The German “Authoritarian” Alternative To Anglo Liberalism

The German “Authoritarian” Alternative To Anglo Liberalism

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Germany was the one Western nation that articulated an alternative to Anglo (Locke-Smith) Liberalism and French Enlightenment universalism while embracing modernization. “Authoritarian” Germany was the foremost scientific, philosophical, artistic, industrial, and military nation from 1850 until the mid-1900s.

As a PhD student I studied a lot of comparative economics, acting as an assistant to a Jewish Polish professor, teaching a course on “the Western Vs. the Soviet Model of Development”, and I wrote a course for Athabasca University, the first online university in Canada, on the history of economic ideas. The many books I read invariably focused on the English/French contributions, and then the American contribution — understandably so, for these nations originated the major schools of economic thought (mercantilism, free trade school, Marxist “critique” of political economy, marginalism, institutionalism, and Keynesianism). But there was a German school, the “Romantics”, as they are called by the British, which is usually either ignored or presented in one short chapter. I tended to skip this school accepting the general judgment that it was “in essence backward-looking” and “mystical”. What strikes me now is how relevant this school is for our current time as we witness the disintegration of European nations within a globalist economic/capitalist order.

The major thinkers of this school, Adam Muller (1779-1829) and Friedrich List (1789-1846), saw that the economic thought that Britain and France had originated amounted to the disaggregation of nations or commuties into atomistic or isolated individuals, as the unit of economic decision making. For these economists, searching for a logically coherent science of economics with universal validity, without considering the particulars of each nation, and treating citizens as faceless producers and consumers, as if they had no bond with a national community, was a mistake.

The Germans accepted the Aristotelian doctrine that man is inconceivable outside the State, that no man is an island but interwoven from birth with a national culture. The State is not, as Locke and Smith saw it, a conglomeration of individuals seeking their self-interest but a reflection of the supreme need of man to belong in a community. They argued that a Nation-State can’t be concerned only with material production but must concern itself with the totality of life, with the cultural well being of the members of the State. The factors of production are not merely “land, labor and capital” but also the “spiritual capital” of the nation, its language, heritage, traditions. The duty of the State is to utilize the economy to augment national wealth and power, but this “wealth” is not strictly physical, it is also spiritual.

The duty of the State is to awaken national pride, the feeling of oneness with the nation. The wealth of a nation, its capital, includes as well the contribution made by past generations to the present race, the arts, the constitution, the laws, the customs, writing, memories. But this school, which dominated German thought and economic policy in the second half of the 1800s to the mid- 20th century, and which had then come to be known as the “Historical School of Economics,” would be domesticated as a school that merely added a historical perpective with all its nationalistic policies discarded as “fascist” and replaced by Anglo-American “free-trade” and “individualistic” economic thought in the post WWII era, with Jews playing a leading role, as a very high proportion of the major economists then were Jews. The decimation of the Germans, and all European ethnic identities, is a direct product of the dominance of this Anglo-American-Jewish economic school.

The Germanic-American Alternative

Until WWI, when Americans became awash in anti-German prejudice, the liberal American narrative about its Western heritage was profoundly Germanic. Through the 18C and 19C American elites believed the German barbarians who invaded Rome had brought back afresh the original Indo-European ethos of aristocratic liberty and heroic honor the early republican Romans had possessed as descendants of the Indo-European race. The later Romans had lost this ethos through race mixing and assimilation of Oriental despotic mannerisms. This Germanic ethos was characterized by an aversion to monarchical tyranny and preference for a council of warriors alongside a king responsive to it.

The American president John Adams admired “the Teutonic institutions” as “the most memorable experiment…ever yet made in human affairs”. Jefferson wrote with pride of his “Saxon ancestors”. They were greatly influenced by Montesquieu’s argument that this Germanic ethos was considerably weakened in France with the onset of absolutism, when the aristocracy lost its vigor becoming dependent courtiers. Montesquieu, who was a member of the old French nobility of the sword, believed that this aristocratic ethos had been well sustained in Britain, beginning with the Angles and Saxons who invaded in the fifth century, and the Germanic Normans who invaded in 1066, leading to the Magna Carta, an aristocratic declaration of rights, and the evolution of parliament and limited monarchy in 1688. Britain thus resurrected the republican Roman experience of monarchical, aristocratic, and popular-democratic elements.

Today, the Germanic side of the US has been obliterated. You hear about Irish, Italian, Greek, African, and Jewish Americans but rarely ever about German Americans. Yet, Wikipedia tells us that “Americans…who are of German ancestry form the largest ethnic ancestry group in the United States, accounting for 17% of U.S. population”. This anti-German prejudice began with WWI and intensified during the rise of Hitler and WWII. American Germans are still afraid to say they have a German ancestry. The suppression of the Germanic side of the US by Anglo liberalism can be interpreted as the beginning of the transformation of the US into a “melting pot” dedicated to the spread of globalist values against European identities across the West.

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