by Anthony M. Ludovici
(1) THE INFLUENCE OF THE PREVAILING EUROPEAN, OR WHITE MAN'S PHILOSOPHY.
THE philosophy of the white man in his present distribution that is, almost all over Europe, North and South America, and such places as he has colonised, owes its origin chiefly to the Greeks of the late Hellenic period.
In the 5th century B.C. when, according to Edward Freeman and Findlay, Greece was already in a state of decline, it was the Greeks who laid the foundations of our current beliefs and our general outlook. And the focus of this influence was Athens.
A very beautiful City, recently rebuilt, and admired by every neighbouring nation, above all by the Athenians themselves, it was inhabited by a people of great artistic gifts and tastes, who were lovers of beauty, and who were so wholly given up to homosexuality that even some of their women practised it.
Decadent as these people were at the end of the 5th century B.C. they had certain traditional beliefs which still lent health to their outlook.
For instance, they would never have granted that men and women could be valued on the strength of their so-called "psychological," or invisible, aspects, as apart from their visible or bodily aspects. Man was a whole, his invisible and visible aspects were one. To estimate the worth of a human being solely from his invisible aspects was a practice not only unknown to them, but also one they would have regarded as ridiculous.
And here they resembled the whole of the known world of their period.
Now modern science has wholly vindicated the pre-Socratic Greek view as against the Socratic view of man, and will have nothing to do with an arbitrary division of the human being into soul, or mind, and body.
Science now regards man as a psycho-physical unity, or a psychosome, or mind-body, and no matter what we may believe about its ultimate nature, the human organism "is describable only in terms of function as 'body-mind' or 'mind-body.' This definition is generally accepted. ... Thus there is no longer any way of distinguishing a category of human distresses or mal-adjustments which is 'spiritual'. ... and there is no sort of physical disorder without some psychological concomitant or effect."
I have quoted almost verbatim the words of a correspondent in The Lancet in dealing with this matter, because the choice of terms in this paragraph seemed to me happy and accurate. But the fact that Science has lately swung round to the pre-Socratic Greek view of man, as an indivisible unity, is the important point to remember; because most people today probably imagine that the Socratic hoax about man's duality, supported as it is by religion, is also the orthodox scientific point of view. For further details on this point, see my Choice of a Mate, and Health and Education Through Self-Mastery.
Some of the Greeks before Socrates had tried to modify the rigid Monism of the ancient Greek world. Xenophanes, for instance, had at the end of the 7th century B.c. attempted to advocate Dualism (most people's present point of view) by emphasising the superior importance of man's soul, or invisible side. The Orphic Cults (not too respectable), Pythagoras and Empedocles had also laid stress on the soul, and these beliefs were rooted in an ancient Animism.
It would take us too long, under the guidance of a scholar like Rhode, to trace early Greek Dualism from Animism; but we can assume that up to the end of the 5th century B.C. Dualism as we know it – a belief in the separateness and independence of body and soul, and in the superiority of e soul over the body, never 99 got across," and that the Helenes up to the time of Socrates, still believed in the wholeness of man.
It was a healthy belief, because it prevented the condoning and excusing of bad physical attributes on the score of alleged lofty spiritual ones. A good man was one whose visible, as well as invisible, qualities were good. The two were never separated. Thus the Greek expression for a good man was "good looking and good."
This was so until the end of the 5th century B.C. Everybody subscribed to the doctrine.
But about 428 B.C. there suddenly appeared in the midst of these people a man much more gifted than Xenophanes has ever been to alter this point of view. And he happened also to be one of the ugliest men that has ever lived.
He was so ugly that friends, in introducing him, felt obliged to apologise for him, and he was the object of general ridicule. Of low origin, and steeped in the least healthy elements of Greek thought, he had also beet the male concubine of Archelaus. This man was Socrates.
In a beautiful city of good-looking people, who held beauty, and especially male beauty, in high esteem, he was naturally at a great disadvantage. Judged by the prevailing standards, he had to be placed at the bottom of the ladder. Only he who was good looking could also be good. Socrates stood, therefore, to be condemned at sight.
Unfortunately for mankind, he had a shrewd mind and an unusually acute lust of power. He would have made~ a first-class Yellow Press journalist or "best-seller" in our sense.
Determined to get himself accepted as desirable, and impelled by his inferiority feelings (à la Adler), he therefore tackled the almost hopeless task of wiping out the effect of his repulsive visible qualities.
How could he do this?
Only by destroying his countrymen's belief in the oneness of man; only by dividing man into two (Dualism) and making his invisible far more important than his visible attributes.
And this he had the effrontery and perseverance to do.
I do not suggest that, with malice prepense, he set about persuading the Greeks that their belief in the oneness of Man was wrong, while secretly believing in his heart that it was right. That is not the way great reformers proceed. Whether they happen to be right or wrong, they must at least believe that they are right; and, on the Adlerian principle of direction from inferiority feelings, there is no reason to suppose that Socrates knew that he lied when he did lie.
His process of thought was thus probably largely unconscious. He felt the prevailing belief about the oneness of Man as damaging to his own prestige, and this probably made him sincerely imagine that it must be wrong. Such subjective forms of reasoning are very common, even among modern people with shrewd minds.
It was the old hoax of the fox that had lost its tail. But, strange to say, he got away with it and, by so doing, established for over 2,000 years the principal beliefs of the White Man concerning human nature.
The best men in Greece – men like Aristophanes – despised and ridiculed him and his doctrine. The merely conventional hated him. Hence, ultimately, he was charged with corrupting the youth of the country and perverting its faith, and he was condemned to death.
Unhappily for posterity, two of his apprentices, Xenophon and Plato, survived him. Both were taken in by his attacks on the healthy old Greek belief in the oneness of Man, and both had a scribbling and preaching mania which enabled them to transmit to the generations that followed them their master's unwholesome doctrine.
What, in fact, were the positions Socrates established? They were: (a) The Duality of Man, i.e. his two-sided existence. The one side being his body and the other his soul or mind. (b) The soul's independence of the body. (c) The soul's superiority to the body. (d) The worthlessness and despicableness of the body. (e) The immortality of the soul.
Where does Plato reveal these five positions of Socrates? First of all in the Apology, where he makes Socrates say: "I spend my whole life in going about and persuading you all to give your first and chiefest care to the perfection of your souls, and not till you have done that to think of your bodies."
In the Symposium Plato makes Socrates pay reluctant lip service to bodily beauty, and condemn ugliness; but shows that he classes this standpoint as low and transitory and makes him continue:–
"But man's next advance will be to set a higher value on the beauty of souls than on that of the body, so that however little the grace that may bloom in any likely soul, it shall suffice him for loving and caring ... and that finally he may be constrained to contemplate the beautiful as in our observance of our laws, and to behold it all bound together in kinship and so to estimate the body's beauty as a slight affair.
How plain the working of the repulsive man's inferiority feelings appears in this passage!
But at the same Banquet, when Alcibiades tries to praise his bosom friend Socrates, he confirms his master's standpoint as follows:–
"I tell you all the beauty a man may have is nothing to Socrates; he despises it more than any of you can believe."
We also have the self-revelatory dialogue in which Socrates persuades Alcibiades that his love for him is deep and true:–
"If anyone," says Socrates, "has fallen in love with the person of Alcibiades, he loves, not Alcibiades, but the belongings of Alcibiades .... But he who loves your soul is the true lover. He lover of the body goes away when the flower falls. But he who loves the soul goes not away. ... I loved you for your own sake, when other men loved what belongs to you; and your beauty, which is not you, is fading away, just as your true self is beginning to bloom."
Thus did Socrates contrive to establish a complete separation between man's visible and invisible components – as if the two really could be separated; and always emphasised the greater importance and superiority of the invisible or soul components.
Finally, in the Phaedo, he reaches the logical outcome of all this unwholesome sophistry – the visible in man must be despised. Gathering to his aid all his effrontery and all his hatred of the old, healthy Greek view of good looks he says:–
"If we are ever to do anything purely, we must be separated from the body ... and thus being pure and separated from the body, we shall know the whole real essence and that is probably truth ... For purification consists in this, in separating as much as possible the soul from the body ... And does not holding the passions in contempt and keeping them in subjection – does not this belong to those only who must despise the body?"
Thus, not only were bodily differences between men to be held of no account (a useful view to Socrates and his like), but the whole of the bodily side of life was also to be despised.
The ingenuity, perseverance and fervour with which Socrates laboured to establish all these principles in order to save his own self-esteem, can be appreciated only by those who know Plato's dialogues. Suffice it to say that he devoted his whole life to the task.
Thenceforward, not only was Socrates no longer despicable, but all his like, all the physiologically bungled and botched, all Nature's step-children, failures and ugly ducklings, were raised to equality with the more happily endowed. Nay, bodily defects were actually made to look respectable, almost a distinction.
Addressing Glaucon, indeed, Socrates declared as much. "If there be any merely bodily defect in another," he said, "we will be patient of it and will love the same."
Henceforward, man's visible aspects, his body, came to be regarded as vile and despicable, and his invisible aspects the only valuable part of him. From now on, a pure soul was to justify even foul breath, and a sound biological attitude to man ceased to be possible.
A cripple, a hunchback, any degenerate, became as desirable as a normal man, because, on Socratic principles, it could always be argued – and, of course, was argued – that his blemish, his stigma, was not himself, and that his invisible or "real" self redeemed everything.
Wonderful for Socrates and his like! But for the rest of mankind – pollution.
Does not this complete topsyturvification of the old wholesome view of man as One become satisfactorily explained when we regard it as the feat of a shrewd inferior, driven blindly on by his resentment, by his lust of power, to establish his desirability in the teeth of the traditional standpoint of his fellows?
But what evidence have we that the monster, Socrates, was the original broadcaster of all these deleterious doctrines?
There are three witnesses in the case of Socrates versus Healthy Man – Plato, Xenophon and Aristophanes.
Does any of these give us a reliable record of his views? At any rate, as Mr. St. George Stock says: "Widely different as these three pictures are, they have yet no unlikeness which is fatal to the genuineness of any."
But Grote, our greatest authority on Socrates, calls Xenophon "the best witness about his master," and of the Platonic dialogues says The Apology, Crito and Phaedo appear to be examples of what can safely be accepted as a record of Socrates' opinions.
Now, it will be noted that, of the quotations I have used above, both the Apology and the Phaedo constitute important sources.
But of supreme moment in this question is the fact that, as regards Socrates' insistence on dualism, his denigration of bodily beauty, and his exaltation of soul above body – all cardinal points in his doctrine in my view – Xenophon, this "best witness about his master," wholly bears out Plato.
In Xenophon's Symposium, for instance, Socrates addresses Antisthenes as follows: "I fear that you are not enamoured with [sic] the beauty of my soul, but with that of my body."
Further, he says, "The vulgar inspires mankind with the love of the body only, but the celestial fires the mind with the love of the soul." Then, in reply to a remark of Hermogenes, he says, "I will endeavour to prove that the love of the soul is incomparably preferable to that of the body "; which he proceeds to do.
So much for the first-hand witnesses. Now the importance of this agreement between Xenophon and Plato on this matter cannot be too much emphasised, seeing that, as Mr. St. George Stock says, the two records (Plato's and Xenophon's) otherwise differ widely.
But if we now turn to ancient and modern authorities, our belief that Socrates, and not Plato, was the successful champion of this new attitude towards man, and, therefore, the founder of Dualism and of our doctrine of the superiority of the invisible, over the visible aspects of man, is abundantly confirmed.
It must have struck the reader that the positions which I claim were originally established by Socrates to save his self-esteem – the duality of man, the soul's independence of the body, the superiority of the soul over the body, and the immortality of the soul – all became basic principles in the doctrine of Christianity.
What then do ancient and modern authorities say on the connection between these fundamental principles and Socrates?
They wholly confirm my claim that Socrates was responsible for them.
In Justin Martyr's Apology, the fact that Socrates and his followers were Christians before Christ is constantly implied.
In the Stromateis of Clement of Alexandria, we find the same contention.
Dr. C. E. Robinson, in Everyday Life in Ancient Greece, says, "The creed of the Christian Church was formulated in terms drawn from the Greek Philosophers." (He can mean only Socrates in Plato's mirror). Musilio Ficino, writing on Christianity in 1479, said, "The life of Socrates is a continued symbol of the life of Jesus," so that "the doctrines of the one are identical with those of the other." Coleridge in Table Talk 1830) remarks to Crabbe Robinson, "Jesus was a Platonic philosopher." And Prof. A. E. Taylor, one of the leading authorities on Socrates, says, "Socrates created the intellectual and moral tradition by which Europe has ever since existed .... It was Socrates who ... created the conception of the soul which has ever since dominated European thinking. ... The direct influence, indeed, which has done most to make the doctrine of Socrates familiar to ourselves is that of Christianity."
In plain English – the philosophy of the White Man owes its origin to the efforts of a shrewd and ugly outsider, with acute inferiority feelings, to save his self-esteem.
When, added to this testimony, we reflect that, on psychological grounds, these doctrines were most likely to emanate from such a man as Socrates, who was naturally anxious to abolish a point of view which made the visible aspects of man as important as his invisible aspects, it seems to be beyond dispute that Socrates was the first great transvaluer of values.
Nor is there in my claim anything psychologically inconsistent with the character and unconscious motivations of Socrates; for we fortunately possess other evidence regarding his unscrupulosity when wishing to escape from a position or a suspicion of inferiority.
Everybody knows that Socrates made an unfortunate choice when he married Xandthippe. In plain English, like many a man before and after him, his marriage was a failure. According to traditional reports, his wife would scold him and then drench him with water, and once she actually tore off his coat in the market-place in full view of the crowd.
Now, any ordinary man, in like circumstances, would simply have shrugged his shoulders and admitted that he had shown bad taste, had, in fact, "fallen into the soup" and must make the best of it. Not so Socrates. Where his own self-esteem was concerned, he was a genius at making the inferior appear the superior plight, and he had the astounding effrontery to try to persuade his friends that he ha deliberately chosen a shrew for his moral edification. Thus he told Antisthenes that he had chosen Xanthippe so that her bad temper might make him more easily put up with all sorts and conditions of men. He had also the shamelessness to try to make his acquaintances believe that, just as horsemen prefer spirited horses, because having mastered these they easily cope with the rest, so he had chosen Xanthippe.
More fools his friends to be taken in by such rubbish?
Yes; but it is significant that Socrates made these attempts to deceive them in order to save his self-esteem, and it lends a colourable warrant to my interpretation of the motives that actuated him in opposing and ultimately defeating the belief in the oneness of man.
Naturally his five new positions were not immediately accepted by the ancient world. They were long resisted by the best remnants of the Greek people. Among the most formidable of these was his spiritual grandchild, Aristotle, who continued to insist, when judging a man's worth, on the inseparability of his visible and invisible aspects.
But there were too many in the world whom the Socratic teaching pleased and flattered and, in the end, it became the dominant doctrine of the White Man. For it made things so easy. No speechifying, no protestations of faith, no airs or graces, could alter the shape of your nose, or modify your height, or make your eyes beautiful, or make you in any way superior in body to the way you had been made. Even Jesus himself hinted that it was impossible for a man by taking thought to add one cubit to his stature.
If you were inferior bodily, however, you could, along Socratic lines, always greatly enhance your prestige by posing as a person with a superior soul, and, by making certain professions of faith, adopting airs of piety and purity, and claiming high falutin' interests, pass as a very superior person. In short, Socrates gave the chance of a second innings on the moral side, if your initial innings on the bodily side had been a failure.
No wonder Socrates ultimately prevailed.
Thus, for over two thousand years, the Socratic doctrine has been part of our atmosphere, soaking into our blood and bones; so much so that, today, even those who have never heard of Socrates – the charwoman, the postman and the coal-heaver – all speak on these matters of man's visible and invisible aspects as if they had sat at his feet.
Now the Feminists of all times – whether in Hellenistic Greece or in Renaissance or 17th century Europe, naturally seized with alacrity upon the arguments Socrates offered them. For, if the body was negligible, if bodily differences did not matter, if the soul alone counted, the visible or physical differences between man and woman were also negligible. Indeed, the more one behaved as if there were no difference between man and woman, the purer one was, because the less one was considering the despicable body.
Thus the equality of the sexes was established with ease and, on the basis of similar reasoning, continues to be established with ease to this day. Even the necessary correlation of peculiar bodily or anatomical parts with certain corresponding mental characteristics – a correlation which would seem to be obvious and constant in nature, and on the basis of which the sexes would have to be classed as different mentally as they were different physically – was easily denied on the principle of the Socratic negligibility of the body, and perfect equality was assumed because, presumably, no sex-differentiated parts could be proved of the invisible aspects of human beings.
Herbert Spencer merely stated the obvious when he wrote, "That men and women are mentally alike is as untrue as that they are alike bodily. Just as certainly as they have physical differences which are related to the respective parts they play in the maintenance of the race, so certainly have they psychical differences, similarly related to their respective shares in the rearing and protection of offspring. To suppose that, along with unlikenesses between their parental activities, there do not go unlikenesses of mental faculties, is to suppose that here alone in all Nature there is no adjustment of special powers to special functions."
Such, however, has been the deterioration in enlightenment and critical faculty since the successful hoax perpetrated on the world by Socrates, that it has become necessary to restate this obvious truth – and not this obvious truth alone – at a time when everybody, consciously or unconsciously, is persuaded that we are living in the most enlightened period of human history.
The first Feminists of the 17th century in France – Poulain de la Barre, the Abbé de la Pure, Honoré de la Pure, Honoré d'Urfé, Mlle. Scudéry, etc. – therefore not only claimed perfect equality of the sexes, but also argued that there was for women a "higher" destiny than that of matrimony and motherhood. For, since the body was the despicable and impure side of human beings, and women's functions as wife and mother were concentrated chiefly in their bodies; since, moreover, sex equality proved that the whole of man's sphere was open to woman if she chose, woman could but elevate herself, purify herself, by discarding her normal functions, her bodily rôle in society, and by engaging in other activities. By turning away from her traditional sphere she would be nearer the angels.
The validity, in fact, of the Socratic point of view, was assumed without question.
Nay, more: these Feminists were logical and consistent Socratics. For, they argued, since the soul could have no sex (having no corporeal existence), and the soul was the only essential part of human beings, the equality of the sexes must be too unquestionable to be denied except by people who were wilfully obtuse or impure.
The sane view of the pre-Socratic Greeks and Aristotle was not only forgotten by the Feminists, it also ceased to prompt even the thought or arguments of their opponents. This remained true down to our own times. (I was the first of the many male and female anti-Feminists to be actuated by the pre-Socratic and Aristotelian standpoint in combating Feminism.)
But although the French Feminists may have been extreme in their denigration of motherhood and the functions of childbearing, the mass of ordinary, everyday opinion was not far behind them. No matter how much the robust and healthy majority still felt the call of sex and continued while youth endured to enjoy the lusts of the flesh, everybody, openly or secretly, believed the body was vile.
Naturally, the best and more normal women, despite the fact that their procreative life was so wholly subject to bodily impulses and processes, held out against a too practical application of the Socratic doctrine. But they remained loyal to their true natures with uneasy feelings. They listened half guiltily to the claim that there was an alleged "higher" life which they, poor things, were too material to embrace.
Introduce but a few disillusionments, however, into their life of normal functions; make their men ever so slightly less competent to reconcile them to it, and they would quickly turn a more willing ear to the slanderers of the body, and to the preachers of a so-called "nobler" calling than maternity for women.
But to the women less favourably endowed – to the frigid, the sexually low-powered, the untemperamental, and the masculinoid – Socraticism seemed a philosophy cut to measure. It justified to the hilt all their secret, tailor-made, gentlemanly aspirations. And these were the women who everywhere became vociferous in championing the Feminist Cause.
Where they erred grievously, from the standpoint of women as a whole, was in failing to see that what fitted them like a glove could be nothing but a thumbscrew for normal women. But in this they were actuated less by their subconscious envy of their normal sisters, than by the prevalent Socraticism, which justified the widest application of their doctrine and left them no grounds for suspecting that their aims were in any respect aberrant or unrealisable by women as a whole.
Thus, all the female and many of the male writers on the Feminist side plead with surprising innocence and a strange lack of objectivity, as if the flight from domesticity and motherhood must be in every case a flight to a "higher" sphere. They argue that the life of all women can be complete and full without normal bodily functioning.
As I have shown in great detail elsewhere, Madame de Sévigny in many letters to her happily married daughter, Madame de Grignan (also a happy mother) repeatedly implores her to avoid another pregnancy and to escape her husband's embraces – not because she had ever suffered from maternity or had a large family (she had only two children at the time and she and her husband were well off), but because Madame de Sévigny herself abhorred "that side of life" and, like the Précieuses, thought it low. She was, in fact, a convinced Socratic who, in addition, was temperamentally defective.
Similarly the English Feminists of the seventeenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries, claimed that a life deprived of motherhood could nevertheless be full for all women, irrespective of their natural endowments.
Mrs. Bertrand Russell, for instance, discussing the merits of "Free Love," says, "It is futile to argue that woman is cheated of her full rights if children do not result. ... Sex, even without children and without marriage, is to them a thing of dignity, beauty and delight." And she adds, "So far I have refrained from any detailed discussion of modern woman and maternity because it is still necessary to make it clear that a full life of activity for women is perfectly possible and permissible without it."
No need to give other examples; the literature of English Feminism is full of instances of this error. And a cruel error it is, since only by regarding women and men as wholly undifferentiated in bodily needs and functions, is it possible to disregard normal women's fundamental need of exercising their peculiar functions, if they are to remain healthy and sane.
A flagrant example of the neglect of bodily considerations in discussing the two sexes is also to be found in a singularly silly novel which had a great vogue among the highly Socraticized middle classes of England in the late twenties of this century. I refer to Orlando by the Feminist writer, Virginia Woolf. Here a creature is depicted who changes from male to female and vice versa without the slightest apparent alteration in mind or outlook. It obviously pleased the Socratic English middle classes, because it was very popular, and to the Feminists it was, of course, a priceless document.
I have always had the greatest difficulty in making even intelligent people, particularly women, see that the story burked the whole issue regarding the mental and physical characteristics of men and women by religiously avoiding all reference to the inevitable association of what Spencer terms bodily differences and their concomitant mental differences.
In four books I have shown the havoc that is wrought among normal women in England alone by this false assimilation of the female to the male; as if the female, like the male, could live a normal life without maternity or with only an incessant repetition of unfruitful sexual embraces.
To overlook the fact that the male and female sex cycles differ fundamentally, and that whereas the one begins and ends with the sexual embrace, the other, in order to be normal, begins with the sexual embrace and ends only with the weaning of the child – to overlook this, whilst it leads to untold misery and disease among normally endowed women, means that, owing to a strong Socratic bias, the body is left wholly unconsidered in the scheme of female life.
But the Feminists of the 17th, 19th and 20th centuries, in their Socraticism, were so far from perceiving this oversight, that everything in relation to woman was judged and valued merely on the basis of what was right and suitable for man.
If, for instance, a University education were right for man between the ages of 19 and 23, it must also be right for woman.
The fact that the best obstetricians in the land declared that "from 18 to 23 is the age at which the first labour may be expected to run its easiest and most favourable course," was not thought relevant, and the whole movement for the so-called Higher Education of Women proceeded as if such fundamental considerations were negligible. And the middle and well-to-do classes, of course, set the fashion for the whole nation.
The marriage age for women, therefore, became delayed to an average of 25 1/2 years, which meant that in the most favourable circumstances a first child could hardly be born until three years later than the optimum last year when, according to experts, a first labour was most likely to follow an easy and normal course.
If childbirth casualties multiplied, what mattered, so long as the Socratic bias in favour of neglecting bodily considerations continued to be satisfied? If men married after 24 and even as late as 32 or 35, why should not women?
The whole of the sophistry which enabled nineteenth century Industrialism and Commercialism to drive women from home and their maternal interests and duties, was consciously or unconsciously based on the same error.
One male Feminist, W. Lyon Blease, in his lofty Socratic contempt for bodily considerations, actually boasts that, thanks to Feminist influence, the age at which women now marry is "steadily increasing."
He could not know, nor probably would have cared even if he had known, that Dr. Eardley Holland, one of our greatest obstetricians, in enumerating the additional loads now imposed on the ordinary hazards of childbirth, would mention "the increasing age of all mothers."
Since there was something decidedly not nice about the bodily side of life, the longer "pure" young women were kept from it the better; thus, in her last book, Winifred Holtby said, "We do all we can to discourage intelligent and energetic women from early marriage and from having children."
English fathers, animated by a sub-conscious jealousy of all those who approached their daughters with a view to marriage, and inclined to delay this wrench as long as possible, eagerly added their weight to the many influences making for the industrialisation and commercialisation of women. For, in England, an attentive scrutiny of the Press reveals case after case in which young couples, in despair at getting the consent of the girl's father to an early marriage by ordinary means, ultimately present their plea to a magistrate. And it is not unusual in such cases for the fathers to argue, even when everything else is favourable, that 18 or 19 is "too young" for a girl to marry.
She is not too young to earn her living, or to ruin her health and lose her bloom at a typewriter or an office desk. But she is too young to know "that side of life", and the father's secret jealousy is gratified.
To oppose these tendencies and errors is to be regarded by these unconscious Socratics not as friends but as enemies of women. Thus, in their eyes, an Anti-Feminist is always a misogynist.
Further and Unexpected Consequences of the Body-despising values of Socrates.
In addition to the above-mentioned consequences of the Socratic doctrine of the soul and body, two further and far reaching results of it have been little, if at all, observed by the scientific sexologist and sociologist. Lay writers for and against Female Emancipation have observed them even less.
The first concerns the moral support Socraticism lends to that androphobia, or man hatred, which, as we shall see, animates the average female agitator for Emancipation. The second relates to the emphasis Socraticism lays on the latent self-contempt of the female.
These two unexpected results of the Socratic body-despising doctrine may be examined separately, although each influences and aggravates the other.
1. In countries where Protestantism (i.e. Socraticism untempered by Aristotle's sanity) has become dominant, and an extreme development like Puritanism has permeated the life and sentiments of the people, the sex-phobia arising inevitably out of the body-despising doctrine imparts moral force to the anti-masculine and android female as follows:–
Since, in normal circumstances, it is the male who initiates the female into the mysteries of the sexual embrace, and the latter is regarded as shameful, if not actually sinful, in sex-phobic cultures, man necessarily becomes identified with the villain of the piece. He is branded as the enemy of female virtue, a creature of "low" appetites, constantly striving to stage woman's most "humiliating" and "unsavoury" situation. He becomes, in fact, a "beast," and, among medical women, school-mistresses, and disgruntled wives generally, it is not uncommon to hear him referred to thus.
Nor can this be wondered at; for, given the ideology which slanders the sexual side of life, and the moral indignation provoked by it in Puritans, it naturally follows that the active agent in sexual congress – Man – can hardly escape condemnation. On the other hand, the girls and women who repudiate this view and surrender the citadel to the male, are hated as the Quislings and Fifth Columnists of their sex. If they are unamenable to the "sound" attitude, they become the object of a loathing even greater than that reserved for men.'
In the mutinous, disgruntled and often android females who compose the spearhead of the Militant Feminist Movement (and thousands such are produced in every generation in England), this Puritanical reason for condemning and if possible defeating the male constitutes a powerful moral arm added to their arsenal of weapons. Nay more: It converts into a crusade their frequently unconscious desire to fight him. They become a host of Joans of Arc, fighting to "save" their sex. Even to oppose them in argument becomes an act almost immoral.
Thus man as "the beast" becomes legendary (if only in secret, as a kind of Masonic pass-word) among the sisterhood of the emancipated in Protestant and particularly Anglo-Saxon countries. And, since moral reasons for waging war add self-righteousness to the spiritual equipment even of aggressors, militant "Modern Women" have for the last century in Anglo-Saxon communities been celebrating an orgy of self-exaltation and self-applause.
When, therefore, the majority of the "beasts" – the men, against whom the war is waged – also secretly believe in the Socratic slander of the body, and hence in their own depravity, while some even proclaim it publicly, the enemy is already half defeated at the outset. Some at least of the success of Feminism in Anglo-Saxon communities thus becomes obvious.
2. The emphasis laid on the self-contempt of the female by Socraticism in Anglo-Saxon communities, where few women ever become reconciled to their womanhood, is due to the following ideological vagaries:–
Given the grounds for slandering the body and the sexual functions in particular, it follows that women who are unreconciled to the fact of their sex and, from puberty onwards, are in addition consistently reminded of the great part sex plays in their anatomy and their lives, are inclined to assume towards themselves the attitude they assume towards sexuality.
In other words, a being who at, or soon after puberty, perceives that she is sex from shoulders to pelvis, will necessarily tend, in a Socratic and Puritanical atmosphere, to despise herself.
If, then, she should, in addition, belong to a society like that of modern England or the U.S.A. where it is difficult in any event for her to be reconciled to her womanhood, her latent self-contempt necessarily becomes emphasised.
It is usually owing to this extra emphasis laid upon her latent self-contempt in Anglo-Saxon countries, that she strives with untiring zeal to appropriate to herself every male attribute and activity she can. Because, despite the moral stigma attaching to the male, it is only in this way – or so her amoral sub-conscious reasoning prompts her – that she can rid herself of at least a portion of her womanhood.
The alacrity with which girls and women in Anglo-Saxon countries seize on the smallest pretext to don male garments, pursue men's sports and pastimes, and invade male callings, is thus to a large extent explained. To the uninitiated observer it may appear as if they were merely trying to achieve their "independence," or to extend their influence. But the truth is they are trying to throw off the oppression due to their inordinate disaffection towards their own sex and everything relating to it.
The fact that this same disaffection, unacknowledged openly and hardly admitted to self, also strives in countless cases to find relief by denigrating the male, naturally leads to a reinforcement of the attitude discussed under (1) above. For if self-belittlement can be reduced by belittling what we compare ourselves with – and this result is often achieved thereby – it follows that it is only human in the female to belittle man. Thus hostility to the male becomes intensified in unreconciled Anglo-Saxon women.
Even in the rare reconciled Anglo-Saxon women, however – in those, that is to say, who outwardly appear contented with their lot, harbour none of the resentfulness typical of the virago, and resemble the more serene female of the Continent – there will still be found the self-contempt present in women as a whole. It is, indeed, as I hint above, universal throughout Europe (though acute in Protestant communities), and it may be felt and recognised as follows:–
(a) In the difficulty which even a superior man experiences in retaining his wife's or mistress's regard when once he has demonstrated any deep affection for her. For the woman, looking at herself through the optics of her acquired inferiority feelings, inevitably "writes down" the man who exalts her in proportion as she writes down herself. "What? Can he possibly be so enthusiastic about me? – Me? – He must be a. ..."
The fact that most of this reasoning proceeds at a level below consciousness does not, however, prevent it from determining attitudes, at the conscious level, which make life difficult.
(b) In the sacrifices a woman will make to be exalted or adored by her environment, especially the most innocent part of it – her children. To this end she will proceed to any shift, even to sacrificing the dignity of her husband and the filial piety owed to him by his children. There is no need to read Laura Marholm to open our eyes to this phenomenon. It can be seen everywhere, but especially in England. Indeed, only the other day, I heard of a most poignant example of it. It was admittedly an extreme case; but extreme cases, like the peaks of the highest mountains, betray the presence of a range.
The circumstances were briefly these: A man rendered deaf by the War of Belgian Independence (1914-1918) and the father of two children, a girl and a boy, found not only that his wife had throughout their married life striven to fix the children's affection on herself, but also contrived to make her conquest the more certain by bringing him constantly into contempt. She achieved this end chiefly by ridiculing him in a tone of voice he could not hear. At last, when his eyes could no longer leave him in any doubt that he was becoming the hourly butt of his family's derision, he suddenly appreciated the enormity of his wife's behaviour, and in a fit of blind rage fell upon her and tried to pay her out in blows for a life's betrayal.
His wife thereupon telephoned to the police and, for his pains, this unfortunate victim of the first World War was clapped into a lunatic asylum.
But let no one suppose that the wife in this domestic drama was exceptionally cruel as women go. She merely suffered, perhaps more than usual, from self-contempt, and therefore required a larger measure of undivided attachment from her children. If she did not reckon the cost of the means she adopted to appease her gnawing sense of inferiority, she displayed perhaps less perspicacity though not more cruelty than the average woman.
(c) In the direction taken by the Feminist Movement when once it had gathered enough force to make demands upon society and the legislature.
It will be observed that this Movement did not agitate for reforms calculated to better the lives of the majority of women of normal instincts and constitution. It made no attempt to exalt the status of the housewife and of domestic duties along the lines suggested in this volume.
It did not try to raise the status of the domestic servant. Nor did it strive to bring about such changes in our social life as would enable the working man to earn enough to allow his wife to remain at home. And this despite the fact that a large number of publications on female labour (often compiled by women investigators) had made it abundantly plain, long before Female Suffrage was granted, that the average working-class woman preferred to remain at home, and left home only under the stress of need.
Finally – to mention only the more striking features – both before and after the granting of Female Suffrage there was no organised feminine agitation to press for immediate measures to reduce child deaths on our roads. And this despite the fact that before the Second World War over 1,500 children were being killed every year by motor vehicles. Even to this day no feminine outcry has been heard against this slaughter of children, although the death rate, in spite of the reduction of cars, remains alarmingly high.
No; there was no appeal to self-esteem, no chance of making women more conspicuous or more glamorous, in such agitations. The efforts of the emancipated have all been differently directed, because they were animated, not by any public spirit, or even maternal devotion, but only by the persistently gnawing feeling of inferiority. Let anyone impartially examine what the Woman's "Freedom" Movement has meant to this country, and he will inevitably conclude that it has invariably spelt female victories in the direction of self-aggrandisement, public notoriety, and the invasion of glamorous male occupations.
But, once more, let no one suppose that this is either extraordinary or contrary to what the origins of the Movement might have led any thinker to expect. For, given the feeling of self-contempt we have been examining, no other results than those we have seen could possibly have followed from a vociferous and leading section of English womanhood clamouring for "Freedom."