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)

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)

But let us conjure up the memory of a late medieval feast. The guests have arrived in a great variety of clothes, and even the costumes of the males show the most adventurous diversity. But they all would have belonged to one faith and one basic ideology. Based on this common denominator, they would have uttered a whole score of views. Yet we can very well imagine a dinner given in a “modern democracy” – and not only a so-called “people’s democracy” of the Eastern pattern! – in which all the men arrive in a black uniform (the tuxedo or “tails”), all of them with clean-shaven faces, all of them uttering in unison with parrot-like monotony the same identical political and social cliches. After some questioning and investigation one would nevertheless find that this monotony stems from a chaotic cauldron of the most variegated religions and philosophies.

If a deist Mason, a Catholic, a Barthian, a vegetarian with Hinduist notions, and a “Freethinker” consider it as natural that they all believe in equality, majority rule, compulsory education and “progress” – then we have to doubt sincerely not only the logicality of their capacity to think, but also their real freedom of thinking! And it is also self-evident that a society with different premises, but bent upon achieving the same results from its “thinking” process, has to exercise a far greater pressure than one with a uniform religious basis. In its stark irrationalism such a society must be strictly anti-intellectual, and arrive at the very rejection of methodic thought.

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

Thus the problem of our time remains—to have good government with personal liberty; to have a maximum of security with a maximum of liberty. For the solution of such a problem, democracy offers no solution, because the masses, choosing between freedom and the illusion of economic security, will usually head straight for the will-o’-the-wisp. After having fallen prey to the fausse idee claire of democracy they will succumb to the even falser idee claire of national or international socialism. When we mention the masses, all the optimistic demagogy about the superb qualities of the Common Man comes to our mind. Indeed, the old monarchies were far from being models of perfection. The ancien regime, if we look merely at its seamy side, was made up of murder, inefficiency, corruption, narrowness, immorality, procrastination, intrigue, egoism, deceit and pettiness and it had long been in need of radical reform when it disappeared.

Yet it never promised a New Dawn or a Paradise on Earth and it must be conceded that it relinquished the stage of history with little opposition, almost in the expectation that the bombastically heralded New Experiments were bound to fail. And fail they did! The ancien regime had lasted a thousand years, and for over a hundred years the Continentals had tried to make a synthesis with the new forces. Then the stage was entirely left to the “Dawnists,” to our noble friend, the Common Man, and bankruptcy arrived not within a thousand years, but within half a generation. It came in a swift and deadly way. It murdered liberty by entirely new methods and it repeated the errors of the Old Government on a colossal scale: all the persecutions of Jews through the ages were dwarfed to microscopic size by Hitler’s delirious mass murders, and all the victims of the Inquisition burnt at the stake through centuries did not amount to one-fourth of the number of those cremated alive one afternoon in Dresden, when among 150,000 killed at least two-thirds perished fully conscious in the fiery flames…and this without an inquest, without the slightest effort to establish a real or even a subjectively imputed guilt at the very end of a war. To the horrors of the concentration camps almost girdling the globe we are at a loss to find any parallel.

Thus, the crown to many a European, especially to a Central European, indeed is a symbol of freedom—not only when he thinks of the terrors of the East, but also when he reflects upon the sly process of enslavement in the West.

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)