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sense of superiority is now added the disparagement of a concrete
comparison, and over all is an ineradicable resentment of the fact
that such a comparison has been necessary. In other words, the typical
husband is a second-rater, and no one is better aware of it than his
wife. He is, taking averages, one who has been loved, as the saying
goes, by but one woman, and then only as a second, third or nth choice.
If any other woman had ever loved him, as the idiom has it, she would
have married him, and so made him ineligible for his present happiness.
But the average bachelor is a man who has been loved, so to speak, by
many women, and is the lost first choice of at least some of them. Here
presents the unattainable, and hence the admirable; the husband is the
attained and disdained.
Here we have a sufficient explanation of the general superiority of
bachelors, so often noted by students of mankind--a superiority so
marked that it is difficult, in all history, to find six first-rate
philosophers who were married men. The bachelor's very capacity to
avoid marriage is no more than a proof of his relative freedom from
the ordinary sentimentalism of his sex--in other words, of his greater
approximation to the clear headedness of the enemy sex. He is able to
defeat the enterprise of women because he brings to the business an
equipment almost comparable to their own. Herbert Spencer, until he was
fifty, was ferociously harassed by women of all sorts. Among others,
George Eliot tried very desperately to marry him. But after he had made
it plain, over a long series of years, that he was prepared to resist
marriage to the full extent of his military and naval power, the girls
dropped off one by one, and so his last decades were full of peace and
he got a great deal of very important work done.
21. The Effect on the Race
It is, of course, not well for the world that the highest sort of men
are thus selected out, as the biologists say, and that their superiority
dies with them, whereas the ignoble tricks and sentimentalities of
lesser men are infinitely propagated. Despite a popular delusion that
the sons of great men are always dolts, the fact is that intellectual
superiority is inheritable, quite as easily as bodily strength; and that
fact has been established beyond cavil by the laborious inquiries of
Galton, Pearson and the other anthropometricians of the English school.
If such men as Spinoza, Kant, Schopenhauer, Spencer, and Nietzsche
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