Letter 057, pg. 3

3.

what I mean? Is there any point, reason or excuse for this sort of things? Yet it is being published every day and blown up into best-sellers. An accident? I don’t think so. A deliberate intention. The intellectual revolution of the second-rater. The best method of destroying superiority is not to denounce it. It is to establish standards of superiority that destroy all standards. It is to hail as superiority its very antithesis: the small, the meaningless, the average. And they can get away with it only one condition: that intelligence not be allowed to function, that a good, healthy, questioning mentality not be allowed to speak anywhere. Because one single “Why?” or “What the hell?” would destroy the whole hysterical tribe of glorified nonentities. 

Our literature, our theater and all our arts are now one gigantic conspiracy against the mind. Not even merely against the great mind, but against any mind, against the mind as such. Down with thought and up with the emotions. When thought is destroyed—anything goes. Thought is the privilege of the superior few. In emotions we’re all equal, even the animals. Look at such a phenomenon as Gertrude Stein. She is being published, discussed and given more publicity than any real writer. Why? There’s no financial profit in it. Just as a joke? I don’t think so. It is done—in the main probably quite subconsciously to destroy the mind in literature. [**]

It is not surprising, therefore, that most of our editors and other literary authorities are Red. I don’t believe that they are all in the pay of Moscow. The trouble is deeper and more vicious than that. We are living in the century of the Second-Rater. The second-rater is always pink—by sheer instinct. He has to glorify equality and he has to push his own equals to the front. If this is not so—why, then, are all those dashing heroes of the current autobiographies, such as Vincent Sheean, Walter Duranty, Negley Farson, why are they all pink? If there is no deliberate plan behind it all—wouldn’t it be reasonable to suppose that at least one of those heroes would be conservative or neutral? But there is not a single one. 

And there, I think, is another reason why “Life’s Too Short” is not published. Not only are you a famous conservative, but you are a man of achievement. That, monstrous as it may sound, is the reason why editors are not interested in your autobiography. They want the autobiographies of men who have never achieved anything and never will. There are some exceptions to this rule, but not many. Of all the autobiographies published, the number of those whose lives are really worth recording is far inferior to the number of those whose lives weren’t even worth living. That is the ghastly reversal of all values that we are now facing.