Typos p. 158: The Ayrans [= The Aryans]; p. 159: exmple [= example]; p. 166: entre les homme, [= entre les hommes.]; p. 169: disingenous [= disingenuous]; p. 170: orginally [= originally]; p. 171: idiosyncracies [= idiosyncrasies]
How an Aristocracy Arises
40 Biological Standardization the Essential Principle and Prerequisite of Aristocracy
The conclusions reached in Chapters V and VI above make it clear that the political philosopher who favours Aristocracy and, like the publicists quoted in Chapter III above, believes that the democratic West can be saved only by the re creation of a ruling élite, is not concerned with "purity of race" nearly as much as with the means whereby a people of quality come into being by the observation of Rules I and II, already sufficiently explained.
For, as Boas himself points out in an important passage: "Homogeneity is not by any means identical with purity of race." [(131) p. 33; also (7) Chap. II.] And it is homogeneity that is the first step to quality.
All those advocates of Aristocracy, therefore, who have fallen an easy prey to the Internationalists, Egalitarians, and other critics of the "racialist" standpoint, by pressing the necessity of "pure" race, really missed the point. By overlooking the fact that psycho-physical quality depended on stabilized uniformity of type and genetic homogeneity, they not only gave away their case to the advocates of reckless random-breeding, but also, what was equally disastrous, gave to neutral observers the impression that there was no unanswerable defence of Aristocracy. Thus, when Gobineau says: "Plus une race se maintient pure moins sa base sociale est attaquée, parceque la logique de la race demeure la même" [(60) Vol. I, p. 89], he lays himself open to attack. Whereas, if he had said: "plus une nation ou un peuple se maintient homogène, moins sa base", etc., his statement would have been unexceptionable.
To the advocate of Aristocracy, the only sense in which "race" has any significance, in an Age like the present, is, as we have seen, not qua purity of descent from ancestors originally unmixed, but qua descent from ancestors, mixed or unmixed, who were originally highly
Again, by insisting that "mongrelization, i.e. miscegenation, accounts for the decline of ancient civilizations", the so-called "racialists" (Gobineau, Madison Grant, Clinton Stoddard Burr, Lothrop Stoddard, Woltmann, etc.) lay themselves open to attack, because they imply that the principal harm of miscegenation lies in its destruction of the "pure" race alleged to have been responsible for a particular civilization. Whereas the principal harm caused by miscegenation, even with races highly endowed, is that, for a time at least, it destroys quality by introducing the factor of disparate parents and therefore of psycho-physical disharmony and conflict in the generation following the mixture, until segregation and inbreeding have once more had time to restore uniformity. If no period of segregation and inbreeding follows and random breeding persists, whilst the population continues to receive accretions from outside, then, of course, no restoration of uniformity is possible. [See, on this point, Dixon's interesting remarks in (130) p. 517.] Thus, once more, by emphasizing race alone, and overlooking the all-important question of psycho physical standardization, the racialists have seriously damaged rather than helped the aristocratic Cause.
It follows that the whole of the ridicule and abuse levelled at the "racialist" advocates of aristocracy by the Columbian School and others who share their viewpoint, is quite irrelevant vis-à-vis of a political philosopher who, like the present writer, insists that the crux of the matter is first the production of human quality by Rules I and II, and ultimately the creation of a class of super quality through Rules I and II being observed by a selected group.
Moreover, in view of the evidence supporting this conclusion, it should now be clear that those alarmed philo-democrats, mentioned in Chapter III above, who plead for the creation of élites in present-day democracies, and base their hopes on Education alone, even in its widest sense, are as much in error as the philo-aristocrats who plead the necessity of descent from "pure" races. For, as we have seen, organic quality cannot be created, even in selected members of any modern European or American stocks, by any form of nurture or training, whether it be Education, Improved Environment, or, what is even more hopeless, Moral Exhortation. All such prescriptions can appeal only to sentimental women.
When, therefore, Spitz declares that "democracy alone of the forms of state provides the necessary mechanisms for its own correction" [(116) Conclusion], what can he mean? If the creation
As Carrel says: "It is chiefly the intellectual and moral deficiencies of the political leaders, and their ignorance, which endanger modern nations", and, "In practically every country there is a decrease in the intellectual and moral calibre of those who carry the responsibility of public affairs." [(105) Chap. I, Sec. 4.] Other similar testimony has already been quoted.
The fact that the gentlemen mentioned in Chapter III above appreciate this, is shown by their demand for élites. What then is the value of Spitz's statement? Utterly nil! Though it will doubtless charm many readers, it is merely learned verbiage.
Before dealing with the problem suggested by the title of this chapter, one important matter must be considered. If the mixture of races leads to psycho-physical confusion, why, so far, have we not mentioned that the mingling of even highly-endowed races must have untoward results? For we have implied that the peoples to whom we owe our civilization were probably already of mixed origin when they laid the foundations of our way of life.
Truth to tell, we replied to this question in Chapter VII of (29), and though much material has come to hand since 1915, our answer remains valid today.
Whether racially pure or not, two peoples, each of whom has acquired uniformity, cannot mix without producing a disharmonious generation; for although, when closely related, the disadvantages will be minimal, some degree of conflict and maladaption must follow. Owing to the impact of conflicting features in the progeny, moreover, the period required to recover homogeneity is likely to be one of unrest and disorder. As noted in (29); "A certain period of disturbed equilibrium must be overcome, as in Egypt after the Hyksos invasion; but when once the effects of the mixture have been felt . . . another process begins to operate" that "of attaining once again to harmony or regularity of character by a reconciliation of the conflicting elements in each man's breast. . . . If the character-
Petrie [(132) Chap. VI, 29], has some interesting remarks on this very point. He says of the periodical ebb of civilization among the great peoples of the past: "In every case in which we can examine history sufficiently, we find that there was a fresh race coming into the country when the wave was at its lowest." And in Chapter VI (33), concerning the ultimate recovery of the people after the mixing, he adds: "What seems to be needed is an ancestry of all the elements of two different races completely intermingled." For this to happen, he argues that "seven or eight centuries of mixture of two races ensures that, in any ordinary-sized country, the full maximum number of different ancestors are blended, and every strain of the one race has crossed with every strain of the other. This is the period of greatest ability, beginning about eight centuries after the mixture". He mentions no other estimates. But in [(72) 1923, Chap. VI] Ruggles Gates, referring to crosses similar to those Petrie had in mind, says: "Whether ultimately a real blend occurs is uncertain, but if it does this may be only after a thousand years or so of interbreeding within the hybrid race." (See also Sec. 35, pp. 122123 ante.)
These estimates should be compared with data recently gathered about hybrid races by Rodenwaldt, Shapiro, Eugen Fischer, R. C. Harries, etc. But, in any case, the reports of Shapiro and Harries concerning respectively the crosses between English and Tahitans on Pitcairn (one hundred and sixty years since the first cross), and between Spaniards and Indians in Chile (some four hundred years since the first cross) hardly support the view that even eight hundred years would be necessary for uniformity to be reached. It is true that the Pitcairn cross concerns a small number of people, and Petrie speaks of two races "in any ordinary sized country". But against this, we have Ruth Benedict's statement, quoted in Section 35 above, to the effect that five hundred years of continuous inbreeding would be required to get a strain which would breed true. So that apparently both Petrie and Ruggles Gates were over estimating the time required for the result they mention.
As Reibmayr has shown, it was in islands (Crete), peninsulas (Greece, Italy, India), or in naturally or artificially isolated areas (Mesopotamia, Egypt, Peru), where inbreeding and the consequent formation of a uniform population were best ensured, that culture, among specially endowed races (or such races originally mixed), attained its highest degree of beauty and permanence. And only when these civilizations lost their isolation and independence, did their populations lose their quality and their culture decline. This happened, however, not because such people lost their supposed
We are also aware of another fact which Reibmayr emphasizes that, where such peoples have nourished and created great cultures, a superior stock or group, rising out of the already uniform population, has always strictly observed Rules I and II within its own class, and led the rest of the population in cultural development. (Ibid., p. 6.)
We do not need the testimony of the Keiths or Reibmayrs to this effect; for even pronounced and avowed philo-democrats, like the gentleman quoted at the head of this chapter, have borne witness to the same set of facts.
Thus, the reader should have no trouble in understanding and accepting Reibmayr when he claims, "it is more difficult for an exogamic than for an endogamic people to rear a leading caste possessed of pronounced characters, and that is why such peoples are never able to play a prominent part in the history of human civilization, so long as they remain faithful to the custom of exogamy. In the struggle for existence, they almost invariably succumb to those people who are strictly endogamic [strengen Inzuchtsvölkern] and with whom the rearing of a leading caste is a natural phenomenon". [(88) p. 72. The translation is the present writer's own. A.M.L.]
At all events, among the highly-endowed peoples who wrested the first triumphs of culture and civilization from the rude conditions of barbarian life, we find with impressive regularity two tendencies calculated to maintain both general homogeneity and psycho-physical quality namely, inbreeding and rigid aloofness towards the stranger; and, within a particular class or caste, intensified forms of each tendency.
In [(29) Chap. VII] and [(26) Part I, Chap. II], some of the data supporting this contention will be found and it is unnecessary to repeat them here. A brief summary of the aristocratic conditions which existed among the greatest of them all must here suffice.
41 The Egyptian Aristocracy
The Egyptians, as all authorities are now agreed, rose to eminence in the ancient world as a people of remarkably high endowments. Moreover, segregated as the result of their geographical position and accordingly strictly endogamic, they produced a leading, or ruling, caste which intensified the practice of inbreeding to the
The extraordinary morphological uniformity they attained has been commented upon with astonishment by modern investigators accustomed to the wild individual differences of modern national populations. And since the remarkable homogeneity was already established in the predynastic era, the inference that the close inbreeding of the Dynastic era had already prevailed from the earliest times, is inevitable. Elliot Smith [(5) Chap. VI], certainly maintains that "so far as their original characteristics are concerned, the pre-dynastic Egyptians are probably the nearest approximation to that anthropological abstraction, a pure race, that we know of." At all events, according to Eric Peet, they remained "quite uncontaminated until the end of the predynastic period" [(18) Vol. I, Chap. VI, I]; and owing to their remarkable uniformity we are able to ascertain with more or less precision when they became mixed and with whom. The long period of segregation and inbreeding that followed each mixture, however, restored uniformity, even if the character became modified. Thus, Breasted goes so far as to assure us that "the prehistoric and historic Egyptians as now found in the ancient cemeteries are identical in race". [(84) Intro., 29.] According to Dr. S. Davis, this identity persisted down to recent times. (See Race Relations in Ancient Egypt, London, 1951, Part I, Chap. VI.)
They were a most gifted people and must have mingled with races also highly endowed (the Armenoids, for instance); for, as stated above, the high culture of the First Dynasty argues a long prelude of lofty achievement. What the predynastic people had achieved as early as 4241 B.C. has already been partly described (Section 39 ante). We may now add that they were "not only agriculturists . . . but were well acquainted with the problems of storing their grain". Their artistic skill, as we have noted above, was in certain spheres never again surpassed; their medical knowledge "was far from inconsiderable", and they had invented linen, glass, and the art of glazing pottery. If they did not actually invent the wheel, it was, as any modern traveller will understand, because the country was ill suited to the use of such a contrivance. Even when the Hyksos came with their horses and chariots, neither of which
Elliot Smith, referring to the early dynastic age, claims that they were the first people to invent shipbuilding and to construct sea-going ships. [(5) p. 7; Breasted concurs (84) II, VI, 96]; and the list of their innovations could be extended to include gold and copper working, as well as many of the social institutions of modern civilized communities. Petrie maintains that the art of the Pyramid Age (31002965 B.C.) and up to the Sixth Dynasty (28252631 B.C.) was never subsequently improved upon and, seeing that this relatively early an appeared but a few centuries after the close of the pre-dynastic era, we cannot doubt that in this era the ground had already been well prepared and largely covered. [(4) Chap. II; also (18) Vol. I, Chap. VII, where Hall confirms this surmise and also tells us that at this period, the Pyramid Age, Egypt was "the most highly civilized nation of the world".] Maspero (6) is another who takes the view that the high achievements of the early dynasties were due to the inspiration and even the processes of preceding generations". [The dates are not Petrie's but those of (18); Petrie dates all dynasties earlier.] Frankfort, who confirms Maspero, says: "Few things that mattered in Pharaonic Egypt were without roots in that first great age of creativity." [(11) Chap. III.]
Indeed, such were the achievements of the ancient Egyptians in the Arts and Crafts and many of the discoveries on which modern civilization rests, that experts like Elliot Smith, W. J. Perry, and Rendel Harris, have maintained that all civilization owes its original impetus to direct or indirect contact with ancient Egypt from the earliest times. Breasted says: "It is a finally established fact that civilization first arose in Egypt." This conclusion of the so called "Diffusionists" has met with much opposition, although the principle of diffusion as a factor in the spread of civilization is widely accepted. But we are concerned with it chiefly in its bearing on race endowment. We may agree with Lord Raglan in thinking that Elliot Smith "over-estimated the part played by Egypt in the founding of civilization and under-estimated the length and complexity of the process of diffusion" [(126) 1946, p. 42]: but we cannot deny that the ancient Egyptians were at least pre-eminent among the people originally responsible for the first substantial contributions to civilization. This modified view, which is generally held, is well expressed by F. L. Griffith when he says: "The debt of civilization to Egypt as a pioneer must be considerable." [45, Vol. VIII, p. 43.] Frankfort rather implies that the honours were approximately divided between Mesopotamia (the Sumerians) and Egypt, [(11) Appendix.]
The endurance, alone, of Egyptian civilization, which Maspero sets at fifty centuries [(6) Preface], in the course of which the social framework changed but little, and, as Frankfort says, "no attempts to overthrow the existing order were made" [(11) Chap. IV], indicates a stability, a soundness of original design, a stamina and robustness of health and character to which the ephemeral civilizations of Greece, Rome, and later European nations offer no parallel. In this very matter of health, we are certainly vastly inferior to the ancient Egyptians of any era up to the Ptolemies. And since it is romantic to hope to build great civilizations on psycho-physically inferior populations, the disparity between their cultural achievements and our own is not surprising.
On the score of their persistent inbreeding, alone, carried as we have seen, to the point of closely incestuous matings a practice which endured for thousands of years we should be justified in inferring a high standard of health throughout the population. For as we now know, not only is the morphological uniformity thus attained in itself a source of health, but the close inbreeding which lasted for hundreds of generations must have cleansed the population of all harmful genetic material. Apart altogether from such considerations, however, we have other independent and compelling evidence of the exceptional health enjoyed by the ancient Egyptians.
Sir Marc Armand Ruffer, who discusses the question in regard to the ruling families (Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine, 1919, Vol. 12, Supplement Section of the History of Medicine, pp. 146173), among whom incestuous mating was most intensely practised, declares that, not only was there no ill-health but, on the contrary, the physical strength, fertility, intelligence, distinction, and beauty of these ruling houses were remarkable. As to the general population, Herodotus, the first European to discuss the matter, believed the Egyptians, "next to the Lybians, the healthiest
At all events, even if we had no other evidence, we might infer from the etiquette observed by persons of rank in salutation, that a degree of general healthiness must have prevailed which we today are so far from being able to bank on, that, if the same custom were introduced only for an hour in urban and even rural modern England, it would be immediately abandoned; and, even so, would probably have accounted for innumerable casualties.
This etiquette consisted of standing nose to nose and inhaling each other's breath. [(6) Part II, Chap. I.] Judging from the breath of even quite young modern children, nausea would be the least of the consequences of such a custom today.
After a close study of Egyptian art and institutions, to suppose that this people must have been wisely and inspiringly led, not only for a period, but for millenniums, is to imagine nothing but what is obvious. And, indeed, all we have been able to gather concerning their ruling class, including their monarchs, abundantly confirms our surmise.
Like the architects and sculptors of their monuments and statues, these rulers genuine exemplars of Flourishing Life built the social edifice for permanence, to survive all the accidents of Fate, and Petrie does not exaggerate when he says [(4) Chap. II] of the work of the early Pharaohs that it was "the establishment of a social organism which resisted all the invasions and disasters of the land, and survived in parts to our own times". Frankfort wholly confirms this. [(11) Chap. IV.]
"The Egyptians believed that virtue brought its own reward on earth, and this was their main motive for good conduct." [(18) Chap. IX, iii.] Breasted also says of ancient Egypt that "the ethical standard was high". [(84) III, IX, 145.] The aristocracy was preponderatingly sacerdotal, and it distinguished itself by self-discipline and the strict supervision of the members of its caste. It even helped to train the Pharaoh in the duties of his position, and was itself austere in its morals, abstemious in its habits, dignified in behaviour, and scrupulously attentive to matters of diet. "The system and regulations of the Egyptian priests," Wilkinson tells us, "were framed with wisdom and tended to the happiness as well as to the welfare of the people." [(94) Vol. I, pp. 178, 179.] Breasted assures us that the ruling class, including even the sons of the Pharaoh, far from being indolent and wanton, performed arduous duties;
Of the high nobility of a later period, the Feudal Age of the Middle Kingdom, Breasted, after saying that their power was considerable, adds: "The nomarch [ruler of a nome, a division of the country] devoted himself to the interests of his people, and was concerned to leave to posterity a reputation as a merciful and beneficent ruler. After making all due allowance for a natural desire to record the most favourable aspects of his government, it is evident that the paternal character of the nomarch's local and personal rule . . . had proved an untold blessing to the country and population at large." [(84) III, IX, 134.] "The law," Breasted declares, "to which the poor appealed was undoubtedly just," and referring again to the character and function of the Vizier, he says: "lie was regarded by the people as their great protector and no higher praise could be proffered to Amon [the supreme Sun-god] when addressed by worshippers than to call him, 'the poor man's vizier who does not accept the bribes of the gentry'." Referring to the Viziers of the Eighteenth Dynasty, the same author says they "desired the reputation of hard-working conscientious officials who took the greatest pride in the proper administration of the office". We are told [(94) Vol. I, Chap. Ill], that the "lower classes of the people appear to have been contented with their condition," and "happy"; and we are assured that "the spirit of their laws, under the original system, was dictated by a scrupulous regard to justice and the benevolence of a paternal government". [See, again, Frankfort (11) Chap. IV, for full confirmation of this.]
Whether as the result of conquest or of extended trading, or both, the attitude of aloofness towards strangers was certainly relaxed during the years preceding the establishment of the Empire and during its existence (circa 1580 B.C. and onwards); and it is, therefore, not surprising to find that, as early as the Eighteenth Dynasty, the old virtuous aristocracy were already being replaced by great government officials. Thus, the former largely decentralized
We are not, however, concerned here with the history of ancient Egypt down to the period of her ultimate eclipse. It is enough to have given an example drawn from history of the rise and enlightened rule of an Aristocracy which illustrates all the essential conditions for the existence of such an order. For, with this Egyptian nobility before us, we can easily see where other so-called "noble" and privileged élites have fallen short of the minimum required for aristocratic rule.
42 Other Ancient Aristocracies
Nowhere else do we find all the essential conditions for the emergence of a ruling nobility, composed of true exemplars of Flourishing Life, so conspicuously established as in Egypt. The Sumerians and the proto-Aryans the latter so ably discussed by V. Gordon Childe may have equalled them in this respect. Unfortunately, we know too little about either to be certain of this. As regards the latter, we may with some confidence assert that it is at least doubtful. The most that Gordon Childe can claim, after a careful investigation of their origins and influence, is not "the superiority of their material culture", for he rightly rejects "the idea that a peculiar genius resided in the conformation of Nordic skulls"; but that they "appeared everywhere as promoters of true progress in Europe". Thus even the high cultures achieved by Greece and Rome he ascribes, not to Nordic or Aryan influence; for "the pure Nordic strain had been for the most part absorbed in the Mediterranean substratum", but to their superior language and the mentality it generated. (The Ayrans, 1926, Chap. IX.)
In the Code of Manu, which is supposed to have been compiled between 200 B.C. and A.D. 200, but the spirit of which derives from a much earlier period, the same and surely obvious aristocratic principle is to be found. For whereas in case of theft the guilt of the Sudra, or lowest caste, was reckoned as eight-fold, that of the Vaisya, or next caste, was sixteen-fold, that of the Kshatriya at thirty-two-fold, and that of the Brahmin, the highest caste of all at sixty-four-fold or more. [(90) Chap. VIII, 33738.]
Cicero in his Laws (Book III, Chap. XIV) points the moral very well. After emphasizing the importance of the example given by the highest class, and the regularity with which the masses imitate their betters", so that a nation ultimately becomes what its "most prominent men" are, he says: "I believe that a transformation takes place in a nation's character when the habits and mode of living of its aristocracy are changed. For that reason men of the upper class who do wrong are especially dangerous to the State, because they not only indulge in vicious practices themselves, but also infect the whole commonwealth with their vices; and do more harm by their bad exmple than by their sins." (Trans., by Clinton Walker Keyes.)
Surely our comment on this wise practice of the Babylonians should be, on the contrary, "How very natural!" But, in this one remark of Campbell Thomson's, the whole of twenty centuries of European vulgarity and aristocratic failure stands epitomized.
This is borne out by Denison who, commenting in [(46) Chap. IX, 4], on the Hindu laws just quoted from Manu, and referring to the Brahmin, says: "As his position was one of greater trust and responsibility, the wrong to the community was proportionately greater. If we contrast this with some of the Mediæval Western Codes, where the commoner received the extreme penalty and the lord escaped with a slight fine, we can appreciate the high ethical sense possessed by the Aryas in primitive times."
But Denison is too kind to us moderns when he implies that this wholly unaristocratic estimate of the aristocrat's guilt in crime is peculiar only to mediæval Western codes. For it has endured to this day. We have but to think of the legal euphemism "kleptomania", so readily found for thefts committed by well-to-do people; whilst Lady Constance Lytton, in a speech delivered at the Queen's Hall on 31 January, 1910, gave a flagrant example of it. To her honour be it said, however, that she utterly condemned it. (Letters of Constance Lytton, 1925, Chap. VII.)
It cannot with any certainty be claimed that the Sumerians ever produced an aristocracy in the sense in which this word is used in the present work, and is illustrated in the previous Section. All that can be inferred from the available evidence is that they probably did. The aristocratic character of many features of their civilization transmitted to the Babylonians, alone, supports this inference; whilst the fact that Carleton feels able to describe them as "the most humane of early peoples" [(12) VI, 5], points to the conclusion that their aristocratic class, like that of the Egyptians, Jews, and Venetians, was of the best type for wise rulership i.e. that it was indigenous. Had we been able to establish with as much certainty as we can for Egypt that inbreeding among them was close and intense; then, in view of the other evidence, we might without
It is the absence of any similar evidence regarding the Babylonians, and of any positive proof that they practised close inbreeding, observed strict aloofness towards the foreigner, and severely discountenanced foreign infiltration, which entitles us to assume, in spite of the facts just given about their amelu class, that the Babylonians did not produce an aristocracy in the best sense. That their amelu class may have excelled in virtue the kind of "aristocracy" which subsequently appeared in Europe is probably a fact; but this is not saying much, and seeing that most authorities agree that, in any case, their culture was borrowed, we are safe in concluding that nothing like an aristocracy in the best sense ever emerged from their society. Even the famous Code of Hammurabi, though not entirely, "was largely based on Sumerian originals". [(12) VI, 5.]
With other ancient peoples of the Near East we need not concern ourselves, except to mention the Israelites, a branch of whose descendants became known as the Jews.
There is abundant evidence to prove the following four important facts about these people: that they were endogamic, that they abhorred the foreigner and stranger (see, for instance, Numbers xxxvi, Nehemiah xiii, 23, and Ezra x, 11, among scores of similar passages), that they were among the last of ancient peoples to retain a sound biological attitude towards humanity (Leviticus xxi, 1623 and elsewhere), and that, at least in the sphere of religion, their cultural achievements argue a leading class both gifted and vigorous.
From the earliest times they were in contact with peoples Arabs, Egyptians, and ultimately Persians who mated consanguineously, and it is probable that their leading class extended inbreeding to the point of incest.
Abraham certainly married his half-sister Sarah; Nahor his niece Milcar. Lot, the sire of the Moabites and Ammonites, mated with his two daughters. Only, when later on incest came to be condemned, did the editors of the Scriptures, shocked by the fact that David was descended from this sinful stock, probably invent the legend of drunkenness. For the favour Jehovah showed to the two tribes resulting from this double incest is inconsistent with the view that, at the time, the practice was frowned upon.
It must, however, have lasted beyond the days of Moses and Aaron, both of whom were the fruit of incest, down to David's own time; for, when Ammon, David's son, wished to lie with his sister, she did not protest indignantly that the act was too horrible to be contemplated; she merely advised her brother to ask the King, "for he will not withhold me from thee". (2 Samuel xiii, 13.)
When the Levites superseded the first-born as the priests of
That this endogamy of the Israelites, and ultimately of the Jews, must have led to a high degree of psycho-physical uniformity among them in antiquity is attested by many witnesses; and if their typical characters have, in a high percentage of individual Jews, survived even to modern times, this must be ascribed at least to some extent to the circumstances of their history and to the stubborn persistence of the racial traits belonging to inbred stocks, although much mixing with less inbred stocks may have occurred meanwhile.
The Ghetto life forced upon them in various European states after the Dispersal would, in any case, account for much inbreeding, and hence uniform preservation of racial traits among many groups of European Jews. Whilst even in recent times their religion and traditions, by tending to keep them more or less aloof, would favour endogamy where no ghetto life was imposed. We are certainly confronted, in some leading Jewish families of recent times, with a degree of inbreeding not only greater than that to be found among Gentiles but, in the case of the Rothschilds, for instance, carried to a point prohibited by our own table of Kindred and Affinity. (See the pedigrees in Count Corti's Reign of the House of Rothschild, 1938. Frontispiece.)
The great beauty and psycho-physical uniformity attained by the ancient Jews is attested by many authorities (see especially The Jewish Child, by Dr. Feldman). And the fact that, despite all the miscegenation they have undergone, it is still possible, in a high percentage of cases, to identify a Jew by his appearance, shows that originally they must have displayed marked morphological uniformity. This has been indignantly contested. [See (96) Chap. 14, and (136) Chap. VII.] But Weissenberg, himself a Jew, assures us that "Russians could identify 50 per cent of Jews by their appearance, and that Russian Jews could and did make correct identification of each other in 70 per cent of cases". (Archiv. Anthropologie, 1875, pp. 347, 541.) R. N. Salaman says of the Sephardim that "the great majority may be recognized as Jews by their appearance". (Journal of Genetics, 1911, Vol. I, p. 233.) Whilst Keith claims [(111) p. 378] that he could make 40 per cent correct identifications.
Hankins wonders whether the notable fecundity of the Jews in
The number of modern Jews who, in Western Europe and America, though having started with little or nothing have acquired large fortunes By merely dealing in old pictures, old furniture, old silver and china, or other objets d'art a form of business in which, without taste and a flair for quality, a man may much more quickly lose a fortune than make one make it difficult not to suspect that here we probably have a manifestation of that outcome of inbreeding and uniformity in a well-endowed stock which, throughout the last few chapters, I have been insisting upon the power to feel, judge, and assess quality.
The present writer once knew one of these Jews and his family well, and, as a young man, used often to dine with them in "Sargent's Mess" at 8 Connaught Place; and he must confess that when ultimately he came across such incidents as are recounted of the head of that family in a book like The Tollemaches of Helmingham and Ham, for instance, he had no difficulty in believing him to have Seen more capable than even the specially tasteful Gentile of forming accurate judgments about quality and, therefore, the market value of an article of virtù. Now what was most conspicuous about old Wertheimer was that a blind horse could not have mistaken him for anything but a Jew. Nor could we agree either that the Sargent portrait was, as many have alleged, a caricature, or that he was an ugly man. On the contrary, as a typical Jew, there was both attractiveness and dignity in his genuinely Oriental appearance. Besides, nobody who knew his family, particularly the younger daughters, Ruby and Alna, could dream of denying their exceptional beauty. No ugly father could have procreated such a family.
It was obvious that he partook of the uniformity long ago established among his people, and preserved in various quarters of Europe throughout the hazards of centuries of homelessness; But it can hardly be doubted that he owed to the vestiges of racial uniformity still discernible in his appearance, that accurate, unfailing, and lively sensitiveness to quality by means of which he had been able to acquire his considerable fortune. This is probably true also of those other Jews who have prospered by similar means.
Above it was suggested that the cultural achievements of the Jews in the sphere of religion, alone, point to their having possessed
Before dealing with the English people and their so-called aristocracies", and thus elucidating many of the more perplexing facts related in Chapter IV above, two much earlier peoples must be considered the ancient Greeks and Romans. For, although the ancient Peruvians offer interesting parallels to the Egyptians, they have not the importance for us Europeans which would justify even a short discussion here. [The interested reader may turn to what is said about them in (29) Chaps. I, VI, VII, and VIII and (26) Part I, Chap. II.]
The Greeks are important because they developed a culture which has profoundly influenced our own, and were the last of the pre-Christian peoples with a high civilization who held and applied healthy views about human quality. True, their culture was not a wholly native product; they derived many essential features of their material and spiritual culture from Egypt. But what they borrowed was given a character wholly their own and, as it were, European; whilst in the realm of the spirit, they developed what they received in a manner so prodigious as to constitute them original and genial creators.
They were xenophobic to the extent of "describing non Hellenic men or cities by a word which involves associations of repugnance" (Grote, History of Greece, II, p. 162); they were endogamous in that they allowed, as a matter of routine, marriages which we would certainly regard as incestuous (Licht, Sexual Life in Ancient Greece, Chap. VI, 5); and up to the time of Socrates, who unfortunately corrupted their outlook and incidentally bequeathed to us a disreputable moral code, they always maintained a sound biological attitude to Man. Until the advent of Socrates' doctrine of dualism in the worst possible sense, they were unable to form any estimate of a fellow creature which did not involve an assessment of his visible as well as his invisible endowments. [See on this whole
Thus, in spite of the original mixture of two races (Pelasgians and Achæans, according to Ridgeway) which went to produce the ancient Greeks, there must have been, and indeed we know there was, in historical times considerable psycho-physical uniformity in the population at least in the early days; though when we remember that no later than the fifth century Cleisthenes was already including metics and freedmen in the franchise, it cannot be supposed that this uniformity lasted for long.
The aristocratic régime in Attica, which followed the decline of the royal dynasties and preceded the establishment of the democracy, was not marked by any display either of great wisdom or enlightened benevolence on the part of the rulers. From the little we know of these early days we gather that their rule was, generally speaking, self-seeking and oppressive. It is however, possible this has actually been suggested that the aristocrats were composed chiefly of members of the conquering race. If this was so, it would be enough to account for the lack of any tradition of prescient humanity in their rule; for where a governing class has originally been imposed in this way on a people (as we shall see more clearly in the next section) they rarely behave in the same protective, tutorial, and humanitarian manner, nor are they accepted with the same readiness and devotion, as when, like the Egyptian and Jewish aristocracies, they spring from the loins of their own people and are merely a group that has emerged through ability and superior traits of various kinds and have adopted among their own class an intensified form of their people's endogamic customs. Nevertheless, that there must have been able and inspiring leadership of a sort in Greece is to be inferred not only from the historical records themselves, but also from the feats both artistic, philosophical, and literary of which the civilization proved capable. But, despite the brilliance of these achievements, it would be a mistake to believe that the ancient Greeks were ever either as strictly endogamic, xenophobic, and aristocratic in their outlook as were the Egyptians, the Peruvians, or even the Israelites. For if we were possessed of no other evidence of the precarious looseness of their social organization and the relative weakness of their principles, we should be led to suspect both from the comparatively ephemeral nature of their civilization, and the ease with which disintegrating elements, such as their iconoclasts, revolutionary rationalists, and levellers, were ultimately able to exert and establish their influence. [For remarks on the aristocracy of Sparta, see (29) Chap. VIII.]
The ancient Romans need not detain us; for no matter how or why their aristocracy ultimately overthrew the monarchy, or what we may think of their rule after this revolution, their sense of personal prestige and worth, and the criteria according to which they estimated aristocratic claims were, in any case, so fundamentally unaristocratic, not to say, vulgar, and were, even before the spread of the Socratic philosophy, so free from any tincture of biological and æsthetic values, that they may justly be regarded as the heralds of that night of two thousand years, during which the meaning and source of aristocratic quality has remained more or less completely hidden from us Europeans who are their heirs.
"L'esprit romain," says Fustel de Coulanges, "ne comprenait ni qu'un homme pauvre pût appartenir à l'aristocratie, ni qu'un homme riche n'en fit pas partie. . . . La pauvreté et la richesse établissaient des différences légales entre les homme,"
Referring to the senatorial order, he says: "Pour en faire partie, la première condition était de posséder une grande fortune. . . . Le principe de l'inégalité était la richesse plus que la naissance." (L'Histoire des Institutions Politiques de l'Ancienne France. Tome II: L'Invasion Germanique, 1891, pp. 147157.)
We shall see in a moment how hopeless it is to expect aristocratic behaviour, not to mention, aristocrats, where such principles prevail, and it is surely significant that, at the very dawn of history in Christian Europe, which has produced no great aristocracy, there should have existed a State like that of ancient Rome which, while wielding enormous power and thus being able to stamp its image on posterity, had this canker of vulgarity in the very flower of its culture.
43 Summary of Chapters IV, V, VI, and of Sections 4042 of Chapter VII
It is proposed, in the next chapter to discuss the English people and their history, customs, traditional values, and geographical situation, in relation to the problem of aristocracy. The larger question of the relation of Continental European history and conditions to this problem can be dealt with only incidentally. This much, however, is clear from the outset. Seeing that England's insular position, alone, apart from the difficulties of transport and the
And yet, both in England and on the Continent, not only certain aspects of the material and spiritual culture, but also the sporadic appearance of certain figures, displaying high quality, compel the conclusion that here and there areas of isolation and inbreeding must have existed over long periods. Before concentrating on the problem of aristocracy in England, alone, therefore, it may be interesting to deal with certain general matters connected with our subject, because of the light they may shed on the main problem of the next chapter and because of their relevancy to the following brief summary of the preceding arguments.
We have seen:
(1) That "the man of quality" must, in the first place, be an animal of quality he must be psycho-physically harmonious, symmetrical, serene, beautiful, healthy, well-balanced, and possessed of stamina.
(2) That such a man must be the offspring of parents displaying no disparities beyond the sexual.
(3) That, in order to satisfy condition 2, he must hail from a community which, through isolation and inbreeding, has become standardized or uniform in regard to all characters. His forebears must have observed Rules I and II of Section 37 above.
(4) That, for an aristocracy to be produced, there must at some time have been split off from the people to whom it belongs, a smaller inbreeding group, true exemplars of Flourishing Life, differentiated from the rest by the possession of superior psycho-physical traits, and yet, as Weber says so well, "the quintessence, the epitome, of the average type". [(65) Introduction.]
(5) That this smaller inbreeding group will then display the same aloofness towards its former associates as the latter display to the outside world, and will proceed to inbreed with even greater intensity than the common stock.
(6) That if this aristocracy is to be a great one, inspiring and leading the common stock to a high culture, the common stock itself must have sprung from human strains highly endowed.
(8) Finally, that in pursuit of human quality, the first consideration is not pure race in any case a vain quest now but homozygosity, or biological uniformity and stability. The racists made the mistake of identifying high performance in culture with purity of descent from a particular race, whether Nordic, Teutonic, or Aryan. They thus became an easy prey to scientific critics, and damaged the Cause for which they were really fighting. Had they but seen that the active principle in the creation of human quality is not descent in an unbroken line from a given highly endowed race, but biological uniformity and stability, secured by long periods of isolation and inbreeding subsequently to an original mixture of highly endowed races, their position would have been unassailable.
Now, whereas in the past, whenever such peoples of quality have appeared, either sporadically as individuals, or as large or small groups, they have been produced by chance, by the operation of the blind instinct favouring segregation which was discussed in Section 35 above; the present moment i.e. at the time of writing this is the first in history in which mankind has been in possession of the key to the process by which such groups or individuals of quality can be deliberately produced.
Thus, what hitherto has been achieved by unconscious motivation, either in family lines, or whole communities, may now be achieved by consciously adopted measures. For, although these measures may long have been known to Man and consciously used by him in producing animals of high quality, he has never yet thought fit deliberately to apply them to his own kind. Nor have the important consequences of such a procedure ever been brought clearly and cogently to his notice. True, there have been, as we have seen, numerous advocates of "pure racism", and there has also existed a eugenic school of thinkers who have urged the improvement of human stocks by selective breeding.
Not until this treatise was written, however, was the essential relationship between every manifestation of quality and certain psycho-physical conditions in the human being narrowly and unmistakably defined.
Modern Man may not wish to recover the capacity for every manifestation of quality; or, owing to their immense inherent
But if this is so; if modern Man declines consciously to do what his remote forebears did unconsciously, and, for the last two thousand years at least, only sporadically and imperfectly, to produce people of quality, there is surely no longer any need to be dishonest and disingenous about it. No one compels us to persist in insincerely proposing to restore human quality by Education, by Higher Standards of Living, by Moral Exhortation, Moral Rearmament, or "Schools of Leisure". Let us hear no more of training courses for the élites of the future, or of pedagogic selection bureaux for their recruitment. In short, let us candidly confess that quality can no longer be a feature of our human world. The difficulty of recovery is too great.
We appreciate this difficulty as fully as any romantic opponent can. Admittedly it is enormous. [For an analysis of some of the principal sentimental and social difficulties, see (26), end of Chapter III.]
Then let us honestly admit it. Let us throw up our hands and bid good-bye to quality for our peoples.
To pretend, however, that by any other means than that of restoring psycho-physical quality to our population we can achieve quality; to argue as if the facts collected above and the reasoning based upon them could be dismissed as negligible, while yet professing to aspire to quality for humanity and for the élites who are to save our civilization, may succeed and even evoke thundering applause with an ill-informed popular audience. But such an attitude is not merely cowardly, it is no longer even decent. The braver and more scrupulous teacher, confronting his modern audience, will tell them to their faces that their very faces preclude any such consummation.
Unaware of the full implications of their position, many Europeans, whether as individuals, or as whole peoples, have intuitively acknowledged the essential relationship of quality of performance to fine animal quality. I need only refer to the old Greek equation, , or to the old French saw, bon animal, bon homme. There is also Disraeli's famous remark in Sybil (1859, p. 123), that "the superiority of the animal man is an essential quality of aristocracy", and Thomas Mann's downright statement that "nobility is always natural. People are not ennobled, that is rubbish; they are noble by birth, on the ground of their flesh and blood. Nobility
It may seem to be arguing in a circle to claim that, in view of Europe's achievements in culture, especially in the pre-industrial era, conditions must once have existed which favoured the production in various parts of the Continent and in England, of highly standardized and, therefore, of more or less psycho-physically uniform groups. We have, however, other evidence than Europe's monuments, poetry, pictorial art, pottery, and furniture, to prove that this was actually so; and, although, during the last two thousand years, no
such isolation and inbreeding as are necessary for biological uniformity ever existed as they did in ancient Egypt, the fact that, in an approximate form they did appear in certain confined areas cannot be disputed.
Consider, for instance (to mention only one line of evidence), the lineal measures of certain European nations.
The fact that these were orginally based on parts of the body and that even when the same parts the forearm, foot, ulna, palm, finger, and thumb were used as the standards in different localities, the lengths represented varied, argues not only the existence in early times of fairly uniform populations in certain confined areas, but also that the parts of the body which were standardized in one area were unlike the equivalent parts in another area.
Thus the Greeks measured length according to fingers, palms. spans (a span was three palms), feet, cubits, steps, and the , i.e. the distance from extremity to extremity of the arms outstretched. And in the table given in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, the (finger) equalled .7584 of an inch, the (palm) 3.0326", the 1' 0.135", the (cubit) 1' 6.2016", the 6' 0.81", and so on.
The ancient Romans had a similar table, based on the same parts of the body and, according to the same authority, the digitus equalled .7281 of an inch, the palmus 2.9124", the pes 11.6496", the cubitus (cubitum: the elbow; hence, the cubit, or the distance from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger) 1' 5.4744", etc. But the fact that the cubitus might be anything from 18 to 22 inches, according to where it was used, indicates that the measure must originally have been based on an anatomical part which varied in different uniform populations. The same is true of the Greek foot. The Attic , according to Ridgeway, was 295.7 mill., and almost identical with the Roman (296 mill,) and a little less than the English (301 mill.). The Olympic was 320.5 mill., the Æginetic 333 mill., whilst the was 330 mill.
The fact that these differences point to variations in the length of the bodily parts concerned, as existing among stocks more or
In A Companion to Greek Studies (Chap. VI, 8) the same authority ascribes the differences between the Attic, Olympic, and Æginetic foot standards to the differences in stature between the people from whom they were derived.
Now this is not only tantamount to acknowledging the process of biological standardization in segregated inbreeding groups of the ancient world, but it also confirms our claims regarding the converse process the mixture of different standardized types. For although Ridgeway seems not to have been aware of the fact that where mixture has occurred, and people of different statures mate, harmony throughout the anatomy of their offspring must be impaired; by admitting that "many variations of the foot will naturally be found" in such peoples, he recognizes the implication of these variations.
Be this as it may, it is clear from the above that there was a standardized anatomical basis for the early lineal measures of European Man; furthermore, that both the continuation of the traditional method of measuring, and the local biological standardization it presupposed, must long have survived the evanescence of the Ancient Greek and Ancient Roman Empires and, therefore, that we may, as I have suggested, assume that throughout Europe in the Middle Ages, in spite of the increasing communication between nations owing to the gradual relaxation of instinctive aloofness, more or less isolated and inbreeding groups must have existed in widely distributed areas.
We have only to think of the German Fuss and Elle, the English Foot and Ell, the French Pouce (.0255 of a metre), Pied and Aune (ell), and the national length variations between them, in order to suspect that this probably was so. The French aune or avant-bras (from Latin ulna) ultimately came to mean much the same as the Greek , but originally it was a little over 12 inches. The old Paris Pied, or Pied du Roi, measured .32484 of a metre, the English foot (equal to the Russian) .3048 of a metre, the Rhineland Fuss .31385 of a metre, and the Austrian, or Viennese, Fuss .31608 of a metre.
Even, however, if this line of reasoning were untrustworthy, we should still have the evidence of social history to support the above conclusion.
We have, for instance, the assurance of Boas, who made an investigation of the matter, that "the long continued stability of European populations which set in with the beginning of the Middle Ages and continued, at least in rural districts, until very recent times, has brought about a large amount of inbreeding in every limited district". He supports this statement with statistical data relating to the number of ancestors found twelve generations back in the families of common folk and the aristocracy, and shows conclusively that the endogamy to which the conditions seem to point did in fact prevail. [(131) pp. 3132.] Haldane certainly believed that earlier still "our ancestors . . . were much more inbred than we are". [(81) Chap. III.]
At all events, although the isolation and inbreeding in question were never as complete or intense as, for instance, in Ancient Egypt, there is abundant evidence to show that they must have sufficed at least to produce people of quality in many areas, and hence to account for the cultural feats and many great figures which mark the development of European civilization up to the eighteenth century.
If, therefore, no great European aristocracy is to be found in the period under review and beyond; if no whole class equipped to voice the demands of Flourishing Life ever appeared, we must seek the causes of this failure, not only in the relative incompleteness of the biological uniformity which Continental Europeans and Englishmen were able to reach, but also in such adverse influences as the prevailing values and the traditional social prejudices of the times.
These questions may conveniently be left to the next chapter. For although we shall there be concerned only with English conditions, the informed reader will easily be able to discern which of the influences examined apply to Europe as a whole and which to this country in particular.