Oswald Spengler. The Decline of the West. An abridged edition by Helmut Werner. English abridged edition prepared by Arthur Helps from the translation by Charles Francis Atkinson. New York: oxford University Press c199 [1926, 1928, 1932]. xxxx,415, xvix

PHILOSOPHY OF POLITICS [382]

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[384] The essential, therefore, is to understand the time for which one is born. He who does not sense and understand its most secret forces, who does not feel in himself something cognate that drives him forward on a path neither hedged nor defined by concepts, who trusts to the surface--public opinion, large phrases and ideals of the day--he is not of the stature for its events. He is in their power, not they in his. Look not back to the past for measuring-rods! There are times, like our own present and the Grecchan age, in which there are two most deadly kinds of idealism, the reactionary and the democratic. The one believes in the reversibility of history, the other in a teleology of history. But it makes not difference to the inevitable failure with which both burden a nation over whose destiny they have power, whether it is to a memory or to a concept that they sacrifice it. The genuine statesman is incarnate history, its directedness expressed as individual will and its organic logic as character.

...The genuine statesman is distinguished from the "mere politician"--the player who plays for the pleasure of the game, the arriviste on the heights of history, the seeker after wealth and rank--as also from the schoolmaster of an idea, by the fact that he dares to demand sacrifices--and obtains them, because his feeling that he is necessary to the time and the nation is shared by thousands, transforms them to the core and renders them capable of deeds to which otherwise they cold never have risen.

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[396] ...but in no other civilization has the will-to-power manifested itself in so inexorable a form as in this of ours...

Through money, democracy becomes its own destroyer, after money has destroyed intellect. But, just because the illusion that actuality can allow itself to be improved by the ideas of any Zeno or Marx has fled away; because men have learned that in the realm of reality one power-will can be overthrown only by another (for that is the great human experience of Contending States periods); there wakes at last a deep yearning for all old and worthy tradition that still lingers alive... And now dawns the time when the form-filled powers of the blood, which the rationalism of the Megolopolis has suppressed, reawaken in the depth. Everything in the order of dynastic tradition and old nobility that has saved itself up for the future, everything that there is of high money-disdaining ethic, everything that is intrinsically sound enough to be, in Frederick the Great's words, the servant--the hard-working, self-sacrificing, caring servant--of the State--all this becomes suddenly the focus of immense life-forces...

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