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)

Another point is the modern type of education which gives precedence to the sciences that deal only with means, over philosophy and religion that deal with ends. Today the differentiation between these two categories is more and more acknowledged and this not only in purely Catholic circles. The cognition that most great issues of our time are moral and not material is gaining ground and the dawn of the worship of exact sciences in the upper intellectual stratas seems to be nearer than ever before. […]

The superstitious belief that rudimentary knowledge of a few truths enables the average individual to understand intuitively the major problems around us seduced the ochlocrats the world over to spend huge sums for mass education. This intellectual optimism of the ochlocrats has ended in a spending orgy in educational matters without parallel; nobody after all would be worse off if the whole lot of detective novels, sex stories, tepid magazines, spicy reviews, and sport pages remained unread. A reading-writing education as such has benefited nobody, has elated nobody spiritually or culturally.

There is no need to go to the other extreme and to believe that the knowledge of the three R’s is basically destructive, but nothing is more stupid or irrealistic than to judge the level of other countries by the number of illiterates. Accepting such standards one has to put Latvia higher than France, or the Germanies of 1890 higher than the German World of 1810. Imperial Russia had a far larger percentage of illiterates than the American Middle West yet she produced such men as Dostoyevski, Myerezhkovski, Vyereshtshagin, Tolstoy, Tshaykovski, Solovyov, Pushkin, Rimsky-Korsakov, Turgenyev, Skryabin, Mendeleyev, and Mussorgsky.

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

The original thinkers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, whether fallacious or not in their doctrines, rarely were university professors; neither Nietzsche nor de Tocqueville, Schopenhauer, Bernhart, Spengler or Hello, Kierkegaard, von Hügel or de Maistre were ever honored with a chair, and Kant had to be content with a teaching position in a girls’ high school.

Yet the true pillars of democratism and socialism we find in the elementary school and in its semieducated teachers inclining frequently toward Marxian socialism.49 Even in France, where the Académie Française had become a stronghold of Catholic thought, the mass of teachers remains in the clutches of the fin-de-siècle. It is, of course, equally true that the function of the teacher in an elementary or secondary school is extremely important in an ochlocratic society. We must not forget that the extinction of illiteracy remains one of the capital tasks of the democratists, because they feel the need of a public which masters the three “R’s” and is therefore able to mark the right name on the election papers; to read cheap novels and pulp magazines, leaflets, pamphlets, and advertisements; the need of a public which solves crossword puzzles, understands warning signs on the road and in the factories, and swallows “enlightening” writings without possessing the faculties to analyze them critically.

It is the specific tragedy of the average urbanite to have lost his ancestral, rural gift of wisdom without having even the prospect of acquiring a thorough knowledge which is able to replace wisdom to a certain extent.

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

Even in spite of the fact that it is technical development which finally devours ochlocracy one has little reason to league together with Beelzebub to drive out Satan. The technical inventions cannot all be forgotten, canceled, or destroyed from one day to the other. Yet a healthy skepticism toward “progress” and a sound self-control in regard to the acceptance of technical “improvements” are absolutely necessary. Technics may exist and continue but we must bury our excessive enthusiasm for technics (and the sciences) and save it for worthier objects. To invent is a human tendency and inclination, to put inventions into actual existence is another thing. We have also an innate desire to drink, to eat, to shirk work, to amuse ourselves, to be selfish and yet — we must tame and control all these desires. The limitless indulging in technical progress is as suicidal and destructive as limitless drinking or limitless loafing.

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

A “bureaucracy” (an officialdom of high accomplishment) is naturally disliked by an ochlocratic society which prefers to believe in the success of the amateur and the divine inspirations of the “average man.” But the process of (organically co-ordinated) specialization and the final victory of quality over quantity can only be postponed but not delayed forever. It is one of the great ironies of modern, ochlocratic civilization that it annihilates its own primeval forms. Banking, manufacturing, trading, and industrialism which helped to destroy the privileges of the nobility and clergy and furthered the cause of leveling and collectivization finally created a small “managerial” group which may be the aristocracy of tomorrow.

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

Yet the most important result of the shrinkage of phantasy is to be found in the lack of ability for religious metaphysical visualization. The decay of the imaginative faculty has in this field the most detrimental consequences. Eternal life, God and devil, the angels, the lives of the saints, Golgatha and the Resurrection, the whole theistic Weltanschauung surpasses completely the faculties of the technical homunculus, who like the unfortunate Apostle Thomas only believes what he sees.

The religious communities of the United States, in the industrial areas, who depend upon their flock financially, have therefore to interest their members in material, social, and political questions. These religious societies are in exactly the same situation as the “intellectuals” who follow public opinion instead of leading it, the press or the higher institutions of learning. The Catholics at least have nowhere compromised on the essentials. The “Churches” on the other hand, have followed the trend toward the left in a slavish way, trembling in their shoes lest they be accused of being old fashioned, reactionary, or uncompromising. The masses who cared more and more for security, after having lost their enthusiasm for the lottery of liberal capitalism with increasingly unfavorable odds, have induced the shrewder and more “farseeing” part of the ministry to side with Leftism, thus hoping for a longer lease of life. This involves the acceptance of socialist and pink tendencies, an enthusiasm for all humanitarian and “progressive” ideas like birth control, the surgical abortus, euthanasia, “free love,” and pacifism, not to mention the numerous inroads of modern skepticism, so that little of the depositum fidei remains. The residue is a pale, problematic humanitarianism, which looks with greater respect to the “Men in White” than to the ministers of their faith.

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

Political parties of the totalitarian type on the other hand promise “everything” — faith (in a worldly millennium), intellectuality (on a sentimental basis), drunkenness (with words), crime (of the “honorable,” i.e., political type). An American Fascism of tomorrow might actually attract all “better” elements leaving the scum to its pastime of drink, theft, and sex. Needless to say this is a dangerous game. It may be that these elements, having a free hand, would “save America” for the “White Man,” and Christianity might thus well-nigh become a tolerated religion, but the Church as such would suffer bitterly in the long run and the catacombs might be her last stage of development here in this country.

In the sober forties there will be another generation, steeled by the war, grimmer in outlook, far more determined to have its own way. The generation of the twenties was one of despair, of despair for the “right reasons”; there is a danger that our decade will be one of wrong and false aims. The issue is thus far graver. Most planning (whether it is done by ochlocrats, Fascists, Pinks, or Communists) points to a radical decrease of liberty. Yet there is no doubt that the end of liberty in America would be practically the end there of the Church.

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

It is a well-known fact that the Negro is, in the South, a second class citizen. But even in the rest of the United States, in the land of Whitman, Emerson, Lincoln, and Susan P. Anthony he has not the same recognition as in the City of the Bourbons and the Bastille, or in the benevolent autocracy of Salazar, or anywhere else in Europe except in progressive Germany. It is a fact that colored people are more respected in the Old World with its medieval memories than in the Protestant part of the New World. Paul Robeson has infinitely more trouble to get a hotel room in New York than in Madrid. It would be difficult to imagine an equivalent of a black vice-president of the Chambre des Deputes or the black French undersecretary for colonial affairs (1935) in this country where people are accustomed to think of Negroes in terms of redcaps and bootblacks. But there are aspects of the color question which are far more unpleasant than these. Even in the more hierarchic South, with its Jim Crow car and the ugly Scottsborough case, the results of a materialistic conception of man becomes apparent. Evolutionism gave to the old superstitions a new “scientific” cloak and the view that the Negro stands somewhere between man and ape gains ground rather than loses it.

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