The Revolt Against Civilization
Excerpt from The Revolt Against Civilization
The Menace of the Under Man
LOTHRUP STODDARD, A.M., PH.D (Harvard)
Copyright 1922, Charles Scribner's Sons
"Such is our racial balance-sheet. And, be it remembered: our
civilization, unlike its predecessors, cannot shift the burden to
other shoulders, because there are no more untapped "racial
reserves." No "noble barbarians" wait to step forward as in the
past; the barbarians and savages who still remain in the world are
demonstrably of inferior caliber and can contribute little or
nothing to the progress of civilization.
If, then, our civilization is to survive, it must conserve and
foster its own race values. Happily our civilization possesses two
great advantages over past times: scientific knowledge and the
scientific spirit. To us have been revealed secrets of life our
forebears never knew. And to us has been vouchsafed a passion for
the truth such as the world has never seen. Other ages have sought
truth from the lips of seers and prophets; our age seeks it from
scientific proof. Other ages have had their saints and martyrs --
dauntless souls who clung to the faith with unshakeable constancy.
Yet our age has also had its saints and martyrs -- heroes who can
not only face death for their faith, but who can also scrap their
faith when facts have proved it wrong. There, indeed, is courage!
And therein lies our hope.
This matchless love of truth, this spirit of science which combines
knowledge and faith in the synthesis of a higher wisdom, as yet
inspires only the elite of our time. Most of us are still more or
less under the spell of the past -- the spell of passion, prejudice,
and unreason. It is thus that ideas and ideals clearly disproved by
science yet claim the allegiance of multitudes of worthy men.
The dead hand of false doctrines and fallacious hopes lies,
indeed, heavy upon us. Laws, institutions, customs, ideas, and
ideals are all stamped deep with its imprint. Our very minds and
souls are imbued with delusions like environmentalism and "natural
equality" from whose emotional grip it is hard to escape. Mighty as
is the new truth, our eyes are yet blinded to its full meaning, our
hearts shrink instinctively from its wider implications, and our
feet falter on the path to higher destinies.
These reactionary forces stubbornly impede the progress of those
deep-going eugenic reforms which must speedily be undertaken if our
civilization is to be saved from decline and our race from decay.
This is serious enough. But there is something more serious still.
The reactionary forces which we have just described, though,
powerful, are, after all, essentially negative in character. With
the spread of enlightenment they would soon wither -- if they stood
alone. But they do not stand alone. Behind them, sheltered by them,
lurks a positive, aggressive force: The Under-Man!
The Under-Man is unconvertible. He will not bow to the new truth,
because he knows that the new truth is not for him. Why should he
work for a higher civilization, when even the present civilization
is beyond his powers? What the Under-Man wants is, not progress, but
regress -- regress to more primitive conditions in which he would be
at home. In fact, the more he grasps the significance of the new
eugenic truth, the uglier grows his mood. So long as all men
believed all men potentially equal, the Under-Man could delude
himself into thinking that changed circumstances might rise him to
the top. Now that nature herself proclaims him irremediably
inferior, his hatred of superiority knows no bounds.
This hatred he has always instinctively felt. Envy and resentment
of superiority have ever been the badges of base minds. Yet never
have these badges been so fiercely flaunted, so defiantly worn, as
to-day. This explains the seeming paradox that, just when the
character of superiority becomes supremely manifest, the cry for
leveling "equality" rises supremely shrill. The Under-Man revolts
against progress! Nature herself having decreed him uncivilizable,
the Under-Man declares war on civilization.
These are not pretty facts. But we had better face them, lest they
face us, and catch us unawares. Let us, then, understand once and
for all that we have among us a rebel army -- the vast host of the
unadaptable, the incapable, the envious, the discontented, filled
with instinctive hatred of civilization and progress, and ready on
the instant to rise in revolt. Here are foes that need watching. Let
us watch them."