Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler
Volume Two: The National Socialist Movement
Chapter IV: Personality and the Conception of the Folkish State
The folkish National Socialist state sees its chief task in educating and preserving the bearer of the state. It is not sufficient to encourage the racial elements as such, to educate them and finally instruct them in the needs of practical life; the state must also adjust its own organization to this task.
It would be lunacy to try to estimate the value of man according to his race, thus declaring war on the Marxist idea that men are equal, unless we are determined to draw the ultimate consequences. And the ultimate consequence of recognizing the importance of blood - that is, of the racial foundation in general - is the transference of this estimation to the individual person. In general, I must evaluate peoples differently on the basis of the race they belong to, and the same applies to the individual men within a national community. The realization that peoples are not equal transfers itself to the individual man within a national community, in the sense that men's minds cannot be equal, since here, too, the blood components, though equal in their broad outlines, are, in particular cases, subject to thousands of the finest differentiations.
The first consequence of this realization might at the same time be called the cruder one: an attempt to promote in the most exemplary way those elements within the national community
that have been recognized as especially valuable from the racial viewpoint and to provide for their special increase.
This task is cruder because it can be recognized and solved almost mechanically. It is more difficult to recognize among the whole people the minds that are most valuable in the intellectual and ideal sense, and to gain for them that influence which not only is the due of these superior minds, but which above all is beneficial to the nation. This sifting according to capacity and ability cannot be undertaken mechanically; it is a task which the struggle of daily life unceasingly performs.
A philosophy of life which endeavors to reject the democratic mass idea and give this earth to the best people - that is, the highest humanity - must logically obey the same aristocratic principle within this people and make sure that the leadership and the highest influence in this people fall to the best minds. Thus, it builds, not upon the idea of the majority but upon the idea of personality.
Anyone who believes today that a folkish National Socialist state must distinguish itself from other states only in a purely mechanical sense, by a superior construction of its economic life - that is, by a better balance between rich and poor, or giving broad sections of the population more right to influence the economic process, or by fairer wages by elimination of excessive wage differentials - has not gone beyond the most superficial aspect of the matter and has not the faintest idea of what we call a philosophy. All the things we have just mentioned offer not the slightest guaranty of continued existence, far less of any claim to greatness. A people which did not go beyond these really superficial reforms would not obtain the least guaranty of victory in the general struggle of nations. A movement which finds the content of its mission only in such a general leveling, assuredly just as it may be, will truly bring about no great and profound, hence real, reform of existing conditions, since its entire activity does not, in the last analysis, go beyond externals, and does not give the people that inner armament which enables it, with almost inevitable certainty I might say, to overcome in the end those weaknesses from which we suffer today.
To understand this more easily, it may be expedient to cast one more glance at the real origins and causes of human cultural development.
The first step which outwardly and visibly removed man from the animal was that of invention. Invention itself is originally based on the finding of stratagems and ruses, the use of which facilitates the life struggle with other beings, and is sometimes the actual prerequisite for its favorable course. These most primitive inventions do not yet cause the personality to appear with sufficient distinctness, because, of course, they enter the consciousness of the future, or rather the present, human observer only as a mass phenomenon. Certain dodges and crafty measures which man, for example, can observe in the animal catch his eye only as a summary fact, and he is no longer in a position to establish or investigate their origin, but must simply content himself with designating such phenomena as 'instinctive.'
But in our case this last word means nothing at all. For anyone who believes in a higher development of living creatures must admit that every expression of their life urge and life struggle must have had a beginning; that one subject must have started it, and that subsequently such a phenomenon repeated itself more and more frequently and spread more and more, until at last it virtually entered the subconscious of all members of a given species, thus manifesting itself as an instinct.
This will be understood and believed more readily in the case of man. His first intelligent measures in the struggle with other beasts assuredly originate in the actions of individual, particularly able subjects. Here, too, the personality was once unquestionably the cause of decisions and acts which later were taken over by all humanity and regarded as perfectly self-evident. Just as any obvious military principle, which today has become, as it were, the basis of all strategy, originally owed its appearance to one absolutely distinct mind, and only in the course of many perhaps even thousands of years, achieved universal validity and was taken entirely for granted.
Man complements this first invention by a second: he learns to place other objects and also living creatures in the service of his own struggle for self-preservation; and thus begins man's real inventive activity which today is generally visible. These material inventions, starting with the use of stone as a weapon and leading to the domestication of beasts, giving man artificial fire, and so on up to the manifold and amazing inventions of our day, show the individual creator the more clearly, the closer the various inventions lie to the present day, or the more significant and incisive they are. At all events, we know that all the material inventions we see about us are the result of the creative power and ability of the individual personality. And all these inventions in the last analysis help to raise man more and more above the level of the animal world and finally to remove him from it. Thus, fundamentally, they serve the continuous process of higher human development. But the very same thing which once, in the form of the simplest ruse, facilitated the struggle for existence of the man hunting in the primeval forest, again contributes, in the shape of the most brilliant scientific knowledge of the present era, to alleviate mankind's struggle for existence and to forge its weapons for the struggles of the future. All human thought and invention, in their ultimate effects, primarily serve man's struggle for existence on this planet, even when the so-called practical use of an invention or a discovery or a profound scientific insight into the essence of things is not visible at the moment. All these things together, by contributing to raise man above the living creatures surrounding him, strengthen him and secure his position, so that in every respect he develops into the dominant being on this earth.
Thus, all inventions are the result of an individual's work. All these individuals, whether intentionally or unintentionally, are more or less great benefactors of all men. Their work subsequently gives millions, nay, billions of human creatures, instruments with which to facilitate and carry out their life struggle.
If in the origin of our present material culture we always find individuals in the form of inventors, complementing one another and one building upon another, we find the same in the practice and execution of the things devised and discovered by the inventors. For all productive processes in turn must in their origin be considered equivalent to inventions, hence dependent on the individual. Even purely theoretical intellectual work, which in particular cases is not measurable, yet is the premise for all further material inventions, appears as the exclusive product of the individual person. It is not the mass that invents and not the majority that organizes or thinks, but in all things only and always the individual man, the person.
A human community appears well organized only if it facilitates the labors of these creative forces in the most helpful way and applies them in a manner beneficial to all. The most valuable thing about the invention itself, whether it lie in the material field or in the world of ideas, is primarily the inventor as a personality. Therefore, to employ him in a way benefiting the totality is the first and highest task in the organization of a national community. Indeed, the organization itself must be a realization of this principle. Thus, also, it is redeemed from the curse of mechanism and becomes a living thing. It must itself be an embodiment of the endeavor to place thinking individuals above the masses, thus subordinating the latter to the former.
Consequently, the organization must not only not prevent the emergence of thinking individuals from the mass; on the contrary, it must in the highest degree make this possible and easy by the nature of its own being. In this it must proceed from the principle that the salvation of mankind has never lain in the masses, but in its creative minds, which must therefore really be regarded as benefactors of the human race. To assure them of the most decisive influence and facilitate their work is in the interest of the totality. Assuredly this interest is not satisfied, and is not served by the domination of the unintelligent or incompetent, in any case uninspired masses, but solely by the leadership of those to whom Nature has given special gifts for this purpose.
The selection of these minds, as said before, is primarily accomplished by the hard struggle for existence. Many break and perish, thus showing that they are not destined for the ultimate, and in the end only a few appear to be chosen. In the fields of thought, artistic creation, even, in fact, of economic life, this purpose. They injure collective achievement, and thus in reality injure individual achievement. For the satisfaction of the members of a national body does not in the long run occur exclusively through mere theoretical phrases, but by the goods of daily life that fall to the individual and the ultimate resultant conviction that a national community in the sum of its achievement guards the interests of individuals.
It is of no importance whether Marxism, on the basis of its mass theory, seems capable of taking over and carrying on the economy existing at the moment. Criticism with regard to the soundness or unsoundness of this principle is not settled by the proof of its capacity to administer the existing order for the future, but exclusively by the proof that it can itself create a higher culture. Marxism might a thousand times take over the existing economy and make it continue to work under its leadership, but even success in this activity would prove nothing in the face of the fact that it would not be in a position, by applying its principle itself, to create the same thing which today it takes over in a finished state.
Of this Marxism has furnished practical proof. Not only that it has nowhere been able to found and create a culture by itself; actually it has not been able to continue the existing ones in accordance with its principles, but after a brief time has been forced to return to the ideas embodied in the personality principle, in the form of concessions; - even in its own organization it cannot dispense with these principles.
The folkish philosophy is basically distinguished from the Marxist philosophy by the fact that it not only recognizes the value of race, but with it the importance of the personality, which it therefore makes one of the pillars of its entire edifice. These are the factors which sustain its view of life.
If the National Socialist movement did not understand the fundamental importance of this basic realization, but instead were merely to perform superficial patchwork on the present-day state, or even adopt the mass standpoint as its own - then it would really constitute nothing but a party in competition with the Marxists; in that case, it would not possess the right to call itself a philosophy of life. If the social program of the movement consisted only in pushing aside the personality and replacing it by the masses, National Socialism itself would be corroded by the poison of Marxism, as is the case with our bourgeois parties.
The folkish state must care for the welfare of its citizens by recognizing in all and everything the importance of the value of personality, thus in all fields preparing the way for that highest measure of productive performance which grants to the individual the highest measure of participation.
And accordingly, the folkish state must free all leadership and especially the highest - that is, the political leadership - entirely from the parliamentary principle of majority rule - in other words, mass rule - and instead absolutely guarantee the right of the personality.
From this the following realization results:
The best state constitution and state form is that which, with the most unquestioned certainty, raises the best minds in the national community to leading position and leading influence
But as, in economic life, the able men cannot be appointed from above, but must struggle through for themselves, and just as here the endless schooling, ranging from the smallest business to the largest enterprise, occurs spontaneously, with life alone giving the examinations, obviously political minds cannot be 'discovered.' Extraordinary geniuses permit of no consideration for normal mankind.
From the smallest community cell to the highest leadership of the entire Reich, the state must have the personality principle anchored in its organization.
There must be no majority decisions, but only responsible persons, and the word ' council' must be restored to its original meaning. Surely every man will have advisers by his side, but the decision will be made by one man.
The principle which made the Prussian army in its time into the most wonderful instrument of the German people must some day, in a transferred sense, become the principle of the construction of our whole state conception: authority of every leader downward and responsibility upward.
Even then it will not be possible to dispense with those corporations which today we designate as parliaments. But their councilors will then actually give counsel; responsibility, however? can and may be borne only by one man, and therefore only he alone may possess the authority and right to command.
Parliaments as such are necessary, because in them, above all, personalities to which special responsible tasks can later be entrusted have an opportunity gradually to rise up.
This gives the following picture:
The folkish state, from the township up to the Reich leadership? has no representative body which decides anything by the majority, but only advisory bodies which stand at the side of the elected leader, receiving their share of work from him, and in turn if necessary assuming unlimited responsibility in certain fields, just as on a larger scale the leader or chairman of the various corporations himself possesses.
As a matter of principle, the folkish state does not tolerate asking advice or opinions in special matters - say, of an economic nature - men who, on the basis of their education and activity, can understand nothing of the subject. It, therefore, divides its representative bodies from the start into political and professional chambers.
In order to guarantee a profitable cooperation between the two a special senate of the elite always stands over them.
In no chamber and in no senate does a vote ever take place. They are working institutions and not voting machines. The individual member has an advisory, but never a determining voice. The latter is the exclusive privilege of the responsible chairman.
This principle - absolute responsibility unconditionally combined with absolute will gradually breed an elite of leaders such as today, in this era of irresponsible parliamentarianism, is utterly inconceivable.
Thus, the political form of the nation will be brought into agreement with that law to which it owes its greatness in the cultural and economic field.
As regards the possibility of putting these ideas into practice, I beg you not to forget that the parliamentary principle of democratic majority rule has by no means always dominated mankind, but on the contrary is to be found only in brief periods. of history, which are always epochs of the decay of peoples and: states.
But it should not be believed that such a transformation can, be accomplished by purely theoretical measures from above, since logically it may not even stop at the state constitution, but must. permeate all other legislation, and indeed all civil life. Such a fundamental change can and will only take place through a movement which is itself constructed in the spirit of these ideas and hence bears the future state within itself.
Hence the National Socialist movement should today adapt. itself entirely to these ideas and carry them to practical fruition within its own organization, so that some day it may not only show the state these same guiding principles, but can also place the completed body of its own state at its disposal.
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