Anthony M. Ludovici
Constable & Co Ltd
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As man in his sexual rôle and adaptations has not been discussed nearly as often as woman, and his psychological idiosyncrasies have not been as widely popularized as those of his mate in the sexual union, the present work perhaps calls for a less elaborate apology than would otherwise have been necessary. Nevertheless, I crave the reader's forgiveness for having presumed to compose what I hope will prove a readable discourse on a subject which hitherto has suffered so much neglect, and can only trust that this neglect in itself has been due less to the intrinsic dullness of the male sex than to the preponderating fascination exercised by woman.
In both Woman: A Vindication and Lysistrata much was necessarily said about man and particularly about the modern Englishman. But the compass of these works, not allowing for a complete picture of the human male as a mate, a father, a bachelor, a widower, and (in his purely British rôle) as an Empire builder and director, I trust that those who know my two works on woman, may find the following pages a useful and essential completion of them.
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The Causes of Degeneration and the Remedy
Briefly, the problems I have set myself to investigate, and if possible to solve in the present work are these: How are we to account for the fact that among the most highly civilized peoples of the modern world, man, as the human male, with all his physical and other advantages, has contrived, both in the home and in public life, to descend to his present position of apparent equality with, or subordination to woman? And, where he is not yet either the equal or subordinate of woman, why are the privileges, or rather responsibilities (political, professional, economic or other), which have hitherto fallen to his lot, now being claimed and steadily appropriated or shared by his womenfolk? 1
More narrowly described, my problem is to explain how and why the modern Englishman, with the magnificent heritage he has received from his forefathers in the form of that great Empire on which the sun never sets, has become the kind of male who, not only in his sexual, but also in his administrative and Imperial relations, seems no longer able to maintain his supremacy.
1 Lest the reader should not be satisfied that this is a fair statement of Feminist aims, let me quote Miss Rose Macaulay's own definition of Feminism. In the Morning Post of July 7, 1925, Miss Macaulay wrote: "Let us then be more precise, and define feminism as 'attempts of women to possess privileges (political, professional, economic or other) which have been previously denied to them on account of sex.' This should be exact enough to afford Lord Ampthill [Miss Macaulay's opponent in the controversy on Feminism] and myself a common basis for dispute." The fact that there was no demur, but only applause, from the Feminists on this point, proves that Miss Macaulay satisfied them with her statement of their position.
But it is also true of those vices in his philosophy and art of life, which have contributed and are still contributing to his decline. It is true, for instance, of his false doctrine of equality, self-determination, democracy, and industrial socialism. 1 It is true of his misunderstanding and corruption of women, of his inadequate conception of true manliness, of his failure to rule urban populations, and his inability to found anything permanent and sound in social architecture and national character.
Thus while five continents have been copying his methods for achieving material prosperity, they have also more often than not quite unwittingly been adopting the opinions by which he rules his actions, the prejudices and prepossessions which govern the direction, or rather the drift, of his life; and, in this way, the civilized male population of the globe has become either English, or else more or less infected with English ideas.
In framing a treatise on the modern human male, in which as it will appear to some I give an undue prominence to the Englishman, I shall not therefore have sinned as gravely as might be supposed against the scientific requirements of my thesis; for, in the first place, he is certainly the most important male figure of
1 The reader is reminded that Karl Marx, the founder of modern Socialism and Bolshevism, thought and wrote with English social and industrial conditions as his data.
Consequently if I carry the day with my Indictment of modern man, it will be because I have successfully made out my case against the modern Englishman, including all his imitators, whether in Germany, France, America, or the Republic of China. And, if I can show that the Englishman is wrong, and, by continuing in his present downward direction, cannot escape further deterioration, it will mean, not only that this country is in dire need of reform, but that the whole world is plodding steadily towards disaster, and that the time has come to cry a halt and to plot out a fresh itinerary.
For, if we exclude the vast body of the Englishman's imitators, there remain in the British Empire alone, a territory and organization so vast and so powerful, 1 and therefore an instrument so effective for securing the good of an appreciable portion of the world's inhabitants, and supplying an example and an ideal to the remainder, that, at the present day, there can be no more constructive and creative work at hand than the conscientious criticism and stimulation of the people of these islands, in their rôle of hereditary custodians and organizers of the greatest Mission, the greatest means for Good, the greatest Cause, the world has ever seen.
If, by allowing male degeneracy to continue one hour longer, we suffer this Mission, this vast means for Good, this Cause, to slip from our grasp, to fall into other hands, or otherwise to perish, before the great objects which it places within our reach have been attained, the British Empire will have been great merely as a preparation, a pioneer effort, a tour de force in conquest and appropriation, without the fulfilment, the
1 In 1923, of the total area of the five continents, which was 55,500,000 sq. miles, the British Empire represented 14,220,000 sq. miles, and of the total population of the globe which was 1,656,000,000, British subjects numbered 436,752,000.
For, although we may concede to the Socialists, Bolshevists and other detractors of the British Imperial power, that the Empire was built up by the un-Christian use of might, 1 we claim that the best way to repair that iniquity is not to allow the Empire to perish when all the wrongs to which its creation led are no longer retrievable, but to use it and its vast machinery in such a way as to prove it an ultimate blessing rather than a curse to humanity. This will be its most handsome vindication, and it is this thought that ought to give us hope and make us patriots. Nowhere else do we see the chance of linking up our energies with such a vast concern, the course of which can at will be so effectively deflected towards the salvation of humanity. In this sense only do I undertake to criticize the present development of British manhood, because all those who cherish any
1 As this aspect of the matter is frequently overlooked, particularly by those people who are either unacquainted with history or (what amounts to the same thing) acquainted only with those facts that are to be culled from popular and school histories, perhaps it may be interesting to quote the words of a great British soldier, who can be suspected neither of lack of patriotism nor of ignorance, concerning that portion of the Empire of which he speaks. In The Story of a Soldier's Life (Vol. I, p. 256) Field-Marshal Viscount Wolseley, G.C.M.G., etc., wrote as follows: "We won India by the sword, and whilst humanity and a Christian spirit incite us at all times to do what we can to make the Sepoy and the people generally happy and contented, that sword must be always kept sharp and ready for use at any moment." Concerning other parts of the Empire much the same could be said. The histories of the New Netherland Colony in the U.S.A., of Acadia, of the Province of Quebec, of Zululand, of the Ashantee kingdom, and of the partition of Africa in 18851895, all bear witness to the unscrupulous violence of our Empire politics; while the early histories of Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand probably constitute the worst reading of all for a patriot who wishes to think well of England. The cruelties committed by the Spaniards in America and elsewhere pale into insignificance beside the atrocities perpetrated by the early English settlers in Australia and Tasmania only a little more than a hundred years ago.
Now a vast Empire can be efficiently administered neither by women, nor by men who have delivered themselves up into the hands of their womenfolk, or ceased to lead and inspire them. It is therefore no mere coincidence that precisely at this conjuncture in our Imperial affairs, when in more than one of our dependencies the cry is beginning to be raised against British rule and suzerainty, and the former docile non-British subjects of the Empire are increasing their impudent demands for independence, our womenfolk at home should be claiming an alleged equality with men, which extends beyond political privileges, and should at the same time be manifesting both discontentment and disdain towards their men whether as leaders, husbands, fathers or brothers.
To blame the women for their attitude of revolt, to exhort them to adopt a meeker and more subordinate rôle, to apply to them such injurious epithets as "tribads," "Lesbians" or "women in trousers," or to accuse them of being unnatural or unsexed, is not only unfair, it is also unscientific. All life is a striving after power, and power extends only so far as the point where it meets with effective resistance. The extension of woman's power in recent years, therefore, must be commensurate with our own weakness, or our failure to resist (which amounts to the same thing), and if we blame anyone it must be ourselves.
If we came across a school full of children who had successfully defied the authority of their elders, and were directing their studies and defining their hours of work and play themselves, we should not suspect that there was anything wrong with the children on the contrary, we should immediately turn our eyes on the elders themselves, to discover what was lacking in them, where they had failed, and by what derelictions from duty
It cannot be repeated too often that respect, love, confidence and admiration, are spontaneous reactions; they are the natural and almost involuntary adaptation of human nature (and sometimes even of animal nature) to the creature who inspires them. There is perhaps no greater error in psychology, no more shallow misunderstanding of humanity, than that which is embodied in the command, "Love thy neighbour." Love and respect, like confidence, like admiration, like attachment, cannot be created in this way by a word of command. A spontaneous reaction depends for its manifestation just as much upon a proper and adequate stimulus as water depends on heat in order to boil. And in the case of love and respect, that proper and adequate stimulus is not a copy-book maxim, or a moral principle however frequently reiterated, but the possession of certain unmistakable qualities in a fellow-creature, which, when recognized, promptly provoke the inevitable response. Only an undiscerning man or woman will love a neighbour who is not lovable. 1
If, therefore, the modern generation of men, particularly in England, have forfeited the respect, confidence and admiration of their womenfolk, they merely display their shallowness and ignorance of psychology, when they take to blaming the women themselves for what they (the men) fail to make the women feel. Nay more, they waste their time when they try to restore women to their former attitude of mind by exhortations and sermons.
1 When I pointed this out five years ago in my False Assumptions of Democracy (pp. 1756) critics were more concerned about the implied attack which my argument made upon a certain great religion's doctrines than about the truth of my contention.
Admitting, then, that woman's struggle for independence, for a hand in the government and administration of the country, and for greater power in all spheres, points to a loss of the confidence she once felt in her menfolk and it is difficult to see what else it can indicate men cannot mend matters by deploring her lack of propriety, or her deficient sense of fitness, or her loss of "true womanliness." They can begin to mend matters only if they turn their eyes upon themselves and ask what can have happened, what change can have come over them, that they should no longer be able to stimulate those spontaneous reactions known as respect, confidence, and attachment, all of which derive from the devoted love of individual women for individual men, and which formerly left women content to rely on the male sex for their domestic and public weal.
Regarded in this way. Feminism and all those ends to which it aspires, constitutes a tacit or avowed condemnation of the male population of the country in which it flourishes. Although sex hostility may be entirely absent (which it never is) from the programme of the Feminists, the fact that a Feminist movement forms, is in itself sufficient evidence of the degeneration of the men among whom it forms; and, since this degeneration must lead to other and more serious consequences than the mere self-assertion of the female, it behoves all the men of a
Those who, like John Stuart Mill, are prepared to reply to this reading of the situation, that the beginning and end of the Feminist Movement are quite independent of man's state of degeneracy or regeneracy; that, on the contrary, they are the direct and inevitable outcome of the evolution of woman herself, of a development which has freed her from a traditional subjection and made her more intellectual, more self-reliant, more capable of responsibility and better able to take her place beside her mate or brother, in all those functions which were once exclusively male, are not only historically unsound, but can know little either about modern woman or the woman of former ages. 1 For even if this alleged subjection were a fact, which it is not, the freedom from subjection would not necessarily have led to a volte-face so complete that men should no longer be relied upon, respected, trusted or looked up to. To return to our analogy of the child, the offspring of good parents who finds himself emancipated in late adolescence, does not necessarily cease from looking up to his elders, or from respecting or trusting them.
All those men who, like Mill, argue that Feminism is not simply an automatic reaction to man's degeneracy, but a positive movement created by the intrinsic superiority of modern woman over her forbears, thus merely promote the many evils to which they stubbornly blind themselves. And Mill himself, who should have been ashamed of his subserviency to his womenfolk (wife and stepdaughter) in the sixties of the last century, and who failed to perceive that a nation of Mills would have landed us in total disintegration and dissolution long before the dawn of the twentieth century, was the very
1 For a historical refutation of Mill's dishonest arguments in support of the myth of a male subjection of women in the last two thousand years in Europe, see Chapter X of my Woman: A Vindication.
Those men, however, who are brave enough to face unpleasant truths, and who, from their observation both of their own and other men's lives, have learnt that Feministic tendencies are not prone to manifest themselves, and never do manifest themselves in households or circles where the menfolk inspire the traditional female reactions of respect, confidence and devoted love, will not be satisfied with this reply of the Feminists, even when one among the latter enjoys the reputation of John Stuart Mill.
For it is not sufficiently understood that, at any rate in England, Feminism began in the home. The home is the one place in which the women of the country enjoy the most constant and most favourable opportunities for observing their men at close quarters. It is in the fierce light of intimate home life that a man's intelligence, capacity, acumen, mastery of life, general reliability, powers of giving sound guidance and direction, powers of inspiring respect and confidence, are most persistently and accurately measured, by a mate who can never relax her vigilance, because she is always seeking in him precisely those qualities which have been enumerated.
And it was in the home that the women of England first learnt how many of these qualities were frequently lacking in their menfolk. It was in their own homes that the daughters of a former generation learnt to regard men as pleasant, useful, but uninspiring, grown-up schoolboys. It was in the extended circles of their friends and acquaintances that they found their home observations confirmed. And, whereas their instinct for safety made
1 It is said that, sexually, he was of little more than infantile development.
All those who have a wide knowledge of the private homes of the eighties and nineties of last century and after, must be aware of how often and easily the alleged "manly" English type of male became subordinated to his womenfolk, how seldom he retained all directive and initiatory powers, and with what frequency he was treated with ill-concealed contempt by a wife and daughters, who were given every opportunity of asserting and developing the least feminine and least docile elements in their natures.
By the end of the nineteenth century, the price was beginning to be paid for this steady inculcation of the contempt of man upon the womenfolk of the country, and during the reign of Edward VII this contempt was translated openly into words and deeds.
Without any hesitation, and following very naturally the line of interpretation most nattering to themselves, the females of the country soon explained man's backward movement as their own advance, as their own positive development. Women who could not hold a candle to their grandmothers and great-grandmothers, for serenity, for charm, for sound instinct and intelligence, for contentment, health and lack of "nerves," began to argue plausibly enough that they were entitled to increased responsibilities and powers, not because their men had proved incapable of both or had abdicated them out of sheer incapacity, but because they, the women, were now better able to undertake them. And since most of the men with whom they came into contact, confirmed rather than shook their conviction regarding the striking equality of the sexes in all those spheres
Those men who recognize the element of truth in this brief sketch of the hidden and recent development of the Feminist atmosphere and mentality in this country, will therefore not make the mistake of imagining that it is due either to the perversity or to the wanton arrogance of modern woman. But, seeking in themselves and in their fathers and brothers not only the causes of Feminism, but also the causes of those other signs of national chaos and decay, of which, in recent years, so much evidence has been adduced, they will feel that the attempt to understand the whole evil of present conditions, and also to arrive at some cure and correction of the nation's many diseases, must begin with an indictment of modern man himself, and end in a drastic reform of his nature, and the ideals which have been responsible for its creation.
With regard to the general indictment of modern man which is the subject of this book, however, I should like it to be understood by those readers who may be too ready to assume the contrary, that I in no way exclude either myself or those who agree with me, from the various charges I make. From experience gathered at the many public debates which I have attended on the subject of masculine degeneracy, I have come to the conclusion that people are inclined to suppose that the publicist or public speaker, who concentrates on this topic, necessarily considers himself above, or free from, the stigmata at which he points an accusing finger. And the natural consequence is that certain feelings of resentment are aroused, which make audiences and readers lose patience with one, who, although he is admittedly a child of the degenerate Age under discussion, seems to speak as if he were superior to it.
This hasty, and in the present case, unjust conclusion,
So prevalent is this attitude, that it has now become necessary to protest against the mere suspicion of belonging to such self-complacent critics of modernity. Because, whereas one might perhaps face and survive the charge of self-complacency alone, one could hardly shield one's work from the prejudice which would certainly be created if people really believed that one was so foolish as to make a claim, which, in these degenerate days, could hardly be sustained by any civilized man.
I therefore take this opportunity of making it quite clear that I in no way exclude myself from the general indictment which I bring against my contemporaries, and am quite prepared to recognize where, and to what extent, the indictment fits my own particular case. I know that, like other modern men, I am badly co-ordinated and that this condition has had grave consequences both in regard to my use of self and possibly also in regard to my thoughts. I know that, like my contemporaries, I respond too quickly to environmental stimuli, and that my resistance is therefore feeble. I am also fully aware of the customary euphemisms with which these defects are covered up, and interpreted as advantages. I moreover appreciate the extent to which unreliable emotional and instinctive reactions in myself too frequently take the place, as they do in all modern people, of intellectual processes; and it is because I