The law of mutual aid is at the basis of all the larger international organizations now in process of evolution. Nations and races are drifting into a condition of dependence in which they are mutually beneficial, and of course that means that in the end none can survive unless they are of benefit to mankind in general. Each is already surrendering some of its independence, making some sacrifice, and rendering some aid in return for aid rendered to enable it to survive.
The independence of the weak is a pure myth. Only those are independent who can sustain themselves. Cuba is not independent - never was and never will be. The independence of the Hawaiian Islands was a myth. They would have been part of the British Empire but for the protest of the United States many years ago when they were seized by the British, and they have been American outposts ever since, wholly dependent upon the United States for political existence. They were buffers between us and harm. Their change of status to a political territory of the United States has not changed then real condition in the least.
The relationships of races are pure commensalism. England gets enormous benefits from India or she would leave, as she has utterly failed to colonize there. The Dutch nation is benefited in some way in Java, although Dutchmen never survive there as colonists. Indeed, no two races can live together except by commensalism. The Indian and the Malay are also benefited. Destroy the partnership and both suffer. Likewise, our occupation of the Philippines must be commensalism, mutually beneficial to both Filipino and to our home people, even if many of us die in the work. If it is no benefit we will evacuate, because national altruism does not yet exist. Cuba is beneficial to us. Wiping out of yellow fever alone increased our saturation point, and has saved us hundreds of millions of treasure and thousands of lives. Our alleged altruism in Cuba was politics - playing to the galleries - for it is a commensal organism, and will play that part whether as a separate dependent government or a territory of the United States.
If Irishmen had been less efficient fighters and less liberty loving, they would not have been fighting each other, and would have been welded into a mass which Englishmen could not have conquered piecemeal. The course of events is really making them an integral part of the great English nation, gradually welding them into the great mass. Irishmen must learn that they are at last in a commensal relationship, as necessary to Englishmen as Englishmen are necessary to them - a union such as there is now in the other islands between descendants of ancient Britons, Angles, Saxons, Danes and Norman French. Mr. Sidney Brooks' letter in Harper's Weekly (April 18, 1903), gives a fine description of the recent attempts at amalgamation of the English and Irish peoples. He even speaks of the New Anglicized Ireland.
Numerous writers have dilated upon the excellence of the Dutch civilization in the East Indies - an exception to the universal failures of Dutch colonies all over the world - that is, not failures to colonize, but failures to so conduct their government that it remained healthy and a part of the home government. We have been accustomed to hear of the Dutch East Indies as a sort of Elysium. The fact is that the Dutch are failing in the Indies because they are violating the law of commensalism by demanding more than they give They have revolutions and insurrections constantly on their hands - indeed, one lasted thirty years - and the people, including not only European residents, but the half-caste, recently demanded annexation to the United States, Germany or England, to escape the burdens laid upon them by the Dutch.
In the North American Review (1903), Mr. Hugh Clifford drew a very instructive parallel between two rival systems of governing Malays The Dutch have looked upon their East Indies as sources of revenue solely; have ruled with the idea of increasing that revenue, and have forced the natives to labor or starve. The British have invariably looked to the mutual interests of rulers and ruled. There is no forced labor, and all taxes are spent on the colony.
The fate which has overwhelmed the Spanish dominions was no doubt partly due to their neglect of the law of mutual aid. All Spanish colonies were exploited for the sole benefit of the mother country, and the natives were neglected. They thus killed the goose which laid the golden egg. Anglo-Saxons, on the other hand, feed, protect and develop the laying capacity of the goose. The prosperity of the natives of the dependencies have increased the home prosperity. If she had followed Spanish methods in India, England would have been forced out long ago. She is in Egypt and Malta to-day, and making them prosperous on commensal lines, where the French failed because they exploited the native and did not know the value of commensalism.
For one brief period the English government adopted Spanish selfish methods, when the crazy Georges were on the throne, and they have regretted it ever since. The Spaniards in the Philippines neglected the law to such an extent that the natives are suspicious of every proposition submitted to them. Their universal experience in individual bargains has been that they have been cheated, and they cannot understand as yet that anything can be designed for their benefit. The only ones who really had the good of the natives at heart were the Friars, who have accomplished about all the good done in the Islands, and that is really greater than in any other Malay country, except where the English have adopted the law of commensalism in the Malay peninsula - the Straits settlements. It is also a sign of the trend of events that independent Malay States have noticed the immense commensal benefits of British protection, and one by one are coming into the Empire and getting British brains to manage affairs. In the Straits settlements such arrangements, with an Englishman at the head of every department of government, bring almost instant prosperity - life and property are safe; railroads and highways are built; taxes are honestly collected, and less of them are needed, and in every way there is created a modern high-grade government which would put our cities to shame. Indeed, where the British control lower races, there is infinitely better government than the disgraceful specimens of American graft at home.
The commensal relations of Canada and the United States are fully explained in an article by Mr. Charlton in The Outlook (1903). He shows why we are so absolutely dependent upon each other, and that reciprocity is a necessity. In another article by W. T. Hathaway, in the London Contemporary Review, "it is shown how the commerce between the two has increased in spite of all taxes and restrictions. He refers to the prodigious investments of American capital in Canadian coal, iron, oil, lumber and tobacco, and railroads, Americans already controlling the Canada Atlantic Railroad, and attempting to buy the Intercolonial, Grand Trunk and Canadian Pacific Railroad.
The same story is told of Mexico which now has many hundreds of millions of American money invested in her development. She buys fifty-eight per cent, of her goods from us, and ships to us eighty per cent, of what she sells. She now has American iron and steel works, sugar refineries, packing houses, ice plants, tanneries, water works, electric works, street car systems, and a host of other things besides American mines and farms. It is increasing in prosperity at a prodigious rate, and is already dependent upon us. A stable government is necessary, and if no dictator equal to Diaz will arise to succeed him on his death, we will see all these millions of property lost, population decrease, and ruin come as in Hayti.
There is not the slightest doubt that South America and the United States are mutually dependent upon each other - real commensal organisms. Each will suffer if the other decays. We must help them survive or we will not be as vigorous as we should. Should we refuse to do this duty to a weaker neighbor, some European nation will do it in time for her own advantage. The German Empire is embarked on an expansionist policy of this sort.*