BARBARIAN OR CIVILIZED?
Some one has defined barbarism as that stage of culture in which people,
still savage in instincts, has come into the enjoyment of an economic abun-
dance proper to civilization. This definition should not be quoted too
often in America, for there are civilized men and women in every county in
the United States. Knowing that they are patriotic and hopeful, we have
no wish to discourage them, and we shall therefore express our reflections
on this theme as far as possible in the language of optimism.
To begin with, it is clear that a people which has become barbaric is
making progress. Savages cannot be transformed into civilized beings
directly or in a generation; nor, so far as we can see, can the amelioration
of instincts and tastes be effected until after that "basis of civilization,"
namely, economic surplus, which Professor Patten tells us about, has been
attained. So far there is nothing in the American situation to justify de-
spondency. Already we have the "basis" and numerous indicationshere
and there assure us that in every part of our national domain the instincts
of savagery are yielding before the benign influences of affluence.
For example, your true savage, so far as our ethnological information
goes, never has his nails manicured. In America, manicuring may, with-
out exaggeration, be described as "attained." For a people that has not yet
learned how to take care of its own nails as a part of the morning toilet, this
is plainly a step in advance, and that it is the disposition of our well-to-do
classes to encourage the manicure habit may be seen on any of our well
equipped Pullman trains. The observing traveler has been annoyed, per-
haps, by the loud language of an expensively attired lady across the aisle.
Presently, however, she presses a button; the colored maid appears, re-
ceives an order and quickly reappears with a table. Then bowls, warm
water, scissors and files are carefully placed in position and operations be-
gin. Of the educational value of this public example there can be, we
think, no doubt.
The savage as a rule will not take the trouble to separate scalps, more or
less gory, from appropriated hair with which he adorns his person. Ameri-
cans are more particular. As a general thing they discard the scalps and
make use only of the hair, which is deftly twisted in with their own. This