The Confessions of an Anti-Feminist: The Autobiography of Anthony M. Ludovici

F. Roger Devlin reviews:

He next remarks that the normal adult woman physically resembles a child more closely than does a man, mentioning in particular “her late retention of the softness, suppleness, immature appearance and freshness of the child.” He cites Havelock Ellis and other sexologists in support of this observation.

From these two premises he concludes that women are likely also to present, at least in comparison to men, a greater mental and behavioral resemblance to children.

Now, among the more salient attributes of the child are its assumption of its prescriptive right to appropriate anything it can lay its hands on; to enjoy every small present gratification even at the cost of some prospective greater one; to be unable to look on its actions in the light of their public effect; to be quite unable to understand the need or purpose of discipline, and to accept corrections of its behavior only as tiresome obstacles to be circumvented and bearing no relation to its future conduct; and, finally, to use speech only as expediency requires, without any thought of accuracy. In short, we cannot improve upon Freud’s statement that the child is ruled exclusively by the pleasure principle.

Properly trained and intelligently and vigilantly disciplined, the male child, as it slowly progresses toward adulthood and sheds the physical characteristics of its unripe years, will succeed in ultimately submitting to the demands of the reality principle and in cheerfully accepting the limitations it imposes on personal freedom.

Ludovici then discusses the rise in juvenile delinquency in postwar Britain as an indication that children were no longer being properly disciplined. This he attributes to “the growth of feminine influence over our national life.” These remarks have been confirmed in the decades since he wrote by massive evidence of a statistical correlation between fatherlessness and crime.

As Ludovici points out, many talented thinkers of the past have remarked on the danger of feminine influence in public life: beginning with Aristotle, who attributed the decline of Sparta to their having conceded too much power and influence to women (Politics 2:9). He quotes similar observations from Rabelais, Montesquieu, Balzac, Dumas fils and Schopenhauer. These earlier thinkers failed, however, to see the importance of the physical resemblance between women and children.

The most important truth about woman is that, through her childlike body, she carries into adulthood the characteristics of the child. Hence, wherever she becomes the dominant influence there necessarily occurs a steady breakdown of all order, all discipline, all public spirit, all sense of responsibility and all morality. Anarchy prevails.

He points to contemporary increases in littering and queue-jumping in Britain as evidence. The fundamental problem is that mothers alone are unsuited to provide children with proper discipline:

Inconsistency in reprimand; inconsistency in the fulfillment of threats; the measure of rightness and wrongness reduced to what happens momentarily to suit the convenience, mood or caprice of the female parent; and the repeated improvisation of rules, on the spur of the moment, which the children know from experience possess no validity for the future—these are some of the more salient behavior-features of the average home today. Discipline under such conditions rapidly becomes a farce, and the young grow up without any sense of self-restraint; with a secret contempt for all authority; with a bias in favor of snap judgements on every possible subject; and in complete ignorance of those obligations to the rest of the community which constitute what is called public spirit.

He cites a contemporary sociological study (by a female researcher, incidentally) of maternal discipline in Britain: “On the whole children are trained by a mixture of indulgence, shouting and threats . . . Discipline seems generally to take the form of an attempt to get peace for the moment rather than any long-term policy.”

It is interesting to find Ludovici deploring a BBC television drama of the day in which a father’s vain efforts to discipline his children are held up to ridicule. Clearly, the producers were ahead of their time!

This reviewer was especially interested by the author’s citation of two researchers’ attribution of woman’s anarchic nature to resentment at being denied “the primitive right of ‘free-mating.’”

The resentment felt by women over [this] loss suffered through civilization makes them instinctive enemies of society, contemptuous of its rules and regulations, and consequently predisposed to promote anarchy and welcome any national upheaval, such as a great war or revolution, which suspends for a while the irksome restrictions on free sexual intercourse.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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