Essay:Comparison of the Pan-German Party to the Christian Socialists

From Nathania, Nathan Larson's bliki
Jump to: navigation, search
Issue Pan-German Party Christian Socialists
Leader George von Schönerer Dr. Karl Lueger
Leader's strengths When I compared their respective abilities Schönerer seemed to me a better and more profound thinker on fundamental problems. He foresaw the inevitable downfall of the Austrian State more clearly and accurately than anyone else. His profound knowledge of human nature enabled him to form a correct estimate of the various social forces and it saved him from under-rating the power of existing institutions. And it was perhaps this very quality which enabled him to utilize those institutions as a means to serve the purposes of his policy.
Leader's insight into human nature But though Schönerer succeeded in penetrating to the essentials of a problem he was very often much mistaken in his judgment of men. All ideas that this Pan-German had were right in the abstract, but he did not have the forcefulness or understanding necessary to put his ideas across to the broad masses. He was not able to formulate them so that they could be easily grasped by the masses, whose powers of comprehension are limited and will always remain so. Therefore all Schönerer’s knowledge was only the wisdom of a prophet and he never could succeed in having it put into practice.

This lack of insight into human nature led him to form a wrong estimate of the forces behind certain movements and the inherent strength of old institutions. Schönerer indeed realized that the problems he had to deal with were in the nature of a Weltanschhauung; but he did not understand that only the broad masses of a nation can make such convictions prevail, which are almost of a religious nature.

Unfortunately he understood only very imperfectly how feeble is the fighting spirit of the so-called bourgeoisie.

He had a rare gift of insight into human nature and he was very careful not to take men as something better than they were in reality. He based his plans on the practical possibilities which human life offered him, whereas Schönerer had only little discrimination in that respect.

He saw only too clearly that, in our epoch, the political fighting power of the upper classes is quite insignificant and not at all capable of fighting for a great new movement until the triumph of that movement be secured. Thus he devoted the greatest part of his political activity to the task of winning over those sections of the population whose existence was in danger and fostering the militant spirit in them rather than attempting to paralyse it. He was also quick to adopt all available means for winning the support of long-established institutions, so as to be able to derive the greatest possible advantage for his movement from those old sources of power.

Thus it was that, first of all, he chose as the social basis of his new Party that middle class which was threatened with extinction. In this way he secured a solid following which was willing to make great sacrifices and had good fighting stamina. His extremely wise attitude towards the Catholic Church rapidly won over the younger clergy in such large numbers that the old Clerical Party was forced to retire from the field of action or else, which was the wiser course, join the new Party, in the hope of gradually winning back one position after another.

Ideas and means The Pan-German Party was perfectly right in its fundamental ideas regarding the aim of the Movement, which was to bring about a German restoration, but it was unfortunate in its choice of means. The Christian-Socialist Movement had only a vague concept of a German revival as part of its object, but it was intelligent and fortunate in the choice of means to carry out its policy as a Party.
Nationalism It was nationalist, but unfortunately it paid too little heed to the social problem, and thus it failed to gain the support of the masses. they utterly failed to appreciate the value of the national idea as a source of political energy.
Anti-Jewish policy Its anti-Jewish policy, however, was grounded on a correct perception of the significance of the racial problem and not on religious principles. The Christian-Socialists grasped the significance of the social question; but they adopted the wrong principles in their struggle against Jewry
How they could have succeeded if the Pan-German leaders, on the other hand, in addition to their correct judgment of the Jewish problem and of the national idea, had adopted the practical wisdom of the Christian-Socialist Party, and particularly their attitude towards Socialism If the Christian-Socialist Party, together with its shrewd judgment in regard to the worth of the popular masses, had only judged rightly also on the importance of the racial problem - which was properly grasped by the Pan-German Movement - and if this party had been really nationalist