H.P. Lovecraft: Rational Socialist?

Monday, September 6, 2010

A provocative post by Kerry Bolton at the Counter-Currents blog spotlights H.P. Lovecraft's political leanings in the context of his times, and wisely charts his development from backward looking monarchist to reason seeking socialist-fascist. In retrospect, it's not surprising that Lovecraft came to admire the command economy and civilization building quests of the socialists and fascists. As Bolton notes, the perceived failures of democracy and capitalism loomed large in HPL's day, as did the fear of Soviet communism, and remained unresolved by his death in 1937.

As unpalatable as ideas defended by Lovecraft might be--especially in today's charged and very present day consumed discourse--pieces like these beg the question of whether or not H.P. Lovecraft should be evaluation as a serious political philosopher. Many will be quick to note, quite rightly, that his ideology did not break much new ground. He was not a Marx, Mussolini, or Keynes, but he was forced to respond to all three, as well as many other socio-economic thinkers. More than anything, it seems like Lovecraft's spin on his ideology that was new, and the passion he deployed in defending his ideals.

For Lovecraft, as much as he prided himself on rationalism, it seems passion engendered his strongest views. His juvenile support for aristocracy, legendary Anglophilia, racism, and late life authoritarian inclinations all arose from what he loved and despised most. So, while it may be a stretch to evaluate the political Lovecraft as an original philosopher, there's definitely merit in studying his evolution and arguments, for they reflect the sharpest debates of his era.

-Grim Blogger

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