新的家园 A New World
-Excerpt of Van Loon's Geography: the Story of the World
亨德里克·威廉·房龙（Hendrik Willem van Loon，1882-1944），荷裔美国作家和历史学家。1911年获得德国慕尼黑大学博士学位。曾先后从事多种职业，并游历过世界很多地方，具有丰富的人生阅历。
Day-dreaming over a map is really a very pleasant and instructive pastime. There lies 1)Rhodesia—a whole world by itself. 2)Cecil Rhodes was a promoter. He made a few people rich. He killed a great many natives. He turned brigand and started a little war of his own and lost. He turned statesman and started a big war and won. There are a great many monuments to murdered women and children which could bear the legend: “C.R. 3)sculpsit.”
A little further northward lies the Congo with its Stanleyville and Leopoldville and the unmarked graves of countless natives tortured to death because they were behind on their rubber quota or slow in bringing in elephant tusks.
The man-hunts with horses and dogs, organized to exterminate the aborigines of Australia and New Zealand are rarely mentioned in the histories devoted to the early years of these distant territories.
Why go on?
I am merely repeating what everybody already knows.
There is very little use in sitting in high judgment upon the Errors of the Past. It is more profitable to collect our thoughts and devise ways and means by which we shall be able to avoid a few of the mistakes of the future. Well, the men and women of the type of 4)Reed and 5)Ross are there to show us the way. Sentimental meditations upon the glories of a problematic Utopia will get us nowhere. To say that since we have spent dozens of centuries “taking away” we must now spent other dozens of centuries “giving” will hardly solve the problem. Charity is as bad as brigandage. Charity is really just as unfair to the recipient as to the donor.
Nor would it benefit the Chinese or the 6)Javanese or the 7)Burmese if we should suddenly pack up all our little railroads and 8)flivvers and flying machines and remove our telephone booths and our filling stations. The machine has come to stay. The natives have adapted their lives to fast means of transportation and communication. They have fallen into the habit of calling on the doctor when the child develops 9)diphtheria rather than send grandmother to the 10)voodoo priest. When they want to visit their friends, they prefer a 11)jitney-bus to a ten-hour walk across a painful track.
And a world accustomed to bank-notes is not going back to the 12)pails of honey and the spoonfuls of salt of the ancient system of barter. For better or worse, this planet of ours has become one large, going 13)concern, and the date over the doorway is 1932, not 932 or 32 B.C.
There is, however, a solution, and the labors of Reed and Ross show us the general direction of the road we shall have to follow. For these two men neither “took” nor “gave”—they “co-operated”. They could never have done what they did without the assistance of thousands of others. Neither did they stamp out 14)malaria and 15)yellow fever for the exclusive benefit of the black man or the white man or the yellow man. Without regard to color or 16)creed they bestowed their blessings upon the whole of humanity. When 17)Goethals dug the Panama Canal, he was not thinking of either the Pacific or the Atlantic alone, nor of America alone, but of the world as a whole. When 18)Marconi invented his wireless, he did not stipulate, “Only Italian ships must be allowed to use the radio in case of disaster.”
You probably see what I am driving at.
No, I am not going to suggest the formation of a new society. That is not necessary. The problem will take care of itself. If it does not, there won’t be any problem in a couple of centuries because there won’t be any people left to worry about it.
We no longer live in a world the future of which we can leave to itself. That policy went out when steam and electricity came in and when 19)Patagonia and 20)Lapland, Boston and Han-kow became neighbors, able to 21)confer with each other in less than two minutes. We are no longer manufacturing goods for ourselves alone. Japan can make our matches cheaper than we can ever hope to do and the Argentine can grow enough wheat to keep the whole of Germany from starving and at much smaller cost. We no longer can offer the Chinese Coolie or the 22)Kaffir one-twentieth of the wages we would pay a white man, because Moscow has a broadcasting station that carries very far and a staff of 23)polyglot announcers who inform the black and the yellow man that he is being cheated out of something that really belongs to him.
We are no longer able to 24)plunder and 25)filch and rob as heartily as our fathers did because our conscience won’t let us or if we ourselves should have happened to be born without that spiritual 26)compass, because the collective conscience of mankind has at last reached the point where it is beginning to get a first flickering suspicion that honesty and common decency are as inevitable in international affairs as they are in those of private citizens.
Thus far we have always lived as if we were a sort of accident—as if our stay on this planet was only a matter of years or at best of centuries. We have behaved with the indecent greed of passengers on a passenger-train who know that they will only have ten minutes for the three-course dinner to be served at the next halting-place.
Gradually we are beginning to realize that we not only have been here quite a long time but that we are going to stay here almost indefinitely. Why the hurry and why the rush? When you move to a town where you expect to spend the rest of your days, you plan for the future. So do your neighbors, the butchers and bakers and the doctors and 27)undertakers. If they didn’t, the whole place would be in such hopeless disorder that it would be uninhabitable in less than a week’s time. When you come to think of it, is there really such a very great difference between the world at large and your own native village? If there is any difference, it is one of quantity rather than quality. And that is all!
You will say that I have wandered all over the place, from 28)Kilimanjaro by way of Dr. Reed and Dr. Ross to planetary-planning for the future.
“But What,” as Alice might have asked, “is the use of a Geography without a little Travelling?”