What even a superficial study of history reveals is that conflict is at least as prevalent as cooperation throughout the ages. This is true within groups of people but is even more the case between groups of people. There have been many reasons used to cultivate hatreds of those considered to be outsiders. Racial, ethnic and religious differences have been convenient bases for denying not just equality of opportunity but denying the basic recognition of reciprocal obligation to respect even humanity.
As Henry George’s message and vision emerged to find support in almost every society around the globe, many writers took on the issue of how to bring people of diverse cultural norms and deeply-entrenched prejudices together in common cause. This is a story deserving to be told, its importance reinforced by what is happening in the world today.
Over the last five or six months I have been working through the issues of The Single Tax Review, published from 1901 to 1923. Each issue is filled with thoughtful and frequently controversial articles on the state of the world and conditions in individual countries. The long-time editor of The Single Tax Review, Joseph Dana Miller, filled the Review’s pages with commentary that have a contemporary sound to his analysis and message. In each issue he reviewed newly-published books written by Single Taxers and others.
Other leading Single Taxers regularly contributed articles and book reviews as well. One such Single Taxer was Arthur C. Pleydell, who, in the late 1890s served as editor of Justice. When the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation was established in 1925, Pleydell was one of the initial directors. What I am sharing with you here is a book review he wrote in 1905 of a book titled The Color Line, written by a Tulane University professor named William Smith. In this book Professor Smith argues against recognition of social equality for persons of color. Arthur Pleydell responds as one might expect a disciple of the Single Tax to respond. I point particularly to the final two paragraphs.
- Ed Dodson (21 June 2020)