History, unfortunately, is not rational or strictly logical, but a process which takes place in a Vale of Tears. Democracy rose in our civilization when the condition of the world least warranted it. It put tremendous weapons of technical progress into the hands of those least qualified to use them, and, allied with nationalism, it now becomes a powerful obstacle to the necessary unification of large regions. The Federation of Europe is lamentably handicapped by “politics,” that is, party-politics; and every word spoken by the various party leaders in the democracies must be weighed not so much as to their effect abroad as to their possible repercussions at the next elections. The disappearance of an effective monarchy is a special blow to the co-operation and amalgamation of the Old World, because monarchy alone would by now possess the full necessary supra-national outlook. It has got past the stage of tribal affiliations, which republicanism and democracy have by no means achieved. A Council of European Monarchs could be an effective co-ordinating body for Europe; an all-European Parliament, on the other hand, could not. Not only would it be faced, as a genuinely elected body of popular representatives, by an insuperable language problem, but, considering the level of our parliaments in wisdom and manners, as well as their ideological divisions, it would merely serve to break up, not to unify Europe. It is one thing that French deputies in the Chamber should shout at each other Scélérat! Assassin! Voleur!; but such verbal exchanges between a Communist gentleman from Toulouse and a Carlist gentleman from Pamplona might have deadly consequences. ” Civil wars” on an unprecedented scale could be the result.
Thus the historical problem of our day is and remains the establishment of minimal government-from-above assuring and maintaining personal liberty. This issue cannot be shirked or permanently delayed by preserving the illusory fluidity of democratic institutions which have final control of the central government. Sooner or later this flux will congeal into the tyranny or the virtual dictatorship of a mass-party. Little it matters whether such rule is based on repeated elections won through permanent appeals to the lower half of the social pyramid, or whether it rests squarely, as in the “People’s Democracies,” on the efficiency of a ubiquitous police. Little it matters that finally a new oligarchy arises which methodically suppresses even those layers who helped to establish its sway. And since only real elites have a genuine psychological and intellectual interest in liberty, it is evident that they must have a position in political life which is more substantial than their numerical share. Needless to say, we do not identify such elites with classes or castes; they are the people capable of creative action. And creation as well as creativeness stands in constant need of liberty.
Erik Ritter von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Liberty or Equality: The Challenge of Our Time (1940)