Classic Essays

The Revolt Against Civilization: The Menace of the Underman (Part 7)

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 IDEA OF “Natural Equality” is one of the most pernicious delusions that has ever afflicted mankind. It is a figment of the human imagination. Nature knows no equality. The most cursory examination of natural phenomena reveals the presence of a Law of Inequality as universal and inflexible as the Law of Gravitation. The evolution of life is the most striking instance of this fundamental truth. Evolution is a process of differentiation — of increasing differentiation — from the simple one-celled bit of protoplasm to the infinitely differentiated, complex life forms of the present day.

And the evolutionary process is not merely quantitative; it is qualitative as well. These successive differentiations imply increasingly inequalities. Nobody but a madman could seriously contend that the microscopic speck of protoplasmic jelly floating in the tepid waters of the Paleozoic Sea was “equal” to a human being.

But this is only the beginning of the story. Not only are the various life types profoundly unequal in qualities and capacities; the individual members of each type are similarly differentiated among themselves. No two individuals are ever precisely alike. We have already seen how greatly this dual process of differentiation both of type and individual has been affected the human species, and how basic a factor it has been in human progress. Furthermore, individual inequalities steadily increase as we ascend the biological scale. The amoeba differs very little from his fellows; the dog much more so; man most of all. And inequalities between men likewise become ever more pronounced. The innate differences between members of a low-grade savage tribe are as nothing compared with the abyss sundering the idiot and the genius who coexist in a high-grade civilization.

Thus, we see that evolution means a process of ever-growing inequality. There is, in fact, no such word as “equality” in nature’s lexicon. With an increasingly uneven hand she distributes health, beauty, vigor, intelligence, genius — all the qualities which confer on their possessors superiority over their fellows.

Now, in the face of all this, how has the delusion of “natural equality” obtained — and retained — so stubborn a hold on mankind? As to both its antiquity and persistency there can be no shadow of doubt. The slogan of “equality” was raised far back in the remote past, and, instead of lessening, was never more loudly trumpeted than to-day. It is a curious fact that just when the advance of knowledge and the increasing complexity of civilization have enhanced individual differences and rendered superior capacities supremely important, the cry for equality should have become fiercer than ever, should have been embodied in all sorts of levelling doctrines, and should have been actually attempted in Bolshevik Russia with the most fanatical fury and the most appalling results.

Here is obviously something requiring careful analysis. As a matter of fact, the passion for “natural” equality seems to spring primarily from certain impulses of the ego, the self, particularly from the impulses of self-preservation and self-esteem. Every individual is inevitably the center of his world, and instinctively tends to regard his own existence and well-being as matters of supreme importance. This instinctive egoism is, of course, modified by experience, observation, and reflection, and may be so overlaid that it becomes scarcely recognizable even by the individual himself. Nevertheless, it remains, and subtly colors every thought and attitude. In his heart of hearts, each individual feels that he is really a person of importance. No matter how low may be his capacities, no matter how egregious his failures, no matter how unfavorable the judgement of his fellows; still his inborn instincts of self-preservation and self-love whisper that he should survive and prosper, that “things are not right,” and that if the world were properly ordered he would be much better placed.

Fear and wounded vanity thus inspire the individual to resent unfavorable status, and this resentment tends to take the form of protest against “injustice.” Injustice of what? Of “fate,” “nature,” “circumstances,” perhaps; yet, more often, injustice of persons — individually or collectively (i.e., “society”). But (argues the discontented ego), since all this is unjust, those better placed persons have no “right” to succeed where he fails. Though more fortunate, they are not really his superiors. He is “as good as they are.” Hence, either he should be up with them — or they should be down with him. “We are all men. We are all equal!”

Such, in a nutshell, is the train of thought — or rather of feeling — underlying the idea of “natural equality.”

It is, of course, evident that the idea springs primarily from the emotions, however much it may “rationalize” itself by intellectual arguments. Being basically emotional, it is impervious to reason, and when confronted by hard facts it takes refuge in mystic faith. All levelling doctrines (including, of course, the various brands of modern Socialism) are, in the last analysis, not intellectual concepts, but religious cults. This is strikingly shown by recent events. During the past ten years biology and kindred sciences have refuted practically all the intellectual arguments on which the doctrine of “natural equality” relies. But has this destroyed the doctrine? Not at all. Its devoted followers either ignore biology, or elaborate pseudobiological fallacies (which we will later examine), or, lastly, lose their tempers, show their teeth, and swear to kill their opponents and get their own way somehow — which is just what the extreme “proletarian” ragings mean. Quite useless to point out to such zealots the the inequalities of nature. Their answer is that superior endowment is itself a basic injustice (“injustice” of nature!) which it is society’s duty to remedy by equalizing rewards regardless of ability or service. This is exemplified by that stock Socialist formula: Distribution according to “needs.”

Such are the emotional bases of the doctrine of natural equality. But, as we have already stated, these emotional bases have been buttressed by many intellectual arguments of great apparent force. Indeed, down to our own days, when the new biological revelation (for it is nothing short of that) has taught us the supreme importance of heredity, mankind tended to believe that environment rather than heredity was the main factor in human existence. We simply cannot overestimate the change which biology is effecting in our whole outlook on life. It is unquestionably inaugurating the mightiest transformation of ideas that the world has ever seen. Let us glance at the state of human knowledge a few short decades ago to appreciate its full significance…

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Source: Dissident Millennial

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