GHDI logo

Paul de Lagarde on Liberalism, Education, and the Jews: German Writings (1886)

page 3 of 9    print version    return to list previous document      next document

[ . . . ]

People entertained the wish to found a conservative party often enough. But even those who did so could not break free from the liberalism they intended to fight in the first place. After all, the founding of a conservative party is a founding like all others, and even if some prosperous soul were to invest as much of his personal means as necessary to create the appearance of success at first, it is inevitable that the dividends would fail to materialize in the long run, just as they do in other comparable instances. Only nature lives and begets; human will can clear the earth from rocks and thorns and turn over the soil, it can sow the seed, but it is not human will that allows the seeds, with their God-given powers of germination, to grow and flourish in God’s air and under God’s dew and sun.

The conservative party – if I must speak of a party – will emerge the day the royal Prussian educational system of the Altenstein creed has been toppled, the party press destroyed, the way cleared for the formation of churches. It will take shape the day family honor is acknowledged as a necessary prerequisite for national honor, the day that irrevocable fundamental law of our lives is announced, the one stating that only personal, responsible, and systematic work creates values, that anything individuals do not earn themselves will result in harm, not good, to themselves and their circles, and that the mind and the soul need more than what individuals gain through their own efforts, since it is never the result and material product of life that counts most, but always life itself.

Liberalism has had a particularly unnerving effect on the scholars who today are in their prime.

[ . . . ]

Practically all of the scholars in their prime today grew up in an irreligious atmosphere; it is religion, however, that provides human beings with a philosophy of life and a Weltanschauung [worldview]. And it proves very difficult for someone who has not already developed a philosophy of life and a Weltanschauung of some kind as an adolescent to acquire one as an older person. As a result of a deficit in their education, these scholars have never felt the desire for a Weltanschauung, and therefore it is easy to explain how they reached the point of becoming liberal, i.e., of regarding individual facts and the manner in which they are ordered as that alone which is necessary and worth achieving in this incomprehensible life.

first page < previous   |   next > last page