A BOGUS BOOK.
‘THE SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST OR THE PHILOSOPHY OF POWER. ‘
From Chicago. Addressed,
“Chief Justice Madden and others,”
has come along a book entitled as above by Ragnar Redbeard, L.L.D .which Tolstoi is reported to have stated, ‘ has positively filled him with alarm and dread.’ The Tocsin is sorry for Tolstoi.
The book is a wordy, windy exposition of Individualism. It is described as “No ordinary book. Nothing like it has ever been permitted to see the light since A.D. 300.” Which is tommyrot, as the volume is but a garish hotchpotch of many books issued since that date and before this precious work. For scientific criticism of them, nothing is more concise and comprehensive than Renan’s fine essay on “Intolerance in Scepticism,” published about fifty years ago.
The author, Gingerbeered Redrag, commences by proclaiming “Death to the weakling, wealth to the strong.” Wealth is his ideal, and in his advocacy of its pursuit he challenges “the wisdom of the world,” and “stands forth to interrogate the ‘laws’ of man and God.'” All of which he does on the principle that the weakest shall go to the wall and the fittest shall survive.
An illustration of the logical justification of his theory, he cites Darwin and his whole theory of physical and animal evolution. He overlooks the fact, however, that if the fittest individuality survives, so does the fittest idea. The very fact of its survival is proof of its fitness. So his condemnation of Socialism falls flat, for Socialism survives and flourishes, so does Christianity, in its Socialistic sense. Si monumentum requiris, circumspice.
The book, which is evidently a claptrap production sent forth to capture shekels, is about as incoherent a wail as has ever been sent up from the Individualistic Camp. It reminds you of Marshall-Hall at his worst, and the more so since its author confesses to having been inspired by Nietzsche, Dahn, Gutzkow, and other German scribblers whose logic-chopping capacity obviously transcends their knowledge of human nature. Anyhow civilization has become too complicated to permit of its many problems being solved by primitive methods and a resort to merely brutal principles.
This Ragnar Redbeard is not convincing in any sense. “If,” he says, “you would conquer wealth and honor, power and fame, you must be practical, grim, cool and merciless.” What a gospel to preach to a world of fifteen hundred million! As if each individual doing his or her best on the most approved and advanced principles “Made in Germany” could hope to achieve “wealth, honor, &c., &c.!” It is a much simpler and more practicable thing for each to seek Justice. If it is to be a fight between Individualists for Wealth, &c., and Socialists for Justice, we shall see who will prove fittest and who will therefore survive.