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Typos — p. 235: whatsover [= whatsoever]; p. 236: permissable [= permissible]; p. 241: humourous [= humorous]; p. 246: reponsible [= responsible]

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Chapter IX
The Degeneracy of Modern Man — Part V
The Degeneration of Mind and Character — continued

(3) The attitude of the modern man towards Art must be dealt with briefly, as other more pressing considerations demand our attention.
        In a nutshell it is this: that, owing to the prevalence of sickness, debility and nervous exhaustion, there is no longer any lofty criterion concerning what is, and what is not, necessary, inevitable and desirable in art production. Irascibility, as I pointed out fifteen years ago, 1 but which only recently I have learnt to ascribe to faulty bodily co-ordination, by giving the modern generation a vague sense of injury and a general lack of well-being, causes every one to feel that he has "something to express." That which distinguishes the average artist from the rest of mankind is thus simply his greater lack of self-control. Particularly is this so in music, painting and literature. But to mistake the bulk of the "expressive" or "protesting" output in the sphere of art as a good sign, or as a proof of national riches, instead of as a sign of ex-

        1 See my Nietzsche and Art, where I point to those traits in the modern artist, which, while being interpreted by himself and others as "artistic," are chiefly the result of deficient self-discipline plus a certain manual training. Thus the inability to resist the appeal of a "splash of colour," whether in a sunset or a field of poppies, is not nearly so often due to a creative impulse as to a pathological lack of self-discipline.

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haustion and nervous fatigue, is the repeated error of modern criticism as also of modern public opinion. We should require almost a century of silence to recover from all this "expression of selves," and to begin again to produce a desirable Art. Because Art is essentially the product of inner harmony, inner serenity, and the discipline of inner riches, and it can only be travestied by creatures whose natures only too accurately reflect the chaos and exhaustion that surrounds them.
        To-day, however, the only distinctions drawn are those between moral and unmoral art, or between that which pleases the chaotically conditioned public and that which displeases them, and no one reckons other differences. What is stigmatized as pornographic, whether it be a sculpture, a picture, or a book, is alone condemned, no matter whence it springs. No one dreams of inquiring whether exhaustion or mastered plenitude has operated in its production. But any other sort of crime against good taste, healthy values, and style is allowed to pass unchallenged. The bulk of novel writers, for instance, are not even yet aware that they themselves, and the people they depict, are degenerate; and would indignantly repudiate the suggestion if it were made to them.
        But how can a degenerate age judge of what is exhaustion and chaos, and what is plenitude and mastery in Art? Criteria even of Art, therefore, must vanish in periods of low psycho-physical standards.
        (4) The modern man's attitude towards sex is composed of several elements, each of which has its complex of causes and derivations. The remoter and deeper causes I shall deal with in a later chapter; 1 at present I shall merely describe the attitude, and its more immediate causes.
        If the fame of modern England's achievements in other spheres were ever to perish, and be utterly forgotten, there would nevertheless be one fact about the English of to-day which would be certain to survive and be

        1 See pp. 271–303 ahead.

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remembered by posterity, if only because it has caused so much suffering and unhappiness among English women. I refer to the modern Englishman's radical inability to master sex, to face its problems, and to deal with them as part of a necessary art of life.
        The modern Englishman stands before the fact of sex like a timid amateur, half guilty, half afraid, and no longer possessed even of the sound instincts which would prompt him to deal with it even as the healthy animal does. The key-note of his attitude was struck by that very English, but very thoughtful man, George Gissing, who, when he spoke of the new element that enters a man's life at puberty, referred to it as "the curse of sex." 1 Like Lecky, whom I have quoted, and who was in many ways also a typical Englishman, the average man to-day feels that "there is something degrading in the sensual part of our natures, something to which a feeling of shame is naturally attached," 2 and this feeling of shame, of which he is never able to rid himself, cools the source of his passion, and paralyses his natural spontaneity. At least, this is true of the majority of men of the wealthy, well-to-do, and comfortable classes in this country, and it is one of the worst blights that have overtaken English social life. It makes the sensual experiences of the women of the classes mentioned inadequate, constrained, and lacking in innocent voluptuousness, and is, therefore, a potent cause of nervous disorders among them. And, since they are frequently either too moral, or too timid to seek consolation elsewhere, or are prevented from doing so by the dearth of unconstrained and skilful lovers, they are either doomed to a life of resigned but aching discontent, or else forced to give vent to their pent-up feelings in Movements, Causes, or Welfare Work, and thus to find oblivion even if they cannot secure happiness.

        1 See Morley Roberts, The History of Henry Maitland, which is based on Gissing's life.
        2 See p. 127, ante.

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        This accounts for the numbers of married women who concern themselves with outside affairs — affairs outside the home, I mean — to which the spinster's relation has some raison d'être and necessity.
        Sometimes the modern man's shame is so great, and his body so atonic through physical degeneration, that he does not possess sufficient native vigour to react in any way whatsover to a woman, even when he is married to her, owing to the superior power of his traditional inhibitions. But at all events, even when he possesses the stamina to overcome these inhibitions, and in spite of his moral scruples, to react normally to women, his timidity, his lack of knowledge, and his clumsy inexpertness, make him a poor, an inferior, and exasperatingly inadequate initiator. How far, how unconscionably far he is from that art, regarded as the bare minimum by Sheik Nefzaiu, in his wonderful chapter on the essential preliminaries to sexual congress! 1 It is too often forgotten that the act of initiation in love involves not only a knowledge of the crude elements of sex, but also an understanding of those arts preliminary to sexual congress, which are perfectly natural, which can be observed in a rudimentary form in the animal kingdom, and without which the female's requisite psycho-physical excitement cannot be generated. These arts are pleasant, form an indispensable part of a genuine love experience, and what is more, should come quite instinctively to a man, unless he has had his mind poisoned and his natural impulses arrested by the sex-phobia of Christian and Puritanical values.
        Proud of his knowledge of his car, and glad to be able to explain every detail of it to a patient listener, as a rule, however, he knows nothing about the mechanism, the working and the needs of a woman's body. Indeed,

        1 See the delightful and scientifically sound work Le Livre d'Amour de l'Orient by Sheik Nefzaiu (French translation, Paris, 1922), Chapter V, 2nd part, pp. 75–8, which deals with the preliminaries to human sexual congress.

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he does not think that the man who knows much about such matters can be altogether "nice"; and the young women of his circle, who do not as yet dream of the torture of being linked to a man like him for life, are inclined to agree with him. His "breezy," fatuous ignorance about sex and about them, strikes them as one of his most fascinating attributes. He is inclined to leave these things to "chance," and in his heart of hearts he will be found to cherish the secret belief that there is something in the attitude of Puritanism which is fundamentally "sound" and "gentlemanly." 1
        A further potent cause of timidity and incompetence in sex initiation is, of course, the absurd reverence which the average Englishman feels for the moral elevation and purity of his bride. Radically misunderstanding her, and the large area covered in her mind and body by sex-instincts, he feels that he would be guilty almost of desecration in letting himself go naturally and unconstrainedly with such a creature. Not having a notion of the desires that agitate her, of her eagerness and her curiosity, he is so deeply obsessed by his belief in his own moral turpitude and her freedom from any sensual velleity, that nothing but the straightforward act of procreation, divested of all preliminary and subsequent arts, ever strikes him as permissable. She is too much of a "lady" for anything else. Thus the whole relationship is vitiated. A sound physical basis to marriage becomes impossible, and nothing but the most resolute patience and forbearance on the woman's part (usually

        1 If this is considered as exaggerated, let the reader peruse Marie Stopes' Married Love — a book that has sold in so many thousands of copies, that it must be assumed that it meets an urgent and widefelt need in the population. There he will find ample confirmation of what I maintain above. On p. 32, for instance, this authoress says: "About the much more fundamental and vital problems of sex, there is a lack of knowledge so abysmal and so universal that its mists and shadowy darkness have affected even the few who lead us." The bulk of her teaching amounts to an attempt to make good the ignorance and stupidity of the natural initiator in sex — the male partner.

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supported by her ignorance concerning ideal sex relations) can enable the couple to live together in peace.
        It is this factor, this compound of Puritanism and a misunderstanding of woman's nature, that has done most to poison the relations of the sexes in England. And nothing will ever restore happiness to those relations, if the chief obstacles to a sound physical basis in marriage are not in the first place removed.
        All the innocent, the maddening joy of sex, therefore, hardly ever comes the way of the English married couple. But since physical disabilities of all sorts, from false teeth to impure breath, greatly impair those close, those intimate and fusing relations, which complete sexual spontaneity insists upon, it is perhaps as well that Puritanical traditions keep a large number of unsavoury people from too ardent an expression of their passions.
        Abstinence in sex, therefore, is a much more common occurrence among men, even of mature years, than seems to be generally recognized; and while it aggravates among them those serious disorders which, in any event, would proceed from their faulty co-ordination and their debility, it renders them, when they ultimately indulge, very inferior sexual partners. Lord Dawson of Penn has recently expressed the view that in England more harm is caused to young men by sexual abstinence than by indulgence; but very few people know the extent of that abstinence. It is not at all an uncommon thing to find men over thirty in this country who have never had any knowledge of woman, and the astonishing feature of this phenomenon is that both they themselves, and those about them, think that it is a very desirable — because moral — state of affairs. The fact that they may in the end have one or two children, means that, if acquired characteristics are transmitted, a progressive atrophy or diminution of sexual passion must inevitably occur in the race; and to judge from the tale that most young wives have to tell, and from the number of semi-eunuchs one encounters among the present generation

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of young men, it would appear as if this kind of degeneration were already in full progress.
        The essentially masculine rôle in sex — initiation — is therefore more often dreaded than coveted by men of almost all classes in England to-day — hence possibly the enormous increase in divorces and prostitution, and the persistent high figure maintained in the statistics of widows who remarry, despite the increase in surplus women. Timidity, incompetence, ignorance, and above all shame, naturally lead men to shun the uninitiated girl, and to select the initiated woman, whether she is actually married, or a widow, or a prostitute; because anything is better than the ignominy of a bungled or unconsummated initiation. But divorces, prostitution, and the neglect of young girls for widows — all these things are better in the eyes of the Puritan and the ignorant interfering spinster, than young men knowledgeable and artistic in sex matters; hence we may expect an increase of the tendency already established. Indeed this increase seems already to be perceptible.
        Although each year the surplusage of women over men increases in England and Wales, which means that the number of eligible spinsters is very much more than adequate, the statistics show that the percentage of widows who remarry, instead of depreciating, remains more or less stationary. In the years of the war, in spite of the large disproportion of the sexes, the remarriages of widows increased far beyond any preceding figure, and in the decade 1914 to 1923, there were .9 per cent. more marriages of bachelors with widows than in the decade 1851–60. 1
        True, widows increased appreciably during the years 1914–18 owing to the casualties. But so also did the

        1 The number of widows remarried in recent years is as follows: 1918: 30,469; 1919: 40,229; 1920: 29,141; 1922: 23,778; 1923: 20,778.
        This gives a total of 144,414 widows remarried in five years, when there were about 2,000,000 surplus women in the country.

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number of surplus eligible young women, and for the same reason.
        With regard to divorces, the increase is notorious. They rose from an average of 277 for the years 1876–80, to an average of 1,509.6 for the years 1916–20, and in 1921 they reached the high figure of 3,522. This points not only to a possible increase of unhappiness in marriage, but also to a possible and probable increase in the fascination of the initiated woman for emasculate men, who fear the duty of sex-initiation. 1 This last fact, if it is a fact, would seem to argue progressive sexual degeneration in the male; while, in any case, his loss of mastery and of art in the sex relation, about which there appears to be no doubt in any knowledgeable person's mind, points to a decay of a natural instinct, through the stultifying influence of negative values, acting upon a widespread decline in stamina.
        Why may we feel so certain that this ultimate victory of negative values over a natural and instinctive reaction points to a decline in stamina? Because the negative values have been the same for centuries, and the ignorance and loss of mastery in sex, about which such a writer as Marie Stopes, for instance, very rightly inveighs, is a modern and comparatively recent development. It is not therefore the values that have changed, but the native stamina, which hitherto enabled men to act naturally in spite of the values.
        Now there is no feature about modern man which is more potent in provoking contempt in the female than precisely this loss of mastery in sex. Consciously or unconsciously, modern woman feels it as his most serious challenge to her esteem; for it must be remembered that as we pointed out in the first chapters, this sex relation belongs to the oldest and most respectable elements in

        1 I am not aware of having seen this possible explanation of the increase of divorces advanced before; but I think it is worth considering. Of course, the increase is not all due to the infidelity of wives; but, as I have shown in Woman: A Vindication, the bulk of it certainly is.

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our being — it is probably much older than the parental relation — and for millions of years woman, or the female in our line of evolution, has been accustomed to the very mastery and art in sex initiation, which the male in England, and countries like England, has lost. Whatever her Puritanical prejudices and upbringing may have been, therefore, she cannot deny this oldest element in her nature; and when, as too frequently happens, she finds her mate deficient and not true to type in this respect, although she may not know the ultimate cause of her contempt for him, she cannot help feeling contempt. She may clothe it in language or in ideas that are as remote from sex as possible; but its deepest root will be the fact that the male has failed in his traditional pre-mammalian rôle, and has to that extent forfeited a measure of his oldest claim to masculinity.
        The best proof of this is to compare the attitude of women in non-Puritanical countries with that of women in Puritanical countries. Owing to the Pagan tolerance of the Holy Catholic Church, almost the whole of Southern Europe, including a large part of France, is more or less free from the blight of sex-phobia and Puritanical values; whereas Northern Europe, with England and North America, is wholly a prey to these very influences. In the former area, there is no such thing as the uncontrollable and deep-rooted contempt of the male, which is to be found in the latter area; while the look of the men themselves differs as widely as does the attitude of their womenfolk. Examine an American or an English male tourist of mature years as he stands surrounded by natives either in Venice or Rome, in Madrid or in the Basque territory of North-eastern Spain. Compared with the southerner, he looks ascetic, pinched, oppressed and still boyish despite his adulthood — in fact, rather like a monk in mufti; while the woman at his side may be seen to look restlessly about as if animated by a vague yearning for something the nature of which she is probably not even conscious of.

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        The natives themselves ascribe these characteristics of northerners, which they cannot help noticing, to the lack of sunshine and good wine and olive oil. They seldom guess that a deeper cause than the absence of good living and blue skies is at work in producing the effect they observe. And in Venice I once heard the impression made by American and English visitors summed up graphically enough, though without any indication of its cause, as "grey misery."
        "Grey misery" it is indeed. Because, quite apart from the amount of joy that is lost as the result of this shelving and ignoring of sex, and this loss of innocence and serenity in the exercise of the sex functions, it should not be forgotten that the systematic dwarfing and impoverishment of the sex passions and instincts in both sexes, leads to an ultimate heavy loss in other very desirable qualities in the nation. For I am by no means alone in believing that among highly sexed people, some of the most desirable citizens on earth are to be found. 1
        (5) The Englishman's attitude to woman has already been partly discussed in Chapter V. Here it will be necessary to deal only with those influences determining his attitude which have not yet been mentioned. They are (a) his insistence upon a humourous relation, (b) his lack of catholicity and versatility, (c) his reverence for chivalry, (d) his lack of penetration and psychological insight, and (e) his lack of will power.
        (a) I have already discussed the insistence on humour and its relation to passion and religion. But it is important to notice that it not only has a bearing upon the sex-life, through the association of humour with a lack of passion, as already pointed out above, but that it also influences the rest of the relationship of man and woman. It colours the whole of their outlook, in this

        1 At a debate I attended in the Essex Hall a year or two ago, which was held under the auspices of a Birth Control society, the senior gynæcologist of Guy's Hospital, Mr. Harold Chapple expressed this view, and I know that the eminent gynæcologist Mr. Norman Haire also holds it.

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sense, that the passionate relationship is forced into the background. The severest charge that history will be able to bring against Anglo-Saxon culture is that it led Anglo-Saxon women to seek the passionate relationship elsewhere than in their association with man and the child. To have brought things to such pass that we now have half our womenfolk, even the married ones, not only declaring that the joys of the sex-relationship are grossly overrated, but also pursuing with passionate attachment callings which release them from their natural calling, their only true calling, means that we have "made a hash" of the sexual side of women's lives. We have sickened and wearied them of a relationship which ought to be their greatest joy and preoccupation. We have actually extirpated in them the impulse which springs from their strongest and deepest instinct. By losing the art of love, by reducing the sexual life of woman chiefly to painful child-bearing, we have neglected that oldest part of her nature, which was formed during the long ages before the mammalia existed and before child-bearing had become a female function, and in this sense we have wounded and goaded an old instinct into a state of cynical revolt.
        We have treated woman as a playmate, as a companion, as a fellow-golfer and tennis-player. We have expected her to be all these things and to roam the country with us on far too long rambles and to admire the view. We have called "jolly" the girls who could associate with us in this way without reminding us of sex or of the fact that they were fully-equipped females. The girl who could spend weeks and months with us in this way we have spoken of as one that "had no nonsense about her," meaning no passion so irrepressible as to be inconvenient. Thus we have forced even the girls "with nonsense about them" to behave like neuters, and the rest to look and act as if they had hardly any of the woman about them. These girls are humorous like ourselves, their stifled passions have been deflected

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or atrophied, and they have become that horrible product of tepid temperaments and damp finger-tips known as the "pal." How can we wonder that they turn their back with ease on a life for which they are equipped to the teeth? How can we wonder that they express their passion in Causes, Movements, Callings and breadwinning? But it was our incompetence and our failure to understand them, our fear of love and our dread or our ignorance of its arts, that made us prefer the girl who had "no nonsense about her." The Anglo-Saxon has a deal to answer for. He has transformed his woman and himself, and he would have transformed the whole world to match his woman and himself if his power had not begun to decline through the decadence brought on by his various transformations.
        (b) The Englishman's lack of catholicity in tastes and of versatility in gifts makes him frequently look up to his mate as a prodigy of both general knowledge and general acumen. Women, owing to the fact that until quite lately they have escaped most of the specialist and routine tasks of bread winning, have retained more of their pristine catholicity of interests. While, therefore, they bewilder man with the range and glamour of their mental activities, they feel his limitations as tiresome and even exasperating. To find a complete male environment, therefore, they would be forced to have about them many males of various callings. The modern specialist and specialized male no longer fills their lives — can no longer, in fact, give them a full life. Moreover, he is aware of his limited range. He becomes, through repeated humiliations, subjected by the broader scope of his mate's adaptations. He may feel no interest, or very little, in poetry, in human nature, in art. His speciality, and the specializing above all of his ancestors, may have forced him to concentrate on one point of existence, to the exclusion of all else. He may love this narrow specialization. This, however, only makes him the more helpless before the nimble versatility of

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his mate's mind, and, what is more important, makes it difficult for him to take the lead. When an occasion arises that seems to invite him to take the lead, he finds that the past history of his life with her, with all its repeated little triumphs of intellect on her side, has robbed him of the requisite ascendancy and prestige. She may be nervous, exhausted, and reduced, owing to the need that has thus arisen for her to act and to make weighty decisions in a crisis. She may despise him while enjoying and suffering from the power his latter-day mediocrity has given her. But, meanwhile, he is inclined to think that men are superior to women only in physical strength. (He does not like to be told that this is true only of a country in which the men have lost their intellectual superiority through narrow specialization, and intellectual decay.) And, when he contemplates the work of the Feminists, and the alleged "advance of women," he fancies he sees in these phenomena only the inevitable march of progress and the results of the higher evolution of his species.
        (c) The Englishman's reverence for the modern notion of chivalry which is summed up by the tag "play the game," is inculcated upon him at school, and it makes him an easy victim of his female circle. There is nothing more admirable than a chivalrous spirit — that spirit which arose in Europe in feudal times, and which makes it incumbent upon the superior and the stronger to protect the weaker from all molestation and assault, and to meet for him or her all the difficulties with which the weaker cannot reasonably be expected to cope. And it would be an excellent thing if chivalry in this sense were more widely practised. Perhaps the finest exponents of chivalry in the whole world were the old Maoris of New Zealand, who would never continue a fight if their opponent were at the slightest disadvantage from the lack of food or water, or from inability through lack of time to collect and tend their wounded. How this chivalry on the part of the Maoris was exploited by English

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settlers does not constitute the finest page in the history of the Empire. But this is another matter. Suffice it to say that the tradition of chivalry exists wherever Feudalism once prevailed, and its very essence is to thwart and resist that bullying propensity in the powerful which tends to victimize individuals or groups who have momentarily no means of protection, or who are in any way at a disadvantage. In war it has long since been dead. The spirit which caused Pope Innocent VI in the reign of Stephen to prohibit the use of the arbalest "as a barbarous weapon unfit for Christian warfare," which led Charles V in 1376 to celebrate the memory of the Black Prince in a solemn service, although the latter was his bitter and successful enemy, and which made Robert of Normandy refuse to besiege one castle when the besieged were waterless, and another when Henry I's queen was in childbed inside it — this spirit may be said to be quite extinct. For many years now European nations have thought nothing of slaughtering with all the terrible weapons of modern warfare, savages, who were armed only with spears and bows and arrows; and no civilized nation, during the last hundred years at least, has scrupled to take advantage of an opponent's momentary bad fortune, or disadvantage in the matter of munitions, or water, or food, in order to crush him. And the same is true, more or less, of social life within the various states. To be undefended, is, as a rule, to be victimized. Think, for instance, of the treatment of the women and children in the early days of the nineteenth century in the mines and mills of the north of England! While publicly England fought for the emancipation of the slaves in America, her own women and children were working in chains underground. In social life, too, therefore, we may say that the spirit of chivalry is dead. The exploitation of the weak (I do not mean the sick — that is another matter) goes on uninterruptedly day after day. 1

        1 In his Decline of Liberty in England Mr. Haynes gives many examples of this.

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        There is, however, a curious survival of the idea of chivalry, which is at once a distortion and a travesty of its original character, and that is the belief which prevails in certain classes that it is not "chivalrous" for a man to have his way with a woman. Truth to tell, however, if a man is to hold himself responsible for the woman who is his mate, he must at times "have his way"; for a man cannot be held responsible for some one whom he cannot guide — that is elementary. The Alpine guide soon points out to a recalcitrant tourist that only if he falls in with the rest of the party, and does not stray — that is to say, only if he follows the guide, can the latter be responsible for him. And the same holds good all through life.
        Now it is obviously the chivalrous thing for a man to hold himself reponsible for his womenfolk. To decline responsibility here is to do precisely what the knight of old least wished to do. Chivalry was the responsible side of Feudalism. But how can a man make himself responsible without occasionally — at least on matters where his responsibility is likely to be called to account — having his way?
        There is thus an apparent contradiction between ideal or practical chivalry — the only chivalry that matters and which is the willingness to be held responsible for some one weaker or more dependent than oneself, and that other idea of chivalry, which is modern, false and sentimental, and which practically amounts to a renunciation of any right to prevail over a woman whether or not she be one's spouse.
        How does the Englishman extricate himself from this dilemma? Very simply. He maintains his sentimental notion, that it is not chivalrous, or "the game," to prevail over a woman, and is therefore committed to the necessary corollary of giving up responsibility. This is being done more and more, and even the law is being altered to make the change more complete and more effectual.
        Thus we have on the one hand, in the average married

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couple of the cultivated classes, a creature who eschews coming to grips, who renounces his right to have his way, because, through some foolish misunderstanding of chivalry, he feels it would not be "playing the game" to have his way with a woman; and on the other, we have another creature, woman, who, not being expected to be "chivalrous" or "to play the game," repeatedly gains the victory over her mate through the permanent advantage she possesses of being able to break rules that her mate feels bound to observe.
        She, moreover, knows that, just as he likes to be thought humorous, he also wishes to be considered what is vulgarly called a "sport." And, if ever he ventures to thwart her, he is quickly brought to heel, by being menaced with the immediate loss of his reputation for "sportiness." When women want their way — and they usually will have it, if they are allowed — they are little concerned about "playing the game." In fact they are not, as I say, expected to play it. Consequently, when they are confronted by a man whose pride lies in his "chivalry," their victory is always assured. When, in addition, we remember that almost the whole of popular and learned opinion in England supports this insensate interpretation of "chivalry," and that the woman feels this background of sympathy behind her, we cannot be surprised that guidance, responsibility and authority in the home, if not also everywhere else, has passed almost entirely into the hands of women.
        Frequently it happens (Gissing mentions an instance, doubtless drawn from life) that a woman may crave to be mastered; when, in the midst of a storm of tears, stamping of angry feet, and offensive remarks, she may wonder why her man does not at last impose his will with violence, and half wishes he would. 1

        1 Even Charles I, whose character as a gentleman no one, not even Macaulay, has ever questioned, found it necessary on one occasion to use violence with Queen Mary. The incident occurred at Whitehall, in the summer of 1626, when the Queen's French retinue were expelled

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        When, however, one's vanity lies in one's good name for "chivalry," one is induced to sustain it even at the cost of ignominious defeat, and thus too often a scene which, if energetically handled, might consolidate the love of a couple, ends in building a barrier of strangeness between them. For the woman, dissatisfied with and contemptuous of her alleged "chivalrous" partner, does not forgive him for his lack of ordinary human skill in managing her, and, his "chivalry" having tamed him, she dreams of the sheikh who is still untamed. Hence the enormous popularity in England of all that class of fiction which depicts amorous commerce between Arab sheikhs and white women. 1
        This so-called "chivalry," too, is a sign of mental softening; for the man of strong character not only insists upon being chivalrous in the right sense — that is to say, responsible for his dependants, but he also wishes the essential correlative to that condition, which is the right to guide and to have his way where his responsibility is likely to be called to account.
        (d) The Englishman's lack of penetration and of psychological insight, by which he repeatedly misunderstands the motivation and general background of his mate's behaviour — her complaints, her moods, her hints, her rebukes, and her provocative moments, arises from the fact that generations of routine work, routine games, and routine interests, have robbed him of normal alertness and awareness. The discussion of psychological problems, like too keen an interest in humanity in general,

by the King's orders. Queen Mary was so much enraged that she broke a window, and Charles "was obliged to use all his masculine strength to control his incensed partner, by grasping her wrists in each hand." (See Strickland, Queens of England, Ed. 1865, Vol. IV, p. 169.) And yet Charles and Mary, as every historian knows, were a devoted couple until the end, and Charles was a model husband. We must remember, however, that this happened in the seventeenth century.
        1 I have attempted to work out the general problem of physical mastery in the male in my novel French Beans, published in 1923.

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is never encouraged in England. 1 A humorous remark that makes every one laugh is very much more welcome at a dinner table, or anywhere else for that matter, than a penetrating explanation based on skilful analysis. The Englishman, therefore, is, more often than not, out of touch with problems of human character and motivation. He hardly understands his own sex, and cannot therefore be expected to understand his wife's. In addition, his abysmal ignorance of the question of sex itself, makes him inclined to take so many of his mate's remarks and actions at their face value, without first interpreting them, that he is usually entirely at sea about her. It is he who keeps alive the absurd belief that no one can ever understand a woman. And, since women do not respect men who do not understand their hidden motivation, although they may say they dislike the men who do, the Englishman has great difficulty in keeping the respect of his womenfolk. As I have already said, it is to the credit of the average Englishwoman that she never pretends to respect her man; 2 but this does not exonerate the Englishman from blame for having forfeited her respect.
        Clearly, it must be most difficult to respect anyone who, at every moment of the day, misunderstands one's least cryptic allusion, believes one's most palpable lie, and accepts one's moral indignation at its face value. (Moral indignation ought always to be regarded as a suspicious manifestation in anybody, but in a woman, it is doubly so.) But all these things the average Englishman will do with unfailing regularity, until his wife, if she wishes to be understood, is forced to plain-speaking and truth — truth! By that time, however, a doctor is usually in attendance, and a holiday may be prescribed

        1 J. S. Mill, probably as the result of introspection, readily acknowledged this. In his Subjection of Women (Chapter III, Section 14) he wrote: "An Englishman is ignorant respecting human nature."
        2 I can imagine the indignant protests that the average managing matron will make on reading this sentence. But by their works, not by their words, should these women be judged. What does their behaviour imply — respect or disrespect? That is the question.

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— a holiday away from the need of truth and away from him who needs it; and there may be temporary relief.
        (e) The best Englishmen, as a rule, have displayed no lack of will. In their dealings with men, indeed, they have shown a surprising amount of it. The word of command that does not necessarily wound or frighten, but at once secures obedience, is essentially an English characteristic. Nevertheless, I do not think it can be doubted that the will power, at least of the governing classes, is declining, because there has been such a relaxation of discipline all through the nation in recent years, that it is impossible not to suspect a serious loss of will in the ranks of those who set the tone and the example to the rest of the community. What is perfectly certain, however, is the fact that in their relationship with women, the Englishmen of to-day have to all intents and purposes relinquished the power of will entirely. Whether they still possess that power as their ancestors did and voluntarily abjure its use, however, or whether they no longer possess it in the same degree, may be a debatable point; but certain it is that one might have to travel far nowadays before coming across a man like Matthew Bramble in Humphrey Clinker who could, when provoked, round on a cantankerous, vain, and tyrannical old spinster like Tabitha Bramble, and secure her prompt obedience. In spite of the advantage which the majority of men have enjoyed until quite recently, and which millions still enjoy, of being the sole economic support in their own household, it is comparatively rare to find that they also succeed in exercising any authority over those who are dependent on them. And it is one of the strange anomalies of English life that direction and the power of having their own way in all things, has passed almost entirely into the hands of the female section of the married community. Not that we wish to imply by authority an arbitrary exercise of power that overrules all reasonable objection. Authority in the home is something very different. When it is right

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it is simply the use of directing power, in regard to a partner and other dependents, who, inspired by devotion, love, and above all confidence — that confidence which comes of experience, and of the recognition of superiority — voluntarily accept the leadership of one who they know is worthy of guiding them.
        It is difficult to account for this paralysis of masculine will in the presence of women. Is it possibly the outcome of the romantic view of women, discussed in the fifth chapter, where I showed how the alleged greater morality, purity and "unselfishness" of women, cowed the morally oppressed man, and made him feel inferior? 1 Or is it merely the result of the false interpretation of chivalry discussed in the last section, coupled with the loss of prestige which has come with man's intellectual and physical decline? — I am inclined to believe that all these factors have operated in bringing it about, but I am also persuaded that there has been, in any case, an absolute loss of will-power among the men of the nation,

        1 The fact that this supposed superior morality of women is influencing our lives very much more than we know, is shown by the turn legislation is taking. It is always presumed that woman has to be protected against man's wickedness and never that man has to be protected against woman's wickedness. Thus, while women are dealt with extremely leniently by the courts, and it is almost impossible for a man to win a case against a woman, even when he is loo per cent. right, the legislature itself is reflecting this absurd misunderstanding of woman's moral nature by framing laws that always give women an unfair advantage against men. This was recognized by Mr. H. C. A. Bingley, the Marylebone magistrate, as recently as February 21, 1926, when, dealing with a male applicant who asked for his advice concerning the impossible behaviour of his wife, Mr. Bingley said: "This is another instance of legislation which is all in favour of the woman and disregards the rights of the man." After consulting the new "Summary Jurisdiction Act, 1925," he declared that, just as in the "Guardianship of Infants Act," the woman's powers had been increased, and the man had been left with nothing. "It seems hard," said the magistrate, "but I have no power to help you. . . . It is always 'Heads I win, tails you lose' for the woman nowadays." But how can anything else be expected when the popular and the learned minds believe in the absurd myth about the moral superiority of women? See Daily Press, February 19–22, 1926.)

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through the decline in stamina. Will-power, which is the attribute of strong natures that have undergone stern discipline, must necessarily decline in periods of physical debility, physical impoverishment, and relaxed discipline; and when, in addition to this, man's normal sexual relationship to woman is disturbed by Puritanical inhibitions and his own sexual feebleness, and his prestige is destroyed by his inadequate intellectual breadth and attainments, it is obvious that the men of to-day must find it difficult, if not impossible, to assert their will against woman's.
        Nothing, at all events, is more pathetic than an attempt at a display of volition which fails through lack of those essential accompaniments, prestige, superior wisdom, proved reliability, sexual mastery and vigour, and strength of character; and a man who, as often happens nowadays, feels that he has to look up to his female partner, owing to his consciousness of the many humiliations or defeats he has suffered in her presence in the sphere of intellect, wise judgment, taste, sexual experience, or what-not, had far better abstain from any such attempt at self-assertion.
        On the whole, then, as we have seen, the modern man's attitude to woman is of a kind that places him at a constant and very serious disadvantage; but there is little hope of improving the situation until his physical condition is improved, his moral superstitions are destroyed, his notions of chivalry are corrected, and his sexual powers and arts are greatly enhanced; for of all men who wish to have their way in their own homes, that man will succeed least who, while possessing every other gift, yet lacks the oldest and most impressive of masculine claims to authority — sexual vigour and mastery. Whatever prudish women may say, there is nothing which more utterly destroys a woman's faith and trust in man than precisely deficiency in this department; and that is one of the reasons why Puritanism, and the systematic reduction of man's sexuality, as I show in my Lysistrata, were bound to lead to Feminism.

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        (6) The Englishman's attitude to the child, like his attitude to woman, is largely determined by his moral superstitions and sex-phobia. As a father, however, we must add to these influences the power of vanity.
        Dealing with the moral superstitions first, it must be clear to every one that, in England and countries like England, where a good deal of shame and guilt attaches to the sex-impulses, the child enjoys an astonishing amount of false and quite unnecessary prestige, owing to the fact that it is supposed to be "innocent," or rather, not yet polluted by the sex life. Thus we should expect to find, what we actually see to-day — a degree of reverence shown to the child, which is as absurd as it is ruinous of proper discipline. This attitude, which is adopted with more than customary ferocity by the spinster, amounts in certain cases almost to child-worship. The alleged "purity" of children, which is of course all nonsense, is entirely based upon this shame and guilt of the adult in regard to sex functions, and leads to an enormous amount of harmful adulation and corruption of children.
        The moral adult's will becomes paralysed in the presence of the child's supposed "moral superiority," just as the moral man's will becomes paralysed before the alleged "moral superiority" of woman; and much is done and said by adults before children which goes a long way towards destroying the natural order of rank separating maturity from immaturity. Children are now very largely undisciplined, impudent and exacting, not only in the presence of adults, but in all circumstances, because they feel the intense admiration, tacit or avowed, which colours every one of the adult's relations to them. 1

        1 See Arthur Ponsonby, The Decline of Aristocracy, p. 90, where, speaking of the Victorian aristocrats, the author says: "In the middle of the nineteenth century, they still ruled their children with the method of stern, if not tyrannical discipline. Time has still to show whether the reverse plan of giving the first place to children is going to be more successful." And on p. 170 the author adds: "Speaking more generally, there is undoubtedly a widespread tendency to avoid responsibility, or to misuse or to renounce the particular authority which parents alone can wield."

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        An influence which greatly aggravates this condition is the tendency in countries oppressed by sex-phobia to exalt the final stage and result of the sexual life, at the cost of its "less decent" beginnings. The child, the baby, which is the end result, is thus given exorbitant value and importance, because of the need which is felt of obliterating if possible all memory and thought of its procreation. This act of obliteration is accomplished in theatrical style by turning the maximum amount of available limelight on the child, and the maximum amount of black shadow over its hateful beginnings.
        In a word, the nursery is exalted at the expense of the bedroom, and this spirit colours the whole of the world's subsequent attitude to the child. It is a spirit which is encouraged by the body of public opinion represented by masses of spinsters, masses of married Puritans, male and female, and by every Christian sect, from the Church of England to the most obscure one-chapelled subdivision of Nonconformity. It is a spirit wholly supported by the Judicial Bench and by every official act and utterance in the country, and it has received its classical poetical form in Wordsworth's famous Ode, Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood. In this poem, Wordsworth depicts the child as "trailing clouds of glory" from its original habitat — "God, who is our home." He also assures us that "Heaven lies about us in our infancy," and that as we grow up this "heavenliness," this "purity" gradually departs until "at length the Man perceives it die away, and fade into the light of common day!" The whole of the fifth stanza of this Ode, in fact, is worth reading for the light it sheds on Wordsworth's own psychology and sex-phobia; and there is probably a no more monumental record of the Anglo-Saxon misunderstanding of childhood than these nineteen lines of English verse.
        How refreshing it is, therefore, after reading the Intimations of Immortality, to come across Robert Browning's much more profound interpretation of the

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same phenomenon — childhood, and to see how very much more realistically he understood it.
        Addressing Luitolfo in A Soul's Tragedy, Ogniben says: "There I will tell everybody; and you only do right to believe you must get better as you get older. All men do so; they are worst in childhood, improve in manhood, and get ready in old age for another world. Youth, with its beauty and grace, would seem bestowed on us for some such reason as to make us partly endurable till we have time for really becoming so of ourselves, without their aid, when they leave us. The sweetest child we all smile on for his pleasant want of the whole world to break up, or suck in his mouth, seeing no other good in it — would be rudely handled by that world's inhabitants if he retained those angelic infantile desires when he had grown six feet high, black and bearded."
        This seems somewhat to redeem Wordsworth, and, incidentally, to vindicate the reputation of Englishmen for profundity and vision. But how many know, love and can quote the fifth stanza of Wordsworth's Ode, for every one or two who read, understand and appreciate the truth of Ogniben's last speech in A Soul's Tragedy?
        Again here, therefore, we encounter not only a lack of ordinary human instinct and shrewdness, even among cultivated men, but also a decay of common sanity, which we must reckon with in any attempt to account for the faults and failures of our education of children, and any reduction of discipline in the junior members both of the poorer and the well-to-do classes. And, seeing that this reduction in discipline is felt throughout life, and leads to a good deal of the disorder of modern adult life, we must not imagine that its evils are confined to childhood.
        Regarding the second component in the modern Englishman's attitude towards children, it is a little more difficult to speak without giving offence, for it relates to one of the most secret and most prevalent of the results of diminished sexual vigour.

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        We must recall all that has been said concerning the large order of relatively impotent men, who, particularly in the middle and wealthy classes, and owing to their lack of native vigour, experience the greatest difficulty in overcoming their Puritanical inhibitions and fears in connection with sexual congress. And, at the same time, we must bear in mind that, while their upbringing, their values, and their impoverished physique, make them timid and uncertain about the procreative act, the oldest part of them — the emotions and desires associated with the traditional rôle of the male in the coitus — causes them to feel that the strongest support they can have for their self-esteem resides precisely in the act which they most apprehend.
        This conflict leads to the following curious results — that, while they are not in the least comfortable about the whole of the sex life, feel no mastery in it, and would not be greatly inconvenienced if they never experienced it, they nevertheless covet that positive proof of manhood and vitality which the procreation of a child enables them to give to the world at large. And it is their very doubt about themselves and their manhood that makes them so strongly covet this positive proof. To this large and ever increasing body of young men in the modern world, the child is thus not a chance or happy result of a passionate love relation, but a deliberately sought tangible certificate of potency, which frequently they can ill afford, which they parade before their friends at every conceivable opportunity, and which among the poorer classes greatly complicates their own and their wife's difficulties in a modest and often ill-provided household. This is the meaning of an otherwise inexplicable phenomenon — the large number of quite passionless and even seriously debilitated people who are to be seen pressing their offspring upon the notice of their friends and acquaintances, and often upon strangers, with every sign of intense personal satisfaction in the display. It should never be forgotten that they

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are exhibiting to a sceptical world their diploma of potency. 1
        These people who quite dispassionately add to our present excessive population could, on temperamental, eugenic and frequently also on economic grounds, quite easily refrain from perpetuating their stock or continuing their utterly undesirable conditions. And, as one looks into their faces, one frequently wonders what could possibly have induced them, when passion drove so little, to burden themselves at the present day, with such unwelcome extra claims upon their meagre physiques and often equally meagre resources. When, however, their offspring is seen in the light of a necessary buttress to their self-esteem, a buttress which mere marriage does not provide with nearly the same sensational conviction, the anomaly is explained, and the multiplication of the "many-too-many" in these passionless days, receives a new and entirely modern sanction.
        Such men always retain a distorted relationship to the child; because it has brought them such exaggerated, such unexpected satisfaction and assurance. The more noble among them, who have that rare quality gratitude, never forget either what they owe to the child, or their duty to repay, and the consequence is, the body of Wordsworthians is swelled by recruits who, while they end in the same follies as Wordsworth, approach the Wordsworthian position from a different direction.
        The above three influences leading to exorbitant child-worship were bound to arise with sex-phobia and depreciated vitality, and we find the former, at least, all over Europe. Schiller wrote an essay about its existence in Germany over a hundred years ago, 2 and showed with

        1 In certain sections of the labouring classes, which I have had opportunities of studying, it is by no means uncommon for a thrifty but sensitive man to be driven to fatherhood before he is prepared to meet its obligations, merely because of the chaff he gets from friends and relatives.
        2 Ueber Naïve und Sentimentalische Dichtung. (The essay was first published in 1795–6.)

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remarkable clarity how the excessive reverence for Nature, like the excessive reverence for children, arises from a moral and not from an æsthetic or intelligent understanding of either.
        I am tempted to speak of many other evidences of the degeneration of mind and character in modern man, but must now draw this section rapidly to a close for want of space. For instance, I might expatiate on the following:
        (1) The lack of solidarity among men, which makes it impossible to maintain a friendship with a man, when his wife has some reason for disliking one; whereas, when it is merely the husband who has some reasons for disliking one, the friendship with the wife may continue uninterruptedly with the husband's concurrence. 1 The lack of solidarity among men is also displayed by the inability men show to keep each other's confidences secret. This is now almost universal.
        (2) The too rapid reactions of modern men, and their lack of control. This trait which is largely the result of nervous exhaustion, is frequently interpreted as intellectuality or artistic sensitiveness. It manifests itself in restless interest, incapacity for silence and meditation, quick undignified bodily movements, and an increasing weakness of character through a too rapid response to environment.
        (3) The too speedy absorptivity of modern men, so that they too readily assimilate strange thought and opinion. This is coupled with a lack of resistance both physiological and psychological, and with a so-called "thirst for knowledge." Imitativeness, feminine receptivity, and sequaciousness are the result, and leadership becomes impossible. This is so un-English that its prevalence points to a serious decline in the English character.

        1 This is not, as might be supposed, entirely due to the wife's domestic power over the xenial side of Friendship, but also to her ability in modern homes to select her own and her husband's friends.

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        (4) The increasing vanity of modern men. The recent multiplication of honours and orders is a proof of this, 1 as is also the stampede after publicity. It is an effeminate trait, and is incompatible with independence, and a strong, passionate nature. (For the mutual antagonism of passion and vanity, see my Woman: A Vindication.)
        (5) The increasing tendency to obtain vivid experiences at second-hand, either through literature or the stage. This denotes a decline of appetite and vitality, when it is not merely a sign of repression and the desire for catharsis.
        (6) The tendency to identify pleasant statements with true statements. This is also a feminine trait, but it is becoming more and more common among men. It makes the smooth-tongued demagogue powerful with the crowd, and makes it difficult for a man to move a body of his fellows if he is truthful.
        (7) The tendency to accept praise or blame from women in regard to artistic or other performances, and to regard such praise or blame as a reliable estimate of one's worth. The personal and sexual factor in all women's judgments of men's performances is thus overlooked, and a man who speaks, writes or paints, however insignificantly, thus often lays to the credit of his wit and intelligence what he ought really to lay merely to the credit of his sexual attraction. The modern world is full of such men, who have a completely distorted notion of their worth, owing to having repeatedly entered to the credit of the wrong account adulation received from their womenfolk. To scorn the judgment of women, however, no matter how adulatory it is, proves, I admit, dangerous nowadays, because women have become very powerful. But they have only become powerful through the suffrages of those men who accept.

        1 Only within the last forty years seven new orders, two new decorations, and several new medals (not war medals) have been instituted. (See Arthur Ponsonby, The Decline of Aristocracy, p. 124.)

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their praise or blame as estimates of worth in other departments than sex potency.
        (8) The inability to make a damaging admission about oneself. This is also a feminine trait, but it is becoming ever more and more characteristic of the male sex also. It explains why most men and women among the audiences I have addressed on the subject of degeneration, have always taken it for granted that I must be excluding myself from the general charge. Until I told them I was not excluding myself — a piece of information that invariably astonished them — -they naturally thought, being modern, that I would not make a charge so humiliating to modern pride, without regarding myself as unimplicated in it.
        (9) The tendency is also increasing to judge men, not on their merits, but according to how far one can purr and feel comfortable and pleased with oneself in their presence. This is also a feminine trait that has now become very common among men. No woman can think well of a man who has snubbed her, however great he may be (example: Madame de Staël and Napoleon). Such an attitude is, however, unpardonable in a man, who ought to discount vanity from his judgment. A man should be rigid and settled enough in his judgments to exclude his personal reaction from his estimate of another's character and merits. He should, for instance, be able to despise a man who has done him only kindnesses, and admire a man who has done him only unkindnesses, if disdain and admiration were deserved by each respectively, apart from his own experience at their hands. But this hardly ever occurs to-day. Every man, like every woman, asks himself, consciously or unconsciously: "What is my relation to this man? How has he treated me?" And, according to whether the answer is favourable or unfavourable, he admires or despises him. This is, however, the slave's attitude, and the woman's attitude. But it is quite unworthy of man.

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        As an illustration of what I mean, I might perhaps quote the following personal experience. I happened one day soon after the war to be talking to a group of people, when the conversation turned upon the subject of a particular lady, whom, for private reasons, I never wished to meet again. The company knew that I never wished to meet this lady again, and that my reason was that she had wronged some one very dear to me.
        I could not, however, refrain from paying a high tribute to her gifts, and spoke very enthusiastically of her versatility and brilliance. Now the reader will, I hope, believe me when I add, that the whole of the company present, both men and women, immediately concluded, from the way I had praised her attainments and gifts, that I must be wishing to become reconciled to her, although I had not the slightest intention of doing so, and have never done so to this day.
        Nobody in the relation of an enemy can, according to the slave or to woman, possess any desirable quality, hence the unfounded expectations of the company on the occasion I speak of. They thought I could no longer be regarding the lady as an enemy because I spoke highly of her. It was excusable in the women, but quite inexcusable in the men.
        (10) Finally, I would refer to the decline in intelligence, which I think can be shown to have occurred in all classes of the community. This is generally denied with great heat, even by whose who are willing to acknowledge that so-called "physical degeneration," as apart from "mental degeneration" is a well-established fact; and in this way the modern world seeks to justify and vindicate its right to esteem. For it argues that, although our bodies may be in a sad plight, our minds have never been more brilliant and more fertile.
        Nevertheless, there is much evidence pointing to the conclusion that intelligence is really declining, and such works as Mr. Lothrop Stoddard's Revolt Against Civilization and Mr. Arthur Ponsonby's The Decline of

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Aristocracy 1 furnish us with many alarming facts about this phenomenon.
        One does not require to be pessimistically inclined in order to see in the increasing power of the demagogue and of the press, a substantial falling off of vigorous and independent thought among the masses, while in the lack of leading personalities among the governing sections of the community, and of constructive ideas in modern politics, adequate demonstration is to be found of a similar condition among the more cultivated classes.
        One of the most convincing proofs of intellectual deterioration, however, is the remarkable standardization of opinion and taste that has been made possible within recent years. This would not be so bad, if those who were affected by it. were aware of it. But what increases the suspicion that a process of general besotment is in progress, is the fact that the very people whose thoughts and opinions on almost all subjects have been standardized are not in the least aware that they are not exercising the right of private judgment with complete originality and independence.
        Any kind of false conclusion, whether scientific or artistic, if it be sufficiently widely circulated and advertised, will quickly become public opinion to-day, without any attempt on the part of the public to apply realistic tests of its validity before accepting it. Reputations are made, commercial products are bought in enormous quantities, and false values about life and culture are assimilated, by the mere repetition and emphatic restate-

        1 For the decline in intelligence among the masses, see the whole of the former work, and for the decline of intelligence among the governing classes see the latter work, especially pp. 23, 128, 135, 139 and 141. "Even in fighting the battle to retain their ascendancy," says Mr. Ponsonby, "the nobility and aristocracy showed themselves as a body, with a very few individual exceptions, poorly equipped intellectually, blind, and ill-informed." (Op. cit., p. 135.) Another useful work that should be consulted by the reader, on the subject of physical and mental decay, is R. Austin Freeman's Social Decay and Regeneration (Constable & Co., 1921).

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ment of their alleged merits in a press wholly devoted to "stunting"; and there is no effort on the part of the majority to escape from this intellectual enslavement.
        Thus the right of private judgment, which is inherent not only in Protestantism, but also in the genuine particularist character of the Anglo Saxon, is now no more than a myth. We have mass-thought and opinion imposed on the population, in the same way as are their standardized manufactured boots, and any attempt at raising them from their hypnotic condition, by stating truths that are incompatible with their standardized intellectual pabulum, is to earn the reputation of insanity or crankiness. The immense power of advertisement at the present day is only made possible through the servile suggestibility and absence of independent judgment among the masses, and the magic of a name sufficiently often repeated reveals the hypnotic nature of this power.
        Let any reader try such experiments as I have tried. Let him make it a rule for six months to ask, wherever he may happen to be, in high society or low, the opinion of some representative personality on say — (a) the value of humour, or (b) the extent to which the late war disproved and invalidated the charge of degeneracy made against modern man, or (c) the question whether modern man, though perhaps possessing less animal stamina than his ancestor, is not growing every year more intellectual, or (d) whether old armour does not show that we of modern England are bigger and finer men than our ancestors were, etc. If he does not find an extraordinary amount of unanimous though false opinion on all these questions shared equally by high and low (among the lower strata, of course, he is not likely to hear anything at all about armour, because they have never heard of it), he will need to congratulate himself on frequenting the most exceptional and most self-determined individuals of his age.
        There is some reason to believe that, at least among the masses, elementary education is responsible for a

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good deal of the decay of intelligence; because, while it fills their minds with an enormous amount of ridiculous and useless facts, it also fails to give them the necessary safeguards against an abuse of the one powerful weapon which it places in their hands — the ability to read their own language. And thus in later life they become exposed to all the nonsense that commercialized fourth and fifth-rate literature takes good care to supply them with. But there can also be little doubt that low physical health is an important contributory factor in producing dull and stupid children. Indeed Dr. Clarke of Cornwall, after examining some 4,000 local children, who had been found to be backward, discovered that their condition was most closely connected with the following attributes: enlarged tonsils and nasal obstruction, squint, defective hearing, diseases of the circulatory system, and defective vision, 1 and there is a good deal of other evidence to the same effect. 2 The 1920 report of the Chief Medical Officer of the Board of Education contains the following significant remarks: "The educational organization discovers the backward child as a serious factor in national life. . . . We cannot afford to neglect a problem which adds to the industrial problem some 50,000 to 60,000 children per annum — recruits to an army unprepared by mental ineptitude to meet effectively the intellectual demands of a full life."
        With regard to the wealthier classes, the same causes are no doubt operating with the same effect, and some of the figures given by Mr. Ponsonby in his Decline of Aristocracy, regarding the reduction in the successful entrants to the Civil Service from the families of the governing classes, are significant in this respect. Naturally

        1 See Report of the Chief Medical Officer of the Board of Education, 1920.
        2 See Reports of the Chief Medical Officer of the Board of Education for 1921, 1922, and 1923. Some of the data have already been given in a previous chapter.

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there are no such official records of dullness and stupidity among the children of the rich as we find regarding the children of the poor, but the general tone and achievements of these classes, the way they spend their leisure and their wealth, the way they face current problems, and the way in which they too, as we have already seen, submit to the standardization of opinion and taste, can leave us in no doubt as to their low intellectual condition. 1

*  *  *  *  *

        This concludes my indictment of modern man, but let it not be supposed that, because I have drawn my examples chiefly from England — the country I know best — that I therefore imagine there is any other civilized country better, or less degenerate, than England; because I do not. Here and there you may find signs of what appears to be a superior condition, as for instance, in the greater rural life of France, in the contemptuous rejection by the French populace of the many attempts which have been made (and which have been successful in Germany and England) to introduce the Servile State, and the virile execration with which a recent endeavour on the part of the French Government to register and to insure the artisan as a separate category of citizens, was received by the whole of the French nation. 2 But I have no doubt that if one took the trouble one could find certain other and inferior features in France, which would destroy this apparent superiority over England and Germany, and in the end the difference would not be very great. I have travelled Western Europe pretty thoroughly, and am convinced that the racial degeneracy of modern man is just as acute on the Continent (especially in the industrial parts of Germany, France, Belgium and Italy) as it is here. The national degeneracy is more or less different in each country,

        1 For an incomplete but fairly extensive enumeration of the blunders and incompetencies of this class during the nineteenth century see my Defence of Aristocracy.
        2 See E. S. P. Haynes, The Decline of Liberty in England, p. 26.

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because the qualities that are being lost are not the same in each nation. But that degeneracy, whether atavistic, racial or national is pretty general wherever Western civilization has spread, is, I think, an indisputable fact, which only the lack of space prevents me from being able to demonstrate.
        Now it must be perfectly obvious that no such substantial deterioration in the mind and body of man as I have described, could possibly have occurred, without greatly disturbing the normal balance of the sexes, even if woman had degenerated equally with man in mind and body. Seeing, however, that for the reasons already given at the end of Chapter VII, and in view of other reasons to be discussed later, woman has not degenerated equally with man, or has at least escaped some of the worst consequences of modern degeneration; and, seeing moreover, that the kind of degeneration which has occurred in man, particularly that of his sexual vigour, sexual instincts, character and intellect, is of a nature specially to provoke the contempt and ridicule of the other sex, we are justified, I think, in assuming that the present attitude of woman both to the sex question, to the status of her sex, and to man in general, is largely, if not wholly, due to man's own very definite loss of ground, both in the physical and the mental sphere; and that no alteration in the sex war, and no enhancement, above all, in the authority, prestige and dignity of man, can possibly be expected until some headway has been made in the regeneration of mankind as a whole and of the male sex in particular.
        Woman's respect for man, like her trust in him, has gone and we have seen that there is ample justification for this phenomenon. If, however, our thesis is sound, and we are right in believing that it is quite impossible to run the world successfully and desirably, except under the guidance of first-class male material, let us be quite sure that we thoroughly understand our present position.
        While regarding the present contempt of our women-

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folk as well deserved, and interpreting their clamorous demands for power, and their strides towards power merely as the expression of that contempt and the natural reaction to our own failure and incompetence, let us not beguile ourselves with the thought that Feminism is either a necessary evolutionary development or a guarantee of any hope for the future. Let us see it as it is — that is to say, merely as the inevitable reflection of our own decline, and not by any means as a remedy for any of the ills, political, physical, intellectual or religious which we may see about us to-day. For these ills are the direct result of a serious deterioration in male efficiency, male vigour, and male character. They cannot be corrected, except by restoring to man his proper quota of health, intelligence, sound instinct and capacity; they cannot be corrected within a nation, without restoring to the male members of that nation the full vigour of their peculiar virtues and character; and the first step to be contemplated, therefore, the only step which can possibly give any hope for the future, is the regeneration of man himself, and the recovery of a high standard in the measurement of his physical and mental desirability. This alone can bring about the urgent subsequent reforms that are needed in every department of modern life, in order to restore humanity and society to a sane and healthy condition; and those who see in other directions, away from this Masculine Renaissance, a remedy for any modern evil, however slight, however tolerable, ought to be regarded as the enemies not only of Progress, but of all mankind as well.
        It now only remains to deal with those causes of modern degeneration which I have not yet discussed, and then to turn to the more pleasant but more difficult task of enumerating those measures which, according to my view, and the view of many men very much more qualified than myself to speak with authority on the question, may help us to achieve our regeneration even at this late stage in our history.



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