H
OUSTON STEWART CHAMBERLAIN

THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY

Volume II, Chapter 8, page 139—184. State.

 
Cover of the Foundations


CONTENTS

Back to main page
The original text in German: Die Grundlagen des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts
DOWNLOAD the Foundations of the Nineteenth Century

INTRODUCTION BY LORD REDESDALE i v
AUTHOR'S INTRODUCTION i lix

DIVISION I: THE LEGACY OF THE ANCIENT WORLD
INTRODUCTORY i 3
FIRST CHAPTER: HELLENIC ART AND PHILOSOPHY i 14
SECOND CHAPTER: ROMAN LAW i 93
THIRD CHAPTER: THE REVELATION OF CHRIST i 174

DIVISION II: THE HEIRS
INTRODUCTORY i 251
FOURTH CHAPTER: THE CHAOS i 258
FIFTH CHAPTER: THE ENTRANCE OF THE JEWS INTO WESTERN HISTORY i 329
SIXTH CHAPTER: THE ENTRANCE OF THE GERMANIC PEOPLE INTO HISTORY i 494

DIVISION III: THE STRUGGLE
INTRODUCTORY ii 3
SEVENTH CHAPTER: RELIGION ii 13
EIGHTH CHAPTER: STATE ii 139
NINTH CHAPTER: FROM THE YEAR 1200 TO THE YEAR 1800
A. The Teutons as Creators of a New Culture
ii 187
B. Historical Survey ii 233
1. DISCOVERY ii 261
2. SCIENCE ii 293
3. INDUSTRY ii 329
4. POLITICAL ECONOMY ii 344
5. POLITICS AND CHURCH ii 365
6. PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGION ii 389
7. ART ii 495
INDEX ii 565


139

EIGHTH CHAPTER

STATE

Methinks I see in my mind a noble and puissant nation rousing herself like a strong man after sleep, and shaking her invincible locks: methinks I see her as an eagle mewing her mighty youth, and kindling her undazzled eyes at the full midday beam; purging and unscaling her long-abused sight at the fountain itself of heavenly radiance; while the whole noise of timorous and flocking birds, with those also that love the twilight, flutter about, amazed at what she means, and in their envious gabble would prognosticate a year of sects and schisms. — MILTON.
 

EMPEROR AND POPE

Were it my task to describe historically the struggle in the State till the thirteenth century, I could not fail to dwell specially upon two things: the struggle between the Pope and the Emperor, and the gradual transformation of the majority of free Teutons into bondsmen, while others among them raised themselves to that powerful class of hereditary nobility, so dangerous to those above as well as to those beneath them. But here I have to confine my attention to the nineteenth century, and neither that fatal struggle nor the curiously varied changes which society, tossed violently this way and that, underwent, possess more than historical interest to-day. The word “Emperor“ has become so meaningless to us, that quite a number of European princes have added it as an ornament to their titulature, and the “white slaves of Europe“ (as an English writer of our days, Sherard, calls them) are not

140 STATE



the result of a past feudal system, but the victims of a new economic development. * If we go deeper, we shall find that that struggle in the State, confused as it appears, was fundamentally a struggle for the State, a struggle, in fact, between universalism and nationalism. If we realise this, we gain a clearer understanding of the events in question, and a bright light is shed upon our own time, giving us a more distinct view of many events to-day than we otherwise could attain.
    This reflection enables us at once to map out the plan of this chapter. But before proceeding I must make one remark.
    The Roman Empire might well be called a “world-empire“; orbis romanus, the Roman world, was the usual designation. Noteworthy is it that men should be wont to say “the Roman world,“ not “the world“ merely. Though the paid Court poet, in search of resounding hexameters, wrote the often quoted words:
Tu regere imperio populos, Romane, memento!
yet the presumption thoughtlessly accepted even by some earnest historians, that this was the entire Roman programme, is quite unsound. As I have shown in the second chapter, the fundamental idea of ancient Rome was not expansion but concentration. The empty phrases of a Vergil should deceive no one on this point. Rome was compelled by historical events to expand around a firm central point, but even in the days of its most extensive power, from Trajan to Diocletian, nothing will strike the careful observer more than its strict self-control and self-restraint. That is the secret of Roman strength; by that Rome proves itself to be the truly political nation. But as far as it extends, Rome destroys individuality, it creates an orbis romanus; its influence

    * See in chap. ix. the division “Economy.“

141 STATE



outwardly is a levelling one. And when there was no longer a Roman nation, no longer even a Caesar in Rome, there still remained that specifically Roman principle of levelling — the destruction of all individuality. On this the Church now planted the genuine universal idea, which the purely political Rome had never known. It had been the Emperors, in the first place Theodosius, who had created the idea of the Roman Church, but certainly all that they had thought of was the orbis romanus and its better discipline; now, however, a religious principle superseded the political, and while the latter is limited by nature, the former is unlimited. To convert to Christianity became henceforth a moral obligation, since the eternal salvation of man depended on it; such a conviction could know no limits. * On the other hand, it was a State duty to belong to the Roman Church, to the exclusion of every other form of Christianity; the Emperors ordered this on pain of severe punishment. In this way the former, systematically limited Roman idea was extended to that of a Universal empire; and since politics indeed supplied the organism, but the Church the categorical idea of universality, it is natural that out of the Imperium there should gradually arise a theocracy and that the high priest should soon set upon his head the diadema imperii.
    The fact to which I should like first of all to call attention

    * See, for example, the wonderful letter of Alcuin to Charlemagne (in Waitz: Deutsche Verfassungsgeschichte, ii, 182), in which the Abbot admonishes the Emperor to extend the Empire over the whole world, not in order to satisfy political ambition, but because by so doing he would extend the boundaries of Catholicism.
    † It is still a disputed question which Pope first wound the double diadem round the tiara; it was at all events done in the eleventh or twelfth century. The one ring bore the inscription: Corona regni de manu Dei, the other: Diadema imperii de manu Petri. To-day the Papal crown has a triple diadem; according to Wolfgang Menzel (Christliche Symbolik, 1854, i, 531), who inclined to Catholicism, these three diadems symbolise the rule of the Roman Church over earth, hell, and heaven. No imperialism can go further than that.

142 STATE



is this, that it is not right to see in every Emperor — though he be a Henry IV. — a representative and champion of the secular power in opposition to the ecclesiastical. The idea of universal power is the essence of Christian-Roman imperialism. Now this idea does not come, as we saw, from ancient Rome; it was religion that had introduced the new revealed truth, the kingdom of God upon earth, a purely ideal power, founded, that is to say, on ideas, and ruling men by ideas. Of course the Emperors had, so to speak, secularised this principle in the interests of their power, but by adopting it, they had at the same time bound themselves to it. An Emperor, unwilling to belong to the Roman Church or to be an advocate and defender of the universalism of religion, would not have been an Emperor. A quarrel between Emperor and Pope is therefore always a quarrel within the Church; the one wishes more influence to be given to the regnum, the other to the sacerdotium; but the dream of universalism remains common to them both, as does that loyalty to the Imperial-Roman Church, which should supply the cement of souls in the world-empire. Now the Emperor nominates the Pope on his own authority (as in 999 Otto III. nominated Sylvester II.), and is hence an undisputed autocrat; on another occasion the Pope crowns the Emperor “from the fullness of Papal power“ (as Innocent II. in 1131 crowned Lothar); originally the Emperors (or the territorial Princes) nominated all bishops, at a later time the Popes claimed this right; the Council of Bishops, too, could arrogate the chief power, declare itself “infallible,“ depose and imprison the Pope (as in Constance in 1415), while the Emperor sat a powerless spectator among the prelates, not even able to rescue a Hus from death. And so on. It is in all these things, manifestly, a question of competence within the Church, that is, within the theocracy considered as universal. Though the German archbishops commanded the army which Frederick I.

143 STATE



in 1167 sent against Rome and the Pope, it would surely be strange to see in this a real revolt of the secular power against the ecclesiastical. It would be just as strange to interpret the dismissal of Gregory VII. by the synod of Worms in 1076 as an anti-ecclesiastical move of Henry IV., for almost all the bishops of Germany and Italy had signed the Imperial decree, and that on the ground that “the Pope was arrogating to himself a power hitherto quite unknown, while he destroyed the rights of other bishops“ * Naturally I am far from wishing to deny the great political importance of all these events, and particularly their retrospective influence upon the growing national consciousness, but I maintain that this is all a question of struggles and intrigues inside the then prevailing universal system of the Church; that struggle, however, which decided the further course of the history of the world, in opposition at once to Pope and Emperor — that is, therefore, in opposition to the ecclesiastical ideal of State — was carried on by Princes, nobles and the middle classes. This means a struggle against universalism and, though nations were not the first to take it up, since none yet existed, it yet led necessarily to their formation, for they are essentially bulwarks against the despotism of the Roman imperialistic idea.
 

THE “DUPLEX POTESTAS

    I had to premise this, in order to settle, once for all, which struggle could and should occupy our attention in this book. The struggle between Emperor and Pope belongs to the past, that between nationalism and universalism is still going on.
    But before we pass to our real theme, I should like to add another remark concerning this rivalry within the universalistic ideal. It is, in truth, not indispensable

    * Hefele: Konziliengeschichte, v. 67.

144 STATE



for our judgment of the nineteenth century, but in our time the matter has been much spoken of, and very greatly to the disadvantage of sound common sense; it has been again and again revived by the universalistic, i.e., the Roman party, and many an otherwise good judgment is led astray by the skilfully represented, but quite untenable paradox. I refer to the theory of the duplex potestas, the double power. Most educated people know it from Dante's De Monarchia, although it was evolved earlier, contemporaneously, and later by others. With all respect for the great poet, I hardly think that any unbiased man, capable of forming a judgment on politics, will fail to find this work simply monstrous. A magnificent effect is certainly produced by the consistency and the courage with which Dante denies to the Pope every trace of secular power and worldly possession; but, while he transfers to another the fullness of this power, claiming for this other the theocratic origin of directly divine appointment, he has only replaced one tyrant by another. Of the Electors he says that one “may not call them 'selectors,' “ but rather “proclaimers of the Divine Providence“ (iii. 16); that is, of course, the unvarnished Papal theory! But then comes the monstrous idea: in addition to this absolute autocrat appointed “without intermediary“ by God Himself, there is another equally absolute autocrat, likewise appointed by God Himself, the Pope! For “human nature is double and therefore requires a double head,“ namely, “the Pope, who in conformity with revelation guides humanity to eternal life, and the Emperor, who following the doctrines of the philosophers shall lead men to earthly happiness.“ As philosophy, even, this doctrine is monstrous; for according to it the endeavour after purely earthly happiness must go hand in hand with the attainment of an everlasting happiness in the future life; from a practical point of view it is the most un-

145 STATE



tenable delusion that a poetic brain ever conceived. We may accept it as axiomatic truth that universalism involves absolutism, that is, freedom from all limitations; how then can two absolute autocrats stand side by side? The one cannot take a single step without “limiting“ the other. Where can we draw a boundary-line between the jurisdiction of the “philosophical“ Emperor, the direct representative of God upon earth as the Omniscient, and the jurisdiction of the theological Emperor, the mediator of eternal life? Does that “double nature“ of man, of which Dante speaks, not after all form a unity? Is it capable of dividing itself with nicety in two, and — in contradiction to the words of Christ — of serving two masters? Even the word mon-archy signifies rule by one, and is the monarchy now to possess two absolute rulers? In practice that is impossible. The Emperors who were Christians were absolute rulers inside the Church also; now and then they summoned the bishops to councils, but they issued the ecclesiastical laws on their own authority, and in dogmatic questions it was their will that decided. Theodosius might do penance before the Bishop of Milan, as he would have done before any other priest, but he never dreamt of a rival to his absolute authority and would not have hesitated to crush such a rival. The sentiments of Charlemagne were just the same (see p. 101), though naturally his position could not be so strong as that of Theodosius; but Otto the Great attained later exactly the same autocratic power, and his Imperial will sufficed to depose the Pope: the logic of the universalistic idea demands that all power should lie in one hand. Now indeed, in consequence of endless political confusion, and also because the intellects of men of that time were perplexed with questions of abstract law, many obscure ideas came into vogue, among others that clause of ancient Church law, de duobus universis monarchiae gladiis, concerning the two swords

146 STATE



of the State; but, as the above sentence with its genitive singular proves, the practical politician had never had so monstrous a conception of the matter as the poet; for him there is but one monarchy and both swords serve it. This one monarchy is the Church: a worldly and at the same time a spiritual Imperium. And because the idea of Imperium is so absolutely theocratic, we cannot be surprised when the highest power gradually is transferred from the King to the Pontifex. That both should stand equally high is excluded by the nature of men; even Dante says at the end of his work, that the Emperor should “show honour to Peter“ and “accept illumination by his light“; he therefore implicitly admits that the Pope stands above the Emperor. At last a strong, clear mind, with political and legal culture, cleared up this confusion of historical sophisms and abstractions; it happened just at the end of the epoch of which I am here speaking, at the close of the thirteenth century. * In his bull Ineffabilis, Boniface VIII. had already demanded the absolute freedom of the Church; absolute freedom means absolute power. But the doctrine of the two swords had made such fearful havoc of the intellectual strength of the princes, that they no longer remembered that the second sword was, at best, in the direct power of the Emperor; no, every individual prince wished to wield it alone, and the divine monarchy thus degenerated into a polyarchy all the more perilous as every petty prince had arrogated the Imperial theory and regarded himself as an absolute ruler directly appointed by God. One can sympathise with the princes, for they paved the way for nations, but their theory of “divine right“ is simply absurd — absurd, if they remained within the Roman universal system, i.e., in the Catholic Church, and doubly absurd, if they separated themselves

    * Dante lived to see it but, as it appears, did not know how to estimate its importance or to draw the necessary conclusions from it.

147 STATE



from the magnificent idea of the one divinely desired civitas Dei. To this confusion Boniface VIII. sought now to put an end by his remarkable bull Unam sanctam. Every layman should know it, for no matter what has happened since or may happen in the future, the logic of the universal-theocratic idea * will always imply absolute power in the Church and its clerical head. First of all Boniface demonstrates that there can be only one Church — this would be the point where we should be forced at once to contradict him, for from this follows all else with logical necessity. Then comes the decisive, and, as history proves, true remark: “This one Church has only one head, not two heads like a monster!“ But if it has only one head, then both swords must be in its hand, the spiritual and the secular: “Both swords are therefore in the power of the Church, the spiritual and the secular; the latter must be wielded for the Church, the former by the Church; the former by the Priesthood, the latter by Kings and warriors, but according to the will of the priest and as long as he suffers it. But one sword must be over the other, the secular authority subordinate to the spiritual ... Divine truth testifies that the spiritual power has to appoint the secular power, and to judge it, if it be not good.“ † This made the doctrine of the Roman Church at last clear, logical and straightforward. We do not realise the depth of such an idea when we talk of priestly ambition, of the insatiable maw of the Church, &c.; the fundamental notion here is the magnificent one of a universal Imperium, which shall not merely subdue all peoples and thereby create eternal peace, ‡ but shall gird about every individual

    * Not to be confused with National Theocratism, of which history offers many an example (above all Judaism).
    † See the bull Ineffabilis in Hefele: Konziliengeschichte, 2nd ed. vi. 297 f., and the bull Unam sanctam, p. 347 f.  I quote from Hefele's German translation, and therefore from an orthodox Catholic and at the same time authoritative source.
    ‡ This thought recurs again and again in the old authors.

148 STATE



with its faith, politics and hope. It is universalism in its highest potentiality, external and internal, including even the strenuous endeavour to secure uniformity of language. The rock, upon which this empire rests, is the belief in divine appointment; nothing less could carry such a structure; it follows that this Imperium is a theocracy; in a theocratic State the hierarchy occupies the first place; its priestly head is therefore the natural head of the State. Not a single sensible word can be opposed to this logical deduction, nothing but threadbare sophisms. For in the most secular of all States, in Rome, the Imperator had arrogated the title and office of Pontifex maximus as his highest dignity, as unrivalled guarantee of divine justification (Caesar Divi genus — for even this idea is not of Christian origin). And should not the Pontifex maximus in a Christian State, that State to which religion first had given universality and absolutism, on his part feel justified and compelled to view his office as that of an Imperator? *
    So much with regard to the duplex potestas.
    These two discussions, the one on the fundamental identity of the powers of Emperor and Pope (both being only portions and manifestations of the same idea of a sacred Roman universal empire); the other on the struggle between the different ruling elements within this naturally very complicated hierarchy, are not really meant as a preface to what follows. By them we merely cast overboard ballast which would have delayed and made us deviate from the true course, for, as I have said, the real “struggle in the State“ lies deeper, and that it is which offers matter of present interest, indeed of passionate interest, and which especially contributes to the understanding of the nineteenth century.

    * Compare the excellent remark of the Spanish statesman Antonio Perez, quoted in the preceding chapter, p. 98.

149 STATE



UNIVERSALISM AGAINST NATIONALISM

    Savigny, the great legal authority, writes: “The States into which the Roman Empire was broken up reflect the condition of the Empire before this breaking up.“ The struggle, of which I must here speak, is formally and ideally very much dependent upon the Imperium which has disappeared. Just as the shadows lengthen the farther the sun sinks in setting, so Rome, the first really great State, threw its shadow far over coming centuries. For, carefully considered, the struggle which now bursts into flame in the State is a struggle of nations for their personal right to live, against a universal monarchy dreamt of and aimed at, and Rome bequeathed not only the fact of a nationless Police-State with uniformity and order as its political ideal, but also the memory of a great nation. Moreover, Rome bequeathed the geographical sketch of a possible — and in many features lasting — division of chaotic Europe into new nations, as well as fundamental principles of legislation and administration, from which the individual independence of these new structures could derive support and strength like the young vine from the dry stake. Rome therefore supplied the weapons for both ideals, for both systems of politics, for universalism as well as nationalism. But new elements were added, and they were the living part, the sap, which forced the growth of leaves and blossom, they were the hand that wielded the weapons; the religious ideal of the universal monarchy was new, and new too was the race of men that formed the nations. It was new that the Roman monarchy was no longer to be secular, but a religion preparing men for heaven; that its monarch should be henceforth, not a changing Caesar, but an immortal crucified God; that, in place of nations of former history that had disappeared,

150 STATE



there now sprang up a race of men, the Germanic peoples, just as creative and individualistic (and consequently with a natural inclination for forming States) as the Hellenes and Romans, and moreover in possession of a much more extensive, more productive and therefore more plastic, many-sided stock.
    The political situation during the first ten centuries from Constantine onwards is therefore, in spite of the inextricable tangle of events, quite clear, clearer perhaps than it is to-day. On the one side the distinct, well-thought-out conception — derived from experience and existing conditions — of an imperially hieratic, unnational universal monarchy, unconsciously prepared by the Roman heathens at God's command, * henceforth revealed in its divinity, and therefore all-embracing, all-powerful, infallible, eternal — on the other hand, the naturally inevitable formation of nations demanded by the instinct of the Germanic people and of those peoples who were to a large extent “Germanic“ in the wider sense (see vol. i. chap. vi.), and at the same time an unconquerable dislike on their part to everything stereotyped, a passionate revolt against every limitation of the personality. The contradiction was flagrant, the conflict inevitable.
    This is no arbitrary generalisation; on the contrary, it is only when we consider the apparent caprices of all history as lovingly as the physiographist contemplates the stone which he has polished, that the chronicle of the world's events becomes transparent, and what the eye henceforth sees is not a matter of accident, but the essential, in fact, the only non-accidental thing, the constant cause of necessary, but variable, incalculable events. For such causes bring about definite results. Where far-seeing consciousness is present, as for example (in the case of universalism) in Charlemagne and Gregory VII., or on the other hand (in the case of nationalism) in King

    * Augustine: De Civitate Dei v. 21 f.

151 STATE



Alfred or Walther von der Vogelweide, the necessary form of history assumes clearer outlines; but it was by no means necessary that every representative of the Roman idea or of the principle of nationalities should possess clear conceptions of the nature and compass of these ideas. The Roman idea was sufficiently imperative; it was an unchangeable fact, according to which every Emperor and every Pope was compelled to govern his conduct, no matter what he might otherwise think and intend. And the common explanation, that there has been a development, that ecclesiastical ambition gradually became more and more grasping, is not well founded, not at least in the modern superficial sense, according to which evolution can bring about radical changes; there has been an expansion, a complying with temporal conditions, and so forth; but Charlemagne followed exactly the same principles as Theodosius, and Pius IX. stood on exactly the same ground as Boniface VIII. Still less do I postulate a conscious endeavour to form nationalities. The late-Roman idea of a universal theocracy might certainly be thought out in detail by remarkable men, for it was based on an Imperium, which already existed and to which it was directly linked, and on the firmly established Jewish theocracy, from which it proceeded without a break; but how should men have thought of a France, a Germany, a Spain, before they existed? Here new forms had to be created, forms which even to-day are sending forth new shoots and will do so as long as life lasts. Shiftings of national consciousness are taking place before our eyes, and even at the present day we can see the nation-building principle at work, wherever so-called particularism is active: when the Bavarian manifests dislike for the Prussian, and the Swabian looks down upon both with mild contempt; when the Scotchman speaks of his “countrymen,“ to distinguish them from Englishmen, and the inhabitant of New York regards

152 STATE



the Yankee of New England as being not quite so perfect as himself; when local custom, local convention, local legal usages which no legislation can altogether destroy, distinguish one district from another — in all this we see symptoms of a living individualism, symptoms of the capacity of a people to become conscious of its individuality in contrast to that of others, symptoms of ability for organic formative work. If the course of history created adequate outward conditions, we Teutons should produce a dozen new, characteristically distinct nations. In France this creative capacity has been weakened by progressive “Romanising“; moreover, it was almost completely trodden under foot by the rude Corsican; in Russia it has almost disappeared in consequence of the predominance of inferior, un-Teutonic blood, although in former days our genuine Slavonic cousins were richly endowed with the gifts which are necessary for individual creative work — as their language and their literature prove. Now it is this gift, which we find still present in some cases and no longer so in others, that we see at work in history, not consciously, not as a theory, not philosophically proved, not founded upon legal institutions and divine revelations, but overcoming all difficulties with the irresistibility of a law of nature, destroying where destruction was demanded — for on what were wrecked the unsound aspirations of the Roman Imperialism of Teutonic Kings but on the ever-growing jealousy of the tribes? — at the same time it builds up silently and diligently on all sides, so that the nations were established long before the princes had figured them on the map. While the craze of the Imperium Romanum towards the close of the twelfth century still fascinated a Frederick Barbarossa, the German singer could exclaim
übel müeze mir geschehen,
künde ich ie mîn herze bringen dar,
daz im wol gevallen
153 STATE

wolte fremeder site;
tiuschiu zuht gât vor in allen! *
And when in the year 1232 the most powerful of all Popes had through the medium of the King caused the enemy of Roman influence in England, Chief Justice Hubert de Burgh, to be taken prisoner, there was not a blacksmith to be found in the whole land who would forge manacles for him: when threatened with torture the journeyman answered defiantly, “Rather will I die any death than ever put irons on the man who defended England from the alien!“ The wandering bard knew that there was a German people and the blacksmith that there was an English one, when this fact had little more than begun to dawn upon many of the leading lights of politics.
 

THE LAW OF LIMITATION

    It is obvious that we are here dealing not with wind-eggs, laid by a hen of the brood of the philosophising historians, but with things of the greatest reality. And since we now know that by thus contrasting universalism and nationalism we have revealed fundamental facts of history, I should like to regard this matter generally, more from the inner standpoint. This makes it necessary for us to sound the depths of the soul, but in doing so we shall gain an insight which will be useful when we seek to form a judgment on the nineteenth century; for these two currents are still with us, and that not merely, on the one hand, in the visible form of the Pontifex maximus who in the year of grace 1864 once more solemnly asserted his temporal autocracy, † and, on the other, in

    * Woe betide me, if I could ever constrain my heart to be pleased with foreign ways; German virtue is superior in all respects.
    † See the Syllabus § 19 f., 54 f., as also the numerous articles against all freedom of conscience, especially § 15: “Whoever asserts that a

154 STATE



the national contrasts of the moment which are becoming more and more acutely felt, but also in many views and judgments which we pick up on the path of life without having any idea of their origin. Fundamentally it is a question, in fact, of two philosophies or views of existence, each of which so entirely shuts out the other that the two could not possibly exist side by side, and that it must be a struggle for life or death between them — were it not that men drift on unconsciously, like ships under full sail but without a rudder, aimlessly, heedlessly driven at the bidding of the wind. There again a remark of the sublimely great Teuton Goethe will throw light on the psychological riddle. In his Aphorisms in Prose he says of vitally mobile individuality, that it becomes aware of itself as “inwardly limitless, outwardly limited.“ That is a phrase pregnant with meaning: “outwardly limited, inwardly limitless.“ This expresses a fundamental law of all intellectual life. For the human individual, in fact, “outwardly limited“ practically means personality, “inwardly limitless“ means freedom; the same is true of a people. Now, if we follow up this thought, we shall find that the two conceptions are mutually dependent. Without the outward limitation the inner limitlessness is impossible; if, on the other hand, outward limitlessness is aimed at, the limit will have to be laid down inwardly. And this is the very formula of the neo-Roman ecclesiastical Imperium: inwardly limited, outwardly limitless. Sacrifice to me your human personality and I shall give you a share in Divinity; sacrifice to me your freedom, and I shall create an Empire which embraces the whole earth and in which order and peace shall eternally prevail; sacrifice to me your judgment and I shall reveal to you the absolute Truth; sacrifice to me Time and I

man may adopt and confess that religion which seems to him, as far as his knowledge goes, to be the true one, shall be excommunicated.“

155 STATE



shall give you Eternity. For, in fact, the idea of the Roman universal monarchy and of the Roman universal Church aims at something outwardly limitless: to the head of the Imperium omnes humanae creaturae — all human creatures — are without exception subject, * and the power of the Church extends not only to the living, but also to the dead, whom it can punish after many centuries with excommunication and torments of hell, or promote from purgatory to heavenly bliss. I do not deny that there is something grand in this conception; we are not speaking of that now; my only object is to show that all aspiration after what is thus outwardly limitless necessarily presupposes and determines the inner limitation of the individual. From Constantine, who was the first to comprehend the Imperial idea consistently in the neo-Roman sense, to Frederick II. of the Hohenstaufen dynasty, the last ruler who was inspired by the true universal thought, no Emperor has permitted an atom of personal or national freedom, except when weakness has compelled him to make concessions to the one party, in order to checkmate the other. The doctrine quod principi placuit, legis habet vigorem was accepted by Barbarossa from Jurists trained in the Byzantine school: he then went and destroyed the cities of Lombardy, which were flourishing in defiant freedom and through the industry of the citizens, and strewed salt over the smoking ruins of Milan. With less violence but acting on the same principle, Frederick II. destroyed the liberties which the German middle classes were beginning to acquire under the princes of the land. It is not necessary to show with what undeviating narrowness the Pontifex lays down the “inner limits.“ The word dogma had signified to the ancient Greeks an opinion, a view, a philosophic doctrine; in the Roman Empire it meant an imperial edict; but now, in the Roman Church,

    * See the bull Unam sanctam.

156 STATE



it was called a divine law of faith, to which all human beings must unconditionally submit on pain of everlasting punishment. Let no one cherish illusions on this point; let no one be led astray by fallacies: this system cannot leave the individual a particle of free will: it is impossible, and that for the simple reason — against which no casuistry and no intention, however good, can avail — that whoever says “outwardly limitless“ must add “inwardly limited,“ whether he wills it or not. Outwardly the sacrifice of personality is demanded, inwardly that of freedom. Just as little can this system recognise distinct nationalities in their individuality and as the basis of historical events; to it they are at the best an unavoidable evil; for as soon as a strict outward boundary is drawn, the tendency to inward limitlessness will proclaim itself; the genuine nation will never submit to the Imperium.
    The civic idea of the Roman hierocracy is the civitas Dei upon earth, a single, indivisible Divine State: every systematic division which creates outward boundaries threatens the limitless whole, for it produces personality. Hence it is that under Roman influence the liberties of the Teutonic tribes, their choice of their king, their special rights, and so forth, are lost; hence it is that the preaching monks, as soon as nationalities begin clearly to assume distinct shape, at the beginning of the thirteenth century, organise a thorough campaign against the amor soli natalis — the love of the native soil; hence it is that we see the Emperors planning the weakening of the princes, and the Popes indefatigably endeavouring for centuries to hinder the formation of States and — as soon as success in this was hopeless — to retard the development of their freedom, in which the Crusades in particular served their purpose well for a long time; hence it is that the constitutions of the Jesuit Order make it their first care that its members become completely “un-

157 STATE



nationalised“ and belong solely to the universal Church; * hence it is that we read in the very latest, strictly scientific text-books of Catholic Church law (see, for example, Phillips, 3rd ed., 1881, p. 804) of the triumph of the principle of nationality within the one and universal Church of God as one of the most regrettable events in the history of Europe. That the great majority of Roman Catholics are nevertheless excellent patriots shows a lack of consistency that does them honour; in the very same way Charlemagne, who called himself a Deo

    * The Jesuits are rigidly forbidden to talk about individual nations; the ideal of Ignatius was, says Goethe (in Ignatius von Loyola, p. 336), to “fuse all nations“; only where the States made it a condition did he allow instruction to be given by natives, otherwise it was his fixed principle to remove every member from his native land, which secured that no Jesuit pupil was educated by a compatriot. The system has not yet been changed. Buss, the ultra-montane author of the Geschichte der Gesellschaft Jesu, praises it in particular because “it has no character that is dependent upon the genius of a nation or the peculiarity of a single law.“ The French Jesuit Jouvancy in his Lern- und Lehrmethode warns the members of the Order especially against “too much reading of works in the mother tongue“; for, he continues, “not only is it a waste of much time, but the soul may also easily suffer shipwreck.“ Shipwreck of the soul by familiarity with the mother tongue! And the Bavarian Jesuit Kropf establishes in the eighteenth century as the first principle of the school that “the use of the mother tongue be never permitted.“ Read through the whole book (an orthodox Roman Jesuit one), from which I take these particulars — Erläuterungsschriften zur Studienordnung der Gesellschaft Jesu, 1898, Herder (pp. 229 and 417 for the above quotations) — you will not find the word Fatherland once mentioned! (While this chapter was being printed, I became acquainted with the excellent book of Georg Mertz, Die Pädagogik der Jesuiten, Heidelberg, 1898, in which the whole educational system is described from documents and with scientific impartiality. He who reads carefully this dry, jejune account will have no doubt that every nation which opens its schools to the Jesuits simply commits suicide. I do not in the least suspect the good intentions of the Jesuits and do not dispute the fact that they attain to a certain pedagogic success; but their whole system aims at the systematic destruction of individuality — personal as well as national. On the other hand, one must admit that this criminal attack upon all that is most sacred in humanity, this systematic development of a race which “out of the light strives to reach the darkness“ is the strictly logical application of the Roman postulates; in rigid and rigidifying consistency lies the strength of Jesuitism).

158 STATE


coronatus imperator, Romanum gubernans imperium, has by his activity in the interests of culture and his Teutonic attitude of mind contributed more than any other to the unfettering of nationalities and to the gagging of the Roman idea; but by such inconsistencies the one infallible doctrine of the theocratic universal Church is in no way affected, and it is impossible that this doctrine and this influence should ever make themselves felt in any direction but the anti-national. For, I repeat, here it is not a question merely of this one definite ideal of Church and Imperium, but of a universal law of human nature and human actions.
     In order that this law may be quite clearly apprehended, we will briefly consider the opposite philosophy or view of existence, “outwardly limited, inwardly limitless.“ It is only in the form of a being strictly limited outwardly, resembling no other man, but clearly revealing the law of its own special self, that the pre-eminent personality manifests itself; it is only as a strictly limited individual phenomenon that genius reveals to us the limitless world of its inner self. I impressed this point so forcibly in my first chapter (on Hellenic Art) that I do not need to discuss it here again in detail; in the second chapter, on Rome, we observed how the same law of strictest limitation outwards produced a nation of unrivalled inner strength. And I ask, where should we be more entitled, than at the sight of the Son of Man upon the Cross, to exclaim, “outwardly limited, inwardly limitless“? And what words would more clearly re-echo the same truth across the gulf of time than these: The Kingdom of Heaven is not outward, in the world of limited forms, but inward, in your hearts, in the world of the Limitless? This doctrine is the very reverse of the Church doctrine. History as a science of observation teaches us that it is only those races which are limited, which have taken root in and grown up out of national individuality, that

159 STATE



have achieved great things. So soon as it strove to become universal, the strongest nation in the world — Rome — disappeared, and its virtues vanished with it. Everywhere it has been the same. The most vivid consciousness of race and the most constricted civic organisation were the necessary atmosphere for the immortal achievements of the Hellenes; the world-power of Alexander has only the significance of a mechanical spreading of Hellenic elements of culture. The original Persians were in poetry and religion one of the brightest, most energetic and most profoundly gifted races of history: when they had ascended the throne of a world-monarchy, their personality and with it their power disappeared. Even the Turks, when they became a great international power, lost their modest treasure of character, while their cousins, the Huns, by unscrupulously insisting upon the one sole national momentum, and by forcible fusion of their rich stock of sound German and Slavonic elements, are on the point of growing into a great nation before our eyes.
    The consideration of these two points brings us to the conclusion that limitation is a general law of nature, quite as general as the striving after the Limitless. Man must go out into the Limitless — his nature imperatively demands it; to be able to do this, he must limit himself. Here the conflict of principles takes place: if we limit ourselves outwardly — in regard to race, Fatherland, personality — as strictly and resolutely as possible, then the inner kingdom of the Limitless will be opened to us, as it was to the Hellenes and the Brahman Indians; if, on the other hand, we strive after something which is unlimited — after an Absolute, an Eternal — we must build on the basis of a narrowly circumscribed inner life, otherwise success is impossible: every great Imperium proves this; it is proved by every philosophical and religious system which claims to be absolute and alone

160 STATE



valid; it is proved above all by that magnificent attempt to supply a universal cosmic idea and cosmic government, the Roman Catholic Church.
 

THE STRUGGLE CONCERNING THE STATE

    The struggle then in the State during the first twelve centuries of our era was fundamentally a struggle between these two principles of limitation, which are diametrically hostile in all spheres, and whose opposition to each other in the province of politics leads to a conflict between universalism and nationalism. The question here is, have independent nationalities a right to exist? About the year 1200 the future victory of the principle of national limitation, that is to say, of the principle that lays down outward limits, could no longer be doubted. It is true that the Papacy was at its zenith — so at least the historians tell us, but they overlook the fact that this “zenith“ only signifies victory over the internal rival for the monarchy of the world, namely, the Emperor, and that this very rivalry within the imperial idea, and this very victory of the Pope have brought about the final downfall of the Roman system. For in the meantime peoples and princes had grown strong: the inner defection from ecclesiastical “limitations“ had already begun to be very widespread, the outward defection from the would-be princeps mundi was carried out with enviable inconsistency by none other than the most pious princes. Thus St. Louis openly took the part of the excommunicated Frederick and declared to the Pope: “Les roys ne tiennent de nullui, fors de Dieu et d'eux-mêmes“; and he was followed by a Philippe le Bel who simply took prisoner an obstinate Pontifex and compelled his successor to reside in France under his eye and to confirm the special Gallican privileges which he desired. This conflict is different from that between

161 STATE



Emperor and Pope; for the princes contest the right of Roman universalism to exist; in secular matters they wish to be perfectly independent and in ecclesiastical matters to be masters in their own land. Furthermore, even in the days of his magnificence, the representative of the Roman hierocracy was compelled painfully to tack, and, for a time, in order to keep matters of faith as much as possible under his control, to sacrifice political claims one after the other; the so-called “Roman Emperor of the German nation“ (surely the most idiotic contradictio in adjecto that was ever invented) was in a still worse plight; his title was a mere mockery, and yet he had to pay so dearly for it that to-day, at the close of the nineteenth century, his successor is the only monarch in Europe who stands at the head, not of a nation, but of a shapeless human conglomeration. On the other hand, the most powerful modern State arose where the anti-Roman tendency had been so unambiguously expressed that we may say that “the dynastic and the Protestant ideas are so blended as to be scarcely distinguishable.“ * In the meantime, in fact, the watchword had been issued, and it was: Neither Emperor nor Pope, but nations.
    But, in truth, the conflict is not yet ended; for, though the principle of nationalities has prevailed, the power which represents the opposite principle has never disarmed, is to-day in certain respects stronger than ever, possesses a much better disciplined, more unconditionally submissive throng of officials than in any former century, and is only waiting for the hour when it can unscrupulously assert itself. I have never understood why Catholics of culture take pains to deny or to explain away the fact that the Roman Church is not only a religion but also a system of government, and that the Church as representative of God upon earth may eo ipso claim — and always has claimed — absolute power in all things

    * Ranke: Genesis des preussischen Staates, ed. 1874, p. 174.

162 STATE



of this world. How is it possible to believe what the Roman Church teaches as truth and yet speak of an independence of the secular power — as, to take but one example out of any number, Professor Phillips does in his Manual of Ecclesiastical Law, § 297, although, in the same paragraph, on the preceding page, he has just said that “it is not the business of the State to determine what rights belong to the Church, nor to make the exercise of these dependent upon its consent“? But if the State does not determine the rights of the Church it follows of irrefutable logical necessity that the Church determines the rights of the State. And what is here said with astounding “scientific“ simplicity is repeated in a hundred other books and in the ever-renewed assertions of high-placed prelates, and the Church is represented as an innocent lamb ignorant of civic affairs — which is impossible without systematic suppression of the truth. If I were a Roman Catholic, I should, God knows, show my colours differently, and take to heart the admonition of Leo XIII., that “we shall not venture to utter untruth or to conceal truth.“ * And the truth

    * In his Papal Brief Saepenumero of August 18, 1883. The warning is expressly addressed “to the historians,“ and the Holy Father seems to have had before him a whole collection of the neo-Cathohic books of the kind censured by me, for he says with a sigh that modern history seems to him to have become a conjuratio hominum adversus veritatem, and in this way any one who has any knowledge of the literature in question will heartily agree with him. Nomina sunt odiosa, but I remind the reader that in a note to the last chapter (p. 132) I called attention to the fact that even Janssen, whose Geschichte des deutschen Volkes is so popular and so highly thought of, belongs to this “conspiracy against truth.“ Thus, for example, he represents the wide dissemination of the Bible at the end of the fifteenth century as a service of the Roman Church, though he knows very well, first, that the reading of the Bible had for two centuries been strictly forbidden by Rome and that only the great confusion in the Church of that time led to a laxity of discipline; secondly, that at that very moment the middle classes and the lower nobility of all Europe were profoundly anti-Roman and for this reason devoted themselves with such zeal to the study of the Bible! How very relative this so-called “dissemination“ was is seen moreover from the one fact that Luther at twenty

163 STATE



is, that the Roman Church from the first — that is, therefore, from Theodosius who founded it — has always claimed unconditional, absolute authority over secular matters. I say that “the Church“ has claimed it, I do not say “the Pope“; for concerning the question who should actually exercise the secular and who the highest religious power, there have been at various times various views and many a dispute; but the doctrine has always been taught that this power is innate in the Church as a divine institution, and this doctrine forms as I have tried to show in the previous chapter (p. 98 f.), so fundamental an axiom of the Roman religion that the whole structure must fall to pieces were the Church seriously to abandon the claim. This is in fact the most admirable and — when reflected in a beautiful mind — the holiest idea of the Roman Church; this religion wishes to provide not only for the future, but also for the present, and that not only because it looks upon earthly life as a preliminary discipline for everlasting life, but because the Roman Church, as the representative of God, wishes in his honour to make this temporal world a glorious

of age had never seen a Bible and had difficulty in finding one in the University library of Erfurt. This one example of falsification of history is typical; in the same way Janssen's book “ventures,“ in a hundred places, “to utter untruth and to conceal truth,“ and yet it is regarded as strictly scientific. What, then, must we say of that most modern literature which shoots up like fungi from putrid soil, the deliberate aim of which is systematically to blacken the character of all national heroes, from Martin Luther to Bismarck, from Shakespeare to Goethe. Such aims deserve nothing but contempt. A well-known proverb says that lies have short legs, and a less familiar one that one can see as far down the throat of a liar as of a teller of truth. May the peoples of Europe soon be able to see down the throats of this gang! But do not let our indignation mislead us into putting the magnificent universal idea of a Theodosius or a Charlemagne, of a Gregory I. and a Gregory VII., of an Augustine and a Thomas Aquinas, on a par with such modern meannesses. The true Roman idea is a genuine idea of culture, based finally upon the work and the traditions of the great imperial epoch from Tiberius to Marcus Aurelius; the ideal of the writers just mentioned is, as we know (see vol. i. p. 569), associated with the uncultured stone age, and the same is true of their tricky methods of combat.

164 STATE



forecourt leading to the divine world. As the Catechism of Trent says: Christi regnum in terris inchoatur, in coelo perficitur. (The kingdom of Christ attains perfection in heaven, but it begins on earth). * How superficial must thought be if it does not feel the beauty and the immeasurable power of such a conception! And in truth this is no dream of mine, I have not sufficient imagination for that. But I consult Augustine's De Civitate Dei, Book XX. chap. ix. and find: Ecclesia et nunc est regnum Christi, regnumque coelorum. Twice within a few lines Augustine repeats that the Church even now is the kingdom of Christ. He also, as in the book of Revelation, sees men seated upon thrones — and who are they? Those who now rule the Church. This view presupposes a political government, and even when the Emperor exercises it — even when he employs it against the Pope — he, the Emperor, is still a member of the Church, a Deo coronatus, whose power rests on religious premisses; so that we cannot speak of a real separation of State and Church, but at most (as I have already demonstrated in the preface to this chapter) of a dispute concerning competency within the Church. The religious basis of this view goes back to Christ himself; for, as I remarked in the third chapter of this book: the life and doctrines of Christ point unmistakably to a condition which can only be realised by community. † It is just at this point that the ageing Empire and youthful Christianity discovered, or thought they discovered, a certain affinity to each other. Without doubt each of the contracting parties was actuated by very different

    * To prevent misunderstanding I wish to add that according to Lutheran doctrine also, the believer is even here in possession of everlasting life; but this is a view (as I have fully shown in chaps. v., vii. and x.), which differs in toto from the Jewish-Roman one, since it rests not on chronistic consecutiveness, but on present experience (as in the case of Christ).
    † See vol. i. p. 245.

165 STATE



motives, the one by political, the other by religious ones; presumably they were both mistaken; the Empire can have had no idea that it was sacrificing its temporal power for ever, the pure Christianity of the old days cannot have thought that it was throwing itself into the arms of Heathendom, and would immediately be stifled by it; that, however, matters not; from their union, from their fusion and mutual blending the Roman Church originated. Now according to the definition of Augustine, which is acknowledged to be orthodox, the Church embraces all human beings in the world, * and every man, be he “prince or serf, merchant or teacher, apostle or doctor,“ has to regard his activity here on earth as an office assigned to him in the Church, in hac ecclesia suum munus. † I cannot see by what loophole a State or, still more so, a nation was to escape, and, establishing itself as an independent entity opposed to the Church, was to say to her, “You, henceforth, mind your own business, in the things of the world I shall rule as I like.“ Such a supposition is illogical and senseless, it nullifies the idea of the Roman Church. This idea obviously admits of no limitation, either mentally or materially, and when the Pope, in his capacity as representative of the Church, as its pater ac moderator, claims the right to speak the decisive word in secular things, that is quite as justifiable and logical as the assertion of Theodosius, in his famous decree against heretics, that he, the Emperor, is guided “by heavenly wisdom,“ or as the decision of dogmatic questions by Charlemagne

    * Ecclesia est populus fidelis per universum orbem dispersus, adopted in i. 10, 2, of the Catechismus ex decreto Concilii Tridentini. But since from Theodosius onwards faith was to be compulsory and unbelief or heterodoxy high treason, since, moreover, schismatics and heretics are still “under the power of the Church“ (as above, i. 10, 9), this definition embraces all men without exception, omnes humanae creaturae, as Boniface correctly said in the passages quoted above.
    † Cat. Trid., i. 10, 25.

166 STATE



on his own authority. For the Church embraces everything, body and soul, earth and heaven, its power is unlimited and he who represents it — no matter who he be — has in consequence absolute authority. Gregory II. even, no grandiloquent prince of the Church, shows that the “secular power must be subordinate to the spiritual“ (i.e., the Roman Church); to William the Conqueror he writes that the apostolic power is answerable to God for all things; in a letter of October 23, 1236 (in which he emphasises especially that the rights of the Emperor are only “transmitted“ by the Church), Gregory IX. says: “Just as the representative of Peter has control over all souls, so he possesses, in the whole world also, a Principality over the Temporal, and over men's bodies, and governs the Temporal with the rein of justice“; Innocent IV. asserts that the right of the Church to judge spiritualiter de temporalibus may not be impugned. And since all these words, unambiguous as they are, yet gave scope for much casuistic hair-splitting, the honest and able Boniface VIII. dissipated all misunderstanding by a bull, Ausculta fili of December 5, 1301, addressed to the King of France, in which he writes: “God has notwithstanding our lack of merit set us over Kings and Empires and laid upon us the yoke of apostolic bondage, in order that we may in his name and according to his will uproot, tear down, destroy, scatter, build up and plant... Let no one therefore, beloved son, persuade thee that thou hast no superior and art not subject to the supreme hierarch of the ecclesiastical hierarchy. Whoever holds this view is a fool; whoever obstinately asserts it is an unbeliever and not of the fold of the good Shepherd.“ Further on Boniface orders that several French bishops shall come to Rome, in order that the Pope may with their help determine what may help “to remedy the abuses and contribute to the salvation and the good administration of the Empire“: on this

167 STATE



the Roman Catholic bishop Hefele makes the true remark, “But whoever possesses the right to regulate, to uproot, to build and to see to good administration in an Empire is the real head of it.“ * It is similarly only consistent, since all men on earth are subordinate to the Church and are incorporated in it, that the final authority over all countries should also be vested in it. Over certain countries, as, for example, Spain, Hungary, England, &c., the Church at once claimed sovereign jurisdiction; † in the case of all the others it reserved as its right the confirmation and coronation of the Kings, it deposed them and nominated new Kings to fill the places of those deposed (as in the case of the Carolingians) — for, as Thomas Aquinas states in his De regimine principum, “Just as the body only derives strength and capacity from the soul, so the temporary authority of princes is derived from the spiritual authority of Peter and his successors.“ ‡ The kingly office is, in fact, as shown above, nothing more and nothing less than a munus within the Church, within the civitas Dei. For this reason, too, no heretic is a legitimate King. As early as 1535 Paul III. solemnly dispensed all English subjects from obedience to their King, § and in the year 1569 Pius V. made this measure still more stringent, in that the great Queen Elizabeth was not only deposed and

    * Konziliengeschichte, vi. 331. The Latin text of the Church laws says: ad evellendum, destruendum, dispergendum, dissipandum, aedificandum, atque plantandum; later ordinare ... ad bonum et prosperum regimen regni. The former quotations are from the same work, v. 163, 164, 1003, 1131; vi. 325-327.
    † The property-right over Hungary is based upon the pretended gift of King Stephen; Spain, England (and, it may be, France also) are regarded as included in the forged gift of Constantine, according to which “the kingly power in all the provinces of Italy, as also in the western regions“ (in partibus occidentalibus) should be conceded to the Papal stool (cf. Hefele, v. 11).
    ‡ I quote from Bryce: Le Saint Empire Romain Germanique, p. 134.
    § Hergenröther: Hefele's Konziliengeschichte, continuation, ix. 896.

168 STATE



deprived of “all her property,“ but every Englishman also who would dare to obey her was threatened with excommunication. * In consequence of this the whole political development of Europe since the Reformation is not approved by the Church; it makes a virtue of necessity, but it does not acknowledge the events: it protested against the religious Peace of Augsburg, raised its voice with still greater solemnity against the Westphalian Peace and declared it “for all time null and void,“ † it refused its assent to the findings of the Vienna Congress. Over the extra-European world also the Church has with praiseworthy consistency claimed sole authority, and by two bulls, on May 3 and 4, 1493, it has “in the name of God“ presented to Spain all discovered or still-to-be-discovered lands west of the 25th degree of longitude (to the west of Greenwich), to Portuguese Africa, &c. ‡

    * Green: History of the English People (Eversley ed.) iv. 265, 270. This is not an abandoned standpoint, for it is only in our time that Felton, the man who had nailed this bull to the doors of the Bishop of London, was beatified by Leo XIII.!
    † Phillips: Lehrbuch des Kirchenrechts, p. 807, and the bull mentioned there, Zelo domus. Indeed, not only the Roman Pope but also the Roman Emperor protested in this case, in that he claimed to possess “reserve rights,“ but at the same time refused to explain what he meant by these; what he thus safeguarded was simply the never abandoned claim to potestas universalis, that is, absolute supreme power, in other words, the Emperor remained true to the Roman universal conception. (See the remarks on this in Siegel: Deutsche Rechtsgeschichte, § 100.)
    ‡ Pope Alexander VI. says in these bulls that the gift is presented “out of pure generosity“ and “in virtue of the authority of Almighty God, conferred on him by Saint Peter“ (cf. the note to p. 141). Absolute authority over everything temporal cannot go further, unless some one should arrogate the authority to make a gift of the moon. The bull Inter cetera of May 4, 1493, is found printed in extenso in Fiske's Discovery of America, 1892, ii. 580 f. In the same book, vol. i. p. 454, we find a detailed account of the accompanying circumstances, &c., as also a thorough discussion of the difficulties arising from the vagueness of the Papal text. For the Pontifex maximus, although professing to speak ex certa scientia, cedes to the Spaniards all discovered and still-to-be-discovered lands (omnes insulas et terras firmas inventas et inveniendas, detectas et detegendas) which lie west and

169 STATE



    I intentionally limit myself to these few indications and quotations, taken from the books embraced by my modest library; I should only need to go to a public library to come upon the track of hundreds of proofs perhaps even more to the purpose; I remember, for example, that in later bulls the statement that the Pope possesses “plenitude of power over all peoples, Empires and princes“ recurs with slight variations almost like a formula; but I am far from desiring to give a scientific proof; on the contrary, I should like to convince the reader that here it is not a question of what this or that Pope or Emperor, this or that Church assembly or legal authority has said (about which there has already been enough paper wasted and time lost), but that the constraining element lies in the idea itself, in the striving after the Absolute, the Limitless. Once we realise this our judgment is remarkably enlightened; we become juster towards the Roman Church and juster towards its opponents; we learn to look for the real political and, on the whole, morally decisive development in those countless places where, and on those countless occasions when, nationalism and, generally speaking, individualism revealed themselves and asserted themselves in opposition to universalism and absolutism. When Charles the Simple refused to take the oath of fealty to the Emperor Arnulf, he made a deep breach in the Romanum imperium, one so deep, indeed, that no later Emperor, the

south (versus Occidentem et Meridiem) of a definite longitude; but no mathematician has as yet been able to discover what geographical region lies “south“ of a “longitude“; and that the Pope really meant a longitude cannot be questioned, since he says with circumstantial simplicity: fabricando et construendo unam lineam a polo Arctico ad polum Antarcticum. Moreover, this gift of a grossly ignorant Curia exercised an influence which the Curia was far from foreseeing, for it constrained the Spaniards to reach farther and farther towards the west, till they found the Straits of Magellan, and compelled the Portuguese to discover the eastern passage to India around the Cape of Good Hope. More details on this point in the section on “Discovery“ in the next chapter.

170 STATE



most important not excepted, could ever again attempt to resuscitate in all its fulness the true universal plan of Charlemagne. William the Conqueror, an orthodox prince and pious churchman, whose services to strict Church discipline are almost unrivalled, nevertheless replied to the Pope, when the latter claimed the newly conquered England as ecclesiastical property, and wished to invest him with it as a fief, “Never have I taken an oath of fealty, nor shall I ever do so.“ Such are the men who gradually broke the secular power of the Church. They believed in the Trinity, in the similarity of essence of Father and Son, in purgatory, in everything that the priests wished — but the Roman political ideal, the theocratic civitas Dei, was utterly alien to them; their power of conception was still too undeveloped, their character too independent, their mental nature too unbroken, indeed mostly too rudely personal, to enable them even to understand it. And Europe was full of such Teutonic princes. A considerable time before the Reformation, the insubordination of the small Spanish kingdoms had, in spite of Catholic bigotry, given the Curia much trouble, and France, the eldest son of the Church, had succeeded in asserting its Pragmatic Sanction, which was the beginning of a clean separation between the ecclesiastical and the secular State.
    This was the true struggle in the State.
    And whoso realises this must see that Rome was beaten all along the line. The Catholic States have gradually emancipated themselves no less than the others. Certainly they have sacrificed certain important privileges in connection with the investiture of the bishops and so forth, but not all, and to make up for this, most of them have gone so far in regard to religious toleration that they recognise simultaneously several creeds as State religions and pay their clergy. The contrast to the

171 STATE



Roman ideal cannot possibly be formulated more incisively. In reference to the State, in consequence, a statistic of “Catholics“ and “Protestants“ has now no meaning. These words express little more than the belief in definite incomprehensible mysteries, and we may assert that the great practical and political idea of Rome, that Imperium transfigured by religion and faultlessly absolutist, is unknown to the great majority of Roman Catholics to-day, and if it were known, would find as little approval from them as from non-Catholics. A natural consequence of this — of this only, let it be noted — is that religious contrasts have also disappeared. * For as soon as Rome's ideal is merely a credo, it stands on the same footing as other Christian sects; each one of course believes that it possesses the one and only complete truth; not one, so far as I am aware, has abandoned Catholicism in this sense; the various Protestant doctrines are by no means essentially new, they are merely a return to the former state of the Christian faith, a discarding of the heathen elements that have crept in. Only a few sects do not acknowledge the so-called Apostles' Creed, which is not even derived from Rome, but from Gaul, and thus owes its introduction to the Empire, not to the Papacy. † The Roman Church, therefore, when regarded merely as a religious creed, is, at best, merely a prima inter pares, which even at the present day can no longer claim one-half of the Christian world as its own, and, unless a revolution takes place, will in a hundred years scarcely embrace a third. ‡

    * Disappeared, I mean, everywhere except where the activity of the one sole society of Jesus has recently shown hatred and contempt of fellow-citizens who hold different views.
    † See Adolf Harnack: Das apostolische Glaubensbekenntnis, 27th ed. (especially p. 14 f: “The Empire of Charlemagne has given Rome its symbol“).
    ‡ Here I intentionally make my estimate as moderate as possible. According to the calculations of Ravenstein the number of Protestants has increased almost fivefold in the nineteenth century, while that of

172 STATE



Even though Luther, in faithful imitation of the Roman view and in contrast to Erasmus, teaches the doctrine of systematic intolerance, and Calvin publishes a work to demonstrate “jure gladii coercendos esse haereticos,“ the layman who lives in a purely secular State will never understand that, never admit that, no matter to what creed he belongs. Our ancestors were not intolerant by nature, nor are they so now. Intolerance is a result solely of universalism: he who aims at something outwardly unlimited must make the inner limits all the narrower. The Jew — who might be called a born freethinker — had been persuaded that he possessed the whole indivisible truth, and with it a right to world-empire: for this he had to sacrifice his personal freedom, let his intellect be gagged and foster hatred instead of love in his heart. Frederick II., perhaps the least orthodox Emperor that has ever lived, had nevertheless led astray by the dream of a Roman universal empire, to ordain that all heretics should be declared infamous and outlawed, that their goods should be confiscated, and they themselves burned, or, should they recant, be punished with lifelong imprisonment; he at the same time ordered the princes, who had not respected his pretended imperial prerogatives, to be blinded and buried alive.
 

THE DELUSION OF THE UNLIMITED

    Now if this struggle between nationalism and universalism, the struggle against the late Roman legacy —

the Catholics has not been doubled. The chief reason for this is the more rapid multiplication of Protestant peoples; but there is another fact, namely, that those who go over to Catholicism do not cover a tenth of those who leave it; and thus it is that in the United States, despite the constant immigration of Catholics and the increase of their total numbers, there is a rapid decrease relatively. The above estimate is therefore a very cautious one.

173 STATE



which occupies more than a thousand years and only then leaves free scope for the conflict concerning the inner shaping of the State — has been portrayed by me from a more general standpoint, I have done so especially because I am keeping in view the nineteenth century. And though this is not the place to enter into details concerning that century, yet I should like at least to indicate this connection. For it would be a fatal error to suppose that the struggle was brought to an end by the wreck of the old political ideal. It is true that the opponents of universalism are no longer buried alive, nor are men burnt alive nowadays for asserting, like Hus (who followed Augustine), that Peter neither was nor is the head of the Church; Prince Bismarck, too, could issue laws and repeal laws without having actually to go to Canossa and stand there for three days before the gate in the shirt of the penitent. The old forms will never return. But the ideas of unlimited Absolutism are still very vigorous in our midst, not only within the old consecrated frame of the Roman Church, but also outside it. And wherever we see them at work — whether as Jesuitism or as Socialism, as philosophical systems or as industrial monopoly — there we must recognise (or we shall have to recognise it to our cost later) that the outwardly Unlimited demands the double sacrifice of personality and of freedom.
    As regards the Church, we should indeed reveal little insight, were we in any way to depreciate the power of so wonderful an organism as the Roman hierarchy. No one can prophesy to what it may yet attain should its lucky star again be in the ascendant. When in the year 1871 the excommunicatio major, with all the canonical consequences attached to it, was pronounced against Döllinger, the police of Munich had to adopt special measures to protect his life; a single fact like this gives us a glimpse into abysses of fanatical univer-

174 STATE



salist delusion which might one day yawn beneath our feet in much greater dimensions. * But I should not like to lay much stress upon such things, nor upon the underhand methods of the above-mentioned conspiracy of persecuting chaplains and their creatures; it is in good not in evil that the source of all strength lies. In the idea of Catholicity, continuity, infallibility, divine appointment, all-embracing continuous revelation, God's Kingdom upon earth, the representative of God as supreme judge, every worldly career as the fulfilment of an ecclesiastical office — in all this there lies so much that is good and beautiful that honest belief in it must lend it strength. And this faith, as I think I have convincingly shown, permits no separation between Temporal and Eternal, between Worldly and Heavenly. In the very nature of this direction of will lies the Unlimited: it serves as basis to the structure which the will raises; every limitation is a disturbance, an obstruction, an evil to be overcome as soon as possible; for limitation — were it to be recognised as existing by right — could mean nothing less than the sacrifice of the idea itself. Catholic means universal, that is, an all-embracing unity. Therefore every truly orthodox, intelligent Catholic is virtually — though not actually, nor at the present day — a universalist, and that means an enemy of nations and of all individual freedom. Most of them do not

    * In fact the excommunicated person is, according to Catholic Church law, an outlaw: In Gratian (Causa 23, p. 5, c. 47, according to Gibbon) we find the statement: Homicidas non esse qui excommunicatos trucidant. But in former centuries (by Decree of Urban II.) the Church had imposed penances upon the murderer of one excommunicated “in case his motive was not an absolutely pure one.“ Our beloved nineteenth century has, however, gone a step farther, and Cardinal Turrecremata, “the foremost supporter of Papal infallibility,“ has expressed in his commentary on Gratian the opinion that, according to the orthodox doctrine, the murderer of an excommunicated man does not require to do penance! (cf. Döllinger, Briefe und Erklärungen über die vatikanischen Dekrete, 1890, pp. 103, 131, 140).

175 STATE



know this and many will indignantly deny it, but yet the fact remains; for the great, general ideas, the mathematical necessary inferences of thought and consequences of actions, are much more powerful than the individual with his goodwill and good intentions; here laws of nature prevail. Just as every schism must of necessity be followed by a further disruption into new schisms, because here the freedom of the individual is the primary cause, so every Catholicism exercises an irresistible power of integration; the individual cannot resist it any more than a piece of iron can resist the magnet. But for the great distance between Rome and Constantinople — great, having regard to the means of travel then available — the Oriental schism would never have taken place; but for the superhuman power of Luther's personality, the north of Europe would scarcely have succeeded in freeing itself from Rome. Cervantes, a faithful believer, is fond of quoting the remark, “Behind the Cross lurks the Devil.“ That surely is meant to indicate that the mind, once launched on this path of absolute religion, of blind belief in authority, knows no limit and brooks no obstruction. And, as a matter of fact, this very Devil has since then ruined the noble nation of Don Quixote. And when we further consider that the universalist and absolutist ideas from which the Church originated were a product of general decline, a last hope and a real safety-anchor for a raceless, chaotic human Babel (see pp. 43, 71, 121), we shall scarcely be able to refrain from thinking that from similar causes similar results would again ensue, and that, accordingly, in the present condition of the world, many things would tend once more to confirm the universal Church in its claims and plans. In view of this it would be only proper for those who with Goethe seek to attain “inner limitlessness“ to emphasise as strongly as possible outward limitations, that is, free personality, pure race and

176 STATE



independent nations. And while Leo XIII. with perfect right (from his standpoint) refers our contemporaries to Gregory VII. and Thomas Aquinas, such men will point with equally good right to Charles the Simple and William the Conqueror, to Walther von der Vogelweide and Petrus Waldus, to that blacksmith who refused to obey the “alien“ Pope, and to the great silent movement of the guilds, of the city leagues, of the secular universities, which, at the beginning of the epoch of which I speak, began to make their influence felt throughout all Europe as a first token of a new, national, anti-universal shaping of society, a new, absolutely anti-Roman culture.
    In this conflict it is not merely a question of the national secular State in opposition to the universal ecclesiastical State; wherever we meet universalism there anti-nationalism and anti-individualism are its necessary correlatives. Nor does it need to be conscious universalism, it is sufficient that an idea aims at something absolute, something limitless. Thus, for example, all consistently reasoned Socialism leads to the absolute State. To call Socialists point-blank “a party dangerous to the State,“ as is usually done, is only to give rise to one of those confusions of which our age is so fond. Certainly Socialism signifies a danger to the individual national States, as it does, on the whole, to the principle of individualism, but it is no danger to the idea of the State. It honestly admits its internationalism; its character is revealed, however, not in disintegration, but in a wonderfully developed organisation, copied, as it were, from a machine. In both points it betrays its affinity to Rome. In fact, it represents the same Catholic idea as the Church, although it grasps it by the other end. For that reason, too, there is no room in its system for individual freedom and diversity, for personal originality. Ce qui lie tous les socialistes, c'est la haine

177 STATE



de la liberté, ... as Flaubert says. * He who tears down the outward barriers, puts up inner ones. Socialism is imperialism in disguise; it will hardly be realisable without hierarchy and Primacy; in the Catholic Church it finds a pattern of socialistic, anti-individualistic organisation. An absolutely similar movement towards the Limitless, with the same inevitable consequence of a suppression of the Individual, is encountered in the realm of great commercial and industrial undertakings. Read, for example, in the Wirtschafts- und handelspolitische Rundschau of 1897, the articles by R. E. May on the increase of syndicates and the consequent “international centralisation of production, as of capital“ (p. 34 f.). This development in the direction of limited liability companies and colossal production by syndicates means a war to the knife against personality, which can assert itself only within narrow limits — whether it be as merchant or as manufacturer. And this movement extends from the individual person, as is evident, to the personality of nations. In a recent farce a merchant is represented as proudly exclaiming to every new-comer, “Do you know? I am transformed into a Company.“ If this economic tendency remained without counterpoise, the peoples could soon say of themselves, “We are transformed into an international Company.“ And if I may at one mighty leap spring over to a province very far remote from the economic one, to seek for further examples of the aspirations of universalism in our midst, I should like to call attention to the great Thomistic movement, which was called forth by the Papal Encyclical of the year 1879, Aeternis Patris, and is now of such compass that even scientific books from a certain camp have already the hardihood to declare Thomas Aquinas the greatest philosopher of all times, to tear down everything which — to the everlasting praise of humanity —

    * Correspondence iii. 269.

178 STATE



has since been thought by Teutonic thinkers, and thus to lead men back to the thirteenth century and once more to cast them into the intellectual and moral fetters which, in the obstinate struggle for freedom, they have since then gradually broken and thrown off. And what is it that they praise in Thomas Aquinas? His universality! The fact that he has established a comprehensive system, in which all contrasts are reconciled, all contradictory laws annulled, all questionings of the human reason answered. He is called a second Aristotle: “What Aristotle with but vague conception stammers, received perfectly clear and eloquent expression from Thomas Aquinas.“ * Like the Stagyrite, he knows everything, from the nature of the Godhead to the nature of earthly bodies and the qualities of the resurrected body; but, being Christian, he knows much more than Aristotle, for he possesses Revelation as a basis. Now surely no thinker will be inclined to make light of the achievements of a Thomas Aquinas; it would be presumption for me to venture to praise him, but I may confess that I have read accounts of his whole system with wonder and admiration and have carefully studied certain of his writings. But what is the important matter for a practical man especially in connection with the aim of this chapter? It is that Thomas builds his system — which is “more universal than any other“ — upon two assumptions: philosophy must unconditionally submit and become ancilla ecclesiae, a handmaid of the Church; moreover, it must humble itself to the position of an ancilla Aristotelis, a handmaid of Aristotle. Ob-

    * Fr. Abert (Professor of Theology in the University of Würzburg): Sancti Thomae Aquinatis compendium theologiae, 1896, p. 6. The sentence quoted is a panegyrical paraphrase of an ancient judgment which was meant quite differently. With all respect for the achievements of Thomas, it is a monstrous error of judgment, if not a case of culpable misleading, to put him on an equality with Aristotle, the epoch-making systematiser and moulder (see vol. i. p. 49).

179 STATE



viously it is always the same principle: allow your hands and feet to be fettered and you will see miracles! Hang up before your eyes definite dogmas (which were decreed in the centuries of mankind's deepest humiliation by vote of majority, by bishops, many of whom could neither read nor write) and presuppose, in addition, that the first groping efforts of a brilliant, but, as has been proved, very one-sided Hellenic systematiser express the eternal, absolute and complete truth, and I shall give you a universal system! That is an attack, a dangerous attack upon the innermost freedom of man! Far from being inwardly limitless, as Goethe wished, he has now had two narrow bonds forged around his soul and his brain by an alien hand; that is the price which we have to pay for “universal knowledge.“ In any case, long before Leo XIII. issued his Encyclical, a universal system resting on similar principles had grown out of the Protestant Church, that of Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel. A Protestant Thomas Aquinas: that tells us everything. And yet there had been an Immanuel Kant, the Luther of philosophy, the destroyer of spurious knowledge, the annihilator of all systems, who had pointed out to us “the limits of our thinking power“ and warned us “never to venture with speculative reason beyond the boundary of experience“; but, after assigning to us such strict and definite outward limits, he had thrown open, as no philosopher had done before him, the doors to the inner world of the Limitless and thus revealed to us the home of the free man. *

    * More details regarding Thomas Aquinas and Kant in the section on “Philosophy“ in the following chapter. For the sake of completeness it may be mentioned that we have a Jewish as well as a Protestant Thomas Aquinas, namely, Spinoza, the maker of a universal system, the “renewer of the old Hebraic Cabbala“ (i.e., of the magic secret doctrine), as Leibniz calls him. Spinoza has this also in common with the other two, that he has not enriched with a single creative thought either mathematics, his special province, or science, his hobby.

180 STATE



LIMITATION BASED ON PRINCIPLE

    These cursory indications are merely intended to show in how many provinces the struggle between individualism and anti-individualism, nationalism and anti-nationalism (internationalism is another word for the same thing), freedom and non-freedom is still raging and will probably rage for ever. In the second book (not yet published) I shall have to enter more fully, in as far as they affect the present, into themes scarcely touched upon here. But I should not like in the meantime to be considered a pessimist. Seldom have the consciousness of race, national feeling, and suspicious safe-guarding of the rights of personality been so active and vigorous as in our time; a phase of feeling is passing over the nations at the close of the nineteenth century which reminds one of the dull cry of the hunted animal, when the noble creature at bay suddenly turns, determined to fight for its life. And in our case resolution means victory. For the great attractiveness of every Universalist idea is due to the weakness of men; the strong man turns from it and finds in his own breast, in his own family, in his own people, the Limitless, which he would not surrender for the whole cosmos with its countless stars. Goethe, from whom I derived the leading idea of this chapter, has in another passage beautifully expressed how the Limitless, the Catholic Absolute, is in consonance with a sluggish disposition:

Im Grenzenlosen sich zu finden,
Wird gern der Einzelne verschwinden,
Da lös't sich aller Überdruss;
Statt heissem Wünschen, wildem Wollen,
Statt läst'gem Fordern, strengem Sollen,
Sich aufzugeben ist Genuss. *
    * Man is but too ready to pass out of sight and take refuge in the limitless, where all trouble is at an end. No more fervent wishing, no

181 STATE



Now from these nation-building Teutons of former generations we can learn that there is a higher enjoyment than to surrender, and that is, to assert ourselves. A conscious national policy, economic movements, science, art, all this scarcely existed in the olden time, or even did not exist at all; but what we see dawning about the thirteenth century, this vividly throbbing life in all spheres, this creative power, this “importunate demanding“ of individual freedom, had not fallen from heaven, rather had the seed been sown in the previous dark centuries: the “wild willing“ had tilled the soil, the “fervent wishing“ had tended the delicate blooms. Our Teutonic culture is a result of toil and pain and faith — not ecclesiastical, but religious faith. If we go lovingly through those annals of our ancient forbears, which tell us so little and yet so much, what will strike us most is the almost incredible strength of the developed sense of duty; for the worst cause, as for the best, every one yields up his life unquestioningly. From Charlemagne, who after over-busy days spends his night in laborious writing exercises, to that splendid blacksmith who refused to forge fetters for the opponent of Rome, everywhere we find “the stern Shall.“ Did these men know what they wanted? I scarcely think so. But they knew what they did not want, and that is the beginning of all practical wisdom. * Thus Charlemagne,

more wild willing, no more importunate demanding! no more stern “shall.“ To yield is joy!
    * I cannot refrain from quoting here an infinitely profound political remark of Richard Wagner: “We need only know what we do not wish, then we shall with the spontaneous necessity of nature attain quite surely to what we do wish, and the latter only becomes perfectly clear and conscious to ourselves when we have attained it: for the condition in which we have put aside what we do not wish is just the one which we desired to reach. It is thus that the people acts, and for that reason it acts in the only right way. You, however, consider it incapable, because it does not know what it wants: but what know you? Can you think and comprehend anything but what is present and therefore attained? You could imagine it, arbitrarily fancy it,

182 STATE



for example, indulged many a childish illusion in regard to what he wished, and committed many a fatal error; but in what he did not wish he always hit the nail on the head: no interference on the part of the Pope, no worshipping of images, no granting of privileges to the nobility, &c. In his willing Charles was in many ways a universalist and absolutionist, in his non-willing he proved himself a Teuton. Exactly the same attracted us in the case of Dante (p. 144 f.): his political idea of the future was a cobweb of the brain, his energetic rejection of all temporal claims of the Church a benefit of far-reaching influence.
    And so we see that here, in the State, as in all human things, everything depends on the fundamental characteristics of the mental attitude, not on cognition. The mental attitude (Gesinnung *) is the rudder, it decides the direction and with the direction the goal — even though this should long remain invisible. The conflict in the State was now, as I hope I have shown, in the very first place such a struggle between two directions, i.e., between the steersmen. As soon as the one had finally grasped the rudder firmly, the further development towards greater and greater freedom, more and more distinct nationalism and individualism, was natural and inevitable — just as inevitable as the contrary development of Caesarism and Papacy towards ever more restricted freedom.
    Nothing is absolute in the world; even freedom and non-freedom denote only two directions, and neither the individual nor the nation can stand alone and perfectly independent; they surely belong to a whole, in which

but not know it. Only what the people has achieved can you know, till then may you be satisfied with recognising clearly what you do not want, denying what should rightly be denied, destroying what should be destroyed“ (Nachgelassene Schriften, 1895, p. 118).
    * The root of Sinn denotes a journey, a way, a going; Gesinnung therefore means a direction in which a man moves.

183 STATE



every unit supports and is supported. However, on that evening of June 15, 1215, when the Magna Charta came into being — crafted, discussed, negotiated and signed on this one day by the “wild willing“ of Teutons — the direction was decided for all Europe. The representative of universalism, it is true — the representative of the doctrine that “to surrender is enjoyment“ — hastened to declare this law null and void and to excommunicate its authors all and sundry; but the hand kept firm hold of the rudder; the Roman Imperium was bound to sink, while the free Teutons made ready to enter into possession of the empire of the world.

184


(Blank Page)

Back to main page.
The original text in German: Kapitel 8
Previous chapter: Religion
Next chapter: The Teutons as Creators of a New Culture

Last update: March 27th, 2004