All their aggressiveness had been channeled into the struggle for money, and that struggle made them forget the bloody lessons of the Civil War. Later on, every one of them had so trained himself to forget, that during the depression he regarded unemployment as shameful proof of his own personal inability. I esteemed these men; I was an admirer of their America. At least no one here could justify his laziness by sighing: “If only nations were not predestined, if it weren’t for the Czar, if it weren’t for the government, if it weren’t for the bourgeoisie …” But paradoxically, that triumph of the individual had wrought an inner sterility; they had souls of shiny plastic. Only the Negroes, obsessed like us …, were alive, tragic and spontaneous.