Can anyone place this German socialist?
zodiac at gold.interlog.com
Tue Sep 5 23:07:55 MDT 1995
Can anyone place this German socialist?
Since the capitalist -- for reasons which will at once become apparent
-- was never in possession of a culture of his own, the foundations of
his intellectual work were always provided by others. His intellect at
all times developed through the cultural world surrounding him.
The reverse process never took place.
For if the financial capitalist's instinct of self-preservation is not
smaller but larger than that of other classes, if his intellectual
faculties can easily arouse the impression that they are equal to the
intellectual gifts of people who work, he lacks completely the most
essential requirement for a cultured people, the idealistic attitude.
In the capitalists the will to self-sacrifice does not go beyond the
individual's naked instinct of self-preservation. Their apparently
great sense of solidarity is based on the very primitive herd instinct
that is seen in many other living creatures in this world. It is a
noteworthy fact that the herd instinct leads to mutual support only as
long as a common danger makes this seem useful or inevitable. The same
pack of wolves which has just fallen on its prey together disintegrates
when hunger abates into its individual beasts. The same is true of
horses which try to defend themselves against an assailant in a body,
but scatter again as soon as the danger is past.
It is similar with the capitalist. His sense of sacrifice is only
apparent. It exists only as long as the existence of the individual
makes it absolutely necessary. However, as soon as the common enemy is
conquered, the danger threatening all averted and the booty hidden, the
apparent harmony of the financial capitalists among themselves ceases,
again making way for their old causal tendencies. The capitalists are
only united when a common danger forces them to be, or a common booty
entices them; if these two grounds are lacking, the qualities of the
crassest egoism come into their own, and in the twinkling of an eye the
united capitalists turn into a horde of rats, fighting bloodily among
If the capitalists were alone in this world, they would stifle in filth
and offal; they would try to get ahead of one another in hate-filled
struggle and exterminate one another, in so far as the absolute absence
of all sense of self-sacrifice, expressing itself in their cowardice,
did not turn battle into comedy here too. So it is absolutely wrong to
infer any ideal sense of sacrifice in the capitalists from the fact
that they stand together in struggle, or, better expressed, in the
plundering of their fellow men.
Here again the financial capitalist is led by nothing but the naked
egoism of the individual.
That is why the capitalist state -- which should be the living organism
for preserving and increasing a population -- is completely unlimited
as to territory. For a state formation to have a definite spatial
setting always presupposes an idealistic attitude on the part of the
state-race, and especially a correct interpretation of the concept of
work. In the exact measure in which this attitude is lacking, any
attempt at forming, even of preserving, a spatially delimited state
fails. And thus the basis on which alone culture can arise is lacking.
Hence the capitalist, despite all apparent intellectual qualities, is
without any true culture, and especially without any culture of its
own. For what sham culture the capitalist today possesses is the
property of other peoples, and for the most part it is ruined in his
In judging the capitalist's attitude on the question of human culture,
the most essential characteristic we must always bear in mind is that
there has never been a "Capitalist art" and accordingly there is none
today either; that above all the two queens of all the arts,
architecture and music, owe nothing original to capitalism. What they
do accomplish in the field of art is either patchwork or intellectual
theft. Thus, the capitalist lacks those qualities which distinguish
the cultures that are creative and hence culturally blessed.
To what an extent the capitalist takes over foreign culture, imitating
or rather ruining it, can be seen from the fact that he is mostly found
in the art which seems to require least original invention, the art of
acting. But even here, in reality, he is only a 'juggler,' or rather
an ape; for even here he lacks the last touch that is required for real
greatness; even here he is not the creative genius, but a superficial
imitator, and all the twists and tricks that he uses are powerless to
conceal the inner lifelessness of his creative gift. Here the
capitalist press most lovingly helps him along by raising such a roar
of hosannahs about even the most mediocre bungler, just so long as he
funded by capitalists, that the rest of the world actually ends up by
thinking that they have an artist before them, while in truth it is
only a pitiful comedian.
No, the capitalist possesses no culture-creating force of any sort,
since the idealism, without which there is no true higher development
of man, is not present in him and never was present. Hence his
intellect will never have a constructive effect, but will be
destructive, and in very rare cases perhaps will at most be
stimulating, but then as the prototype of the 'force which always wants
evil and nevertheless creates good.' Not through him does any progress
of mankind occur, but in spite of him.
[ ... ]
The financial capitalist never thinks of leaving a territory that he
has occupied, but remains where he is, and he sits so fast that even by
force it is very hard to drive him out. His extension to ever-new
countries occurs only in the moment in which certain conditions for his
existence are there present, without which -- unlike the nomad -- he
would not change his residence. He is and remains the typical
parasite, a sponger who like a noxious bacillus keeps spreading as soon
as a favorable medium invites him. And the effect of his existence is
also like that of spongers: wherever he appears, the host people dies
out after a shorter or longer period.
the financial capitalist is a parasite in the body of other nations and
states explains a characteristic which once caused Schopenhauer, as has
already been mentioned, to call him the 'great master in lying.'
Existence impels the capitalist to lie, and to lie perpetually, just as
it compels the inhabitants of the northern countries to wear warm
--- from list marxism at lists.village.virginia.edu ---
More information about the Marxism