Might Is Right or the Survival of the Fittest, by Ragnar Redbeard
Originally published in 1886; 2005 edition
edited by Darrell W. Conder ; available from
; available from Occidental Press.
Reviewed by Anthony
September 29, 2009
September 29, 2009
Many of us remember getting the message about Social Darwinism during the Franz Boas-dominated second half of the 20th Century. According to Boasians, the behavior of humans is remarkably exempt from biological forces and is instead governed mainly by social constructs. Thus humans can achieve utopian peacefulness and universal altruism by developing the appropriate cultural mores. In contrast, Social Darwinism was the idea that nature was “red in tooth and claw,” so that we might as well go along with it, along with all the other animals, and be as ruthless as we like: kill, kill, kill!! Ruthlessness would be a natural, thoroughly acceptable lifestyle since it is part of what we inherit rather than learn, and it would be unnatural to keep trying to override such built-in tendencies. If we inherited them, they must be adaptive and therefore good.
But the social learning advocates explained to us that
just because, say, a tornado, was natural didn’t mean we had to like it.
That would be the flawed logic of confounding the empirical with the moral —
confusing “what is” with “what should be.” It was also pointed out that much
of Darwinian evolution occurs not through bloody battles but via such
non-violent processes as mutations for, say, better digestion of milk in
adulthood and better immune systems. No “red in tooth and claw” there.
“Survival of the fittest” was declared a tautology, meaning only that those
organisms that ended up having the most surviving and reproducing offspring
were, in modern biology’s jargon, the “fittest” — but only because “fittest”
no longer meant that the “fittest” somehow deserved to survive, or might be
expected to survive, but only that they in fact did survive.
The book under review,
Right…, (MIR), would certainly be
considered by many to be the reductio ad absurdum
of 19th-century Social Darwinism. “Ragnar Redbeard” (RR) was evidently
greatly enamored of Darwin’s theory of natural selection including sexual
selection (in which choice of mate by both males and females influences
which genes are propagated) despite the fact that he, like Darwin, could not
have known about
genes or modern molecular biology.
Nevertheless he manifested an intuitive understanding of one important
modern term, “inclusive fitness”:
“A man’s family is … part of himself. Therefore his natural business is to
defend it, as he would his own life” (p. 49).
“Ragnar Redbeard” was a pen name, but
whoever he was,
he was an extremely well-informed, erudite person, albeit with a rather
florid literary style which might be off-putting for some readers. I came to
find both style and content quite amusing. In fact, it occurred to me more
than once that I was reading a satire, one suitably embellished by esoteric
Biblical references and Victorian phraseology: a worthy companion to
H. L. Mencken.
On the other hand, suppose MIR
was not a satire. Then why would anyone in the 21st century look twice at
such a book? One reason would be the emergence today of a rethinking of
conventional wisdoms: in economics (OK, communism is out, but aren’t there
big problems with unregulated market economies, Wall Street, the Federal
Reserve, and fractional reserve banking?), in politics (what happened to the
Republican Party and “true
conservatives”?), human nature (we don’t all have the same IQ?),
or race relations (diversity is
not a utopia?).
Much of this rethinking is taking place on the internet, of course.
Some have even concluded late in
their lives that they’ve been the butt of a big ideological con game.
They eventually realize that humans, either
individually or in groups, cannot possibly be at all “equal” except in the
restricted sense of each person theoretically having one vote (“one idiot,
one vote”). And is “democracy”
really all that sacred?
Instead of living under a dictatorship of one
man, we have a dictatorship of a majority manipulated by Hollywood, the
mainstream media, and obscure elites. But many of us have given up on
utopias and now simply want to obtain or defend a half-decent way of life
which we are awake enough now to see is severely threatened if not already
lost — given the ubiquity of muggings, rapes, and car-jackings in US cities,
the Wall Street shakedowns, the dumbing down of schools. So, having had so
many of our assumptions about what is “right” or “good” turned up-side-down,
maybe we should re-examine “Social Darwinism” too.
So consider several issues raised
Much of MIR focuses, albeit a bit repetitively, on what
RR perceives as an unending history of horrible treatment meted out by
humans on their enemies and the logical and empirical imperative of relying
on “might” in the normal course of human affairs. He probably commits one
empirical excess in an especially misanthropic diatribe in Chapter IV: While
stating that the story of Jews stealing and murdering Christian infants in
order to use their blood for Passover rituals is a myth, he accepts as fact
an exceedingly high estimate of the frequency of human cannibalism — perhaps
understandably given the dearth of reliable anthropological evidence 100
Now, the anti-Social Darwinists complain that evolution and natural selection are not always so horribly bloody. Quite right. However, that does not mean that violence is never adaptive. Consider Genghis Khan whose Y chromosome has been found by geneticists to be so widespread across Asia due to the fact that the leaders of the Mongol armies controlled the women in the areas they conquered.
Actually, RR may be advocating
“power” more than bloody battles, thus helpfully broadening the concept of
might. No one has to tell us that power is extremely important to human
lives, but again, we should pay attention. This issue is at the heart of a
between Eric P. Kaufman and Kevin MacDonald concerning the precipitous
decline of the West and of WAS(P) and Northern European dominance of the
RR is quite successful in demonstrating the ubiquity of
power relations, and then is surprisingly convincing in his argument that
striving for power is not only an essential and inevitable feature of life
but is highly desirable as a course of action for any man wanting to make a
success of his life (RR seems to be addressing primarily males.)
About equality: one of RR’s main messages is that there
is no such thing, in any practical sense, and never will be; the idea of
“equal rights” is nonsensical. Instead, people vary in their abilities and
other characteristics all over the lot. People have always been and always
will be in a state of competition; so that the only thing to do, really, is
to strive to compete as well as one can and forget about ever being treated
equally. The only way to be treated as one would like is to have the power
to enforce such treatment.
An obvious implication for Whites in the West is that
anyone happily waiting for other races and ethnies to treat us “equally” or
even well, once they take over (very soon) as majorities in the US and
Europe, is an illusion. With the votes they will simply run our countries as
they see fit and to hell with us.
STOP!! Devout Christians will find the next paragraphs
offensive! Read at your own risk!
RR provides an extraordinarily articulate, and to me hilarious, critique of Jesus Christ and Christianity. Might-makes-right being his number one rule, he has nothing but contempt for Christ’s Sermon on the Mount and celebration of the weak, the poor, the miserable. RR values the courageous, the powerful, the ruthless. Why in the world would any sane person value, desire, or want to emulate what Christ recommended?
[W]e must either abandon our
reason or abandon Christ…All that is enervating and destructive of manhood,
he glorifies — all that is self-reliant and heroic, he denounces.… He
praises “the humble” and he curses the proud.
He blesses the failures and damns the successful. All that is noble he
perverts — all that is atrocious he upholds. He inverts all the natural
instincts of mankind and urges us to live artificial lives… he advises his
admirers to submit in quietness to every insult, contumely [outrage],
indignity; to be slaves, de-facto. … this preacher of all eunuch-virtues —
of self-abasement, of passive suffering. (p. 7)
Anyone who wonders if
Christianity is fundamentally a malevolent Jewish stratagem for emasculating
will find this treatise exhilarating. Everything within the Christian church
seems designed simply to fleece the flock:
The bliss of a sheep! How superlatively
delightful? How divinely glorious? And a Jew as the Good Shepard, who
leadeth his lambs ‘to green pastures, and quiet resting places, the pleasant
waters by.’ … For two thousand years or so, his fleecy flocks have been
fattening themselves up with commendable diligence — for the shearing-shed
and the butchers-block.” (p. 14)
With RR, not even the “golden
rule” goes unscathed — on the grounds that it makes no sense to follow it
given that no one else does. Shades of the alternative “Golden Rule”: “He who has the gold, makes the rules.”
The theme extends to practical
politics where “deceitful Ideals are cunningly woven by dexterous political
spiders, to capture and exploit swarms of human flies” (p. 18). He follows
with a searing analysis of America’s “Declaration of Independence” which he
says begins with “an unctuous falsehood, a black, degrading, self-evident
lie — a lie which no one could possibly believe but a born fool. With
insolent effrontery it brazenly proclaims as ‘a self-evident truth’ that
‘all men are created equal’ and that they are ‘endowed by their Creator’
with certain inalienable rights’” (p. 19).
The subsequent… “democracy” as practiced by
Americans is viewed as an elaborate con game, a view that should strike a
chord after the recent bank bailouts and the Iraq war.
We must then ask ourselves: Is the extreme altruism
advocated by Christianity at all responsible for the West “giving away the
farm”? Think about Teddy Kennedy and his Jewish associates who opened up
America to immigration from the whole world.
RR’s attack on Christianity and “equality” of course begs the question of alternatives. As a friend recently remarked,
While many people (in our movement and without) sneer at what they see as an emotional crutch for weaklings, the fact remains that the birthrate is closely correlated with a hopeful, optimistic view of life. No society has ever been able to function without a religion. And it is most unlikely that anyone will be able to create a religionless society in the future.
If that is true, and this writer
agrees, a major contribution to the survival of our people, the indigenous
people of the British Isles and Europe including those who migrated to the
Western Hemisphere, would be to develop a
alternative to Christianity. Such a
would regard the survival of our people as its primary sacred goal and
hopefully would be more consistent with scientific knowledge. It would
establish communities of the like-minded of common ethny (as Jews have
done). It would develop either new rituals or utilize those imagined as
times. Perhaps, as a friend suggests, some existing Christian communities,
especially those whose main goal is “community,” could be gradually
“retro-fitted” along these lines. Keep the harmless features of
Christianity, especially the European cultural
details, but throw out or simply ignore everything that RR is making fun of.
What then do we now make of the
main issue raised by MIR, the relationship between “what is and what ought”?
RR seems to be saying that “what is” (e.g., human ruthlessness) determines
directly “what ought.”
First, we should note that
evolutionary biologists/psychologists have in recent years argued strongly
that our values and morals do
originate in aspects of human nature
(what is) that evolved biologically. Actually,
David Hume pretty much figured this
out back in the 18th
century. This would be the first “link” — between brain mechanisms
(emotions, motives) that are adaptive and what a person feels is the right
thing to do even if the feeling of right is logically distinguishable from
what “really” is right.
That distinction is the basis for
the “naturalistic fallacy” critique of Social Darwinism.
has well reviewed why this fallacy is, itself, a fallacy: The logical
distinction between “is” and “ought” does not detract from the empirical
relationship between what is adaptive and what a person normally values.
We must ask, then, if there is anything more important to us than our own survival and that of our close relatives. If there isn’t, then how could we do anything more ethical or morally correct than doing whatever is adaptive for us and ours? For us, whatever is adaptive should be morally correct, no?
But wait! Morally correct for
whom? Isn’t there a flaw here in the anti-Social
Darwinists’ reasoning? They have in mind a morality that not only applies to
everyone on the planet but a morality of which the consequences are
beneficial to all of humanity, not just ourselves and relatively close kin.
Sounds like a corollary of Christianity! (Unless Jesus intended that his
principles apply only to relations among fellow Jews.)
Such a moral principle necessarily stands outside of human evolution in the sense that, according to all the widely accepted theory in evolutionary biology, such a moral principle could not have evolved as an adaptive trait of individuals. A moral principle is certainly not a measurable physical force like gravity, permeating everything. It exists only within a person’s brain.
This does not mean that people could not act according to such principles. But it would mean that doing so would not automatically “feel good” in the same way that helping oneself or helping one’s family feels good. With enough propaganda, of course, nearly anything is possible. But that’s what it is: Propaganda.
This is probably what’s behind the controversy over government-run health care in the US: For most Whites, it doesn’t feel good to support a program where they would pay disproportionately for medical care for the hordes of non-Whites who now populate the country — even if they could be convinced it was good for the country as a whole.
A universal principle of doing what’s best for humanity also runs into problems because of individual differences:
1) Sociopaths/psychopaths apparently lack normal moral feelings/values. They feel no guilt, so nothing like a universal moral imperative to help humanity there.
The fact that, say,
the desire for revenge is found throughout the world as a human universal,
would be consistent with it being adaptive. But individuals will still vary
in the strength of that desire which is subject to the natural selection
common to all biological variables.
Finally, a universal principle of
doing what’s best for humanity fails to deal adequately with conflicts of
interest. Individuals are often in competition because of different
Hunters feel morally justified in shooting a deer to eat. The deer, were he
capable of such thought, would feel differently about being shot. No common
morality there. Same logic within our species. What seems morally justified
to the Hatfields will not be to the McCoys.
So there would not seem to be a universal moral code by
which everyone would agree on the same ethical course of action in a
particular circumstance. Bye, bye Christianity.
So RR may have been onto something in taking his strongly Social Darwinist position. His book’s heuristic value lies in the hard-nosed, un-blinking acknowledgement that life is tough; one had better get used to it, get prepared for it early in life, appreciate the warriors among us and never go “soft” (except, as RR says, around close family members and close friends!) If you cease being prepared, you’ll get run over by those who are tougher and more ruthless.
MIR is not advocating indiscriminate homicide, since the
real focus of the game, evident by the end of the book, is simply “power”,
which can be obtained in myriad ways. A further caution would be that what
has been adaptive in the past may not be so in the future since relevant
selection pressures may change. What is adaptive in one situation may not be
so in another.
Long term, the unanticipated
consequences may be the most important. Biologically, it might seem adaptive
to simply slaughter your enemy. But as
Wilson once suggested, whether one
adheres to a policy of “an eye for an eye” or a “massacre” should depend on
whether an attempted massacre of one’s enemy seems likely to be total. If
they don’t all get killed, the survivors may have a long memory and your own
survival and reproduction may suffer.
Here one might reflect on the
Nazis’ “final solution” that ended well before completion: The surviving
Jews have displayed great energy in obtaining reparations and hunting down
Strikes Back” is the situation facing
the British, as descendents of once conquered peoples have non-violently
emigrated to the U.K.
Similarly, Mexicans are subjecting the
American Southwest to a “reconquista”
by presenting themselves as a useful labor force and congenial nannies.
There is a lesson in MIR, then,
for anyone attempting to protect his family or his nation or a collection of
allied nations, depending on which
one’s adversary is targeting.
For example, Whites in America and Europe
today are generally under threat. The lesson would be to gain power,
economic as well as territorial, establish enclaves wherever convenient but
eventually, as the late Sam Francis declared, re-conquer the whole of one’s
country. A few Christians may balk at this, but encourage them to be
A slogan recently seen on a T-shirt, “Fighting Solves
Everything”, may be an oversimplification. But the attitude is a good one.
Inculcate it in your children.
MIR is available for only $10.00 from the Occidental Press. Get it for your friends and relatives.
Anthony Hilton (email him) is Assoc. Prof. (retired) in the Psychology Department, Concordia University, Montreal.