From The Hour of Decision (1933)
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This general Colored Revolution over the whole earth marches under the disguise of very varied tendencies: national, economic, social. It directs itself now against the white governments of colonial empires (India) or of its own land (the Cape), now against a white upper stratum (Chile), now against the power of the pound or the dollar — any alien economic system, in fact. It may even be found opposing its own financial world for doing business with the whites (China), or its own aristocracy or monarchy. Religious motives also contribute: hatred of Christianity or of any form of priesthood and orthodoxy whatever, of manners and customs, world outlook, and moral. But ever since the Boxer Revolution in China, the Indian Mutiny, and the revolt of the Mexicans against the Emperor Maximilian, there will be found, deep down, everywhere one and the same thing: hatred of the white race and an unconditional determination to destroy it. As to whether age-old, weary Civilizations like the Indian and the Chinese can preserve order without foreign rule, nobody cares. All that matters is whether they are in a position to throw off the white yoke, and that is the case. Who will be the next sovereign over the colored powers — Russia, Japan, or some great adventurer with an armed host at his back — will be decided later, or perhaps not at all. The ancient Egyptian Civilization changed its rulers many times after 1000 B.C. — Libyans, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Romans. It was never again capable of self-government, but always equal to a new and victorious revolt. And whether even one of the many other aims is being or will be realized is for the moment quite beside the point. The great historical question is whether the fall of the white powers will be brought about or not. And on this point the overwhelming unity of resolve that has formed itself may well give us something to think about. What resources of spiritual and material power can the white world really muster against this menace?
Very few, it would seem at the first glance. For one thing, its peoples are weary of their Culture. Spiritual substance has consumed itself in the fire of high form and the striving after inward perfection. In very many cases only the glow is left, in many only ashes, but it is not so everywhere. The less a nation has been called upon to lead in the whirlwind of history in the past, the more has it retained of the chaos which may become form. And when the storm of great events rushes over it, as in 1914, hidden sparks suddenly burst into flame. Precisely in the Germanic race, the strongest-willed that has ever existed, great possibilities lie sleeping.
But in speaking of race, it is not intended in the sense in which it is the fashion among anti-Semites in Europe and America to use it today: Darwinistically, materially. Race purity is a grotesque word in view of the fact that for centuries all stocks and species have been mixed, and that warlike — that is, healthy — generations with a future before them have from time immemorial always welcomed a stranger into the family if he had “race,” to whatever race it was he belonged. Those who talk too much about race no longer have it in them. What is needed is not a pure race, but a strong one, which has a nation within it.
This manifests itself above all in self-evident elemental fecundity, in an abundance of children, which historical life can consume without ever exhausting the supply. God is, in the familiar words of Frederick the Great, always on the side of the big battalions, and now if ever this shows itself. The millions who fell in the World War were the pick of all the white world had in the way of race, but the test of race is the speed with which it can replace itself. A Russian once said to me: “The Russian woman will make good in ten years what we sacrificed in the Revolution.” That is the right instinct. Such races are irresistible. The trivial doctrine of Malthus, preached everywhere today, which extols barrenness as progress, only proves that these intellectuals have no “race,” not to mention the idiotic idea that economic crises can be surmounted by an atrophied population. It is just the other way round. The “big battalions,” without which there is no world policy, give protection, strength, and internal riches to the economic life also.
A woman of race does not desire to be a “companion” or a “lover,” but a mother; and not the mother of one child, to serve as a toy and distraction, but of many: the instinct of a strong race speaks in the pride that large families inspire, in the feeling that barrenness is the hardest curse that can befall a woman and through her the race. Out of this instinct arises the primitive jealousy which leads one woman to take away from another the man whom she covets as the father of her children. The more intellectual jealousy of the great cities, which is little more than erotic appetite and looks upon the other party as a means of pleasure, and even the mere fact of considering the desired or dreaded number of children who are to be born, betrays the waning of the race urge to permanence; and that instinct for permanence cannot be reawakened by speeches and writing. Primitive marriage, or whatever other deep-rooted folk-custom has ever been practiced to sanctify procreation, was anything but sentimental. A man wants stout sons who will perpetuate his name and his deeds beyond his death into the future and enhance them, just as he has done himself through feeling himself heir to the calling and works of his ancestors. That is the Nordic idea of immortality. These peoples have known no other and desired none. It is the source of that tremendous yearning for fame, the wish to live on among posterity through one’s work, to see one’s name perpetuated on monuments or at the least held in honorable memory. For this reason the inheritance idea is inseparable from Germanic marriage. When the notion of property crumbles away, the meaning of the family fades into nothingness. He who lays hand on one attacks the other too. The idea of inheritance, which is inherent in the life of every farm, every workshop, every old-established firm, and all inherited callings (that is why there are generations of officers, judges, and clergy. It is the basis of all nobilities, patriciates, and guilds), and has found its highest symbolical expression in hereditary monarchy, is the guarantee of strong race-instincts. Not only is it untouched by Socialism; its very existence signifies Socialism’s downfall.
But the decay of the white family, the inevitable outcome of megalopolitan existence, is spreading, and it is devouring the “race” of nations. The meaning of man and wife, the will to perpetuity, is being lost. People live for themselves alone, not for future generations. The nation as society, once the organic web of families, threatens to dissolve, from the city outwards, into a sum of private atoms, of which each is intent on extracting from his own and other lives the maximum of amusement — panem et circenses. The women’s emancipation of Ibsen’s time wanted, not freedom from the husband, but freedom from the child, from the burden of children, just as men’s emancipation in the same period signified freedom from the duties towards family, nation, and State. The whole of Liberal-Socialistic problem-literature revolves about this suicide of the white race. It has been the same in all other Civilizations (The Decline of the West, II, pp. 103 et seq.).
The consequences lie before us. The colored races of the world have up till now been twice as strong numerically as the white. But about 1930 Russia had an annual excess of births of four million, Japan of two million; and India, between 1921 and 1931, increased her population by thirty-four million. In Africa the extraordinarily prolific Negro population will increase still more enormously now that European medicine has been introduced to check disease, which was so strong a selective factor. In contrast to this, Germany and Italy have a surplus of births of less than half a million, England — the country of publicly encouraged birth control — less than half this amount, and France and the old-established Yankee element in the United States none at all. (This applies equally to the white element in South Africa and Australia.) This Yankee element, until now the dominant “race” of Germanic stamp, has been rapidly dwindling for some decades. The increase of population comes entirely from the side of the Negroes and emigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe since 1900. In France some Departments have lost over a third of their population in the last fifty years. In certain cases the birth-rate is only half the death-rate. There are small towns and villages which are almost empty. From the South there is an influx of Catalonians and Italians as land-workers. Poles and Negroes are found in every grade, even the middle classes. There are black clergymen, officers, and judges. It is these prolific immigrants, accounting for a tenth of the population, who alone keep the number of “Frenchmen” up to anything approaching the old level. But the genuine Frenchman will soon be no longer master in France. The apparent increase of the white population all over the world, little as it is in comparison with the volume of the colored increase, rests upon a temporary illusion: the number of children grows ever smaller, and only the number of adults increases, not because there are more of them, but because they live longer.
But a strong race requires not only an inexhaustible birth-rate, but also a severe selection process, which is provided by the resistances to living represented by misfortune, sickness, and war. Nineteenth-century medicine, a true product of Rationalism, is from this point of view also a phenomenon of age. It prolongs each life whether this is desirable or no. It prolongs even death. It replaces the number of children by the number of greybeards. It promotes the world outlook of panem et circenses by estimating the value of life by the number of its days, not by their usefulness. It prevents the natural process of selection and thereby accentuates the decay of the race. The number of incurable mental cases in England and Wales has increased during twenty years from 4.6 to 8.6 per thousand. In Germany the number of the feeble-minded is almost half a million, in the United States over a million. According to a report sponsored by ex-President Hoover, the youth of America has a record of 1,360,000 with hearing impaired or “so defective in speech that they require remedial treatment and training,” 1,000,000 with “weak or damaged hearts,” 675,000 presenting “behavior problems,” 450,000 “mentally retarded to such a degree that they require special education,” 300,000 cripples, and 60,000 “blind or in need of sight-saving instruction.” But added to these are the terrible numbers of abnormal people of every description, mental, spiritual, and physical, the hysterical, moral, and nerve cases who can neither beget nor bear healthy children. Their number is unobtainable, but we can gauge it by the number of doctors who live by them and the mass of books that are written about them. From this degenerate crop comes the revolutionary proletariat, with its hatred born of grievances, and the drawing-room Bolshevism of the aesthetes and literary folk, who enjoy and advertise the attractiveness of such states of mind.
It is a well-known fact that important persons are seldom first children and almost never only ones. The marriage that is poor in offspring is a menace not only to the quantity but to the quality of the race. What a nation needs quite as badly as a healthy race is the existence of an élite to lead it. But an élite such as that formed by the overseas civil service in England and the officer-corps in Prussia — or, for that matter, the Catholic Church — which unwaveringly, and in total disregard of money or origins, upheld its ethic and made good in difficult situations, becomes impossible when the available material rises nowhere above the average. Life’s selection must have taken precedence of it; only then can the class selection take place. A strong stock demands strong parents. Something of the barbarism of the past ages must still be present in the blood beneath the strict form of an old Culture, ready to surge up in difficult times, to save and to conquer.
Barbarism is that which I call strong race (I repeat: race that one has, not a race to which one belongs. The one is ethos, the other – zoology), the eternal warlike in the type of the beast-of-prey man. It often seems to have ceased to exist, but it is crouching in the soul ready to spring. Given a big challenge =- and it is on top of the enemy. It is dead only when Late urban pacifism, with its weary desire for peace at any price, short of that of its own life, has rolled its mud over the generations. That is the spiritual self-disarmament, following on the physical, which comes of unfruitfulness.
Why is the German people the least exhausted of the white world, and therefore the one on which may be placed the most hope? Because its political past has given it no opportunity to waste its precious blood and its great abilities. This is the one blessed aspect of our wretched history since 1500: it has used us sparingly. It turned us into dreamers and theoreticians in matters of world policy, made us ignorant of the world, narrow, quarrelsome, and provincial; but that can be got over. It was no organic defect, no inherent lack of ability — the days of the Holy Roman Empire are there to show that. Good blood, the foundation of every kind of intellectual as well as physical superiority, there was and still is. Great history is exacting. It devours the racially best elements. It devoured ancient Rome in a few centuries. The Nordic migrations, which had come to standstill in Southern Europe a thousand years before, set in again on the grand scale on the discovery of America, taking oceans in their stride. Vigorous Spanish families, of predominantly Nordic origin, migrated in numbers to the new continent, where they could fight, explore, and rule. By about 1800 the best aristocracy of the Spanish stamp was there and vigorous life had died out in the mother country. Similarly the class in France whose vocation was to rule was used up by high policy from Louis XIII onwards — and not by that alone, for high Culture must be paid for dearly too. And the Anglo-Saxon has been used up even more by the British Empire. What there was of higher material there did not find its way into counting-houses and minor official posts, but followed the Viking urge to a life of danger and wandered to all parts of the globe, either meeting its end in innumerable adventures and wars or succumbing to the effects of climate, or remaining abroad to establish, as in North America, the foundation of a new ruling class. What was left became “conservative,” by which in this case is meant uncreative, full of unproductive hatred of everything new and unforeseen. Germany, too, has lost a great deal of its best blood in foreign armies and to foreign nations. But the provincialism of its political conditions tuned down the ambitions of young talent to service at small courts, in small armies and administrations. (Except in the Habsburg State, which likewise diluted and wasted the German stock within its boundaries.) These settled down to form a healthy and prolific middle class. The nobility remained for the most part a superior peasantry. There was no high society and no fullness of life. “Race,” in the people, was asleep, waiting for the call of a great age. But in this people there lies, notwithstanding the devastation of the last decades, a store of excellent blood such as no other nation possesses. It can be roused and must be spiritualized to meet the stupendous tasks before it. The battle for the planet has begun. The pacifism of the century of Liberalism must be overcome if we are to go on living
How far in fact have the white nations advanced towards pacifism? Is the outcry against war an intellectual gesture or a serious abdication from history at the cost of dignity, honor, liberty? Yet life is war. Can we dismiss its meaning and yet retain it? That is what the craving for the peace of fellahdom, for protection against everything that disturbs the daily routine, against destiny in every form, would seem to intimate: a sort of protective mimicry vis-à-vis world history, human insects feigning death in the face of danger, the “happy ending” of an empty existence, the boredom of which has brought in jazz music and Negro dancing to perform the Dead March for a great Culture.
But this cannot, must not, be. The hare may perhaps deceive the fox, but human beings can not deceive each other. The colored man sees through the white man when he talks about “humanity” and everlasting peace. He scents the other’s unfitness and lack of will to defend himself. This is why a great educational effort is essential: what I have called “Prussian,” but which may, for all I care, call itself “Socialist” — what’s in a word? It must be education which rouses the sleeping energy not by schooling, science, or culture, but by living example, by soul discipline, which fetches up what is still there, strengthens it, and causes it to blossom anew. We cannot permit ourselves to be tired. Danger is knocking at the door. The colored races are not pacifists. They do not cling to a life whose length is its sole value. They take up the sword when we lay it down. Once they feared the white man; now they despise him. Our judgment stands written in their eyes when men and women comport themselves in their presence as we do, at home or in the lands of color themselves. Once they were filled with terror at our power — as were the Germanic people before the first Roman legions. Today, when they are themselves a power, their mysterious soul — which we shall never understand — rises up and looks down upon the whites as on a thing of yesterday.
But the greatest danger has not yet been even named. What if, one day, class war and race war joined forces to make an end of the white world? This lies in the nature of things, and neither of the two Revolutions will disdain the aid of the other simply because it despises its supporters. A common hate extinguishes mutual contempt. And what if some white adventurer — and there have been many such — whose wild soul cannot breathe in the hothouse of civilization and seeks to satiate its love of danger in fantastic colonial ventures, among pirates, in the Foreign Legion — should suddenly see this grand goal staring him in the face? It is through such natures that history springs her great surprises. The loathing of deep and strong men for our conditions and the hatred of profoundly disillusioned men might well grow into a revolt that meant to annihilate. This was not unknown in Caesar’s time. In any case: when the white proletariat breaks loose in the United States, the Negro will be on the spot, and behind him Indians and Japanese will await their hour. Similarly a black France would have little hesitation in outdoing the Parisian horrors of 1792 and 1871. And would the white leaders of the class war ever hesitate if colored outbreaks opened up a way for them? They have never been fastidious in the means they use. It would make no difference if the voice of Moscow ceased to dictate. It has done its work, and the work goes forward of itself. We have waged our wars and class wars before the eyes of color, have humiliated and betrayed each other; we have even summoned it to take part in them. Would it be anything to wonder if at last color were to act on its own account?
At this point advancing history towers high over economic distress and internal political ideals. The elemental forces of life are themselves entering the fight, which is for all or nothing. The prefiguration of Caesarism will soon become clearer, more conscious and unconcealed. The masks will fall completely from the age of the parliamentary interlude. All attempts to gather up the content of the future into parties will soon be forgotten. The Fascist formations of this decade will pass into new, unforeseeable forms, and even present-day nationalism will disappear. There remains as a formative power only the warlike, “Prussian” spirit — everywhere and not in Germany alone. Destiny, once compacted in meaningful forms and great traditions, will now proceed to make history in terms of formless individual powers. Caesar’s legions are returning to consciousness.
Here, possibly even in our own century, the ultimate decisions are waiting for their man. In presence of these the little aims and notions of our current politics sink to nothing. He whose sword compels victory here will be lord of the world. The dice are there ready for this stupendous game. Who dares to throw them?