Liberalism, 19

Europe

In Europe, liberalism has a long tradition dating back to 17th century. Scholars often split those traditions into English and French versions, with the former version of liberalism emphasizing the expansion of democratic values and constitutional reform and the latter rejecting authoritarian political and economic structures, as well as being involved with nation-building.

The continental French version was deeply divided between moderates and progressives, with the moderates tending to elitism and the progressives supporting the universalization of fundamental institutions, such as universal suffrage, universal education, and the expansion of property rights. Over time, the moderates displaced the progressives as the main guardians of continental European liberalism. A prominent example of these divisions is the German Free Democratic Party, which was historically divided between national liberal and social liberal factions.

Before World War I, liberal parties dominated the European political scene, but they were gradually displaced by socialists and social democrats in the early 20th century. The fortunes of liberal parties since World War II have been mixed, with some gaining strength while others suffered from continuous declines. The fall of the Soviet Union and the breakup of Yugoslavia at the end of the 20th century, however, allowed the formation of many liberal parties throughout Eastern Europe.

Leo_belgicusBoth in Britain and elsewhere in Western Europe, liberal parties have often cooperated with socialist and social democratic parties, as evidenced by the Purple Coalition in the Netherlands during the late 1990s and into the 21st century. The Purple Coalition, one of the most consequential in Dutch history, brought together the progressive left-liberal, the market liberal, centre-right and the social democratic Labour Party: an unusual combination that ultimately legalized same-sex marriage, euthanasia, and prostitution while also instituting a non-enforcement policy on marijuana.

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Uncle Adolf’s table talk, 110

the-real-hitler
 
5th April 1942, evening

Shall we try to Germanise the French?—Example of Austria—Germanisation of Holland—Fusion of all Germanic races—But no excess Germanisation—Distrust of the Poles.

During dinner, the Reichsfuehrer SS declared that, in his view, the best way of settling the French problem would be to carry off every year a certain number of racially healthy children, chosen amongst France’s Germanic population. It would be necessary to try to settle these children, while still very young, in German boarding-schools, to train them away from their French nationality, which was due to chance, to make them aware of their Germanic blood and thus inculcate into them the notion of their membership of the great group of Germanic peoples. The Fuehrer replied:

“Sinister theory!” For my part, all these attempts at Germanisation don’t mean much to me—in so far, at least, as no successful attempt is made to found them on an appropriate conception of the world. As regards France, one must not forget that the military reputation of that country is not due to the people’s moral worth, but essentially to the fact that, on the Continent, the French were able to exploit certain military combinations of circumstance that were favourable to them (during the Thirty Years’ War, for example). Every time they were confronted by a Germany that was aware of herself, they got a thrashing—under Frederick the Great, for example, in 1940, etc. The fact that they won victories of universal significance under the leadership of that unique military genius, the Corsican Napoleon, makes no difference at all. The mass of the French people has petit bourgeois spiritual inclinations, so much so that it would be a triumph to succeed in removing the elements of Germanic origin from the grasp of the country’s ruling class.

Austria, too, her own history—secular five times over—a history that truly is not devoid of highlights? Obviously, in discussing these problems one must remain very careful, when confronted by Dutch and Norwegians. One must never forget that in 1871 Bavaria would never have agreed to become part of Prussia. Bismarck persuaded her only to agree to become part of a great association linked by kinship—that is to say, Germany. Nor did I, in 1938, tell the Austrians that I wanted to incorporate them in Germany, but I insisted on the fact that Germany and Austria ought to unite to form the Greater German Reich. Similarly, when speaking to the Germanics of the North-west and North, one must always make it plain that what we’re building is the Germanic Reich, or simply the Reich, with Germany constituting merely her most powerful source of strength, as much from the ideological as from the military point of view.

The Reichsfuehrer SS then spoke of the creation in Holland of boarding-schools for the political education of the young, two for boys and one for girls, to be called “Reich Schools”a title approved by the Fuehrer. A third of the pupils would be Dutch and two-thirds German. After a certain period, the Dutch pupils would have to visit in turn a similar school in Germany. The Reichsfuehrer SS explained that, to guarantee that instruction would be given in accordance with the purposes of the Germanic Reich, he had refused a financial contribution from Holland and had asked Schwarz to set aside a specific sum exclusively for the financing of these schools. There was a project for the creation of similar schools in Norway. They, too, would be financed solely by the Reich Party treasurer. “If we want to prevent Germanic blood from penetrating into the ruling class of the peoples whom we dominate, and subsequently turning against us, we shall have gradually to subject all the precious Germanic elements to the influence of this instruction.” The Fuehrer approved of this point of view.

One mustn’t forget that, unless he is convinced of his racial membership of the Germanic Reich, the foreign legionary is bound to feel that he’s betraying his country. The fall of the Habsburg monarch clearly shows the full size of this danger.

It’s not possible to unite the Germanic peoples under the folds of the black-white-and-red flag of the old German Empire—for the same reason as prevented the Bavarians from entering the German Reich, in 1871, under the flag of Prussia. It’s the reason why I began by giving the National Socialist Party, as a symbol of the union of all Germanics, a new rallying-sign which was valid also inside our own national community—the swastika flag.

Let’s avoid attempting the Germanisation of our vital space on too great a scale. Let’s be cautious, especially with the Czechs and the Poles. According to Himmler, history proves that the Poles have their nationality tattooed oh their bodies.

It’s very important for the future that the Germans don’t mingle with the Poles, so that the new Germanic blood may not be transmitted to the Polish ruling class. Himmler is right when he says that the Polish generals who genuinely put up a serious resistance in 1939 were, so to speak, exclusively of German descent. It’s an accepted fact that it’s precisely the best elements of our race who, as they lose awareness of their origin, add themselves to the ruling class of the country that has welcomed them. As for the elements of less value, they retain the characteristics of their ethnic group and remain faithful to their Germanic origin. The same caution is necessary towards the Czechs. They’re skilled at not awakening the distrust of their occupiers, and are wonderful at playing the rôle of subjects.

We shall not win the peace, on the racial level, unless the Reich knows how to maintain a certain stature. Confronted with the United States, whose population is scarcely greater than ours, our strength lies in the fact that four-fifths of our people are of Germanic race.

Uncle Adolf’s table talk, 157

the-real-hitler

 

24th July 1942, at dinner

What to expect from the Dutch—The popularity of the Duce.
 

When people tell me that the Dutch will not make good SS-men, I always remember the cartoons of Spitzweg, who represented the German soldiers of the South German States sitting and knitting socks. But twenty years of instruction have put a very different complexion on the matter. A race like the Dutch, which has shown itself capable of organising a magnificent Far Eastern air service and which produces a host of first-class sea-men, can easily be taught to assimilate the military spirit. One must not lose faith in the essential soundness of the race, for sound it certainly is.

Bormann is quite right when, on the authority of his collection of photographs, he declares that the Duce enjoys an immense popularity. I have myself seen in a dozen different episodes in Italy how very popular the Duce is with the majority of the people; and there is no denying the unparalleled achievements of this man and of Fascism—the innumerable new factories, the construction of new houses and schools and hospitals, the great colonial enterprise and many more; when one recalls the deplorable state of Italy at the time of the Duce’s assumption of power, one realises the magnitude of his achievements.

Over and above all this he overcame Bolshevism, not by military force, but by superior intellect, and it is him we have to thank for showing for the first time, by his decisive defeat of the inner power of Bolshevism, that even in this twentieth century it is possible to recall a people to a sense of purely national pride.

There he has rendered us all a great service—much as, in the years to come, my own greatest service to humanity will be thought to be my success in saving Europe from the Asiatic onslaught.

The Duce’s political activity is considerably impeded by royal prerogative; it is, for example, all but impossible to assume the leadership of a country if the armed forces thereof owe allegiance to another. No business firm could be efficiently run by the managing director, if some other shareholder held a majority of shares, and was thus in a position to alter or cancel orders at will. Unless legislative and administrative power are in one hand, endless difficulties will arise.

When we Germans pass judgment on the Duce, we must bear all these considerations well in mind, not forgetting that, when all is said and done, it is the Duce we have to thank for the fact that Italy is not in the war on the side of the Allies.

The upper ten thousand of Italy, instead of realising that a victory for Communism would mean their own immediate annihilation, and instead therefore of giving him all the support they could, placed difficulty after difficulty in his way in the struggle against the Bolsheviks. They were as little conscious of the tremendous assistance they were giving the Bolsheviks as the stupid calf, of which it is said: “The stupid calf chooses its own butcher.”

_____________________________

Consider obtaining a copy of the complete notes
published by Ostara Publications.

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Uncle Adolf’s table talk, 184

the-real-hitler

 

6th September 1942, midday

Racial mixtures—Sailors on leave.
 
 

What a fine race the Dutch are! The girls are splendid and very much to my taste. The blemishes in the Dutch are due to interbreeding with the Malays, and that, in its turn, is the result of sexual urge and the lack of a sufficiency of white women in their colonies. We had much the same thing in our own colonies; a German had the right to marry a negress, provided she was a Catholic, but not a German girl, if she happened to be a Protestant.

Even today, the Catholic priest chatters for months if one of his flock wishes to marry a Protestant. It is not very long ago that, in the country, a marriage between Catholic and Protestant was stigmatised as an insult to the Holy Altar; but no body bothered their heads about the colour of bastards! In the British Empire, things are very different; but the Church of England is a political, rather than an ecclesiastical, organisation.

Again and again I am asked to sanction marriage between one of our soldiers and a foreign girl; and as often as not the soldier is a splendid young lad and the girl a little trollop.

Nothing but catastrophe could come of such unions. The branches of the services most exposed to this danger are the Navy and the antiaircraft units, because they stay in one place longer than anyone else. It was the same in the first war. The Flemish girls were most attractive, and, had the war had a normal ending, many of them would undoubtedly have married German soldiers.

The Fuehrer turns jestingly to Admiral Krancke: Your sailors have only three hours’ liberty ashore each day; can’t you give them a bit more? If they must hang about in port, they will be best employed chasing the girls!

_____________________________

Consider obtaining a copy of the complete notes
published by Ostara Publications.

Main cause of white decline

Zionist Occupied Government? Pffft!
Zionist Occupied Culture? Closer.
Zionist Occupied Soul? Bingo! The Inner Jew.

—Sebastian Ronin



In my recent visit to the UK, actually in my way to Arthur Kemp’s town, I read a most insightful chapter about “The Mercantile System” in The Story of Mankind (1921) by Hendrik van Loon. Italics means my orange text-marks over my old copy’s yellowed pages while traveling in the UK train:


The mercantile system. How the newly founded national
or dynastic states of Europe tried to make themselves rich and what was meant by the mercantile system

We have seen how, during the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries, the states of our modern world began to take shape. Their origins were different in almost every case. Some had been the result of the deliberate effort of a single king. Others had happened by chance. Still others had been the result of favourable natural geographic boundaries. But once they had been founded, they had all of them tried to strengthen their internal administration and to exert the greatest possible influence upon foreign affairs. All this of course had cost a great deal of money. The mediaeval state with its lack of centralized power did not depend upon a rich treasury. The king got his revenues from the crown domains and his civil service paid for itself. The modern centralised state was a more complicated affair. The old knights disappeared and hired government officials or bureaucrats took their place. Army, navy, and internal administration demanded millions. The question then became where was this money to be found?

Gold and silver had been a rare commodity in the middle ages. The average man, as I have told you, never saw a gold piece as long as he lived. Only the inhabitants of the large cities were familiar with silver coin. The discovery of America and the exploitation of the Peruvian mines changed all this. The centre of trade was transferred from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic seaboard. The old “commercial cities” of Italy lost their financial importance. New “commercial nations” took their place and gold and silver were no longer a curiosity. Through Spain and Portugal and Holland and England, precious metals began to find their way to Europe The sixteenth century had its own writers on the subject of political economy and they evolved a theory of national wealth which seemed to them entirely sound and of the greatest possible benefit to their respective countries. They reasoned that both gold and silver were actual wealth. Therefore they believed that the country with the largest supply of actual cash in the vaults of its treasury and its banks was at the same time the richest country. And since money meant armies, it followed that the richest country was also the most powerful and could rule the rest of the world.

We call this system the “mercantile system,” and it was accepted with the same unquestioning faith with which the early Christians believed in Miracles and many of the present-day American businessmen believe in the Tariff. In practice, the Mercantile system worked out as follows: To get the largest surplus of precious metals a country must have a favourable balance of export trade. If you can export more to your neighbour than he exports to your own country, he will owe you money and will be obliged to send you some of his gold. Hence you gain and he loses. As a result of this creed, the economic program of almost every seventeenth century state was as follows:

1.- Try to get possession of as many precious metals as you can.

2.- Encourage foreign trade in preference to domestic trade.

3.- Encourage those industries which change raw materials into exportable finished products.

4.- Encourage a large population [My interpolated note: This is especially important since it means that such western System was hard-wired to become New Zion], for you will need workmen for your factories and an agricultural community does not raise enough workmen.

5.- Let the State watch this process and interfere whenever it is necessary to do so.

Instead of regarding International Trade as something akin to a force of nature which would always obey certain natural laws regardless of man’s interference, the people of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries tried to regulate their commerce by the help of official decrees and royal laws and financial help on the part of the government.

In the sixteenth century Charles V adopted this Mercantile System (which was then something entirely new) and introduced it into his many possessions. Elizabeth of England flattered him by her imitation. The Bourbons, especially King Louis XIV, were fanatical adherents of this doctrine and Colbert, his great minister of finance, became the prophet of Mercantilism to whom all Europe looked for guidance.

The entire foreign policy of Cromwell was a practical application of the Mercantile System. [Interpolated note: which means that Whites were wielding the “One Ring” of corruption first and the Jews wrought by Cromwell were a secondary infection] It was invariably directed against the rich rival Republic of Holland. For the Dutch shippers, as the common carriers of the merchandise of Europe, had certain leanings towards free-trade and therefore had to be destroyed at all cost.

It will be easily understood how such a system must affect the colonies. A colony under the Mercantile System became merely a reservoir of gold and silver and spices, which was to be tapped for the benefit of the home country. The Asiatic, American and African supply of precious metals and the raw materials of these tropical countries became a monopoly of the state which happened to own that particular colony. No outsider was ever allowed within the precincts and no native was permitted to trade with a merchant whose ship flew a foreign flag. Undoubtedly the Mercantile System encouraged the development of young industries in certain countries where there never had been any manufacturing before. It built roads and dug canals and made for better means of transportation. It demanded greater skill among the workmen and gave the merchant a better social position, while it weakened the power of the landed aristocracy.

the_story_of_mankind
On the other hand, it caused very great misery. It made the natives in the colonies the victims of a most shameless exploitation. It exposed the citizens of the home country to an even more terrible fate. It helped in a great measure to turn every land into an armed camp and divided the world into little bits of territory, each working for its own direct benefit, while striving at all times to destroy the power of its neighbours and get hold of their treasures. It laid so much stress upon the importance of owning wealth that “being rich” came to be regarded as the sole virtue of the average citizen. Economic systems come and go like the fashions in surgery and in the clothes of women, and during the nineteenth century the Mercantile System was discarded in favour of a system of free and open competition. At least, so I have been told.

(Pages 256-259 of my 1945, Pocket Books edition.)

March of the Titans

The following sentences of March of the Titans: The Complete History of the White Race by Arthur Kemp caught my attention:

ancient_china_by_edtuckerartist

Race War in the Far East

Portuguese explorers were the first Whites to arrive by sea in China, landing in 1514. By 1557, they had acquired a trading station at Macau and by 1570, trade began between China and Spanish settlements in the Philippines.

In 1619, the Dutch settled in Taiwan and took possession of the nearby P’enghu Islands (Pescadores). Soon Jesuit missionaries arrived in China from Europe but failed utterly in their attempts to convert the Chinese who rejected the Christian religion with scorn.

__________________________

Chechar’s note:

After recounting how the Quing dynasty tried to impede white settlements, Kemp describes the British wars in China, including the Opium wars. Alas, the natural goal of keeping the Chinese zombified did not last long among the Christians.

The worst blunder that the Western altruists committed in Asia was allowing the empowerment of these high-IQ Asian peoples. All European nations should have kept their technological magic exclusively for the white race, keeping their universities only for the initiate of pure Aryan origin. Do you imagine the Spartans or the Goths sharing their most sacred magic with non-whites?

These historical happenings demonstrate, once more, the total lunacy of what the white Christians are capable of in their search to fulfill their deranged sense of decency. Not even white nationalists—who are Neochristian liberals in many ways, not National Socialists—have highlighted this historical blunder that will be a huge problem even if a white ethnostate is created in the future; the Asians having now tons of gold and weapons of mass destruction at their disposal.

Kemp continues:

__________________________

 
By the end of the 20th Century, both Japan and China had developed into industrial giants, responsible for the production, if not invention, of the majority of day-to-day appliances and convenience goods used all over the world.

Both nations are also marked in their desire to retain their racial homogeneity, and do not tolerate mass Third World immigration into their lands, unlike the White Western nations. This policy is also applied to refugees: Japan for example, refused to take Vietnamese Boat People refugees unless they were racially compatible with the existing Japanese population: if not, they were turned away.

This strict, racially-based immigration policy, is both Japan and China’s formula for long term survival and progress, and, if maintained, will ensure that they escape the fate of Western nations who have abandoned such policies.

From Breivik’s desk

“The nation is divided, half patriots and half traitors, and no man can tell which from which.”

—Mark Twain

breivik-viking

Traitor – classification system – Category A, B and C traitors

This classification system is used to identify various individual cultural Marxist/multiculturalist traitors. The intention of the system is to easier identify priority targets and will also serve as the foundation for the future “Nuremberg trials” once the European cultural conservatives reassert political and military control of any given country.

Any category A, B or C traitor is an individual who has deliberately used his or her influence in a way which makes him or her indirectly or directly guilty of the charges specified in this document: 1-8. Many of these individuals will attempt to claim “ignorance” of the crimes they are accused of.


Category A traitor

– Political leaders (NGO leaders included)

– Media leaders (chief editors)

– Cultural leaders

– Industry leaders

Category A traitors are usually any current Heads of State, ministers/senators, directors and leaders of certain organisations/boards etc. who are guilty of charges 1-8. Category A traitors consist of the most influential and highest profile traitors.

10 per 1 million citizens.
Punishment: death penalty and expropriation of property/funds


Category B traitor

Category B traitors are cultural Marxist/multiculturalist politicians, primarily from the alliance of European political parties known as “the MA 100” (parties who support multiculturalism) and EU parliamentarians. They can be elected and non-elected parliamentarians, their advisors and any public and/or corporate servant who has been and still are indirectly or directly implicated in committing the following acts.

Category B traitors can also be individuals from various professional groups (but not limited to): journalists, editors, teachers, lecturers, university professors, various school and university board members, publicists, radio commentators, writers of fiction, cartoonists, and artists/celebrities etc. They can also be individuals from other professional groups such as: technicians, scientists, doctors and even Church leaders. In addition, individuals (investors etc.) who have directly or indirectly funded related activities. It’s important to note that the stereotypical “socialists”, collectivists, feminists, gay and disability activists, animal rights activists, environmentalists etc., are to be considered on an individual basis only. Not everyone who is associated with one of these groups or movements is to be considered as a cultural Marxist/multiculturalist.

Former category A traitors; Heads of State, Ministers/Senators etc., directors and leaders of certain organisations/boards etc. can be re-classified as category B traitors for practical targeting reasons (they have lost influence and will not yield the same target value/effect as current category A traitors).

Certain ANTIFA leaders or organisers related to ANTIFA movements (and other dedicated members) are considered category B traitors. Non-essential members are considered category C traitors. Many professionals such as for example journalists, influential sociologists or university professors etc. are considered and categorized as category B traitors as we consider them political activists and not merely professionals. They will of course claim ignorance and state that they are apolitical. This strategy might work for them until the day where they are visited by a Justiciar Knight—their judge, jury and executioner.

1000 per 1 million citizens.
Punishment: death penalty and expropriation of property/funds. Punishment can be reduced under certain circumstances.

Category C traitor

Category C traitors are less influential and lower priority targets (often individuals who have facilitated category A and B traitors) but who are still guilty of charges 1-8.

10 000 per 1 million citizens.
Punishment: fines, incarceration, expropriation (considered as acceptable indirect casualties in larger operations where WMDs are involved).

Category D individuals

Category D individuals have little or no political influence but are facilitating category Band C traitors and/or MA 100 political parties/media companies through various means. They are not guilty of charges 1-8 but work with or for individuals who are. The classification is of relevance when calculating/estimating indirect casualties concerning larger operations where WMDs are involved, as any category D individuals is not considered an innocent “civilian” but rather as a secondary servant/facilitator.

20 000-30 000 per 1 million citizens
Punishment: none (not considered civilian)

Number of Category A and B traitors on Western Europe

There are approximately 400 000 category A and B traitors in Western Europe using the current classification system (1010 per million).

France 65 650

Germany 82 820

United Kingdom 62 216

Netherlands 16 665

Belgium 10 807

Sweden 9393

Austria 7839

Norway 4848

Switzerland 498

Luxembourg 7777

Spain 47 167

Italy 60 600

Portugal 10 807

Denmark 5555

Ireland 6060

Greece 11 312

Finland 5353

Iceland 322

Cyprus 800

Malta 417

________________

Source: Breivik’s manifesto

On Kenneth Clark’s “Civilisation”

Kenneth Clark may have been clueless about the fact that race matters. Yet, that our rot goes much deeper than what white nationalists realize is all too obvious once we leave, for a while, the ghetto of nationalism and take a look at the classics, just as Clark showed us through his 1969 TV series Civilisation.

Compared to the other famous series, Clark’s was unsurpassed in the sense that, as I have implied elsewhere, only genuine art—not science—has a chance to fulfill David Lane’s fourteen words.

By “art” I mean an evolved sense of beauty which is almost completely absent in today’s nationalists. Most of them are quite a product of Jewish modernity whether with their music, lifestyles or Hollywood tastes, to a much greater degree than what they think. For nationalism to succeed an evolved sense of female beauty has to be the starting point to see the divine nature of the white race. In Clark’s own words, “For all these reasons I think it is permissible to associate the cult of ideal love with the ravishing beauty and delicacy that one finds in the madonnas of the thirteenth century. Were there ever more delicate creatures than the ladies on Gothic ivories? How gross, compared to them, are the great beauties of other woman-worshiping epochs.”

Below, links to excerpts of most of the chapters of the 1969 series, where Clark followed the ups and downs of our civilisation historically:

“The Skin of our Teeth”

“The Great Thaw”

“Romance and Reality”

“Man—the Measure of all Things”

“The Hero as Artist”

“Protest and Communication”

“Grandeur and Obedience”

“The Light of Experience”

“Heroic Materialism”

Civilisation’s “The Light of Experience”

For an introduction to these series, see here.

Below, some excerpts of “The Light of Experience,” the eight chapter of Civilisation by Kenneth Clark.

Ellipsis omitted between unquoted passages:


I am in Holland not only because Dutch painting is a visible expression of this change of mind [the revolution that replaced divine authority by experience, experiment and observation], but because Holland—economically and intellectually—was the first country to profit from the change. When one begins to ask the question, ‘does it work?’ instead of ‘is it God’s will?’ one gets a new set of answers, and one of the first of them is this: that to try to suppress opinions which one doesn’t share is much less profitable than to tolerate them.

Nearly all the great books which revolutionised thought were first printed in Holland. What sort of society was it that allowed these intellectual time-bombs to be set off in its midst? Inside the old almshouse of Haarlem, which is now a picture gallery, there is plenty of evidence. We know more about what the seventeenth-century Dutch looked like than we do about any other society, except perhaps the first-century Romans. Each individual wanted posterity to know exactly what he was like.

One can’t imagine groups like this [Rembrandt’s Syndics] being produced in Spain or seventeenth-century Italy, even in Venice. They are the first visual evidence of bourgeois democracy. Dreadful words—so debased by propaganda that I hesitate to use them. Yet in the context of civilisation they really have a meaning. They mean that a group of individuals can come together and take corporate responsibility; that they can afford to do so because they have some leisure; and that they have some leisure because they have money in the bank.

Amsterdam was the first centre of bourgeois capitalism, the chief banking centre of Europe. I don’t say much about economics in this book chiefly because I don’t understand them—and perhaps for that reason believe that their importance has been overrated by post-Marxist historians. But, of course, there is no doubt that at a certain stage in social development fluid capital is one of the chief causes of civilisation because it ensures three essential ingredients: leisure, movement and independence.

In studying the history of civilisation one must try to keep a balance between individual genius and the moral or spiritual condition of a society. However irrational it may seem, I believe in genius. I believe that almost everything of value which has happened in the world has been due to individuals.

Nevertheless, one can’t help feeling that the supremely great figures in history—Dante, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Newton, Goethe—must be to some extent a kind of summation of their times. They are too large, too all-embracing, to have developed in isolation.

Rembrandt is a crucial instance of this conundrum. It is very easy—indeed rather more convenient for the historian—to imagine Dutch art without him; and there was no one else in Holland remotely comparable to him—nothing like the group of poets and dramatists who preceded and accompanied Shakespeare. Yet the very fact that Rembrandt was so immediately and overwhelmingly successful, and went on being successful—his etchings and drawings never went out of fashion—and that for twenty years almost every Dutch painter was his pupil, shows that the spiritual life of Holland needed him and so had, to some extent, created him.

However, any attempt to relate art to society gets one into a false position. The greatest of all pictures based on the facts of vision wasn’t painted in the scientific atmosphere of Holland, but in the superstitious, convention-ridden court of Philip IV of Spain: Las Meninas, ‘The Ladies in Waiting’, which was painted by Velasquez about five years before Vermeer’s finest interiors.

The enlightened tidiness of Hooch and Vermeer and the rich imaginative experience of Rembrandt reached their zenith about 1660. During that decade the leadership of intellectual life passed from Holland to England. Towering above all these remarkable scientists [Boyle, Hooke, Halley, Wren] was Newton, one of the three or four Englishmen whose fame has transcended all national boundaries. I can’t pretend that I have read the Principia, and if I did I wouldn’t understand it any more that Samuel Pepys did when, as President of The Royal Society, it was handed to him for his approval. One must take on trust that it gave a mathematical account of the structure of the universe which for three hundred years seemed irrefutable. It was both the climax of the age of observation and the sacred book of the next century.

What is civilisation? A state of mind where it is thought desirable for a naval hospital to look like this and for the inmates to dine in a splendid decorated hall.

Painted Hall
Royal Hospital
Greenwich, London

The strange thing is that none of the nineteenth-century writers (except Carlyle and Ruskin) seemed to notice that the triumph of rational philosophy had resulted in a new form of barbarism. If, from the balcony of the Greenwich Observatory, I look beyond the order of Wren’s hospital I see, stretching as far as the eye can reach, the squalid disorder of industrial society. It has grown up as a result of the same conditions that allowed the Dutch to build their beautiful towns and support their painters and print their works of philosophers: fluid capital, a free economy, a flow of exports and imports, a dislike of interference.

Every civilisation seems to have its nemesis, not only because the first bright impulses become tarnished by greed and laziness, but because of unpredictables—and in this case the unpredictable was the growth of population.