Typos p. 314, n. 1: Korperstellung [= Körperstellung]; p. 318: degenertaion [= degeneration]; p. 319: diptheria [= diphtheria]; p. 323: adapatation [= adaptation]
The More Remote Causes of Modern Male Degeneracy Part II
Science is approaching ever nearer to the standpoint that inbreeding, where stocks are sound, is better for character, enduring power and beauty, than cross-breeding, and the future is probably to the race which, through the observance of some law or tradition, will have been most careful to maintain itself pure.
The old prejudices against inbreeding, which began with the theological and Puritanical bias against incest, is being discredited more and more every day, and science is now faced with a new era, in which she will have to restore man to his old faith in close inbreeding and, if necessary, in incest.
Too long has Western humanity overlooked the fact that mixed breeding does not destroy or eliminate disease or degeneracy, but only covers it up, and that inbreeding does not create or introduce disease or degeneracy, but only brings it out. By labouring under the belief that inbreeding creates or introduces disease or degeneracy, and that cross-breeding eliminates or prevents both, mankind (except in the breeding of animals) has for hundreds of years, but particularly latterly, been prac-
"If evil is brought to light by inbreeding," say the authors of a recent scientific work, "inbreeding is no more to be blamed than the detective who unearths a
1 The prejudice against inbreeding is such nowadays that even the retention of skilled trades or professions in families or groups by the marriage of young men and women whose fathers have the same or similar occupations (which was more or less the rule in the Middle Ages in Europe, and which led to a great accumulation of capacity in one line), is now frustrated by a complete mixture of trades, professions and classes; and thus there is no possibility of garnering quality or virtue in particular lines.
2 For Sir Arthur Keith's references to disorders of growth, and irregularities in the growth of face in modern English people, which, I venture to suggest, may be due largely to excessive miscegenation, see p. 200, ante.
"Continual cross-breeding only tends to hide internal defects," says another author on the same subject, "not to exterminate them. We may not, therefore, lightly ascribe to inbreeding or intermarriage the creation of bad racial traits, but only their manifestation. . . . The animal breeder is, therefore, amply justified in doing what human society at present is probably not warranted in doing viz.: in practising close inbreeding in building up families of superior excellence and then keeping them pure. . . . If sufficient vigour is retained after a fully homozygous state has been reached, then the closest inbreeding (or even self-fertilization when this is possible) should cause no further loss of vigour." 2
It is impossible for me to describe all the results that have recently been obtained both by commercial breeders and scientific investigators to establish the the truth of the above, but I have lectured on the subject sufficiently often in the presence of scientific critics to know that the facts are well established, and my belief is that we are entering upon an era in which miscegenation for human society will be discredited and inbreeding and possibly even incest adopted in its stead.
The decline of character and of beauty, as well as the decline in harmonious physiological co-ordination, are all probably due in a large measure to the absurd extremes to which miscegenation has been carried by modern man under the influence of dysgenic Christianity; and before dismissing the subject I would strongly urge the reader to consult such works on the subject as I have already quoted, together with Reibmayr's profound and erudite work Inzucht und Vermischung, and the more practical statements of commercial
1 Inbreeding and Outbreeding, by E. M. East and Donald F. Jones, p. 139.
2 Genetics and Eugenics, by Prof. W. E. Castle.
To refer to the degeneration of inbred families known to history is no argument against the plea for inbreeding, for, as every stock-breeder knows, the essential prerequisite for successful inbreeding, as recently practised by Dr. King in America, for instance (who bred brother and sister repeatedly for twenty-five generations in rats without any harmful results), is (a) that the founders of the family line should be free from taint, and (b) that when once a homozygous strain has been formed it should be vigilantly watched and all aberrations from type carefully eliminated. When have these conditions been fulfilled by families usually referred to by the opponents of inbreeding?
To proceed as we are doing in Europe, however, and to cover up our tainted strains by ever more intensified miscegenation, is simply to pollute the whole of living mankind with degeneration, and it is only to delay the ultimate crash by making it universal instead of local and partial. It means that, while we insist on diluting our own cancer strain with somebody else's phthisis or diabetes strain, we do not eliminate our taint, but merely strike a fifty-fifty balance against total corruption by means of one disease.
It is certainly true that if the conventions and laws
1 A good deal of the historical evidence on this subject will be found in my Defence of Aristocracy. In fact, the whole of Chapter VII in this last named work will be found helpful in understanding the necessarily too brief statement of the question given above. For writers on the evils of miscegenation in modern countries other than Europe, see Louis Agassiz, A Journey in Brazil (1868), and Cyaria-Calderon, Latin America: Its Rise and Progress, in both of which books the reader will find data about the disastrous consequences of cross breeding among a young and healthy people.
I do not pretend to have dealt adequately with this subject, there is not the space. But with my remarks in his mind, I most earnestly invite the reader to study the literature I have recommended, although it only fringes the subject, and he will see the vast importance of this aspect of the problem of degeneration.
The present power and ascendancy of the Jews is no accident, neither is it any indication that in an ultimate analysis the Jews would be found to be superior to the Gentiles in ability and gifts. Their momentary superiority is more probably due to the effect of their close inbreeding in the past; and that is why we cannot do the Jews a greater disservice than to increase our friendliness to them to the extent of breaking down the racial barrier that now separates them from our degenerate miscegenated stocks.
The fact that the superiority attained through inbreeding is not confined to mental qualities and character is proved by the great endurance of the racehorse (one of the most closely inbred of all animals) and the great milking capacity of highly inbred cows; while statistics recently obtained by Dr. Hall about the health of Jewish and Gentile children seem to point to a similar physical superiority in the more closely bred Jew.
Dr. Hall examined 2,704 Gentile and Jewish Board School children from 6 to 13 years of age, and found that the poor Jew is 3 lb. heavier and 2 inches taller than the poor Gentile at 8 years of age; 6 1/4 lb. heavier and 2 1/2 inches taller at 10 years of age, and 7 lb. heavier and 2 1/4 inches taller at 12 years of age.
This remarkable difference between Jewish and Gentile children, residing in a similar urban environment may possibly be due to some extent to the more rational feeding of the Jews; but this can hardly account for the whole of the difference between, for instance, the 25 per cent. and 60 per cent. of bad teeth in classes 4 and 2; and from our knowledge of other data relating to miscegenation and inbreeding, we are inclined to ascribe a good deal of the superiority to the inbreeding of the Jews in the past. That our kindness and familiarity are causing the Jews to relax their rules about cross-breeding with Gentiles in this country is perhaps the cruellest scourge that has ever been imposed upon the Jewish race in the whole of their history.
(4) The faulty co-ordination of our bodies is probably the least obvious, the least known, and yet one of the most potent causes of modern disease, modern abnormality, modern nervous debility and exhaustion, and modern madness; and for my text in discussing this cause of modern degeneration, I shall use the two well-known books of Mr. F. M. Alexander, 2 who is undoubtedly
1 A. W. Smyth (Op. cit., pp. 3045). See also the evidence given before the Inter-Departmental Committee on Physical Deterioration (1904) on the physical superiority of the Jews by General Sir Frederick Maurice, K.C.B., the Rt. Hon. Charles Booth, F.R.S., Mrs. Close, and many others.
2 Man's Supreme Inheritance (Methuen, 1910) and Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (Methuen, 1924).
Briefly stated, Mr. Alexander's diagnosis is as follows: He says, and has, moreover, proved, that owing to the repeated extensive disturbances of the harmony between man and his environment, which have been brought about by the too rapid changes of civilization, probably from the time of the first application of fire to metals down to the present day, man's equipment in instincts has been unable to deal adequately with the daily aggravated problem of adaptation, and the grievous result has been that his instinctive reactions are no longer reliable and lead to a harmful use of himself in almost everything he does.
Mr. Alexander, therefore, asks these searching and disconcerting questions: Are our instinctive reactions to environment any longer reliable? And, if they are not, have we any other means of reacting to environment?
He answers the first question with a flat negative. The modern man standing on the pavement of his streets, and about to walk; or reclining in an easy chair and about to get up; or using a tennis racquet or a golf stick, still depends on his old instinctive mechanisms and muscular sense to perform the actions that are required of him. Although he has not had time to re-educate his instincts correctly, to perform the many complicated actions demanded of him by civilization, and to modify his primitive form of reacting so that it may be suited to the new requirements for the development of a new instinct is a long and laborious process, and requires a stable environment for its fulfilment he has no choice but to react and to react quickly to his present circumstances; for life is action. And, since he has to fall back upon instinctive reflexes which were cultivated in him for a different and more simple purpose a purpose long ago buried with his vanished ancestors he reacts wrongly, cannot well help reacting wrongly, and by so doing proceeds to a faulty use of himself.
Under the constant influence of this faulty use, his thoracic capacity, for instance, becomes unduly and perniciously limited, his heart becomes harmfully hemmed in, his spine becomes distorted, his muscular co ordination is seriously impaired, and violence is repeatedly done to a complicated and delicate structure, which, though it possesses wonderful recuperative power, must ultimately suffer from such continued ill usage. Truth to tell, in time, this ill usage and the disorders in the functioning of his body to which they give rise cannot help manifesting themselves in the form of diseases; and since the true cause of these diseases wrong functioning as the result of the faulty use of self is not known, the diseases are treated specifically and separately, as if they were independent disturbances of a part which bore no relation to the rest of the system.
The faulty use, according to Mr. Alexander, now begins in early childhood. Indeed, through this faulty use having been practised by modern man's forbears, children are actually born with the inherited results of their parents' ignorance, and one of these inherited disadvantages, long recognized but unexplained by modern medicine, is what is known as a low respiratory need that is to say, an inadequate breathing capacity, which in itself alone is responsible for all the evil consequences of an imperfect oxidation of the blood.
It is difficult, without having had visual demonstration and personal experience of the nature of this faulty use, to grasp the gravity of the conditions it creates, and the extent of their complicated ramifications; for one of its most serious consequences is the perversion of consciousness, the debauching of the muscular sense, or sensory appreciation of the individual, so that he no longer knows that he is wrong, so that he no longer feels his wrongness,
Professor John Dewey, the distinguished American philosopher, writing on this question of the perversion of individual consciousness and sensory appreciation, says: "It is precisely this perverted consciousness which we bring with us to the reading and comprehension of Mr. Alexander's pages, and which makes it hard for us to realize his statements as to its existence, causes and effects. We have become so used to it that we take it for granted. It forms, as he has so clearly shown, our standard of rightness. It influences our every observation, interpretation and judgment. It is the one factor which enters into our every act and thought." 1
To the modern world, with its sophisticated belief in the desirability of a "return to Nature," it seems odd that our instincts should be declared no longer reliable, and that they should have ceased to guide us correctly in our daily movements and thoughts. But if we attempt to examine the question more narrowly, we come to the conclusion that it would surely be very much more odd if, despite the extreme complication, rapid changes and artificiality of our lives, they had remained as trustworthy as they once undoubtedly were. What modern man would maintain that he has a reliable instinct, or that modern man in general has a reliable instinct, regarding the choice of foods, regarding the simple correctives for transient disturbances of his system, regarding
1 See Introduction to Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual, p. xxii.
But, fortunately, Mr. Alexander does not rely on dialectics for carrying his point. He has demonstrated, and is prepared to demonstrate again, to hundreds of people who imagine themselves quite well and properly controlled, the fact that they are not only using themselves wrongly, but also that the consequences of their wrong use are already apparent upon them, and cannot fail, sooner or later, to lead to distressing results. And, since the consequences of wrong use, in addition to leading to organic diseases and lowered vitality, may also mean the advent of those more obscure afflictions of modern times which are loosely classed under such different heads as neurasthenia, nervous debility, morbid and free automatisms, insomnia, premature senility, etc., the first demonstration a man is given of his own wrong use of himself is probably the most startling revelation it is possible for him to experience at the present day. As I am one of those fortunate people who have enjoyed the privilege of having, in good time, experienced such a dramatic demonstration, conducted by Mr. Alexander on myself, I presume that I am qualified to speak with some authority on this matter, and I may say that I could never have imagined its apocalyptic effect. It left me convinced that the claim made by Mr. Alexander, that an enormous amount of our present degeneration is due
This may sound an extravagant statement, particularly as it comes from a layman, not qualified to speak with authority on a matter so important and so far reaching. But fortunately I am not alone in claiming what I do claim about Mr. Alexander's diagnosis. There are now grouped around him many eminent medical men and scientists who are prepared to vindicate his claim, and what is more, to help in achieving its ultimate acceptance by the world at large. And when I add that Mr. Alexander's discoveries, although quite original, have in part been scientifically and independently made by such distinguished investigators as Professor R. Magnus 1 and Sir Charles Sherrington, 2 I need say no more about their importance.
Mr. Alexander, however, does not stop at his profound analysis of modern degeneration, he has developed an educational technique by means of which he can not only rectify our faulty use of ourselves and chasten our corrupted sensory appreciation, but also restore to us the lost key to correct reaction to environment, which consists in the recovery of a central control of all our actions. 3 But I am anticipating. This part of Mr. Alexander's work properly belongs to the next chapter.
The special importance of Mr. Alexander's contribution to modern diagnostics is this, that our age is one in which
1 See Korperstellung (Julius Springer Verlag, Berlin, 1924).
2 See The Integrative Action of the Nervous System, 1916.
3 Speaking of Mr. Alexander's discovery for restoring the central control to man, Dr. Peter Macdonald writes: "I regard Mr. Alexander's work as quite the biggest thing in the evolution of medicine since the days of Pasteur. . . . For while Pasteur's work aimed at the prevention of access to the individual of the infection of germ-conveyed disease, Alexander's aims include the building-up of a physique which will make the body of the individual resistant to disease, both infectious and non-infectious."
But, if the whole of our urban populations, who are already using themselves wrongly, are driven in despair to exercises, sports and games, without first having been taught a correct use of themselves, what will be the result? What cannot help being the result? By an intensification of their output of energy in a wrong way, they will simply aggravate troubles which, with less exercise and less sport, would take longer to break them up. Indeed this is exactly what is happening already; and the statistics of heart trouble, which now heads all other diseases in the casualties it claims, show that Mr. Alexander's diagnosis is correct. 1 It is the heart that chiefly suffers from ill-usage, and to recommend sport, games and exercises to people whose wrong functioning requires correcting, when all the time that wrong functioning has been brought about by a faulty use of themselves, is not very far removed from recommending universal suicide.
(5) The false conceptions of modern medicine are so numerous that it will be quite impossible to describe them all; but those which particularly aggravate modern degeneration may be divided into two classes theological and barbarian.
1 See Vital Statistics, p. 368. Of a list of thirteen causes of death, including cancer which accounts for 9.4 per cent. of deaths, tuberculosis which accounts for 9.1 per cent. and pneumonia 8 per cent., heart disease stands highest with 11.4 per cent of total mortality from all causes.
1 For a discussion of this error see my Lysistrata.
2 See the issue of December 13, 1926.
3 It should always be remembered that coupled with the belief in scientific drugs for specific diseases, is the unwarranted belief that a disease
(a) The first abets degeneration, because it arrests inquiry and research into the true nature or cause of disease. To remove the tonsils from a child with tonsillitis amounts only to suppressing the last symptom of a constitutional trouble that probably has a very ancient and very complicated history. To remove the last symptom, however, though it gives immediate temporary relief, has no effect upon the complex influences in the system which originally led to the disorder. So the child is left as it was that is to say, with the morbid conditions which gave rise to the tonsillitis but it is minus its tonsils. That, in fact, is all that has happened. And as the morbid constitutional conditions which led to the tonsillitis are unaffected by the operation, they remain to bring about a different trouble in later years. Similarly, the removal of gall stones, though it constitutes the suppression of an end symptom of disease, leaves untouched the conditions that led to gall-stones being formed; and thus the diseased condition remains unaltered by the alleged "cure."
But the very principle of attacking a diseased part in this way whether it be the tonsils or the liver as if, in a highly organized psycho physical whole like the human body, one part could go wrong independently of the rest, involves such a gross misunderstanding of
can be treated apart from the idiosyncrasies of the individual suffering from it. This leads to an absurd standardization of alleged cures, which really amounts to an academic treatment of an artificially determined unit that has no real existence: for instance, gentian for loss of appetite, digitalis for heart faintness, salicylate of soda for rheumatism, and so on.
"The true cause of disease," says the intelligent student of Homeopathy already quoted, "expresses itself first by some wrong functioning, and until a system is evolved to correct wrong functioning on biological lines, we are only tinkering with the problem." 1
But modern medicine never does and never can correct wrong functioning if it remains hypnotized by final symptoms; and, what is more, it can never understand the nature of disease as long as it makes no endeavour to discover how wrong functioning not merely of a part, but of the whole organism arises. This discovery, which will soon be published to the world in a scientific form, by a medical man of note, was made by a layman, and it will at one stroke make all modern medicine antiquated and out of date.
Because medical men have not concentrated on the true cause and nature of disease, they have, in spite of all their boasts of progress, allowed the whole of humanity to go wrong precisely through persistent faulty functioning; that is why degenertaion has occurred in spite of the alleged "wonderful" strides of medicine. It is probably true that wonderful results have been achieved in the successful removal of end-symptoms by surgery. But no progress whatever has been made in discovering how faulty functioning, and therefore disease, arises; and that is the only direction in which an enlightened medicine could have sought for fruitful and far-reaching results.
The object of medical research should have been to make medicine unnecessary; and the fact that as doctors have multiplied in number and increased in power medical aid has become every day more necessary for the performance of the most simple function, is a sufficient proof of the utter failure of modern medical science.
1 See Truth, December 30, 1925.
(c) The belief that the perfection and multiplication
(6) The selection of type which operates in commercial and industrial conditions is probably among the most potent influences contributing to degeneration. The extent to which modern conditions select, both in the male and female sexes, types which are not by any means the most desirable, is far from being adequately appreciated, and as this is a tendency that shows no signs of abating, its gravity cannot be sufficiently emphasized.
As regards the male sex, it is pretty obvious the war has proved it that the bulk of occupations, particularly in the middle and lower middle classes, demand no special qualification whatsoever, or at any rate none that are essentially manly. The fact that when 5,000,000 men were out of the country the majority of their places were easily filled by women, is a sufficient proof that most men, particularly of the clerk, cashier, conductor, attendant and menial type, are not employed in work in which peculiarly masculine qualities are needed. But what does this mean? It means that survival can now be achieved by hundreds of thousands of men, who have no reason whatsoever for attaining to a high or even to a moderate male standard, either in physical or mental qualities; and seeing that docility, patience, love of safety, and the ability to be satisfied with a life of uneventful drudgery, are the best qualifications for a large number of callings now open to men in commercial and industrial centres, it follows that a large army of men are being cultivated, who can have no reasonable grounds (except anatomical) for regarding themselves as in any way different from women. If they were all to be removed by death to-morrow, women could easily take their places. I know that there is a good deal of controversy on this subject, and that there are some who say that even in "clerking" women cannot attain to men's standards. This may be so; but if it is so, it is difficult to understand the ever increasing demand for
In addition to the absence of any special male qualification in the hundreds of thousands of men of the middle and lower middle classes now earning their living in commerce and industry, there is, however, this further selective principle at work: in those occupations where staffs are mixed, it is an advantage not to be too highly susceptible to the stimulus of sex; it is better to be below standard in this respect. And that man is likely to achieve much quicker and greater promotion, and therefore more successful survival, who is capable of remaining unaffected by the presence of young members of the opposite sex about him. (This is also true of the girls working with epicene staffs.)
So that we have two influences at work selecting men who do not require to be in any respect specially masculine; (a) the low grade work (both from the physical and mental standpoint) demanded of hundreds of thousands of clerks and other commercial and industrial workers, and (b) the low sexual inflammability (meaning, all too frequently, not control for who knows control nowadays? but subnormality) which secures success, or at least an absence of "indiscretions" in a business career.
The types which are too robust, too adventurous to endure the drudgery of thus earning a living instead of living a life, and those who are too vigorously endowed sexually to be able to survive a feminine entourage without succumbing, either go abroad (when they are lost to this country) or fail, or else go to swell the criminal classes: hence the danger of classing all habitual criminals, as most criminologists, psychologists and sociologists too hastily do, among the degenerates.
Thus there is continuous selection of effeminate and asexual men and of unfeminine asexual women; and as this tendency is encouraged by the values of the age and by the Puritanism of Christianity, nobody is in the least alarmed by what is happening. 1 The whole of society is now inclined to class highly temperamental and adventurous individuals of both sexes among the criminal classes, no matter whether they ultimately gravitate there or not; and thus, among smug and "safety first" people, the term "degenerate" instead of being applied to the type commerce and industry are breeding, is constantly applied to people who are either too virile and robust to endure the air that is breathed in offices and warehouses, or else too passionate to survive daily contact with the opposite sex without expressing themselves sexually.
Thus do false values do violence to the meaning of ordinary words.
1 For the curious coincidence of aims between Commercial and Industrial demands and Puritanical tastes in men and women, see my Defence of Aristocracy.
The first of them is sport.
(7) It is not generally known that sport and a good many out of-door games and exercises, like the English working week, are really an importation from France, 1 and that in the sixteenth century English travellers on the Continent used to comment with surprise on the number of French people they saw with either a ball or a racquet in their hand. In those days, the English people were not nearly so much addicted to these pastimes as their neighbours across the Channel, and as late as the seventeenth century, the English standing on the banks of the Thames looked on with horrified astonishment while the Duchess of Chevreuse, a lady in Queen Mary's suite, swam across the river and back again. Bathing would appear to have been an innovation regarded with very strong disapproval by the English at that time. Even the English game of football, which is probably the oldest of the games played in these islands, was hardly ever indulged in by the people before the eighteenth century, because it was repeatedly prohibited by law. Royal edicts for its suppression were issued successively by Edward III, Henry IV and Henry VIII, and it was forbidden under Queen Elizabeth on pain of imprisonment. In Scotland an act was passed in 1457 to discontinue both football and golf, as they threatened to supersede archery, and there is no doubt that the English prohibitions were dictated by the same fear.
Thus for many years England was spared one of the most dangerous games, in so far as the wrong use of self is intensified by violent movement; and that is probably
1 It was first put into practice by the Parisian trades in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. It then passed over to England where it was retained, and whence it was ultimately restored to France in recent years. The same thing happened to the word "sport" (Fr. desport, desporter = to exercise) and the game of tennis (Fr. tenez). Both were importations from France in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and subsequently restored to her in an English form.
The extreme popularity of sport and out-of-door games in England at the present day is no doubt due, in the first place, to the dullness, sedentariness and lack of air, which characterize the work of the greater part of the population, and secondly to the increasing belief that something must be done to correct the prevailing debility and improve the health of the nation. But the extreme indulgence in sport and violent out-of-door games is not on that account a good sign, and the benefits supposed to be derived from it are much more probably due to the open air than to the sports and games themselves. In any case these benefits are more than balanced by the harm that results, particularly in violent games (like football for men, and hockey, lacrosse and net-ball for women) from the players' wrong use of themselves during the most active movements throughout the duration of the play; and what is true of sports and games is also true of gymnastics and exercises of all kinds. Even lawn tennis is very bad from this point of view, and unless by a fluke or else by knowledge, the tennis player uses himself properly during the game, there can be no doubt that his pastime is a frequent source of heart and other troubles, which are commonly ascribed by medical men to the "speeding up of city life," to "overwork," or else to "nervous strain."
Hitherto the wrong use of self, together with faulty co ordination in sport and games, has affected chiefly men, because it is only recently that girls and women have been encouraged to engage in out-of-door exercise, and this is probably one of the reasons why degeneracy has become very much more noticeable among men than among women. It is proverbial that athletes and champions in violent games to-day are usually very nervous and strained men for their age; heart disease
With the prevalent wrong use of self, accompanied by faulty co-ordination, however, games and exercises are no correction either of the consequences of an unhealthy life, or of an unhealthy condition of the body. Apart from the good derived from being in the open air, they do but aggravate these conditions, and that explains the strange anomaly that, although English people are probably at the present time, and have been for many years, the most enthusiastic lovers of all open-air games and sports, their health record, as the war showed, was worse than that of any of the Allied nations. Had it been only just as bad as that of other nations, the fact would still have appeared surprising because games and sport are supposed to be "so good for you" and it is curious that the above argument, based upon Mr. Alexander's masterly diagnosis, is probably the first attempt at accounting on physiological grounds for the apparent anomaly.
It would, of course, be very much better for us if our civilization were such that no correction of unhealthy conditions were needed, and if the daily life of the people and their breadwinning occupations secured them the necessary amount of health and fresh air. And that is why the Egyptians wisely forbade every form of gymnastics, because they believed that where supplementary exercises were necessary the ordinary life of the people must be wrong, and, therefore, that the proper step to take was to correct their life. But, seeing that our civilization does impose an unhealthy existence upon the bulk of the people, and that there is little hope of its being corrected, it is a thousand pities that the correctives employed, in the form of games, sports and exercises, should in themselves be a means of aggra-
But there is another effect of sport and games upon the manhood of the nation. I can never forget M. Briand's remark to Mr. Lloyd George, when the latter tried to interest him in golf. "Mais c'est un jeu d'écolier!" 1 exclaimed the French statesman; and, indeed, he described it precisely. 2 This concentration by adult Englishmen, for the alleged purposes of health, upon games of skill which consist chiefly in hitting, throwing, or kicking a ball in various directions, are so ingeniously calculated to keep intellectual co operation in the background, that, particularly in the governing classes, it has done an enormous amount of harm. It is a curious coincidence, if it is a coincidence, that the most genial and gifted statesman of modern times, Joseph Chamberlain, whose idea of the Federation of Empire, although it was never carried out, was probably the most constructive political proposal of this century, never played an out-of-door game of skill. 3 And it is also strange that our greatest modern writer and dramatist, Bernard Shaw, is a man who also eschews every kind of sport. I do not mean by this that all games and all sports are therefore to be eschewed. All I mean is that too narrow a concentration upon them is certainly deleterious to thought and intellect, 4 while their intensive
1 "But this is a schoolboy's game!"
2 I shall be told that my favourite monarch, Charles I, was a golf player. This is perfectly true. And, as a relaxation for a man engaged in heavy brain work, golf may be exceedingly valuable. But to make it the chief hobby or pastime of men whose daily work in itself never occupies them above their eyes, may be a means of confirming their besotment.
3 On the other hand, Lord Balfour and Mr. Lloyd George, who have not been responsible for much constructive work in politics, are both devoted to out-of-door games, and are probably much better at golf than at statesmanship.
4 Apparently Dr. D'Arcy Power has taken the trouble to collect data which bear out this conclusion, but as his paper on the subject was published in California I have been unable to obtain a copy.
(8) Specialization in daily occupation, which has characterized the work of men for a very much longer period than it has the work of women, must here be understood in its modern sense, and in relation to our increasing tendency to divide labour upon the same task. Thus we must conceive it as a tendency which, through the ages, has whittled down capacity and catholicity of interests as much in the higher as in the lower spheres of life. And, just as we see it operating in the ruler, and reducing him from a patriarch who once had to judge his people, conduct their religious devotions, lead them in war, and guide them in their daily lives, into a man of the governing classes who now undertakes but one, or a portion of one of these responsibilities, so we see it operating in the subject, and reducing the blacksmith, for instance, from a man who understood all kinds of work in iron and steel, to a man who now hardly does more than the shoeing of horses. If we were to examine the history of the carpenter, the mason, the plumber, the weaver and the string-maker, we should find the same reduction in the range of their interests and skill, while in those trades which have been almost entirely superseded by machinery, such as the old mystery of book making and book-binding, we should find the workers reduced to mere machine minders, wielding starting- and stopping-levers instead of tools.
Indeed, skill of the hands, which involved the finest discipline for the brain and muscles of men, and the constant exercise of which brings to the individual and his stock, the greatest rewards in character and self-control, is now fast dying out, and even where it survives in its highest form, in the arts, those who display it no longer cover the field that their ancestors did. The versatility of a man like da Vinci is extinct; while if only
It is no doubt true that the increasing struggle for existence in the last two hundred years, and the general speeding up of life, has made catholicity and versatility almost impossible except for the dilettante and the man of means; but this does not alter the fact that the necessity felt by the majority of modern men deliberately to limit their scope and intensify concentration at one point (quite apart from the additional influence of machinery) has substantially reduced the individual man's pristine endowment of variegated interests and capacities; while the loss of the discipline which results from skilled handwork, with other influences already mentioned, has promoted the general decline in character.
By narrowing man's interests, modern conditions have impaired his intelligence and made him like a child in regard to all those questions in which he has not specialized; and, seeing that, until lately, the intelligence of woman had not suffered this cramping influence, and the majority of women, even to-day, still escape it and therefore retain their pristine catholicity and versatility, it is not surprising that in a large number of cases, they find their mates tiresomely limited, puerile, and unresponsive. When Wolfe declared that he would have preferred to write Gray's Elegy to taking Quebec, it was not because he feared the enterprise; for his subsequent conduct proved that he was fearless. It was because he still retained some of that catholicity of interests which, though more common in his day than it is at present, was even then fast dying out. Now, who has time for poetry, if he is not a poet? Who has time for the study of human nature, if he is not a psychologist? But women have retained much of their primitive interest in the whole range of human capacity
(9) Lastly, I suggest as one of the remote causes of men's degeneracy, the tendency in England during the last five or six generations to describe too narrow limits to the notion of manliness. This deliberate restriction of the demands made upon a full masculine equipment by national opinion, operating in the sphere of selection, has undoubtedly led to a serious reduction in men with the full endowment of male qualities, and it has, therefore, been largely responsible for Feminism. For although women, through their proneness to accept ruling and popular valuations as right and proper, are the first to apply this limited standard of manliness in estimating their menfolk, it is a standard which leaves out of account so many essentially masculine qualities, that he who comes up to it without surpassing it, cannot fail ultimately to earn their contempt.
It is doubtless the outcome of two influences the atmosphere of the public school playground on the one hand, and on the other the enormous successes obtained by England's fighting men ever since the days of the mediæval bowmen. But, whatever the influences may be which have led to this limited standard, its fallacy consists in this, that it tends to regard as sufficiently manly those men and youths who are good horsemen, proficient at out-of-door games and sports, possessed of the bravery of the efficient soldier, endowed with the kind of chivalry that has been criticized in Chapter IX, and with the kind of manners that reveal the utmost subserviency to the female sex. 1
1 Although most women ultimately weary of the man whose masculinity is limited to these qualities, and despise his inadequate equipment, it should not be forgotten that he is essentially the "safe" type, with whom they "know where they are," and on that account the less passionate incline to him.
If, however, the reader doubts the accuracy of my statement that this limited standard of manliness is universally applied to-day, in estimating the value of men, let him by way of experiment question the manliness of a certain fellow in his circle, whom he knows only as a good sportsman. He will find that he will be immediately met with a howl of indignant protest from his listeners. And if he chooses to press his point, and proceeds to explain that in his opinion a manly man, in addition to being a good sportsman, should also bear a correct and normal relation to the opposite sex, should show will power, character, and lucidity and precision in thought, and that, moreover, he should most emphatically prefer the intellectual before the emotional appeal in all serious questions, while displaying a sufficient mastery of those problems which, as a citizen and a member of a democratic state, it is his duty to understand if, I say, he should explain his view in such wise, his answer from his listeners would most probably be to the effect that they did not think these additional qualities had anything to do with manliness. To them for such is the valuation of the Age it would be enough that the young man could ride well, play a good game, display bravery in war, and behave for all the world like a lackey whenever a lady appeared.
Now it is precisely this attitude of mind, this dangerous limitation of the idea of manliness, which, during the
It is so prevalent, however, that it will take a good deal of living down, and those who will be most anxious to retain it, will be the Feminists themselves who, aware of the kind of docile and rather dull-witted man it produces, and therefore, of the power it gives them, will only very reluctantly acknowledge that it represents but a truncated and deformed ideal of true manliness.