Arthur de Gobineau
Joseph Arthur Comte (Count) de Gobineau (14 July 1816 – 13 October 1882) was a French aristocrat, diplomat, journalist, novelist, and a writer on race.
Count de Gobineau believed that the different races originated in different areas, the white race had originated somewhere in Siberia, the Asians in the Americas and the blacks in Africa. He believed that the white race was superior, writing:
- I will not wait for the friends of equality to show me such and such passages in books written by missionaries or sea captains, who declare some Wolof is a fine carpenter, some Hottentot a good servant, that a Kaffir dances and plays the violin, that some Bambara knows arithmetic […] Let us leave aside these puerilities and compare together not men, but groups.
Gobineau later used the term "Aryans" to describe the Germanic race (la race germanique). The Germanic race was regarded by Gobineau as beautiful, honourable and destined to rule: cette illustre famille humaine, la plus noble. While arya was originally an endonym used only by Indo-Iranians, "Aryan" became, partly because of the Essai a racial designation of a race, which Gobineau specified as la race germanique.
He was a personal friend with Alexis de Tocqueville, which politically correct sources today try to downplay. Gobineau was for 30 years a diplomat and traveled widely, with his experiences of different cultures and peoples influencing his writings and theories. He was a diplomat in Iran, Athens, Rio de Janeiro, and Stockholm. He was reported to be an effective diplomat and a man of great charm.
He is today most well-known for his writings on race and has even been described as the father or founder of racism or race realism. However, he was not the first who wrote on race, but he may have differed from earlier writers by being the first to more systematically write about race as a major factor in world history. He argued the importance of race on civilizations and race mixing as a cause of the decline and fall of civilizations.
Gobineau published his major work, An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races, in four volumes, from 1853 to 1855. It did not attract much notice, and only began to influence European thinking 20 years later, after Gobineau became friends with Richard Wagner. Gobineau was selectively cited by National Socialists, contributing to Gobineau's negative reputation in the 20th century. Not cited were his views on Jews, his negative views on lower classes, and his pessimism regarding inevitable declines. Gobineau is frequently depicted as a White supremacist, despite seeing the decline of the United States as inevitable due to the mixture of races living there and
- "Enslavement and displacement were cruel, and any attempt to civilize non-whites would only confuse and distress them. [...] Civilization was therefore doomed in the United States even before the Civil War! [...] He would have warned against any form of conquest or expansion as leading inevitably to mixture and decline."
- The Moral and Intellectual Diversity of the Races (1856); (zip-packed pages 22MB)
- Les religions et les philosophies dans l'Asie centrale by Arthur de Gobineau at Google Books
- Trois ans en Asie (de 1855 à 1858) by Arthur de Gobineau at Google Books
- Histoire d'Ottar jarl, pirate norvégien, conquérant du pays de Bray, en Normandie, et de sa Desendence by Arthur de Gobineau at Google Books
- Lecture des textes cunéiformes by Arthur de Gobineau at Google Books
- An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races
- A. J. Woodman: The Cambridge Companion to Tacitus, 2009, p. 294.
- Who Was the ‘Father of Racism’? https://www.amren.com/news/2009/12/who_was_the_fat/