The Descent of Monkeys (1894)

The idea that mankind is descended from the monkey tribe has never thoroughly satisfied those of us who wish to take a pride in our ancestry. Still, the theory has seemed in many ways so plausible that it has met with very general acceptance, and, as a consequence, monkeys, instead of being, as they once were, the chief attraction of zoological gardens and traveling menageries, are now shunned with as much care as we shun the rest of our poor relations.

An eminent Italian anthropologist, who has recently made a thorough study of the modern Anarchist, has come to the conclusion that man is not an improved monkey, but that the monkey is a degenerate man. This new theory fully explains all the facts which Darwin sought to explain by the hypothesis that man has been developed from the monkey, and it also saves our pride from the painful necessity of acknowledging the monkey as our ancestor. There can be no doubt that the new theory will meet with immediate and almost enthusiastic welcome, and even the old-fashioned New England deacon, who considers it blasphemy to suggest that his remote ancestor was an ape, will find no difficulty in accepting the theory that men who differ from him in opinion may at some future time degenerate until they become the very meanest of monkeys.

If we study the photographs of French, German and Italian Anarchists we cannot fail to be struck by their resemblance to baboons. It is true that this resemblance is moral rather than material. The Anarchist does not as yet possess the peculiar facial angle of the baboon, but his expression immediately reminds us of of that undesirable animal. It was this fact that suggested to the Italian anthropologist the thought that monkeys descended, through Anarchists, from men who had imbruted themselves by accepting and practicing the doctrines of Anarchy, and his hypothesis is set forth in a most convincing way.

Let us suppose that centuries ago Anarchists became so numerous and powerful that they succeeded in exterminating their opponents and establishing Anarchy all over the earth. Now, in a state of Anarchy, no man will work for any other man, and will do as little work himself as is compatible with supplying himself with food. Soon after Anarchy became universal, tailors and manufacturers of cloth ceased to exist, and, as a consequence, man ceased to wear clothing. At the same time, carpenters abandoned their tools, for no self-respecting Anarchist would degrade himself by building houses for other men. As one by one the existing houses fell in pieces, man was compelled to take up his residence in the forest, where the trees afforded him some little protection from the rain. He had no arms with which to protect himself, for there were neither capitalists to furnish the money to manufacture guns and spears nor workmen to labor at the forge and the lathe. Hence man, soon after he took up his abode in the forest, found it necessary to seek shelter in the treetops from the wild beasts that multiplied without hindrance and preferred to dine on Anarchists than on wild pigs or other kindred animals. Obviously it was impossible to build fires in the branches of trees, and the arboreal Anarchists not only ceased to eat cooked meat, but in course of time they entirely lost the art of kindling a fire. they subsisted exclusively upon vegetable food, and learned to drink water instead of unattainable whisky and beer. As they found it more and more difficult to remember the German, French and Italian, which they had formerly spoken, the Anarchists finally invented a universal language of their own, in which they could discuss Anarchy while lounging on the limbs of trees. Thus the monkey language came into existence, and no one who has listened to the chatter of a wagonload of monkeys can have the slightest doubt that the doctrines of Anarchy form the chief theme of their conversation.

Nature always lends a helping hand to any animal who desires to transform himself into some new style of animal. When nature found the forests full of naked Anarchists she kindly set to work to provide them with fur as a protection against cold and wet. Noticing, also, that the Anarchists lived in trees and that numbers of the more clumsy Anarchists frequently lost their hold of the branches and fell to the ground, nature thoughtfully provided them with prehensile tails. Thus, after thousands of centuries had accomplished the perfect work of development, the monkey as we know him now, took his place among the inhabitants of the earth, and has ever since remained to remind us of what the inevitable result of universal Anarchy must be.

The learned anthropologist holds that the present race of men are either the descendants of a few decent persons who were overlooked in the massacre of all intelligent and honest people which followed the triumph of Anarchy or else that they are descended from repentant Anarchists who early became disgusted with the working of the system, and fleeing from their Anarchical associates, founded a new community of men. One or the other of these theories must be true, and it is not a matter of much consequence which one of them we adopt.

Source : The New York Times, August 19, 1894

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2024 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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3 Responses to The Descent of Monkeys (1894)

  1. Dean Xanth says:

    hahahahaha… loved this post… it’s great that you’re not afraid to post stuff that takes the piss out of yourself… some of my geriatric comrades could learn a thing or two from this style of humility!

  2. sparx says:

    RIGHT NOW, by the miracle of recording:

    “it’s the monkey song about the monkey theory, the ridiculous theory of evolution that refutes the bible.”

  3. @ndy says:

    F U N K Y !


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