America and Cosmic Man by Wyndham Lewis

By Wyndham Lewis

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Example text

He has, in fact, all the disadvantages of being "great" and none of the blessings of second-rateness. Then the white man's burden has not grown any lighter, but the white man has not as of yore a beefsteak under his belt. He becomes a poor white— with a burden, which is the remnants of an empire. To turn now more specifically to the United States, it is unfortunate that Britain in its distressed condition—with its huge population and diminished power to make provision for it—should be so exclusively dependent upon a nation with which it has so many incompatibilities, and which it finds so difficult to understand.

But by no one, native or foreign, is the United States taken otherwise than very seriously today. Very few see beyond its power, wealth, youth, and size. However, it con­ceals strange vistas beneath the outward trappings of twentieth- century power. In political interest it outstrips Russia (which it resembles), more especially in political possibilities. Admit­tedly it is in a crude and raw-material stage. Even it struggles violently against its destiny—seeks to evade the logic of fact, racial and other.

So it does not merely hand you something like a luggage label, but, rather, an authentic soul. Naturally, if you have got a soul already, you do not need this. But if you come from somewhere where you haven't been able to call your soul your own, it must be enormously welcome. John Bull's problem has been a very different one, neces­sarily, from that of Uncle Sam. People never crowded into England as they did into the States. You cannot make yourself an Englishman really by signing a paper. " It is legally and contractually the same thing: but I am speaking realistically.

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