I am A Man of Letters. I’ve been reading lately, and I have found some words I would like to share. Today, selections from Might is Right by Ragnar Redbeard. Redbeard chose anonymity, although his name of birth is known today. Might is Right was first published in 1890.
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.
The rules of life are not to be found in Korans, Bibles, Decalogues and Constitutions, but rather the rules of decadence and death. The law of laws is not written in Hebrew consonants or upon tables of brass and stone, but in every man’s own heart. He who obeys any standard of right and wrong, but the one set up by his own conscience, betrays himself into the hands of his enemies, who are ever laying in wait to bind him to their millstones. And generally a man’s most dangerous enemies are his neighbors.
Masterful men laugh with contempt at spiritual thunders, and have no occasions to dread the decisions of any human tribunal. They are above and beyond all that. Laws and regulations are only for conquered vassals. The free man does not require them. He may manufacture and post up Decalogue regulations, to bind and control dependents with, but he does not himself bow down before those inventions of his own hands – except as a lure.
Statute books and golden rules, were made to fetter slaves and fools. Very useful are they, for controlling the herds of sentenced convicts, who fill the factories, and cultivated the fields. All moral principles, therefore, are the servitors, not the masters of the strong. Power made moral codes, and Power abrogates them.
A man is under no obligation to obey anything or anybody. It is only serving-men that must obey, because they are caitiffs by birth, breeding, and condition. Morals are only required in an immoral community, that is to say a community held in a state of conquest.
Fear God, bridle the spirit, and obey the law, is advice most excellent, as from a philosopher to a yokel, but when directed in all earnestness at a man of inherent might, he smiles to himself in silent scorn. Full well he knows that in actual life the path to victory and renown does not lie through Gethsemanies, but over fallen enemies, the ruins of rival combines, through Aceldamas. “Meekness of spirit” is regarded by him as a convenient superstition, very useful for regulating the lives of his servants, his women, and his children, but otherwise inoperative.
“I rest my hopes on nothing” proclaimed Goethe, and masterful minds in all ages have never done otherwise. This unspoken thought gives to all truly great men their manifest superiority over the brainless, vociferating herd. The “common people” have always had to be fooled with some written or wooden or golden Idol – some constitution, declaration or gospel. Consequently the majority of them have ever been mental thralls, living and dying in an atmosphere of strong illusion. They are befooled and hypnotized even to this hour, and a large proportion of them must remain so until time is no more. Indeed the masses of mankind are but the sediment from which all the more valuable elements have been long ago distilled. They are totally incapable of real freedom, and if it were granted to them, they would straightway vote themselves a master, or a thousand masters within twenty-four hours. Mastership is right – Mastership is natural – Mastership is eternal. But only for those who cannot overthrow it, and trample it beneath their hoofs. Is it not a fact that in actual life the ballot-box votes of ten million subjective personalities are as thistle down in the balance, when weighed against the far seeing thought, and material prowess of, say ten strong silent men?
It is notorious, universally so, that the blackest falsehoods are ever decked out in the most brilliant and gorgeous regalia. Clearly, therefore it is the brave man’s duty to regard all sacred things, all legal things, all constitutional things, all holy things, with more than usual suspicion. “I deny, and I affirm,” is the countersign of material freedom. “I believe, and I obey” is the shibboleth of serfage. Belief is a flunkey, a feminine Doubt is a creator, a master. He who denies fundamentals is in triple armor clad. Indeed he is invulnerable. On the other hand, it has been said that every belief, every philosophy, has some truth in it, but so we might add has every insanity.
Strong men are not deterred from pursuing their aim by anything. They go straight to the goal, and that goal is Beauty, Wealth, and Material Power. The mission of Power is to control and exploit the powerless, for to be powerless is to be criminal. The world would indeed be a house of horrors if all men were “good” and all women – padlocked.
As far as human searchlights have yet penetrated into the darkness that enshrouds the origins of nations, we see the subduers and the subdued, the plebeians and the patricians, the chiefs who governed and the vassals who obeyed. And there is nothing in the most modern social developments (of these deedless days) to warrant any belief that this ancient and natural division of human animals, into castes of superiors and inferiors, sovereigns and serfs, can ever be suspended with. The slave-owner’s whip cracked from the beginning and it will crack till the day of doom. In every kingdom, republic, and empire on earth, we have (in one disguise or another) the master and the slave – the ruler and the ruled. In the course of centuries, names alone have changed, essentials have remained the same. Forms of royalty may alter, but kings can never die.
There was mastership at the beginning, and there will be mastership to the end. We build, but as our fathers built. Change is no progress, nor numbers advance.
Every one who would be free must show his power. Unalterable remains the basis of all earthly greatness. He who exalteth himself shall be exalted, and he who humbleth himself shall be righteously trodden beneath the hoofs of the herd. “The humble” are only fit for dog’s meat. Bravery includes every virtue, humility, every crime. He who is afraid to risk his life must never be permitted to win anything.
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.
Therefore! If you would conquer wealth and honor, power and fame, you must be practical, grim, cool, and merciless. You must ride to success (by preference) over the necks of your foemen. Their defeat is your strength. Their downfall is your uplifting. Only the powerful can be free, and Power is non-moral. Life is real, life is earnest, and neither heaven nor hell its final goal. And love, and joy, and birth, and death, and fate, and strife, shall be forever.
This earth is a vast whirl of warring atoms – a veritable revolving cock-pit. Each molecule, each animal, fights for its life. YOU must fight for yours, or surrender. Look well to it, therefore, that your beaks and spurs, your fangs and claws are as sharp as steel, and as effective as science can make them.
Thank you for listening. For more information about the words I have read and the music to follow, please visit A Man of Letters. amoletters.com.
Until I return, I am… A Man of Letters.
Columbia Photo Players – The Rogue Song (Columbia 2080-D 1930)