[excerpts from A Defence of Aristocracy by Anthony M. Ludovici, 1915]
My insistence in the matter of the beauty of the true aristocrat will strike many of my readers as strange. But, as a matter of fact, it is only strange in modern ears. Foolishly, recklessly and, as I think, at great national peril, we have allowed the Christian doctrine of the soul to mislead us and corrupt us on this point; but the healthy truth nevertheless remains, that there can be no good spiritual qualities without beautiful bodily qualities. Be suspicious of everybody who holds another view, and remember that the ugly, the botched, the repulsive, the “foul of breath, have reasons for adhering to this doctrine that “a beautiful soul can justify and redeem a foul body”; for without it the last passport they possess for admittance into decent fragrant society is lost. Think of the men who have created things worth having in their lives; think of Kephrën in the Fourth Dynasty of Egypt, think of Pericles, of Alexander, of Goethe; recall the reputed beauty of the ancient Incas, the reputed beauty of the gods — and you have a gallery of the most beautiful beings that the mind of any artist could conceive.
The prejudice of the ancients, as we know, and shall also see, was entirely in favour of the theory of the concord of bodily and spiritual beauty, and one has only to think of the Greek phrase , so frequently applied in cases where in English phraseology we should use the word “good” alone, in order to realise how deeply the two ideas must have been welded together in the hearts, at least, of the ancient Hellenes.
The aristocratic Brahman was perfectly self-conscious of all his virtues, and in the Law Book of Manu, we get an ingenuous proof of the pride of this great caste. Not only the health but the beauty of the Brahman must be preserved, therefore he is recommended most urgently to select a beautiful woman. He must understand, and rightly too, that a certain stigma attaches to disease and ill-health, which nothing can remove. Thus the sick and the bungled themselves learn to know their proper place on earth and their proper worth, and are not encouraged as they are to-day to push themselves insolently to the fore, and regard themselves as the equals of the sound and the healthy, simply because of the pernicious doctrine of the redeeming soul. A Brahmana must carefully avoid those who have no beauty or wealth, or those who are of low birth.
This valuation of the diseased, the misshapen, the bungled and the botched, is more merciful and more practical. What is cruel, what is inhuman, is to rear people in the sentimental and quasi-merciful belief that there is nothing degrading and “unclean” (the good Old Testament adjective applied to disease) in disease and bungledom, but that a beautiful soul justifies everything; and then, when the world has got into such a state of physical degeneration through this doctrine, to suggest the organisation of a pre-nuptial check on all unions contemplated under the influence of this belief, without making any attempt to alter values.