distrusting the utopian prophets

Its an odd way to define oneself: a tory anarchist. Maybe for max Beerbohm it was a reaction to the times; a refuge in this tidal wave of elitist white racist socialism that was so popularized by the likes of Oscar Wilde and perhaps had its origins in the Dickens conception of the “purity of the middle-classes”. Orwell used it to categorize Jonathan Swift as someone who could satirize and attack authority while being very careful about rhetorical bon-bons about liberty and freedom and emancipation, the kind of reinforcing of the worst levels of bourgeois values the left was ostensibly opposed to. There is an aristocratic outlook, the inevitability of a status and distinction system while bashing it as corrupted and contemptible. A very contradictory nature, and more social observation than a proposition of a valid theory. But beyond the satire, the cutting attack of Beerbohm on a Kipling, Wells or Shaw was a deep humanism that is obscured by his form of dandyism, which was really a mask.

Read More:http://www.jssgallery.org/Other_Artists/Max_Beerbohm/Mr_Sargent_at_Work.htm---Mr. Sargent at Work Max Beerbohm -- British writer and caricaturist (1872-1956) frontispiece from "The Book of Caricatures" London Jpg: Friend of the JSS Gallery In a letter to his future wife Beerbohm wrote: 'I have just done a rather good "Mr Sargent at Work"-more or less suggested by a musical party he gave some nights ago. Two fiddlers and a cellist in the foreground, and a duchess on a flatform in the background, and he in between, dashing at a canvas, with a big and swilling brush in either hand. I wish I could make my living by drawing.' ---

Not sure that Beerbohm was actually a tory, the archetypical old crocodile in white shoes, but more for a vigorous response to the pie in the sky Fabianism that advocated shaping a society ready to eliminate alleged undesirables, the parasites consuming state resources. A deep suspicion of the men of big ideas who will save the world mainly through a technocratic utopia that would include scientific breeding. To this, you could throw in a Thorstein Veblen and his economic theories also claiming a utopian desire for social uniformity; the hidden hand of economic affairs pulling the strings of a saintly secular class sucked dry of spirituality. Beerbohm knew that changing human nature, not merely the illusion of it, could take centuries, and it could only be achieved by safeguarding individual freedom no matter how distasteful it may appear. To him. false messiahs and social prophets like H.G. Wells were dangerous; but the whole package of them from Wells to Shaw to Kipling were all senile imperialists, Walter Mitty’s for populist jingoism….

---El Sr. H. G. Wells previendo el porvenir, caricatura por Max Beerbohm--Read More:http://www.librosmaravillosos.com/mdenespanol/profetadelapluma.html


Beerbohm seems to have regarded Shaw as a far less sinister figure than Wells, treating him on the whole as a comically grotesque personality or jester rather than satirizing his political ideas. Of his numerous explicit comments about Shaw, the most cogent appears in a 1926 letter to a friend: „It is very queer that a man should be so gifted as he is (in his own particular line nobody has been so gifted, I think, since Voltaire) and so liable to make a fool of himself‟.30

…However, in Shaw‟s case the actual means for eliminating criminal undesirables was soon spelled out in 1905 in the preface to Major Barbara („we should . . . place them in the lethal chamber and get rid of them‟) and in his preface to English Prisons under Local Government (1922) by his fellow Fabian Socialists Sydney and Beatrice Webb: „Is it any wonder that some of us are driven to prescribe the lethal chamber for the hard cases . . . ?‟ In 1910, in a lecture to the Eugenics Education Society, Shaw stated, according to the Daily Express, that „a part of eugenic politics would finally land us in an extensive use of the lethal chamber. A great many people would have to be put out of existence simply because it wastes other people‟s time to look after them‟…. Read More:http://dl.lib.brown.edu/mjp/pdf/GibbonsBeerbohm.pdf

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