REVIEWS AND CRITIQUE
"Ragnar Redbeard takes all superstitions and rips
them to pieces. He spits upon all idols and attacks them with a tigerish ferocity."
“Might is Right,” by Ragnar Redbeard, is a wonderful book, for comrades of the class war, and is stimulating in the extreme. Rebels in Australia have long been familiar with the poem originally written by Ragnar Redbeard, and added to by Covington Hall, the following lines of which comprise the first verse:—
“Might was Right when Caesar bled upon
the stones of Rome,
Might was Right when Joshua led his
hordes o’er Jordan’s foam,
And Might was Right when German
troops poured down through Paris gay,
It's the Gospel of the Ancient World, and
the Logic of To-day.”
Ragnar Redbeard is a name that is reminiscent of the Viking kings, of men strong and brave and bold, of men who lived by war. Thus, this book is one that only a fighter could write. From first to last it is one long argument for the use of force in everything that man does. Pacifists will not like the book, but “Might is Right” is strong meat for fighting men.
In swift, telling, fierce, cutting words, Ragnar Redbeard lays bare the shams and hypocrisies of these times in no uncertain language. He flays the tyrants of to-day, and their assistants, the priests, and pharaohs, with words of flame. He pours out, as it were, a hell-fire vial of wrath on lickspittles and crawlers. He gives them no quarter. He lays about him mercilessly. Now, so to speak, with a broadsword, and now with a rapier he cuts down the tyrants holus bolus, or picks them out with a studied nicety. He does not bear about the bush. There is no equivocation. Not for an instant does he stop. From the beginning to the end the book is a tornado of vehemency, a tidal wave of denunciation of the tyrannies of these days. Withal he is savage, primitive, elemental in his scorn of the ruling class.
One reads the book glued to every page. One is compelled to listen to this preacher of force, of exerting one’s will-to-power, of going one’s hardest, and of “doing it now.” You have simply to accomplish things once you have read this book. No more will you be a sluggard, a laggard, a lazy-bones. You will be up and doing and be a fountain of energy and a perpetual inspiration to all your comrades in the class war. No more will secretaries have to write to you to implore you to get busy and be active. There will be no need for letters or speeches for you to do something. For, once you have read the digested “Might is Right,” you will spontaneously go to work in the field of revolutionary activities, doing whatever lies in your path, without murmur of discontent, doing it as a man, as a hero.
Ragnar Redbeard’s book is not for cowards, not for poltroons, nor for babes in mentality. It is for active fighters in the Movement.
The author gives many quotations from Nietzsche, Darwin, and others in support of his contentions.
The sum of and substance of “Might is Right” is that “The strong must ever rule the weak,” and “He can take who has brains and courage, he can keep who can.” It is a case of the survival of the fittest, and of the weakest going under every time.
Altogether, Ragnar Redbeard is and individualist of the first water, and a thoroughly cold materialist, and although a Marxian might not agree with “Might is Right” in its entirety, it is a book that all active in Labor’s fight should read, as it fires the imagination and gives one a zest for work in our war for freedom.
All is grist that comes to the mill of the convinced revolutionary.
Being a materialist, and a reader of Dietzen, the fighting comrade in the class war knows that all life is linked up in the Cosmos—that we are all part and parcel of the universe. So, the militant in Labor’s cause takes up Ragnar Redberd’s book realizing that it has done him a world of good in ridding him of the vestigial realism* of his slave ideas. The revolutionary, after reading “Might is Right,” puts down the book with the thoughts that henceforth* he will be a better fighter the movement, more scientific, an asset to everybody*, and a benefit to the world.
[*With reservations, corrections of the text are welcome, Ed.]
This is a book to remember all your life, a book that will color your whole existence and thoughts. There will be actions that you will do because you have read this book. It puts dynamic energy into your hands. It gives you the will to power, the art of concentration, the wish to conquer. You will go ahead henceforth a human machine, ready for a non-stop run of EFFORT for the Revolution.
Ragnar Redbeard takes all superstitions and rips them to pieces. He spits upon all idols and attacks them with a tigerish ferocity. In his book he tells his readers to beware of all Bibles, of all superstitious writings, and of all gods and Christs. The mythical Jesus, he says, is a meeklings and a weakling, and a degenerate of the lowest order. To show his hatred towards Christian superstition, he says: “Oh, Christ, oh, Christ, thou artful fiend; thou great subverter. “What an amazing Eblis-glamour thou hast cast over the world. Thou mean, insignificant-minded Jew.”
“Chinese civilisation,” he says, “deliberately distorts its children’s feet by swathing them in bandages of silk and hoop-iron. Christian civilisation crushes and cramps the minds of its youth by means of false philosophies, artificial moral codes, and ironclad political creeds.”
Very true. Thus, the Bolsheviks of to-day say: “Religion is the opium of the people. Religion is a poison.”
After stating that, by force of arms, the master-class hold their slaves in a state of absolute subjectivity, hirelings being always ready for lay their masters’ law down at the cannon’s mouth at a telegraphic nod, he says, in reference to keeping the slaves submissive: “The cheapest method is, first of all, to inoculate those intended to be exploited with some poisonous, political, soporific superstition or theoria, something operating insidiously, hypodermically, which may render them laborious meek and tractable.”
All life is built up by conflict, he says. Freedom can only be gained by conflict. Inter alia, he remarks: “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 organise an unnatural mode of existence, an equality, an Elysium, and they will be punished, even to the point of extermination.” The strong must ever rule the weak.
Ragnar Redbeard, in his fiery, dynamic, individualistic philosophy, believing that the intelligent minority will be forced to lead the ignorant masses, defiantly and courageously cuts down modern “leaders” like weeds with a stick. He says: “Modern leaders of thought are wholly lacking in originality and courage. Their wisdom is foolishness, their remedies poison. They idiotically claim that they guide the destinies of the nations, whereas in reality they are but the flotsam and scum-froth that glide smoothly down the dark stream of decadence.” Put no trust in leaders, he repeats again and again. Act for yourself. Think for yourself. These thoughts he comes back to all the time.
For students of the Gospel of Might is Right we highly recommend this unholy trinity of Power:
Might is Right: The Authoritative Edition
A truly authoritative edition of Might is Right by Ragnar Redbeard. The variant text of five original editions harmonized into one, with thousands of previously undocumented footnotes and citations. New introduction by Peter H. Gilmore, High Priest of the Church of Satan.
Might is Right: 1927 Facsimile Edition
Originally published in 1896, Might is Right inspired a wide array of social and political movements. From radical socialists to Satanists, egoists to anarchists, and every flavor of freethinker in-between, Might is Right has left an indelible mark on the very society it condemns. Banned by booksellers and condemned by censors, Might is Right is one of the most infamous and dangerous books ever written.