A CENTENNIAL YOU SHOULD NOTICE
by Professor Revilo P. Oliver (Liberty Bell, December 1988)
IN THE quarterly bulletin of the Euro-American Alliance for Summer, 1988, Major Clerkin reproduces photographically the cover of an interesting and significant book, published a century ago in New York City by a firm whose offices were at the corner of Twenty-third Street and Fifth Avenue. If I had a corps of research assistants, as did the late Arnold Toynbee, I would send one of them to ascertain the sponsorship and brief history of the Minerva Publishing Company, which made two premature innovations, producing books well-printed on good paper in paper bindings for half the price of cloth-bound volumes, and anticipating our contemporary book clubs by offering subscribers a new volume each month. As it is, I can only report a rumor that Mark Twain was a secret sponsor of the firm, which is possible but seems to me improbable, and another, that the unnamed owners of the enterprise were of Greek ancestry.
The firm's first publication was entitled The Original Mr. Jacobs: a Startling Exposé. It is a book of 314 pages, based largely, as the author admits in his introduction, on the two volumes of the epochal work of Édouard Drumont, La France juive (Paris, 1885; often reprinted). The author has paraphrased (seldom translated exactly) and supplemented the parts of Drumont's much longer work that were specially applicable in the United States, and, as he specifically admits, he ignored or revised passages in which Drumont writes disparagingly of Americans, Free-Masons, and Protestants. By a nice irony, The Original Mr. Jacobs was recently reprinted photographically by the Thunderbolt with the title changed to The Original Mr. Jew and the text awkwardly censored to remove references that would displease the "British Israel" sects. (1)
(1. For example, on page 1 read, with the deleted words here restored in italics: "It must not be supposed that the Jews as a class are an intelligent race. Assurance is often mistaken for intelligence. I admit there have been eminent men among the Jews, as, for instance, their renowned lawgiver and leader in ancient times, Moses. But a careful examination of this anomaly (it is not an exception) will show that the great men among the Jews have drunk copious draughts of Aryan civilization and have quickly either renounced Judaism or adopted a nominal, sometimes a real, Christianity. Thus their famous men" e.q.s.)
If you do not read French, or if you cannot obtain a copy of one of the hundreds of reprintings of La France juive, which it is becoming increasingly difficult to find, even in France (2), you will find The Original Mr. Jacobs a fairly reliable extract from the original, and one in which the anonymous author claims to have verified for himself all the statements he paraphrases or expands, and, if you do not have the edition of 1888 at hand, even the censored reprint that I have mentioned will be of interest.
(2. If you visited Paris in the 1920s or 30s and remember the book-stalls along the quais in which, if you looked long enough, you could find almost any book in French or Latin for a few francs, you will find that they are gone with the wind, swept away by economic causes, and, if they had not been, would be under surveillance by Jewish terrorists and, like the established booksellers, would not dare offer for sale anything that is objectionable to the Master Race.)
The author, like Drumont, occasionally uncritically overstates his case against the Jews, and his work shows in places the common anamorphosis of the belief, which was still plausible in 1888, that the Jews were intent on the abolition of Christianity, instead of determined to strip the religion of its Western veneer and restore the original communism and egalitarianism of the primitive cult peddled by the Jewish agitator who is the protagonist of the "New Testament." This, in turn, leads to the preposterous notion that, for example, Voltaire was an agent or ally of the Jews, although Voltaire in his Dictionnaire philosophique gave a finely succinct definition of them: "an ignorant and barbarous race, who have for a long time joined the most sordid avarice and the most detestable superstition to the most invincible hatred of all peoples who tolerate and enrich them."
If you will allow for such distortion, as you must when you read Christian authors, such as the courageous and scholarly Mrs. Nesta Webster or one of her principal sources, the industrious and honest Abbé Barruel (3), you will find in The Original Mr. Jacobs a stimulating and, for the most part, accurate description of the activity and purposes of Yahweh's darling parasites on civilized mankind, including their millennial dedication to the task of debasing and enslaving or exterminating our race -- a work which, carried on for so many centuries with the infinite patience of unappeasable hatred and a racial genius for dissimulation, is now nearing completion.
(3. I shall try to answer questions about him in a future issue of this magazine and explain why you should not use for serious purposes the English translation of his work.)
Major Clerkin's copy of the book is one intended for subscribers and contains on the cover a letter of commendation from John Davis, the senior editor of a newspaper in Kansas, who reported that the book was on sale in many bookstores, including the one in the Union Depot in St. Louis and the largest bookstore in Cincinnati, but not in the Union Depot of Cincinnati, where it was banned: "The bookseller had a supply, and was selling them, but he was forbidden to sell, and returned the supply." Mr. Davis thought this outrageous censorship of what the public would be permitted to read and learn would react on the perpetrators.
In 1888 the Jews were already swarming into the United States, doubtless regarding its Aryan population as enemies to be despoiled, as they regarded the Canaanites, who (as the great Jewish apologist, Philo Judaeus had to concede, since the tales about an armed conquest were obviously impossible fantasies) admitted to their country, with stupid generosity and idiotic pity, the godly folk who crawled in as refugees, intending to destroy their benefactors. I suspect that in some devious way they not only stopped sale of the too revealing book in the Cincinnati Union Station, but succeeded in ruining the Minerva Publishing Co.
Minerva published one sequel, The American Jew, from which Major Clerkin reproduces five pages. What other books the firm published before it was suppressed, I do not know.
The Original Mr. Jacobs is now quite rare, partly because paperback books were at that time equated with "dime novels" and often discarded unread, partly because they were insubstantially bound. (4) The rarity is not therefore to be attributed entirely to the Jews' surveillance of their destined victims. I notice that Jane's Book Service (P.O. Box 3622, Reno, Nevada; 89505) in its list for August offers a copy for $50.00. I doubt that you could find a copy for less, except by chance at some "garage sale" or in one of the old-fashioned used-book stores that may have survived to the present day.
(4. The book was printed in signatures and doubtless bound in the proper way, which has now become economically prohibitive, although it is still found in some very expensive books. The paper binding, however, could not support the sewing, and my copy has been repaired and bound by driving staples through the binding edge. It may be that Minerva intended its books to be like the standard French brochés, i.e, that the purchaser would have the book properly bound in whatever style of cloth or leather he preferred for his private library.)
I do not know how many copies of this book were printed. I wish it had been a million copies, for then, surely, it would not have been a brutum fulmen and might have produced some wholesome effect by reaching enough people who were willing to understand it.
It is a nice and bitter coincidence that 1988 is also the centennial of a book that did sell a million copies and was a national disaster.
Edward Bellamy, born in 1850 in Puritan Massachusetts, had a modest, very modest, literary talent and, at his best, was able to imitate, not ineptly, the bold, factual style of Defoe. He had only meager success as a writer, contributing chiefly to magazines (5), until 1888, when he produced Looking Backwards, 2000-1887, which strangely became a phenomenal success. A million copies were sold within a few years after its publication, and some historians identify it as the most influential book published in the United States in the second half of the Nineteenth Century after Harriet Beecher Stowe's equally poisonous Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852).
(5. The only one of his several novels at which I have glanced is Dr. Heidenhoff's Process (1880), which might be less insufferably tedious, if it were not a thinly disguised pastiche of devices that had already been overworked by Victorian novelists of some claim to be remembered.)
In his successful work, Bellamy imitated the style of Defoe, lending a factitious verisemblance to a story far less entertaining but more fantastic than Bulwer-Lytton's The Coming Race. Of the two narratives, the latter is the more vivid and convincing, when you read it, as a good littérateur must, with imaginative suspension of doubt, but it is not poisonous. When you put the book down, your mind is released from its emotional indulgence, and not even for a split second do you fear lest the shaft of some deep mine be extended downward and reach the wonderful world inside the hollow earth, thus inciting the technologically advanced and perfectly socialistic Vrilya to come up, ahead of their schedule, and subjugate mankind, i.e., our race, the only one that mattered when the author wrote, before it had become irremediably decadent and childish. (6)
(6. Note the realistic detail in Bulwer-Lytton's story: the Vrilya, the superior race, will enslave or exterminate us, the inferior race. There is no sickening drivel about "converting" the inferiors and moronically bestowing on them the blessings of the Vrilya's superiority.)
Bellamy's insipid story can also be believed when it is read, by forcing one's bored mind to the same suspension of doubt, and when a discerning reader puts the book down, he will laugh at the absurdity of a narrative that was both tedious and unintentionally comic. What is remarkable is that it was poisonous to minds so weak or so perversely sentimental that they mistook it for a description of a possible reality.
Bellamy's tale is the gospel of Karl Marx, covered with chocolate syrup and garnished with whipped cream. It describes the evolution of American society from the proclamation of the gospel in 1888 and the progressive conversion of unbelievers to its transcendental truth, until the New Heaven is realized on earth by the abolition of private property and the absolute subjection of all individuals to the total tyranny of an omnipotent government, which nobly enforces brotherly love and perfectly abject equality, and magnanimously confers on its well-trained and helpless slaves the blessings of science, not only satiating their animal appetites with all the material things they may have a whim to want, from choice viands to ingenious gadgets, but compelling every anthropoid spontaneously to understand, appreciate, and enjoy the fine arts of a high culture. And, of course, the dehumanized creatures are as happy as spring lambs in green pastures.
How could anything so preposterous be believed by adults?
In Barclay's Satyricon, Euphormio comes from an idyllic land in which clouds never appear in the serene sky and the mild zephyrs of a perpetual afternoon are never chilly or torrid -- a land inhabited by a sparse, simple, and virtuous population, among whom wealth and ambition and greed and perfidy are all unknown, as in the Saturnia regna of the world's mythical youth. Had Euphormio been given a copy of Looking Backward, he would doubtless have been charmed and convinced -- provided he read it before he landed in Spain and began to learn what the real world and the depravati orbis incolae were like.
Among the million dolts who took Bellamy's fantasy seriously, there can have been no Euphormio. They had all grown up in the real world and had constantly observed their brothers and sisters, their cousins and other relatives, their neighbors, and the thousand strangers with whom they must have come into contact as employers or customers. Most of them, furthermore, belonged to churches that taught the Christian doctrine of original sin, which, although explained by absurd myths, did call attention to the fundamentals of human nature as unalterably determined at birth by heredity. (7)
(7. You should note that the alert author of The Original Mr. Jacobs, despite his Christian preoccupations, has to admit (p. 282) that the "transmission through heredity of religious hatred, of irresistible impulse, of fatality, and of antisocial instincts, is one of the most striking spectacles of our epoch.")
How could anyone have believed that the grotesque gospel of Marx could transform human beings more completely than if their shoulders sprouted wings and they became immortal?
Many who were convinced by Bellamy's fantasy had minds so uncritical that they believed the Christian stories about preposterous miracles performed by Jesus et al.; they had no difficulty in believing another impossible thing was miraculously possible, and did not even perceive that their new faith was in contradiction to the old.
More interesting are the agnostics and atheists who accepted the new gospel about a social transfiguration of mankind. Persons who were determined to believe such nonsense could adduce the bizarre theory that Helvétius expounded in De l'esprit (1758), that all men are born equal, and that all differences between individuals are produced by the training each is given. Helvétius boasted that from the shepherds in a tiny Alpine valley he could manufacture at will a Lycurgus or a Milton (or a Newton or an Alexander of Macedon or a Julius Caesar or Caligula)! (8) He thus authorized the preposterous claim that "all men are created equal" and gave the social reformers of the French Revolution a pretext and specious cover for their psychopathic ferocity and organic blood-lust.
(8. D. W. Smith, in his Helvétius, a Study in Persecution (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1965), acquits him of conspiratorial intent; it is likely that he, a man of middle-class origins who had risen to a position of power in the government and aristocratic society, was not content to have become one of the richest financiers in France, and wanted to shine as a philosophe. He accordingly wrote a book that he intended to be both plausible and sensational in its attack on the Christian superstition. It excited, of course, much more sensation that he had anticipated!)
How could anyone believe a proposition so totally at variance with all human experience and of which the falsity was demonstrated daily by observation of the human beings with whom every individual necessarily came into contact? Obviously because many persons had a yen to believe a falsehood, in keeping with the well-known Christian principle, credo quia absurdum.
Even the agnostics and atheists had been raised as Christians and had formed in childhood the habit of believing impossible things whenever their glands were pleasurably tickled and produced a short-circuit in their minds, bypassing their powers of ratiocination and electrifying their imaginations with irrational emotions. When they repudiated the religion, perceiving its absurdity, they retained the mental habits it had formed and they remained addicted to mental narcotics that enabled them to escape from unpleasant and harsh reality.
That explains the amazing success of Looking Backwards, which was a hundred times -- perhaps a thousand times -- more effective than Marx's ponderously sciolistic, Das Kapital in softening up the United States for the idyllic slave-state of Judaeo-Communism.
So this year we may celebrate the centennials of two important books; meditate on the great difference between them and between their consequences.
This article originally appeared in Liberty Bell magazine, published monthly by George P. Dietz from September 1973 to February 1999. For reprint information please write to Liberty Bell Publications, Post Office Box 21, Reedy WV 25270 USA.
Copyright ©2001 Kevin Alfred Strom. Back to Revilo P. Oliver Index