Anthony Ludovici: Conservative From Another World
Also see, by Anthony Ludovici:
The Jews, and the Jews in England
DURING HIS LIFE, Anthony Ludovici was regarded as anathema by the liberal-minority coalition, and he continued to collide with these impeders of human progress even after his demise. He died in 1971 in Ipswich, England, at the age of 89, bequeathing about £70,000 — over $630,000 in today’s inflated money — to the University of Edinburgh for research into miscegenation. The results would surely have interested advocates of the melting pot and segregation alike. Edinburgh, however, refused the money for this purpose and, with the acquiescence of Ludovici’s executors, diverted one-third of it to study Huntington’s chorea. True, the disease is hereditary. But, then, so are the effects of miscegenation.
Anthony Mario Ludovici belonged to an endangered species. In company with Chesterton, Shaw and Mencken, he was an intellectual all-rounder whose writings illuminated the arts, religion, philosophy and politics. But what makes his work so important for us is that he assessed the world from a racial, anti-democratic perspective. Back up by his ‘massive slabs of erudition,’ each one of Ludovici’s principal ideas merits attention from Instaurators. Despite anthropologist Robert Gayre having called him “one of the most diagnostic thinkers of our time,” we have allowed no other modern writer on our side of the barricades to fall into such undeserved desuetude and neglect.
Eighty-odd years ago, the young Ludovici came across a translation of Nietzsche. He felt impelled to read the German philosopher in the original and moved to Germany to learn the language. Upon his return to England, he began to preach the gospel of the superman, lecturing on Nietzsche and translating several of his volumes and a selection of his letters. He also authored three pioneering books, starting with Who Is to Be Master of the World (Edinburgh, 1909) and Nietzsche: His Life and Works (London and New York, 1910). Interrupted only by service in what he termed “The War of Belgian Independence” (1914-18), Anthony M. Ludovici had embarked on the work of a lifetime, analysing the woes of our race and proposing remedies for its recovery.
Although Ludovici rejoiced in Nietzsche’s blasts at Christianity, he still believed that some of the Church’s traditional teachings had originated in ancient wisdom and were therefore sound. He credited the myth of the Fall of Man as an apt expression of human nature. But the ballooning of Romanticism and rationalism spread the notions that people are either born good or born as tabulae rasae who can be trained to goodness. Ludovici demonstrated that these mistakes of Romantics and rationalists, abetted by Europe’s uncritical and frenetic respect for the Greeks, had paved the way for Western democracy.
Instaurators already know that the liberal-minority coalition looks on faulting the democratic religion as one of the heresies of the century. As a journalist, author and lecturer, Ludovici realised that he could fault it only “at the risk of his living.” We may be thankful he did take the risk — that in several of his books, especially The Quest of Human Quality (London, 1952) and The False Assumptions of ‘Democracy’ (London, 1921), he had the backbone to scrutinize every political dogma that is required worship in the modern “civilised” world.
The belief in democracy rests, as he showed, in accepting the Divine Right of majorities. Fifty million votes always lose to 51 million, meaning that democrats agree entirely with autocrats in thinking that might is right. Ludovici’s aristocratic spirit combined with his cool reason to pile up objections to this mobocracy.
Masses, he asserted, fall short of the intelligence and imagination needed to form political opinions. They know little about the vital subjects of history, sociology and economics. They lack insight into the nature of others, such as their elected representatives. They never vote for any man or any issue that might lead to self-sacrifice, as masses ought to, so politicians can easily bribe them. Electors, in any case, respond to politics with yawns. The clamor for votes springs out of profound feelings of inferiority, eased by the sensation of political power that appeals to human vanity.
In a democracy, would-be politicians offer themselves to the Establishment party machines, which winnow them out to get approved candidates. It sounds dubious in theory and results in legislatures staffed by “quill-drivers, adventurers and agitators of all sorts.” Thereupon, ‘public opinion’ arrives in the shape of the media, ostensibly independent though in reality under the heel of advertisers and big money. Jews rule Finance, and Finance rules all. The alleged party warfare stands revealed as shadow-boxing, with Establishment parties offering scarcely a glimmer of alternative policies. Citing the work of historian Charles Beard on Roosevelt and WWII, Ludovici stated that, despite all the self-righteous preachments about the power of the vote, in a democracy even wars can be ignited against the wishes of the common folk.
Whereas democracies respect money alone, because it ‘talks’ to every level of the electorate, only aristocracies favor the values that lead a people to the flourishing life. Just the fewest of the few, the ruler-men like Confucius, Moses and Goethe, can select and qualify these values, never the masses.
Ludovici’s disdain for ‘nose-counting’ derived from his honesty about all social issues. His friends and his old neighbors in Ipswich remember him as a gentleman. He cared for his fellow Brits, one of his main assaults on democracy being to home in on the superficial and slipshod methods presented to electors to choose their politics and representatives — methods which offend the common man’s wish to do a job in a workmanlike fashion. Indeed, compared with democratic elections, “Blindman’s Buff partakes almost of scientific discrimination.” What is more, Ludovici disliked snobbery and reckoned that natural aristocrats were “by no means necessarily more common in the . . . House of Lords than in a coal-pit.”
All animal species depend on leadership, and hierarchies founded on order, authority and discipline suit Homo sapiens. When structured organically, they contrast with the Western democracies, whose citizens are ‘equal’ but atomized. Mainstream opinion militates against new aristocracies, Ludovici admitted, but our civilisation would have to form them or die. He did grant that true elites who marry on eugenic lines and whose ruling members show concern for their subjects have seldom appeared in history. Both A Defence of Aristocracy (London and Boston, 1915) and The Specious Origins of Liberalism (London, 1967) discuss the aristocrats’ “sins against themselves.”
A respecter of tradition if ever there was one, Ludovici sought the basis of conservatism in a type of man, rather than in the “fatal” metaphysical abstractions of liberalism. Conservatives are political realists who take the classic view of human nature. They generally live in the countryside and have daily rendezvous with the eternal laws of Nature. They accept that human suffering is endemic (see The False Assumptions of ‘Democracy’), because one can’t cut out life’s “inequalities and injustices without also sacrificing three-quarters of its beauties.”
The opportunism and the paucity of ideas of modern conservatives appalled Ludovici, who advocated a Third Way between communism and consumerism. He wanted wealth distributed in accord with talents, a limited and decentralised system of private enterprise, a transvaluation of values to rid ourselves of what he called “the Judaic infirmity of judging men and things by a cash standard” (New Pioneer, Sept. 1939). He outlined his economics in the booklet, The Sanctity of Private Property (London, 1932) and in A Defence of Aristocracy. Anglo-Saxon conservatives should encourage independence and self-reliance, “for they are characteristic of the finest qualities of the race.” Never a stick-in-the-mud, he did remind us:
“The zeal for advance is heroic and, like all heroic manifestations, extremely rare. Conservatives must control the zeal for change.”
In essence, Anthony M. Ludovici promoted conservatism on the basis of its evolutionary rationale. See his Defence of Conservatism (London, 1927), perhaps the summit of his output and a counter to all ‘right-wingers’ blinkered by economic tunnel-vision. Conservatism works best, genetically, because it is only in stable environments that the slow work of heredity can build up family qualities, group virtues, national character, and racial characteristics.
World history taught him that healthy nations are homogenous nations. Such eminent peoples as the ancient Chinese, Incas, Greeks and his beloved Egyptians had all been shaped by isolation and inbreeding. A deep respect for alien cultures led him not to drool over cosmopolitanism, however, but to inveigh against it. By pleading for racial separation and cultural independence as imperatives for producing higher races and higher civilisations, he foreshadowed Raymond B. Cattell’s Beyondist philosophy of allowing each nation to follow its own “culturo-genetic” experiment.
Ludovici, a painter himself and once private secretary to the sculptor Rodin, assured the readers of his early Nietzsche and Art (London, 1911; Boston, 1912) that high art blossoms most often in conservative hierarchies. Civilisations stressing tradition, rank and authority can provide their creative talents with the benefits of leisure, an accumulation of willpower and vitality, reverence for life, and a mission. He argued that high art avoids realism, because man needs myths to stop himself “perishing through truth.”
Enter the ruler-artist, typified by the ancient Egyptian. Optimistic and affirming life, “He gives of himself — his business is to make things reflect him.” Because only human values count, the proper subject matter for the art of mankind is man, and the ruler-artist’s mission is to depict the beauty of his race:
“Biologically, absolute beauty exists only within the confines of a particular race . . . . When values are beginning to get mixed, then, owing to an influx of foreigners from all parts of the world . . . we shall find the weak and wholly philosophical belief arising that beauty is relative . . .”
Anarchic democracies, each one a mosaic fragmented into 101 schools of art, have nothing important to say, and their artists say it by using any subject-matter. In recent centuries, determinism has influenced Europeans to react automatically to stimuli. So artists like Courbet, who have a democratic horror of art that bears “the stamp of any particular human power,” are happy imitating Nature. Ludovici acknowledged some levels of realism, however, notably the “militant” realism forced on Michelangelo and the best Greeks by a world with hostile values.
Portraiture is usually low art, having accompanied the rise of the bourgeoisie and its commissions for realism. (Such masters as Rembrandt and Rubens could either transfigure their models or choose ones who accorded with their ideals of beauty.) Landscapes generally stand for negativism or the Romantics’ misanthropy, shrinking from urbanism, that revels in a Nature untouched by man.
In his later years Ludovici attacked the darker side of urbanism and industrialism. He pointed out that, unlike farm families, modern city folk tend to regard children as superfluous. The ugliness of our megalopolises repelled him, and he lambasted
the spiritual mischief of industrialism — “the affront which . . . mechanized industry administered to the higher sentiments of every decent working man and woman by robbing them of their various skills and arts, and condemning them to idiocy.” (Enemies of Women, London, 1948.)
Further, the pittances earned by English workers between 1800 and 1939 had compelled their wives and daughters to drudge in factories and mills at the time that the sexless character of modern occupations enticed women to forgo their traditional duties.
Over a series of documentary books (and seven novels) Ludovici argued that woman differs from man in mind and function as yin differs from yang. He challenged the view that woman was merely “a peculiar sort of man,” seeing her main, adaptive roles in society as bearing and raising children. Women who abstain from sex for long periods and do not carry out their biological functions of regular pregnancies, childbirth and breast-feeding encounter all manner of physical and psychological problems.
Ludovici knew that feminist movements are revolts conducted by a riffraff of androgynous females, spinsters and disgruntled wives, all of them coming from an idle middle class. But the groundwork for the feminism that masculinizes women was laid by the factory system and by degenerate men, themselves often androgynous, like John Stuart Mill and John Ruskin. Man: An Indictment (London and New York, 1927) argues that such Englishmen, ignorant about sex owing to the Anglo-Saxon’s weak insight and Victorian sentimentality, completely misunderstood the character of women. A new religion ought to restore the concord between the sexes, but it should be preceded by a masculine renaissance.
R. B. Kerr’s essay on Ludovici the anti-feminist in Our Prophets (London, 1932) described him as a “brilliant writer” whose books on feminism have “an unhappy tendency to run to exaggeration and absurdity.” If this criticism applies to his early work, Woman: A Vindication (London and New York, 1923), stimulating though the book is, then it contains more than a grain of truth. Ludovici may have belittled the female intellect, but he did have a great deal of praise for women, and his own mother especially, for home-making abilities and dedication to their families. His Enemies of Women, moreover, rues that our legacy from ancient Greeks has created an ethos that rates “wholly feminine things of little interest, of little dignity, and little value.”
Ludovici opposed contraception. Aside from the obvious step of banning immigration, he proposed three other solutions to prevent the overpopulation of Britain: (1) Anglo-Saxons should emigrate and colonise lands at the expense of “inferior races”; (2) revive the eugenic infanticide of older times; (3) prevent the unfit from marrying.
But if Ludovici encouraged large families, he detested the contemporary adulation of children. In The Child: An Adult’s Problem (London, 1948) he explained why. For men, fathering children testifies to their virility. For women, coddling children serves as an outlet for their narcissism. For both men and women, their will to power relishes dominating the ignorant dwarfs that are children. An apparent amnesiac like Wordsworth forgets his own childhood and looks on the young as angelic. Afflicted by a Romantic love of Nature, adults in general, and Nordics in particular, delight in the raw appeal of childlike exuberance.
All these influences contribute to child worship. Fundamental, too, is Jesus’s comment about children making up the Kingdom of Heaven, which Ludovici saw as evidence that “psychological insight is not a strong point with the Holy Family.” He preferred St Augustine’s memories of childhood, because youngsters normally exhibit aggressiveness, jealousy, duplicity, pitilessness and sundry other un-Christian traits.
For children not to develop into adult egomaniacs, they must be disciplined. Indeed, they appreciate firmness from adults who are loving and trusting. Ludovici rejected corporal punishment, advising that parents’ love for their children should remain constant and be based on concern for their welfare. Knowing a child means knowing his heredity. Ludovici insisted we not take juvenile mischief too seriously, though he argued that delinquents are often flawed at the genetic level.
Ludovici thrived on biological explanations of behavior (see especially Religion for Infidels, London, 1961). He thought religious impulses were innate and suggested that declining vitality and intelligence have largely caused the present-day withering of religiosity. Religion, in Ludovici’s opinion, is mankind’s wonder at the universe, rather than a code of morals with the all-too-evident undercurrents of envy and hatred.
He attacked Christianity not for its myths, but for the way of life it fosters, stressing that rationalism has never discarded Christian ethics. Christianity is condemned for its “Semitic puritanism” and sexphobia and, above all, for its dualism, which splits a person into a transient body and an immortal soul. The consequence of downgrading the body’s importance can be witnessed in our city streets, in which a Sophocles
“would hardly believe his eyes when, gazing in astonishment at the milling crowds, he was solemnly assured that they were in fact not only human beings, but also creatures who believed themselves to be the dernier cri of cosmic evolution.”
We need an updated religion which will enable us to live in harmony with the universe. Accordingly, Ludovici wrote chapters on deciphering the life forces of Nature, concluding that our lessons from the cosmos were to practise Nietzschean self-interest and to reserve our pity for the “promising and desirable.”
Reasoning that all life (and perhaps inorganic matter as well) manifests intelligence and memory, Ludovici believed, along with psychologist William McDougall, in organisms inheriting acquired characteristics and that, over time, mind could influence evolution. He looked at hypnotism, telepathy and the work of shamans to illustrate the power of imagination in affecting life forces within and without us. For the healthy few who adopt the right posture and don’t ask for the moon, he had to admit that praying works.
Spiritual health is bound up with the health of the body. Ludovici was bang on target when he declared in The Secret of Laughter (London, 1932; New York, 1933): “This is a decadent age . . . the joie de vivre has undoubtedly declined.” We alleviate the dull routine and incomprehensibility of modern life by unreason, enjoying nonsense, and a mania for humor — “the tonic of showing the teeth.”
The underlying cause of Westerners’ deteriorating health, as well as their beauty and character, stems from like marrying unlike and their offspring inherited mismatched parts. This was a theme picked up time and again in Ludovici’s book, most notably in The Quest of Human Quality, which jousts with the Boases and Montagus over race-crossing. His classic of practical eugenics, The Choice of a Mate (London, 1935), is jam-packed with information about hybridism, inbreeding, physiognomy, and body-types and their relation to personality.
Early on, Ludovici had decided that all higher peoples had evolved through segregation and the closest inbreeding. In The Choice of a Mate he observed that the “beautiful, harmonious and wholesome” creators of preeminent cultures “arose in naturally or artificially confined areas, where broadmindedness, the universal brotherhood of mankind, internationalism, the love of one’s neighbor, and other forms of claptrap were quite unknown.” Egyptians, Aryans, Greeks and Saxons alike, it appears, were “racist.” Sir Arthur Keith and the sociobiologists have shown that species, or their genes, prosper on xenophobia. Ludovici offered his own explanation of the segregating impulse in The Quest of Human Quality:
“For, seeing that there is a substantial advantage . . . in having bodily harmony and optimal proportions, and survival must often in the past have depended upon it, the behaviour securing it, although quite unconscious, would become ingrained through natural selection, so that surviving species and races would have acquired an instinctive sense of kind or of kinship, for the simple reason that those not manifesting this behaviour had fallen by the wayside.”
As for Nordics, Ludovici complimented the race on its masculine virtues, in spite of his own familial roots in northern Italy and France, while noting the diminishing Nordic share of England’s racial make-up. After “The War of Polish Independence” (his term for WWII), however, he dismissed claims of Nordic superiority in war-torn Europe as “pure romanticism.” But at a time when the Great Race acted with a little more greatness, Ludovici’s 1933 speech to the English Mistery, a group of right-wing ruralists, highlighted his uncompromising views on race (Violence, Sacrifice and War, London, 1933). His opposition to birth control for Anglo-Saxons was clearly stated:
“[I]t invites a proud people henceforward to pour its seed down the drains instead of multiplying and spreading over the earth . . . it calls upon a proud conquering and imperial race henceforward to limit its multiplication in order to keep pace with (or rather to keep within the bounds imposed by) such inferior races as Negroes, Eskimos, Mongoloids of all kinds and Negritos, and such mongrel populations as the Levantines, the South Americans and the hybrids of South Africa . . .”
Ludovici admired Jews but greeted the advent of National Socialism with interest. He went to Germany to see the new regime for himself, writing articles for the conservative English Review about the German “miracles” largely concealed from his fellow-countrymen by “rigorous press-censorship.”
Germany’s religious atmosphere and sense of unity amazed him, and he agreed with the dignity the Nazi regime awarded to manual labor, the back-to-the-land movement, the waning of democracy, the idea of art reflecting the soul of a people, and “the concentration upon an ideal of woman as wife, mother and domestic mate.” But he decided that these reforms by Hitler counted as “nothing compared with his innovations in a far more difficult and pitfall-strewn field — the field of human biology.” Ludovici was impressed by the law to prevent hereditary diseases, the eugenics court, and such attempts to breed healthy types as “the biological cream of the SA,” the SS, while stretching tact to the limit in his writings by never mentioning the Nuremberg race laws or the word “Jew.”
As far back as 1913 he had not been as circumspect, when he wrote that England held “an enormous alien population in its midst.” By the time A Defence of Conservatism came out in 1927, he was speculating that, if Britain’s official Jewish population of 300,000 religious observers were to include non-observing Jews and half- and quarter-Jews, the figure would be pumped up to about a million. Needless to say, Ludovici disapproved strongly of Jewish-Gentile intermarriage. He did not disapprove of Edward I’s expulsion of Jews from England in 1290:
“[A] nation with individuality is . . . a segregated ethnic unit, and . . . must be protected from the influence of other segregated peoples, whose cultural index, so to speak, must be incompatible and therefore undesirably modifying.”
Ludovici adopted a nom de guerre, Cobbett, to examine the Jewish question more fully in The Jews, and the Jews in England (London, 1938). (He told his friend, William Gayley Simpson, that using his own name for this book would ruin his career as a writer.) Typically, he began with race, demonstrating that the Jewish type is mostly an amalgam of Armenoid with Oriental and Mediterranean contributions, the whole having been standardized over millennia to create an “irreducible kernel” of Jewishness. Jews are therefore alien to European races and especially Nordics. Tracing their character traits back to nomadic bedouins who became city-dwellers, traders and middlemen supreme, Ludovici believed circumstances compelled Jews to evolve genetic biases toward courage and endurance, ruthlessness, sharp brains and psychological flair, chameleonic adaptability, exhibitionism, a fondness for easy money and individualism in property, an intolerance of being ruled, a cosmopolitan outlook, and a racial patriotism superseding national boundaries. Programmed with this mindset, Jews are “indifferent spectators” to the fate of their Gentile hosts, whom they strive to undermine:
“Their influence . . . tends to impoverish and weaken all local tradition, national character and national identity, when these happen to be at all resistant to alien invasion. And since these factors are integrating forces, it follows that extreme Jewish liberalism atomizes a population, turns each man into an isolated individual, and ultimately culminates in a state bordering on anarchy in which, at the turn of an eyebrow, anarchy becomes a fact.”
The eternal bedouins had scavenged capitalism to such an extent by the 1930s that Ludovici forecast they might be turning next to communism — perhaps “merely a device or substitute for moving on to some fresh oasis or pasture, where docile flocks of sheep will continue to maintain their bureaucratic masters in idleness.” He failed to see that many Jews would eventually metamorphose into “neoconservatives” as Zionism began to outrank Marxism in their list of priorities.
An opponent of Spenglerian fatalism, Ludovici never turned defeatist. His works surges with racial optimism, and he once suggested that our race pledge allegiance to the cause, rather than to leaders, emphasizing that “our real strength . . . lies in the wisdom and sanity of our doctrine, as opposed to the lunacy that is rampant all about us” (Recovery, London, 1935).
Lecturing four years later on English Liberalism (London, 1939), he told a sympathetic audience to take heart from the experience of Nazis and Bolsheviks, groups once ridiculed as “contemptible minorities” but who went on to dominate Europe. He used these examples to prove that political, economic and social victories are determined by will. The lesson for us is that, “if any cause is upheld with passion and single-mindedness, it must ultimately prevail, even when congenital . . . liberals and international manipulators, Jew or Gentile, constitute the organised enemy.”
R. B. Kerr, who disagreed with most of Ludovici’s ideas, remarked in Our Prophets that lecturing was
“a thing he does exceedingly well. He is a man of elegant appearance and neat dress, a slight and graceful figure, and a pleasing manner . . . . I am not sure that he would shine in a large hall, but in a small hall or drawing-room, with a select audience, he has probably never been surpassed.”
Modern conservatives have either disowned or forgotten Ludovici. If they knew of his writings, George Bush and Margaret Thatcher, not to mention Milton Friedman, would have to reevaluate their conservative credentials. Ludovici was a conservative from another, vanished world — a world in which such incandescent minds as T. S. Eliot and Lothrop Stoddard could discuss the pros and cons of racial separation, or government by elites, or the Jewish question.
Because conventional politicians have placed a taboo on the older racial and elitist conservatism, the best of it has passed down to pro-Majority activists and thinkers. Although we haven’t yet defeated the “organised enemy,” we have a vital ally, bound and ready for action, in a shelf stacked with Ludovici’s 30 and more published books. Put simply, Anthony Ludovici was an Instaurator before Instauration.