It is curious how often one encounters people who are genuinely afraid of a strong government, fearing for their liberties. But a strong government will always be generous, a weak government will either commit atrocities to bolster its tottering powers or surrender to small, brutal groups. The exterior effort is not a sign of strength; an inner, voluntary acceptance of the nation is strength. The plebiscitarian autocracies of Europe are not really strong, because they possess bitter, and utterly hostile minorities that are diametrically opposed to everything emanating from these governments. As long as such minorities exist no generosity can be expected from the totalitarian “leaders,” who need the protection of a well-organized police force to keep them in power, to keep them alive. It is the nemesis of the superorganized, supercentralized, supertechnicized modern state that one pistol shot, one explosion, one betrayal can bring it to the brink of an abyss.

The structure of old-fashioned popular representation on the other hand was such that it worked under the supposition that “No man is indispensable.” This is a practicable attitude in a primitive world when the average man understands the problems which do not yet surpass his comprehension. All that changed during the past 150 years. It is the tragedy of representative government, as an idea, that it came into fashion when its practicality and feasibility were rapidly vanishing. “Democracy” rose contemporaneously with the industrial development which made lay opinion so obsolete. European “democracy” has probably no inner reason for its sudden revitalization. It was not a movement bound by an inner necessity to burst into blossom; it was primarily a smoke screen for the Third and later on the Fourth Estate in their fight against a depatriarchalized, and therefore rotten, caste system, a temporary egalitarian weapon which served its purpose in their struggle against an aristocracy or a monarchical ruler forgetful of their duties. Accepted and embraced as an ad hoc measure and institution this egalitarian smoke screen* became a res per se, a fatality which had to run its course, forming the spirit of the time and formed by the Zeitgeist, until it assumed in its reductio ad absurdum the forms of communism and National Socialism.

Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, The Menace of the Herd, or Procrustes at Large (1943)


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