Biddiss, Michael D. Father of Racist Ideology: The Social and Political Thought of Count

 

Biddiss, Michael D. Father of Racist Ideology: The Social and Political Thought of Count
Gobineau. New York: Weybright and Talley, 1970.

Count Gobineau published the four volumes of his Essay in the years 1853-1855. In them he
deduced an explanation of the modern world, a world with which he was much displeased. He
sought an explanation of the social decay and found it in his single, determining, biologically
based, theory of "race." As Marx searched and found the key to history in economics, so did
Gobineau find his explanation in race. Gobineau considered himself a scientist and his work
scientific. It is true that his induction leaves something to be desired but note that his methods
and his theory are not that much different from Marx's or, for that matter, Darwin's.

There is a great deal made here of the point that Gobineau should not be held responsible for the
abuse of his ideas by others. He was not Hitler. He did not promote the Final Solution. In fact, he
was not one who ever proposed a solution to the problems he recognized. He offered no method
for avoiding the death of civilization but was passively resigned to accepting the inevitable.
Gobineau was an elitist interested in preserving the liberties of monarchy; he had no interest in
promoting the rule of the mob. His idea was Romantic rather than political. Finally, this author
makes much of the man's personal charm, his breeding, and his sophistication.

Industrialization, mediocrity, and materialism were the problems he saw and he understood all of
them in terms of a single explanation.