianity is only materially the same as that of Western Europe, as Spengler and a host of others have consciously and unconsciously shown. Far Western Christianity is, can be, and will be like no other Christianity of history. It is not inconceivable that Jehovah may take permanent form as the God of the dynamo, whose symbols are the automobile and the radio. He has been a God of pure Spirit, a God of pure Will. He can also be a God of pure Useful Activity. Perhaps the Far Western soul will ultimately throw the whole mass of Christian formulæ into the discard as too stiff with age to be reshaped to its needs, and get on, like the classical, without any formal theology.

Christianity, after all, has meaning and has had meaning not for cultures and collective souls at all, but for a few souls of individuals, who with remarkable spiritual intelligence have shut out the clamor of the world, cut themselves off from their cultural environment, and, in the quiet of their hearts, listened to the still small voice, and directly and immediately apprehended the meaning of Godhead and Christhood. These are the only truly religious men. They have existed, like enclaves, in every culture, and have left little record of themselves, for no tongue could utter, no eye could see, the things that were revealed to them. It is hard to believe that any true Christian could ever be a theologian. It is a strange child who will make a scientific study of his love for his father, and write about it for people to read. The historic Jesus was Himself, it would seem, most certainly one of these religious men. His record is so scanty that there are grounds for doubting whether He ever had an historic existence.


The meaning which every culture gives to life or finds in life receives its first tangible expression in the temples and material implements of religion. In the manufacture of these, the culture creates its style, reveals its habit of growth. By a comparison of early Far Western cultural monuments with those of the Classical, Magian, and Faustian cultures, we shall, perhaps, discern what is the American style.

The Greek temple and the Greek Apollo are profoundly symbolic of corporeality. Architect and sculptor were alike preeminently concerned to give their works supreme visibility, because perception by the senses was essential to a perfect belief on the part of the beholder in the bodily substantiality of what he saw. The means taken was the adoption of simple geometric harmony of proportions. It was not possible to see the Parthenon all at once. But it was possible to see at once the rule of proportions according to which it was constructed. From having seen the rule, one saw, as it were simultaneously, the whole edifice. In the Apollos, too, a few easily recognizable systems of rules of human proportion were used, and one, the canon or measure of Lysippus, was finally adopted, so that the beholder, from seeing the length of the foot, could ‘see’ the whole god.

The Magian art form was preëminently cavernous. There was a minimum of background, and, ultimately, no images at all. In the Pantheon, the Church of the Holy Wisdom, the Mosque, the worshiper was surrounded and shut in by the enveloping pneuma of the deity. All suggestion of the corruption of material nature was painstakingly excluded. Security, a sense of rest in God, were marvelously suggested. Even the basilica was a half-cavern, the apse, with a huge, artistically meaningless hall attached to it for the comfort of the faithful.

The Norman and Gothic temples in Western Europe are the supreme architectural expressions of the Faustian soul. By half-understood, deeply sensed principles of thrust and counterthrust, they contrive to convey concretely the infinite aspirations of the human will. All that suggests limits to that will, such as roof, side walls, apse, is subtly suppressed. The Gothic church in its highest perfection is a universe in little. Infinite distances are brought within compass of the worshiper’s will.

The American building, par excellence, is the skyscraper. It is not, of course, a temple in the sense of a gathering place for worship any more than the Greek temples were. As the latter were meant to embody, incorporate, the city, these Far Western temples (cathedrals) have the primary object of impressing the beholder with the useful activity of those who use them. Why does the skyscraper stand for useful activity? Useful activity is movement with a maximum of direction, a minimum of dispersion. The skyscraper suppresses the dispersive dimensions, length and breadth. The directive dimension, height, alone is emphasized. One can only move up and down in a skyscraper: up to the top, down to the bottom, in a direction as purposively, usefully straight as the elevator shafts in which one travels. There is no opportunity for the aimless wandering which length and breadth afford, or even for going on and on in a horizontal straight line in pursuit of a retreating horizon.

All other American architectural forms are artistically meaningless. Their immense and unintelligible variety is sufficient evidence of this. Their interior arrangements are designed to facilitate whatever useful activity is to be carried on within them. Their exteriors are merely containers of whatever is inside them, save in the unhappily frequent cases where some amateur draftsman has embellished the blue prints of the elevation with a hotchpotch of naïvetés borrowed from alien civilizations. The four-square, unembellished house, a plain box of usefully arranged rooms, is the ideal American building. If anyone doubts that Far Western forms are meaningless, let him ask himself whether every American architect does not begin his work with the floor plans and finish with the elevations. The sole exception is, probably, the architect of the skyscraper. Then let him inquire whether the architects of the Louvre, or of Versailles, or of the Trianon began the same way.

The automobile, as might have been expected, has at length attained to significant form, following in the footsteps of the locomotive. That neither of these has any style among the Europeans is profoundly significant. Yet it is possible that European locomotives and automobiles are more efficient than those of America. In America, these things symbolize the culture; therefore they have style. To ask efficiency of them would be sacrilege. American locomotives and automobiles aim to convey a sense of directed movement, useful activity, by a suppression of all dimensions save that of length. The limit toward which they move is the straight, horizontal line. Probably the demand for ‘straight-eight’ cars is principally due to the excuse thus furnished for a longer and narrower hood. The mechanical superiority of eight over six is nugatory.

Alone among radio receiving sets, that achieved in America has style. It takes the form, where it has form, of a smooth, solid, impassable obstacle, like an oblong block of dark stone placed in the pathway. It is, symbolically, the terminus of the directed waves of radioactivity. In front of it sits the master of the house, controlling by the intelligent manipulation of a single knob which waves he will admit and which exclude. Purely automatic control of the radio, labor-saving as it is, has never, and probably will never, become popular. The man must still seem usefully active to himself, though his activity is limited to turning a round piece of bakelite and understanding the significance of the numbers which appear on the dial before him.


The physiognomist of the Far Western soul must avoid attaching any deep significance to those external aspects of life in America which really mean nothing to the Americans. Among these formally meaningless things are the American political organization; the humane curricula of colleges; the exploitation of European art, music, letters; above all, perhaps, the cities. Spengler has borrowed from the mineralogists the term ‘ pseudomorphosis ’ to cover manifestations of this sort. The Far Western soul, still in its feudal age, has been crushed into the false forms set for it from without by the overripe civilization of Europe, which for two centuries had the financial and political upper hand in the Far Western world.

Since 1776, America has been steadily crusading against the civilization of Western Europe. The Civil War was chiefly meant to extinguish the European ‘gentleman’ of the South. The war of 1917 was rather a war against Europe than a war against Germany, as the aftermath has shown. Hostility of Far Western soldiers to English and French was often more deadly and personal than was their hostility to the invisible Germans. For outcome, European victors and vanquished alike are eliminated from all control over American life, and, indeed, are in a fair way of being controlled by America. The Crusades are not over yet. By the end of this century, however, it is to be assumed that a final, crushing blow will be dealt the decadent civilization of the Old World.

The problem of the free growth of the Far Western culture is profoundly complicated by the fact that another culture, that of Russia, was coming to birth almost simultaneously. Peter the Great was to Russia what Washington, Adams, and Hamilton were to America: the means by which the pseudomorphosis was imposed. Peter forced Western forms upon the Russian genius and attempted to persuade a people in the late tribal stage to adopt the manners of the civilized courts of Paris and Vienna. The false political forms of Russia and America alike have been succeeded respectively by false economic forms. The ‘international bankers of Wall Street’ bear the same relation to America that the Bolsheviki bear to Russia. Both cultures have yet to evolve their characteristic money forms. It is curiously symbolic that John Quincy Adams was the Hamiltonian government’s minister to Russia. Far more deeply symbolic is the present want of any sort of diplomatic relations with Russia. This does not arise through any want of understanding between Wall Street and the Soviets. It is America’s way of expressing hatred not for the Soviets but for the Russian soul, which it now at last deeply realizes is to be its implacable rival throughout the history of the next thousand years.

What is to be America’s future? History does not predict as science does; it foresees. For the living soul of America, now in its childhood, history foresees, as for any living thing, an adolescence, a young manhood, a maturity, an old age, a senility, possibly a death, possibly an ossification analogous to death. The normal life course of a culture is something near a millennium and a half. It is possible to foresee that, if the American soul does not meet a violent end, it will be culturally comparable to the European soul of 1929 in about the year 2700 A.D. — civilized, old, unproductive, like the Athenians to whom Saint Paul spoke, ever anxious to tell or hear some new thing. Modern Europe dwells in the past; its major preoccupation is history. America is young. History, for America, is, in Henry Ford’s classic phrase, ‘bunk.’ America is contemporary with pre-Homeric Hellas, with the Mediterranean world of Diocletian’s day, with Western Europe at the beginning of the Crusades.

In her normal life cycle, America should experience a great politicoeconomic upheaval sometime toward the beginning of the twenty-second century. The feudal lords, hardened into aristocratic castes, should then commence an internecine strife, out of the ruins of which will emerge a number of unified political entities in which the third estate, a body of real city dwellers, men to whom city life and its concerns are second nature, will hold a balance of power. By 2300, America should have perfected her medium of exchange, a money no doubt symbolically related to useful activity, and from then on money will play an increasing part in politics.

At the end of the twenty-sixth century, a revolutionary movement, based on appeals to the city mob, but directed by a genuine American money power, should overthrow the absolutistic, palace-intrigue-ruled states. Imperialism will characterize the twenty-seventh century. There will be an American Alexander-Napoleon. The Far Western soul, very old, having little but the physical strength which money power affords, will proceed to the mechanical extension of her culture over other regions. In the early years of that century, the great conclusive systems, philosophical, theological, scientific, should make their appearance. Nothing will then remain to be done culturally save the formation of a specifically American view of history. Accident may interrupt this normal growth at any point. The whole culture may be violently and prematurely cut off, as was the earlier American culture south of the Rio Grande four hundred years ago. The life of a culture, like that of a man, is not a scientific experiment. It cannot be repeated. Therefore it cannot be predicted.

Regardless of the actual events which will befall the Far Western soul in its secular growth, we may at least be sure that its essential physiognomy, its style, will never change. Infinitely weary of its life formula, useful activity, the Far Western soul will cling doggedly to it until the end, although its last and greatest seer, its Plato, its Saint Augustine, its Goethe, will cry out that not by useful activity, but, let us suppose, by resignation, man may be reconciled to his environment.