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Prussians & Englishmen, Part 3

[1]5,639 words

Part One [2], Part Two [3]


This brings us to the political aspects of the English-Prussian antithesis. Politics is the highest and most powerful dimension of all historical existence. World history is the history of states; the history of states is the history of wars.[1] Ideas, when they press for decisions, assume the form of political units: countries, peoples, or parties. They must be fought over not with words but with weapons.

Economic warfare becomes military warfare between countries or within countries. Religious associations such as Jewry and Islam, Huguenots and Mormons, constitute themselves as countries when it becomes a matter of their continued existence or their success. Everything that proceeds from the innermost soul to become flesh or fleshly creation demands a sacrifice of flesh in return. Ideas that have become blood demand blood.

War is the eternal pattern of higher human existence, and countries exist for war’s sake; they are signs of readiness for war. And even if a tired and blood-drained humanity desired to do away with war, like the citizens of the Classical world during its final centuries, like the Indians and Chinese of today, it would merely exchange its role of war-wager for that of the object about and with which others would wage war. Even if a Faustian universal harmony could be attained, masterful types on the order of late Roman, late Chinese, or late Egyptian Caesars would battle each other for this Empire—for the possession of it, if its final form were capitalistic; or for the highest rank in it, if it should become socialistic.

An inseparable element of any political pattern is, however, the people that has created this pattern, that bears it in its blood, that alone is capable of embodying it. Taken by itself, a political pattern is an empty concept. Anyone can speak its “language.” But no one can truly re-create it or imbue it with genuine reality. In politics as in other ways, there is no choice. Each culture and each single people within a culture arranges its affairs and fulfills its destiny according to patterns that are congenital and essentially immutable. A philosophical debate about “monarchy” or “republic” is really a quarrel about words. The monarchic form of government an sich is just as unreal a concept as the cloud form an sich. An ancient Classical “republic” and a Western European “republic” are two incommensurate things.

The ultimate meaning of great political crises is something other than a change in the form of government. When a crisis elicits the cry of “monarchy” or “republic” it is really nothing more than a cry, the verbal cue in a melodramatic scene, although it is the only thing most people in a given epoch can understand and be inspired by. In reality, following such ecstatic moments a people will always return to its own political pattern, the essential quality of which can almost never be expressed in popular language.

The instincts of a vigorous race are so strong that they can come to grips with any form of government that historical accident may put in their path, and mold it to their own purposes. And when this takes place no one is conscious that the political pattern in question has been realized in name only. The true political shape of any given country is not be found in the wording of its constitution; it is, rather, the unwritten and unconscious laws according to which the constitution is put into effect. Without reference to the particular nations under discussion, the words “republic,” “parliamentarism,” and “democracy” are meaningless.

Accordingly, the “parliamentary form of government” is a specifically English phenomenon, unthinkable except as the product of the Viking character of the English, their insular situation, and the centuries-long process by which they have combined a certain method of conducting business affairs with a whole social ethic. To attempt to imitate it is futile. “Parliamentarism” in Germany is either nonsense or treason. England has succeeded in poisoning all countries to which it has offered the “medicine” of its own form of government. And conversely: should the final development of Western civilization, i.e., the civilization that now rules the world as a whole, make this form of government impossible, England would surely lose its political viability as a nation. English socialism would commit treason if it tried to do away with Parliament. For England is a free society of private individuals, to whom insularity has offered the opportunity of abolishing the “state” and substituting for this purely formal idea a series of wars, lasting through 1916 and waged by soldiers and sailors hired away from foreign countries. This stateless parliamentarism presupposes a firm two-party system, in which the parties must be related to each other in a very special way with respect to organization, practice, interests, moods, customs, and spirit.

What the English call “parties”—the word means different things in different countries—were originally groupings of nobility, which became separated during the revolutions of 1642 and especially 1688 along lines of the Anglican and Puritan faiths. This means, of course, that the basic motive for their separation was a difference in ethical outlook. The nautical Norse ancestors, of whom we read in the Icelandic sagas, bequeathed different traits to each new group. The Tories inherited their pride in noble blood, their aristocratic respect for inherited authority, for landed property, for military feats and bloody conflict. In the Whigs we can discern the Norseman’s delight in piracy and plunder, his pursuit of quick and easy triumphs with abundant portable booty, and his esteem for cunning and cleverness rather than physical strength. Today’s English imperialist and free-tradesman is the end product of a centuries-long process during which these basic Norse traits have been sharpened and refined, thus resulting in an ever more careful breeding within the actual ruling class. The democratization of England in the nineteenth century was only apparent; in reality the nation continued to be led, as in Prussia, by a minority possessing unified, firm capabilities for practical action. The sublime exercise of this will and this practical talent continued right through to the end of the last war.

Business—in the piratical sense—is the sum and substance of this politics, no matter whether Tories or Whigs are the bosses at any given moment. Both types are, of course, “gentlemen” first and foremost, members of the same distinguished society, displaying the same admirable conformity of social attitudes. For this reason it is possible for Englishmen, though at times they may engage in bitter hostilities against each other, to settle momentous disputes by means of private conversation and private correspondence. Thus they are able to get many things done solely on the basis of the end justifying the means. In any other country such disputes would founder on the hubbub of clumsy, legalistic popular assemblies. The English party leader goes about his nation’s business as a private individual. When he meets with political success he declares that “England” was behind his policies. When his policies, though successful, involve dealings that are diplomatically or morally embarrassing, he resigns from his post, whereupon the nation admonishes him with puritanical severity for his lack of manners, and by applauding his resignation rejects the uncomfortable consequences of his actions. Yet all the while the nation thanks God for the grace He has bestowed on England by this politician’s successful work.

Such behavior is feasible only if both parties are of the same mind on essential issues. It is true that the Tories brought about Napoleon’s downfall and took him off to St. Helena after he had spread Whig ideas over the Continent. But Fox was not at all an unconditional opponent of war with Napoleon. And when in 1815 Robert Peel led Cobden’s free-trade system to final victory, thus preferring the economic subjugation of the world to its transformation into a military protectorate, the Tories readily recognized in the Whig system some of their own principles. Tory politics during the reign of Edward VII caused the World War; yet the Whigs, opponents of the war, accepted this possibility tacitly by welcoming “liberal imperialists” into their ranks.

This kind of activity is the true “parliamentarism,” and not the worthless and ineffective externals that are considered as “parliamentarism” in Germany today, such as the doling out of ministers’ portfolios to party leaders or the exposing of the parliamentary process to the widest publicity. In the British system, the final decisions of the party leaders are a secret even to the parliamentary majority. The publicly visible activities of the politicians are fable convenue, and the exemplary tact of both parties sees to it that the illusion of “government by the people” is rigorously upheld in reverse proportion to the actual meaningfulness of the term.

The idea that parties, above all English parties, are segments of the people at large is dilettantish nonsense. In reality there can be no such thing as popular government or government by the people, except in political units comprising a few villages. Only hopelessly liberal Germans still cling to this notion. In all places where English political systems have penetrated, the government actually lies in the hands of a very few men who, with dictatorial arbitrariness, exert their power within the party on the basis of their experience, their superior will, and their tactical skill.

The question therefore arises concerning the relationship between people and party. What meaning can elections have in the modern Western nations? Who does the electing? And whom or what does he elect? The sense of the English system is that the people elect a party, and not just a “representative” of its will and opinions, for these are more or less influenced by the party leadership in any case. The parties are very old and firmly established institutions, whose business it is to conduct the political affairs of the entire English nation. The individual Englishman realizes the practicality of such an institution, and from election to election he supports the party whose declared intentions correspond most closely to his own opinions and interests. He also realizes the unimportance of the individual “representative” appointed quite arbitrarily by the party. Indeed, the phrase “fatuous electorate” fits the average representative better than the voting mass itself. It is significant that English workers have quite often voted for an employer nominated by one of the age-old parties rather than for a workman candidate. In each case, after sober appraisal of the situation, they have regarded it as more advantageous to vote in this way. In America, where the genuine Englishman no longer stands behind the system, the custom now is for the parties to deliver one set of promises to the people, and another to the trust that fills the party coffers; the first set is published, the second is kept.


We have now broached the decisive question of how the job of politics is paid for in countries that have the parliamentary form of government. The naïve democratic enthusiasts simply do not notice that in this day and age, when all nations, with or without their consent, are led by a politics of commercial interests, the question of finances is crucial, not to the spirit of the constitution but to the much more important spirit of its practical application. Guileless enthusiasts probably think in terms of representatives’ salaries, but that is an irrelevant matter. Whereas the monarchs of the Baroque age disposed of state income as they saw fit, modern political parties merely administrate and allocate these funds. This being the case, it is purely a question of expediency whether big business decides to mollify the electorate, the representatives, or the party leadership itself. The first of these alternatives fits the pattern of English parliamentarism, and in the eighteenth century was practiced in the grand style as vote purchasing. In the course of time this method has become superfluous. Tories and Whigs from upper-class groups having clearly defined social attitudes are now the spokesmen for purely commercial interests, and their sponsors differ only occasionally with respect to the most advantageous form and moral rationale for a particular undertaking. Interest groups once divided have gradually merged under the aegis of the democratized parties.

In anarchic France, where clubs and private associations of rapidly changing number and strength assume the names of parties, the custom has been to pay the representatives, either in cash or by subtler means. The socialist representatives are just as receptive to these techniques as all the others. Often enough, a Frenchman sets out on a political career with the certainty that after a few years he can buy a castle.

In Germany, where the parties approach the people with ideological programs, liberalism has had to do favors for the stock exchange, while heavy industry has gained control of the nationalistic wing. Heavy industry and the stock exchange pay for political agitation and also for a favorable press (partly through advertisement contracts). If the Weimar Constitution remains in effect even for just a few years, representatives’ posts favorable to certain commercial interests will be available for a set price. The very first elections for the Weimar Assembly revealed the beginnings of such practices.

That democracy and universal suffrage are reliable tools of capitalism has been proved in all countries that have adopted these methods on the English model. While the liberal professor hails the Constitution of Weimar as the fulfillment of his dreams, the capitalist liberal welcomes it as the simplest and probably cheapest way to subject politics to the business office and the state to the grafters.

All this characterizes the hegemony of the Viking spirit over Western civilization, which up to now has been largely English civilization. The form in which the essentially nontransferable parliamentarism of England has insisted itself upon the Continent and gradually the whole world is the “constitution.” It has made criticism of the existing government an integral part of government itself. But the stateless character of government that evolved within English society have given all new constitutions based on the English model a definite antistate tendency. The result has been, on the one hand, the creation of pseudo-parties that have vainly attempted the English technique of putting executive power in the hands of the party leadership. On the other hand an “opposition” has appeared on the scene, but it is a destructive rather than a constructive opposition because of the constant friction between the group in power and the party principle, or among the parties themselves as a result of their widely divergent conceptions of party privilege. Mirabeau, the cleverest mind in France at the time it surrendered to the Viking idea, would certainly, had he lived longer, have returned to absolutism in order to save his country from the pseudo-parliamentarism of the sovereign clubs. The word “intrigue” expresses quite fully the attitude assumed by the anarchic French, in place of the careful strategy of the English, to make such methods conform to their way of life. Consequently, the most practicable form of anarchy, instituted now and again in France to achieve amazing but ephemeral successes, has been a kind of despotism-of-the-moment. This is the case with Mazarin and Richelieu, and since 1789 it has been the secret goal of even the smallest political clubs. Its classic expression was the dictatorship of a foreign soldier, Napoleon.

Machiavelli, amid the confusion of Renaissance politics, put his hopes on Cesare Borgia to achieve something quite similar. Of all Western nations, France and Italy have not brought forth a single political idea. The state of Louis XIV, like Napoleon’s empire, was an isolated incident, not a durable system. As an organic form capable of development, the absolute monarchy of the Baroque age was a Hapsburg and not a Bourbon creation. From Philip II to Metternich, the house of Hapsburg set the style for the governmental practices of nearly all courts and cabinets; the court of the roi soleil made its impression solely by costume and ceremony. Proof of this is Napoleon’s very Renaissance-like bearing and appearance. Only in Florence and Paris was a successful military officers able to play such a non-traditional role and to institute such a fantastic and transitory type of state. In fact, there was no typical governmental system in France. Rousseau, the theoretician of political anarchy, derived his concept of the social contract from the firmly established “society” of England, which functioned politically with absolute instinctual confidence. The social contract idea ultimately required dictatorship as an occasional and arbitrary means of rescuing society from the confusion of individual wills. In the event of a revolution Napoleon could have become prime minister in England, field marshal in Prussia, and both at once in Spain—with full dictatorial power. Only in France and Italy is he conceivable in the costume of Charlemagne.

In Prussia, however, there existed a true state in the most exacting sense of the word. In Prussia there were, strictly speaking, no private individuals. Every single person who lived in this system, which functioned with the precision of a good machine, was an integral member of that system. For this reason the task of administration could not be assigned to private individuals, as the parliamentary system prescribes. Administration of public funds was an official function, and the politicians responsible for it were state officials, servants of the commonwealth. In England business and politics were synonymous; in France the swarm of professional politicians called into office by the constitution had become hirelings of the business interests. In Prussia the purely professional politician has always been a disreputable figure.

When, therefore, the democratization of government became unavoidable in the nineteenth century, the English pattern had to be shunned since it was contrary to the Prussian style. Here, democracy could not mean private freedom, for that was tantamount to commercial license and would have led to a form of private politics that would use the state as a tool. The knightly ideal of “all for all” underwent a modern reinterpretation—but not in the sense of forming parties that reached down to the masses every few years, giving them the privilege of either voting for a party-endorsed candidate or not voting at all, while the party itself, if it was in the “opposition,” reached upward to interfere with the work of government. Rather, the “all for all” principle took the form in Prussia of assigning to every individual, depending on his practical, moral, and intellectual abilities, a certain measure of command and obedience. That is to say, each citizen was allotted a very personal rank and degree of responsibility, and like an official post it was revocable.

This was the Rätesystem as planned a century ago by Baron von Stein. It was a genuinely Prussian idea, based on the principles of selectivity, co-responsibility, and professional loyalty. In the meantime, however, it has been forced in thoroughly Marxian fashion into the miasma of class egoism. Today it is an exact mirror-image of the picture drawn by Marx of the piratical English capitalist class, the Vikings who operated outside the limits of state control. It is a free-trade system, English through and through, but turned upside down: the working classes are now the “society.” That is Bentham, not Kant.

Stein and his Kantian advisers wished to organize the occupational groups. In a country where work should be the universal duty and the meaning of life itself, individuals will differ not in wealth but in accomplishment. Thus Stein envisioned local professional guilds, arranged according to the relative importance of each occupation in the society as a whole. He wanted a representative hierarchy, capped by the State Council; mandates at all levels were to be revocable at any time. His plans called for neither organized parties, career politicians, nor periodic elections. To be sure, Stein never expressed these thoughts; he might indeed have rejected them in this form. But they were tacitly present in the reforms he suggested. And they would have permitted a systematic democratization of the Prussian government in harmony with Prussian and not English or French instincts, guaranteeing at the same time that the appropriate personalities would be selected for work in the new system. Just as a machine needs a trained engineer to maintain it, a true state needs a State Council. The non-state, on the other hand, requires a privy council, composed of the various parties but constituted in similar fashion to the State Council. Each party must, of course, be prepared to have its own apparatus serve as the country’s governing body. England in fact possesses two “workers’ councils” or crown councils instead of one—that is the meaning of parliamentarism.[2] What the Prussian system required was a single council with a stable membership.

Instead, under the impression of Napoleonic events the admiration of English institutions became dominant. Hardenberg, Humboldt, and the others were “Englishmen.” They listened to Shaftesbury and Hume, and not to Kant. It was imperative that the reforms take place from within the Prussian system, but they were imposed in fact from the outside. All of the political frustration of the nineteenth century, all the boundless sterility of our parliamentary system, all the lack of manpower, ideas, and accomplishments, all the constant conflict between hostile factions and violent pressures, are the direct result of the imposition of a rigorous and humanly profound political system onto a people gifted for a completely different, if equally rigorous and profound, political order. In those areas where the Old Prussian talent for organization was put to the test in a large enough context—as in the creation of the syndicates and cartels, the trade unions, and in the field of social welfare—it more than proved its mettle.

The indifference that has greeted the elections and the debates on suffrage, despite the efforts of parties and press, shows how alien the parliamentary system is to the Prussian and, since 1870, the German people. When a Prussian or German has made use of his voting franchise it has quite often been merely his way of expressing a vague annoyance. In no other country have these election days à l’anglaise yielded such a false picture of actual political sentiment. The masses have never gotten used to this exotic technique of “cooperation,” and never will. When an Englishman fails to follow the proceedings of Parliament, he does so with the knowledge that that body will look after his best interests. When a German does likewise, he does so with a feeling of complete apathy. For him the only reality is die Regierung. With us, parliamentarism will always be a conglomeration of externals.

In England both parties had long been the sovereign initiators and leaders of policy. But in Prussia there existed a state, and the parties, founded for reasons of parliamentary protocol, became merely critics of the state, whereas in England the functions of the parties were a direct outgrowth of the actual configuration of the people as a commercial entity. In Prussia there was from the beginning a false relationship between the system that was intended and the one that already existed, between plan and effect, between the parties in theory and in practice. The opposition is a necessary and integral part of government in England; it performs a complementary function. Our opposition is truly a negation, of the government itself as well as of the other parties. The removal of the monarchy has not changed things a bit.

It is significant and characteristic of the strength of the national instinct that the two parties which can be called specifically Prussian, the Conservatives and the Socialists, have never lost their antiliberal and antiparliamentarian tendencies. They are both socialistic in a higher sense, and therefore they correspond quite closely to the two capitalistic parties in England. Recognizing neither private nor party interests as the leaders of government, they ascribe to the totality the unconditional authority, the leadership of the individual in the general interest. The fact that one of these parties speaks of the monarchic state while the other speaks of the working people proves to be only a verbal distinction when we consider that in our country everyone works, and that the will of the individual is subject at all times to the will of the totality. Both of these parties were, under the pressure of the English system, states within the state. According to their own convictions they were the state, and thus did not recognize the need for any other party to exist besides themselves. But this is quite enough to preclude parliamentary government. They did not deny their military predilections; they organized exclusive, well-disciplined battalions of voters, in which the Conservatives made better officers, the Socialists better troops. They were structured along lines of command and obedience, and that is the way they conceived of their state, the Hohenzollern state, and the state of the future. Freedom, in the “English” sense, prevailed neither in the one nor in the other state. Despite their truly parliamentary effectiveness they harbored a profound contempt for the English parliamentary attitude which accorded rank in society by measuring wealth. Both parties despised the Prussian system of suffrage with its frustrating hierarchy of rich and poor—the Conservatives perhaps less so, but they regarded it only as a tolerably effective means to an end. Yet they scorned any system of suffrage based on the English pattern, for they knew that it necessarily leads to plutocracy. Whoever is willing to pay for such a system can harvest its fruits.

Besides the Conservatives and the Socialists, Prussia also has had its Spanish-style Ultramontane party, the party whose spiritual tradition extends back to the age of Hapsburg hegemony and the territorial stipulations of the Peace of Westphalia. This party secretly worships Napoleon as the founder of the Rhenish Confederation. Its tactics are reminiscent of the masterly cabinet diplomacy of Madrid and Vienna. With the mature shrewdness of the Counter-Reformation it has succeeded in harnessing democratic tendencies and parliamentary procedures for its own purposes. It despises nothing—in fact, it is able to gain a little something from every eventuality. And one must not forget the socialist training and discipline of the Spanish spirit, which like the Prussian originated in the knightly orders of the Gothic period and which, even earlier than the Prussians, had epitomized a universal principle in the phrase “Throne and Altar.”

Germany’s spiritual Englishness eventually constituted itself as a party dedicated to promulgating parliamentarism with the fervor of a Weltanschauung, as a Prinzip, an Idée, as a Ding an sich. For these people Napoleon was the emissary of libertarian ideals. They have mustered up “ethical convictions” at times when the English would exercise their talent and experience. Their symbol is the political “standpoint.” When three liberals get together they form a new party; that is their idea of individualism. They never join a bowling club without introducing as part of the “agenda” an “amendment of the statutes.” Because a stateless order of public affairs prevails in England, they are enraged at every authoritarian act of government. Even the authoritarian aims of socialism make them shudder.

This bürgerliche outlook is a specifically German phenomenon. One should not have mistaken it for the French bourgeoisie or, even less, for the English middle-class. The grand style of English liberalism fits it poorly. Quod licet Jovi non licet bovi [What is permitted to Jove is not pemitted to cattle]. Beneath the Bratenrock of the German liberal is a heart that still beats to the languid rhythm of the old Reich, and a soul that deplores the realities of modern civilization. These bookish liberals pile up mountains of literature about “transcendency” and “ideality” (something different in every book) that claims to interpret keenly realistic English ideas. Without the English ideas, of course, these people would be defenseless against truly Prussian ideals, which are just as keen and just as unromantic. They are incapable of organization and therefore politically innocuous in themselves, but they have been mobilized into a militant party by the other caste of German liberals, the group that has taken over from the English one of their ideals without comprehending the fundamental importance it has in the English scheme of things: the economic dictatorship of private wealth. Our “English” liberals have made of their party a murderous opposition that slowly undermines and enervates wherever and whenever the Prussian socialist idea stands in the way of all-powerful business. And finally, it was this brand of liberalism that mobilized the “inner England” of our majority-worshiping parties to perpetrate the parliamentary revolution of 1917, thus assuring victory for “outer England,” the Allied powers, by deposing the state itself.

Our liberals demand pure parliamentarism, not because they desire a free state but because they want no state at all, and because they are just as aware as their English counterparts that this foreign cloak can make a socialistically gifted people incapable of action. The “supranational” cosmopolitanism of the German Michel appeals to them. While they may ridicule it as a political goal, they know its value as a political means. They willingly grant the cosmopolitan professors their academic chairs and “cultural” newspaper columns, and encourage parliamentary dilettantes to engage in politics on the editorial pages and in the assembly halls. With this pair in harness they are assiduously driving their political carriage toward perfect Englishness. In the German Revolution socialism suffered its bitterest defeat; its opponents forced it to turn its own weapons on itself.

In spite of all this, the two great universal principles continue to oppose each other: dictatorship of money or of organizational talent, the world as booty or as a true state, wealth or political authority, success or vocation. Both of Germany’s socialistic parties must unite against the one enemy of the idea that they share: our inner England, capitalism and parliamentary liberalism.

Socialist monarchy[3]—that is an idea that has slowly matured in the Faustian world and has long since reared its proper human protagonists. Authoritative socialism is by definition monarchistic. The most responsible position in this gigantic organism, in Frederick the Great’s words the role of “first servant of the state,” must not be abandoned to ambitious privateers. Let us envision a unified nation in which everyone is assigned his place according to his socialistic rank, his talent for voluntary self-discipline based on inner conviction, his organizational abilities, his work potential, consciousness, and energy, his intelligent willingness to serve the common cause. Let us plan for general work conscription, resulting in occupational guilds that will administrate and at the same time be guided by an administrative council, and not by a parliament. A fitting name for this administrative body, in a state were everyone has a job, be it army officer, civil servant, farmer, or miner, might well be “labor council.”

Counter to this idea is the vision of a capitalistic World Republic. For England is a “republic,” although today the word means government by the successful private individual who can pay for his election and therefore also for his influence. The World Republicans dream of the earth as a hunting ground for those who want to get rich and who demand for themselves the right to engage in hand-to-hand combat. Eventually the Tories and Whigs, the two capitalist parties, will band together against the “inner Prussia” of socialism, which in England cannot even claim the undivided support of the workers—work being, of course, a misfortune in the British Isles. This means that the parliamentary system will undergo a structural change, for it cannot function with three parties. In early England it was rich against rich, one philosophy against another within the upper class. Now it will be rich against poor, England against something else.

But that is the same as saying that parliamentarism as a political scheme is worn out; of this there can be no doubt. It was already in decline when German fools brought it over here. Its best era was before Bismarck. It was an old, mature, distinguished, highly refined method, and to master it completely required all the tact of the aristocratic English “gentleman.” It required fundamental agreement on a sufficient number of problems to ensure that “politeness” would not be endangered. The protocol of parliamentary debate resembled that of a duel between noblemen. Like the music of the period between Bach and Beethoven, it was based on the perfect mastery of formal principles. As soon as this formalism was abandoned the music became barbaric. Today no one is able to dash off an old-style fugue as could the classical composers. So it is also with the fugue-like form of parliamentary tactics. Coarser people, coarser questions—and it is all over. The duel becomes a brawl. The institutions, the sense of tact and cautious observance of the amenities, are dying out with the old-style people of good breeding. The new parliamentarism will present the struggle for existence with barely civilized manners and with much poorer success. The relationship between party leaders and party, between party and masses, will be tougher, more transparent, and more brazen. That is the beginning of Caesarism.[4] Hints of its arrival were present in the English elections of 1918. Nor shall we German escape it either. It is our destiny, just as it was the destiny of Rome and China, indeed of all mature cultures. But—billionaires or generals, bankers or civil servants of the highest quality? That is the eternal question.


[1] The Decline of the West, vol. 2, pp. 361 ff., pp. 416 ff.

[2] The electorate does not have the slightest influence on the composition of either of the councils. It only chooses which of them is to do the governing.

[3] It was Ferdinand Lassalle who, in 1862, in his book Was nun?, called for a union of labor and the Prussian monarchy to do battle against liberalism and the English “nightwatchman” theory of the weak state.

[4] The Decline of the West, vol. 2, 431 ff.