21 APRIL 1933, Page 14

Letters to.' the Editor

• [Correspondents are requested to keep their letters as brief as is reasonably possible. The most suitable length is that of one of our " News of the Week" paragraphs.—Ed. THE SPF.c.rxroa..]


[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR.] Silk—Every form of activity by means of which human, beings earn a living has two aspects : one interesting primarily those who engage in the activity in question and those who consume the product or service which constitutes the direct justification of the-activities engaged in. This aspect of any activity constitutes its economic side : according as the activity is well or ill performed, the benefits to the producers and consumers will be great or small. But there is another side to the situation : every activity contributes to the texture of human life, makes, in other words, its specific contribution to civilization as a whole. In certain cases, at least, the cultural aspect is more important than the economic : Literature, Science, Medicine, Law, Philosophy are activities by which men gain a living, it's true, but the ends which these activities subserve are wider than this : they are the means by which men lift themselves above the trivial and the sordid, and escape into a world of values, the worth of which cannot be assessed in terms of money and which are not amenable to the categories of political science or ethnology. The number of men who are both willing and able to devote them- selves to such pursuits is limited : the contribution which such men may make cannot be assessed either in terms of their racial origin or their place of domicile. What is lost if such contributions are not made is much more than the loss accruing to those whose creature impulses are inhibited or to those who are directly prevented from enjoying what they otherwise would have gained in the way of additional health or additional enjoyment. The whole fabric and texture of civilization is impoverished : the whole realm of ideal values is degraded when the claims of humanity to receive the con- tribution which any man or race can make are disregarded in the interests of a particular territorial group or a particular ethnographical assembly.

But, though the great bulk of economic activities cannot claim to contribute to these highest cultural values to the same direct extent, yet a business or business in general also makes its contribution to the material side of civilization. A business, moreover, is not a mere assemblage of human raw material and of mechanical forces : it is the embodiment of skill and of personality. If, in any sphere of economic activity, one business is more successful than another, it is because, given equal conditions, the successful business is conducted by those more fit, under conditions of time and place, to bring it to fruition. To prevent the flow of a certain kind of ability into business of a certain type, on the ground that this kind of ability is more likely to succeed, is thus to act in a manner directly contrary to the dictates of economy and common sense. The result must be the material impoverishment of mankind : as in the former case the result must be the spiritual impoverishment of mankind.

It is from this point of view, Sir, that I hope Englishmen will mainly judge the present anti-Semitic policy of the German Government. No professional man can be insensible to the tragedy of the explusion of the Jews from the learned professions of Germany : there is a lack of decent feeling in this procedure which cuts deep into the heart, which no apologies can excuse and no sophistries gloss over. But personal tragedies apart, there is a universal aspect of this policy which gives every nation, a right to express an opinion, powerless though international opinion may be to intervene. Every discovery which might have been made by a Jewish doctor, every invention which might have been made by a Jewish scientist, every book that might have been written, every contribution to thought which will now not be made, is a loss, not only to Gernany, not only to Jewry, but to the whole world. Every Jewish business which is wiped out, every efficient Jew who is discharged, means that so much is taken away from the material fabric of an im- poverished world. For the smooth running of the economic fabric of civilization is not a mere question of machinery and power and plant : it depends upon intelligence and organization which it is easy to destroy but not so easy to recreate. I have only to add that in addition to depriving the world of the benefit of the knowledge and experience of the present generation of Jewish professional men, by driving them out of their professions in Germany and refusing them passports, it appears to be the policy of the German Govern. ment to continue this deprivation indefinitely by a drastic limitation of the rights of Jews not only to a University education, but to secondary education of any kind, by the institution of a quota and the refusal of scholarships to Jewish children. To those who think that the intellectual impoverishment of the world does not matter and that it is fair that only 1 per cent. of Jewish children should be allowed a higher education because only 1 per cent. of the German population is Jewish, I would say, what would have been the effect on the history of the British Empire if the number of Scottish boys to enjoy a higher education had at all times been limited by the ratio of the Scottish population to the total of the United Kingdom ? Would it not have- meant a distinct impoverishment of the medical, administrative and banking professions ? Would it really add to the culture, wealth and happiness of mankind if an intellectual and economic life were henceforward to be based, not on the contribution which the individual can bring -to it, but on " ratios " based upon the most dubious anthropological and,ethnological arguments ?—I am, Sir, &e.,

Reform Club, Pall Mall, S.W.1. T. E. GREGORY.