The Aryan Race
Extracted from Mein Kampf, volume 1, chapter 11, Race and People
There are certain truths which stand out so openly on the roadsides of life, as it were, that every passer-by may see them. Yet, because of their very obviousness, the general run of people disregard such truths or at least they do not make them the object of any conscious knowledge.
People are so blind to some of the simplest facts in every-day life that they are highly surprised when somebody calls attention to what everybody ought to know. Examples of The Columbus Egg lie around us in hundreds of thousands; but observers like Columbus are rare.
Walking about in the garden of Nature, most men have the self-conceit to think that they know everything; yet almost all are blind to one of the outstanding principles that Nature employs in her work. This principle may be called the inner isolation which characterizes each and every living species on this earth.
Even a superficial glance is sufficient to show that all the innumerable forms in which the life-urge of Nature manifests itself are subject to a fundamental law – one may call it an iron law of Nature – which compels the various species to keep within the definite limits of their own life-forms when propagating and multiplying their kind. Each animal mates only with one of its own species. The titmouse cohabits only with the titmouse, the finch with the finch, the stork with the stork, the field-mouse with the field-mouse, the house-mouse with the house-mouse, the wolf with the she-wolf, etc.
Deviations from this law take place only in exceptional circumstances. This happens especially under the compulsion of captivity, or when some other obstacle makes procreative intercourse impossible between individuals of the same species. But then Nature abhors such intercourse with all her might; and her protest is most clearly demonstrated by the fact that the hybrid is either sterile or the fecundity of its descendants is limited. In most cases hybrids and their progeny are denied the ordinary powers of resistance to disease or the natural means of defence against outer attack.
Such a dispensation of Nature is quite logical. Every crossing between two breeds which are not quite equal results in a product which holds an intermediate place between the levels of the two parents. This means that the offspring will indeed be superior to the parent which stands in the biologically lower order of being, but not so high as the higher parent. For this reason it must eventually succumb in any struggle against the higher species. Such mating contradicts the will of Nature towards the selective improvements of life in general. The favourable preliminary to this improvement is not to mate individuals of higher and lower orders of being but rather to allow the complete triumph of the higher order. The stronger must dominate and not mate with the weaker, which would signify the sacrifice of its own higher nature. Only the born weakling can look upon this principle as cruel, and if he does so it is merely because he is of a feebler nature and narrower mind; for if such a law did not direct the process of evolution then the higher development of organic life would not be conceivable at all.
This urge for the maintenance of the unmixed breed, which is a phenomenon that prevails throughout the whole of the natural world, results not only in the sharply defined outward distinction between one species and another but also in the internal similarity of characteristic qualities which are peculiar to each breed or species. The fox remains always a fox, the goose remains a goose, and the tiger will retain the character of a tiger. The only difference that can exist within the species must be in the various degrees of structural strength and active power, in the intelligence, efficiency, endurance, etc., with which the individual specimens are endowed. It would be impossible to find a fox which has a kindly and protective disposition towards geese, just as no cat exists which has a friendly disposition towards mice.
That is why the struggle between the various species does not arise from a feeling of mutual antipathy but rather from hunger and love. In both cases Nature looks on calmly and is even pleased with what happens. The struggle for the daily livelihood leaves behind in the ruck everything that is weak or diseased or wavering; while the fight of the male to possess the female gives to the strongest the right, or at least, the possibility to propagate its kind. And this struggle is a means of furthering the health and powers of resistance in the species. Thus it is one of the causes underlying the process of development towards a higher quality of being.
If the case were different the progressive process would cease, and even retrogression might set in. Since the inferior always outnumber the superior, the former would always increase more rapidly if they possessed the same capacities for survival and for the procreation of their kind; and the final consequence would be that the best in quality would be forced to recede into the background. Therefore a corrective measure in favour of the better quality must intervene. Nature supplies this by establishing rigorous conditions of life to which the weaker will have to submit and will thereby be numerically restricted; but even that portion which survives cannot indiscriminately multiply, for here a new and rigorous selection takes place, according to strength and health.
If Nature does not wish that weaker individuals should mate with the stronger, she wishes even less that a superior race should intermingle with an inferior one; because in such a case all her efforts, throughout hundreds of thousands of years, to establish an evolutionary higher stage of being, may thus be rendered futile.
History furnishes us with innumerable instances that prove this law. It shows, with a startling clarity, that whenever Aryans have mingled their blood with that of an inferior race the result has been the downfall of the people who were the standard-bearers of a higher culture. In North America, where the population is prevalently Teutonic, and where those elements intermingled with the inferior race only to a very small degree, we have a quality of mankind and a civilization which are different from those of Central and South America. In these latter countries the immigrants – who mainly belonged to the Latin races – mated with the aborigines, sometimes to a very large extent indeed. In this case we have a clear and decisive example of the effect produced by the mixture of races. But in North America the Teutonic element, which has kept its racial stock pure and did not mix it with any other racial stock, has come to dominate the American Continent and will remain master of it as long as that element does not fall a victim to the habit of adulterating its blood.
In short, the results of miscegenation are always the following:
(a) The level of the superior race becomes lowered;
(b) physical and mental degeneration sets in, thus leading slowly but steadily towards a progressive drying up of the vital sap.
The act which brings about such a development is a sin against the will of the Eternal Creator. And as a sin this act will be avenged.
Man’s effort to build up something that contradicts the iron logic of Nature brings him into conflict with those principles to which he himself exclusively owes his own existence. By acting against the laws of Nature he prepares the way that leads to his ruin.
Here we meet the insolent objection, which is Jewish in its inspiration and is typical of the modern pacifist. It says: “Man can control even Nature.”
There are millions who repeat by rote that piece of Jewish babble and end up by imagining that somehow they themselves are the conquerors of Nature. And yet their only weapon is just a mere idea, and a very preposterous idea into the bargain; because if one accepted it, then it would be impossible even to imagine the existence of the world.
The real truth is that, not only has man failed to overcome Nature in any sphere whatsoever but that at best he has merely succeeded in getting hold of and lifting a tiny corner of the enormous veil which she has spread over her eternal mysteries and secret. He never creates anything. All he can do is to discover something. He does not master Nature but has only come to be the master of those living beings who have not gained the knowledge he has arrived at by penetrating into some of Nature’s laws and mysteries. Apart from all this, an idea can never subject to its own sway those conditions which are necessary for the existence and development of mankind; for the idea itself has come only from man. Without man there would be no human idea in this world. The idea as such is therefore always dependent on the existence of man and consequently is dependent on those laws which furnish the conditions of his existence.
And not only that. Certain ideas are even confined to certain people. This holds true with regard to those ideas in particular which have not their roots in objective scientific truth but in the world of feeling. In other words, to use a phrase which is current to-day and which well and clearly expresses this truth: They reflect an inner experience. All such ideas, which have nothing to do with cold logic as such but represent mere manifestations of feeling, such as ethical and moral conceptions, etc., are inextricably bound up with man’s existence. It is to the creative powers of man’s imagination that such ideas owe their existence.
Now, then, a necessary condition for the maintenance of such ideas is the existence of certain races and certain types of men. For example, anyone who sincerely wishes that the pacifist idea should prevail in this world ought to do all he is capable of doing to help the Germans conquer the world; for in case the reverse should happen it may easily be that the last pacifist would disappear with the last German. I say this because, unfortunately, only our people, and no other people in the world, fell a prey to this idea. Whether you like it or not, you would have to make up your mind to forget wars if you would achieve the pacifist ideal. Nothing less than this was the plan of the American world-redeemer, Woodrow Wilson. Anyhow that was what our visionaries believed, and they thought that through his plans their ideals would be attained.
The pacifist-humanitarian idea may indeed become an excellent one when the most superior type of manhood will have succeeded in subjugating the world to such an extent that this type is then sole master of the earth. This idea could have an injurious effect only in the measure according to which its application would become difficult and finally impossible. So, first of all, the fight and then pacifism. If the case were different it would mean that mankind has already passed the zenith of its development, and accordingly the end would not be the supremacy of some moral ideal but degeneration into barbarism and consequent chaos. People may laugh at this statement; but our planet has been moving through the spaces of ether for millions and millions of years, uninhabited by men, and at some future date may easily begin to do so again – if men should forget that wherever they have reached a superior level of existence, it was not the result of following the ideas of crazy visionaries but by acknowledging and rigorously observing the iron laws of Nature.
All that we admire in the world to-day, its science, its art, its technical developments and discoveries, are the products of the creative activities of a few peoples, and it may be true that their first beginnings must be attributed to one race. The maintenance of civilization is wholly dependent on such peoples. Should they perish, all that makes this earth beautiful will descend with them into the grave.
However great, for example, be the influence which the soil exerts on men, this influence will always vary according to the race in which it produces its effect. Dearth of soil may stimulate one race to the most strenuous efforts and highest achievement; while, for another race, the poverty of the soil may be the cause of misery and finally of undernourishment, with all its consequences. The internal characteristics of a people are always the causes which determine the nature of the effect that outer circumstances have on them. What reduces one race to starvation trains another race to harder work.
All the great civilizations of the past became decadent because the originally creative race died out, as a result of contamination of the blood.
The most profound cause of such a decline is to be found in the fact that the people ignored the principle that all culture depends on men, and not the reverse. In other words, in order to preserve a certain culture, the type of manhood that creates such a culture must be preserved. But such a preservation goes hand-in-hand with the inexorable law that it is the strongest and the best who must triumph and that they have the right to endure.
He who would live must fight. He who does not wish to fight in this world, where permanent struggle is the law of life, has not the right to exist.
Such a saying may sound hard; but, after all, that is how the matter really stands. Yet far harder is the lot of him who believes that he can overcome Nature and thus in reality insults her. Distress, misery, and disease are her rejoinders.
Whoever ignores or despises the laws of race really deprives himself of the happiness to which he believes he can attain. For he places an obstacle in the victorious path of the superior race and, by so doing, he interferes with a prerequisite condition of all human progress. Loaded with the burden of humanitarian sentiment, he falls back to the level of those who are unable to raise themselves in the scale of being.
It would be futile to attempt to discuss the question as to what race or races were the original standard-bearers of human culture and were thereby the real founders of all that we understand by the word humanity. It is much simpler to deal with this question in so far as it relates to the present time. Here the answer is simple and clear. Every manifestation of human culture, every product of art, science and technical skill, which we see before our eyes to-day, is almost exclusively the product of the Aryan creative power. This very fact fully justifies the conclusion that it was the Aryan alone who founded a superior type of humanity; therefore he represents the architype of what we understand by the term: MAN. He is the Prometheus of mankind, from whose shining brow the divine spark of genius has at all times flashed forth, always kindling anew that fire which, in the form of knowledge, illuminated the dark night by drawing aside the veil of mystery and thus showing man how to rise and become master over all the other beings on the earth. Should he be forced to disappear, a profound darkness will descend on the earth; within a few thousand years human culture will vanish and the world will become a desert.
If we divide mankind into three categories – founders of culture, bearers of culture, and destroyers of culture – the Aryan alone can be considered as representing the first category. It was he who laid the groundwork and erected the walls of every great structure in human culture. Only the shape and colour of such structures are to be attributed to the individual characteristics of the various nations. It is the Aryan who has furnished the great building-stones and plans for the edifices of all human progress; only the way in which these plans have been executed is to be attributed to the qualities of each individual race. Within a few decades the whole of Eastern Asia, for instance, appropriated a culture and called such a culture its own, whereas the basis of that culture was the Greek mind and Teutonic skill as we know it. Only the external form – at least to a certain degree – shows the traits of an Asiatic inspiration. It is not true, as some believe, that Japan adds European technique to a culture of her own. The truth rather is that European science and technics are just decked out with the peculiar characteristics of Japanese civilization. The foundations of actual life in Japan to-day are not those of the native Japanese culture, although this characterizes the external features of the country, which features strike the eye of European observers on account of their fundamental difference from us; but the real foundations of contemporary Japanese life are the enormous scientific and technical achievements of Europe and America, that is to say, of Aryan peoples. Only by adopting these achievements as the foundations of their own progress can the various nations of the Orient take a place in contemporary world progress. The scientific and technical achievements of Europe and America provide the basis on which the struggle for daily livelihood is carried on in the Orient. They provide the necessary arms and instruments for this struggle, and only the outer forms of these instruments have become gradually adapted to Japanese ways of life.
If, from to-day onwards, the Aryan influence on Japan would cease – and if we suppose that Europe and America would collapse – then the present progress of Japan in science and technique might still last for a short duration; but within a few decades the inspiration would dry up, and native Japanese character would triumph, while the present civilization would become fossilized and fall back into the sleep from which it was aroused about seventy years ago by the impact of Aryan culture. We may therefore draw the conclusion that, just as the present Japanese development has been due to Aryan influence, so in the immemorial past an outside influence and an outside culture brought into existence the Japanese culture of that day. This opinion is very strongly supported by the fact that the ancient civilization of Japan actually became fossilizied and petrified. Such a process of senility can happen only if a people loses the racial cell which originally had been creative or if the outside influence should be withdrawn after having awakened and maintained the first cultural developments in that region. If it be shown that a people owes the fundamental elements of its culture to foreign races, assimilating and elaborating such elements, and if subsequently that culture becomes fossilized whenever the external influence ceases, then such a race may be called the depository but never the creator of a culture.
If we subject the different peoples to a strict test from this standpoint we shall find that scarcely any one of them has originally created a culture, but almost all have been merely the recipients of a culture created elsewhere.
This development may be depicted as always happening somewhat in the following way:
Aryan tribes, often almost ridiculously small in number, subjugated foreign peoples and, stimulated by the conditions of life which their new country offered them (fertility, the nature of the climate, etc.), and profiting also by the abundance of manual labour furnished them by the inferior race, they developed intellectual and organizing faculties which had hitherto been dormant in these conquering tribes. Within the course of a few thousand years, or even centuries, they gave life to cultures whose primitive traits completely corresponded to the character of the founders, though modified by adaptation to the peculiarities of the soil and the characteristics of the subjugated people. But finally the conquering race offended against the principles which they first had observed, namely, the maintenance of their racial stock unmixed, and they began to intermingle with the subjugated people. Thus they put an end to their own separate existence; for the original sin committed in Paradise has always been followed by the expulsion of the guilty parties.
After a thousand years or more the last visible traces of those former masters may then be found in a lighter tint of the skin which the Aryan blood had bequeathed to the subjugated race, and in a fossilized culture of which those Aryans had been the original creators. For just as the blood. of the conqueror, who was a conqueror not only in body but also in spirit, got submerged in the blood of the subject race, so the substance disappeared out of which the torch of human culture and progress was kindled. In so far as the blood of the former ruling race has left a light nuance of colour in the blood of its descendants, as a token and a memory, the night of cultural life is rendered less dim and dark by a mild light radiated from the products of those who were the bearers of the original fire. Their radiance shines across the barbarism to which the subjected race has reverted and might often lead the superficial observer to believe that he sees before him an image of the present race when he is really looking into a mirror wherein only the past is reflected.
It may happen that in the course of its history such a people will come into contact a second time, and even oftener, with the original founders of their culture and may not even remember that distant association. Instinctively the remnants of blood left from that old ruling race will be drawn towards this new phenomenon and what had formerly been possible only under compulsion can now be successfully achieved in a voluntary way. A new cultural wave flows in and lasts until the blood of its standard-bearers becomes once again adulterated by intermixture with the originally conquered race.
It will be the task of those who set themselves to the study of a universal history of civilization to investigate history from this point of view instead of allowing themselves to be smothered under the mass of external data, as is only too often the case with our present historical science.
This short sketch of the changes that take place among those races that are only the depositories of a culture also furnishes a picture of the development and the activity and the disappearance of those who are the true founders of culture on this earth, namely the Aryans themselves.
Just as in our daily life the so-called man of genius needs a particular occasion, and sometimes indeed a special stimulus, to bring his genius to light, so too in the life of the peoples the race that has genius in it needs the occasion and stimulus to bring that genius to expression. In the monotony and routine of everyday life even persons of significance seem just like the others and do not rise beyond the average level of their fellow-men. But as soon as such men find themselves in a special situation which disconcerts and unbalances the others, the humble person of apparently common qualities reveals traits of genius, often to the amazement of those who have hitherto known him in the small things of everyday life. That is the reason why a prophet only seldom counts for something in his own country. War offers an excellent occasion for observing this phenomenon. In times of distress, when the others despair, apparently harmless boys suddenly spring up and become heroes, full of determination, undaunted in the presence of Death and manifesting wonderful powers of calm reflection under such circumstances. If such an hour of trial did not come nobody would have thought that the soul of a hero lurked in the body of that beardless youth. A special impulse is almost always necessary to bring a man of genius into the foreground. The sledge-hammer of Fate which strikes down the one so easily suddenly finds the counter-impact of steel when it strikes at the other. And, after the common shell of everyday life is broken, the core that lay hidden in it is displayed to the eyes of an astonished world. This surrounding world then grows obstinate and will not believe that what had seemed so like itself is really of that different quality so suddenly displayed. This is a process which is repeated probably every time a man of outstanding significance appears.
Though an inventor, for example, does not establish his fame until the very day that he carries through his invention, it would be a mistake to believe that the creative genius did not become alive in him until that moment. From the very hour of his birth the spark of genius is living within the man who has been endowed with the real creative faculty. True genius is an innate quality. It can never be the result of education or training.
As I have stated already, this holds good not merely of the individual but also of the race. Those peoples who manifest creative abilities in certain periods of their history have always been fundamentally creative. It belongs to their very nature, even though this fact may escape the eyes of the superficial observer. Here also recognition from outside is only the consequence of practical achievement. Since the rest of the world is incapable of recognizing genius as such, it can only see the visible manifestations of genius in the form of inventions, discoveries, buildings, painting, etc.; but even here a long time passes before recognition is given. Just as the individual person who has been endowed with the gift of genius, or at least talent of a very high order, cannot bring that endowment to realization until he comes under the urge of special circumstances, so in the life of the nations the creative capacities and powers frequently have to wait until certain conditions stimulate them to action.
The most obvious example of this truth is furnished by that race which has been, and still is, the standard-bearer of human progress: I mean the Aryan race. As soon as Fate brings them face to face with special circumstances their powers begin to develop progressively and to be manifested in tangible form. The characteristic cultures which they create under such circumstances are almost always conditioned by the soil, the climate and the people they subjugate. The last factor – that of the character of the people – is the most decisive one. The more primitive the technical conditions under which the civilizing activity takes place, the more necessary is the existence of manual labour which can be organized and employed so as to take the place of mechanical power. Had it not been possible for them to employ members of the inferior race which they conquered, the Aryans would never have been in a position to take the first steps on the road which led them to a later type of culture; just as, without the help of certain suitable animals which they were able to tame, they would never have come to the invention of mechanical power which has subsequently enabled them to do without these beasts. The phrase, ‘The Moor has accomplished his function, so let him now depart’, has, unfortunately, a profound application. For thousands of years the horse has been the faithful servant of man and has helped him to lay the foundations of human progress, but now motor power has dispensed with the use of the horse. In a few years to come the use of the horse will cease entirely; and yet without its collaboration man could scarcely have come to the stage of development which he has now created.
For the establishment of superior types of civilization the members of inferior races formed one of the most essential pre-requisites. They alone could supply the lack of mechanical means without which no progress is possible. It is certain that the first stages of human civilization were not based so much on the use of tame animals as on the employment of human beings who were members of an inferior race.
Only after subjugated races were employed as slaves was a similar fate allotted to animals, and not vice versa, as some people would have us believe. At first it was the conquered enemy who had to draw the plough and only afterwards did the ox and horse take his place. Nobody else but puling pacifists can consider this fact as a sign of human degradation. Such people fail to recognize that this evolution had to take place in order that man might reach that degree of civilization which these apostles now exploit in an attempt to make the world pay attention to their rigmarole.
The progress of mankind may be compared to the process of ascending an infinite ladder. One does not reach the higher level without first having climbed the lower rungs. The Aryan therefore had to take that road which his sense of reality pointed out to him and not that which the modern pacifist dreams of. The path of reality is, however, difficult and hard to tread; yet it is the only one which finally leads to the goal where the others envisage mankind in their dreams. But the real truth is that those dreamers help only to lead man away from his goal rather than towards it.
It was not by mere chance that the first forms of civilization arose there where the Aryan came into contact with inferior races, subjugated them and forced them to obey his command. The members of the inferior race became the first mechanical tools in the service of a growing civilization.
Thereby the way was clearly indicated which the Aryan had to follow. As a conqueror, he subjugated inferior races and turned their physical powers into organized channels under his own leadership, forcing them to follow his will and purpose. By imposing on them a useful, though hard, manner of employing their powers he not only spared the lives of those whom he had conquered but probably made their lives easier than these had been in the former state of so-called ‘freedom’. While he ruthlessly maintained his position as their master, he not only remained master but he also maintained and advanced civilization. For this depended exclusively on his inborn abilities and, therefore, on the preservation of the Aryan race as such. As soon, however, as his subject began to rise and approach the level of their conqueror, a phase of which ascension was probably the use of his language, the barriers that had distinguished master from servant broke down. The Aryan neglected to maintain his own racial stock unmixed and therewith lost the right to live in the paradise which he himself had created. He became submerged in the racial mixture and gradually lost his cultural creativeness, until he finally grew, not only mentally but also physically, more like the aborigines whom he had subjected rather than his own ancestors. For some time he could continue to live on the capital of that culture which still remained; but a condition of fossilization soon set in and he sank into oblivion.
That is how cultures and empires decline and yield their places to new formations.
The adulteration of the blood and racial deterioration conditioned thereby are the only causes that account for the decline of ancient civilizations; for it is never by war that nations are ruined, but by the loss of their powers of resistance, which are exclusively a characteristic of pure racial blood. In this world everything that is not of sound racial stock is like chaff. Every historical event in the world is nothing more nor less than a manifestation of the instinct of racial self-preservation, whether for weal or woe.
The question as to the ground reasons for the predominant importance of Aryanism can be answered by pointing out that it is not so much that the Aryans are endowed with a stronger instinct for self-preservation, but rather that this manifests itself in a way which is peculiar to themselves. Considered from the subjective standpoint, the will-to-live is of course equally strong all round and only the forms in which it is expressed are different. Among the most primitive organisms the instinct for self-preservation does not extend beyond the care of the individual ego. Egotism, as we call this passion, is so predominant that it includes even the time element; which means that the present moment is deemed the most important and that nothing is left to the future. The animal lives only for itself, searching for food only when it feels hunger and fighting only for the preservation of its own life. As long as the instinct for self-preservation manifests itself exclusively in such a way, there is no basis for the establishment of a community; not even the most primitive form of all, that is to say the family. The society formed by the male with the female, where it goes beyond the mere conditions of mating, calls for the extension of the instinct of self-preservation, since the readiness to fight for one’s own ego has to be extended also to the mate. The male sometimes provides food for the female, but in most cases both parents provide food for the offspring. Almost always they are ready to protect and defend each other; so that here we find the first, though infinitely simple, manifestation of the spirit of sacrifice. As soon as this spirit extends beyond the narrow limits of the family, we have the conditions under which larger associations and finally even States can be formed.
The lowest species of human beings give evidence of this quality only to a very small degree, so that often they do not go beyond the formation of the family society. With an increasing readiness to place their immediate personal interests in the background, the capacity for organizing more extensive communities develops.
The readiness to sacrifice one’s personal work and, if necessary, even one’s life for others shows its most highly developed form in the Aryan race. The greatness of the Aryan is not based on his intellectual powers, but rather on his willingness to devote all his faculties to the service of the community. Here the instinct for self-preservation has reached its noblest form; for the Aryan willingly subordinates his own ego to the common weal and when necessity calls he will even sacrifice his own life for the community.
The constructive powers of the Aryan and that peculiar ability he has for the building up of a culture are not grounded in his intellectual gifts alone. If that were so they might only be destructive and could never have the ability to organize; for the latter essentially depends on the readiness of the individual to renounce his own personal opinions and interests and to lay both at the service of the human group. By serving the common weal he receives his reward in return. For example, he does not work directly for himself but makes his productive work a part of the activity of the group to which he belongs, not only for his own benefit but for the general. The spirit underlying this attitude is expressed by the word: WORK, which to him does not at all signify a means of earning one’s daily livelihood but rather a productive activity which cannot clash with the interests of the community. Whenever human activity is directed exclusively to the service of the instinct for self-preservation it is called theft or usury, robbery or burglary, etc.
This mental attitude, which forces self-interest to recede into the background in favour of the common weal, is the first prerequisite for any kind of really human civilization. It is out of this spirit alone that great human achievements have sprung for which the original doers have scarcely ever received any recompense but which turns out to be the source of abundant benefit for their descendants. It is this spirit alone which can explain why it so often happens that people can endure a harsh but honest existence which offers them no returns for their toil except a poor and modest livelihood. But such a livelihood helps to consolidate the foundations on which the community exists. Every worker and every peasant, every inventor, state official, etc., who works without ever achieving fortune or prosperity for himself, is a representative of this sublime idea, even though he may never become conscious of the profound meaning of his own activity.
Everything that may be said of that kind of work which is the fundamental condition of providing food and the basic means of human progress is true even in a higher sense of work that is done for the protection of man and his civilization. The renunciation of one’s own life for the sake of the community is the crowning significance of the idea of all sacrifice. In this way only is it possible to protect what has been built up by man and to assure that this will not be destroyed by the hand of man or of nature.
In the German language we have a word which admirably expresses this underlying spirit of all work: It is Pflichterfüllung, which means the service of the common weal before the consideration of one’s own interests. The fundamental spirit out of which this kind of activity springs is the contradistinction of ‘Egotism’ and we call it ‘Idealism’. By this we mean to signify the willingness of the individual to make sacrifices for the community and his fellow-men.
It is of the utmost importance to insist again and again that idealism is not merely a superfluous manifestation of sentiment but rather something which has been, is and always will be, a necessary precondition of human civilization; it is even out of this that the very idea of the word ‘Human’ arises. To this kind of mentality the Aryan owes his position in the world. And the world is indebted to the Aryan mind for having developed the concept of ‘mankind’; for it is out of this spirit alone that the creative force has come which in a unique way combined robust muscular power with a first-class intellect and thus created the monuments of human civilization.
Were it not for idealism all the faculties of the intellect, even the most brilliant, would be nothing but intellect itself, a mere external phenomenon without inner value and never a creative force.
Since true idealism, however, is essentially the subordination of the interests and life of the individual to the interests and life of the community, and since the community on its part represents the pre-requisite condition of every form of organization, this idealism accords in its innermost essence with the final purpose of Nature. This feeling alone makes men voluntarily acknowledge that strength and power are entitled to take the lead and thus makes them a constituent particle in that order out of which the whole universe is shaped and formed.
Without being conscious of it, the purest idealism is always associated with the most profound knowledge. How true this is and how little genuine idealism has to do with fantastic self-dramatization will become clear the moment we ask an unspoilt child, a healthy boy for example, to give his opinion. The very same boy who listens to the rantings of an ‘idealistic’ pacifist without understanding them, and even rejects them, would readily sacrifice his young life for the ideal of his people.
Unconsciously his instinct will submit to the knowledge that the preservation of the species, even at the cost of the individual life, is a primal necessity and he will protest against the fantasies of pacifist ranters, who in reality are nothing better than cowardly egoists, even though camouflaged, who contradict the laws of human development. For it is a necessity of human evolution that the individual should be imbued with the spirit of sacrifice in favour of the common weal, and that he should not be influenced by the morbid notions of those knaves who pretend to know better than Nature and who have the impudencc to criticize her decrees.
It is just at those junctures when the idealistic attitude threatens to disappear that we notice a weakening of this force which is a necessary constituent in the founding and maintenance of the community and is thereby a necessary condition of civilization. As soon as the spirit of egotism begins to prevail among a people then the bonds of the social order break and man, by seeking his own personal happiness, veritably tumbles out of heaven and falls into hell.
Posterity will not remember those who pursued only their own individual interests, but it will praise those heroes who renounced their own happiness.