Classic Essays

The Revolt Against Civilization: The Menace of the Underman (Part 1)

As part of our commitment to the celebration of forgotten classics—i.e., great works of the past which have been intentionally flushed down the memory hole by our Orwellian overlords—National Vanguard is proud to present a condensed edition of Lothrop Stoddard’s pioneering treatise The Revolt Against Civilization: The Menace of the Underman, originally published in 1922.

To appreciate the significance of this work, one must understand that in his day Stoddard was a certified member of America’s (now-former) WASP establishment. An old-stock Yankee from Brookline, Massachusetts, Stoddard held a Ph.D. in History from Harvard University and was one of the most prominent intellectuals in the country prior to the Second World War. It is only because of the triumph of Jewish propaganda from that war that racialists like Stoddard have since been relegated to obscurity.
by Lothrop Stoddard


THE REVOLUTIONARY unrest which to-day afflicts the entire world goes far deeper than is generally supposed.

Its root-cause is not Russian Bolshevik propaganda, not the late war, not the French Revolution, but a process of racial impoverishment, which destroyed the great civilizations of the past and which threatens to destroy our own.

This grim blight of civilized society has been correctly diagnosed only in recent years. The momentous biological discoveries of the past generation have revealed the true workings of those hitherto mysterious laws of life on which, in the last analysis, all human activity depends.

In the light of these biological discoveries, confirmed and amplified by investigations in other fields of science, especially psychology, all political and social problems need to be re-examined.

Such a re-examination of one of these problems — the problem of social revolution — has been attempted in the present book.


Civilization is the flowering of the human species. It is both a recent and a fragile thing. The first glimmering of genuine civilization appeared only eight or ten thousand years ago. This might seem a long time. It does not seem so long when we remember that behind civilization’s dawn lies a vast night of barbarism, of savagery, of bestiality, estimated at half a million years, since the ape-man shambled forth from the steaming murk of tropical forests, and, scowling and blinking, raised his eyes to the stars.

Civilization is complex. It involves the existence of human communities characterized by political and social organization; dominating and utilizing natural forces; adapting themselves to the new man-made environment thereby created; possessing knowledge, refinement, arts, and sciences; and (last, but emphatically not least) composed of individuals capable of sustaining this elaborate complex and of handing it on to a capable posterity. This last consideration is, in fact, the crux of the wholematter; the secret of success, the secret, likewise, of those tragic failures which perplex and sadden the student of history. Man’s march athwart the ages has been, not a steady advance, but rather a slow wandering, now breasting sunlit heights, yet anon plunging into dank swamps and gloomy valleys. Of the countless tribes of men, many have perished utterly while others havestopped by the wayside, apparently incapable of going forward, and have either vegetated or sunk into decadence. Man’s trail is littered with the wrecks of dead civilizations and dotted with the graves of promising peoples stricken by an untimely end. Sharp and insistent comes the query: Why? Civilization seems so good a thing! It means relative protection from the blind and cruel forces of nature; abolition of the struggle against savage beasts and amelioration of the struggle between men; opportunity for comfort, leisure, and the development of the higher faculties. Why, then, do we find so many branches of the human species never attaining never really striving after these eminently desirable boons? Also (yet more note-worthy!) why do we find still other stocks, after having attained civilization, losing it and falling back to the lower levels of barbarism or even of savagery? Mysterious though this may at first sight appear, there is, nevertheless, an answer: Those stagnant or decadent peoples could not bear the burden of civilization. For civilization is a burden as well as a benefit. This is inevitable in a universe governed by laws which decree that something may not come out of nothing. Civilization is not a cause but an effect of sustained human energy; and this energy, in turn, springs from the creative urge of superior germ-plasm. Civilization is thus fundamentally conditioned by race. [emphasis–ed.] In any particular people, civilization will progress just so far as that people has the capacity to further it and the ability to bear the correlative burden which it entails. When this crucial point is reached, the civilization of that people either stagnates or retrogrades. Exactly how the process works becomes clear by a glance at human history.

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Source: Dissident Millennial

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