Altneuland- Theodor Herzl's Zionist Utopia
The aged rabbi arose and applauded with his trembling hands. The audience followed his example, and hailed David vociferously as he was about to step down from the platform. But Mendel roared in a mighty voice, "Then the aliens will take the bread out of our mouths!"
Whereupon David turned back and motioned that he had something more to say.
"No, Mendel," he replied. "That is an error. Those who come later will not make you poorer, but richer. The wealth of a land is in its workers. Your own experience has taught you that. The more workers come, the more bread there is in a just society like ours. Naturally, you are not being asked to give up your good fields, the rights you have won, to others. But, just as it is good for Neudorf when new settlements are founded on its outskirts, so it is good for the New Society as a whole to expand. Everyone must earn for himself the values he wishes to enjoy. And the more values are created in the country, the richer our commonwealth becomes. Your parents, who had an active share in creating the history of Neudorf, know that from their own experience. At first there were only twenty families here. I ask you: Did they become worse off when, gradually, thirty, fifty, a hundred families joined them? I ask you: Did the early settlers become poorer or richer?"
The audience now, for the first time, caught his full meaning, and applauded impetuously: "Littwak is right!" "We are all more prosperous now!" "Yes, yes!"
"There is your answer," concluded David. "What has held good hitherto will be equally true in the future. The more people come here to work, the better off everyone will be. It is not altruism alone that prompts me to proclaim: 'Man, thou art my brother!' Sheer self-interest, also, urges that we declare: 'Brother, thou art welcome here!'
"The elders among you remember this place twenty years ago-how desolate and deserted it was. The first settlers took the best land. Those who came after them took the next best, and improved that. Later comers found ever poorer soil, but they made it fruitful. Stony soil became fertile, swamps were thoroughly drained. Because land in the vicinity of a village, even when of poor quality, always attracts new settlers.
"Today Neudorf is a garden-an immense, splendid garden, where life is good. But all your cultivation is worthless and your fields will revert to barrenness unless you foster liberal ideas, magnanimity, and a love of mankind. These are the things you must cherish and nurture. And because I know that you will do as: I say, 'Hedad! Hedad! Hedad! for Neudorf!'"
"Hedad for Littwakl Hedad for Neudorfl" shouted men and women together. Despite his laughing protests, the speaker was lifted to their shoulders and carried in a procession.
That day Dr. Geyer lost the votes of Neudorf.
After the meeting the visitors observed the model agricultural equipment of Neudorf. Kingscourt was particularly interested in the chemical experiment station and the up-to-date engine house. Friedrich lingered for a while in the elementary school and the public library. The latter contained many popular scientific works. Miriam, as a teacher, answered all his questions. At first he was pleasantly surprised by the things she told him; but the more he heard about the physical and spiritual development of the growing generation, the more depressed he became. At last he sighed heavily.
"What's the matter?" Miriam asked sympathetically.
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