Handbook of Barbarianism

“Redbeard,” in “Might is Right,” crams into a book of 205 pages most of the same sort of stuff like that which Nietzsche put into about eighteen volumes. —Truth, 1921.

Handbook of Barbarianism

Ragnar Redbeard's "Might is Right" A Handbook of Barbarianism.

”Might is Right,” by a writer who styles himself “Ragnar Redbeard,” (Arthur Desmond [ed.]) reaches us from Ross's Book Service. We do not admire the book. It is a crude and clumsy dishing-up of the notions and contentions of Nietzsche,' with a “dash” of those of “Max Stirner.”

The former was a mentally unsound man of genius, who believed that encouraging religions or philosophies which tended to limit the aggression of the man of unscrupulous violence was pernicious, as likely to prevent the production of “supermen.” He hated Christianity, but, in one of his works, wrote admiringly of the Prussian Junker—in spite of the latter's real or pretended belief in Christianity. “Stirner,” wrote a book (“The Ego and His Own”) In favor of a sort of Anarchistic Individualism.

A Thousand Books of Fame

“Redbeard,” in “Might is Right,” crams into a book of 205 pages most of the same sort of stuff like that which Nietzsche put into about eighteen volumes. He has the “hide,” however, to publish a preface to his book in which he alleges that “nothing like it has been permitted to see the light since A.D. 300.” In another preface, he has the impudence to say: “This is the book that, above all others, Inspired President Roosevelt's gospel of Roman strenuousness.”

Roosevelt wrote a book entitled. “Fear God and Take Your Own Part.” “Might is Right,” however, is bitterly anti-Christian, and speaks with admiration of criminals. It even alleges that “by far the largest proportion of them do not fail.” There are some ludicrous blunders in the book; for instance, the reference to the following as “an old Cromwellian proverb”: “They who make half revolutions dig their own graves.”

The author of “Might is Right” is not an admirer of the pagan civilization of ancient Rome: rather does he admire the heathen barbarians who helped to destroy Rome. In fact, the book might quite fittingly be termed a handbook of barbarianism. Well, the barbarian worshippers of Might is Right had their day; and they plunged the world into a period of darkness, misery, and ignorance that lasted during some centuries, which historians call “the Dark Ages.”

Gradually, the Church (the much-decried Church!) with the aid of just and compassionate men who did not belong to the Church, cut the claws of the barbarian “eagles” who held the poor and weak in thraldom; and thus helped to bring about, first, some considerable degree of rude comfort and civic freedom; and then that glorious period known as the Renaissance.

The contentions of such men as Nietzscheand writers of his school helped, however, to bring about the Great War, which has nearly sent the world back again into barbarism. Acceptance of the contentions of the author of “Might is Right” would facilitate the process of atavistic relapse. “Might is Right” is, in itself, a manifestation of literary atavism.

Truth, 1921

The Truth was a newspaper published in Sydney, Australia. It was founded in August 1890 by William Nicholas Willis and its first editor was Adolphus Taylor. In 1891 it claimed to be "The organ of radical democracy and Australian National Independence" and advocated "a republican Commonwealth created by the will of the whole people" but from its early days, it was mainly a scandal sheet.

Robert Carmonius


Archive & Publisher