Monday, 10 November 2008

The Revolt Against Civilization: The Iron Law of Inequality

The idea of "Natural Equality" is one of the most pernicious delusions that has ever afflicted mankind. It is a figment of the human imagination. Nature knows no equality. The most cursory examination of natural phenomena reveals the presence of a Law of Inequality as universal and inflexible as the Law of Gravitation.

The evolution of life is the most striking instance of this fundamental truth. Evolution is a process of differentiation -- of increasing differentiation -- from the simple one-celled bit of protoplasm to the infinitely differentiated, complex life forms of the present day.

And the evolutionary process is not merely quantitative; it is qualitative as well. These successive differentiations imply increasingly inequalities. Nobody but a madman could seriously contend that the microscopic speck of protoplasmic jelly floating in the tepid waters of the Palaqeozoic Sea was "equal" to a human being. But this is only the beginning of the story. Not only are the various life types profoundly unequal in qualities and capacities; the individual members of each type are similarly differentiated among themselves. No two individuals are ever precisely alike. We have already seen how greatly this dual process of differentiation both of type and individual has been affected the human species, and how basic a factor it has been in human progress. Furthermore, individual inequalities steadily increase as we ascend the biological scale. The amoeba differs very little from his fellows; the dog much more so; man most of all. And inequalities between men likewise become ever more pronounced. The innate differences between members of a low-grade savage tribe are as nothing compared with the abyss sundering the idiot and the genius who coexist in a high-grade civilization.

Thus, we see that evolution means a process of ever-growing inequality. There is, in fact, no such word as "equality" in nature's lexicon. With an increasingly uneven hand she distributes health, beauty, vigor, intelligence, genius -- all the qualities which confer on their possessors superiority over their fellows."

The Revolt Against Civilization: the Menace of the Under Man, Lothrop Stoddard, chapter 2. [PDF]

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