Persons of commonplace ideas -- unimaginative worthy burghers who are satisfied with the daily round of things and who subscribe to the popular credo of sentimental values -- will always be dog-lovers. To them nothing will ever be more important than themselves and their own primitive feelings, and they will never cease to esteem and glorify the fellow-animal who best typifies these. Such persons are submerged in the vortex of Oriental idealism and abasement which ruined classic civilization in the Dark Ages, and live in a bleak world of abstract sentimental values wherein the mawkish illusions of meekness, gentleness, brotherhood, and whining humility are magnified into supreme virtues, and a whole false ethic and philosophy erected on the timid reactions of the flexor system of muscles. This heritage, ironically foisted on us when Roman politics raised the faith of a whipped and broken people to supremacy in the later empire, has naturally kept a strong hold over the weak and sentimentally thoughtless; and perhaps reached its culmination in the insipid nineteenth century, when people were wont to praise dogs "because they are so human" (as if humanity were any valid standard of merit!), and honest Edwin Landseer painted hundreds of smug Fidoes and Carlos and Rovers with all the anthropoid triviality, pettiness, and "cuteness" of eminent Victorians.
But amidst this chaos of intellectual and emotional groveling a few free souls have always stood out for the old civilized realities which mediaevalism eclipsed -- the stern classic loyalty to truth, strength, and beauty given a clear mind and uncowed spirit to the full-living Western Aryan confronted by Nature's majesty, loveliness, and aloofness. This is the virile aesthetic and ethic of the extensor muscles -- the bold, buoyant, assertive beliefs and preferences of proud, dominant, unbroken and unterrified conquerors, hunters, and warriors -- and it has small use for the shams and whimperings of the brotherly, affection- slobbering peacemaker and cringer and sentimentalist. Beauty and sufficiency -- twin qualities of the cosmos itself -- are the gods of this unshackled and pagan type; to the worshipper of such eternal things the supreme virtue will not be found in lowliness, attachment, obedience, and emotional messiness. This sort of worshipper will look for that which best embodies the loveliness of the stars and the worlds and the forests and the seas and the sunsets, and which best acts out the blandness, lordliness, accuracy, self-sufficiency, cruelty, independence, and contemptuous and capricious impersonality of the all governing Nature. Beauty -- coolness -- aloofness -- philosophic repose -- self-sufficiency -- untamed mastery -- where else can we find these things incarnated with even half the perfection and completeness that mark their incarnation in the peerless and softly gliding cat, which performs its mysterious orbit with the relentless and obtrusive certainty of a planet in infinity?
That dogs are dear to the unimaginative peasant-burgher whilst cats appeal to the sensitive poet-aristocrat- philosopher will be clear in a moment when we reflect on the matter of biological association. Practical plebeian folk judge a thing only by its immediate touch, taste, and smell; while more delicate types form their estimates from the linked images and ideas which the object calls up in their minds. Now when dogs and cats are considered, the stolid churl sees only the two animals before him, and bases his favor on their relative capacity to pander to his sloppy, uniformed ideas of ethics and friendship and flattering subservience. On the other hand the gentleman and thinker sees each in all its natural affiliations, and cannot fail to notice that in the great symmetries of organic life dogs fall in with slovenly wolves and foxes and jackals and coyotes and dingoes and painted hyaenas, whilst cats walk proudly with the jungle's lords, and own the haughty lion, the sinuous leopard, the regal tiger, and the shapely panther and jaguar as their kin. Dogs are the hieroglyphs of blind emotion, inferiority, servile attachment, and gregariousness -- the attributes of commonplace, stupidly passionate, and intellectually and imaginatively underdeveloped men. Cats are the runes of beauty, invincibility, wonder, pride, freedom, coldness, self-sufficiency, and dainty individuality -- the qualities of sensitive, enlightened, mentally developed, pagan, cynical, poetic, philosophic, dispassionate, reserved, independent, Nietzschean, unbroken, civilized, master-class men. The dog is a peasant and the cat is a gentleman.