The Power of the Powerless

'The real question is whether the ‘brighter future’ is always so distant. What if it has been here for a long time already – and only our own blindness and weakness have prevented us from seeing it around us and within us, and kept us from developing it.' [1]

Part One

Identity and Diversity

The Industrial Revolution and its consequences ['techno-scientism'] have been a disaster for the human race. They have greatly increased the life-expectancy of those of us who live in 'advanced' countries, but they have destabilised society, have made life unfulfilling, have subjected human beings to indignities, have led to widespread [physiological, emotional and psycho-spiritual] suffering and has inflicted severe damage on the natural world. The continued development of [techno-scientism] will worsen the situation. It will certainly subject human beings to greater indignities and inflict greater damage on the natural world, it will probably lead to greater social disruption and [physiological, emotional and psycho-spiritual] suffering, even in 'advanced' countries. 

One of the most widespread manifestations of the craziness of our world is leftism, so a discussion of the psychology of leftism can serve as an introduction to the discussion of the problems of modern society in general. But what is leftism? [1Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn:

Let us state at the outset of our investigation that, viewed from a certain angle, we all are subject to two basic drives: one toward identity, the other toward diversity. Neither in ourselves as persons, nor in the nations through the course of history are these drives always the same in their intensity and in their balance. 

How do they manifest themselves? We can all experience a mood during which we feel the desire to be in the company of people of our own age, our own class, our own sex, conviction, religion or taste. It is quite possible that this drive toward conformity, this herd instinct, is something we share with the animal world. This strong identitarian feeling can rest squarely on a real herd instinct, a strong feeling of commonness and community directed in a hostile sense toward another group. 

When five or ten thousand identically dressed men or women are carrying out identical movements, the onlooker gets an overpowering impression of homogeneity, synchronisation, symmetry, uniformity. Identity and identitarian drives tend towards an effacement of self, towards a nostrism ['usness'] in which the ego becomes submerged. Of course, nostrism can be and usually is a clever multiplication of egoisms. Whoever praises and extols a collective unit in which he participates [a nation, a race, a class, a party] only praises himself. And therefore all identitarian drives not only take a stand for sameness and oppose otherness, but also are self-seeking. There is an identitarian [and nonsexual] aspect to homosexuality ['homoeroticism'] coupled with the refusal to establish the sometimes difficult intellectual, spiritual, psychological bridge to the other sex. And in this respect homosexuality is a form of narcissism, of immaturity and implies the limitations of the 'simpleton.'

Luckily man in his maturity and in the fullness of his qualifications has not only identitarian but also diversitarian drives, not only a herd instinct but also a romantic sentiment. More often than not we have the yearning to meet people of the other sex, another age group, another mentality, another class, even of another faith and another political conviction. All varieties of the novarum rerum cupiditas [curiosity for the new] --our eagerness to travel and to eat other food, hear another music, see a different landscape, to get in touch with another culture and civilisation are derived from this diversitarian tendency in us. 

A dog neither wants to travel, nor does he particularly mind getting the same food day in and day out, if it is healthy fare. Man, however, wants change. The ant state, the termite state, might remain the same all through the centuries, but man's desire for change results in 'history' as we know it. There is something in us that cannot stand repetition, and this hunger for the new can be quite fatal if it is not blended with an element of permanence - and prudence.

Viewing these two tendencies, these two drives, both with psychological foundations, but only the romantic sentiment with an intellectual character, we inevitably come to the conclusion that modern times are more favorable to the herd instinct than to the enthusiasm for diversity. This is perhaps not immediately evident, because in a few ways the opposite seems to be the case: The craving for travel can now more easily be satisfied, and in the domain of art a greater variety of tastes and schools exists today than in the past. In other, more important realms, however, identity has been pushed in every way, partly by passions [mostly of an animal order], partly by modern technology and procedures forming part and parcel of modern civilisation. As a matter of fact all modern trends point to the specter of a terrifying, bigger and more pitiless conformity.

In this connection we must never forget that identity is a cousin of equality. Everything which is identical is automatically equal ... It is equality-at-first-sight, an equality which takes no lengthy reasoning or painstaking investigation to discover. Therefore all political or social forms which are inspired by the ideal of equality will almost inevitably point into the direction of identitarianism and foster the herd instinct [with subsequent suspicion, if not hatred, for those who dare to be different or have a claim to superiority]. There exists a dull, animalistic leaning toward identitarian gregariousness, but we encounter also a programmatic, passionate, fanatical drive in that direction.[2] Jose Ortega y Gasset:

Probably the origin of this anti-individual fury lies in the fact that in their innermost hearts the masses feel themselves weak and defenceless in the face of their destiny. On a bitter and terrible page Nietzsche notes how, in primitive societies which were weak when confronted with the difficulties of existence, every individual and original act was a crime, and the man who tried to lead a solitary life was a malefactor. He must in everything comport himself according to the fashion of the tribe.[3]

It has fear as its driving motor in the form of an inferiority complex [low self-esteem, feelings of powerlessness, depressive tendencies, defeatism, guilt, self-hatred, etc] engendering hatred and envy as its blood brother. Fear implies a feeling of being inferior to another person [or to a situation]: Hatred is possible only if one feels helpless in the face of a person considered to be stronger or more powerful. A feeble and cowardly slave can fear and hate his master; his master in return will not hate, but will have mere contempt for the slave. Haters all through history have committed horrible acts of cruelty [which is the inferior's revenge], whereas contempt - always coupled with a feeling of superiority - has rarely produced cruelty. 

In order to avoid that fear, that feeling of inferiority, the demand for equality and identity arises. Nobody is better, nobody superior, all can relax, all can be at ease, nobody feels challenged, everybody is 'safe.' And if identity, if sameness has been achieved, then the other person's actions and reactions can be forecast. No [disagreeable] surprise can be expected, everybody can read thoughts and feelings in everybody else's face. And thus a warm herd feeling of brotherhood will emerge. These sentiments, these emotions, this rejection of quality [which can never be the same with everybody!] explain much of the spirit of the mass movements of the last 200 years.

[1] Theodore Kaczynski [1995]. Industrial Society and Its Future.
[2] Erik Maria Ritter von Kuehnelt-Leddihn [1974]. Leftism From de Sade and Marx to Hitler and Marcuse. Arlington House Publishers, New Rochelle, New York, pp. 15-17.
[3] Jose Ortega y Gasset [1937]. Invertebrate Spain. New York: Norton, pp. 170-171.


'Fear implies a feeling of being inferior to another person [or to a situation] ... In order to avoid that fear, that feeling of inferiority, the demand for equality and identity arises. Nobody is better, nobody superior, all can relax, all can be at ease, nobody feels challenged, everybody is 'safe.'


The other factor is envy. Envy has complex psychological roots...several, not just one. There exists, first of all, the curious feeling that whatever the other person possesses has in some [roundabout]) way been taken away from me. 'I am poor because he is rich' 'Not all of us brothers can be bright, not all of us sisters pretty. Fate handed it to her, to him, and discriminated against me!'

The second aspect of envy lies in the superiority of another person in an important respect. The mere suspicion that the other person feels superior on account of looks, of brain-power, of brawn, of cash, etc., can create a burning feeling of envy. The only way to find a compensation lies in a successful search for inferior qualities in the person who figures as the object of envy. 'He is rich, but he is evil,' 'He is successful, but he has a miserable family life,' 'He is well born and well connected, but, oh, so stupid.' Sometimes these shortcomings of an envied person serve as a consolation: sometimes they also serve as a 'moral' excuse for an attack, especially if the object of real or imagined envy has moral shortcomings.

In the last 200 years the exploitation of envy, its mobilisation among the masses, coupled with the denigration of individuals, but more frequently of classes, races, nations or religious communities has been the very key to political success.

The history of the Western World since the end of the eighteenth century cannot be written without this fact constantly in mind. All leftist 'isms' harp on this theme, i. e. , on the privilege of groups, minority groups, to be sure, who are objects of envy and at the same time subjects of intellectual-moral inferiorities. They have no right to their exalted positions. They ought to conform to the rest, become identical with 'the people,' renounce their privileges, conform. If they speak another language, they ought to drop it and talk the lingo of the majority. If they are wealthy their riches should be taxed away or confiscated. If they adhere to an unpopular ideology, they ought to forget it. Witness President Wilson's declaration shortly before America's entry into World War I: 

Conformity will be the only virtue. And every man who refuses to conform will have to pay the penalty.[1]

Everything special, everything esoteric and not easily understood by the many becomes suspect and evil. Of course there is one type of unpopular minority that cannot conform and therefore is always in danger of being exiled, suppressed or slaughtered: the racial minority. As always hypocrisy is the compliment which vice pays to virtue, and in inciting envy, this ugly feeling will never be openly invoked. The nonconforming person or group sinning against the sacred principle of sameness will always be treated as a traitor, and if he is not a traitor the envious majority will push him in that direction.

Thus to be different will be treated as or made into treason. And even if the formula Nonconformist-Traitor will not always be promulgated with such clarity, it lurks at the back of modern man's mind only too often, whether he openly embraces totalitarianism or not... Unity and uniformity have been blended in our minds.

The modern magic of sameness has been enhanced not only by a technology producing identical objects [e.g., one type of car owned 'commonly' by half-a-million people], but also by the subconscious realisation that sameness is related to cheapness and that sameness makes for greater intelligibility, especially to simpler minds. Identical laws, identical measurements, an identical language, an identical currency, an identical education, an intellectual level, an identical political power ['one-man-one-vote'], identical pay rates, identical or near-identical clothes - all this seems highly desirable. It simplifies matters. It is cheaper. It saves thinking. To certain minds it even seems 'more just.'

These identical tendencies run into two obstacles; nature and man [who is part nature]. Still, nature is more easily pressed into identical patterns by human endeavor, as witness certain types of [twentieth-century architecture].[2] Nikos A Salingaros:

Geometrical fundamentalism is defined as the misappropriation of geometrically simple forms - cylinder, cone, pyramid, cube, rectangular slab or square column - as an essential typology for the built environment. It influences not just the large scale [as for example the urban plan and overall building volumes], but determines the details of our everyday environment to an incredible degree. Huge skyscrapers, irrespective of their form, are expressions of geometrical fundamentalism because of their inhuman scale. This is most problematic because it usually eliminates the smallest scales... They oppose the basic principle of connecting an individual to the universe - hence to God - through color, design, sculpture, tile work, reliefs, frescoes, mosaics and calligraphy. Geometrical fundamentalism denies sensory connections. With its insistence on homogeneous surfaces showing minimal information, it questions the continued validity of architectural masterpieces that are also powerful symbols of faith.[3]

To make man more identitarian is a more difficult task, yet not such a hopeless one to the dolt who 'optimistically' declares, "All men are equal' and then 'All people are more alike than unlike.'

Here, however, the identitarian comes up against the mystery of personality. Human beings are different: They are of different ages, different sexes, they vary according to their physical strength, their intellect, their education, their ambitions. They have different character and different kinds of memory, different dispositions. They react differently to the same treatment. All this enervates and antagonises the identitarian. And precisely because human identity is difficult to achieve, a poor substitute often has to be brought in. This equally unworkable substitute is equality.[4]

[1] Cf. Harold U. Faulkner [1950]. From Versailles to the New Deal. New Haven: Yale University Press, pp. 141.
[2] Erik Maria Ritter von Kuehnelt-Leddihn [1974]. Leftism From de Sade and Marx to Hitler and Marcuse. Arlington House Publishers, New Rochelle, New York, pp. 17-19.
[3] Nikos A. Salingaros [2007]. A Thoery of Architecture.Umbau-Verlag, Solingen, Germany ISBN 3-937954-07-4.
[4] Erik Maria Ritter von Kuehnelt-Leddihn [1974], pp. 19-20.


'In the last 200 years the exploitation of envy, its mobilisation among the masses, coupled with the denigration of individuals, but more frequently of classes, races, nations or religious communities has been the very key to political success.'


Equality and Liberty

Since this book is written by a Christian let us first deal with the well-known cliche according to which, even though we are neither identical nor equal physically or intellectually, we are at least 'equal in the eyes of God.' This, however, is by no means the case. None of the Christian faiths teaches that we are all equally loved by God. We have it from Scriptures that Christ loved some of his disciples more than others. Nor does any Christian religion maintain that grace is given in equal amount to all men. Catholic doctrine, which takes a more optimistic view than either Luther or Calvin, merely says that everybody is given sufficient grace to be able to save himself, though not to the same extent.

It is, however, interesting to observe what inroads secular 'democratic' thinking has made among the theologians. Obviously equality does not figure in Holy Scripture. Freedom is mentioned several times, but not equality. Yet there are far too many minds among religious thinkers who would like to bridge the gap between religion, i.e., their Christian faith and certain current political notions. Hence they talk about adverbial equality - and are not really aware that they are playing a trick. They will start out saying that all men have souls equally, that they are equally called upon to save their souls, that they are equally created in the image of God, and so forth. But two persons who equally have noses or banking accounts, do not have equal noses or equal banking accounts. While our physical and intellectual differences, inferiorities, and superiorities can be fairly obvious, our spiritual status is much more difficult to determine. We do not know who among us is nearer to God, and because we do not know this very important fact, we should treat each other as equals. 

This, however, is merely procedural. We are in a similar position to the postman who delivers two sealed letters indiscriminately, the one that carries a worthless ad and the other that brings great joy. He does not know what is inside. The comparison is far from perfect, because all human beings have the same Father and we are therefore brothers -even if we are spiritually on different levels and have different functions in human society.

This is also the place to say a few words about the other equality mentioned by so many people in a most affirmative way: equality before the law. At times, equality before the law might be an administrative expedient, saving money and the strain of lengthy investigations. In other words, equality before the law is 'practical' The question remains whether it is really desirable, whether it always should be adhered to, and, finally, whether it is just. It is obvious that a child of four having committed manslaughter [it does happen!] should be dealt with differently from a child of twelve, an adolescent of seventeen, or a mature man of thirty. The egalitarian will accept this but will add that all men or women at the age of thirty should be punished the same way. Yet most [not all] courts in the civilized world take 'circumstance' into consideration. St. Thomas, for instance, insisted that stealing in a real emergency is no sin - for instance: a desperate beggar having received no alms* and thereupon stealing a loaf of bread for his family. In certain situations the difference between the sexes will put obstacles on the path of equality before the law. Women, for instance, can decide to conceive and thereby get pregnancy leave with pay, while a man cannot do this. 

*[in historical contexts] money or food given to poor people.

A third kind of equality is invoked by a great many: equality of opportunity. In the narrow sense of the term it can never be achieved and should not even be attempted. It would be much wiser to demand the abolition of unjust discrimination, arbitrary discrimination without a solid 'factual' foundation. In employing labor we must discriminate between the skilled and the inexperienced, the industrious and the lazy, the dull and the smart, etc. It is interesting to see, however, that there is a trend in many trade unions to protest against such just discrimination and insist on 'indiscriminate' wage rates and employment security.

'Just discrimination,' in other words, 'preference based on merit' is conspicuously absent in a process which, in our society, has a deep and wide influence as a sanctified example - political elections. Whether it is a genuinely democratic election in the West or a plebiscitarian comedy in the East, the one-man-one-vote principle is now taken for granted. The knowledge, the experience, the merits, the standing in the community, the sex, the wealth, the taxes, the military record of the voter do not count, only the vegetable principle of age - he must be 18, 21, 24 years old... The 21-year-old semiliterate prostitute and the 65-year-old professor of political science who has lost an arm in the war, has a large family, carries a considerable tax burden, and has a real understanding of the political problems on which he is expected to cast his ballot - they are politically equal as citizens.

It is this egalitarianism of the voters which has psychologically fathered other egalitarian notions [as we shall see later].[1]

[1] Erik Maria Ritter von Kuehnelt-Leddihn [1974], pp. 21-24.


'Egalitarianism, as we have already intimated, cannot make much progress without the use of force: Perfect equality, naturally, is only possible in total slavery. Since nature [and naturalness, implying also freedom from artificial constraints] has no bias against even gross inequalities, force must be used to establish equality.'


Right and Left

[Now we] come to a very necessary, not universally accepted definition, the definition of the terms 'right' and 'left.'

Right and left have been used in Western civilisation from times immemorial with certain meanings; right [German: rechts] had a positive, left a negative connotation. In all European languages [including the Slavic idioms and Hungarian] right is connected with 'right' [ius], rightly, rightful, in German gerecht [just), the Russian pravo [law], pravda [truth], whereas in French gauche also means 'awkward, clumsy.' The Italian sinistro can mean left, unfortunate, or calamitous. The English sinister can mean left or dark. The Hungarian word for 'right' is jobb which also means 'better,' while bal [left] is used in composite nouns in a negative sense: balsors is misfortune. 

In Biblical language the just on the Day of Judgment are to be on the right 2 and the damned on the left. Christ sits ad dexteram Patris [on the right hand of the Father] as the Nicene Creed asserts. In Britain it became the custom to allocate seats to the supporters of the government on the right and to the opposition on the left side. And when a vote is taken in the House of Commons the 'ayes' pass into the right lobby behind the Speaker's chair while the 'noes' go to the left lobby. They are counted by four members who then inform the Speaker of the outcome. Thus in the Mother of Parliaments right and left imply affirmation or negation [the contradiction or denial of something].

* The Nicene Creed, also called the Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan Creed, is a statement of the orthodox faith of the early Christian church in opposition to certain heresies, especially Arianism. These heresies, which disturbed the church during the fourth century, concerned the doctrine of the trinity and of the person of Christ. Both the Greek [Eastern] and the Latin ]Western] church held this creed in honor, though with one important difference: the Western church insisted on the inclusion of the phrase 'and the Son' [known as the 'filioque'] in the article on the procession of the Holy Spirit; this phrase still is repudiated by the Eastern Orthodox church. In its present form this creed goes back partially to the Council of Nicea [A.D. 325] with additions by the Council of Constantinople [A.D. 381]. It was accepted in its present form at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, but the 'filioque' phrase was not added until 589. However, the creed is in substance an accurate and majestic formulation of the Nicene faith. This translation of the Greek text was approved by the CRC Synod of 1988.

On the Continent, beginning in France, where most parliaments have a horseshoe shape [and not rows of benches facing each other] the most conservative parties have been seated to the right, usually flanked by liberals; then came the parties of the center [who frequently held key positions in the formation of government coalitions]; then the 'radicals' and finally the Socialists, Independent Socialists, and Communists. In Germany after World War 1, most unfortunately, the National Socialists were seated on the extreme right because to simple-minded people nationalists were rightists, if not conservatives... The misplacing of the Nazis in the Reichstag has thus hardened a confusion in semantics and logical thinking that had started some time earlier. The Communists, the Socialists, and the Anarchists were identified with the left, and the Fascists and the National Socialists with the right. At the same time one discovered a number of similarities between the Nazis on the one side and the Communists on the other. Thus the famous and perfectly idiotic formula arose: 'We are opposed to all extremism, be it from the left or the right. And, anyhow, Red and Brown are practically the same: extremes always meet.'

The first fault with this loose reasoning lies in the aforementioned belief that 'extremes meet'; because extremes never meet. Extreme cold and extreme heat, extreme distance and extreme nearness, extreme strength and extreme weakness, extreme speed and extreme slowness, none of them ever 'meet.' They do not become identical or even alike. The second is the almost total absence of clear definitions of left and right. In other words, there is a deficiency of logic as well as an absence of semantic clarity. Logic stands independent of our whims, but we can provide clear definitions.

Let us then agree that right is what is truly right for man, above all his freedom. Because man has a personality, because he is a riddle, a 'puzzle,' a piece of a puzzle which never completely fits into any preestablished social or political picture, he needs 'elbowroom.' He needs a certain Lebensraum ['living space'] in which he can develop, expand, in which he has a tiny personal kingdom.

In a state-insured, government-prescribed, and - to make matters worse - socially endorsed collectivism, our liberty, our 'Western' personality, our spiritual growth, our true happiness is at stake. And all the great dynamic isms of the last 200 years have been mass movements attacking - even when they had the word 'freedom' on their lips - the liberty, the independence of the person. Programmatically this was done in the name of all sorts of high and even low-sounding ideals: Nationality, race, better living standards, 'social justice,' 'security,' ideological conviction, restoration of ancient rights, struggle for a happier world for us all. But in reality the driving motor of these movements was always the mad ambition of oratorically or at least literarily gifted intellectuals and the successful mobilisation of masses filled with envy and a thirst for 'revenge.'

The right has to be identified with personal freedom, with the absence of utopian visions whose realisation - even if it were possible - would need tremendous collective efforts; it stands for free, organically grown forms of life. And this in turn implies a respect for tradition. The right is truly progressive, whereas there is no real advance in utopianism which almost always demands .... to 'make a clean sweep' of the past, du passe faisons table rase! [to start again from scratch, to start again with a clean slate].

As a matter of fact, almost all utopias, though 'futuristic' in temperament, have always preached a return to an assumed Golden Age, glowing in the most attractive colors of a falsely romanticised version. The true rightist is not a man who wants to go back to this or that institution for the sake of a return; he wants first to find out what is eternally true, eternally valid, and then either to restore or reinstall it, regardless of whether it seems obsolete, whether it is ancient, contemporary, or even without precedent, brand new, 'ultramodern.' Old truths can be rediscovered, entirely new ones found. The Man of the Right does not have a time-bound, but a sovereign mind.

The right stands for liberty, a free, unprejudiced form of thinking, a readiness to preserve traditional values [provided they are true values], a balanced view of the nature of man, seeing in him neither beast nor angel, insisting also on the uniqueness of human beings who cannot be transformed into or treated as mere numbers or ciphers†; but the left is the advocate of the opposite principles. It is the enemy of diversity and the fanatical promoter of identity. Uniformity is stressed in all leftist utopias, a paradise in which everybody should be the 'same,' where envy is dead, where the 'enemy' either no longer exists, lives outside the gates, or is utterly humiliated. Leftism loathes differences, deviation, stratifications. Any hierarchy it accepts is only 'functional.' The term 'one' is the keynote: There should be only one language, one race, one class, one ideology, one religion, one type of school, one law for everybody, one flag, one coat of arms and one centralised world state.

† a secret or disguised way of writing; a code.

Let us take the structure of the state, for instance. The leftists believe in strong centralisation. The rightists are 'federalists' [in the European sense] ... since they believe in local rights and privileges, they stand for the principle of subsidiarity. Decisions, in other words, should be made and carried out on the lowest level - by the person, the family, the village, the borough, the city, the county, the federated state, and only finally at the top, by the government in the nation's capital. 

Or let us look at education. The leftist is always a statist. He has all sorts of grievances and animosities against personal initiative and private enterprise. The notion of the state doing everything [until, finally, it replaces all private existence] is the Great Leftist Dream. Thus it is a leftist tendency to have city or state schools - or to have a ministry of education controlling all aspects of education i.e., the notion that social differences in education should be eliminated and all pupils should be given a chance to acquire the same knowledge, the same type of information in the same fashion and to the same degree.

This should help them to think in identical or at least in similar ways. It is only natural that this should be especially true of countries where 'democratism' as an ism is being pushed. There efforts will be made to ignore the differences in IQs and in personal efforts. Sometimes marks and report cards will be eliminated and promotion from one grade to the next be made automatic. It is obvious that from a scholastic viewpoint this has disastrous results, but to a true ideologist this hardly matters. When informed that the facts did not tally with his ideas, Hegel once severely replied, 'Um so schlimmer fur die Tatsachen' - all the worse for the facts.

Leftism does not like religion for a variety of causes. Its ideologies, its omnipotent, all-permeating state wants undivided allegiance. With religion at least one other allegiance [to God], if not also allegiance to a Church, is interposed. In dealing with organised religion, leftism knows of two widely divergent procedures. One is a form of separation of Church and State which eliminates religion from the marketplace and tries to atrophy‡ it by not permIttIng it to exist anywhere outside the sacred precincts. The other is the transformation of the Church into a fully state-controlled establishment. Under these circumstances the Church is asphyxiated, not starved to death. The antireligious bias of leftism rests, however, not solely on anticlericalism, antiecclesiasticism, and the antagonism against the existence of another body, another organisation within the boundaries of the State: It gets its impetus not only from jealousy but, above all, from the rejection of the idea of a supernatural, a spiritual order. Leftism is basically materialistic.

‡ gradually decline in effectiveness or vigour due to underuse or neglect.

If we then identify, in a rough way, the right with freedom, personality, and variety, and the left with slavery, collectivism, and uniformity, we are employing semantics [meanings] that make sense [and] will always be used in the sense outlined here, [for] we are convinced that this distinction in semantics is indeed a vital one in discussing the political scene of our age.


'Leftism does not like religion for a variety of causes. Its ideologies, its omnipotent, all-permeating state wants undivided allegiance. With religion at least one other allegiance [to God], if not also allegiance to a Church, is interposed ... It gets its impetus not only from jealousy but, above all, from the rejection of the idea of a supernatural, a spiritual order. Leftism is basically materialistic.'

Part Two

Leftism in the Western World has roots reaching way back into the dim past. Leftist ideas and notions made themselves felt again and again in late medieval and modern history, but for its first concrete and, in a way, fateful outbreak and concretisation we have to look to the French Revolution. Its initial period began with the undermining of traditional values and ideas, coupled with the demand for moderate reforms. With Voltaire a whole series of scoffers, facile critics, and agnostics* in the literal sense of the term made their appearance. They subverted religion, convictions, traditions, and the loyalties on which state and society rested. 

The process of decomposition and putrefaction always starts at the top - in the royal palace, the presidential mansion, among the intellectuals, the aristocracy, the wealthy, the clergy - and then gradually enmeshes the lower social layers. In this process it is interesting to notice how the high and mighty develop a sense of guilt and with it a readiness to abdicate, to yield to expropriation†, to submit to the loss of privileges, in other words, to commit suicide politically and economically. For this masochist act, however, they are well prepared by the ideological propaganda coming from their own ranks. 

* a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality [such as God] is unknown and probably unknowable. broadly : one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god.
† the action by the state or an authority of taking property from its owner for public use or benefit.

The members of the nobility who took active part in the intellectual or political undermining of the ancien regime and then participated in the Revolution are very numerous; without their support the French Revolution is well-nigh unimaginable. The first president of the Jacobin Society in 1790 was the Duc d'Auguillon, and even the man who, in moderation, spread the Revolution over the map of Europe, Napoleon, came from a noble family. The pioneers of the Revolution also belonged frequently to the clergy [with] 'philosophising abbes' found everywhere,

In compiling such an inventory one is inevitably reminded of the fact that, statistically speaking, the natural death of states and nations as well as of classes and estates, is not murder but suicide. However, this act of suicide is usually preceded by a period of delusions and follies.

The story will begin again at a later date, starting from the point where it stopped.
CoverPrague [21 Aug. 1968]. Photograph by Libor Hajsky 
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