Altneuland- Theodor Herzl's Zionist Utopia
"What makes you say so?" questioned Kingscourt. "I find even this very fine."
"As a jurist and fin de siecle European," continued Friedrich, "I ask myself what it is that keeps this community in equilibrium. I see order in freedom, and yet nowhere do I glimpse governmental authority."
"Ah, Fritze, there's the rub. Legalism and Europeanism obscure your vision. One can get along with very little govemmental authority. If you had lived and loved, as I did, in America, you would know better. No, that doesn't surprise me. But what I do not know how to account for is-these trees. The trees in this park cannot be less than forty or fifty years old. Where did the fellows get them?"
He had spoken so loudly that a passerby overheard him, smiled, and stopped short. Kingscourt naturally spoke to him at once. "Honored passerby, I see that I amuse you. Perhaps you can answer my question?"
"Certainly, sir. I am on the staff of the Health Department, and know something about these things. It has long been known that it is possible to transplant grown trees safely. In Cologne, for example, where I formerly lived, forty-year-old trees were planted in one of the parks. It is very expensive, of course, but we spend a great deal on the public health. We think nothing too costly for our parks, because they benefit the growing generation. However, we did not plant old and expensive trees like these everywhere. For instance, we brought eucalyptus trees from Australia which grew very rapidly. Our first funds for this purpose came from a national tree-planting Society which collected money in all parts of the world. People in the Diaspora contributed money for trees whose shade they were afterwards to enjoy in Palestine."
"Thank you, sir," said Kingscourt. "I understand now. And will you please complete your favor by telling me where all these children come from?" (They were walking past playgrounds where half-grown youngsters were playing English games. The girls were busy with tennis, the boys with cricket and football.)
"They come from the schools near this park. The classes are led out here by turns for athletic games. Physical exercise is considered quite as important as mental development."
"They seem to belong only to well-to-do families," commented Friedrich. "All of them are clean and neatly dressed."
"Not at all, sir. They come from all kinds of homes; we do not permit distinctions of any kind in our schools, either in clothing or in anything else. The only differences are those created by the pupils themselves through effort or natural talent. Our New Society is thoroughly opposed, .however, to any leveling process. To each according to his deserts!
"We have not abolished competition. Conditions are alike for all, as in a race or prize competition. All must be equal at the beginning, but not at the end. Under the old order, it would happen that a man could make his children and grandchildren independent for life through one fortunate business deal, and ensure for them all the advantages of the higher education. Conversely, a man's descendants were punished not only for his sins, but for his business reverses. Once a family became impoverished, it was reduced to the proletariat, from which superhuman effort was needed to escape.
"We neither reward nor punish our children for their fathers' business transactions. Each generation is given a new start. Therefore, all our educational institutions are free from the elementary schools to the Zion University. All the pupils must wear the same kind of simple clothing until they matriculate into the secondary schools. We think it unethical to single out children according to their parents' wealth or social rank. That would be bad for all of them. The children from the well-to-do families would become lazy and arrogant, the others embittered. But you will pardon me. I must go back to my work."
He left them with a courteous bow.
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