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Anthony Ludovici : biography

8 January 1882 - 3 May 1971

Anthony Mario Ludovici MBE (8 January 1882 – 3 April 1971) was a British philosopher, sociologist, social critic and polyglot. He is best known as a proponent of aristocracy, and in the early 20th century was a leading British conservative author. He wrote on subjects including art, metaphysics, politics, economics, religion, the differences between the sexes, race and eugenics. Ludovici began his career as an artist, painting and illustrating books. He became private secretary to sculptor Auguste Rodin. Ultimately, he would turn towards writing, with over 40 books as author, and translating over 60 others.

Early life

Ludovici was born in London, England on 8 January 1882 to Albert Ludovici, an artist, and Marie Cals. He married Elsie Finnimore Buckley on 20 March 1920. He was educated privately, in England and abroad. He spent several years in Germany where he studied Nietzsche's writings in the original German. He was fluent in several languages.

He began lecturing on art, politics, religion, and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, about whom he wrote Who is to be Master of the World?: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche (1909) and Nietzsche: His Life and His Works (1910). According to Steven Aschheim (The Nietzsche Legacy in Germany (1992) p. 48, footnote) his 1911 Nietzsche and Art was 'a unique attempt to write a Nietzschean history of art in terms of rising aristocratic and decadent-democratic epochs'. This was the year of the first Parliament Act 1911, cutting back the power of the House of Lords. It also marks a watershed or change in Ludovici's writing, to a more overt political line, which would only sharpen over the next 25 years.

During World War I he served as an artillery officer at Armentières and the Somme, and then in the Intelligence Staff at the War Office. For his service during the war he was awarded the Order of the British Empire.

After the war, he became a student of Dr. Oscar Levy, editor of The Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche, the first translation of Nietzsche's works in English. Ludovici contributed several volumes.

Ludovici came across the Alexander Technique in 1925 and said he had lessons in 'deportment' over a period of four years with F.M. Alexander.Religion for Infidels. London: Holborn, 1961. Excerpts reprinted as "How I came to have lessons with F. M. Alexander" in The Philosopher's Stone: Diaries of Lessons with F. Matthias Alexander, edited by Jean M. O. Fischer. London: Mouritz, 1998, pp. 102–108.

Conservatism and tradition

Ludovici's doctrines were nationalist, traditionalist, and centrally concerned with a form of eugenic reasoning. He argued that heredity can yield strong family lines, group values, and national and racial characteristics. Politicians should not only be individuals of intelligence, and knowledgeable of mankind, but also of the same stock as those they lead.

It is in the interest of the nation to maintain unique characteristics by safeguarding a native and particular potentiality of success and opportunities for self-expression and expansion. This includes a concern for the health of one’s people, that ill-health not only leads to maladaptation, but also to the decay of the strength capacity and character of the nation. "To be a good forester, a man must know how to give trees their proper health conditions, and must also know how to chop and prune them."

National prestige means power, power is safety, and safety is security. Since the conservative politician is concerned with the security and extension of his own nation’s power, he cannot tolerate anything that jeopardizes its position. In dealing with a vis major, he acts firmly and quickly; using the full might of his nation against any enemy that threatens it.

The conservative is naturally suspicious of change. He must know enough about his nation's character and potentialities, of mankind in general, and be able to judge whether new tendencies are desirable, in keeping with the eternal nature of men, or fatalistic, when they apply "only to angels, goblins, fairies or other harebrained fictions".

Living octopus

Living octopus

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