Impeachment of Man

 

Savitri Devi
Impeachment of Man
Costa Mesa, Cal.: The Noontide Press, 1991
156 pages
paperback: $10

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Savitri Devi’s Impeachment of Man is a manifesto of animal rights and deep ecology. Written in 1945-46, Impeachment of Man both anticipated modern environmentalism and exceeded it in radicalism. Savitri Devi begins with a critique of “anthropocentrism,” the idea that man is metaphysically and morally the center of the universe.

Instead, she argues that we should adopt a “life-centered” perspective in which we see ourselves as part of nature and promote the welfare of the whole world, not merely human interests, individual or collective.

Savitri Devi argues that human beings are morally obligated not to eat animals, adorn ourselves with their feathers and fur, sacrifice them to our gods, force them to labor for us, imprison them in circuses and zoos, or torture them in medical experiments. She also advocates the preservation of plants, particularly old growth forests.

In the final chapter, Savitri Devi offers her vision of an ideal world in which humans live in harmony with nature. Savitri Devi was a vegetarian, not a vegan. Unlike later deep ecologists, she was not opposed to modern technology. Indeed, she saw it as an important alternative to the exploitation of animals as beasts of burden. Nor was she an egalitarian. She saw nature as hierarchical, but she did not believe that all human beings were necessarily at the top of the natural hierarchy.

Impeachment of Man was written as a popular manifesto, therefore, Savitri Devi merely alludes to the Traditionalist foundations and National Socialist political implications of her thought.

CONTENTS

1. Man-Centered Creeds
2. Pessimistic Pantheism
3. Joyous Wisdom
4. Actions Precedes Theory
5. Lights in the Night
6. Diet, Dress, Amusement, and Hard Work
7. Ritual Slaughter of Animals
8. Knowledge and Therapy
9. The Rights of Plants
10. Active Kindness
11. Race, Economics, and Kindness: The Ideal World

ABOUT THE AUTHORESS

Savitri Devi (1905–1982) is one of the most original and influential National Socialist thinkers of the post-World War II era. Born Maximine Julia Portaz in Lyons, France, she was of English, Greek, and Italian ancestry and described her nationality as “Indo-European.” She earned Master’s degrees in philosophy and chemistry and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Lyons. Her books include A Warning to the Hindus (1939), L’Etang aux lotus (The Lotus Pond) (1940), A Son of God: The Life and Philosophy of Akhnaton, King of Egypt (1946), later republished as Son of the Sun (1956), Akhnaton: A Play (1948), Gold in the Furnace (1952), The Lightning and the Sun (1958), Pilgrimage (1958), Impeachment of Man (1959), Long-Whiskers and the Two-Legged Goddess (1965), Souvenirs et réflexions d’une Aryenne (Memories and Reflections of an Aryan Woman) (1976), and And Time Rolls On: The Savitri Devi Interviews (2005).

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