The manifold efforts, talks, intrigues, chats, and rubbing of shoulders in order to finally jockey oneself into a leading position in a democracy consume so much time and energy that the factual knowledge absolutely necessary for statesmanship (as opposed to the qualifications of a mere politician) is almost never acquired.

Erik Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Leftism: From de Sade and Marx to Hitler and Marcuse (1974)

One must be very blind not to be aware that the term “democratic” is very sparingly used in the great enunciations of our time. It appears sometimes in proclamations and speeches of the President calculated for home consumption, as a concession to the mass mind, but in the great, programmatic speeches, in the Atlantic Charter, in the outlines of the Four Freedoms, “democracy” figures nowhere — and rightly so. The Wilsonian blunders will not be repeated. The crime to proclaim that the world should be made safe for democracy against which the Founding Fathers had violently protested will not take place again. The artificial fostering of allegedly American ideas belongs to the past. America of today and tomorrow will help other nations to live, to breathe, to be themselves again, to find their own forms and their own destinies free from the fetters of foreign occupation, of demagogues and mystagogues, of quislings and paid traitors. E pluribus unum, the constructive principle of federation, In God We Trust, the recognition of God’s limitless fatherhood — these two watchwords, together with that of Liberty, should be our creed, not that spurious label democracy which our American forebears despised and execrated.

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

This protest against the use of the word democracy is not a mere pedantic fight against a technical term. “Democracy” should be discarded as quickly as possible from our vocabulary; it should only be used in its classical connotation. The reason for such a reform lies in the world-wide implications of technical terms. America is not a democracy. We are not fighting for democracy. We fight for liberty. America not only fights for its own survival, for its own liberty, but also for liberty abroad. Human dignity can never be preserved without liberty. Liberty is therefore a real good, a precious good worth while to be redeemed by blood.

Yet by calling this great struggle a fight for democracy, we are implying a fight for a political ideal which is not ours and which even in some of its journalistic-popular connotations is shared by only a tiny minority of our allies. Russia may be a democracy according to St. Thomas, but it is no democracy according to popular conception (confounding it with liberal popular representation). Perhaps it matters little in the case of Russia which momentarily is our military, not our ideological ally. But India, China, Greece, Serbia, Austria . . . are these “democracies,” in the popular or classical sense? Does Europe nourish a nostalgia for either form of democracy? Or is there not rather the world over a desperate craving for liberty, personal liberty, group liberty, national liberty, religious liberty? Are we not rather going to win the world over to our side by appealing to the unquenched thirst of liberty without which, as we have said, there can be no realization of human dignity and personality ?

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

There is something pathetic in seeing Americans almost daily besmirching unconsciously their ideals and their traditions — all thanks to a faulty education. The Founding Fathers would turn in their graves if they could hear themselves called “Democrats”; America indeed was never a democracy, and never will be .. . unless we make “democracy work,” and replace, within the framework of a “pure democracy,” our legislation by the Gallup Poll. Those who have been taught the wrong interpretation may ask their money back from the schools where they have wasted their adolescence. And the textbooks which preach a spurious democracy may still provide us with fuel in cold days to come.

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

The concrete political situation of the present moment is not the subject of our analysis; it is nevertheless fairly obvious that ” democracy,” in spite of the ubiquity of this term, has failed the expectations of mankind. Democracy, no less than its bitter fruit—the tyranny of the one-party state—has foundered as a guarantor of freedom, the role in which it has posed for so long. Democracy, moreover, has betrayed its own idealism (which found such pregnant expression in the “Atlantic Charter”) with greater levity than any modern despotism. Democracy, no less than modern tyranny, is morally dead, a living corpse, a whitened sepulchre; yet tyranny with its monarchical externals is at least a sinister concentration of material forces and drives.

The latter’s physical menace, heralded by the dark cloud of corroding and demoralizing fear, is addressed to all of us. Therefore we need forms of government which can give us both freedom and strength – forms of government which fulfil the ethical as well as the practical demands of the times – of all times. If historical and geographic accidents had not favoured the rise of a gigantic empire on the western rim of the Atlantic which, through its dimensions, its numerous citizenry, and its safe distance, represented a unique counterweight, the western rim of the Old World would have lost its freedom twice within the last decade. Yet how inefficient this giant can be at times in face of the planning powers of evil we have seen when, in tired confusion, it surrendered at the green table after so many splendid military triumphs. Victory gained through the twin hierarchies of industry and the armed forces, was thrown away by the politicians.

America would act wisely if she would return to her great traditions; Europe, on the other hand, insofar as she is not enslaved, is faced by a categoric imperative. She must, must find the way back to her eternal well-springs or perish. The illusions, myths and lies of the last hundred years are going to save neither her soul nor her precarious physical existence.

Erik Ritter von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Liberty or Equality: The Challenge of Our Time (1940)

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)

We should always bear in mind that the Church and ochlocracy cooperated badly in Europe, that the forces inimical to the Church always fostered ochlocratic tendencies. One cannot dismiss the latter fact as purely accidental. Of course there is no incompatibility on dogmatic grounds. The question moves on a plain where in dubiis libertas is written in flaming letters: “In doubtful matters, liberty.” Yet the atmosphere, the parfum of the Church and that of “democracy,” when blended in the political and cultural sphere, emits a bad stench. A parallel reading of the works of our authoritative “democratic” essayists, poets, and other creative writers (from the Leaves of Grass to the City of Man) with the encyclicals of Gregory XVI and Pius IX would give a mortal shock to many “progressive” Catholics who think that the Church ought to come to terms with the spirit of our time . . , (which may, overnight, become the spirit of yesterday). These encyclicals at least express the spirit and policy of the Church in unmistakable directness and clearness.

Efforts have never been wanting to bring Catholicism and ochlocracy under the same denominator, and these efforts can easily be traced back to two specific sources: (1) wishful thinking influenced by the desire to meet certain situations, and (2) wishful thinking due to environmental and personal circumstances…Our great Catholic democratists, who are such excellent logicians, lack frequently the insight into the Catholic mentality of the rank and file in Catholic countries. The “typical” Catholic of the Mundus Catholicus is certainly not a communitarian. While not hostile to a personal attachment, he resents excessive legal ties at the same time. Neither is he free of a healthy cynicism and worldly pessimism, which traits are rare in the (more naïve) Protestant. If medieval man would have been told that he could “appoint” his kings or superiors, he might have become quite interested in the proposition. Yet on discovering that his vote was scheduled to be drowned in an ocean of millions of other votes his reaction would have been that of a man whose leg had been pulled successfully.

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

The relationship between the Catholic Church and the state in the United States of America is characterized by the absolute acceptance of the separation of these two domains by the Church as an “ideal condition” for all such countries. Catholics of the United States are entirely sincere in their acceptance of this allegedly “democratic” tenet of faith. The result, however, of noncooperation in the educational domain (the public schools themselves give no instruction in the Catholic or any other religion) has caused the Church the loss of millions and millions of souls. There ought to be somewhere around thirty-five million Catholics in the states, but there are actually only twenty-three, and this leakage continues.

In Central Europe children of religiously indifferent parents received, twice a week, from the age of six to the age of eighteen, compulsory, denominational religious instruction. But the National Socialists in their great admiration for secular tendencies have done their best to abolish all religious instruction of the young. The continuous leakage in the United States is going to render the percentage of Catholics smaller and smaller. Today the proportion is one to six, but tomorrow it may be one to seven or one to eight. Catholics live predominantly in the large cities of the Northeast, and though they try heroically to keep the number of their children from declining, they have great difficulties in competing with the high birth rate of the rural, Protestant South. The Catholic rural movement is therefore of cardinal importance.

Another obstacle under the present inevitable arrangement of separation of Church and state lies in the frequent preoccupation of priests with the raising and administration of money and funds. The whole European clergy, Catholics as well as Protestants, received a salary from the state (which, after all, should be nothing else than the organized community). Bishops in the United States necessarily have to spend much time with the problems of financial administration, and the refusal of the states to subsidize Catholic schools (as even Anglican England does it) adds not only a great financial burden to the expenses of the Catholics, who have to pay taxes for the state schools as well, but increases the material responsibilities of the Church. The generosity of American Catholics is therefore something really impressive and almost without parallel in the annals of the Church. Their share in the Peter’s Pence and in the upkeep of the Catholic missions is more than praiseworthy. And yet it must be emphasized that the separation of Church and state does not lie in the tradition of Catholicism which is concerned with a Catholic culture. The express condemnation of the abstract principle by Pope Pius IX is understood to have no application in countries like England and the United States.

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

Collectivism implies egalitarianism. An ideal mass is homogenous and consists therefore of equal atoms. Egalitarianism as well as collectivism are thus incompatible with liberty. Force must not only be used for the leveling process in the initial stage — it becomes necessarily a permanent factor in order to maintain the unorganic “symmetrical order.” This brutal force is necessary for any and every egalitarian effort. It is even more necessary in the case of a frantic identitarianism. The desire for more equality and identity becomes finally a mania and the use of more force a sadistic delight. Gynaecocracy and pedocracy, so familiar to ochlocratic cultures, become a part of the great program and even the animals rise to the level of human equality.102 From there it is only a short step to a terroristic pantheism bordering on madness.* Yet even in the urban life a truly inhuman equality can be achieved only by sheer force and the more logical a people will be by nature, the more brutally will this equality be realized. A comparison between America, England, France, Germany, Russia, and Spain demonstrate to us the various methods of handling the problem of equality. French egalitarianism was comparatively mild — yet it was far more ferocious than for instance American egalitarianism. But for modern ochlocracies at least fictional equality is essential; as a tendency it is basic for the creation of mere masses. Masses or mobs consist necessarily of identical or similar atoms in order to function as great irresistible units which, confident in their homogeneity and quantity, are not only able to smother all obstacles but also to transmit in the shortest time emotional and “electric” shocks to the remotest parts of the whole. The French philosophers had prepared the advent of the “individual” and the French Revolution completed their work. “The philosophy of the French Revolution” quotes Stapleton in his Life of Canning, “reduced the nation to individuals so as to, later on, congregate them into mobs” And these mobs on account of their strong inferiority complex shouted loudly for equality and demanded the elimination of everybody who dared to be different. The proposition of the elders of Strasbourg was actually carried out with human beings who defied the iron law of similarity and identity; they were shortened — beheaded by the progressive medical machinery of Docteur Guillotin.

Equality, identity, and uniformity have since been the backbone of every ochlocratic movement and the only liberty compatible with the true spirit of ochlocracy is the collective liberty — the liberty of a class or a nation state. The element of equality has never succeeded in getting a foothold in international politics — not even in the League of Nations, where the position of the Great Powers was legally different from that of the smaller states.103 Modern nationalism appealed less to the “democratic” demand of equality than to the worship of majorities which is not less in the ochlocratic tradition. It does not recognize the fact, that each nation is an entity in itself, having its own life and its intransferable destiny, and, independently of its size, an inalienable right for existence.* This conception would resemble too much a personalistic, medieval point of view. Modern nationalism prefers to count the noses of the inhabitants by national groups in a given geographical sector and then let the majority rule. A German Empire in Central Europe with eighty million Germans and 79,999,999 non-Germans is a thoroughly “democratic” proposition in the new style of 1942.

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

Numerical majorities are not necessarily keen to preserve civil liberties; the demand for civil liberties {and privileges) always arose from select minorities. Genuinely “democratic” societies can be brutally cruel to those who dare to be “different” in an unconventional way.  

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