On Arbour Day, Pearl Arbour Day, at 12 o’clock noon I retired from the capital of the old Roman Empire to Rapallo to seek wisdom from the ancients.
I wanted to figure things out. I had a perfectly good alibi, if I wanted to play things safe. I was and am officially occupied with a new translation of the Ta S’eu of Confucius. I have in Rapallo the text of Confucius, and of Mencius, the text of the world’s finest anthology, namely that which Confucius compiled from earlier authors, and I have in reach the text of a book which bears on its front page the title Li Ki (which the head of the Chinese Department in our Congressional Library tells me proper minded Chi Sinologues now think is pronounced Lee Gee). And I have six volumes of the late Dr. Morrison’s Dictionary, not the most up to date dictionary of Chinese Ideograms, but nevertheless good enough.
That is, I have WORK thaaar for some years, if I don’t die before I git to the middle.
The Odes are to me very difficult. They are of extreme beauty. Thousands of poets have looked at those odes and despaired. There are points at which some simple ideogram (that is, Chinese picture word) is so used as to be eternal, insofar as our human sense of eternity can reach. There is one of the sunrise that I despair of ever getting translated.
There was to face this, the SITUATION. That is to say the United States had been for months ILLEGALLY at war, through what I considered to be the criminal acts of a President whose mental condition was NOT, as far as I could see, all that could or should be desired of a man in so responsible a position or office.
He had, so far as evidence available to me showed, broken his promises to the electorate; he had to my mind violated his oath of office. He had to my mind violated the oath of allegiance to the United States Constitution which even the ordinary American citizen is expected to take every time he gets a new passport.
It was obviously a mere question of hours, between that day and hour, and the time when the United States of America would be legally at war with the Axis.
I spent a month tryin’ to figure things out, well did I, perhaps I concluded sooner. At any rate I had a month clear to make up my mind about some things. I had Confucius and Mencius, both of whom had been up against similar problems. Both of whom had seen empires fallin’. Both of whom had seen deeper into the causes of human confusion than most men even think of lookin’.
Then there was my old dad in bed with a broken hip; Lord knows who is going to mend it or whether it will mend. So—I read him a few pages of Aristotle in the Loeb Classical Library, English version, to take his mind off it. Also to keep my own work in progress.
Because for some time I have had in mind the need of comparing the terminology of Chinese and Greek philosophy, and also comparing that with the terminology of mediaevil Catholic theology.
No. For a man cut off from all his NORMAL contacts with the non-European world, I can’t say I was destitute—mentally—there was plenty lyin’ there for me to be busy about, if I had wanted to “contract OUT.” If I had wanted to go into a funk hole, I had a nice sizeable funk hole. About as good as an endowed professorship in one of our otiose or veiled, shall we say veiled universities, or even Oxford or Cambridge. Plenty of muckers down there settin’ pretty, and drawin’ 5000 dollars or ten thousand a year for not tellin’. I reckon it is Mencius who thought that “the true sage seeks not repose.”
It is not a claustral motto. I began figurin’ out that a COMPLETE severance of communication between the calm and sentient men is not to be desired.
I have before now pointed out that England was CUT off from the current of European thought during and BY the Napoleonic Wars, and that she never got ketched up again, not during all the damned nasty and 19th century. Always laggin’ behind. Perhaps she allus WAS laggin’ behind. I have pointed out the difference of up-to-dateness between Voltaire and Mr. Samuel Johnson.
At any rate it is NO GOOD.
The United States has been MISinformed. The United States has been led down the garden path, and may be down under the daisies. All thru shuttin’ out news.
There is no end to the amount of shuttin’ out news that the sons of Blood who started this war, and wanted this war, and monkeyed round to git a war started and monkeyed round to keep the war goin’, and spreadin’. There is NO end to the shuttin’ out and perversions of news that these blighters ain’t up to, and that they haven’t, and aren’t still trying to com pass. Whatever happens it is NOT going to do the United States any good to be as cut off from all news, and all NEWS of CONTEMPORARY thought like the damn fools and utterly decadent Britons have got themselves cut off from.
As you can HEAR from the British Blurb Corporation any Monday and Tuesday evening, and any Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening that you choose to listen in to their phenomenal hogwash.
That’s where they’ve got to. And for their bein’ there neither I nor any man I shake hands with, is to blame in any way whatsoever. Every English friend I got in the world, has done his damnest to keep England from makin’ such a thunderin’ and abysmal ass of herself.
As for my American friends, Senator Borah is dead, not that I knew him much save by letter; but I can still feel his hand on my shoulder as just before he was getting into an elevator in the Senate building, and I can still hear him sayin’:
“Well, I’m sure I don’t know what a man like you would find to DO here.”
That was a few days sooner, mebbe the first time I met him. Neither he, nor William J. Bryan lived to hear Senator Wallace tellin’ the world there would be no peace till the nations of the world knocked under and bowed down to the GOLD standard. Bowed down like drunken and abject fools and said, let gold rule humanity, let all human exchange of goods be bottle necked and ask permission from a few bloodthirsty kikes who OWN gold. Bow down and say monopoly is God over all men; and this from a man, said to be, or to HAVE BEEN, interested in farmers, and farmer’s welfare. This after all the lies from the London gold ring, this after 20 years of evasion, this in fact after 20 years’ attempt to conceal from the English people that they were being asked to go out and DIE for gold, for the monopoly of the owners and brokers; owners of gold mines, brokers, and owners of gold.
Back in December I had never expected such a confession from anyone as high in office.
Yaaas, I knew that was what the war was about: gold, usury and monopoly. I had said as much when I was last in America. I had then said: IF a war is pushed onto us. So now we have got pushed out of Guam, and Wake, and I suppose out of the Philippines, and a 30 years war is in process ? Is it ? Is a 30 years war what the American citizen thinks will do most good to the United States of America ?
Or has someone been MiSinformed ? and IF so, who misinformed him ? Accordin’ to the reports of the American press now available to the aver age European, someone in charge of American destiny miscalculated somethin’ or other.
An “inquiry” is in progress, at least as they print here. It bein’ my private belief that I could have avoided a war with Japan, if anybody had had the unlikely idea of sending me out there, with any sort of official powers.
The Japanese have a past. Of course when I talk to ’em now, they are apt to remind me that they have ALSO a presertt.
They have not mentioned the future in our conversations.
The last American journalist I saw, and that was the night before Arbour Day, told me the Japs would never etc., etc.
A nation evolves by process of history. Japan to me consists in part of what I learned from a sort of half trunk full of the late Ernest Fenollosa’s papers. Anybody who has read the plays entitled Kumasaka and Kagekiyo, would have AVOIDED the sort of bilge printed in Time and the American press, and the sort of fetid imbecility I heard a few nights ago from the British Broadcasting Company.
There are certain depths of ignorance that can be fatal to a man or a nation. When these are conjoined with malice and baseness of spirit, it seems almost useless to mention them.
A BBC commentator somewhere about January 8 was telling his presumably music hall audience that the Japs were jackals, and that they had just recently, I think he said, within living men’s lifetime, emerged from barbarism. I don’t know what patriotic end you think, or he thinks, or the British authorities think (if that is the verb), is served by such fetid ignorance.
A glance at Japanese sword guards, a glance at Jimmy Whistler’s remarks about Hokusai, or, as I indicated a minute ago, a familiarity with the Awoi no Uye, Kumasaka, Nishikigi, or Funa-Benkei. These are Japanese classical plays, and would convince any man with more sense than a pea hen, of the degree of Japanese civilization; let alone what they conserved when China was, as Fenollosa tells us, incapable of preserving her own cultural heritage.
China lettin’ Confucius go OUT of the schools, for example.
And you needn’t sniff, the Bostonians kulturbund needn’t sniff and say the British Broadcasting Company, the Bloody Boobs Corporation, is over in vulgar London, such things couldn’t happen in Boston.
Almost equal imbecility was attained by Time weekly magazine in November of 1941.
Someone had apparently blundered, as Lord Tennyson wrote of the charge at Balaclava. And blundered, we think, considerably worse. Waaal now who blundered. A commission has been appointed—possibly to white wash who blundered. I don’t know that it is in the citizen’s duty to white wash who blundered.
I think the United States and even her British Allies might do well to keep more in touch with continental opinion.
I don’t think anybody is going to whitewash who blundered into the alliance with Russia.
I think there are some crimes that nothing will whitewash.
I don’t think an alliance with Stalin’s Russia is lucky. I don’t think the crime of even going thru the motions of invitin’ Russia into slaughter and kill all eastern Europe is a NECESSARY part of the program; program of defense, program of offense. I don’t think this horror was NECESSARY.
I don’t think it is the function, even of the Commander-in-Chief of the United States American Army, to dictate the citizens’ politics;
NOT to the point of invitin’ Bolshevik Russia to kill off the whole east half of Europe!
I don’t think it is a lucky move. EVEN if Eden hopes to doublecross Russia, which nothing indicates that he does hope.
The day Hitler went into Russia, England had her chance to pull out. She had her chance to say, let bygones be bygones. If you can stop the Moscovite horror, we will let bygones be bygones. We will try to see at least HALF of your argument.
Instead of which Hank Wallace comes out—no peace till the world accepts the gold standard.
Quem Deus vult perdere.
Does look like there was a weakness of mind in some quarters. Whom God would destroy, he first sends to the bug house.