H.P. Lovecraft on Republicans

<  H.P. Lovecraft on Republicans

Looking for another quote on space, I found this from a 1936 letter:

“As for the Republicans—how can one regard seriously a frightened, greedy, nostalgic huddle of tradesmen and lucky idlers who shut their eyes to history and science, steel their emotions against decent human sympathy, cling to sordid and provincial ideals exalting sheer acquisitiveness and condoning artificial hardship for the non-materially-shrewd, dwell smugly and sentimentally in a distorted dream-cosmos of outmoded phrases and principles and attitudes based on the bygone agricultural-handicraft world, and revel in (consciously or unconsciously) mendacious assumptions (such as the notion that real liberty is synonymous with the single detail of unrestricted economic license or that a rational planning of resource-distribution would contravene some vague and mystical ‘American heritage’…) utterly contrary to fact and without the slightest foundation in human experience? Intellectually, the Republican idea deserves the tolerance and respect one gives to the dead.”

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24 Responses to “H.P. Lovecraft on Republicans”

B-Sol

Could be the greatest quote ever.

JM

“rational planning of resource-distribution”

The Soviets did that magnificently and it only ended up with over 20 million people dead.

Lovecraft: Good author, downright idiot when it comes to politics.

Carnacki

Lovecraft’s description of the GOP seems even more accurate in describing the Republican Party of today. Nice leap from “rational planning” to the Soviet Union, which did nothing rationally nor was Lovecraft speaking of communism. The torture policy, phony show trials and the spying of the citizens brought to us by the Bush administration showed that the GOP learned and adapted from the Soviet Union.

Jesus

Oh JM, they have led you astray.

The Soviet Union did no such. Their resource distribution was not planned or rational: it was taking from the worker and giving it to the state, not re-distributing it to anyone. Nor were they, as many claim 0including themselves), communist.

Also, Lovecraft meant social programs, such as Welfare, Medicare and the like as “rational planning of resource-distribution”

Sethwick

All societies distribute resources. Comparing every instance of state intervention in the economy to Soviet Russia makes you look like a moron. Have you ever been out of the US? To Canada, the UK, France, the Netherlands, Germany? All of them do far more “socialist” things than any but the most left wing Democrats want to do in the US, and none of them are Communist hellholes.

Although I am reluctant to take this Lovecraft quote without further context. The parties of today are very, VERY different than they were back then. The Democrats were still the party of the KKK in Lovecraft’s time, and Lovecraft himself didn’t really have the most enlightened attitude on minorities. Things changed in the 60s when the Democrats had a big split over civil rights and the Republican party started pandering to southern racists (the famous but too rarely talked about Southern Strategy).

Steve

Talk about looking like a moron. In 1936 the KKK was barely a viable organization, let alone a force in politics. FDR was President.

The narrative of American politics being a battle between “nice guy” party & racist party is so lame. It becomes especially implausible when people argue that the 2 just magically switched sides during the Nixon years. The myth is pushed by self-important boomers who would have us believe that they lived through a pivotal moment in history. They did not.

Lovecraft got to the heart of the matter. He actually understood politics. Which is why the quote is timeless. It even holds true for Rutherford B. Hayes, who was a much more typical 19th century Republican than Lincoln.

Episode 56 – The Case of Charles Dexter Ward – Part 3 | HPPodcraft.com – The H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast

[...] Oh, and Lovecraft has some feelings about Republicans. [...]

Sam Inabinet

Robert E. Howard, in correspondence with Lovecraft, had some choice words for the non-Texan families that ran the oil business in Texas in his day. will try to post some when i can excavate that material.

Ross

I just figure anyone who was an adult before the 1950s would be considered rascist today. It makes looking at history much more tolerable.

Case in point, there’s a Lincoln quote where he says African-Americans should not hold elected office. Would this be rascist today? Definetly. Back in the 1860s? Not really. Keep in mind, John Wilkes Booth killed Abe because he thought he would extend the vote to African-Americans.

Ernst Bitterman

Have you ever been out of the US? To Canada, the UK, France, the Netherlands, Germany? All of them do far more “socialist” things than any but the most left wing Democrats want to do in the US, and none of them are Communist hellholes.

Well, Canada is slipping, thanks to our slightly paranoid rightist PM who is taking a lot of pages out of the playbook of the Bush/Cheney days. I fear one day an R2 unit in a distant land will be playing a loop of a young Canadian lass saying, “Help us, Michael Moore. You’re our only hope.”

…and just for an example of non-evil socialism: The provincial government where I live owns the only insurance company allowed to sell the car insurance that completes registration (having plates IS proof of insurance). We pay about the lowest rates for car insurance in Canada, and have for many years.

rgleason

http://www.hplovecraft.com/writings/texts/fiction/s.asp

[note: for future reference, rgleason - comments with just a URL and no, well, comment typically don't get approved. If you've got something to add to this, please submit another comment, and one of us can delete this one. Thanks! - protected static]

Jon

We already have a quite rationally planned “resource distribution”:

all resources go to the rich.

S

Abraham Lincoln (Republican): “Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.”

Lincoln didn’t advocate for small or big government. He knew that the government had to play an important role. Otherwise, he would’ve fought for the Confederacy. Because the Confederacy didn’t want the federal government to tell the state government what they can or cannot do (owning slaves). And guess who won? Lincoln and the Union.

Marvin

Education is the only way to fight the right wing menace to our future. People must learn history… People must learn how to think rationally… We will take huge steps backwards otherwise.

autoegocrat

I found this link on Reddit, and I just want to say that the commenters here are awesome. There is more political wisdom in these few scant comments than in all of Washington, D.C.

A Halloween message from HP Lovecraft

[...] [...]

For Halloween « Dispatches from the Republic of Letters

[...] than a Republican victory in Tuesday’s election. Let’s give the word to horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, way back in 1936: “As for the Republicans—how can one regard seriously a frightened, greedy, nostalgic huddle of [...]

The Treachery of Images | Just Above Sunset

[...] Not that any of this is new. Via Digby see HP Lovecraft from 1936: [...]

Herf

JM leaves a very typical republican response.

If you disagree with me, then you are a “downright idiot.”

Andy Tong

Why is it that as soon as mention is EVER made, regarding redistribution of resources or of wealth, the automatic reaction of the majority of Americans seems to be to begin screaming like a gaggle of hysterical women about the evils of communism… What is this pathological need to view the entire world only in the extremes of black and white…? This weird and paranoid world view is wholly incomprehensible…

Kerry

Perfect! What perception the man had!

Soume

I also just stumbled on this as autoegocrat did and I second that. It’s so interesting to read.

An Economist

As an economist what I take away from this quote is that Lovecraft was partial to the Economic philosophy of Keynes (Keynes Magnum opus The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money was published in 1936, coincidence?) Of course nowadays economists have found profound critiques to Keynes’s work, but that does not mean that the educated men of 1936 would have taken great interest in his ideas, flawed though they might be. It would simply take future generations to test “resource distribution” and draw from it the negative and positive virtues and vices.

An Economist

Also, let me repost this here for the sake of fairness:

Donovan K. Loucks says:
September 24, 2010 at 11:56 AM

Lovecraft also had this to say: “Democrats invariably ape the grotesque crudities of the lower orders and make conspicuous clowns of themselves; jeering at civilised speech, manners, and standards of accuracy and beauty instead of respecting these things and urging their beloved masses to work up toward them. As long as they persist in this position, they will win nothing but the distrust and hostility of men well-disposed toward civilisation and the fullest realisation of the human personality.” (H. P. Lovecraft to Woodburn Harris, 9 November 1929)

Lets not pretend that any one party is fundamentally better than another, truly wise men, Lovecraft included, find the faults in all things and do not shy away from a little constructive criticism.

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