MIGHT IS RIGHT! | 1897 Review | The New Time (Charles H. Kerr & Co., Chicago)

1845-1945, Max Stirner, Ragnar Redbeard / Wednesday, May 8th, 2019
From The New Time (Chicago), December, 1897. The editors of the Union of Egoists have worked for years on an Authoritative edition of this early American egoist text. While there is conflict within the text, great swaths are explicitly egoist, and align with Stirner and others, and developed independently of English translations of Stirner (the author, in fact, was one of the first to give money to fund the translation of Einzige into English). Of obscure interest (the kind we like most here) is that The New Time was published by the Charles H. Kerr company. Charles Hope Kerr, a son of abolitionists, was a vegetarian and Unitarian in 1886 when he established  in Chicago. Over the years, his company became a leading publisher of socialist, anarchist, and “Wobbly” works.  


A new book has lately been issued in this city that it destined to challenge the attention of sociologists the world over, for it attacks the fundamental theories upon which all their theories are based.

Large portions of it have already been translated into German by Dr. Von Otto Ammon, and lengthy reviews upon its morals and philosophy have appeared in several German and French magazines.

In thought, style, teachings, this book is entirely original. Nietsche and Stirner are the only modern writers we know of who take a somewhat similar view of things, and their works are not generally accessible in this country. The author, Ragnar Redbeard, LL. D., is said by some to be a University of Chicago professor, but the Rev. J. Q. Henry holds that the book has been inspired, if not written, by the Devil. Others claim that the real author is Charles Stuart Parnell, who is said to be alive on a Colorado cattle ranch.

“Dr. Redbeard” assails religious fundamental statute laws and democratic principles with scientific ferocity unparalleled. Even the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule are declared by him to be “the ideals of the slave.” “Men who are really free,” he says, “obey neither gods nor governments.”

The Declaration of Independence and the American constitution come in for most unmerciful vivisection, and “altruistic principles” fare no better.

His general theory is that “Might is Right” absolutely and without reservation, and he supports this affirmative with striking illustrations, from all ages and all times, urging that there is no instance on record of any people having ever emancipated themselves from social or political bondage except by the strictly evolutionary “survival of the fittest” method, that is to say by the Law of Battle.

Without expressing an opinion as to the ethics of this very warlike, very aggressive and very suggestive writer, we desire to draw the attention of our readers to the work itself and permit them to judge. We cannot do better, however, than give them a quotation from the head verse of a chapter selected at random.

“Hate for Hate, and ruth for ruth,
Eye for Eye and tooth for tooth.
Scorn for scorn and smile for smile,
Love for love and guile for guile;
War for war and woe for woe,
Blood for blood and blow for blow.”

The title of the book, which out-Darwins Darwin, out-Spencers Spencer, is Might Is Right, or The Survival of the Fittest. Adolph Mueller, 108 Clark street, Chicago, publisher.

What follows is the text from advertisement from an issue of The New Day:


The Survival of the Fittest
Or the Philosophy of Power.
New book by Ragnor (sic) Redbeard, LL. D. University of
C——- . 178 pp. Cloth gilt, $1.50; paper,
50 cents, postpaid.

This is the most remarkable book published for fifteen centuries, being in boldness of style and thought entirely Pagan. It proclaims Christian civilization to be an intensification of the gloom and horror of the Dark Ages. It scientifically dissects the bedeviled Modern Man, and marshalls an
astounding array of facts to prove him a weakling, a coward, and a slave. With cold-blooded logic it assails the “first principles” of accepted philosophy, religion and law; affirming that decalogues, golden-rules, sermons-on-the-mount, representative governments, statute laws and written constitutions, are without any inherent Authority whatever— being based exclusively upon deception or armed violence. Dr. Redbeard urges that these are artificial obstacles and ought to be entirely rolled aside. By war alone can fitness be tested. The battlefield is nature’s supreme selective agency. It divides with precision the Fit from the Unfit —the Brave from the Base. At all times the Conqueror decides Right and Wrong. His sword writes title deeds and executes justice. He IS the
Fittest. As long as the Struggle for Existence is “moralized,” the Unfit and Base instead of being trampled under and exploited, are permitted to set up Injunction Seats and deal out death or bondage to Higher Types. Thus, Darwinism, properly understood, is fatal to the tyrant. It rings nun
round with destruction. It proclaims— “The earth, with all its treasures vast, is booty for the bold.”
All students of sociology, philosophy and practical politics should read and re-read tins remarkable volume.

108 Clark Street, Chicago (letters only).

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