Great personalities defend eugenics, 4

by Evropa Soberana

Eugenics is born

From the racial point of view, the effects of the French Revolution are detestable. With the aristocracy traditionally associated with the Nordic aspect, it was common for many individuals to be executed only because they had very Nordish features, even if they were not aristocrats!

Although the Revolution boasted of being a popular reaction against absolutism, sixty percent of the guillotined were simple French peasants. Such level of revolutionary hysteria was reached by the hand of unbalanced and decadent pseudo-intellectuals, belonging precisely to the high social classes, such as Rousseau, alienated and with illuminist pretensions, dazzled by the symbology of their lodges and financed by strange financial circles. A famished and illiterate plebs, elevated to the status of supreme judge, did the rest of the work.

In addition to the French Revolution and Napoleon, other processes marked the end of Christian hegemony: the Enlightenment, the American Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, and the rise of Germany, Great Britain and the United States as great powers, with Russia waiting at the side.

This did not imply, in any way, an improvement of the European race. On the contrary: the race continued to degenerate because of wars and the assistance to the useless. It simply implied that this generation had fewer taboos when it came to expressing itself. Above all, it was the scientific advances and the recovery of the Greco-Roman legacy (as well as the translation of certain Eastern sacred texts of Indo-European origin) what started a more scientific worldview.

Eugenics, which was born in England, really became a mainstream issue and commonsense, fully supported by most of the scientific community that at that time was not coerced by politically correct interests.

It was also supported and by such notable characters as Harvard professor and famous scientist Louis Agassiz, the English philosopher Herbert Spencer [1], the French F.A. Gobineau, American President Woodrow Wilson, British economist J.M. Keynes, French writer Émile Zola, American tycoon W.K. Kellogg, Scottish anthropologist and anatomist Sir Arthur Keith, British Prime Minister Arthur Balfour, famous American aviator Charles Lindberg, the Swedish composer Hugo Alfven and the British politician Sidney Webb.

All or almost all of the men that will be mentioned in this section—mostly English and American—were considered geniuses, laid the foundations of many modern scientific disciplines and were highly respected by the society of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Moreover, eugenics really was put into practice in countries considered advanced in the industrial, cultural, economic, technological and military sense, such as several states of the USA, Canada, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Switzerland and Japan.

We should not feel excessive sympathy for the social system of this era, dominated by voracious and heartless capitalism. The Industrial Revolution, which began in England spreading to Belgium, northern Germany, France, the United States and the entire West, uprooted millions of good-natured farmers from the healthy and quiet countryside, who were crowded into filthy working-class neighbourhoods, where they gradually degenerated and they became burned-out proletarians, resentful and without identity.

On top of it, the ruling class that benefited from the misery of these individuals allowed themselves the luxury of considering them inferior, while having tea with speculators and usurers. To a certain extent it is necessary to understand that this was the perfect breeding ground for the emergence of Bolshevism, and that the ruling classes of the time did not know how to provide it properly. Only the German Nazis, which I will deal with in the next section, finally had the keenness to reverse this process in a truly socialist way with their doctrine of Blut und Boden.

Another reason why I am partly glad that the eugenicists did not fully apply their policy is that the individuals mentioned here often based their selection on economic, social, cultural and productive criteria. Thus, they would not have hesitated to sterilise a tramp, perhaps even if such a tramp was not a ‘genetic homeless man’, but a worker who had bad luck and ended up in the street.

In short, they did not attempt to apply a biological criterion for the creation of a superior man, but a social criterion for the creation of a productive citizen. And the mass production of exemplary sheep without noble blood is something that does not inspire sympathy, as the goal of a true bio-policy should be the production of free and perfect human specimens physically, mentally and spiritually.

Even considering these unpleasant issues, it is unquestionable that thanks to the conditions enjoyed by the upper classes, a taste for classical literature and the absence of politically correct obstacles, science and philosophy advanced hand in hand thanks to very prepared and creative individuals who had all the time in the world to do some research.

The most alarming factor found by the first eugenicists was that, in the modern world, intelligence and fertility are inversely proportional to each other. That is to say, intelligent people have few children; they do not mate, which is a calamity. Conversely, stupid and weak folks tend to procreate prolifically, which doubles the calamity. This trend, already observable in the 19th century, continues to this day magnified as never before.
 
Sir Charles Darwin (1809-1882), English naturalist, explorer, rigorous and thorough scientist, and also a good writer and family man, famous for postulating the theory of evolution and natural selection.

I find funny the Darwin case. Today, liberals quote him and mention him as if Darwin’s sole objective had been to stagger the Church, trying to make it ‘progressive’, when the only archetype that Darwin embodies is that of the scientist without prejudice.

Progressives who trash Darwin’s name should know that both Darwin and natural selection are anti-progressives. Darwin, like Nature, advocated the selection and survival of the most gifted. That beauty is the outcome of sexual selection is a phrase that largely offers us the quintessence of his mentality. His book On the Origin of Species has a revealing subtitle, very politically incorrect and very little known: The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.

Darwin, like every good scientist, did not care about the moral dilemmas and the taboos around the ‘art of looking good’. Darwin applauded the ‘fascist’, ‘anti-Semitic’ and ‘racist’ ideas of his cousin Galton as soon as he read them, while Galton was also decisively influenced by Darwin. We can conclude, therefore, that the current PC progressive-socio-democrats who try to put Darwin in their same bag have not read Darwin:

It is very true what you say about the higher races of men, when high enough, replacing & clearing off the lower races. In 500 years how the Anglo-Saxon race will have spread & exterminated whole nations; & in consequence how much the Human race, viewed as a unit, will have risen in rank. (Charles Darwin to Charles Kingsley, 6 February 1862).

At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised race will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world… The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian [aborigine] and the gorilla. (Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, 1871).

I could show fight on natural selection having done and doing more for the progress of civilisation than you seem inclined to admit. Remember what risks the nations of Europe ran, not so many centuries ago of being overwhelmed by the Turks, and how ridiculous such an idea now is. The more civilised so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for existence. Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilised races throughout the world. (Charles Darwin to William Graham, 3 July 1881).

 
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) barely needs an introduction. One of the most read philosophers of all time, and demonstrator of ‘how to philosophise by hammering’, there are many idiot nihilists, leftists or individualists who have tried to appropriate his legacy while a reading of Nietzsche reveals, without any doubt, a pre-Nazi, racist, anti-Semitic, anti-democratic, anti-anarchist and anti-communist mentality.

1.- My demand of the philosopher is well known: that he take his stand beyond good and evil and treat the illusion of moral judgment as beneath him.

2.- A first, tentative example: at all times morality has aimed to ‘improve’ men—this aim is above all what was called morality.

To call the taming of an animal its ‘improvement’ sounds almost like a joke to our ears. Whoever knows what goes on in kennels doubts that dogs are ‘improved’ there. They are weakened, they are made less harmful, and through the depressive effect of fear, through pain, through wounds, and through hunger, they become sickly beasts. It is no different with the tamed man whom the priest has ‘improved’.

In the early Middle Ages, when the church was indeed, above all, a kennel, the most perfect specimens of the ‘blond beast’ were hunted down everywhere; and the noble Teutons, for example, were ‘improved’.

But how did such an ‘improved’ Teuton look after he had been drawn into a monastery? Like a caricature of man, a miscarriage: he had become a ‘sinner’, he was stuck in a cage, tormented with all sorts of painful concepts. And there he lay, sick, miserable, hateful to himself, full of evil feelings against the impulses of his own life, full of suspicion against all that was still strong and happy. In short, a ‘Christian’…

3.- Let us consider the other method for ‘improving’ mankind, the method of breeding a particular race or type of man. The most magnificent example of this is furnished by Indian [Aryan] morality, sanctioned as religion in the form of ‘the law of Manu’. Here the objective is to breed no less than four races within the same society: one priestly, one warlike, one for trade and agriculture, and finally a race of servants, the Sudras.

Obviously, we are no longer dealing with animal tamers: a man that is a hundred times milder and more reasonable is the only one who could even conceive such a plan of breeding. One breathes a sigh of relief at leaving the Christian atmosphere of disease and dungeons for this healthier, higher, and wider world. How wretched is the New Testament compared to Manu, how foul it smells!

Yet this method also found it necessary to be terrible—not in the struggle against beasts, but against their equivalent—the ill-bred man, the mongrel man, the chandala. And again the breeder had no other means to fight against this large group of mongrel men than by making them sick and weak. Perhaps there is nothing that goes against our feelings more than these protective measures of Indian [Aryan] morality.

Manu himself says: ‘The chandalas are the fruit of adultery, incest, and rape (crimes that follow from the fundamental concept of breeding)’.

4.- These regulations are instructive enough: we encounter Aryan humanity at its purest and most primordial; we learn that the concept of ‘pure blood’ is very far from being a harmless concept. On the other hand, it becomes obvious in which people the chandala hatred against this Aryan ‘humaneness’ has become a religion, eternalized itself, and become genius—primarily in the Gospels, even more so in the Book of Enoch.

Christianity, sprung from Jewish roots and comprehensible only as a growth on this soil, represents the counter-movement to any morality of breeding, of race, privilege: it is the anti-Aryan religion par excellence. Christianity—the revaluation of all Aryan values, the victory of chandala values, the gospel preached to the poor and base, the general revolt of all the downtrodden, the wretched, the failures, the less favoured, against ‘race’: the undying chandala hatred is disguised as a religion of love. (Twilight of the Idols, section ‘The “Improvers” of Mankind’).

 
Clémence Royer (1830-1902), self-taught and French anarchist who wrote and lectured on feminism, economics, politics and science. She is best known for her translation of On the Origin of Species in French.

The data of the theory of natural selection leave us no doubt that the higher races have appeared gradually and that, therefore, under the law of progress, they are destined to replace the inferior races still in development, and do not mix or merge with them, at the risk of being absorbed by them by miscegenation, reducing the middle level of the species.

In short, human races are not separate species, but rather well marked and of very uneven varieties, and it must be thought twice before promoting political and civil equality in a country with a minority of Indo-Europeans and a majority of blacks or Mongols. (Preface to her translation of On the Origin of Species, 1862.)

 
Sir Francis Galton (1822-1911), Darwin’s cousin, anthropologist, geographer, explorer, inventor, meteorologist, statistician and English psychologist. Galton, impressed by the theories of natural selection and survival of the fittest observed by his cousin, was the one who coined the word Eugenics (‘good birth’, or ‘birth of the good’) around 1884.

Galton advocated the prevention of the reproduction of morons, the mentally retarded and the insane—calling these measures ‘negative eugenics’ or limiting the growth of the worst—and granting certificates and economic funds to young men and women who were ‘suitable for civilisation’ so they could marry young and procreate an abundant offspring—‘positive eugenics’ or favouring the best.

Galton, a representative of a ruling Anglo-Saxon class that would remain healthy until 1939, wrote that blacks were inferior to whites and incapable of any civilisation, while Jews could only aspire to ‘parasitism’ within more gifted and capable nations.

Galton intended that eugenics (‘being well born’) become a religion, which would eventually replace Christianity. He accused Christianity for the fall of the Roman Empire; for having seriously damaged Western Civilisation by preaching pity and charity towards the useless and that ‘the weak will inherit the Earth’. He carried out an exhaustive, rigorous and scientific study of entire genealogies of illustrious characters, elaborating detailed statistics and finding—unsurprisingly—that genius is derived by inheritance and, therefore, from family.

Under his patronage the British Eugenics Society was founded in 1908, which would soon strengthen ties with similar groups in the United States.

I propose to show in this book that a man’s natural abilities are derived by inheritance, under exactly the same limitations as are the form and physical features of the whole organic world. Consequently, as it is easy, notwithstanding those limitations, to obtain by careful selection a permanent breed of dogs or horses gifted with peculiar powers of running, or of doing anything else, so it would be quite practicable to produce a highly-gifted race of men by judicious marriages during several consecutive generations. (Hereditary Genius, opening statement of the introductory chapter.)

What nature does blindly, slowly, and ruthlessly, man may do providently, quickly, and kindly. As it lies within his power, so it becomes his duty to work in that direction. The improvement of our stock seems to me one of the highest objects that we can reasonably attempt. (‘Eugenics: Its Definition, Scope, and Aims’, 1904).

[Eugenics] must be recognized as a subject whose practical development deserves serious consideration. It must be introduced into the national conscience, like a new religion. It has, indeed, strong claims to become an orthodox religious, tenet of the future, for eugenics co-operate with the workings of nature by securing that humanity shall be represented by the fittest races (Ibid).

It is neither more nor less than that the development of our nature, under Darwin’s law of Natural Selection, has not yet over-taken the development of our religious civilisation (Memories of my Life).

I take Eugenics very seriously, feeling that its principles ought to become one of the dominant motives in a civilised nation, much as if they were one of its religious tenets. I have often expressed myself in this sense, and will conclude this book by briefly reiterating my views (Ibid.).

 
Jack London (1876-1903), famous American writer of socialist tendency but racist, patriot, an apologist of the Anglo-Saxon and Nietzschean civilisation.

For a time he operated a cattle farm, where he became convinced that the farmers had been practicing eugenics since immemorial times.

I believe that the future human world belongs to eugenics, and will be determined by the practice of eugenics. (Letters, 376).

________

Note

[1] Herbert Spencer coined the famous phrase survival of the fittest in addition to launching the current of thought that posterity knows as ‘social Darwinism’.

From the Great Confinement of Louis XIV of France to a Chemical Gulag (part 1)

Above, French psychiatrist Philippe Pinel releasing so-called ‘lunatics’ from their chains at the Salpêtrière asylum of Paris in 1795. Below, a Spanish-English translation from my site critical of psychiatry. Since it is a chapter within an online book I’ll be adding explanatory brackets after some sentences.
 

______ 卐 ______

 

Aristotle said that to obtain a truly profound knowledge about something it is necessary to know its history. To understand what happened to the orphan John Bell [Bell’s testimony appears in another chapter of the online book] it is necessary to know how the profession that re-victimised him emerged. The following ideas about how the psychiatric profession was born are taken from Michel Foucault’s Madness and Civilisation, that I will paraphrase here.

In England, three hundred years before John Bell was born, the pamphlet Grievous Groan of the Poor appeared, in which it was proposed that the indigent be banished and transferred to the newly discovered lands of the Oriental Indies. From the 13th century it had existed the famous Bedlam for lunatics in London, but in the 16th century it housed only twenty inmates. In the 17th century, when the pamphlet to banish the poor appeared, there were already more than a hundred prisoners in Bedlam. In 1630 King Charles I called a commission to address the problem of poverty and the commission decreed the police persecution of vagabonds, beggars ‘and all those who live in idleness and who do not wish to work for reasonable wages’.[1] In the 18th century, many poor and destitute people were taken to correctional facilities and houses of confinement in the cities where industrialisation had marginalised part of the population.

Prisons for the poor were also established in continental Europe. The spirit of the 17th century was to put order in the world. After leprosy was eradicated, the medieval leprosariums that had remained empty were filled with the new lepers: the destitute. Foucault calls this period ‘The Great Confinement’ and emphasises the fact that the concept of mental illness did not exist yet.

Isolating the leper, a true sick person, had had a hygienic goal in the Middle Ages. But isolating the destitute had no such goal: it was a new phenomenon. 1656 was an axial year in this policy of cleaning up human garbage from the streets. On April 27, Louis XIV ordered the construction of the General Hospital, a place that was hospital only in name: no doctor presided over it. Article 11 of the king’s edict specified who would be imprisoned: ‘Of all sexes, places and ages, of any city and birth and in whatever state they are, valid or invalid, sick or convalescent, curable or incurable’.[2] Lifelong directors were appointed to head the General Hospital. Their absolutist power was a miniature decal of the power of the sun king, as can be read in articles 12 and 13 of the edict:

They have all power of authority, direction, administration, commerce, police, jurisdiction, correction and sanction over all the poor of Paris, both inside and outside the Hôpital Général. For this purpose, the directors would have stakes and rings of torture, prisons and dungeons, in the aforementioned hospital and places that depend on it, as they deem it convenient, without being able to appeal the ordinances that will be drafted by the directors for the interior of said hospital.[3]

The goal of these draconian measures was to suppress begging by decree. A few years after its foundation, the General Hospital housed one percent of the population of Paris. There were thousands of women and children in the Salpêtrière, in the Bicêtre and in the other buildings of a ‘Hospital’ that was not a hospital but an administrative entity that, concurrently with the royal powers and the police, repressed and guarded the marginalised.

On June 16, 1676 another royal edict establishes the foundation of general hospitals in each city of the kingdom. Throughout France this type of prison is opened and, a hundred years later, on the eve of the Revolution, there existed in thirty-two provincial cities. The archipelago of jails for the poor covered Europe. The Hôpitaux Généraux of France, the Workhouses of England and the Zuchthaüsern of Germany imprisoned young lads who had conflicts with their parents; vagabonds, drunks, lewd people and the ‘fools’. These prisons were indistinguishable from common prisons. In the 18th century an Englishman was surprised to see one of these prisons, ‘in which idiots and fools are locked up because they do not know where to confine them separately’.[4] The so-called alienated were confused with the sane, though destitute, individuals; and sometimes it was impossible to distinguish one from the other.

In the Middle Ages pride was a capital sin. When the banking flourished during the Renaissance it was said that greed was the greatest sin. But in the 17th century, when the ethic of work was imposed not only in Protestant countries but also among Catholics, laziness—in fact: unemployment—was the most notorious of sins. A city where every individual was supposed to become a cog in the social machine was the great bourgeois dream. Within this dream, groups that did not integrate into the machinery were destined to carry a stigma. 17th-century men had replaced medieval leprosy with indigence as the new exclusion group. It is from this ideological framework of indigence considered a vice that the great concept of madness will appear in the 18th and 19th centuries. For the first time in history, madness would be judged with the yardstick of the work ethic. A world where work ethics rules rejects all forms of uselessness. He who cannot earn his bread transgresses the limits of the bourgeois order. He who cannot be integrated into the group must be an alienated.

The edict of creation of the General Hospital is very clear in this regard: it considers ‘begging and idleness as sources of all disorders’.[5] It is very significant that ‘disorder’ remains the word used by psychiatrists today. The very Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [henceforth referred by its acronym, DSM: the ‘Bible’ of today’s psychiatrists] uses the word ‘disorder’ instead of ‘illness’. As the 17th century marks the line in which it was decided to imprison a group of human beings, it would be wrong to believe that madness waited patiently for centuries until some scientists discovered it and took care of it. Likewise, it would be wrong to believe that there was a spontaneous mutation in which the poor, inexplicably and suddenly, went mad.

Imprisoning the victims of a big city was a phenomenon of European dimensions. Once consummated the Great Confinement of which Foucault speaks, the censuses of the time about the prisoners who had not broken the law show the type of people they committed: elderly people who could not take care of themselves, epileptics disowned by their families, deformed people, people with venereal diseases and even those imprisoned by the king’s letters.

The latter was the most widespread confinement procedure since the 1690s, and the petitioners that the king wrote a lettre de cachet were the closest relatives of those imprisoned. The most famous case of imprisonment in the Bastille by lettre de cachet was that of Voltaire. There were cases of foolish or ‘incorrigible girls’ who were interned. ‘Imprudent’ was a label that would correspond more or less to what in the 19th century would be called ‘moral insanity’ and which currently equals the adolescent oppositionalism or ‘defiant negativism’ in the contemporary DSM. I would like to illustrate it with a single case of the 18th century:

A sixteen-year-old woman, whose husband is named Beaudoin, openly claims that she will never love her husband; that there is no law to order her to love him, that everyone is free to dispose of her heart and body as she pleases, and that it is a kind of crime to give one without the other.[6] Although Beaudoin’s woman was considered foolish or crazy, those labels had no medical connotation. The behaviours were perceived under another sky, and confinement was a matter settled between the families and the legal authority without medical intervention.

People who would be committed were considered: ‘dishonest’, ‘idle’, ‘depraved’, ‘sorcerer’, ‘imbecile’, ‘prodigal’, ‘impeded’, ‘alchemist’, ‘unbalanced’, ‘venereal’, ‘libertine’, ‘dissipater’, ‘blasphemous’, ‘ungrateful son’, ‘dissipated father’, ‘prostituted’ and ‘foolish’. In the records it can be read that the internment formulas also used terms such as ‘very evil and cheating man’ or ‘inveterate glutton’. France had to wait until 1785 for a medical order to intervene in the confinement of all these people: a practice that subsequently took shape with Pinel [pic above]. As I have said, moving away from the social norm would bring about the great theme of madness in the 19th century, as we shall see with Alexis de Tocqueville and John Stuart Mill by the end of this online book. It is from this point that we must understand the classifications of Kraepelin, Bleuler and the DSM of the 20th and 21st centuries.

In our century there are psychiatrists who openly say that ‘suicide is a brain disorder’: a blatantly pseudoscientific pronouncement. In the 17th century the pronouncements were not pseudoscientific yet, such as ‘murderer of himself’, a crime ‘against the divine majesty’ (i.e., the Judeo-Christian god). In the records of commitment for failed suicide attempts the formula used was: ‘s/he wanted to get rid’. It is to those who committed this crime against the Judeo-Christian god that the torture instruments were first applied by 19th-century psychiatrists: cages with an open lid for the head and cabinets that enclosed the subject up to the neck. The transformation from an openly religious trial (‘against the divine majesty’) to the realm of medicine (a purported ‘brain disorder’) was gradual. What is now considered a biomedical disease in the 17th and 18th centuries was understood as extravagant, impious behaviour that endangered the prestige of a specific family.

In the 17th century, for the first time in history, people from very different background were forced to live under the same roof. None of the previous cultures had done something similar or seen similarities between these types of people (venereal, foolish, blasphemous, ungrateful children, sorcerers, prostitutes, etc.). That behind the confinement existed a moralistic judgment is discovered by the fact that people who suffered venereal diseases were locked up—the great evil of the time!—, only if they contracted the disease out of wedlock. Virtuous women infected by their husbands were not at risk of being taken to the General Hospital in Paris.

Homosexuals were locked up in hospitals or detention centres. Any individual who caused a public scandal could be committed. The family, and more specifically the bourgeois family with its demands to keep up appearances, became the rule that defined the confinement of any of its rebellious members. This was the moment in which the dark alliances between parents and psychiatrists that would produce Dr. Amara’s profession would make a deal [I tell the story of psychiatrist Giuseppe Amara, who still lives, earlier in the online book]. Biological psychiatry would have an easy delivery with the gestation of the pair of centuries from the Great Confinement of the 17th century. The origins of the profession called psychiatry today can be traced back to that century.

Throughout the 18th century the confinement of people who did not break the law continued, and by the end of that century the houses of internment were full of ‘blasphemers’. The medieval Inquisition had had power in the south of France, but once the Inquisition was abolished, society found a legal way to control dissidents. It is known the case of a man in Saint-Lazare who was imprisoned for not wanting to kneel in the most solemn moments of the mass (this strategy was also practiced a century before). In the 17th century the unbelievers were considered ‘libertines’. Bonaventure Forcroy wrote a biography about Apollonius of Tyana, a contemporary of Jesus who was credited with miracles, and showed with this paradigm that the Gospel stories could also have been fictional. Forcroy was accused of ‘debauchery’ and imprisoned, also in Saint-Lazare.

The imprisonment of pariahs and undesirables was a cultural event that can be traced back to a specific moment in the long history of intolerance of post-Renaissance and post-Reformation Europe. The psychiatric values of Western man were moulded in the 17th and 18th centuries, values that continue to determine the way we see the world.

 
_________

[1] Quoted in Michel Foucault: Historia de la Locura en la Época Clásica (Volumen I), p. 106.

[2] Edict of Luis XIV, quoted in ibid, p. 81.

[3] Ibid, p. 81s.

[4] Ibid, p. 182.

[5] Ibid, p. 115.

[6] Quoted in ibid, p. 213. It is interesting to compare the encyclopaedic history of so-called madness by Foucault that I’ve paraphrased above, written in opaque prose, with the brief though clear history of psychiatry by Thomas Szasz (e.g., Cruel Compassion: The Psychiatric Control of the Society’s Unwanted, Syracuse University Press, 1998).

W. B. Yeats

“Puritanical anti-Europe has become exactly what it set out to become: New Zion,” wrote Sebastian Ronin a couple of years ago referring to the US. Regular visitors of this site know that from my point of view the etiology of white decline is, in order of importance: (1) materialism, (2) Christian ethics and (3) Jewish influence. These excerpts from Kerry Bolton’s essay on Yeats in his book Artists of the Right give the idea of the most harmful factor of all:

 

The rise of industrialism and capitalism during the 19th century brought with it social dislocation, the triumph of the commercial classes and interests, and the creation of an urban proletariat on the ruins of rural life. Smashed asunder were the traditional organic bonds of family and village, rootedness to the earth through generations of one’s offspring, and attunement to the cycles of nature.

With the ascendancy of materialism came the economic doctrines of Free Trade capitalism and Marxism and the new belief in rationalism and science over faith, the mysteries of the cosmos, and the traditional religions. The forces of money had defeated everything of the Spirit. As Spengler explained in his Decline of the West, Western Civilization had entered its end cycle. Such forces had been let loose as long ago as the English Revolution of Cromwell and again by the French Revolution.

There was, however, a reaction to this predicament. The old conservatives had not been up to the task. The spiritual and cultural reaction came from the artists, poets and writers who reach beyond the material and draw their inspiration from the well-springs of what C. G. Jung identified as the collective unconscious. This reaction included not only the political and the cultural but also a spiritual revival expressed in an interest in the metaphysical.

Among the artists in “revolt against the modern world” was the Irish poet William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), leader of the Irish literary renaissance and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923. Despite his English and Protestant background, Yeats was involved in the Young Ireland movement, much of his poetry celebrating the Irish rebellion and its heroes.

Yeats had been as a youngster introduced by his father John, himself a Pre-Raphaelite artist, to the paintings of the Pre-Raphaelites, the romantic imagery of which stood then as a rebellion against the encroachments of modernism and industrialism. Having lived in England as a child twenty years before, Yeats was now struck by how much had radically changed under the impress of “progress.” The modern era had even impacted upon the aesthetic of Yeats’ own family, writing of how his father now made his living, and also alluding to the changes being wrought by modernism in art:

It was a perpetual bewilderment that my father, who had begun life as a Pre-Raphaelite painter, now painted portraits of the first comer, children selling newspapers, or a consumptive girl with a basket of fish upon her head, and that when, moved perhaps by memory of his youth, he chose some theme from poetic tradition, he would soon weary and leave it unfinished. I had seen the change coming bit by bit and its defence elaborated by young men fresh from the Paris art-schools. ‘We must paint what is in front of us,’ or ‘A man must be of his own time,’ they would say, and if I spoke of Blake or Rossetti they would point out his bad drawing and tell me to admire Carolus Duran and Bastien-Lepage. Then, too, they were very ignorant men; they read nothing, for nothing mattered but “Knowing how to paint,” being in reaction against a generation that seemed to have wasted its time upon so many things.

For Yeats the mystical was the basis of both his poetry and his political ideas. He was particularly interested in the Irish mystical tradition and folklore. He saw the peasantry and rural values as being necessary to revive against the onslaught of materialism.

Additionally, the “occult” provided a literally hidden culture that was above and beyond the crassness of democracy, of the herd, and of material existence, hence its being termed the “Royal Art,” where again, as in traditional societies over the course of millennia, a priestly caste, at the apex of a hierarchical society, served as the nexus between the terrestrial and the divine, serving as that axis around which High Culture revolves.

Yeats’ poetry was intended as an expression of these symbols of the unconscious and the archetypal. This resurgence of these age-long memories required a “revolt of soul against intellect now beginning in the world.” What is here called “intellect” was the advance of rationalism, scientism, and Enlightenment doctrines that had destroyed man’s nexus with the divine embodied in traditions and hierarchical social orders, and which has repressed man’s spiritual nature in favor of the crassly material.

Yeats, like D. H. Lawrence, Ezra Pound, et al., was particularly concerned that commercialism would mean the pushing down of cultural values in the pursuit of profit rather than artistic excellence. Hence, he called for a revival of aristocratic values. He lamented that, “the mere multitude is everywhere with its empty photographic eyes. A declaration of war on the masses by higher men is called for. Everywhere the mediocre are coming in order to make themselves master.”

His appeal was to the artist and to the individual of taste and culture for, as Nietzsche had pointed out, culture is the faculty that distinguishes the human from other organisms. In this spirit, Yeats applauded Nietzsche’s philosophy as “a counteractive to the spread of democratic vulgarity.”

Yeats’ keen sense of historical context is reflected in “The Curse of Cromwell.” Here he identifies the English Revolution as what we can see as the inauguration of the cycle of “Money over Blood,” in Spenglerian terms: the victory of the merchant class over the traditional order, which was to be re-reenacted in the French Revolution. The Bolshevik Revolution was of the same spirit of money against blood, of the materialistic against the spirit and culture.

All three revolutions were carried out in the name of “the people” against the traditional rulers, only to create a greater tyranny in the service of money. Spengler had written in The Decline of the West: “Practical communism with its ‘class war’… is nothing but the trusty henchman of big Capital, which knows perfectly well how to make use of it… in that their object is not to overcome money-values, but to possess them.”

Cromwell’s English revolution has had lasting consequences for the entire West. The cycle of Money over culture and tradition that Cromwell inaugurated has never been overcome. America was founded on the same Puritan money ethics and continues to spread that spirit over the farthest reaches of the world.

The specter of Puritanism has haunted the entire world ever since, “far and wide.” Nobility of character, regardless of “class”—itself a vulgarization of the traditional castes—was destroyed by the inauguration in the West of the reign of money by Cromwell, and one that was not overcome, but rather adopted by its supposed “enemy,” socialism, as Spengler was to point out. Yeats, as “The Curse of Cromwell” shows, has been one of the few to realize the full depth and lasting significance of Puritanism under whatever name it might appear.

No longer are there left those of noble tradition, those who served as part of a long heritage, “the tall men”; and the old gaiety of the peasant village, the squire’s hall and aristocrat’s manor have been beaten down.

All neighborly, content and easy talk are gone,
But here’s no good complaining, for money’s rant is on.

The artists, once patronized by the aristocracy, must now prostitute their art for the sake of money on the mass market, as script writers, and “public entertainers” to sell a product. All individuals are now producers and consumers, including the artist producing for a consumer market.

And we and all the Muses are things of no account.

Yeats considered himself heir to a tradition that has been repressed by democratic vulgarity, and he lived in service to that tradition, now virtually driven to the catacombs under the dead weight of “mass culture,” which is nothing more than consumerism posturing as “art,” “literature,” and “music” manufactured according to market demands. He and a few others of the same temperament lived in the service of High Culture as contemporary troubadours “against the modern world” to uplift the spirits of the remnant who have managed to maintain their nobility in the face of the crass.

One product of democracy and capitalism that Yeats feared was the proliferation of those he regarded as inferior people. Yeats advocated planned human up-breeding and joined the Eugenics Society at a time when eugenics was a widely held belief among the intelligentsia. Yeats had “On the Boiler” published the same year, where he endorsed the psychometric studies that were showing intelligence to be inherited, and expressed concern at the proliferation of the unintelligent.

The aristocracy of old, the noble lineage of blood, of familial descent, has been replaced by the new rich, the merchants, our new rulers are those who measure all things by profit. Like Spengler, Yeats saw hope in Fascist Italy: “The Ireland that reacts from the present disorder is turning its eyes towards individualist Italy.” In particular, he admired the educational reforms and cyclic historical doctrine of Italian Fascist philosopher and Minister of Education, Giovanni Gentile, stating in 1925 before the Irish Senate, of which he was a member, that Irish teachers should study the methods that Gentile had enacted in Italian schools, “so to correlate all subjects of study.”

The following year Senator Yeats stated that the Italian educational system was “adapted to an agricultural nation” which was applicable also to Ireland, “a system of education that will not turn out clerks only, but will turn out efficient men and women, who can manage to do all the work of the nation.”

With the assumption to Government of De Valera in 1932, the following year Yeats was seeking to formulate a doctrine for Ireland that would be a form of “Fascism modified by religion.” History consisted broadly of “the rule of the many followed by the rule of the few,” again reminiscent of Spengler’s idea of a “new Caesarism” that follows on the rule of plutocracy at the end cycle of a civilization.

For Yeats, the rule of the few meant a return to some form of aristocracy.

Civilisation’s “Heroic Materialism”

Originally I posted this article on April 25, 2012. But now that I have been postulating that the One Ring of greed and power—that we might start calling “the Aryan Problem”—could be the main factor in the West’s darkest hour, I am moving it at the top of this blog.

Below, some excerpts of “Heroic Materialism,” the last chapter of Civilisation by Kenneth Clark. (For an introduction to these series, see here.) Ellipsis omitted between unquoted passages. Also, the headings don’t appear in the original text:

The westerners’ new god: Mammon

Imagine an immensely speeded up movie of Manhattan Island during the last hundred years. It would look less like a work of man than like some tremendous natural upheaval. It’s godless, it’s brutal, it’s violent—but one can’t laugh it off, because in the energy, strength of will and mental grasp that have gone to make New York, materialism has transcended itself. It took almost the same time to reach its present conditions as it did to complete the Gothic cathedrals. At which point a very obvious reflection crosses one’s mind: that the cathedrals were built to the glory of God, New York was built to the glory of mammon—money, gain, the new god of the nineteenth century. So many of the same human ingredients have gone into its construction that at a distance it does look rather like a celestial city. At a distance. Come closer and it’s not so good. Lots of squalor, and, in the luxury, something parasitical.


Blake’s Satan

One sees why heroic materialism is still linked with an uneasy conscience. The first large iron foundries like the Carron Works or Coalbrookdale, date from about 1780. The only people who saw through industrialism in those early days were the poets. Blake, as everybody knows, thought that mills were the work of Satan. ‘Oh Satan, my youngest born… thy work is Eternal death with Mills and Ovens and Cauldrons.’

The [slave] trade was prohibited in 1807, and as Wilberforce lay dying in 1835, slavery itself was abolished. One must regard this as a step forward for the human race, and be proud, I think, that it happened in England. But not too proud. The Victorians were very smug about it, and chose to avert their eyes from something almost equally horrible that was happening to their own countrymen.

In its early stages the Industrial Revolution was also a part of the Romantic movement. And here I may digress to say that painters had for long used iron foundries to heighten the imaginative impact of their work with what we call a romantic effect; and that they had introduced them into pictures as symbolising the mouth of hell. However, the influence of the Industrial Revolution on Romantic painters is a side issue, almost an impertinence, when compared to its influence on human life. I needn’t remind you of how cruelly it degraded and exploited a mass of people for sixty or seventy years.

What was destructive was size. After about 1790 to 1800 there appeared the large foundries and mills which dehumanised life. Long before Carlyle and Karl Marx, Wordsworth had described the arrival of a night shift ‘that turns the multitude of dizzy wheels, Men, maidens, youths, Mothers and little children, boys and girls, Perpetual sacrifice.’

The terrible truth is that the rise in population did nearly ruin us. It struck a blow at civilisation such as it hadn’t received since the barbarian invasions. First it produced the horrors of urban poverty. It must have seemed—may still seem—insoluble; yet this doesn’t excuse the callousness with which prosperous people ignored the conditions of life among the poor on which to a large extent their prosperity depended, and this in spite of the many detailed and eloquent descriptions that were available to them. I need mention only two—Engels’s Conditions of the Working Classes in England, written in 1844, and the novels written by Dickens between 1840 and 1855. Everybody read Dickens. But his terrible descriptions of poverty had very little practical effect: partly because the problem was too big; partly because politicians were held in the intellectual prison of classical economics.

The images that fit Dickens are by the French illustrator Gustave Doré. He was originally a humorist; but the sight of London sobered him. His drawings were done in the 1870s, after Dickens’s death. But one can see that things hadn’t changed much. Perhaps it took an outsider to see London as it really was.


Degenerate architecture

At the beginning of this series I said that I thought one could tell more about a civilisation from its architecture that from anything else it leaves behind. Painting and literature depend largely on unpredictable individuals. But architecture is to some extent a communal art. However, I must admit that the public buildings on the nineteenth century are often lacking in style and conviction; and I believe that this is because the strongest creative impulse of the time didn’t go into the town halls or country houses, but into what was then thought of as engineering. In fact, all modern New York started with the Brooklyn Bridge.

In this series I have followed the ups and downs of civilisation historically, trying to discover results as well as causes; well, obviously I can’t do that any longer. We have no idea where we are going, and sweeping, confident articles of the future seem to me, intellectually, the most disreputable of all forms of utterance. The scientists who are best qualified to talk have kept their moths shut.

The incomprehensibility of our new cosmos seems to me, ultimately, to be the reason for the chaos of modern art. I know next to nothing about science, but I’ve spent my life trying to learn about art, and I am completely baffled by what is taking place today. I sometimes like what I see, but when I read modern critics I realise that my preferences are merely accidental.

Western civilisation has been a series of rebirths. Surely this should give us confidence in ourselves. I said at the beginning that it is lack of confidence, more than anything else, that kills a civilisation. We can destroy ourselves by cynicism and disillusion, just as effectively as by bombs. Fifty years ago W.B. Yeats, who was more like a man of genius than anyone I have ever known, wrote a famous poem.

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

On Kenneth Clark’s “Civilisation”

Kenneth Clark may have been clueless about the fact that race matters. Yet, that our rot goes much deeper than what white nationalists realize is all too obvious once we leave, for a while, the ghetto of nationalism and take a look at the classics, just as Clark showed us through his 1969 TV series Civilisation.

Compared to the other famous series, Clark’s was unsurpassed in the sense that, as I have implied elsewhere, only genuine art—not science—has a chance to fulfill David Lane’s fourteen words.

By “art” I mean an evolved sense of beauty which is almost completely absent in today’s nationalists. Most of them are quite a product of Jewish modernity whether with their music, lifestyles or Hollywood tastes, to a much greater degree than what they think. For nationalism to succeed an evolved sense of female beauty has to be the starting point to see the divine nature of the white race. In Clark’s own words, “For all these reasons I think it is permissible to associate the cult of ideal love with the ravishing beauty and delicacy that one finds in the madonnas of the thirteenth century. Were there ever more delicate creatures than the ladies on Gothic ivories? How gross, compared to them, are the great beauties of other woman-worshiping epochs.”

Below, links to excerpts of most of the chapters of the 1969 series, where Clark followed the ups and downs of our civilisation historically:

“The Skin of our Teeth”

“The Great Thaw”

“Romance and Reality”

“Man—the Measure of all Things”

“The Hero as Artist”

“Protest and Communication”

“Grandeur and Obedience”

“The Light of Experience”

“Heroic Materialism”