Might Is Right

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This article is about the 1890 book. For the concept, see might makes right.
Might Is Right
Might is right.jpg
Author Ragnar Redbeard
Country United States
Language English
Subject Social Darwinism
Genre Philosophy
Publisher Aristeus Books
Publication date
1890
Media type Hardcover, Paperback
Pages 96 (paperback)
ISBN 978-1478225171

Might Is Right, or The Survival of the Fittest, is a book by pseudonymous author Ragnar Redbeard. First published in 1890, it heavily advocates amorality, and psychological hedonism. In Might Is Right, Redbeard rejects conventional ideas of human and natural rights and argues that only strength or physical might can establish moral right (à la Callicles or Thrasymachus).

Individualist Anarchist historian James J. Martin called it "surely one of the most incendiary works ever to be published anywhere."[1] This refers to the controversial content such as the viewpoint that weakness should be regarded with hatred and the strong and forceful presence of Social Darwinism in the text. There are also controversial parts of the book that deal with race and male/female relations, claiming that the woman and the family as a whole is the "property" of the man.

Reaction[edit]

Leo Tolstoy discussed the philosophy of Might Is Right in his 1897 essay What Is Art?:

"The substance of this book, as it is expressed in the editor's preface, is that to measure "right" by the false philosophy of the Hebrew prophets and "weepful" Messiahs is madness. Right is not the offspring of doctrine, but of power. All laws, commandments, or doctrines as to not doing to another what you do not wish done to you, have no inherent authority whatever, but receive it only from the club, the gallows, and the sword. A man truly free is under no obligation to obey any injunction, human or divine. Obedience is the sign of the degenerate. Disobedience is the stamp of the hero."
"Expressed in the form of a doctrine these positions startle us. In reality they are implied in the ideal of art serving beauty. The art of our upper classes has educated people in this ideal of the over-man, --- which is in reality the old ideal of Nero, Stenka Razin, Genghis Khan, Robert Macaire or Napoleon and all their accomplices, assistants, and adulators --- and it supports this ideal with all its might.
It is this supplanting of the ideal of what is right by the ideal of what is beautiful, i.e. of what is pleasant, that is the fourth consequence, and a terrible one, of the perversion of art in our society. It is fearful to think of what would befall humanity were such art to spread among the masses of the people. And it already begins to spread."[2]

Editions[edit]

Year Publisher Notes
1890 Auditorium Press[3]
1896 A. Uing Publisher
1903 A. Mueller Publishers
1910 W.J. Robbins Co. Ltd
1921 Ross’ Book Service
1927 Dil Pickle Press
1962 unknown publisher 18-page abridged edition
1969 same unknown publisher Expanded 32-page edition
1972 Revisionist Press Reprint of 1927 Dil Pickle edition. ISBN 978-1478225171
1984 Loompanics Unlimited ISBN 0-915179-12-1
1996 M. H. P & Co. Ltd. Centennial edition, with intro by Anton LaVey.
1999 14 Word Press St. Maries, Idaho
2003 Bugbee Books
2005 29 Books Reprint of 1927 Dil Pickle edition. ISBN 0-9748567-2-X
2005 Dil Pickle Press Edited and annotated by Darrell W. Conder. ISBN 0-9728233-0-1
2008 Zem Books
2009 Edition Esoterick German hardcover edition. ISBN 978-3-936830-31-6
2012 Kustantamo Vuohi Julkaisut Finnish edition. ISBN 978-952-92-9531-9

References[edit]

  1. ^ EGO No 6 1985 Twenty Five Pence, at the Wayback Machine (archived August 18, 2010)[dead link] archived from the original[dead link]
  2. ^ What is art? Leo Tolstoy
  3. ^ "Might Is Right (The Logic of To-day) / by Ragnar Redbeard". National Library of Australia Catalogue. National Library of Australia. Retrieved August 10, 2012. 

External links[edit]