Placing Shaw Back on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum

Here’s an article which shows that one should never compliment a book, especially by an unfamiliar author, too highly before one reads all the way through!  I offered high praise to George Bernard Shaw in this article.  In particular, I feel foolish in thinking that Shaw was using paradox when Jack Tanner said the devil was father of morality.  The fool really believed it!  But, who would not believe that he was speaking at least facetiously upon first reading this line?

At any rate, I read this play hoping to eliminate some of my prejudices against authors of different positions, but rather had them confirmed!  My opinion that Shaw was on the wrong side was bolstered by watching this clip of Shaw defending Hitler and Mass Murder and another of Shaw saying the Constitution should be abolished.  I have to thank Joe_Bakunovic for alerting me to Shaw’s dark side.


Yet, if all I could bring against Shaw were his political opinions, that would be insufficient reason not to read his work.  In the same way, a chess player should not allow the fact that Alexander Alekhine ended his life as a Nazi or that Bobby Fischer became anti-American to prevent him from studying their games.  But, the sort of edification one receives from reading Shaw is similar to that which one obtains by the study of poison.

Shaw writes outside the Western tradition.  In the tradition of the West, Truth, Beauty, and Goodness are together and what people most want.  Shaw divides Truth from Beauty and leaves it to the reader to decide which is more worth seeking.  Heaven represents Truth (an odd thing for an Atheist to say) and hell Beauty.  In one telling scene, dead souls have the ability to switch between hell and heaven depending on which they prefer.  Heaven is the domain of philosophers and conformist bourgeois; hell the domain of the romantics.   The truth is that heaven has room both for Plato and Petrarch–for St. Thomas Aquinas, who approached God as a philosopher, and St. Ignatius, who approached Him as a knight errant.


Further, Shaw makes the great error of thinking of people as means rather than ends.  (As might be apparent from the two videos above.)  Every relationship is one of utility: men use women for pleasure and comfort; women men for children, freedom, and material goods.  Love between persons cannot exist where everyone is treated as a means.  Saying, “I love you for the pleasure and comfort you provide me” means about the same as “I love pleasure and comfort, which another woman could provide.”  This causes the traditional institution of marriage simply not to make sense.  Rather than “Till death do us part,” the modern marriage vow would be “Till you no longer provide what I want do us part.”  The play is a comedy, and, like traditional comedies, it ends in a marriage; yet, marriage–particularly this marriage–is viewed as a tragedy rather than as something about which to be joyful.


The separation of the Platonic ideals and treating people as means harm the human psyche more than any other error.  Shaw ought to have rooted himself in Western tradition.  Instead, Shaw’s philosophy leads not only to one separating oneself from the Western tradition but even the human race and happiness itself.  As such, I recommend my dear readers avoid Shaw like the plague–as I shall from this point.

13 thoughts on “Placing Shaw Back on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum

  1. thompdjames says:

    Did you never read ‘Heretics’ by Chesterton? Shaw (as well as Kipling) figure prominently.

    • Yes, but long enough to have forgotten most of what he wrote! So, I attempted to judge Man and Superman without reference to that work and others of Chesterton. But, I suppose I should re-read them so that I can one day write All I Needed to Know about H. G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw I Learned from Chesterton. 🙂

      And I do remember Kipling being there. Probably mostly for his nationalism, but my memory is foggy.

  2. Shaw was a Fabian Socialist. You should consider doing some research into these people. They are NOT friendly to the individual. If memory serves, Vladimir Lenin came out of the Fabians. They also gave voice to the resurrection of the Progressive movement in the U.S. Shaw went so far as to come here and tell us our constitution needed to be scraped in favor of socialism. When you know what Shaw believed, and you take an honest look at what we have become as a society, you will see that we have largely done what he advocated — and have suffered for it:

    “I also made it quite clear that Socialism means equality of income or nothing, and that under socialism you would not be allowed to be poor. You would be forcibly feed, clothed, lodged, taught, and employed whether you like it or not. If it were discovered that you had not character enough to be worth all this trouble, you might possibly be executed in a kindly manner; but whilst you were permitted to live you would have to live well.”

    –George Bernard Shaw

    Note: he was not kidding. The man said what he meant and meant what he said. His disciples do the same today — we just don’t take them at their word any more than people took Hitler at his word in the 1920’s when he said he wanted to kill the Jews…

    • I certainly will do a little research into these people. I need to re-read G. K. Chesterton’s Heretics and my friend has also advised me to read Chesterton’s Eugenics and Other Evils. Chesterton’s piercingly insightful mind and lively prose always makes for great reading.

      And man, the Progressive movement has had far too many successes in the 20th century! People nowadays are far too eager to trade an empty security in exchange for a loss of freedom and individuality. Let’s hope to God that this trend is reversed soon!

      Concerning actually killing members of the opposition, I don’t see the Left as in a position to do that yet in America. To succeed, they would have to make both the police and the military subservient to their interests, have majorities in Congress–which would translate to having a majority of voting puplic agreeing with them, and disarm the people. It was only when the Nazis had accomplished this that they were able to establish death camps.

      • My friend, if you start down the rabbit hole of Eugenics, PLEASE take a strong faith with you because you will need an anchor chain that cannot be broken or you WILL get lost. Did you see this post I wrote on the OYL?

        AGENDAS: Just Replace the ‘Jewish Question’ with the ‘Conservative Question’

        It will give just a hint of how eugenics is still alive and well in this nation.

        As for your belief that Shaw un-pinned from Western Civilization: please look at that again. You may not change your opinion, and that is fine. But I think you may find it is closer to the truth that Shaw went with the secular, humanist division whereas our founders stayed pinned to faith in the Creator. This is the difference between the American and French Revolutions. It also explains why America has been following down a parallel path as Europe has already traveled. As we turn away from God, we repeat and experience the same social decay that Europe has experienced since they did so. We even have our won Holocaust. We call it abortion. I know it is politically charged, but then, so was the original Holocaust. Many Germans saw nothing wrong with it, just as many Americans see nothing wrong with abortion today. The PRINCIPLE is the devaluing of human life. And THAT brings us right back to eugenics.

        See what I mean about this rabbit hole? 🙂

      • I hope to have a strong faith always. Reading into the ideology behind it cannot be worse than reading That Hideous Strength by C. S. Lewis. I could feel my skin crawl during some sections of the work.

        I’d say that secular humanism is the illegitimate offspring of Western Heritage. The true heritage of the west is Judeo-Christian and Greco-Roman. Secular humanism derives from Machiavelli and Pico, and figures in the 19th century–the likes of Nietzsche and Marx–made even greater errors. Their basic error is that humanity can be molded into whatever shape they wish and that they can create paradise of earth.

        But, Christian humanism is based in the true heritage of the West. One might see Petrarch as the forerunner of this movement. It’s fundamental goal is the formation of gentlemen, i.e. virtuous and educated citizens, through the study of the Classics and other cultures. A much more humble goal than secular humanism.

        And thanks for your comments, my friend! I always learn a lot from them!

      • medieval,

        Interesting. I would have said that the schism in Western Civ is along the Judea/Christian line (i.e. America and the founders) and the Greco-Roman line (i.e. Europe and secular humanism). The idea that humanity can be shaped (i.e. the unconstrained view) is humanistic in nature. It holds that man can shape himself and, thus, be his own god (many of these people actually say just this). But the founders held to a constrained view of humanity, that our nature is fixed. Thus, they embraced God’s Natural Law.

        As for ‘Christian humanism,’ I STRONGLY urge caution there. Humanism has no place in the Judea/Christian ethic. Humanism is the very essence of original sin (man trying to put himself in the seat of God). But you are correct that this side of Western Civ. is (was 😦 ) primarily concerned with virtue and the pursuit of happiness (which is actually a Christian ideal based on pursuing the virtuous life).

        Still, I see things much the same as you, so again, I have no problem standing next to you. We seem to be seeking the same things and sharing a common understanding as to where they come from and how we can obtain them 🙂

      • One more thought (sorry, I can be long winded).

        Obamacare is based in Eugenics. The death panels ARE there. They were hidden in the stimulus bill which passed BEFORE the Affordable Care Act. One of the architects of Obamacare admitted to the panels in the New York Times and in a televised interview you can find on YouTube. And here’s the point: if you are ‘conservative,’ you will — eventually — be given a pain pill and sent home to die whereas ‘progressives’ might getter better treatment. Read my post on the OYL and you will see the groundwork is already being laid to abort ‘conservative’ babies — and it is all based in ‘science.’

        As for disarming America and the military: more research, my friend. The military has already been changed — A LOT! It is more political now than any time I can remember in my life. They are no longer the friend of the American people — and neither are our law enforcement agencies. If you look, you will find that the groundwork to take our weapons away has already been laid, as well.

        These things are all coming, my friend. I try to help people see it on my blog, and I do my best to make sure they can trust what I write by doing my homework and citing my sources. Your voice is very welcomed. We all need to work together in the cause to defend liberty. So count me among your allies. Let me know if I can ever help. I’ll be here for you.

      • I certainly remember the death panels. The enemies of liberty always attack the weakest members of society first: the weak, the elderly, the sick, and the marginalized. And they do it sneaky ways. If media coverage of Obama’s administration has shown anything, the media can defend their politicians to the point where they can escape punishment for negligence and criminal activity. That is very scary.

        As for disarming the people, it requires a registration system to be effective. Certain state governments have them, but it would be difficult to disarm people on a national level. In particular, I am pleased that few politicians which to broach gun control nowadays because that has been shown to lead to losses in seats. People are also buying more guns since Obama took office than previously. The only worry I have is that ammunition is becoming sparse and expensive, especially with the TSA doing things like buying 3.5 million rounds, which it cannot possibly need.

        But, I think that the military is still in good shape. It’s still fundamentally conservative and Americans still want to serve in it. I shall start worrying when, like Rome, we start relying more on foreign born individuals and mercenaries.

      • My friend, I understand you have good intentions and faith in the American people, but I think it may be partially because there is so much to learn that too few of us are aware of it all (myself included). In this case, they do NOT need registration to collect weapons — not anymore. The NSA spying and the work the govt. is doing with Google and Face Book will handle that. They have a good idea who owns weapons now. They can track it through all the spying they do.

        As for ammo, they will make it scare, but they will also make it so the powder that has to be used will not last. they are talking about registering ammunition and performing background checks to buy it. Trust me, Cass Sunstein and crew are far ahead of us in developing ways to effectively nullify those who own weapons without ever having to take them up.

        Finally, look into the military. Gang membership is WAY up, as are illegals trying to ‘earn’ citizenship. They are attacking Christians — and that is not a mistake. They know it will drive out many of the conservatives you are depending on to keep the military on America’s side. Finally, they are replacing leadership with political hacks. They know what they are doing.

        These people have studied how to destroy a nation their whole lives. They are good at it. They just don’t study how to govern, which is why they “look” like they are incompetent. In truth, they are VERY competent: just not in the things we ‘assume’ they are focused on. The mistake is ours — not theirs. they told us they would “fundamentally transform America.” We just didn’t listen.

  3. Reblogged this on Soliloquies and commented:
    I’ve done this with far too many blogs. Egg and my face were in alignment, so to speak.

    • You can say that again! Shaw has great talent as a writer, but the wrong philosophy behind his words. And what I enjoyed most about Man and Superman was his characterization and ability to craft great dialogue.

  4. […] than democracies.  In England, the Fabian Society (whose members included George Bernard Shaw, a fan of the famous socialist leader Adolf Hitler) constantly promoted leftism inside the country.  With the Labor Party’s victory in 1945, it […]

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