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8 January 2014

Remembering Anthony Ludovici (8 January 1882 - 3 April 1971)

Anthony Ludovici

British philosopher, sociologist, and social critic Anthony Mario Ludovici was born 132 years ago today.

Though he wrote on many subjects, including art, metaphysics, politics, economics, religion, differences between sexes, race, and eugenics, Ludovici is best known for being a proponent of aristocracy. Perhaps not surprisingly, he was at first an artist (as book illustrator) and a student of Nietzsche. With Nietzsche and Art, published in 1911, he was said to have attempted a history of art in terms of rising aristocratic and decadent democratic epochs.

Last year I reviewed his 1967 book, The Specious Origins of Liberalism, which, being long out of print, was serialised on this website. In my review discuss this volume in the context of egalitarianism as the West's main ethical problem in the West (hence the title: 'Quality, Not Equality').

Previously, we published A. Briton's biographical sketch, "Anthony Ludovici: Conservative from Another World". In his article, Briton focuses on Ludovici's thoughts on race, but I think this is very one-dimensional, and falls into the trap of reaction: because of the vulgar obsession with race among liberals and the Left over the past two or three generations, and because Ludovici's positions are frankly and unapologetically contrary to those favoured by the aforementioned, many anti-egalitarians become obsessed with race too, and will talk about nothing else, expending all their energy on discussions of biology and evidence that are completely irrelevant, since egalitarianism derives its legitimacy from ethical arguments, and not from empirical fact. This, I think, is a major distraction, not to mention a bore, because it focuses on consequences rather than causes, on incidental phenomena rather than on first principles, which is where any disestablishmentarian effort has to begin if it is to stay focused on the endgame as opposed to the skirmishes along the way. The important parts in the thought of men like Ludovici are in the philosophical critiques of egalitarianism in its various manifestations and in the articulation of the ethics of an aristocratic worldview. Said worldview—and for that matter any anti-establishment worldview—will remain the province of the natural contrarian, the eccentric, or the outsider as long as the public are not given an ethical justification for it with which they can defend it.

The website http://www.anthonymludovici.com features a selection of his book illustrations, photographs, and an archive of his writings, including entire fiction and non-fiction books, short stories, essays and articles, poetry, translations, correspondence, and legal documents.

You can also obtain directly from us The Lost Philosopher: The Best of Anthony Ludovici (2003), edited by John V. Day, here.

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