Lies being taught;
Mein Kampf is unintelligible ravings of a maniac.
Now the Truth;
POLITICAL REFLECTIONS ARISING OUT OF MY SOJOURN IN VIENNA.
VIEWS ON DEMOCRACY
“As one who cherished ideals of political freedom I could not even imagine any other form of government. In the light of my attitude towards the House of Habsburg I should then have considered it a crime against liberty and reason to think of any kind of dictatorship as a possible form of government.
A certain admiration which I had for the British Parliament contributed towards the formation of this opinion. I became imbued with that feeling of admiration almost without my being conscious of the effect of it through so much reading of newspapers while I was yet quite young. I could not discard that admiration all in a moment. The dignified way in which the British House of Commons fulfilled its function impressed me greatly, thanks largely to the glowing terms in which the Austrian Press reported these events. I used to ask myself whether there could be any nobler form of government than self-government by the people.
Such was my general attitude at the time when I first entered those sacred and contentious halls. For me they were sacred only because of the radiant beauty of that majestic edifice. A Greek wonder on German soil.
But I soon became enraged by the hideous spectacle that met my eyes. Several hundred representatives were there to discuss a problem of great economical importance and each representative had the right to have his say.
That experience of a day was enough to supply me with food for thought during several weeks afterwards.
The intellectual level of the debate was quite low. Some times the debaters did not make themselves intelligible at all. Several of those present did not speak German but only their Slav vernaculars or dialects. Thus I had the opportunity of hearing with my own ears what I had been hitherto acquainted with only through reading the newspapers. A turbulent mass of people, all gesticulating and bawling against one another, with a pathetic old man shaking his bell and making frantic efforts to call the House to a sense of its dignity by friendly appeals, exhortations, and grave warnings.
I could not refrain from laughing.
Several weeks later I paid a second visit. This time the House presented an entirely different picture, so much so that one could hardly recognize it as the same place. The hall was practically empty. They were sleeping in the other rooms below. Only a few deputies were in their places, yawning in each other's faces. One was speechifying. A deputy speaker was in the chair. When he looked round it was quite plain that he felt bored.
Then I began to reflect seriously on the whole thing. I went to the Parliament whenever I had any time to spare and watched the spectacle silently but attentively. I listened to the debates, as far as they could be understood, and I studied the more or less intelligent features of those 'elect' representatives of the various nationalities which composed that motley State. Gradually I formed my own ideas about what I saw.
A year of such quiet observation was sufficient to transform or completely destroy my former convictions as to the character of this parliamentary institution. I no longer opposed merely the perverted form which the principle of parliamentary representation had assumed in Austria. No. It had become impossible for me to accept the system in itself. Up to that time I had believed that the disastrous deficiencies of the Austrian Parliament were due to the lack of a German majority, but now I recognized that the institution itself was wrong in its very essence and form.
A number of problems presented them selves before my mind. I studied more closely the democratic principle of 'decision by the majority vote', and I scrutinized no less carefully the intellectual and moral worth of the gentlemen who, as the chosen representatives of the nation, were entrusted with the task of making this institution function.
Thus it happened that at one and the same time I came to know the institution itself and those of whom it was composed. And it was thus that, within the course of a few years, I came to form a clear and vivid picture of the average type of that most lightly worshipped phenomenon of our time --the parliamentary deputy. The picture of him which I then formed became deeply engraved on my mind and I have never altered it since, at least as far as essentials go.
Once again these object-lessons taken from real life saved me from getting firmly entangled by a theory which at first sight seems so alluring to many people, though that theory itself is a symptom of human decadence.
Democracy, as practised in Western Europe to-day, is the fore-runner of Marxism. In fact, the latter would not be conceivable without the former. Democracy is the breeding-ground in which the bacilli of the Marxist world pest can grow and spread. By the introduction of parliamentarianism, democracy produced an abortion of filth and fire (Note 6), the creative fire of which, however, seems to have died out.
[Note 6. SPOTTGEBURT VON DRECK UND FEUER. This is the epithet that Faust hurls at Mephistopheles as the latter intrudes on the conversation between Faust and Martha in the garden:
Mephistopheles: Thou, full of sensual, super-sensual desire,
A girl by the nose is leading thee.
Faust: Abortion, thou of filth and fire.]
The parliament passes some acts or decree which may have the most devastating consequences, yet nobody bears the responsibility for it. Nobody can be called to account. For surely one cannot say that a Cabinet discharges its responsibility when it retires after having brought about a catastrophe. Or can we say that the responsibility is fully discharged when a new coalition is formed or parliament dissolved? Can the principle of responsibility mean anything else than the responsibility of a definite person?
Is it at all possible actually to call to account the leaders of a parliamentary government for any kind of action which originated in the wishes of the whole multitude of deputies and was carried out under their orders or sanction? Instead of developing constructive ideas and plans, does the business of a statesman consist in the art of making a whole pack of blockheads understand his projects? Is it his business to entreat and coach them so that they will grant him their generous consent?
Is it an indispensable quality in a statesman that he should possess a gift of persuasion commensurate with the statesman's ability to conceive great political measures and carry them through into practice?
Does it really prove that a statesman is incompetent if he should fail to win over a majority of votes to support his policy in an assembly which has been called together as the chance result of an electoral system that is not always honestly administered.
Has there ever been a case where such an assembly has worthily appraised a great political concept before that concept was put into practice and its greatness openly demonstrated through its success?
In this world is not the creative act of the genius always a protest against the inertia of the mass?
What shall the statesman do if he does not succeed in coaxing the parliamentary multitude to give its consent to his policy? Shall he purchase that consent for some sort of consideration?
Or, when confronted with the obstinate stupidity of his fellow citizens, should he then refrain from pushing forward the measures which he deems to be of vital necessity to the life of the nation? Should he retire or remain in power?
In such circumstances does not a man of character find himself face to face with an insoluble contradiction between his own political insight on the one hand and, on the other, his moral integrity, or, better still, his sense of honesty?
Where can we draw the line between public duty and personal honour?
Must not every genuine leader renounce the idea of degrading himself to the level of a political jobber?
And, on the other hand, does not every jobber feel the itch to 'play politics', seeing that the final responsibility will never rest with him personally but with an anonymous mass which can never be called to account for their deeds?
Must not our parliamentary principle of government by numerical majority necessarily lead to the destruction of the principle of leadership?
Does anybody honestly believe that human progress originates in the composite brain of the majority and not in the brain of the individual personality?
Or may it be presumed that for the future human civilization will be able to dispense with this as a condition of its existence?
But may it not be that, to-day, more than ever before, the creative brain of the individual is indispensable?
The parliamentary principle of vesting legislative power in the decision of the majority rejects the authority of the individual and puts a numerical quota of anonymous heads in its place. In doing so it contradicts the aristrocratic principle, which is a fundamental law of nature; but, of course, we must remember that in this decadent era of ours the aristrocratic principle need not be thought of as incorporated in the upper ten thousand.
The devastating influence of this parliamentary institution might not easily be recognized by those who read the Jewish Press, unless the reader has learned how to think independently and examine the facts for himself. This institution is primarily responsible for the crowded inrush of mediocre people into the field of politics. Confronted with such a phenomenon, a man who is endowed with real qualities of leadership will be tempted to refrain from taking part in political life; because under these circumstances the situation does not call for a man who has a capacity for constructive statesmanship but rather for a man who is capable of bargaining for the favour of the majority. Thus the situation will appeal to small minds and will attract them
One truth which must always be borne in mind is that the majority can never replace the man. The majority represents not only ignorance but also cowardice. And just as a hundred blockheads do not equal one man of wisdom, so a hundred poltroons are incapable of any political line of action that requires moral strength and fortitude.
The lighter the burden of responsibility on each individual leader, the greater will be the number of those who, in spite of their sorry mediocrity, will feel the call to place their immortal energies at the disposal of the nation. They are so much on the tip-toe of expectation that they find it hard to wait their turn. They stand in a long queue, painfully and sadly counting the number of those ahead of them and calculating the hours until they may eventually come forward. They watch every change that takes place in the personnel of the office towards which their hopes are directed, and they are grateful for every scandal which removes one of the aspirants waiting ahead of them in the queue. If somebody sticks too long to his office stool they consider this as almost a breach of a sacred understanding based on their mutual solidarity. They grow furious and give no peace until that inconsiderate person is finally driven out and forced to hand over his cosy berth for public disposal. After that he will have little chance of getting another opportunity. Usually those placemen who have been forced to give up their posts push themselves again into the waiting queue unless they are hounded away by the protestations of the other aspirants.
Let the superior quality of such a leader be once recognized and the result will be that a joint front will be organized against him, particularly if that leader, though not coming from their ranks, should fall into the habit of intermingling with these illustrious nincompoops on their own level. They want to have only their own company and will quickly take a hostile attitude towards any man who might show himself obviously above and beyond them when he mingles in their ranks. Their instinct, which is so blind in other directions, is very sharp in this particular.
The inevitable result is that the intellectual level of the ruling class sinks steadily. One can easily forecast how much the nation and State are bound to suffer from such a condition of affairs, provided one does not belong to that same class of 'leaders'.
The parliamentary régime in the old Austria was the very archetype of the institution as I have described it.”