The Battle Between the Eternal Roman and the Eternal Jew: Selections from Ernst Niekisch’s Die dritte, imperiale Figur (The Third Imperial Figure) (1935), Part 2 of 2

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Chapter 11

The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation had been the sword of the eternal Roman; it was the position of honour that was given to the Germanic barbarian for entering into Rome’s service. The coronation of Charlemagne in 800 in Rome had made visible the symbolic power; every later coronation confirmed that nothing had changed in the basic relationship between Romans and barbarians. The Empire sought to advance so far in the worldly realm as the una sancta[1] had progressed in the spiritual. Even when the Empire lay far behind the Church it held fast to the ambitious hope of being able one day to gain the advantage once again; in the Empire of Charles V,[2] on which the sun never set, the Empire had once again become almost as far-reaching as the Church once was. The eternal Roman has never exercised such an uncontested rule as in the times of the mediaeval Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation.

To be sure, the barbarian had his own stubbornness; because he had at his disposal the sharpness of the sword, he occasionally felt tempted to take revenge on his master: the sacco di roma[3] had been a truly barbarian act.

As much as the Christianisation subjected the Germans to Roman influence, at the same time it provided the eternal Jew with access to the Northern marshes and woods. Christ preserves his special Jewish logic in every climate and even as a blond-haired and blue-eyed Saviour he has his Jewish deeper significance along with his Roman mission. The Saviour, as a Jewish-Roman German is a hybrid, like a constitutional prince or a liberal general.

When the Catholic Church in the course of its secularisation had regained such a high degree of Roman purity that primordial Germanic instincts began to mobilise against so much Roman exclusivity, the Jewish-Christian elements sailed into the winds of Germanic anti-Roman attitudes; the eternal Jew allied himself with the eternal barbarian against the eternal Roman. That gave him a big opportunity in the period of prosperity of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation despite leading a disenfranchised life in the ghetto. He obtained an unexpected freedom of action if he favoured mutinies against the Roman order directly or indirectly, secretly or openly; every breakthrough of economic reason into the realm of the theological and legally creative, Reich-forming reason expanded the ground on which he is at home and can operate successfully. Where economic reason advanced it immediately unleashed social contradictions; it was like a cutting knife that socially fragmented the total organism formed according to estates under Roman formal law after it had already disintegrated into religious, political and national components.

“This crucified Christianity,” Nietzsche continues in that aphorism from his Nachlass,[4] “found in Catholicism a form in which the Roman element acquired predominance, and in Protestantism another in which the Jewish element predominates. That is not because the Germans, the bearers of the Protestant mentality, are more related to the Jews but because they stand farther from the Romans than the Catholic population of southern Europe.”

The Swiss Reformation was certainly not a Jewish “show,” but the eternal Jew had a hand in the game. The course of basic events took a turn by which the Jew came off profiting. Luther brought the hatred-filled Paul into the battlefield against the papist Romans; the Old Testament was placed above the tradition with which the spirit of Rome had worked. The German Reformation tied even tighter the Jewish knot that the Renaissance Romans had wanted to unravel. One knows how Max Weber associated the rise and development of capitalism with the Reformation revolt.[5] One encounters here the tracks of the eternal Jew to whose economic reason the path was cleared by the Reformation. The Protestant peoples accordingly became also the real bearers of capitalistic progress. The preference of some Reformation times for Old Testament names, the tendency of Reformation nations for Old Testament metaphors and allusions, for the mood of the Prophets and the Lord of Hosts, make clear the relations that bind the protesting barbarians to the eternal Jew.

The destruction of the unity of the Church was a destructive blow against the imperial position of the authority of the Roman order; as a consequence of the Reformation, the eternal Jew outstripped the eternal Roman in Germany. The eternal Jew reaped what the eternal Roman lost.

Through the inner impact of the Reformation even the Germanically watered modification of the Roman idea of imperium, the “Empire,” had necessarily to be affected. For the same reason that the Reformation was an ecclesiastical mutiny it was also a revolution of the princes against the Kaiser. The weakening of the imperial power — just as the weakening of the Papal power had done — brought an end to the universal authority of Rome. The liberty of the princes, the Protestant conscience and the new monetary mentality were different sides of a single uniform matter; the sovereign territorial lord, his court preacher and his court Jew were the rebellious protagonists who had in Germany gained ground from Rome politically, ecclesiastically and intellectually. The cities fell to the Reformation because they smelled the good economic roast meat that the Jew pushed into the kitchen for them in the background.

What is heresy for the Church is liberty for the Empire: sects splintered the Church just as sovereign states did the Empire. Lutheranism, Calvinism, Anglicanism and, in a corresponding distance, Gallicanism, exploded the Roman Church just as the German provincial princes, independent Switzerland, the Netherlands that had seceded, the national states of England and France, had exploded the Empire.

The Protestant provincial churches and the sovereign provinces were, to a certain degree, coagulated intermediate stages of the general process of dissolution with which the sacred and secular form of the inherited Roman idea of imperium was afflicted. They were not autochthonous building stones of a new rising German rule; there was no German principle in them that could have opposed the idea of Roman order with an equal validity. Rebels knew how to secure their share of the booty: that was all. In the confrontation with the imperial figure of the eternal Jew, the rebellious German barbarian was as short-sighted and provincial as he was, in the final analysis, defenceless; in the rebellion against the eternal Roman he did not see how dangerous the company of the eternal Jew was for him. The capitalistic international movement was not a Germanic movement; the eternal Jew had provided the trigger for it. The German barbarian developed his raw force in the impulse received from outside. In the extent and large space which he thereby attained there pulsated the Jewish character, not his own. Since the Reformation, the capitalistic development descended on the German barbarians like a dark destiny that flung him into vast depths and distances and whose secret he never grasped.

The Peasants’ Revolt that the Reformation had engendered was the insurrection of the original German substance in a condition of unbroken naturalness.[6] It merely opposed everything alien and was as distrustful of the eternal Jew as of the eternal Roman. This basic absoluteness turned into a disaster for it; in its radicalness it frightened the Reformation itself not a little. The Reformation’s ambition wished to content itself with making itself independent in the corners of the inherited Christian cultural system; it was in no way tempted by a desire to demolish the Western house and to replace it with a new purely German structure.

The rebelling peasant was the barbarian who rejected the leadership of any foreign imperial figure; that is why the Peasants’ War was one of those rare revolutions that was not to the taste of the eternal Jew. Even Marx’s friend Engels did not reconcile himself to those agitating peasants; he destroyed the legend of peasant heroism by wishing to consider the fighting peasants only as “reactionaries.”

The defeat of the Peasants’ rebellion benefited above all the eternal Jew; the racial raw material which, in its revolutionary independence, could not be incorporated into the Jewish economic worldview now became docile and useful. The frightful bloodletting that the princely tribunal imposed on the peasants and that Luther endorsed broke the savagery of the German spontaneity so permanently that, in Germany, from now on no imperial ambition intervening from abroad met with an invincible resistance. The eternal Jew, who undertook the contest with the eternal Roman on German soil, had henceforth an easy match. The defiant self-confidence of the barbarian that the latter displayed when he had seen the Roman weakened was once again curbed; he was once again made tractable. The first section of that “process of producing workers” that gradually reduced the peasant to a proletarian of the capitalistic society had been successfully accomplished. The entrance of Roman law into Germany facilitated and accelerated this process. Although it seemed to be the disguised return of the eternal Roman and was doubtless that within certain limits, the Roman law however became one of the most consequential instruments of Jewish imperialism. The Roman law removed the peasant from his soil, mobilied him and made him in this way a powerless plaything of the Jewish-economic reason.

Chapter 12

In that the eternal Jew now entered the big game, both the fight of the specific structures and the specific powers, amongst themselves, as well as their revolt against the imperial structures of the Church and the Empire assumed the character of a dispute between two imperial figures, the eternal Roman and the eternal Jew. The imperial point of view is always the higher, more comprehensive, longer lasting. Though it may at first be hardly recognisable, it nevertheless asserts itself unstoppably in the course of time; it necessarily subordinates the narrower, local, provincial points of view under it. Since the German Reformation did not bring forth from itself an imperial principle, it finally became subject to an already existing imperial principle. It began perhaps as a German revolt against the institution-creating and theological reason of Rome but then drove the German people into the arms of economic reason that developed in the gigantic creation of capitalistic society. The success of the eternal Jew was constituted of the fact that economic reason conquered province after province and thereby gradually consumed the compelling force of the theological and legislative-creative- and state-building reason. Theological reason finally remained as an anachronistic curiosity: indeed, in the progress of economic reason, man, his thought, and his worldview became secular. At the same time the ancient Roman legacy of legal creativity and state-building reason was dissolved; it was valid still only conditionally insofar as the economic reason gave some room to it; in this way state and politics are made economic. Just as the Middle Ages are the age of the eternal Roman, with the age of the Reformation begins the age of the eternal Jew; it rose on the shoulders of the rebelling barbarians.

However the sources of power may have been distributed at that time, the battle of the two imperial figures proceeded inexorably and gradually drew all of mankind into it. Nations are like peasants on the chessboard; one withdrawal lasts sometimes a hundred years and if one of the peasants falls out, that signifies the blood, tears, misery and downfall of thousands. From the point of view of the imperial figures, history is a confusion of manifold detours on which it is possible to advance only at a snail’s pace: the imperial figures need time and, even in the case of setbacks, do not ever give up the fight because they have no doubt that they have time.

Chapter 13: Masks

The recent form of the eternal Roman is the Jesuit. The Jesuit does not express all of Rome but he brings the Roman substance into a temporally expedient formula. He is the hero of the Counter-Reformation; he conquered for Rome once again one part of its territory that it had lost to the Reformation. Loyola picked up the gauntlet that Luther had thrown before the feet of the Roman world. The Jesuit proceeds to the crusade against the German barbarians: it is a procedure of war-like adaptation that he disguises himself in one of the barbarian’s clothes: in the dress of a “soldier.” What the legionary who conquered provinces was for ancient Rome the Jesuit became for Christian Rome. The Jesuit wears the clothes of the warrior with the elegance of a worldly man; in this way he betrays the fact that something more than just a soldier hides behind it. He approaches the barbarian in a soldierly manner in order not to let the latter observe that he advances highly un-soldierly intentions.

The Germanic indignation against Rome’s abuses—its ancient clearing of the forests—went deep; the Jesuit had to give the appearance that he took that into account so far as he was able to. Rome had to give a Catholic-Jewish response to the Protestant-Jewish appeal. The Jesuit delivered this response. He became as much Jewish as he took Christianity seriously again. But the tension against the Jewish element remained nevertheless tight enough that he was able further to feel—at the same time—that he was the great adversary of the Jew. He translated the language of the Roman Caesar which, under Pope Leo X, had become familiar in the Vatican once again, into the dialect that the Jewish Messiah had left behind to his earthly representative as a legacy. He bound the mask of the suffering servant to the lordly visage of the ecclesiastical emperor. He sought to outplay the Jew once again; after the Germanic barbarian appealed to the Old Testament and the Prophets, the Jesuit jumped around no less generously with these than the Reformed priest did. Even the German call to Paul did not leave him in any embarrassment. The Jesuit is the Jewish grimace of the Roman in the same sense that the pastor is the Jewish grimace of the barbarian. He aims at outdoing every Reformation Jewish sophistry with a Roman-Jewish one. He stuffs his Roman matter into every Jewish-seeming covering in which it may be sold among the Northern heretics. If the goal did not sanctify the means to him, he would have lost the justification for his life; it is not necessary that he expressly admit this principle: but the principle is the essence of Jesuit life and the Jesuit experiment.

The Protestant rebellion had hurled the right to a free conscience against the ecclesiastical institutions; modern individualism had therewith made a breach into the closed system of the Roman order. This individualism, which was a barbarian unruliness, from under the cover of which the eternal Jew shot his own arrows against Rome both long and effectively, could be dealt with only if one took the opportunity in an “individualistic” manner; the Jesuit became as much an individualist as was necessary to cut the ground from under the feet of individualism. He had to make the hierarchical idea palatable once again to the apostate; to this end he had to get behind the ruse of the subtleties of the “proud Protestant conscience” in order to be able, through the superior and more dexterous “conscientiousness” of casuistry, to appease all opposing considerations of conscience. For that he had to be trained to strike the heretic with his own weapons; he had to know already from the start what precisely ails the heretic in order to have immediately the means to assuage his pain. In virtually every situation the Jesuit had to act in such a way that finally the culture of Rome would always win through him. In this he could be, in some cases, refined, cunning, intriguing, while sin others, relentless, brutal and cruel. He became God’s soldier, who in every case struck with the boldest elasticity in a way that the situation demanded. He had no rigid physiognomy and no ossified regimen; he always adapted his methods to the circumstances.

In this way did the Jesuit conduct himself with regard to individual persons; but the policy that he developed with regard to the heretical nations was also similar. If they did not let themselves be converted, they had to be convinced with fire and sword. The much-quoted words of the Legate Aleander in Worms:12 “If you Germans too will throw off the papist yoke, we however will see to it that you will wear yourself down amongst yourselves and suffocate in your blood”—these words could have been spoken also by a Jesuit general. When Wallenstein13 had wanted to pacify the German people and establish an easy religious balance, the Jesuits threaded in the knavery to which the great German general then fell victim in Eger;[7] the amount of blood that the heretical German people poured out was, not by far, enough for them. The Jesuit father confessor of the Catholic princes became the counterpart of the court Jew of the Protestant sovereigns.

The Jesuit is a phenomenon of the Roman emergency situation; Rome no longer remained strong and self-confident in its own strength; it required special measures. The Jesuit is the eternal Roman in a condition of militant tension.

The Jesuit who goes to battle against the modern age that bore heresy from its womb is itself its child. He stands with the cynical impartiality of a Renaissance man regarding religious conviction but defends it nevertheless with holy zeal. Not the religious content but the Roman-hierarchical ruling order is his real concern. This change of events lies in the fact that the Roman-hierarchical ruling order can only be saved by legitimizing it through the Jewish-Christian Scriptural and Church tradition;14 the Jesuit is its crown jurist who repeatedly justifies it with the help of theology as often as required. For Roman-Machiavellian reasons he is the soldier of the Jew Jesus; the Roman order reaps the fruits of the victories that the Jesuit fights for and wins under the banner of Jesus. Machiavelli did not have a more teachable pupil than the Jesuits are who, like foxes, know how to hide their role in a masterly way through skillful maneuvers. The Monarchomachs endorsed by Mariana and Bellarmin15 is the boldest application that the Jesuits derived from Machiavellianism. Precisely here the Roman garrison betrays most candidly what it is capable of when it has to organize its defenses.[8]

Since the age of the Reformation the Jesuit is the purest and most concentrated form of the imperial will of the eternal Roman. The Jesuit is the eternal Roman who has trained in arms by which his adversary, the eternal Jew, has surprisingly achieved something. Both continue the war for the high prize of world-rule which, since the days of primitive Christianity, rages between Rome and Judah. They stand on heights, operate on levels, deal in timespans that have made them up to now superior to all princes, national states and peoples; when the latter thought they were pushing them off, it was always they who were the ones pushed off by both those imperial figures.

Chapter 14 

Calvinism and especially its child, Anglo-Saxon Puritanism, were still more thoroughly saturated with the spirit of the Old Testament than Lutheranism was. They viewed world events through the eyes of the Patriarchs, the Prophets, and the Maccabees; they felt that they were called by heavenly Providence to seize God’s promise to Israel for themselves. The stormy breath of the English Revolution finally turned out to be the cool, ice-cold breath of economic reason; the latter claimed the field and set England toward the peak of that development through which Europe was turned into a trading office. The general ledger, which showed the profit balance, became the worthy counterpart of the Bible, which bore in itself the certainty of the heavenly reward. To view mankind exclusively as an object of exploitation and source of enrichment for England was to think in the sense of Jewish eschatology. England rose to an empire of economic reason; the eternal Jew received through the British world empire a sword in his hand in a similar sense that the sacrum imperium, the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation had been a sword of the eternal Roman. At first, the matter of the eternal Roman was assumed by the Spanish world power against the rising British world power; just as it fought in Germany against the Protestants, in Holland against the Calvinists, it got involved in a war with the English heretics. Ireland was the Roman arrow in the English flesh; the English war of annihilation against the Green Isle attacked the enemy that had nested on the threshold of the English dwelling. The decapitation of Mary Stuart had preserved England from being choked by Romanness even from the north. The English legislation against the Catholics made clear with what a deep understanding England had comprehended the world historical significance of its war with Spain. The rule of the trader set limits to the rule of the priests.

In the midst of the whirlpool of the English Revolution and the wars against Spain there was born the figure of the gentleman.[9] He is a hybrid, a bastard: the mentality of the Viking is crossed in him with the mentality of the eternal Jew. The Viking, the barbarian element, flashes therein the lordly feeling, the aristocratic attitude, the individualistic pride, the readiness for knightly fair play, the unbridled lust for conquest, robbery and rough brutality; the eternal Jew brings a consciousness of being on a mission, a passion for monetary acquisition, an economically calculating sense, and commercial ambition. The gentleman does not have the universal validity of the pure imperial figure; he still has too many earthly, barbarian elements, too much “blood and soil” in himself; however, he rises almost to that height. The English nation found in him its special stereotype; at the same time, he was worldly enough to be able at least to appear in all parts of the world “in style.”

Chapter 15

When the Third Estate destroyed the feudal social and political order in France, the “citizen” entered upon the historical stage.[10]

Every revolution unleashes primordial elements; it brings to light racial bedrocks. Just as the English Revolution awakened the Viking, the French Revolution awakened the ancient civis romanus to life from the blood of the French people. But at the same time, it breathed economic reason into the agitated primordial substance; the former was the moving principle of the resurrected Roman citizen. The eternal Jew had slipped into the body of the ancient Roman: that indeed produced the citoyen. Behind the mask of the ancient Roman he broke with the eternal Roman: it was the riskiest adventure that the eternal Jew had ever ventured on.

The phenomenon of the eternal Roman had, in the course of the centuries, bound itself so inseparably with the phenomenon of the Christian Roman that finally the anti-Christian colored the awakening of the mores of Roman antiquity, paradoxically benefiting the eternal Jew. The French Revolution was a Jewish success in the same sense that, several years before, the German Reformation had been. The Enlightenment, from whose soil the ideas of 1789 had sprouted, had fundamentally corroded all institutions, traditions and privileges that stood in the way of the development of economic reason.

In the beginning, English ideas had fertilized the French Revolution; from over the Channel economic reason undermined the ground on which the Rome-bound French monarchy stood. Exemplary stimulating impulses to the Revolution streamed into France at the same time from North America, from the wars of independence of the New World. The French monarchy had supported these wars in order to destroy economically flourishing England; in fact it thereby laid the axe to its own foundation.

The English-American war was a domestic war; just two different development stages of the economic reason opposed each other; for Rome there was little to gain here. The eternal Jew sensed that he would have a freer path in America than in England and he wanted to make untrammeled use of it. In England, traditions and all sorts of uncomfortable rules of the game bound him: there he had to be a gentleman. The gentleman is the eternal Jew who maintains an English image: in America, the eternal Jew spied a possibility of freeing himself from the English image. The Yankee is much more Jewish and much less English than the gentleman is; he is the gentleman who can allow himself to act considerably more in a Jewish manner. The War of Independence gave America the freedom to replace the gentleman with the Yankee.

The victory of America over England strengthened the economic tendencies that were already predominant in England and that now pulled France too into its vortex. Monarchic France had, through Lafayette,[11] supported the game of its enemy without noticing it; it had to eat the soup that it had brewed at that time when Lafayette later became one of the heroes of the Revolution that opened the gates of France to the eternal Jew.

Chapter 16

The social type that gives its image to the age of economic reason is the bourgeois. The bourgeois is a Proteus who changes his temperament, perspective, motivation and physiognomic expression in every clime. Where the bourgeois is rooted originally in a national environment, he is the blended product of the essential racial element of his country with economic reason; he is at the same time always in one aspect the eternal Jew. The bourgeois is a generic concept that includes a series of sub-species in itself: the gentleman, the Yankee, the citoyen, the bourgeois.

Economic reason revolutionizes the world of things; the latter are moved to a completely new point of view and change their significance essentially. For legislative-creative reason things had been reserves of political self-maintenance and development of political power; the individual used them to a certain degree on the basis of an authority that placed the amount of his responsibility for the political power structure in a direct relation to the extent of his personal possessions; he administered it according to the order of the body politic. Theological reason had valued things as material instruments and symbols through which the will of God operates: man received earthly goods as undeserved “gifts” that would lead him to temptation if he forgot the gratitude that was due. In both cases things were brought into an overarching connection; to the propertied man they were merely transferred; he had to account for their good use either to a worldly authority or to metaphysical authority.

Economic reason removes a thing from every type of overarching bond; its economic applicability is impaired to the extent that it is not yet free-floating with no conditions. It becomes a commodity whose only essential quality is its price, its monetary value, and which can be in anybody’s hand and introduced in any exchange operation. The individual who became an instrument to economic reason claimed the unlimited power of disposal over the thing; the latter became a private thing, private property. As an object that was ceded, through legal-political authorization—like a fief in traditional custom, becomes a thing that is ennobled; as a divine gift it is sanctified, but as private property it is the plaything of every mood and whim, every dark instinctual impulse. It is an “unholy lack of respect” for the thing to demean it to being a private matter; this lack of respect for the thing is however abstracted from every criticism precisely because it is interpreted as the modern manifestation of the sacred: private property is sacred. Sacredness is originally a category that bears its rank within itself independently of human-individual convenience; so long as nobody calculated when and how sacred contents, values and goods arose, it was almost objectively clear what is sacred and what is not. From now on, subjective willfulness advances; it determines what is to be considered sacred. Sacredness becomes a sort of evaluation that no longer hides the fact that it favors self-interest; use is made of this evaluation according to convenience and blatant consideration of advantages. Economic reason robs from the realm of theological reason the category of sacredness; from its origin this category is charged with so many secret, moving, intoxicating forces that even in its misuse it still exerts its magical power. Unsanctified private property appears sacred as soon as there are enough private propertied persons who wish to consider it sacred—that is, when economic reason has first sufficiently taken root. Where it has displaced theological reason, economic reason takes over the responsibility for sanctification; it limns with sanctity that which was devalued and desecrated by being privatized.

Legislative-creative, theological and economic reason are embodied, each in its way, in a pictorial symbol and in a characteristic institution. Law, dogma, and money are their given symbols, state, church and private property the institutions belonging to them.

Law and the state order, dogma and the church bind; they agree in drawing limits, offering directions, prescribing paths, setting goals, demanding conduct, maintaining discipline, forcing into form and rank in a hierarchical manner. Money and private property, on the other hand, make everybody independent, force everybody into wild competition one against the other, unchain the chaos of the free play of forces. By squeezing the world into a sandcastle of private goods, they at the same time set all private goods in motion, one against the other.

The beginning of this squeezing process is liberality of thought; the mind is allowed deviations from the traditional paths, and it can doubt that which was above all doubt and question where hitherto every question had to be silenced. Liberality of thought pulls down barriers and looks “beyond the box”; it opens up new horizons. By breaking things down, it expands the room for maneuvering. To be sure, it does not yet raise economic reason onto the saddle, but it already drives theological reason into  a corner; from the sovereignty with which it controls thoughts, it is only a small step to the other sovereignty with which economic reason possesses the goods of this world. Liberality of thought drives out theological reason from its positions of influence; it can then not prevent the economic reason from immediately entering and settling therein. Liberal ideas are the nimble swallows that announce the summer of the bourgeois; they are the early dawn that heralds the historical day of the bourgeois.

At first, economic reason founders on restrictions of manifold sorts, but it has inexhaustible productive cunning to bend these restrictions, move them out of the way. The ideas of humanity, liberty, equality and fraternity were the instruments with which economic reason cleared the path; they were the passage through which the bourgeois at first forced his entry into the world as an equal and then his rule over the latter.

The feudal state had grown up most intimately with the institutions of the Christian Church; it was in all its national forms the instrument of the influence that the eternal Roman had ensured for himself over the Western nations. “Throne and altar” served each other and mutually guaranteed each other’s existence. The privileges of the estates went in more than one respect against economic reason.

The demand for liberty shook the political power of the estates and of the system of order in general of which they were a part. The bourgeois brought down the ruling stratum along with the traditional ruling forms, and forced himself in its place.

The objective and untouchable, “God given,” political order of the Middle Ages was in his way; he undermined it by complaining that it was restrictive and unleashed his “freedom fight” against it. Because it prevented the individual from striding out freely it was not “worthy” of man. The freedom of the bourgeois consists in having to share in political power only with the bourgeoisie.

The major bourgeois idea is of course equality; one who discovers its secret knows what it means for the bourgeois. It places the social content of the estates-based society in question. Men and goods were everywhere controlled, and they could move only with difficulty: landed property hung like millstones around the will to economic expansion so that it could not advance. The social hierarchy was, at the same time, a system that, according to well-nigh insurmountable rules of convention, authorized freedom of economic transactions with discrimination and careful consideration. Soldierly and courtly services of one’s forefathers, ancient rights of usucaption, violent damage to the rights of the common man that had been legitimized over time—on all this was the edifice of social hierarchy based. The key to the distribution of property was, by and large, inalterable; to every estate and every member of an estate his property was roughly attributed; for commercial speculators, inventors of schemes, “economic pioneers” there was generally not much to be obtained. According to theological reason, every man received from God what was assigned to him by custom and tradition; economic reason, which felt the legitimately obtained rights and inherited orders—against which it clashed everywhere—to be restrictive “residues,” did not have any point of entry: indeed it could undertake usury only with a bad conscience. The special rights and privileges of which the estate society was a symbol tied in with economic reason; the “fair play” to which it aspired was that everybody was authorized to everything in the same way. Then there would be shown what one was worth; the free path to talent was produced through a free play of forces. Economic utility, the natural and inborn standard of the economic reason, could become the measure of all things. The physical form in which this measure could be made visible was money; monetary calculation was the mathematics of economic reason. The sole human ranking that one still wanted to subscribe to was derived from the major ordering of financial assets that one possessed; the wealth that one had acquired stood in direct proportion to the degree of one’s economic understanding. Since, in the final analysis, economic understanding decided this ranking, it could indeed even act like a “spiritual ordering.” Every human quality that, unlike economic reason, cannot be realized as a financial value became an unprofitable art—didn’t matter any more.

The course of bourgeois society is characterized by the fact that it devalues all non-economic qualities completely. In this way bourgeois society becomes increasingly as standardized as money is. The bourgeois is worth as much as the financial sum that he has acquired, earned, or speculated; he is only the plenipotentiary of a pile of money. That is the equality of bourgeois society: that every bourgeois person can be translated into the formula of a pile of money. The difference of the figures is here without any significance for the system; the lowest common denominator equality is what makes everybody a standardized mass in which nobody falls out of the framework any more in a challenging or disturbing manner through character or other personal traits. Not everywhere are those who wear uniforms soldiers. The uniformity of the bourgeois society leads to a uniform that makes the bourgeois an easily recognizable, passable, exchangeable and replaceable coin such as the currency coins are with which he fills his pockets. It is painful for the warrior that the uniform can be the final consequence also of the bourgeois idea of equality—that this idea does not stop at similar straw hats, top hats, cutaways, ties and striped trousers. A uniform is in itself neutral; it is not important whether it clothes the thrilling uniformity of the warlike mentality or the downward dragging uniformity of the economic mentality. That too is part of the larger bourgeois process of the devaluation of all non-economic qualities: that finally the bourgeois dishonors even the soldier’s dress of honor by slipping himself finally into it in order to impatiently realize in it the equality of everything that bears a human visage.

The uniform of the soldier is an identifying feature; one sees in one glance on which battlefront he fights. What is common to all is the enemy and the will to destroy him. But the uniformity does not go deeper; the warrior is an unexhausted substance: much more can come out of him. A chaos of multiplicity is in this way powerfully directed to one point by bringing it under one helmet and pressed into the same coat. The external uniform covers here a content that is manifold; it is an aid to warlike goals.

When the bourgeois assumes a uniform, he has reached his final point; if he enters uniformed, one sees that he is thoroughly finished. He no longer has any individuality; his individuality has exhausted itself in counting and calculating in the service of money. He is standardized from inside—which does not prevent him from becoming externally standardized too.

Impulses and needs, emotional excitements and ways of thought, the direction of the will and intellectual viewpoints, are simplified; in the course of equality, the bourgeois becomes a mass phenomenon. By becoming that he transfers himself also into the political constitution of the masses: through the route of democracy, he finally sinks into its most corrupt form: the rule of the proletariat.

Democracy hides a secret: the “will of the people” coincides in the final analysis with the interest of financial power. “Everything depends on money, everything strives for money”: that is the fundamental motivation of the masses; this motivation is extremely strong because it is common to all; it is the real motivating force of democracy The motivation of the great mass of people for money becomes the goal in democracy in that it bestows its agreement, its. applause for shining coins. Vote purchasing is not bribery; it is the real political business into which the masses rush wholeheartedly. Financial sums are converted in democracy into a corresponding amount of political power; money and political power are exchangeable values.  The rush of the masses to obtain money secures the political influence of money over the masses: that is a well-balanced relationship. The voice of the people is compensated by money; it has its price. The mass accepts someone who can execute something whereby it hopes to receive something. One who bets on the masses to reach political power through it must be reconciled to the fact that the masses speculate on him in order to obtain money through him. The man of the masses, who receives no more support from any valid system of order, who cannot stand when he should rely on himself, is on top. He is nothing for himself; he is only so much as he has; it is easy for him to betray himself if he receives money for that. In every such business he is the winner because the sale prices that he obtains always have an inherently higher value than he himself has. Democracy lives on the fact that everybody expects an advantage for himself from it; it is a political order that least stands in the way of the economic reason. Legislative-creative reason created the world empire of the Caesars, the theological the theocratic state with the ‘representative of God’ at the top, the economic the state as imperialistic economic enterprise in which every state citizen has a share in the profits. The politically conditioned leadership is in a democracy only a proxy affair; the financial powers send their young men onto the political stage to take care of the bustle that is part of the trade. In a democracy, financial interests determine the course of things; the speeches of the popular tribunes are the mustard that serves to make financial rule palatable.

The function of the idea of equality is to make for all unpredictable human originality the trial last so relentlessly long until they are ruined. When the basic instincts of all the bourgeois are standardized to such an extent that they come into the picture henceforth only as a desire for money, nothing unpredictable troubles the economic reason anymore. One has therewith reached a reliable point from which a man can in every case be “mobilised.” He is without any qualities and, therefore, also without character, just as money is; one can have him, like money, for just about everything.

The bourgeois is, finally, totally among his peers: “all men become brothers.”[12] The response of the feelings to the fact of equality is the feeling of fraternity. Among brothers one is not so scrupulous; the strictness of traditional forms of rule is out of place here. The idea of fraternity has a tendency toward the dissolution of hard authoritarian forms; it sets the pathos of distance in the wrong with the fine upsurge of gallant feelings. As glorious and incomparable as Beethoven’s Fidelio may be, the chorus of the prisoners damages the standing of feudal state authority.[13] The “authority” of money is an authority of its own sort; it does not have the exclusivity and unapproachability of ruling and theocratic authorities. It is “affable”; it gladly deigns to place itself in a familiar relationship with the masses; but here precisely it makes use of the idea of fraternity for its highest triumphs.

The brotherly man must be “human”; the nucleus of all bourgeois virtues accordingly becomes “humanity.” “Man must be generous, helpful and good.”[14] The idea of humanity is the most seductive means for the softening of traditional forms of authority which, so long as they exist, are felt by economic reason to be uncomfortable chains. The rule of the traditional order lost faith in itself when against its “inhuman” inexorability—the fine tenet to be “generous, helpful and good” was thrust into its heart.

The bourgeois humanity was for over a century in fact only a fictive value; but it was taken at face value. It was to a certain degree the moral credit that the bourgeois assumed in order to be able to maintain his campaign of destruction against all genuine authorities. It was the good social form that the bourgeois maintained in order to gain entry everywhere. The idea of humanity was so much more necessary for the bourgeois conscience when the bourgeois society devalued, in practical terms, man and humanity more than the two had ever been. The bourgeois is humanitarian in the way he is moral: the external polish must hide how bad and rotten the quality of the mass product is that “makes deals” Bourgeois humanitarianism is the sentimental melodrama that would like to melt like wax the iron heart of the form-creating will to politics and rule; once that is seized, the economic-Manchester School anarchy has brought home its first territorial victory.

Humanitarianism has constituted itself as a religion; Freemasonry is its “church.” This church is a world church. It extends beyond all borders, just as the Roman did. By moving “noble humaneness” into the central point of its adoration in a secular way it seeks to compete against and bring down the Christian Church; there is no divine order; there is only the harmony of human bourgeois order that emerges automatically from the free play of forces. That harms the order-creating Roman: he is dislodged wherever Freemasonry—with which one gets along better—has found entrance.

The “noble” humanitarianism is the humanitarianism of the bourgeois; the bourgeois kneels in the “invisible temple” before his own image; he wishes to make it universally mandatory in its venerability. Here is hidden the imperial tendency of economic reason: the logic of this reason wishes to secretly win trust everywhere in the bourgeois disguise. Economic reason however is the reason of the eternal Jew. It is totally right that the Masonic symbols are cast in Jewish religious forms. The Masonic bourgeois is, in fact, an “uncircumcised Jew.” The lodge is the atrium of the Temple; here the proselytes gather together. Just as the Catholic Church became the world organization of the eternal Roman, Freemasonry became the world organization of the eternal Jew. The Freemason is a strategic selection of the eternal Jew for battle in emergency conditions in the same sense that the Jesuit is for the strategic selection of the eternal Roman. What the Roman Caesar is for the Jesuit that David is for the Masonic bourgeois. Freemasonry wishes to liquidate the two great principles of formation of the eternal Roman—the state-created legal structure and the church-created dogma and replace them with the Jewish principle of formation, the anarchy-creating rule of money.

[1] ‘The one holy’, a reference to the Church in the Nicene Creed.

[2] Charles V (1500-1558) was the Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor from 1519 to 1556.

[3] ‘The sack of Rome’ was undertaken by the Visigoth leader Alaric in 410.

[4] literary remains

[5] This was the thesis of Max Weber’s 1905 work, Die protestantische Ethik und der Geist des Kapitalismus.

[6] The Peasants’ Revolt or Peasants’ War was a revolt of peasants in German lands that took place in 1524 and 1525. It was suppressed by the aristocracy and condemned by Luther though Reformers like Thomas Müntzer and Huldrych Zwingli supported it.

[7] Albrecht von Wallenstein (1583-1634) was a German military commander in the army of the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II during the Thirty Years” War. He was assassinated on Ferdinand’s orders in Eger (now the Czech town of Cheb).

[8] The Monarchomachs were anti-monarchist French Huguenot jurists at the end of the sixteenth century who justified tyrannicide and advocated popular sovereignty. Juan de Mariana (1536–1624) was a Spanish Jesuit and historian and a member of the Monarchomachs.  Robert Bellarmine (1542–1621) was an Italian Jesuit cardinal who was one of the judges who condemned Giordano Bruno, the Italian cosmologist, to death for heresy, though he was more lenient in the case of Galileo Galilei.

[9] For a fuller study of the bourgeois types noted in this work by Niekisch, see Maurice Muret, Grandeur des élites, 1939 (English edition, The Greatness of Elites, tr. Alexander Jacob, Arktos, 2022.)

[10] citoyen

[11] Gilbert, Marquis de Lafayette (1757-1834) was a French aristocrat and Freemason who served in George Washington’s Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. On his return to France, he participated in both the French Revolution of 1789 and the July Revolution of 1830.

[12]Alle Menschen werden Brüder’ – a line from Schiller’s ode, An die Freude.

[13] The Prisoners’ Chorus, ‘O welche Lust’, is sung by a group of political prisoners in Beethoven’s opera, Fidelio.

[14]Edel sei der Mensch/Hilfreich und gut’ – a line from Goethe’s hymn, Das Göttliche.

13 replies
  1. A Viewer
    A Viewer says:

    In Berlin Charlottenburg, a memorial plaque once hung on Niekisch’s former residence, which was “not reinstalled after renovation”. The reason for this should be clear. Based on your article, I’m currently translating a book by Niekisch that I only found online in Italian. It will take a few more days, but I will then upload the PDF for you.

    A book recommendation from 1954 reads: Ernst Niekisch: THE REICH OF THE LOWER DEMONS. After his unsuccessful four-front war against Versailles (Locarno), Weimar, KPD and NSDAP, the Prussian Bolshevik (“Hitler is the revenge for Königgrätz”) wrote an excitingly clear-sighted analysis of German politics between the wars in 1935 and 1936, albeit colored by bitter hatred and misunderstood Marxism. (The manuscript, discovered by the Gestapo in 1937, cost the author imprisonment and infirmity. Ernst Jünger on his friend Niekisch: “… whose attitude is perceived as a tremendous example.”) Historical materialism and political reality are sometimes bent until the scheme fits: Hitler as a tool of the bourgeoisie and the army against the proletariat. Nevertheless, after the boring banalities of memoir literature, this is a book to be taken seriously, which provides the established German citizen with a useful, albeit difficult to digest, read.

    • A Viewer
      A Viewer says:

      What the Jews are foisting on us all as alleged “freedom” is in reality nothing other than total indifference to any “immaterial” value, which includes everything except money, power, control (and all the companions born of this un-Geist). Or as Mr. Niekisch put it in 1926: “To be Western means: to go out with the phrase of freedom to deceive, to initiate crimes with the avowal of humanity, to destroy nations with the call for international reconciliation.”

    • A Viewer
      A Viewer says:

      “By beginning to measure itself against world Jewry, the Third Reich raised it to the heights of a world power. It perhaps did the Jew the highest honour he had ever received by existing as the state-organized opposition to him.”

      It all sounds very logical, Mr. Niekisch, but what is the tried and tested recipe: the mendacious egalitarianism of Judeo-Bolshevism?

      • Weaver
        Weaver says:

        Using the underclass against the ruling class is probably nearly as old as human settlements. I wouldn’t give Jews too much credit for using it.

        Instead, I’d criticise liberals for believing great wealth and income inequality wouldn’t lead to instability. It’s a sort of political law that such creates the potential for instability.

        • A Viewer
          A Viewer says:

          Well, the Jews didn’t invent money either, but they perfected its utilization as object of speculation. Moreover, every conceivable (artificially created) disagreement within white societies can only be welcomed by them and play into their greedy, insatiable hands. Because where everyone is hostile to everyone else, the Jew is always the main beneficiary. The Third Reich made a distinction between “grubbing and creating capital” (raffendes und schaffendes Kapital).

          • Weaver
            Weaver says:

            The impression I get is politics was at a higher level in the past, competition among small states created a higher level of science.

            Jews added a religious character to Bolshevism, but I just expect the old pagans would have been just as dirty and creative.

            Jews just look amazing when amongst innocent, naive Christians who lack a political education.

            Usury is harmful. Farming is said to be a virtuous profession as one struggles against the elements, while working hard, not against other people.

            However, GK Chesterton writes on limiting max wealth. Doing so would be difficult, but the idea is that wealth inequality in general is harmful, even if honestly earned.

    • A Viewer
      A Viewer says:

      Bizarre fascinating. We reached the heart of the matter: on the one hand Niekisch propagates authoritarianism – on the other hand he ultimately pursues a kind of “class struggle”. He says that Hitler was in the service of the bourgeoisie, which was a Jewish-created caste.

      I am happy to be convinced by his revolutionary ideas. If the German people cease to be revolutionary, they have abolished themselves. That’s what I remember him writing. But isn’t revolution the very essence of the Jew? Is Niekisch a traditionalist or a rebel against everything?

      The Nazis considered themselves “revolutionaries”. They were unquestionably revolutionary in their totality. And doesn’t the world situation, which is constricting us all, indeed annihilating us, demand a national (not “conservative”) revolution in order to escape Jewish world domination?

      The problem is that nationality itself has dissolved in the meantime. Where is the revolution supposed to draw its strength from? Mr. Niekisch is an extraordinary thinker, that much is undeniable. And if, in truth, his only intention was to inspire us to think, then he achieved this minimal goal even 66 years after his death.

  2. Some Visitor
    Some Visitor says:

    I have always propagated my special motto: To forgo the “Heave-ho!” in favor of letting up on the rope until the Jews who want to pull us over the line in the tug-of-war all fall on their asses as a team because they suddenly lack an opponent. Let them think they’ve “won”!

    The Jew can only cease to exist as an entity if he is deprived of the basis of life, i.e. the opposition to him, from which he “defines” himself. Until this principle has completely penetrated all levels of society and is realized, we are hopelessly lost. They ARE not important – WE MAKE them so!

    Has anyone ever thought about why China is so successful? Because it is neither “diverified” by the Jews, nor does it reflect on Jews all day long! That’s all. They exist outside the permanent Jewish “sphere of influence” and power. As long as they do just that, they thrive.

    Like a vampire, the Jew steals our warm lifeblood, he permanently drains us, he exists from our life substance. He is a “(un)natural born” hate-generator and energy-thiev. This cannot be prevented by entering into a symbiosis with him, but only by strictly denying any involvement.

    • Weaver
      Weaver says:

      They have been expelled before, but they claim this is persecution. And they come right back. Jews write the history books, pop culture stories, news, etc. So, they write this narrative of persecution.

      Presently, our foreign policy exists to turn a profit. Some profiting are Jewish. To the extent foreign policy serves another purpose, it’s to serve Israel and to, separately, pursue unipolar global domination. But Israel is clearly put first. Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, etc.: These are Israeli wars.

      We have a central bank and financial system dominated by Jews. The intelligence agencies seem heavily influenced by them. Evangelicals worship them. All of this could change, generationally. There is very real change taking place.

      I disagree that we make them. I’d say whites have almost no power, no will, and don’t make or will anything. We just obey. We’re a race of anvils. But Jews might drop their hammer. Another master might pick it up to shape us.

      Will things change whenever a new elite takes charge? Possibly.

      • Some Visitor
        Some Visitor says:

        Others can only ever exercise power over us to the extent that we are prepared to concede it to them. Where one side retreats, the other must advance as far as it can, because there is no vacuum in what we call nature. If they are too strong, we are too weak.

        So the question is not: “Why is the other so powerful?” but “What have I done to make him so powerful ( what change is needed to switch off this state)? The first question is an expression of victimhood, abandonment, passivity.

        The second question assumes responsibility for the effect of one’s own actions or sins of omission. The right question therefore always begins with oneself as an entity, standpoint and location. It empowers instead of disempowering oneself.

      • Some Visitor
        Some Visitor says:

        We feel our weakness, cowardice and patheticness. Our opponents all the more, they despise us, spit on us, rob us and terrorize us. We cling to ridiculous material ego prostheses like to a life preserver. Until we are someday seriously without any rights

        The “white race” smells of fearful sweat and trots hunched over, it avoids eye contact and confrontation with reality, it has a disgustingly soft moist feminine handshake. It is simply embarrassing this circus and “human zoo” without any existential meaning. Why the hell is that?

        Because no one forces us to surrender with a pistol to our temples, and yet we do. So it is voluntary self-abandonment, under whatever circumstances. During the war, there were people who could not be intimidated and could not be broken, and they preferred to die for it rather than to get down on their knees and give in. Does it have to come to that again?

        We give away our own opportunities and scope for action millions of times every day. We allow ourselves to be abused like the cheapest of whores, just to satisfy the boundless, presumptuous lust for power of psychopathic Jews. How low can people sink without losing their permanent right to stay in this world?

      • Some Visitor
        Some Visitor says:

        The white race has “forgotten” its own struggle for survival for its right to exist on this earth. An expression of total alienation from all natural laws. Those who practice such systematic, methodical self-denial and thus denial of reality automatically and involuntarily make themselves the constant target of all those with a stronger will to survive.

        He permanently sends out a “push me around” signal that nature can never misunderstand. We have settled into our feel-good and comfort zone, our “social hammock”. We shy away from conflict, but humans, like all earthly beings, are conflictual creatures; conflict is part of our nature. Those who deny it deny themselves – and thus deny nature.

        What we are experiencing in the world are the consequences of decades of neglecting our own affairs. The conflict should be dealt with fairly, honestly and manfully, initially with convincing arguments (instead of cowardly bombs on innocent children as the Jews do). Otherwise it will burst open one day like a smouldering boil and destroy millions of people again.

        • Weaver
          Weaver says:

          Now, I understand. I agree, generally, with your recent posts.

          Regarding hand shakes, I can never get those right. I cracked a man’s hands slightly one time recently. Soft shakes seem safer.

          But more seriously, whites seem to have embraced too much truth. Whites who follow wild Christian sects or Jews who follow ultra Orthodoxy seem to thrive. The same could probably be said of pagan sects, which I guess would mostly refer to Hindus.

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