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News and Commentary

29 October 2010

Liberalism is the Death of Nations

Artur Moeller van den Bruck

Editor's Note: The following extract is taken from Germany's Empire, the condensed English translation, published in 1934, of Moeller van den Bruck's famous 1922 book, Das Dritte Reich.

The liberal professes to do all he does for the sake of the people; but he destroys the sense of community that should bind outstanding men to the people from which they spring. The people should naturally regard the outstanding man, not as an enemy but as a representative sample of themselves.

Liberalism is the party of upstarts who have insinuated themselves between the people and its big men. Liberals feel themselves as isolated individuals, responsible to nobody. They do not share the nation’s traditions, they are indifferent to its past and have no ambition for its future. They seek only their own personal advantage in the present. Their dream is the great International, in which the differences of peoples and languages, races and cultures will be obliterated. To promote this they are willing to make use, now of nationalism, now of pacificism, now of militarism, according to the expediency of the moment. Sceptically they ask: “What are we living for?” Cynically they answer: “Just for the sake of living!”

...

Liberalism has undermined civilization, has destroyed religions, has ruined nations. Primitive peoples know no liberalism. The world is for them a simple place where one man shares with another. Instinctively they conceive existence as a struggle in which all those who belong in any way to one group must defend themselves against those who threaten them.

Great states have always held liberalism in check. When a great individual arose amongst them who gave the course of their history a new direction, they have been able to incorporate him into their tradition, to make his achievements contribute to their continuity.

Nations who had ceased to feel themselves a people, who had lost the state-instinct, gave liberalism its opportunity. The masses allowed an upper crust to form on the surface of the nation. Not the old natural aristocracy whose example had created the state; but a secondary stratum, a dangerous, irresponsible, ruthless, intermediate stratum which had thrust itself between. The result was the rule of a clique united only by self-interest who liked to style themselves the pick of the population, to conceal the fact that they consisted of immigrants and nouveaux riches, of freedmen and upstarts. They did not care whether their arrogance and new-won privilege was decked out with the conceptions of feudal or of radical ideology, though they preferred a delicate suggestion of aristocracy. But they found it most effective and successful to style themselves democrats.

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