America and Cosmic Man by Wyndham Lewis

By Wyndham Lewis

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R. These two gigantic nations tower above our famished slums (one of them, para­doxically, itself a slum, almost as ill-fed and ill-clothed as any). For a considerable time to come, these two dominant Powers will, between them, exercise almost complete control over our national life. Consequently what they are is a matter that must invite our anxious attention. , is, as State and as human organism, in this connection bleakly distinct. For Russia much less antagonism is felt in England—partly, of course, because there is no ruble problem as there is a dollar problem.

British citizenship is hard-boiled: pseudo-Roman. You could become, until the start of the late war, a British subject for ten pounds. It was as simple as that. You neither had to be able to read or write, nor to speak the English language particularly well. Just make yourself understood. Like Rome, Great Britain in the past spread its great tolerant wing over all those, ir­respective of color, creed, or tongue, who possessed forty bucks and a clean collar. In its abstractness, or at all events in its freedom from racial bigotry (for the Englishman, like the American, sets his face against that), British citizenship is analogous to that of the United States.

Party-politics is very generally accepted as the sine qua non of political liberty. In a London Sunday newspaper—to take an example—in the course of an article discussing happenings in Eastern Europe, was the following summing up: "... with all its seamy side, free party politics remains the only effective means yet devised to keep at arm's length and to protect the individual against the omnipotent State. To pre­serve the freedom of parties becomes more, not less, important, the more widely the powers of the State expand in the Socialist age.

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