In 1920 all of Africa was under eight flags. It is now subject to no less than forty governments. French Indochina broke up into four states, British India into three or four. 6 In this respect decolonization was a recessive movement, in contradiction to a great many ideas and ideals professed by the American left. A great many other features of decolonization were also antiprogressive and recessive. Before we deal with the desirability of the Westernization inaugurated by the European powers, we have to ask the preliminary question whether the Afro-Asians wanted to be Westernized: a legitimate question because nations should decide whether they really like to be subjected to a specific evolutionary process.

Talking in Africa to evolues, highly critical of “colonialism,” I very often asked pointblank whether they would have considered it preferable if, 200 years ago, we Europeans had put a cordon sanitaire around Africa, leaving it to its own evolution unaided by the immense knowledge and experience we had acquired and accumulated-at great cost, at great pains, in the last three thousand years. A few extreme nationalists explained to me with profound conviction that, left to their own devices, they would have achieved the same inventions, the same improvements, the same advances, but the vast majority, less possessed by brazen optimism, were usually put on the spot. A few even admitted that in all likelihood they would not even exist, since the substantial decrease in mortality and the phenomenal increase in population were gifts of the medical services introduced by the Europeans. The unqualified “yes” to European civilization was, to be true, not always followed by the same enthusiastic assent for European culture. In most of the “emerging nations” the belief exists that one might opt for one and not the other, but this is true only to a very limited extent. One can, for instance, ride a bicycle half or three-quarters naked, one can read Plato (though not in Linguala!) and eat couscous, one can use the most modern automatic rifle and, at the same time, practice cannibalism which might be defined as “nutritional democracy.” There are, however, certain limits to these arbitrary selections from what, as Arthur Koestler pointed out, in reality are package deals.

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

Now, there exists a school of thought which hesitates to talk about higher and lower cultures. We, of course, use the term culture in the German sense, now generally adopted by the English-speaking nations: the intellectual, moral, and artistic status of nations as opposed to their civilization, which includes the civic (political) institutions and the servile arts. Obviously there are domains which do not fit neatly into one category or the other: Sanitation and industry obviously belong to civilization; religion, painting, and poetry to culture; jurisprudence and table manners to both. High levels of culture and civilization are related, but do not operate in synchromesh. Often history shows us great discrepancies between both, among persons as well as entire nations. […]

There exists, however, a curious interconnection between culture and civilization. There can be hostility and conflict between them (as is evident if we put the masses of our big cities under the magnifying glass), but they cannot exist too far apart either. Jointly they form (to use an expression of Arthur Koestler) a “package deal” which precludes the possibility of taking individual items arbitrarily and successfully out of their compounds. The European masters of these old and proud nations (our fourth type of colony) usually tried to provide them with the blessings of Western civilization rather than culture, but soon the desire for cultural assimilation (within arbitrary limits) followed. There is a real inner conflict between the study of mechanical engineering and the natural sciences and Buddhism or Hinduism, whereas in the case of Christianity, such an antithesis does not exist, except, perhaps, in the minds of leftist semi-intellectuals who have never taken the trouble to study systematic theology.

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

Indeed very few historical events should be called inevitable. We should be content to speak of greater or lesser probabilities, in extreme cases of “virtual impossibilities” and “greatest likelihoods.” True, it belongs to the leftist mentality to visualize a fixed point of historic evolution, a utopia behind which there is no genuine historical development but, at best, improvement. All roads lead to utopia which will be reached automatically, but intelligent people help to increase the speed of this evolution. “Progressive people” thus promote the coming of paradise on earth; reactionaries in vain try to delay the arrival of the millennium. (They are merely “turning the clock back.”) Actually the machinations of the left are often in the nature of a real fraud because they try to create the impression that the events favoring their cause were bound to come. But if they are so truly convinced of “historic automation” along their lines, why are they not waiting patiently and passively for the inevitable fulfillment of their Great Dream? This is a question legitimately addressed to the left progressivist no less than to the orthodox Marxist. Certainly, if you stand on the right, then rightly you have no reason to adopt such complacency.

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

What is usually forgotten in the “patriotic” (i.e., historic) appeal to anticolonialism is, first of all, the fact that here we are not facing any “ism” whatever. The term “colonialism” will hardly be found in authoritative dictionaries before 1914 or even 1924. Colonizing is not the result of a systematic ideology, of a Weltanschauung, of a philosophy, political or other. A second fact has to do with the great variety of situations actually covered by the term’ ‘colony.” There have been and there still exist a few colonies which before the arrival of the white man were totally void of the human element. This is true, for instance, of a number of islands in the Indian Ocean. Is it an iniquitous situation if such settlements are governed by the motherland? When does their God-given right of secession and independence begin? Certainly not with the landing of the first settler. When are they “ripe” for autonomy? All answers of necessity will be arbitrary.

We have to place into the same category areas which were practically deserted and where the indigenous population at best had tribal but not political organizations. It would not be too easy to prove that the Britishers were infringing on the natural law (or on God-given rights) when they started to colonize Australia. Whatever may be the case, the colony in the classic sense of the term was a city or a whole area settled by people from a “motherland” (metropolis) speaking the same language, adhering to the same laws, praying to the same gods as the people in the motherland. In the remote past their independence usually resulted from the impossibility of long-distance administration. Political decisions had to be made on the spot without much delay. In antiquity independence always evolved in an organic process. The moral and emotional ties between motherland and colony were rarely broken. As a result, military alliance was the rule rather than the exception.

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

Even before Pearl Harbor American public opinion had to be prepared for an alliance in which not only Britain but also the Soviet Union had a leading part. The German attack on the USSR played a role similar to the abdication of Nicholas II in 1917. Now American public opinion could more easily he made to change its stand. In this connection Cannon Bernard Iddings Bell recorded a rather significant wartime experience: “At a dinner in New York at that time, I sat next to a high-up officer of one of the great news-collecting agencies. ‘I suppose,’ I ventured, ‘now that the Muscovites are on our side, the American people will have to be indoctrinated so as to stop thinking of them as devils and begin to regard them as noble fellows.’ ‘Of course,’ he replied, ‘we know what our job is in respect to that. We of the press will bring about a complete and most unanimous volte face in the belief of the Common Man about the Russians. We shall do it in three weeks.’ “

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

In the last 200 years the exploitation of envy, its mobilization among the masses, coupled with the denigration of individuals, but more frequently of classes, races, nations or religious communities has been the very key to political success. The history of the Western World since the end of the eighteenth century cannot be written without this fact constantly in mind. All leftist “isms” harp on this theme, i.e., on the privilege of groups, minority groups, to be sure, who are objects of envy and at the same time subjects of intellectual-moral inferiorities. They have no right to their exalted positions. They ought to conform to the rest, become identical with “the people,” renounce their privileges, conform. If they speak another language, they ought to drop it and talk the lingo of the majority. If they are wealthy their riches should be taxed away or confiscated. If they adhere to an unpopular ideology, they ought to forget it. Everything special, everything esoteric and not easily understood by the many becomes suspect and evil (as for instance the increasingly “undemocratic” modern art and poetry).

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

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)

Since this book is written by a Christian let us first deal with the well-known cliche according to which, even though we are neither identical nor equal physically or intellectually, we are at least “equal in the eyes of God.” This, however, is by no means the case. None of the Christian faiths teaches that we are all equally loved by God. We have it from Scriptures that Christ loved some of his disciples more than others. Nor does any Christian religion maintain that grace is given in equal amount to all men. Catholic doctrine, which takes a more optimistic view than either Luther or Calvin, merely says that everybody is given sufficient grace to be able to save himself, though not to the same extent. The Reformers who were determinists did not even grant that minimum. It is obvious that the Marquis de Sade and, let us say, St. Jean Vianney or Pastor von Bodelschwingh were not “equals in the eyes of God.” If they had been, Christianity no longer would make any sense, because then the sinner would equal the saint and to be bad would be the same as to be good.

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

American anticolonialism also supplies a hidden motive to the foreign policy of the United States. Too many Americans hoped for the eternal gratitude of the peoples liberated and released owing to American pressure. Nothing of that sort, however, has ever happened. Even the material aid given to the “emerging nations” has not modified the attitude of these peoples or their governments in favor of the United States. Recall the speech of Senator John F. Kennedy in 1957 against France in favor of a “free Algeria”; the concerted efforts of America and Britain’s Labour government to “stop the Dutch” in Indonesia; the American activities on behalf of “Indian freedom”; the highly positive and encouraging attitude of the United States toward “decolonization” in tropical Africa. Then look at the UN record of the “emerging nations,” supported at great material sacrifice by the United States. More often than not we have seen them voting against the stands of the United States.

Yet while not receiving any recognition for its moral and financial aid to these nations, the United States has by this aid effectively antagonized small influential (not necessarily wealthy) groups of Europeans, turning them into fanatical anti-Americans and thus severely weakening the fabric of the Free World. These Europeans are not necessarily expellees from Africa and Asia-former landowners, civil servants, factory managers, teachers, doctors, and merchants. They might be their relatives; they might be people, even little people, who had lost their investments in overseas areas; they might just be patriots who hate the thought that their country’s flag had to be taken down somewhere in the big, wide world. The expellees very often had been born in the colonies, the mother country to them is a strange country and they felt bitter pain when they were torn away from their native soil. Many of them believed they had a mission among the natives. (Some of them actually were missionaries.) They naturally deplored the demagoguery of a small semi-intellectual minority. Others were victims of mob violence, of rape, mutilation, and other indignities as a result of the “decolonizing process.”

And since decolonization is being preached simultaneously by Moscow and Washington (by Moscow hypocritically and by Washington sincerely), these victims of the Cold War talk about a decolonizing Moscow-Washington Axis engaged in a permanent auction, an incessant bidding during which the battle cry, ‘I can be more anticolonialist than you are,” can be heard all the time. In this noble-ignoble competition Moscow (with much smaller bribes) is almost always the winner, while the bill for this senseless struggle is being paid by Europeans and “natives” alike. It is on issues like these that it becomes eminently clear that the American left, spearheading this anticolonialist drive, is the competitor of communism, not its enemy. Competitors do not contradict each other; they try to outdo each other.

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

Anticolonialism has been one of the worst traps into which American foreign policy fell during this century. Naturally its stalwarts were and are the leftists. Yet the anticolonial sentiment is. quite generally represented in the American people and, in the United States, one has to be something of an esprit fort, an emancipated spirit, to be able to resist its temptation. The fact that anticolonialism has two distinct roots, and not just one, contributes powerfully to its strength. […]

There is, of course, nothing evil and nothing extraordinary about colonialism. It is the inevitable result of a historical law according to which not only nature, but also political geography, does not tolerate a vacuum. Where no effective resistance can be expected, other powers, other nations, other tribes will occupy, dominate, and administer an area. Our history could not be imagined without the forces of colonialism constantly at work. Without Greek colonialism Magna Graecia would not have existed, Stagira would not have existed (in a way Aristotle would not have existed), Paestum or Pergamum, Ephesus, or Agrigent would not delight us with their ruins. Without Phoenician colonialism, there would have been no Carthage-and eventually no St. Augustine. Roman colonialism (or “imperialism’ ‘) is responsible for the French language, for Racine and Moliere-and also for Cervantes, Lope de Vega, and Calderon. Without Bavarian colonialism there would be no Austrian people. And so forth. As we should all realize, there is good colonialism and bad colonialism, just as we have good rule, which is government conscious of the common good and the welfare of the citizen or subjects, and bad rule which is selfish and exercised solely for the profit of the rulers.

The twin roots of American anticolonialism are (a) insistence on self-rule (democracy), and (b) a misinterpretation and an illegitimate application of the reasons for American independence.

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