"The influence that a statesman - even one in an exceptionally strong position - possesses over the methods of politics is very small, and it is one of the characteristics of the high-grade statesman that he does not deceive himself on this matter. His task is to work in and with the historical form that he finds in existence; it is only the theorist who enthusiastically searches for more ideal forms. But to be politically `in form' means necessarily, amongst other things, an unconditional command of the most modern means. There is no choice about it. The means and methods are premises pertaining to the time and belong to the inner form of the time - and one who grasps at the inapposite, who permits his taste or his feelings to overpower the pulse in him, loses at once his grip of realities. The danger of an aristocracy is that of being conservative in its means, the danger of a democracy is the confusion of formula and form. The means of the present are, and will be for many years,65 parliamentary - elections and the press. He may think what he pleases about them, he may respect them or despise them, but he must command them.66 . . . How the English constitution reads is a matter of small import compared with the fact that it is managed by a small stratum of high families, so that [an English king] is simply a minister of his Ministry. And as for the modern Press, the sentimentalist may beam with contentment when it is constitutionally `free' - but the realist merely asks at whose disposal it is.67
"Politics, lastly, is the form in which is accomplished the history of a nation within a plurality of nations. The great art is to maintain one's own nation inwardly `in form' for events outside; this is the natural relation of home and foreign politics, holding not only for Peoples and States and Estates, but for living units of every kind, down to the simplest animal swarms and down into the individual bodies. And, as between the two, the first exists exclusively for the second and not vice versa.68 The true democrat is accustomed to treat home politics as an end in itself; the rank and file of diplomats think solely of foreign affairs; but just because of this the individual successes of either `cut no ice.' No doubt, the political master exhibits his powers most obviously in the tactics of home reform; in his economic and social activities; in his cleverness in maintaining the public form of the whole, the `rights and liberties,' both in tune with the tastes of the period and at the same time effective; and in the education of the feelings without which it is impossible for a people to be `in condition' - namely, trust, respect for the leading, consciousness of power, contentment, and (when necessary) enthusiasm. But the value of all this depends upon its relation to this basic fact of higher history - that a people is not alone in the world, and that its future will be decided by its force-relationships towards other peoples and powers and not by its mere internal ordering. And, since the ordinary man is not so long-sighted, it is the ruling minority that must possess this quality on behalf of the rest, and not unless there is such a minority does the statesman find the instrument wherewith he can carry his purposes into effect.
"In the early politics of all Cultures the governing powers are pre-established and unquestioned. The whole being is strictly in patriarchal and symbolic form.69 The connections with the mother soil are so strong, the feudal tie, and even its successor the aristocratic state, so self-evident to the life held in their spell, that politics in [an early stage] is limited to plain action within the cadre of the given forms. In so far as these forms change, they do so more or less spontaneously, and the idea that it is a task of politics to bring about the changes never definitely emerges into anyone's mind, even if a kingdom be overthrown or a nobility reduced to subjection. . . . The `problems' of the State are not yet awakened. The sovereignty, the primary orders, the entire early form-world are God-given, and it is on them as premises, not about them as objects of dispute, that the organic minorities fight their battles. These minorities we call Factions.
"It is the essence of the Faction that it is wholly inaccessible to the idea that the order of things can be changed to a plan. Its object is to win for itself status, power, or possessions within this order - like all growing things in a growing world.70 . . . Machiavelli's book rests entirely on this spirit.71
"The change sets in as soon as, with the great city, the Non-Estate,72 the bourgeoisie, takes over the leading role. Now it is the reverse, the political form becomes the object of conflict, the problem. Heretofore it was ripened, now it must  be shaped. Politics becomes awake, not merely comprehended, but reduced to comprehensible ideas. The powers of intellect and money set themselves up against blood and tradition. In place of the organic we have the organized; in place of the Estate, the Party. A party is not a growth of race, but an aggregate of heads, and therefore as superior to the old estates in intellect as it is poorer in instinct. It is the mortal enemy of naturally matured class-ordering, the mere existence of which is in contradiction with its essence. Consequently, the notion of party is always bound up with the unreservedly negative, disruptive, and socially leveling notion of equality.73 Noble ideals are no longer recognized, but only vocational interests.74 It is the same with the freedom-idea, which is likewise a negative.75 Parties are a purely urban phenomenon. With the emancipation of the city from the country, everywhere (whether we happen to know it evidently or not) Estate politics gives way to party politics . . . . In the capitals of the West the parties form in the parliamentary style, in the city-states of the Classical they are forum-parties, and we recognize parties of the Magian style in the Mavali and the monks of Theodore of Studion.
"But always it is the Non-Estate, the unit of protest against the essence of Estate, whose leading minority - `educated' and `well-to-do' - comes forward as a party with a program, consisting of aims that are not felt but defined, and the rejection of everything that cannot be rationally grasped. At bottom, therefore, there is only one party,76 that of the bourgeoisie, the liberal, and it is perfectly conscious of its position as such. It looks on itself as coextensive with `the people.' Its opponents - above all the genuine Estates - namely `squire and parson') are enemies and traitors to `the people,' and its opinions are the `voice of the people' - which is inoculated by all the expedients of party-political nursing, oratory in the Forum, press in the West, until these opinions do fairly represent it.
"The prime Estates are nobility and priesthood. The prime Party is that of money and mind, the liberal, the megalopolitan. Herein lies the profound justification, in all Cultures, of the ideas of Aristocracy and Democracy. Aristocracy despises the mind of the cities, Democracy despises the boor and hates the countryside.77 It is the difference between Estate politics and party politics, class-consciousness and party inclination, race78 and intellect, growth and construction. Aristocracy in the completed Culture and Democracy in the incipient cosmopolitan Civilization, stand opposed till both are submerged in Cęsarism.79 As surely as the nobility is the Estate . . ., so surely the nobility fails to feel as a party, though it may organize itself as one.
"It has in fact no choice but to do so. All modern constitutions repudiate the Estates and are built on the Party as self-evidently the basic form of politics. The nineteenth century - correspondingly, therefore, the third century b. c. - is the heyday of party politics. Its democratic character compels the formation [of] counter-parties, and whereas formerly, as late even as the eighteenth century, the `Tiers' constituted itself in imitation of the nobility as an Estate, now there arises the defensive figure of the Conservative party, copied from the Liberal, dominated completely by the latter's forms, bourgeois-ized without being bourgeois, and obliged to fight with rules and methods that liberalism has laid down. It has the choice of handling these means better than its adversary or of perishing; but it is of the intimate structure of an Estate that it does not understand the situation and challenges the form instead of the foe, and is thus involved in that use of extreme methods which we see dominating the inner politics of whole states in the early phases of every Civilization, and delivering them helpless into the hands of the enemy. The compulsion that there is upon every party to be bourgeois, at any rate in appearance, turns to sheer caricature when below the bourgeoisie of education and possessions the Residue also organizes itself as a party. Marxism, for example, is in theory a negation of bourgeoisie, but as a party it is in attitude and leadership essentially middle-class. . . . But for Marxism, again, these appearances are indispensable . . . if durable success is to be attained. A noble party in a parliament is inwardly just as spurious as a proletarian. Only the bourgeoisie is in its natural place there.
65 Remember, Spengler was writing this in 1922. He forecast that the parliamentary form would last through the end of the century, which is now but a few years away. However, that time-table is by no means fixed. Parliaments could easily exist for a century or more before being replaced by Cęsarism.
66 And therein lies the rub. It is clear that Newt Gingrich comes from the faction of conservative politicians which despises the liberal press. This obvious antipathy prevents him from commanding the press. For example, just compare the full 45 minute speech Newt gave in New Hampshire with the "sound bight" presented by the press! It is clear as of this writing (December, 1995) that the press and the Democrat politicians they favor are combined with one purpose in mind: to "get" Gingrich.
67 The classic slogan for this concept is: "freedom of the press belongs only to those who own one." Another similar dictum is attributed to Hannen Swaffer (1879-1962) from about 1902: "Freedom of the press in Britain means freedom to print such of the proprietor's prejudices as the advertisers don't object to." Neither of these ever contemplated a technology such as the Internet, where a small investment in a home computer would give the ability to publish one's own prejudices throughout the world, without any advertisers present who could object.
68 One basic function of government is "to provide for the common defense." Obviously, avoiding a war with diplomacy is better than fighting it. This thesis of Spengler is: the survival of our nation, vis-ą-vis the other nations of the world, depends upon our own internal politics remaining `in form.'
69 There has never been a significant society founded upon a principle of matriarchal rule. Strong women have emerged as leaders only after the society has been pacified for several generations, and particularly in late Civilizations, such as Cleopatra in Egypt. Typically, when women are allowed to assume the figure-head of "ruler," a strong bureaucracy does the actual ruling on behalf of whichever "ruler" actually occupies the position. If true statesmen are rare, a true stateswoman, responsible for the founding of a tradition of ruling, would be all but unique. This is not a "male chauvinist pig" sentiment, but an observation of historical fact. The reason for this lies in the fact that the true statesman is waging a war, with rules so close to the law of the jungle, that females basically need not apply; at least for the traditional forms of government which have arisen out of chaos and nothingness.
70 Thus, the War of the Roses was a typical factional squabble. There was no ideological distinction between the sides. The only issue was who would rule, and thereby determine the division of spoils. It mattered not to the typical citizen of England whether York or Lancaster sat on the throne.
71 The reference is, of course, to "The Prince" by Niccolo Machiavelli. As the Encyclopędia Britannica says: he was an "original political theorist whose acute psychological observations brought him a reputation of amoral cynicism."
72 As Spengler defines it, "the two prime estates, the priesthood and nobility," are eventually taken over by the "Third Estate," the bourgeoisie. Virtually all primitive peoples have some form of nobility and priesthood, even if it is as simple as a designated tribal chieftain and "medicine man." As the social order moves beyond the simplicity of primitive tribal culture, it is inevitable that some form of a bourgeoisie "Third Estate" will arise, as virtually any form of trade will lead, eventually, to a merchant and craftsman class, out of which the bourgeoisie naturally evolves.
73 Spengler names the concept of "equality" as "unreservedly negative" and "disruptive" for the reason that it reverses the natural order of the law of the jungle, and is thus anti-survival in nature. If the concept of equality is carried to extremes, it becomes communistic: whatever I have that you want, you are entitled to because it is equally yours, etc. In the United States, the concept of equality is strictly limited to the area of rights under the law, and those rights are then further limited both with explicit restrictions and implicit reservations which have grown up out of practice, and it is this fact that the concept is honored more in the breach than in actuality that makes it workable in our society.
74 Spengler's footnote at this point states: "Hence it is that on the soil of burgher equality the possession of money immediately takes the place of genealogical rank." This concept is inextricably intertwined with that of a bourgeoisie middle class. No matter how you slice it or dice it, wealth equates to power. The only question is whether it is your personal wealth or "OPM" (Other People's Money). If you own it or control it (through Politics, or otherwise), you have the power.
75 Spengler asserts that the freedom-idea is always negative because it only separates people from something. Thus, you are free to give up peasant farming and move to the city. The difficulty, of course, is that if everyone exercises their freedom, we achieve chaos, not organization. So, while the concept of freedom may seem greatly desirable to the individual, from the standpoint of a society, each exercise of freedom is an injury to the unity of the whole, and is thus forever negative. Again, in the United States, we develop elaborate social mechanisms (such as enforceable contracts and other limitations on freedom) to ensure that any injury from exercises of freedom is not fatal to our society. But if you wish to consider the potential scope of the negative aspects of freedom, just consider that each homeless person is exercising their right to be free of various of society's rules, such as: the prohibitions against drug abuse; the necessity of working at the sorts of menial labor which would give them a sufficient income to cease being homeless; etc. Obviously, this view is biased in accordance with the parallel view that Order in a society is a desirable state of affairs, and disorder is NOT. We each crave Order, to be safe on our streets, and in doing so, we yield up a quantity of our freedoms.
76 The best example of the true meaning of this would come from England, because it has the longest living tradition of relatively peaceful changes in the power structure. The "party" in the sense meant by Spengler is represented by the entirety of the House of Commons, while the Estates would be represented by the entirety of the House of Lords. It is no accident that the bishops of the Anglican Church sit in the House of Lords! Thus, the noblemen and the priesthood sit in one house of the English Parliament and the "commoners" sit in the other. The entire House of Commons (no matter which of the currently three main parties the members happen to belong to at the present point in time) is the "party" in the sense that Spengler means it here.
77 Spengler's footnote at this point states: "It is an important factor in the democracy of England and America that in the first the yeomanry had died out and in the second has never existed. The `farmer' is spiritually a suburban and in practice carries on his farming as an industry. Instead of villages, there are only fragments of megalopolis." Historically, in England, "yeomanry" was the lowest level of freeholder, and it was this group which was the first "commoners" admitted to political rights. However, by the time that the English Parliament took over the running of the government from the king (as opposed to merely offering the king its advice and consent), the yeomanry as a distinct political class had disappeared. Through the vehicle of nearly universal public education, one consequence of the Industrial Revolution, the world-view of the city is promulgated to the population at large, thus ensuring the effect noted by Spengler in the quoted footnote.
78 By "race," Spengler means "genealogical heritage." Most nobility was hereditary in nature.
79 The founding fathers of the United States saw fit to go so far as to create the Senate to fulfill the function of the House of Lords in representing the Estates. The model for the Senate is that each of the elected Senators represents a block of land, as opposed to a group of people. Thus, the few thousand voters of rural Wyoming have the same political power in the Senate as the ten million voters in the State of California. However, with no native aristocracy, the United States Senate cannot ever fulfill the same spiritual function as does the House of Lords.
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