Typos p. 122: latters' [= latter's]
The Degeneracy of Modern Man Part I
Even for those who did not require to be confirmed in the principles established in the preceding pages, however, certain useful conclusions have been reached without which it would have been difficult for them to follow me in the further elaboration of my thesis; and it may be as well, therefore, to recapitulate these conclusions in the order in which they were reached.
In the first place, we have seen that the correlation of certain instincts, emotions and mental powers, with special structures and their associated specialized functions, is a very definite biological phenomenon, which leads throughout the organic world to differentiation between species and likewise between the sexes.
Secondly, we have seen that our mental and physical adaptations to sexual dimorphism are probably much older than our adaptations to the mammalian form of life; that, indeed, the former probably account for some of the oldest instincts and general characters we possess, if we exclude the instincts connected with alimentation and movement.
This led to the conclusion that the characteristics arising out of sexual dimorphism are very deeply imbedded in our natures, and cannot therefore be altered in a day, in a generation, or even in a century. Apparent modifications of these characteristics, which alter the relations of the sexes, are, therefore, more likely to be morbid and transient than normal and permanent.
Thirdly, we have seen that in the differentiation of the sexes through specialization of function, the female has steadily been subjected to ever greater physical stresses, until in the order of the Quadrumana and in the genus Homo sapiens, the toll on her physical resources is out of all proportion greater than the male's.
This led us to account for her greater similarity to her young, for her arrested development, and for her precocity, by showing them to be Nature's compensations for the burdens placed on her constitution; and from the freedom from these burdens we deduced man's more complete development, his capacity for genius, his greater vigour, etc.
Fourthly, we have seen that the mammalian functions of the female naturally limit her freedom, besides naturally straining her physical resources, and that the most recent of these functions is ineluctable. Seeing, however, that she is abnormal if she be not reproductive, the more normal she is, the more she must submit to the natural limitation of her freedom and the natural drain on her physical resources (The Beloved Parasite.)
This led to the conclusion that man starts life with
A further conclusion we drew was, that where man loses ground, and, by falling back, gives the impression to woman that she is advancing, he has failed to make full use of his advantages, he has failed either through indolence or degeneracy to maintain his standard. This may temporarily give the impression of sex-equality.
Fifthly, we have seen that in the genesis of social superiority mere brute force does not necessarily play a very important part; that very early in the life of primitive races the struggle for existence compels them to attach importance to other more spiritual endowments, and that frequently it is the oldest (therefore the weakest physically) of the menfolk of the community who acquire social power, or it is the magic-workers in all departments (not only in the use of warlike weapons), or the most intellectual.
This led us to conclude that there was no reason to assume that if woman had displayed gifts of a higher order, which were likely to have been recognized as of utilitarian value to primitive man, she would, owing to her weakness alone, have been denied a leading place in human society; and we inferred from this that the absence of women as leaders in primitive or civilized communities, confirmed, from a different angle, our earliest conclusion that they were less gifted than men for successful achievement.
Sixthly, we exposed the idea that there had been any deliberate stultification of women's higher powers by men, first of all by demonstrating, as above, that mere physical weakness is not oppressed when its possessor offers other advantages to the community, and secondly
This led to the conclusion that the alleged subjection of women, which has been postulated to account for woman's acknowledged inferiority in achievement, is a myth, and a pure invention on the part of those who are not honest enough to admit disconcerting truths.
Seventhly, we have seen that the steady emancipation of women in older civilizations has been accompanied by a gradual degeneracy of those civilizations and of their menfolk; in fact, that the first phenomenon was always a symptom of the latter, and we instanced Greece, Rome, and eighteenth century France as examples of this rule.
This led us to conclude that the emancipation of woman and her invasion of male spheres of interest and power, is a sign that her bisexuality has ceased to be controlled, that her male elements are no longer recessive; therefore that her male entourage cannot be sufficiently male to make them recessive, therefore that this male entourage must be degenerate, and that in this male degeneracy must be sought the common cause for both the emancipation of the female and the decline of the civilization in which she becomes emancipated.
Eighthly, we have seen that the idea that matriarchy was once a prevalent type of social organizations on earth is a pure myth, and we adduced much evidence, as well as the opinions of such high authorities as W. H. K. Rivers and Sir James Frazer, to show that it could no longer be entertained by anybody.
1 Part of this historical demonstration is to be found in my Woman: a Vindication, Chapter X.
Now, turning our attention at last to conditions in modern England, and viewing these conditions in the light of the principles at which we have arrived above, our problem will be to discover whether in view of the situation of the sexes in this country, we may justly charge England's manhood with degeneracy.
In present-day society in this country we certainly find the significant doctrine of the equality of the sexes well established, and, if we date the Woman's Movement from the time when Mary Wollstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Women was published, which was the year 1792, the whole agitation which has finally culminated, among other things, in the granting of the suffrage to women, is over a hundred years old. 1 During the whole
1 Truth to tell, there were earlier works than this one. In 1767 there appeared A Dialogue concerning the Subjection of Women to their Husbands, and in 1780 Female Restoration by a Moral and. Physical Vindication of Female Talents; but they cannot compare with Mary Wollstonecraft's work, any more than can a later work published in 1796 entitled Robert and Adela, or the Rights of Women. In France, however, the Feminist movement started much earlier. And the fact that it has come to nothing, and has produced none of the expected great women which its promoters foretold, is surely significant. François Poutain de la Barre, one of the most notable Feminists, published his De l'Egalité des deux Sexes in Paris in 1673. In it he claimed that "brains have no sex," and that the whole of women's apparent inferiority to men is due to their defective education. This was followed up in 1674 by his Education de Dames,
The success of the Woman's Movement has meant that in Politics, Science, Local Government, and administrative functions of all kinds, women now figure almost as prominently as men; in fact, that there no longer remains any statutory or conventional obstacle to prevent them from occupying the highest positions in the land. And, if the conclusions we have arrived at above are valid, this change in our social organization, quite apart from any other evidence we may adduce, presupposes a certain degree of degeneracy among our menfolk.
Even if it be not the only sign of this degeneracy, it is at least an important one. It means that men are no longer maintaining their standard; it means that their retrogression and their failure to profit from their immense advantages is leading to that appearance of equality between the sexes which is only to be met with in periods of cultural decline; and it means that the bisexuality of the female in our midst is obtaining free expression, that there is little or no recession of the male component in her nature, and that selection is operating in the direction of a multiplication of women whose masculine elements are being developed at the cost of their female elements. In fact, it means that everything to-day contributes to the establishment of
and in 1675 by his De l'Excellence des Hommes contre l'Egalité des Sexes. But Poutain himself was preceded by Mlle. de Gournay in 1626 with her treatise on l'Egalité des Hommes et des Femmes, and by Maria von Schurman, whose Dutch essay was translated into French and appeared under the title of Question Célèbre, S'il est Nécessaire ou Non que les Filles soient Sçavantes. Other French publicists in favour of Feminism were Jacques du Bosc with I'Honneste Femme (1632), Louis Machon with Discours ou Sermon Apologétique en Faveur des Femmes (1641), Jacquette Guillaume (1665), D. J. B. Decrues (1687), G. S. Aristophile (1694) and C. M. D. Noel (1698).
Furthermore, the success of the Woman's Movement means that the muddle which generations of inferior male administration have made of the national life, has become obvious to the meanest intelligence, that man's present ineptitude calls urgently for a corrective; otherwise it is difficult to account for the fact that women should have found a plausible pretext for agitating so feverishly to take charge, or to help in directing the nation's future destiny.
The fact that we do not believe that the advent of women at our council board is a sign that things are mending, has nothing whatever to do with the complex causes which brought them there. We may be convinced that Feminism is a quack cure, a pseudo-remedy for our present alarming ills, an emergency measure, which, far from giving us any hope, merely makes us fear that the only profitable and genuine remedy, a regeneration of men, will not be adopted; but this does not mean that we deny that the women who led Feminism recognized a good additional reason for their movement in the alarming pass to which incompetent and decadent men were bringing their country. 1
For it must not be supposed that it was necessarily the least desirable or least intelligent women of the nation who have led and formed the body of the Woman's Movement. This is very far from being the truth. To meet some of them, as I did at the time of their greatest activity, was immediately to dismiss such a suspicion from one's mind. Besides, most of these women, had fathers whom they knew, brothers with whom they were brought up, husbands whose guidance or support they had, in the intimacy of the home, learnt to value at its precise worth. Is it conceivable that they could have felt justified in clamouring to play a part in national
1 See on this point my reply to Lady Frances Balfour's Anti-Feminist Folly, in the English Review of March, 1924.
To reply that the condition of the nation, that the failures of male administration, had nothing to do with the determining influences of Feminism, is to forget the whole element of contempt for the male, which plays such a significant part in modern Feminism (as it did also in ancient Feminism) and is to be found on almost every page of the literature of the movement. 2
To say that this contempt of the male is to be traced
1 Truth to tell this argument was used again and again by women speakers in favour of the vote.
2 For typical examples see Marriage as a Trade, by Cicely Hamilton (pp. 259, 265); Julia France and Her Times, by Gertrude Atherton; Mere Man, or Great Thoughts on a Small Subject, by Honor Bright (pp. 13, 18, 26, 51, 53); Mere Man, by Margaret Dalham (pp. 38, 75: "That woman with her powers of maternity should be under the control and at the mercy of another being, and her inferior at that, is altogether degrading"; p. 120: "Men are becoming more an adjunct of the house, not the prime factor"); Imprisoned Souls, by Violet Ashmole (pp. 11, 18, 20, 91); and Woman's Franchise, The Need of the Hour, by Mrs. Wolstenholme Elmy. Among the earlier writers, Jacquette Guillaume, the author of Les Danses Illustres (1665), is quite as emphatic in her contempt of men. "Le Sexe Féminin," she says, "surpasse en toute sorte de genres le Sexe Masculin," and "les ouvrages les plus merveilleux que Dieu a faits icy-bas ont toujours été executés par des femmes." Later on, addressing men, she writes: "Venez, petits Pigmées," etc.
No, contempt of the male is not only a deeply rooted sentiment in most women to-day, but it is also one of which thousands would give anything to be rid. It is an ache, a consuming fire, rekindled by almost every man they learn to know intimately; and, as I hinted in my Introduction, it is in their homes that the women of England first learnt the contempt I speak of. 1 The fathers, uncles, brothers, and especially husbands, of Englishwomen, for the last century, have been the principal inspirers and inculcators of this contempt for the male; and the ardent conviction behind the Woman's Movement, the momentum behind the plea for sex equality, was certainly furnished by the accumulated experience of everyday life in the home.
When once this contempt came into the open, it naturally expressed itself academically and in euphemisms. It clothed itself in terms which were conceived to be as free as possible from the emotional component of long pent-up disdain and boredom. It assumed the majesty of a legal claim, of a political grievance, of a public demand for "justice." But those that had ears to hear could hardly fail to discern beneath the public and clamorous demand for Women's Rights, the muffled and secret
1 Thackeray was one of the greatest nineteenth-century writers who recognized this. See the profound passage in Henry Esmond, Chapter XI, which begins: "Much of the quarrels and hatred which arise between married people " and ends with the words, "beyond the power of his muddled brains."
The absurdity of supposing that, at the end of the nineteenth century, with the principle of democracy utterly discredited as it was, the immense energy and determination of the Woman's Movement could have been generated by a desire for the vote alone, in each militant female's breast, is surely too glaring to be demonstrated.
Psycho-analysts would now probably interpret the whole of the fight for the vote as an unconscious struggle for a symbol of male sexuality, on the part of women suffering acute feelings of inferiority through the castration complex. 1
But this is only putting my claim in different words. For I should point out to the psycho-analysts that women are only likely to suffer acutely from the castration complex in the first place, when their latent maleness is allowed free expression (i.e. in an environment of inferior males); and secondly, when the constant exhibition of male inadequacy makes the traditional inferiority of the female intolerable. If one is conventionally held to be inferior to an inferior, one suffers a daily affront to one's dignity. Social, or any other kind of inferiority, is only tolerable when it is the natural relation to something superior. Then nobody minds.
The psycho-analyst would reply, probably, that since
1 This complex is explained by Dr. Helene Deutsch (a pupil of Freud's) in her excellent Psychoanalyse der Weiblichen sexual Funktionen, edited by Freud (Vienna, 1925), Chapter III, as the repression in early childhood by little girls of their disappointment and indignation at finding themselves deprived of the male generative organs. She gives three types of women: (1) those who become reconciled to their loss of the male generative organ, by regarding it as a punishment, and seeking compensation in feminine joys (normal); (2) those who never become reconciled and who wish to avenge themselves on the world, and particularly on men, for their grievance; and (3) those who remain until the end stubbornly unconvinced that they are completely deprived, and who therefore shun all experiences which may disabuse them of this idea (these are the so-called frigid women, who decline sex experiences).
True. But complexes, like all other traits of character, acquire their adaptation, not in childhood, but in adult life. It is as adults that we find that our complexes are either satisfactorily organized with our lives, or else giving rise to abnormal symptoms. Now it is precisely in the attempted adaptation of their infantile castration complex that growing girls and young women may find that the distressing mediocrity of modern men forces them to abnormal adjustments and compensations.
Observe how quickly in a room of men, those of inferior intellect or inferior physique, will cheerfully recognize their superior, and proceed to convert their initial distress into pleasure by rapidly calling to their aid the pleasurable adaptation known as "hero-worship." Now in connection with this idea, let the reader bear in mind how loathsome it was to many of the excellent regular non-commissioned officers during the late war, to find themselves placed in subordinate positions under temporary officers of the New Army, who often did not know as much as they did even about the King's English not to mention King's Regulations.
I would not venture to deny that the castration complex may have played a powerful hidden part in the Woman's Movement, and is doing so still, by giving a strong unconscious impetus to its leaders. But this is only a psycho-analytical way of expressing what I am trying to show namely, that one must first despise one's alleged superior in one's heart, before one's position of inferiority to him can appear ignominious.
Respecting the question, how Englishmen have earned the secret and avowed contempt of their womenfolk, and how, therefore, they have gradually made the traditional division of labour between the sexes appear as intolerable to women, will be revealed on every
It is not unusual, however, in a revolutionary movement, to find among the revolutionary party people who by virtue of their position seem to have no business there. But this does not mean that their support is any the less useful. On the contrary, the very fact that they are seen among the subverters seems to lend a peculiar sanction to the latters' aims. We have only to think of men like the Vicomte de Noailles, the Comte de Mirabeau, the Duc d'Aiguillon, the Duc du Châtelet, the Marquis de Blacons, and such other democratic noblemen as Montmorency, Castellanes, Liancourt, Larochefoucauld, Virieu, Lally-Tollendal, and Clermont-Tonnerre, during the French Revolution, in order to understand not only the phenomenon of incongruous elements in a revolutionary movement, but also the fate of such incongruous elements.
Indeed, we might go further and say that, quite
1 As we have seen, men have also associated themselves with Feminism in France. But they have not done so there nearly to the same extent as in England, and certainly far fewer among the masses in France have shown Feminist sympathies.
It should not be forgotten, however, that such men would make a success of any agitation, no matter what its object might be. For, to them, it is not a question of ascertaining the intrinsic merits of a proposed measure of reform, but merely of deciding how long they will be able to endure the spectacle of its "suffering" supporters. Given a large number of people particularly if they happen to be chiefly women who are prepared to break the law and then to hunger-strike and write letters with their own blood after they have been apprehended, and their cause will be sure to succeed, provided that you have two additional factors a sensational Press and a sickly sentimental public. 1
Now the public chiefly concerned with the final efforts of the Woman's Movement was obviously the manhood of the nation. It was they who were in a position permanently to resist, or ultimately to grant, the suffragettes' claims. It was therefore fatal to the cause of the resisters that there should have been among the men of the nation, not only a handful who were active supporters
1 Quite recently the Home Secretary has been heard complaining about the crowds who always pity, and petition for the release of, murderers (see Daily Press, February 9, 1926). These agitations emanate from the same sentimental elements in the population.
And thus, although the statute which allowed women to be enrolled as voters was not passed before the war, there can be little doubt that the valuable preparation made in the hearts of the more maudlin males by the behaviour of the suffragettes at the time of their great offensive, had sufficiently broken the back of the country's resistance, to make the ultimate measure of 1918 if not a popular, at least a tolerable reform, unlikely to arouse much indignation. Truth to tell, except in the hearts of the few, it roused no sign even of protest.
When such sentimentalists as Bishop Welldon, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of London, Mr. Asquith, Mr. Lloyd George and scores of others, said that women had earned the vote by their wonderful work in the war, they merely expressed what thousands of other men doubtless felt, who remembered the "heartrending" scenes that had been enacted at Holloway years before. And, although the Woman's Cause was won in this way, it was only won as any other cause might be won to-day however bad or however absurd thanks to anarchy and the pose of martyrdom on the one hand, and sentimentality on the other.
This, however, does not explain the position of those men who actively collaborated with the female leaders of the movement, in order to help them to realize their aims. Neither does it explain the mentality of such people as Condorcet, John Stuart Mill, Ruskin, Buckle and Ibsen, and the body of other men, who must remain unnamed, who worked side by side with the suffragettes in the domestic tumult that preceded the international upheaval of the Great War.
We have seen that sentimentality played a very great part among the thinking and unthinking supporters of Feminism, and perhaps it would be as well to explain this before proceeding to our analysis of those other
The maudlin attitude of man towards the female by which I mean that attitude of turgid emotionalism which is founded on an imaginary conception of her as a pathetic and heroic performer in life's drama arises as a rule from three causes: (1) the belief that the whole of motherhood and wifehood is one long self-sacrificing martyrdom; (2) the belief that woman is the more moral of the two sexes and constitutes the moralizing influence on earth; and (3) the partial or complete impotence of the particular male who assumes the maudlin attitude.
Let us examine these separately.
(1) As I have pointed out elsewhere, it suits women to give men a guilty conscience about the alleged unfair apportionment of pleasure and pain between the sexes in life. It is a matter of elementary experience that men with guilty consciences are more easily ruled than other men, and the Church having acted on this principle for centuries, and having flourished on it, it is not surprising that women out for power should ultimately have heeded the valuable hint. The consequence was, the pains and difficulties of pregnancy, childbirth and child-rearing were grossly exaggerated, not only by the women themselves, but also by their adoring mates. Owing largely to the ignorance and indolence of the medical profession, on the one hand, and to unhygienic conditions among numbers of women, on the other, pregnancy and parturition have, it is true, become more of a disease than a natural function. 1 But, bad as things are, 2 these functions, with the majority of healthy
1 See my more exhaustive discussion of this in Lysistrata, Chapter II.
2 They must be pretty bad for two eminent doctors to feel that it is necessary to state the truism that pregnancy is not a disease, as if they were imparting useful information to the lay world! See Health Problems of the Empire, by Drs. Andrew Balfour and H. H. Scott (London, 1924), p. 327: "Pregnancy is physiological, not pathological, it is a natural condition not a disease, though circumstances of modern life tend to make it so or lead to its being regarded as such among western peoples."
To respect a man who thus allows himself to be imposed upon must be exceedingly difficult. How can such gullibility fail to provoke disdain?
The literature of the nineteenth century is full of the sickly sentimentality arising from this extraordinary load of guilt, 1 which Englishmen, in particular, have
1 It would be impossible to give all the examples of it that I have found, but the following instance taken from a great writer, who must be reckoned among our most masculine English authors, shows how widely spread is this attitude. In the Story of the Gadsbys, Captain Gadsby, who is represented to be a big muscular man, persistently calls his wife, a smaller creature, "poor little woman," for no apparent reason. Then all of a sudden, after a piece of confidential information from her, he exclaims: "Oh! I'm a brute a pig a bully, and a blackguard. My poor, poor darling!" Why? Simply because Mrs. Gadsby has told him that a few months hence she will perform the natural function of presenting him with a child.
(2) The belief that woman is more moral than man, and is the moralizing influence on earth, is partly a derivative of the former attitude, because not only is the creature who has been given a guilty conscience prone to believe that those towards whom he feels guilty are better than he is (the simple man imagines that even the clergyman or priest must be a better man than he is), but also because it is always assumed that the greater sufferer from the sexual relations must expiate by her suffering whatever amount of sin is associated with the sexual act (and in Christian countries the sexual act is never quite free from associations of sinfulness) whereas the party who is free from suffering and who only derives pleasure from the relation, remains saddled with sin. 1
But there is another root to the belief that women are the moralizing influence on earth, and that is the gross misunderstanding of the sexual experience in each sex. Man, being normally the initiator and the active agent in the sexual relation, is assumed by unthinking and prurient people to be more sensual and therefore more sinful than his mate. As if Nature to speak teleologically for a moment could in this instance have departed
1 So that this may not appear fantastic, and pending my more exhaustive examination of this point, let me quote Lecky's view of the sexual act (History of European Morals, Vol. I, p. 104): "All that is known under the names of decency and indecency, concur in proving that we have an innate, instinctive perception that there is something degrading in the sensual part of our natures, something to which a feeling of shame is naturally attached, something that jars with our conception of perfect purity." The preposterous assurance with which he writes this revolting nonsense in the latter part of the nineteenth century, and the fact that he is writing as an historian of morals, shows, I think, that he knew he was not expressing a view that would be likely to startle or displease his readers.
For we must understand that "moralizing," in the sense of the modern world, means "tending to turn away from bodily pleasures." It has little meaning besides this, for no one in his senses, not even Lecky or Miss Christabel Pankhurst, would claim that women are less inclined than men are to deceive, or to lie, or to deal dishonestly. The belief, therefore, amounts to this, that women are supposed to be the moralizing influence, because they tend to turn away from bodily pleasures themselves, and to lead others away from them. Those who have a clear perception of woman's rôle in life will see at once the absurdity of this belief on the sexual side; while those who have an intimate knowledge of any woman of what class, race or nationality soever, will also be able to refute it on the alimentary side, for the woman who does not love food has yet to be found. All this, however, does not condemn woman, in the Pagan sense. It is only Puritans, Americans, and Englishmen who fancy that they enhance the value of woman by stripping her of her natural "immorality." To say that woman is and must be more sensual than man, is simply to draw rational conclusions, not only from the world we know, but also from the necessary association between pleasure and healthy functioning discussed in the first chapter. And, seeing how much of woman's life is taken up with sexual functions, unless
1 See Das Buch Vom Es (Leipzig, 1923), p. 110.
Another root to the belief that women are the moralizing influence in life and this root women have tended to nourish with the devotion of the most enthusiastic husbandry is the superstition connected with the idea of selfishness and unselfishness. It is assumed that because woman gives her life blood and ultimately the secretion of her mammary glands to the beloved parasite, she stands for the "unselfish" principle in life, and Herbert Spencer, in his philosophy, argued in support of this view.
To argue in this way, however, is to remove every trace of moral value from the idea of selfishness and unselfishness. Because according to the moralists, that act which is unselfish must be performed without any view to self-interest. But in that sense no normal bodily function, such as digesting, gestating, sweating, breathing, growing, secreting fluids, can be called truly unselfish in the moralists' sense, because it is in the pursuit of self-interests that they are performed.
We can see no meaning whatever in the words "selfish" or "unselfish," but, at all events, to ascribe unselfishness to a woman, because in pursuit of her own happiness, her own self-realization, her own full life, she happens to fall in love, marry, and bring forth children and secrete milk for their sustenance in infancy, is surely to make the word unselfishness quite valueless as a moral epithet of praise or blame, even for those who do believe that "selfish" and "unselfish" have a meaning. First prove that woman is actuated solely by feelings of duty to the State or nation in falling in love, and that she continues to be actuated by purely patriotic motives in the arms
1 Op. cit., Vol. II, p. 359.
And yet there can be no question that this bluff partly accounts for the modern Englishman's belief in woman's moralizing influence, as also in the superiority of her moral nature, which can be read, not only in Lecky, but in almost every page of prose and poetry that has been written for the last hundred years.
It is no doubt difficult to respect men who allow themselves to be imposed upon by such palpably false valuations. But if men are more easily governed by women who give themselves airs and who pose as self-sacrificing altruists when all the time they are only performing natural functions and gratifying natural appetites, it is hardly to be wondered at that such methods of coercion are widely adopted. 1 This much, however, may be laid to the credit of Englishwomen, that, when surrounded by masculine dupes of this kind, they have never even pretended to respect them.
(3) We now come to that root of the maudlin attitude towards the female, which consists in the partial or complete impotence of the male. This is very common. But it must not be imagined that the impotence is always absolute or anatomically determined, or that in its partial manifestation it is incompatible with procreation. Tolstoi, for instance, was one of these partially
1 For instances of the manner in which women use the words "selfish" and "unselfish" in order to get their own way with men who believe that these words have a meaning, see my Woman: a Vindication, p. 197.
A less common, but more powerfully maudlin rhapsodist about woman, is the man who is sexually either below standard or else whose genital apparatus is incapable of functioning. Such a man was, of course, John Stuart Mill, whose reproductive organs remained rudimentary in adult life. 2 As, however, I have dealt with his utterances and his markedly maudlin attitude towards woman in my Woman: A Vindication, I need only remind the reader here of the wild and fantastic nature of his work The Subjection of Women, in which the argumentation alone (apart from the falsification of history) is so obviously unworthy of a reputable thinker, much less, therefore, of a logician, that an intelligent
1 See the interesting arguments advanced by Dr. Victor von Gyurkovechky to prove the sexual impotence of Tolstoi in Warum Tolstoi Liebe Verachtet und Aerzte Hasst? Tolstoi, of course, meets the advanced Feminists in his loathing of heterosexual relations.
2 See Havelock Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Vol. VI, p. 174.
With regard to Condorcet, Buckle and Ibsen, we must bear in mind that, although we may have very cogent reasons for suspecting their sexual potency, it is very often extremely difficult to find, either in biographies or autobiographies, any reference to this side of a man's life, and therefore not easy to establish the facts. It is usually the one aspect of a man's life that his friendly biographer tries most to conceal.
I think careful investigation of Condorcet's case, despite the fact that he married, might possibly show that he was one of those partially impotent men of whom I have already spoken. For we must not forget that he was primarily a mathematician, and that mathematicians have not infrequently been regarded as subnormal in sex. 2 With regard to Buckle, the problem of deciding to what extent he was sexually below standard, is equally difficult to solve, although there is much which, from a prejudiced standpoint, might be used as evidence against him. His family was Puritanical, he was con-
1 See Woman: A Vindication, Chapter X, for a refutation of the reasoning and historical support of his theories.
2 See Dr. Leonard Casper, Impotentia et Sterilitas Virilis (Munich, 1890), p. 25, where the author makes this claim, and mentions Isaac Newton as an example of the alleged association. Grimaud des Ceaux and Martin Saint-Ange (Histoire de la Génération de l'Homme, p. 294) recommend mathematical studies as an anaphrodisiac; and Broussais (Cours de Phrénologie, p. 183), in his lectures before the Medical Faculty of Paris, not only declared that sexual potency was impaired by mathematical studies, but also enumerated a large number of mathematicians who had been unmarried. It is not unlikely that the facts may be interpreted otherwise, and that instead of mathematical studies being regarded as the cause of sexual subnormality, it may be found that only men who are already below standard in passion, turn with interest to the arid field of mathematics for their life's work.
Ibsen, as his works reveals, was a Puritan, and although he married and had a son, it seems not unlikely that he was below normal capacity in sex, because of the way in which he allowed his Puritanical Scotch ancestry to influence his work. His friendly biographer, Henrik Jaeger, certainly acknowledges this trait in him, 3 but his whole life confirms what his works reveal.
But the classic instance of the maudlin attitude towards woman, and the consequent falsification of her psychology and nature, arising out of male impotence, is to be found in John Ruskin. 4 His history is well known. He married
1 See the Life and Writings of H. T. Buckle, by A. H. Huth, Vol. I, p. 45.
2 Read before the Royal Institute on March 19, 1858, and published in Frazer's Magazine in the following April.
3 Henrick Ibsen (English Translation, Chicago, 1901), p. 15: "One comes almost involuntarily to think of the Puritanism and idealism that have played so essential a part in Scotch history, and made such an impression upon Scotch philosophy, when dealing with this man . . . whose outlook on the world is as sombre as that of the Puritan." For an analysis of the relation between Puritanism and Feminism see also my Lysistrata.
4 Thomas Carlyle, although also impotent, was probably only saved from Feminism by his hatred of modern democracy. (See Thos. Carlyle,
"In all Christian ages, which have been remarkable for their purity or progress," says Ruskin, "there has been absolute yielding of obedient devotion by the lover to his mistress. I say obedient not merely enthusiastic and worshipping in imagination, but entirely subject, receiving from the beloved woman, however young, not only the encouragement, the praise, and the reward of all toil, but so far as any choice is open, or any question difficult of decision, the direction of this toil." 1
One can feel the lump in his throat as he writes.
"Chivalry, I say," he goes on, "in its very conception of honourable life, assumes the subjection of the young knight to the command should it even be the command in caprice of his lady." 2
We shall deal with chivalry ourselves later on.
"It ought to be impossible for every noble youth it is impossible for every one rightly trained to love anyone whose gentle counsel he cannot trust, or whose prayerful command he can hesitate to obey." 3
Counsel on what? Counsel for what? About
by Froude, Vol. II, p. 421, also "Shooting Niagara and After" in Critical and Miscellaneous Essays, by Thos. Carlyle, Vol. V, pp. 7 and 8.) As a matter of fact, Carlyle's loathing of democracy is clear proof of his total muddle-headedness, for his attitude to the Grand Rebellion and to the French Revolution brands him as an admirer of democratic ideals.
1 Sesame and Lilies, Lecture II.
3 Op. cit.
"The woman's power is for rule not for battle, and her intellect is not for invention or creation but for sweet ordering, arrangement and decision. She sees the quality of things, their claims, and their plans." 1
That is why, I suppose, an age in which women dominate, always ceases to be aristocratic, always becomes plutocratic, and always grows tasteless! The perception of quality is an aristocratic trait, it is incompatible with an age in which wealth is the highest value; it is incompatible with tastelessness. Behold Imperial Rome and modern English society! Women acquire the upper hand in both. Hence, I suppose, the evidences of aristocratic value that are everywhere visible, of taste, and of the values higher than wealth in each of them!
This only shows the extremes of silliness to which a poor impotent man can go. It is, if anything, worse than Mill's Subjection, because it was done without a woman's influence or help, whereas the Subjection was written by Mill with two women holding and directing his hand. And, when one remembers that Sesame and Lilies is a favourite prize in girls' schools and has been presented as such ever since the year 1866, can it be wondered at that the atmosphere in England is what it is?
But all impotent, or semi-impotent men (and the latter owing to excessive smoking, 2 Puritanical inhibitions, excessive sports, and the comparative rarity of physiological impotence, are very much more numerous than
2 For evidence that tobacco smoke causes a diminution of sexual potency, see my Defence of Aristocracy, pp. 22526, and Ivan Bloch, The Sexual Life of our Times, p. 444.
The psycho-analyst's explanation of the mental attitude described above, and of the whole phenomenon of Feministic bias in impotent or semi-impotent men, would probably be the following: The impotent or semi-impotent man feels like the eunuch the castrated man. His self-esteem derives no support, no tribute from the virile side of his nature. He, therefore, finds himself in perfect sympathy precisely with that section of the female world which is most irate and resentful as the result of the castration complex, 1 and, seeing himself ranged by nature among those women who are in revolt over precisely what harasses him the absence of any evidence of the male generating organs he instinctively adopts their attitude as against that other hated section of the world, the men in complete possession of their potency and of the organs which represent it.
But whether you adopt the psycho-analyst's interpretation of Mill's, Ruskin's, Ibsen's, Buckle's or Condorcet's views or not, it does not signify. For in the end it comes to the same thing, and what is important for our thesis is simply the fact that impotence or semi-impotence in the male is almost always found accompanied by a grossly maudlin attitude towards the female.
Thus there is nothing so potent as male impotence as a magnifier of female value, and yet there is nothing more heartily contemned by women.
But, in any case, it is very difficult not to feel con-
1 See p. 120, ante.
Thus we have examined the three causes from which we claim that the maudlin attitude towards woman arises: (1) The belief that the whole of wifehood and motherhood is a long self-sacrificing martyrdom; (2) The belief that woman is more moral than man and is in fact the moralizing influence on earth; and (3) The partial or complete impotence 1 of the particular male who assumes the maudlin attitude.
Those who know anything of England, and of countries like England, will not need to be told that these three causes, operating singly or together in each individual, account for a very large contingent among the male population who are maudlin in their feelings towards the female; and when the women's struggle for their alleged "Rights" was at its zenith in this country, it was among these males, who were articulate, that the most active supporters of the Feminist side were to be found. The remainder of them, who were not articulate, merely acquiesced in silence. But, if in private they were called upon to express an opinion, they would speak of justice and taxes, and allude to the hackneyed anomaly of Marie Corelli and her gardener the one being denied and the other being allowed the vote in much the same strain as that which Condorcet adopted over a hundred years previously.
In addition to the fact, therefore, that the claims of the Feminist leaders and their followers had to be
1 I shall deal again with the phenomenon of partial and relative impotence of the modern male in a later chapter.
Those women who are prone to declare that Feminism was won by women for women, forget this essential factor in their success to wit, the large body of men whose motivation we have just examined. For, to this body and to the apathy and indolence of the remainder of the male population (who were at heart opposed to Feministic reforms) established and statutory Feminism owes its existence.