The orginal edition can be found here https://web.archive.org/web/20180125123751/http://www.nb-info.ru/nb/hleb.htm
“Meal’n’Real!” shouted the Roman crowds. “Bread and faith!” at least at the cost of new types of slavery, – all the peoples of Europe will soon cry.
– Konstantin Leontiev
Not long ago, in 1930, the well-known Spanish author F. Cambo , while studying modern European dictatorships, came to the conclusion that this painful form of government is the lot of only backward, poorly developed peoples. There are two Europes: one, glorious and enlightened, rushes forward on various kinds of improved engines, the other, devoted to nature more than to civilization, still plods along on an old-world living horse. Take the tables of literacy of the population: in the last place you will find Romania, Russia, Serbia, Italy, Greece, Spain in them. The same countries will take the first places in the tables of mortality percentage. Tables of trade, postage (per capital), etc. confirm your profile: Russia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Poland, Lithuania, Romania, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia invariably flaunt in the last places. All these are states of dictatorships or ghostly constitutionalism. Dictatorship is found in illiterate, poor, predominantly agrarian, roadless countries among the least cultured European peoples. Enlightened countries are freely governed: where there are factories, literacy, chemical fertilizers and ancient universities, there is democracy.
Germany in the tables cited by the author is everywhere listed in the most advantageous places, among the states of the first, advanced Europe: a country of universal literacy, the highest, all-round culture. Therefore, it is quite clear that “the broad mass of the German people has finally assimilated the regime of freedom” and that “Germany does not face the slightest danger of seeing a regime of dictatorship in itself.”
Three years have passed, and what remains of these calculations and forecasts? Events in Germany have amply refuted superficial rationalistic ideas about the sources of modern dictatorship. In particular, I think, the bacchanalia of racist pogroms should now wean the Europeans from the arrogant habit of attributing the excesses of the Russian revolution to “impenetrable Russian lack of culture.” No, the point here, apparently, is not backwardness and lack of culture, but something completely different. “Democracy is the regime of peoples of full age” – said the school truth of the old state law. After the German incident with Hitler, this truth should be reconsidered: it is hardly possible to deny the German people the age of majority.
What’s the matter? Judging by many signs, it is a matter of a serious and deep general crisis that has befallen “civilized mankind” in our era. The shaking of minds and hearts testifies to the exhaustion of a certain system of life and thought that has dominated until now. The passionate and selfless appeal of these minds and hearts to authority, to enterprising, strong and courageous power, reveals the ability and willingness of people to accept some new system, more suitable, more appropriate to the conditions and needs of our time. The will to faith, to creative love, to order, to work and obedience has not dried up in humanity. The question is in the specific organization, the embodiment of this will and its objects.
Our time is the era of “a thousand crises” ( Spann ). State scholars talk about a state-political crisis, economists about an economic one, philosophers about a crisis of culture. Within each of these three areas, the critical states of individual historical complexes and specific ideas are constructed and discussed. They talk about the twilight of individualism, humanism, democracy, capitalism, Marxism, the idea of progress, etc., you can’t count everything. The question is also raised about the crisis of Christianity, the cultural and historical basis of our civilization.
In these conditions of universal crossroads and disturbing vibrations of the soil, the thirst for an anchor grows stronger, the longing for a worldview. The legal state of freedom and self-determination of the individual with its noble formalism is not suitable, “does not sound” in such times: instead of bread and faith, it offers a stone of boundless choice. It is neither cold nor hot, it rubbed. It is an organized doubt , and people demand saving evidence. And a characteristic feature of modern dictatorships, facing the youth, is their ” ideocraticpathos. They carry or, at least, want to carry a holistic worldview, a system of complete dogma, and the selection of the ruling layer in them takes place precisely on a worldview ideological basis. “Give me direct answers to damned questions!” – the new person demands, and the state of the new man hurries to fulfill this demand, it seeks to proclaim and put into practice a certain idea, which it considers true, worthy, righteous, and in the spirit of this concrete, positive idea strengthens itself and forms its citizens. knights in the ruling party, certainly “one and only” in the state. Its members, stepping over formal freedom, find freedom – in their favorite idea: they know their truth, and the truth makes them free.They are mutually bound by a common faith and a vow of fidelity: this is a party-order, a militant church of an idea.
Hence the cruel, harsh, selfless intolerance of ideocratic states: human faith is burning and human love is jealous. As if history is again ruled by passionate ideas embodied in flesh and blood, as if history again is their helpless, fatal competition in the face of the whole and final, true Idea given to humanity and comprehended by it “in infinity”. As if old Hegel was right: world history is a world court…
The intolerance and cruelty of ideocracies , fascinated by their one-sided truths, their imaginary evidence, makes us remember the barbaric times. It is no coincidence that the current dictators are the offspring of the stirred up elements raised by the Acherontes . A well-aimed prophecy about “internal barbarians” who will pour into modern society not from the outside, but from its own bowels, is coming true. A general change of elites is taking place through a general uprising of the masses, a change of large cultural and social systems through a cycle of great upheavals.
Such processes are always extremely complex. They are least of all amenable to any general, summary assessment; labels, labels bounce off them as soon as you approach them without the preconceived notions of a practical-political struggle. They mix diverse trends; it can be said that destruction, lies, and death are closely intertwined with creativity, truth, and life. They are motley, striped, they are multicolored, like the dawn. They are “dialectical” to the fullest.
Faith requires dogma , and love creates its object (or “sees through its ideal essence”). The rebellion of the elements is internally exhausted when its sources are realized, its motives are fixed, its energy is assimilated. The will becomes – an idea, the impulse turns – into a system, the revolution turns into a state. The aspirations of the crowds are fixed – by the program of the authorities. Then the meaning of what is happening is more clearly indicated.
The characteristic offspring of our epoch are both ideocracies , brought to life by the movements of the masses: the Bolshevik and the fascist. Both of them, first of all, are a symptom of the disease, of that huge socio-historical phenomenon that is called “capitalism”, the bourgeois-capitalist system. Of course, any such notation is necessarily approximate and schematic. But it’s hard to do without it.
It is rightly asserted that the modern “capitalist” economy, which has lost its automatism and its autonomy, bears little resemblance to the “capitalist” economy of the last century. Evolution is constantly taking place within the system. And yet, recognizing the schematic, conditional nature of such characteristics, one can speak of the beginning of degeneration, of the “decline of the bourgeois-capitalist era”, the fundamental feature of which was precisely the “holy spirit of free economy” and the principle of “sacred private property”. The world is now going through a phase of “late”, bound, “organized” capitalism. The halo of “sacredness” flies off the bourgeois institutions, and this means that they are in danger. It is no coincidence that there is an ebb of selective human material “from the economy to the state.” System evolution, having reached a certain point, it overturns, destroys this system, displaces its fundamental installation. As if history is not far from this critical point in relation to the “categories of the 19th century.” In different ways and different gaits, reform and revolution, peaceful conspiracies and outbreaks of wars, evolution of democracies and establishment of dictatorships, change of institutions and changes in souls – in different ways the “old world” gives way to the “new”.
All three demotic-ideocratic dictatorships in Europe came into being in the heavy spasms of the existing social system. The world war gave birth to the Russian revolution and the Soviet state. The Treaty of Versailles gave birth to Italian fascism. And the current world crisis turned out to be the legitimate father of German National Socialism. People’s revolutions are inspired by disasters and crowned by dictatorships. And, of course, J. de Maistre is right : a revolution is not only an event; this is an era.
The most radical and majestic revolutionary theme sounds, of course, in Bolshevism. The Russian revolution was destined, with hitherto unheard-of effective sharpness, to oppose the old values of capitalism and nationalism with new world-historical principles: the socialist system and the international. At the same time, it is precisely this that is an attempt at a consistent and irreconcilably revolutionary solution of the basic social problems of our time on the basis of the class struggle, which has been turned into an idea, a dogma, a myth. The Russian experience, throughout its dramatic history, reveals the positive and negative aspects of this radical, extremist path. By its harsh solidity, fearless Jacobin determination, reckless strong-willed emphasis, the Soviet ideocracy It seems, undoubtedly, the most significant and significant phenomenon of our era. Behind the materialistic appearance of its leading idea lies a complex, material, spiritually intense depth of life impulse. Chaadaev comes to mind: we are called to give the world some important lesson.
Fascism and related National Socialism, like Bolshevism, arose on the basis of mass movements, owe their victory to the elements and are oriented to the younger generation par excellence. You can’t look at them as random episodes, just fleeting misunderstandings. They are provided with sufficiently deep roots, and if there is something painful, ugly in them, then this is already the “guilt” of the era that gave birth to them and is reflected in them. Blind is he who does not see their vices, but deaf is he who does not hear the historical wind that rustles in them, the “spirit of music” that sounds in them. The impulse of life spurts into them too, despite all the flaws in their political façade, with all the intoxicating motley of their outer shell, their marketplace day-to-day slogans. And behind them – the surf of a new feeling of life , the dull hum of the emerging world.
The so-called “crisis of democracy”, caused by the general ill-being of bourgeois society and fueled by the disintegration of liberal and mechanistic thought, has a two-sided social nature. On the one hand, the ruling stratum is disappointed in democracy: in difficult times it does not always and everywhere prove to be a convenient and reliable support in the struggle against social revolutionary upheavals. On the other hand, the broad masses cease to appreciate it: here and there they come to the conclusion that it does not provide them with either bread or faith. Kelsen called modern democracy “a system of political relativism.” Pareto saw in it a “demagogic plutocracy.” Relativism is not capable of giving people faith. The plutocracy will not give them bread. There are reasons to assert that if modern democracies continue to be the same as they are now, they will perish from the moral and political malaria that is shaking them before our eyes. They are strongest now in the Anglo-Saxon world with its primordial individualism and enviable plasticity. Will the Pisa bell tower of British statehood retain its style this time as well?
The bilateral nature of fascism largely determines its political essence. Both sides fill it with their own intentions and feed their hopes on it. Contradictory and mezheumochny – it becomes a document of the ailments of the old world and the will to live of the new. A way, a symbol of the transitional time.
In the sense of its “pure” ideology, fascism strives to become an organic and relatively “peaceful” means of a great social transformation. He wants to gradually, taking into account stubborn economic realities, to transfer society to new tracks – from automatic to planned economy, from free competition to organized cooperation, – “from capitalism to socialism.”He wants to maintain, as it were, a kind of “middle line”, to carry out, in the words of Proudhon, “mutual plagiarism between capitalism and communism.” From here he allows coexistence, a combination of different economic tendencies, using a strong and, as he believes, independent state power to direct the process towards the desired goal. At the same time, by switching the energies of social struggle into a burst of national unity, he is trying to save society in this way from civil war and catastrophe.
It is quite obvious that the old ruling classes wanted and want to use the fascist revolutions in their own interests. So far, they have mostly succeeded in this: they have both the means of production and the distribution system in their hands. But the last word has not yet been said here. First, these “ruling classes” themselves are already on the descending line of their historical development. Secondly, fascism is a crafty, ambiguous weapon capable of turning against those who are trying to master it. It is possible that he is still fraught with curious surprises. It is not for nothing that the leading forces of capitalism treat him with such cautious suspicion: there are two souls in him.
Russian Bolshevism is characterized by the desire to speed up, whip up the course of history (” we ‘ll drive history to hell!”). He stubbornly adheres to the rule that one can serve one’s time only by being ahead of it . Imbued with his revolutionary socialist voluntarism, he is not embarrassed by the relative vitality of the bourgeois-capitalist elements of modern society and firmly takes a course towards the immediate transition of this society to socialism. Hence, Soviet policy has to run into painful obstacles, the most stubbornresistance of social materials that are not prepared for the task that is assigned to them. And the redemptive sacrifices of the struggle against the inertia of time multiply, the old world breaks through the front here and there, and the doctrine, in words denying faith in the name of bread, in reality often sacrifices bread in the name of faith. “You can go either forward or backward,” and Bolshevism is all – in moving forward, all in its idea, in its faith, called upon not to bargain with reality, but to remake it at all costs. And moving forward is bought at a high price . But progress is undeniable
Fascism consciously chooses a different path, desiring to soberly take into account the hierarchy of neighborhoods and the logic of realities. “We do not hopelessly cling to the old, like the last straw, but we also do not rush headlong into the seductive mirages of the future,” says Mussolini. It sounds bad in words, but in reality it turns out much worse. If Bolshevism, in its global claims, faces the danger of breaking away from the inexhaustible social reality of yesterday and today, then fascism runs the risk of finding itself in its captivity. If the Bolshevik pan-revolutionary concept is threatened by the difficulties of maximalism, then the fascist one can easily turn into opportunism in the odious sense of the word. Bolshevism is heroic in its transformative impulse, intoxicated with the future and “progressive” in its social goals. The passionate will of fascism is exhausted on the paths of compromise and splits between yesterday and tomorrow. The strong power of the fascist state, for all its “totalitarianism”, is in danger of losing touch with the idea that it undertook to serve. Thus history follows different paths, and each great path knows its advantages and its vices. History is the dialectic of all these paths. Each of them is tested by life, tested by spirit, fire and iron. Their syntheses are the fruit of an organic struggle, and not of rational calculations and conclusions.
Mussolini told his followers in 1924:
“We had the good fortune to live through two great historical experiences: Russian and Italian. Try to study whether it is possible to extract a synthesis from them. synthesis of political life?”
It is difficult to deny the reasonableness of this remark, which so advantageously distinguishes the Italian dictator from Hitler with his truly “corporal” philosophy of the Russian revolution. And yet one has to doubt the effectiveness of Mussolini’s recipe, if one understands his words as a recipe. Perhaps now it is really impossible not to take into account the problem of a parallel, two-sided process – the “Bolshevization of fascism and the fascistization of Bolshevism.” But it would be naive to count on the peaceful nature of this process and its evolutionary, painless assurance. Unfortunately, historical dialectics achieves great syntheses not by the method of conscious comparisons and reconciling combinations of ideas-forces, but by their competitions, life, and death. Only then and only then will fruitful organic syntheses arise, and not meager and miserable mechanical compromises. Obviously, only in this “dialectical” sense can we talk about the future “synthesis” of Bolshevism and fascism.
Both systems – both Bolshevism and Fascism – are ” barbaric ” adventurous, asserting themselves not only by persuasion, but also by coercion, force, violence. This, as we have seen, is in the order of things of our time, in the spirit of the transitional epoch. But, of course, not their form, but their inner content, the essence of their ideas and deeds, will determine the place of both in history. Violence is powerless to save a dying idea, but it can render an invaluable service to an ascending idea.
Bolshevism is fundamentally internationalist , and in this respect, undoubtedly, it is in tune with the great “universal” idea of the coming historical period. Fascism is defiantly chauvinistic , and in this capacity it is ” reactionary “, it belongs to the era of the outgoing. In the very combination of “nationalism” and “socialism” lies a contradiction, though very vital in terms of today’s historical day, when even the Bolsheviks are forced to “build socialism in one country,” but which must be overcome on the scale of the epoch. Humanity is now sick and suffocating from political and economic ultra-nationalism . The national idea is alive and will live for a long time, but those forms of its embodiment, which are defended by fascism, internally dilapidated, for all their historical vitality, are no longer compatible either with technology or with the economy of our time, fraught with universalism. In this respect, the consciousness of peoples seems to lag behind the existence of mankind, and fascism, deifying the nation, is full of a lagging consciousness, and not a being running forward. “The current orgy of nationalistic passions,” Thomas Mann aptly writes about it, “is nothing more than a late flash of a fire that has already burned out, the last flash that mistakenly considers itself a new flame of life.”
It is enough to read at least Hitler’s “political testament” to see this clearly. It is the language of the past, entirely woven from the categories of Machiavelli and Bodin , Palmerston and Bismarck. After the great war, even statesmen cease to speak such a language. Perhaps there is some advantage of sincerity in him over the pacifist formulas of the League of Nations. But there is not in it a grain of a new world, tomorrow of history.
As regards the sphere of social politics, here, too, the differences between the two ideocratic systems are striking. Bolshevism is revolutionary not only in words but also in deeds. Albeit at a high price , – but, undoubtedly, it opens up a panorama of a truly new era. The former ruling classes of Russia have been crushed by him both politically and economically. The means of production are fully state -owned ; etatized and trade. Capitalism is seriously overthrown in the state of soviets, and thus the moral and political postulate of a new “classless” society receives real economic support in this state. At the same time, real prerequisites for a planned economy are also being created. The question is a big one! – in the ability to organize this economy, in the selection, in training, in the alteration of people and the transformation of economic incentives.
Fascism organizes its economic foundation in a fundamentally different way . He rebuilds the form of the old state, but is careful not to change its socio-economic essence anew. He announces the reorganization of capitalism, but hitherto retains intact the basic institutions of the capitalist economy. His economic policy is cautious and shuns revolutionary upheavals; this, if you like, is her dignity, but this is also the source of his vices. The fascist slogan of “cooperation between classes” is not new: it is well known to the bourgeois democratic state and is not sufficient in itself to radically save society from interclass antagonisms. To “tame” classes, to conjure their self-interest, their egoism with the power of the idea – an honorable, but completely exceptionaltask difficulty. It must be noted that Bolshevism, in its attempt to destroy the very sources of class contradictions, is incomparably more effective and consistent in its anti-class orientation. In the same way, the planned economy, which after the Soviet five-year plan is so keenly interested in the bourgeois states, is hardly capable of fully triumphing without the nationalization of the means of production and the destruction of the independent financial and economic strength of the bourgeoisie. The fascist principle of an active and omnipotent state is embodied to a much greater extent in the USSR than in Italy or Germany.
Yet it would be a mistake to deny that Mussolini’s corporate state is an instructive experience dictated by the prevailing historical situation. In it one can hear both the spontaneous onslaught of the masses, combined with the maneuvers of the capitalists, and the genuine upsurge of national feeling, and the lively work of modern social thought, looking for such ways of transition to a new order that would save the European peoples from the explosion of the communist revolution: in Europe, say the enlightened Europeans – this explosion would be immeasurably more amazing and destructive than in peasant and ” untraditional ” Russia.Hence the tireless efforts to create an atmosphere of “order and trust” in the state, to raise the authority of the authorities, to instill in the bourgeoisie the dogma of “functional property” and to the whole people the idea of social service, to organize in the present society a super -class national arbitration of the state, not only leading politics, but also controlling the economy and shepherding people’s souls. A number of objective signs testify that these efforts have brought tangible results in today’s Italy.
But at the same time, one cannot fail to recognize that the significance of the Italian experience is tempered by the relative modesty of Italy’s world position and the uniqueness of its social structure. Much more complicated and disturbing for fascism, but on the other hand, more indicative of its nature, the situation is in Germany, where Hitler, already losing the charm of demagogic novelty, twists and turns between the powerful power of monopoly capital and the diverse pressure of his motley masses. There are more and more grounds for asserting that present-day German National Socialism threatens to turn out to be a pseudomorphosis.
Be that as it may, the ideocratic revolutions of our era must be viewed and evaluated in the light of world-historical. Their significance transcends the political judgments and assessments of today. At the turn of the eras, peoples are excited by passionate ideas, myths, calling for action and struggle. Here the new is born in pain, there the dead grabs the living. Here and there, the fires of various ideas and values are lit, intertwined with living feelings, saturated with vital interests. These separate, partial, often poor, sometimes naive, inevitably flawed and false in their flawedness, but at the same time creative ideas and values, assert themselves, dialectically displace each other, each claim to be complete and wholly true, disappear in syntheses to again arise in a new way at different stages of development. Man is wrong as long as he strives. But the mistakes of searching are the rays of the clever sun of truth and goodness, they shine – the highest destination, the lofty destiny of man. Thus, in the “fatal moments” of this world, a panorama of history, a landscape of catastrophic progress, awaits in all its unique concreteness and inescapable inconsistency…
Faith and love move life above all. There are pauses, intermezzos in time and space. But truly creative, inspired epochs are always epochs of faith and love.
“The unbelieving 18th century,” Carlyle once wrote , “ is in the end an exceptional phenomenon, which happens in general from time to time in history. I predict that the world will once again become a sincere, believing world, that there will be many heroes in it, that it will be a heroic world! Then it will become a victorious world. Only then and under such conditions.”
Probably Carlyle is not quite right about the 18th century: and he knew his faith and his love, passionate ideas trembled in him too. But isn’t the very thought of a believing and heroic world not sharp-sighted, objective? You involuntarily think about it these days.
The peoples yearn for bread: the world economic crisis. But this crisis is not a caprice of irresistible superhuman forces, not the callous ferocity of nature or the fruit of an accidental disaster. No, it is the result of the disease of man himself, peoples, humanity, losing vital contact, living connection with the economy. This is a crisis of organization, a crisis of power, a crisis of trust. In the end, this is a crisis of faith, worldview.
And the people feel it. And they are seized with greedy quests, prophetic convulsions, obsessed with passionate ideas. In an atmosphere of vacillation, misfortune and decline, at the crossroads of epochs, we are convinced that the stock of creative passion invested in humanity is far from exhausted. One can speak of an unhappy and dead-ended world, but at the same time one can also speak of a “believing and heroic world”!
The final chapter of the book “German National Socialism” (1933), revised and supplemented before the printing of this book.
F.cambo . “Les dictatures “, 1930, p . 29-46.
“The state, conscious of its mission and representing the people in its development, continuously transforms this people, even physically,” says Mussolini. “The state must say great things to its people . To put forward great ideas and problems, and not engage only in ordinary affairs of government” ( speech in the Chamber of Deputies on May 13, 1929).
One involuntarily wants to quote the well-known words of A. Blok: “The barbarian masses turn out to be the guardians of culture, owning nothing but the spirit of music, in those eras when a civilization that has lost its wings and has ceased to sound becomes an enemy of culture, despite the fact that it has all the factors of progress at its disposal – science, technology, law, etc. Civilization is dying, a new movement is born, growing from the same musical element, and this movement is already distinguished by new features, it is not like the previous ones “(article” The collapse of humanism “, 1919).
It must be resolutely emphasized that the anatomy of nationalism and universalism is the most vital, the most substantive in our day. One might get the impression that nationalist intuition is organic, grounded , while internationalism is nothing more than a construction, an abstraction, a mechanical scheme. For this historical moment, such an impression is natural. But you shouldn’t give in to it. A scheme, an abstraction, a plan, a project can become heralds of new “organisms”.
The world unification of peoples is now quite clearly and completely “positively” hurting history; such are the results of the “organic” development of science, technology, and economics. The next historical stage draws “a national whole on national foundations.” Mankind organically approaches the problem of universality . But its subject matter is opposed by “organic” strivings of a different order and of tremendous intensity. “Organism” does not mean continuity and peace. Organism allows both discontinuity and antinomies (complex organisms). The body is a unity of opposites. This huge philosophical and philosophical-historical topic is becoming one of the main ones in our time. Here we can only state it.