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Gobineau praised the Austrian foreign minister Prince Klemens von Metternich for opposing Greek independence at the time of the Greek war of independence as he wrote that modern Greece was all "chaos". Technically, Greece did not achieve independence in , instead being a joint Anglo-French-Russian protectorate and as such, the British, French and Russian ministers in Athens had the theoretical power to countermand any decision of the Greek cabinet, but Gobineau repeatedly advised against France exercising this power, writing Greece was "the sad and living evidence of European ineptness and presumptuousness", attacking the British attempt to bring Westminster democracy to Greece as bringing about "the complete decay of a barbarous land" while the French were guilty of introducing the Greeks to "the most inept Voltairianism".

The Greeks will not control the Orient, neither will the Armenians nor the Slav nor any Christian population, and, at the same time, if others were to come—even the Russians, the most oriental of them all—they could only submit to the harmful influences of this anarchic situation. In the spring of , the Christian Greeks rebelled against the Ottoman Empire on the island of Crete and three emissaries arrived in Athens to ask Gobineau for French support of the uprising, saying that it was well known that France was the champion of justice and of the rights of "small nations".

In , Gobineau was appointed the French minister to Brazil. Gobineau was unhappy that the Quai d'Orsay had sent him to Brazil, which he viewed as an insufficiently grand posting for himself. As most Brazilians have a mixture of Portuguese, African and Indian ancestry, Gobineau saw the Brazilian people whom he loathed as confirming his theories about the perils of miscegenation.

Gobineau wrote: "Except for the Emperor there is no one in this desert full of thieves" who was worthy of his friendship. There was always a contradiction in Gobineau's writings about Brazil between his general detestation of Brazilians and his profound admiration for Pedro II, whom he saw as one of his age's great leaders. In May Gobineau returned to France from Brazil. Everything will become calm for a time.

We are left with a people profoundly corrupted and shaking with anger who will before long make of the abominations they have committed a subject for pride, who will regard as evidence of their strength the tottering ruins of the monuments that they have destroyed, who will lavish praise upon their dead as through these were martyrs, and who will be singularly encouraged in their wickedness by the platitudes, cowardice and idiocies of those whom we call conservatives—though why I never know, for they conserve nothing.

In temperament he is nervous, energetic in manner, observant, but distrait, passing rapidly from thought to thought, a good talker but a bad listener. He is a savant, novelist, poet, sculptor, archaeologist, a man of taste, a man of the world". Gobineau argued that Chinese civilization had been created by a group of Aryan conquerors from India who had brought under their heel the indigenous Malay people living there. Along the same lines, Gobineau argued that Chinese culture was "without beauty and dignity"; [] the Chinese were "lacking in sentiments beyond the humblest notion of physical utility", and Chinese Confucianism was a "resume of practices and maxims strongly reminiscent of what the moralists of Geneva and their educational books are pleased to recommend as the nec plus ultra of the good: economy, moderation, prudence, the art of making a profit and never a loss".

As such, Gobineau was extremely opposed to classical liberalism with its celebration of meritocracy , and he used the example of China as a warning about where classical liberals were taking the West. Popular education everywhere promoted, emphasis on the well-being of subjects, complete liberty in the allotted sphere, the fullest industrial and agricultural development, production at the most modest prices, rendering all European competition difficult for the ordinary necessities of life like cotton, silk and pottery.

These are the incontestable results of which the Chinese system can boast. Later on, in an essay criticizing the Third Republic , Gobineau wrote that to most people, "republic" meant the "chimera of liberty" via the "rule of merit", where all would be given the equal chances to rise through their abilities. Paradoxically, although Gobineau saw hope in the expansion of European power, he did not support the creation of commercial empires with their attendant multicultural milieu.

He concluded that the development of empires was ultimately destructive to the "superior races" that created them, since they led to the mixing of distinct races. Instead, he saw the later period of the 19th century imperialism as a degenerative process in European civilization. He continually referred to past empires in Europe and their attendant movement of non-white peoples into European homelands, in explaining the ethnography of the nations of Europe.

According to his theories, the mixed populations of Spain , most of France and Italy , most of Southern Germany , most of Switzerland and Austria , and parts of Britain derived from the historical development of the Roman, Greek, and Ottoman empires, which had brought the non-Aryan peoples of Africa and the Mediterranean cultures to western and northern Europe. He believed that the populations of southern and western Iran, southern Spain and Italy consisted of a degenerative race arising from miscegenation, and that the whole of north India consisted of a "yellow" Asian race.

Gobineau was extremely hostile towards Slavic peoples, especially Russians who, he claimed, had become a semi-Asian people as a result of miscegenation under the Golden Horde. Besides promoting racism, Gobineau also wrote several well received novels. Biddiss have both decried the tendency of the part of French critics to sever Gobineau the racist from Gobineau the novelist, maintaining that Gobineau's novels just as much reflect his racial theories as does the Essai.

It does not suit me to see a people once so great henceforth lying on the ground, decomposing". Good and evil are transferred to another and higher plane…". In May , Gobineau was appointed the French minister to Sweden. The nobility lives on friendly terms with the middle class and with the people at large". In , Gobineau met the homosexual German diplomat Prince Philip von Eulenburg in Stockholm and became very close to him.

From hence I sprang—I can feel it! During his time in Sweden, Gobineau, although remaining outwardly faithful to the Catholic Church , had privately abandoned his belief in Christianity and was very interested in the pagan religion of the Vikings, which seemed more authentically Aryan to him. On the contrary, I shall always be counted among the Catholics and, if need be, I should take Communion with great ceremony at the top of the towers of Notre-Dame so that people cold see this better. Do you know why? It is because I hate this age!

Though a proud Frenchman, Gobineau was fairly cosmopolitan, and regarded himself as a part of a cultured European elite that transcended national loyalties, a good Frenchman but even more so a "good European"; the aristocratic Gobineau felt more affinity for fellow aristocrats of other nationalities than he did for French commoners. Indeed, this synthesis of anthropology, theology, linguistics and history was unquestionably the most impressive and ideologically coherent racial analysis produced in the pre-Darwinian era.

After becoming associated with Wagner, many of Gobineau's ideas were incorporated into Wagner's later operas. For leaving his post in Stockholm , without permission, to join the Emperor Pedro II on his European visit, Gobineau was told in January to either resign from the Quai d'Orsay or be fired. Gobineau chose the former. Gobineau spent his last years living in Rome , a lonely and embittered man whose principal friends were the Wagners and Eulenburg. In the last years of his life Gobineau was consumed with the fear of what was later to be known as the " Yellow Peril ", believing that European civilization would soon be destroyed by a Chinese invasion.

During his visit to Russia in Gobineau wrote to a friend: "It is undeniable that this country is well on the way to power and aggrandizement" and in wrote Russia was about to present "the spectacle of the creation of the greatest empire that the Universe will ever have seen". The United States, which a fears a yellow invasion from the direction of California, will gain little from all this.

Europe will lose everything! This great undertaking is the prime preoccupation of the Peking government, now suddenly passionately aroused after centuries of total indifference. The blood-thirsty rage of the Chinese, obsessed with slaughtering and eradicating the Moslems, is explained simply by thoughts of commercial gain, and self-interest alone is the main motivating factor".

Gobineau gave artistic expression to his vision in his epic poem Amadis where a small elite of Aryan aristocrats ruling Europe are threatened by a revolt of racially inferior commoners which allows the Chinese to invade Europe; despite the fact that the Aryan heroes are superior in every respect to the Chinese "horde", the Aryans are finally overwhelmed by sheer force of numbers and are exterminated.

Sir George Arthur French

To be sure, they knew very well that they had none". Amadis negates even that. It is an assertion of the ego, of aristocratic morality, of liberty, love and honor for the few alone. The elite is deified while the rest of humanity is denied a soul or after-life. Naturally, since we cannot be sure that Gobineau himself really believed in the existence of a supernatural paradise, we should not take too literally any associated remarks about the soul or immortality".

In , the French efforts to conquer Vietnam led to war breaking out between France and China. As the first sketch of what was to become the painting done by the Kaiser, it differs from the finished product of September , being considerably more nightmarish, disturbing and terrifying. Blue suggested that there was a "Eulenburg connection" at work here, arguing that Prince von Eulenburg, who was probably Gobineau's lover and who certainly was the best friend of Wilhelm II, had introduced themes from Gobineau's anti-Asian writings into The Yellow Peril , as Knackfuss turned the sketch provided by Wilhelm into a painting.

Gobineau's theories were a major influence on the Romanian radical anti-Semitic politician Professor A. Cuza , who embraced Gobineau's biological racism as a way of "proving" that the Jews were a "plague" upon modern Romanian life. The members of the Committee called the homeland of the Turks Turan and identified themselves with Gobineau's Aryans. In his late writings, Richard Wagner was positive about Gobineau and suggested that one could not exclude the correctness of his racial theory.

At the same time, he also totally disagreed with Gobineau's conclusion that miscegenation unavoidably resulted in the decline of the human race and cultures. In his article Heldentum und Christentum , Wagner praised the Essai , accepted its premise of an Aryan master race and its denunciation of miscegenation, but he denied that the Aryan race was in unstoppable decay. Gobineau visited Bayreuth , the home of Wagner, shortly before his death. The Gobineau Vereinigung was a small group, but it exercised much intellectual influence, and in this way did much to popularize the theory of an Aryan master-race in Germany.

Adolf Hitler and Nazism borrowed much of Gobineau's ideology. Extracts from the Essai were mandatory reading in German schools under the Third Reich. So after nearly a hundred years, the fantastic pessimistic philosophy of the brilliant French diplomat is seized upon and twisted to the use of a mystic demagogue who finds in the idea of the pure Aryan an excuse for thrusting civilization dangerously near back to the Dark Ages.

The pessimism of Gobineau's message did not lend itself to political action as Gobineau did not believe that humanity could be saved from racial degeneration.

Henry George

But Gobineau unfortunately failed to realize the degree to which such a theory-whatever his own view of its impotence-might be capable of use and adaptation by others to affect society and history. His work would in time be plundered by racists with an interest in preaching explicitly reformatory doctrines". Despite his highly negative assessment of Brazilians, Gobineau became a hero to certain Brazilian intellectuals.

An addendum to that work is a bad translation of the Bab's Bayan al-'Arabi, the first Babi text to be translated into a European language. His study La Renaissance also was admired in his day. Both of these works strongly expressed his reactionary aristocratic politics, and his hatred of democratic mass culture. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. French diplomat and writer. Ville-d'Avray , Hauts-de-Seine. Turin , Kingdom of Sardinia. The Mismeasure of Man. Gobineau was undoubtedly the most influential academic racist of the nineteenth century.

His writings strongly affected such intellectuals as Wanger and Nietzsche and inspired a social movement known as Gobinism. Palgrave Macmillan. Ian Wood September National Portrait Gallery, London. National Portrait Gallery. Combined Fleet. Retrieved 14 October The London Gazette Supplement. The London Gazette.

Biography – FRENCH, Sir GEORGE ARTHUR – Volume XV () – Dictionary of Canadian Biography

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