Saturday, February 05, 2005

The Divine Inspiration of the Leader

In the centre of the movement stands the figure of... the Leader. This central figure cannot be replaced by anything else, a group or committee or board. Any such suggestions overlook the "charismatic" element of the leader... This element in the mass leader... is a reality that cannot be dismissed even by those who are not under its influence. A great deal of the nimbus of the... leader seems manufactured and is in fact manufactured; but the root of his mesmeric influence lies... in an irrational element... [Kilroy] is a... leader with the medium's gift of thrall, a thrall in which he is himself caught... the leader must speak in a religious mood, in lapidary phrases that can be used with suggestive force...

The Messiah-figure of the leader is the indispensible centre of their propaganda... the figure of the leader must be withdrawn more and more into seclusion and surrounded with mystery. He must only come visibly into the presence of the nation by means of startling actions and rare speeches at critical moments... Except for that he must withdraw from view - just like the Creator behind creation - in order to heighten his effectiveness by his mysteriousness. The very rarity of his appearances would make them events. No great leader should wear out his greatness in the daily drudgery of administration... Only when [Kilroy] had really become a mythical figure would the whole depth of his magical influence reveal itself...

But this process of the mesmerizing of the masses is only made possible by the general... disintegration of all the genuine elements of national welfare and public order. Thus neither the devotion to the leader nor the faith in him is of purely artificial production. Their appearance is due less to the foisting of a "Messiah" on the masses than to the loss of validity of the old and genuine standards and allegiances. The question still remains how... power could proceed from petty and contemptible sources. It is characteristic of the present time that an appearance of gigantic achievements can be created with no basis in fact. The technical and organizing resources available enable any sort of phantasmagoria to be given for a time the semblance of reality.

Extracted from Die Revolution des Nihilismus by Herman Rauschning - trns. E.W. Dickes - first published 1938 (although this translation is from a November 1939 British edition, pages 36 to 39). Rauschning was Nazi President of the Danzig Senate, but fled Germany in 1935 after opposing Hitler's attempts to suppress rival parties and persecute the Jews. In this extract, "Hitler" has - as you may well have noticed - been replaced with "Kilroy". Clever, eh?


At 10:31 PM, Anonymous joel said...

Remember when you were really young? it was an era of inconsequential innocence, even at that age your imagination was larger than large.
Link to this site: prayer for inspiration


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