Might is Right
Might Is Right, or The Survival of the Fittest, (1890) is a book by pseudonymous author Ragnar Redbeard. The book heavily advocates amoralism and psychological hedonism. The essay concerns itself with the nature of strength, the right of conquerors and the falsehood of natural rights and human rights.
Authorship of the document is still disputed. Ragnar Redbeard is the author's pen name but his or hers identity hasn't been completely established. Some theories speculate the journalist Arthur Desmond is the author and others propose Jack London, however he was only 14 at the time of its first publication.
Parts of the book are also present in The Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey, a document heavily influenced by Might is Right.
- A man’s opportunities are never exhausted so long as other men (who are not his friends) possess millions of acres and thousands of tons of gold.
- Virtue is rewarded in this world, remember. Natural law makes no false judgments. Its decisions are true and just, even when dreadful. The victor gets the gold and the land every time. He also gets the fairest maidens, the glory tributes. And — why should it be otherwise? Why should the delights of life go to failures and cowards? Why should the spoils of battle belong to the unwarlike? That would be insanity, utterly unnatural and immoral.
- The Victor Gets the Gold
- The natural world is a world of war; the natural man is a warrior; the natural law is tooth and claw. All else is error.
- All Else is Error
- Behold the crucifix, what does it symbolize? Pallid incompetence hanging on a tree.
Chapter 1: Introductory
- He who saith “thou shalt” to me is my mortal foe.
- What is your “civilization and progress” if its only outcome is hysteria and downgoing? What is “government and law” if their ripened harvests are men without sap? What are “religions and literatures” if their grandest productions are hordes of faithful slaves? What is “evolution and culture” if their noxious blossoms are sterilized women? What is “education and enlightenment” if their dead-sea-fruit is a caitiff race, with rottenness in its bones?
- When the greatest thinkers of a race are incapable, or afraid to perform their manifest and logical function, it is scarcely to be wondered that average citizens are also somewhat unwilling to “risk life, fortune and sacred honor” for the overthrow of popularized “right and wrong” concepts, that they know from bitter personal experience, are unworkable falsities.
- Although the average man has taken no part in manufacturing moral codes and statute laws, yet how he obeys them with dog-like submissiveness? He is trained to obedience, like oxen are broken to the yoke of their masters. He is a born thrall habituated from childhood to be governed by others.
- Modern “leaders of thought” are almost wholly wanting in originality and courage. Their wisdom is foolishness, their remedies poison. They idiotically claim that they guide the destinies of nations, whereas, in reality, they are but the fotsam and scum-froth that glides smoothly down the dark stream of decadence.
- Mankind is aweary, aweary of its sham prophets, its demagogues and its statesmen. It crieth out for kings and heroes. It demands a nobility — a nobility that cannot be hired with money, like slaves or beasts of burden. The world awaits the coming of mighty men of valor, great destroyers; destroyers of all that is vile, angels of death. We are sick unto nausea of the “good Lord Jesus,” terror-stricken under the executive of priest, mob and proconsul. We are tired to death of “Equality.” Gods are at a discount, devils are in demand. He who would rule the coming age must be hard, cruel , and deliberately intrepid, for softness assails not successfully the idols of the multitude. Those idols must be smashed into fragments, burnt into ashes, and that cannot be done by the gospel of love.
- The living forces of evil are to be found in the living ideals of to-day.
- In actual operation Nature is cruel and merciless to men, as to all other beings. Let a tribe of human animals live a rational life, Nature will smile upon them and their posterity; but let them attempt to organize an unnatural mode of existence an equality elysium, and they will be punished even to the point of extermination.
- All ethics, politics and philosophies are pure assumptions, built upon assumptions. They rest on no sure basis. They are but shadowy castles-in-the-air erected by day-dreamers, or by rogues, upon nursery fables. It is time they were firmly planted upon an enduring foundation.
- In no human brain can sufficient space be found, for the relentless logic of hard fact, until all pre-existent delusions have been finally annihilated.
- Religions and constitutions and all arbitrary principles, every mortal theorem, must be deliberately put to the question. No moral dogma must be taken for granted — no standard of measurement deified. There is nothing inherently sacred about moral codes. Like the wooden idols of long ago, they are all the work of human hands, and what man has made, man can destroy.
- He that is slow to believe anything and everything is of great understanding, for belief in one false principle, is the beginning of all unwisdom.
- Wherever, therefore, a lie has built unto itself a throne, let it be assailed without pity and without regret, for under the domination of a falsehood, no nation can permanently prosper. Let established sophisms be dethroned, rooted out, burnt and destroyed, for they are a standing menace to all true nobility of thought and action. Whatever alleged “truth” is proven by results, to be but an empty fiction, let it be unceremoniously flung into the outer darkness, among the dead gods, dead empires, dead philosophies, and other useless lumber and wreckage.
- Popular lies have ever been the most potent enemies of personal liberty.
- Freemen should never regulate their conduct by the suggestions or dicta of others, for when they do so, they are no longer free.
- He who saith unto himself, “I must believe, I must not question” is not a man but a mere pusillanimous mental gelding. He who believes “because it has been handed down” is a menial in his heart; and he who believes “because it has been written” is a fool in his folly. Sagacious spirits doubt all things, and hold fast only to that which is demonstrably true.
- Human rights and wrongs are not determined by Justice, but by Might. Disguise it as you may, the naked sword is still king-maker and king-breaker, as of yore. All other theories are lies and — lures.
Chapter 2: Iconoclastic
- Is the Golden Rule a rational rule? — Is it not rather a menial rule — a coward rule — a best-policy rule? Why is it ‘right’ for one man to do unto others as he would have others do to him and, what is right? If ‘others’ are unable to injure him or ‘do good’ to him, why should he consider them at all? Why should he take any more notice of them than of so many worms?
- If a man smites you on one cheek, smash him on the other.
- No People can long retain hardihood and independence, whose minds become submissive to a False Ideal.
Chapter 3: The Spinning-of-the-Web!
- Just as the spider weaves his silky web, to lure flies into the larder of his banqueting hall in order that he may at his leisure, pick the flesh off their bones, so deceitful Ideals are cunningly woven by dexterous, political spiders, to capture and exploit Swarms of human flies.
- Equality before the Law, is thus a contradiction in terms for Law itself is an incarnation of Inequality. It is true only in the subjective sense, that all who OBEY the Law are equally the servants of those who make it or caused it to be made.
- What is a mechanic anyhow but a specially trained slave?
Chapter 4: Man - The Carnivore!
- This world is too peaceful, too acquiescent, too tame. It is a circumcised world. Nay! — a castrated world! It must be made fiercer, before it can become grander and better and — more natural.
- When men cease to fight — they cease to be — Men.
- Christs may come and Christs may go but Cæsar lives forever.
- To be right is to be natural, and to be natural is to be right.
- Every organism, every human being, must conquer or serve. This is an Ultimatum.
- Sociology is a biological problem and Nations are herds of cattle.
Chapter 5: The Chief End of Manhood
- Every man’s hand is against every other man: except where living individuals have formed temporary co-partnerships. When one partner breaks the mutual agreement, then the Combine is necessarily dissolved, and all become enemies — as before.
- Failure is not only disgrace, but practical proof of organic incompetence.
- Disobedience is the stamp of the hero.
- The fear of death is the beginning of Slavery.
- Women shed tears; Men shed blood. Cowards serve masters. Bold men make themselves Masters.
- Government is founded on property, property is founded on conquest, and conquest is founded on Power — and Power is founded on brain and brawn — on Organic Animality.
- When passing through the Valley of Humiliation, slaves and dastards, exposing their sores, sob aloud for consolation and sympathy. Brave men stand apart and ponder vengeance or conquest.
Chapter 6: Love, and Women, and War
- Nothing so lowers a lover in a virile maiden’s estimation, than for him to be ‘whipped’ in a personal encounter with a rival. The best bid a man can make for the admiration of any women (even the most pious) is a display of undaunted physical prowess.
- Women of vanquished races are usually very prone to wed with the men who have slaughtered their kindred in battle.
- The difference between the man who rules in the Castle, and the other man who is chained in the castle-dungeon, is the difference between success and failure.
- There is a strong affinity between the criminal and the conqueror.
- Tremendous indeed is the occult influence of sex-love upon the evolution of organic life. Love and glory, fidelity, emulation, resolution, beauty, strength, and courage are directly inspired by sex-passions.
- Therefore all men who would obtain freedom must obtain wealth ‘by hook or by crook.’
- He who is without wealth amidst unlimited quantities of it, is either a coward, a born slave, or a lunatic; and no self-respecting woman should marry such an imbecile.
Chapter 7: The Logic of To-day
- Behind all Kings and Presidents
— all government and law,
Are army-corps and cannoneers —
to hold the world in awe.
And sword-strong races own the earth
and ride the Conqueror’s Car —
And LIBERTY has ne’er been won
except by deeds of war.
About Might is Right
- The substance of this book, as it is expressed in the editor's preface, is that to measure "right" by the false philosophy of the Hebrew prophets and "weepful" Messiahs is madness. Right is not the offspring of doctrine, but of power. All laws, commandments, or doctrines as to not doing to another what you do not wish done to you, have no inherent authority whatever, but receive it only from the club, the gallows, and the sword. A man truly free is under no obligation to obey any injunction, human or divine. Obedience is the sign of the degenerate. Disobedience is the stamp of the hero.
Expressed in the form of a doctrine these positions startle us. In reality they are implied in the ideal of art serving beauty. The art of our upper classes has educated people in this ideal of the over-man, --- which is in reality the old ideal of Nero, Stenka Razin, Genghis Khan, Robert Macaire or Napoleon and all their accomplices, assistants, and adulators --- and it supports this ideal with all its might.
It is this supplanting of the ideal of what is right by the ideal of what is beautiful, i.e. of what is pleasant, that is the fourth consequence, and a terrible one, of the perversion of art in our society. It is fearful to think of what would befall humanity were such art to spread among the masses of the people. And it already begins to spread.