BTRIPP (btripp) wrote,

Not something that I just picked up ...

I have had this odd book sitting around my desk for ages ... the other day I was checking back in my LiveJournal "calendar view" to clarify the dates of some things that I was doing just before 9/11/01, and there was a post mentioning this book, so I've be dribbling through this for nearly six years! It has been handy for those occasional "book memes" that say "grab the nearest book and turn to page ..." because it's always been good for a juicy quote! Over the past few years I've used it for filling those "this is gong to take a minute or two to download" times, and am now going to have to find something that works as well for that!

Ah, where to start with Ragnar Redbeard's Might is Right: The Survival of the Fittest? Well, first of all, it's an old book, variously reported to have been first published in 1890 or 1896, and attributed to any of a half a dozen writers who may or may not have been operating under the cloak of the Redbeard pen name. As one can gather from its title, this is not a "nice" book, and has an unabashed Teutonic chauvinism (with definite anti-Semitic aspects) which can be uncomfortable reading in a post-Nazi era.

If I were to distill the message of Might is Right into a "sound bite", I'd have to borrow a snippet of lyrics from the Sisters of Mercy's tune "More" (and I'm pretty sure that Andrew Eldritch has read this book) which goes "you won't get what you deserve / you are what you take". Redbeard has no patience for either priests or politicians, damning equally the emasculating effects of Christianity and the enslaving of the individual by governments (especially the creeping Socialism of his era, now in full vile flower in ours). Of course, to anybody familiar with my assorted rants, you would understand how an "anti-Christian/anti-Socialist" message sounds like heavenly choirs to my ears (as I often feel that I'm alone in being a staunch "hawk" conservative who is as anti-Christian as the Beast himself).

There have been many editions of this book over the years (mostly reprints of the 1910 version), put out in various "spins" (the Wikipedia entry for this mentions one that had an introductory essay by Anton LaVey!), including a recent one (currently in print) which has taken a "scholarly" approach and tried to pull together a definitive edition with many footnotes placing the "Victorian" concerns of the author into historical context. The copy I have, however, is the 1999 "Millennial Wotansvolk Edition" from 14-Word Press (a "white power" operation out in Idaho), which is, perhaps, the "most fun" of all of the available versions as it is way "over the top" with Asatru-inspired illustrations and an obvious enthusiasm for the author's biases!

I do have to note that to "modern ears" this is a rather ugly book, and the author's style is rather dense (not making for a quick read ... but then again, I rarely sat down to read this, so it shouldn't take six years for most folks to get through its 200 pages). Many will, frankly, find this book offensive, and I'd suggest those who are of a Leftist bent, deeply devoted to Christianity, or "touchy" about anti-Semitic stuff, might just pretend it doesn't exist ("nothing to see here, folks, just keep moving")!

Were you interested in picking up a copy of Might Is Right, you're in luck that the "scholarly" 2005 edition came out, as a few years ago these were going used for over seventy-five bucks, and now a "like new" copy (of the 1999 edition) can be had from the Amazon new/used vendors for around ten bucks (the 2005 version, oddly enough, doesn't currently have any "new/used" offers, so you'd be paying the $13.95 cover for that). Again, keep in mind that this book isn't for most folks, and for every guy who's jumping up and down doing the "kill!" riff from Alice's Restaurant while reading this, there are likely to be 3-4 earnest souls feverishly pounding out letters to their congressmen to have the book banned ... so caveat emptor, as your mileage will doubtlessly vary.

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Tags: book review
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