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The New Age


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T is a little confusing, although certainly interesting, to try to follow the various systems of causation elaborated by those who are versed in the history of international politics in their efforts to account for the World War. Each in his own way, these wise men juggle with emperors and kings, with warriors and statesmen, with conferences and treaties and intrigue. Each explains, to his own satisfaction at least, just how it all came about; and doubtless many of their explanations are sound enough, as to their premises, and sane enough, as to their conclusions as far as they go. Yet the thoughtful man, after he has finished with them all, can hardly fail to suspect that back of all the properties and dramatis personæ that have been lugged into the scene, lie mightier forces and more important issues than any they have disclosed.

The reflective reader will be driven to ask: Why all these conflicting elements, and why are they in conflict? Why these conferences and kings, these empires and alliances, these subtleties of diplomacy and profundities of statesmanship? What is the use of this whole, intricate political structure-if it leads, at last, to war? What force is it that, mightier than them all, finally defeats their plans, overturns all their building and drowns the world in blood?

Certainly it is high time that this question be asked! The ruins of Rheims lift high toward heaven a stark interrogation point, carven by cannon out of the richest architecture man has ever achieved, to punctuate it. It is written in red across the whole frontier of France. It is heard in the feeble cries of the orphaned children of Belgium, and in the groanings of Belgian men and women under the lash of enslavement. The sorrows of Servia have added emphasis to its insistence. The welterings of Russia,

betrayed and terror-ridden yet groping toward the light, lend it force. And is it not witnessed in the wanton degradation of the womanhood of war-sodden Europe?

Indeed it is high time that men should ask why; and it is a time when the world can afford to accept nothing less than the ultimate answer. What, then, is the source of this terrible strife? What is the cause of the causes of it all?

The answer is not so hard to find as the terrific character of the question might seem to indicate; for like all mighty things, this is simple and elemental in fact. It is, indeed, merely a restatement, in terms of the twentieth century, and of the most horrible warfare the world has ever witnessed, of that simple declaration of the Scripture: a man thinketh in his heart, so is he."


If we would really understand the significance of this war-if we would learn exactly what has brought it to pass-we must delve among certain musty manuscripts that lie mouldering upon the library shelves of the German universities. We must read what the masters of the Germanic philosophy have written. We must learn what the Teutonic mind has been taught, what it has been thinking, in what it has been believing, and the reasons and the principles upon which it has based its belief. We must get the mental setting of the Germany of the past; for only in the light of this, shall we be able actually to comprehend the mental phenomena that underlie the attitude and the acts of the Germany of today.

There are many apologists for the German people who would lay all the burden of blame and responsibility for this war, and in particular for its unprecedented brutalities, upon the ruling German caste-the Prussian house of Hohenzollern and its immediate dependents. How far these apologists

may be justified in their contention the world will be better able to judge a few years hence, when time shall have disclosed the German post-bellum attitude and policies. Perhaps no man outside of Germany, with the exception of the few who have recently been permitted to leave that country after enjoying unusually close relations, official or otherwise, with members of the ruling caste, is in position at this time to state with any real claim to accuracy in just how far the German people have been misled into this war by their rulers, and in just how far they have given willing and intelligent assent to its policies of frightfulness.


But regardless of how this question may finally be settled, it is to the philosophy of Germany that we must look for the real cause of this bloody iniquity. Whether the Hohenzollern caste, dominated by this philosophy, has in turn dominated the masses of the German people and made them its unwilling, or passive, instruments; whether the masses themselves, impregnated and immediately dominated by this barbarous philosophy, have been willing and purposeful in waging this war against the world's peace, is a question that not only lies wholly outside of this present inquiry, but that also has no bearing upon the iniquity of the prime cause of the war-the Germanic philosophy itself.

For the fact remains that, mediately or immediately, Germany has been the bloody instrument of a false philosophy-a philosophy that bloomed in the blatant blasphemies of Nietzsche, and fruited upon the bloodsoaked fields of France and Belgium and Servia and Roumania and Mesopotamia and Russia. This is a philosophy that commends U-boat outrages against undefended, neutral merchantmen and passenger ships upon the high seas; that gloats over the mangled forms of little children, slain in Zeppelin raids upon noncombatants; that honors the Judas ambassadors who stir up sedition and plot against the neutral nations to which they have been accredited-unless they commit the unpardonable offense of failing to obliterate completely the evidences of their duplicity.

It would be interesting, if space permitted, to go far back and trace the development of this fearful philosophy, and to identify the channels through which it has been transmitted from great antiquity. That it found a friendly environment-a fertile soil and a congenial clime-among the Teutonic peoples many centuries ago, no one who reads. history with an unbiased mind will attempt to dispute.

But for the present it must suffice to mention only two or three philosophers of comparatively recent times. Even these are specifically cited, not so much because of what they originated as because they gathered into definite verbal and transmissible form so

many of those characteristics and iconclastic doctrines which, maturing slowly beneath the surface of German thought, were destined eventually to find their ultimate expression in the writings of Nietzsche.

It is an illustration of the truth that iniquity knows no fatherland; that one of the most potent factors in shaping what is here termed the Germanic philosophy was not a German at all. In Niccolo Machiavelli, an Italian courtier of the Renaissance, appeared the unblushing champion of such brazen deception and intrigue as startled even the most unscrupulous diplomatists of his own time. It required the mellowing influence of a century or two, combined with the varnishing imparted by interpreters more or less removed, to so far soften his pernicious teachings as to make them acceptable to any but an avowedly unprincipled people. Yet Machiavelli's precepts, so softened, unquestionably went far toward preparing German soil for the more virile sowing of Nietzsche. They tended, at least, to break down scrupulousness and to breed contempt for the moral law.

In Schopenhauer, splitter of schismatic hairs and apostle of misanthropy, Nietzsche found his earliest master; and although he parted from him later on, it is to Schopenhauer, more than to any other known source, that he owes his characteristic doctrine of the Will to Power. In Schopenhauer, it is true, this was merely the Will to Live. Nietzsche carried it to its logical conclusion, if the Machiavellian influence is properly taken into consideration.

The Will to Live, Schopenhauer declared, is the primary insinct of life, the eternal first cause of all human acts, ideas and desires. Intelligence, he taught, is not the source of Will, but its effect, growing out of the fact that mankind, in the course of ages, began to notice that certain manifestations of the Will to Live were invariably followed by certain results which were desired. Perception led to memory, and memory to the capacity for anticipating, or of reasoning from cause to effect.

But Schopenhauer also perceived that this Will to Live caused evil as well as good; that it produced avarice, lust, murder, as well as industry and courage. He maintained that the evil far outweighed the good; and taught that true happiness would be impossible until man became able to kill Will with Will; that is to say, until the Will to Live was willed out of existence and man reduced himself, voluntarily, to asceticism.

Asceticism held no attractions for Nietzsche. His was not the type of intellect that submits tamely to prescription; and while he readily accepted Schopenhauer's premise of the Will to Live, he very quickly diverged from his teacher as to the conclusion to be drawn therefrom. On the contrary, he held that true happiness, or at any rate true heroism, lay in stiff-necked indifference to


ward all "the ills that flesh is heir to," and in the annexation of whatsoever desirable things one could find, regardless of any other's claims or rights to them. His Zarathustra, teaching of the Super-man, exclaims:

"Why so soft, so tender, so conciliatory? Why is such self-denial in your hearts? Such little consciousness of Destiny in your look? This new table, O my brethren, I write above you: become hard!"

There was but one logical development for a man of Nietzsche's type, given such a starting point, he became the supreme egoist of all the ages, and in his blaring egotism crystallized into definite and coherent propositions all those rebellious and errant eccentricities which had characterized German thought, and gave to the Germanic philosophy its full and final expression.

It was thus that Germany found in Friederich Nietzsche a fitting spokesman for all apostles of brutality since time began. He became at once the heir and the administrator of all revolts against delicacy and decency; and he was committed, absolutely and wholeheartedly, to iconoclasm. These revolutionary tendencies had long sheltered in the shadows of the German universities. It remained only for later days to bring forth a spokesman who might declare them "as one having authority." And in the halfmad, ego-ridden Nietzsche, with his brain of lava and his pen of flame, Germany found that spokesman.

To other peoples, Nietzsche was neither more nor less than a very unusual phenomenon. His writings were to be read, and admired, for their thunderous and flaming rhetoric. They were not to be seriously and literally accepted; they were too iconoclastic, too subversive of all that civilization stood for. As the shock of a mortal wound exerts an anesthetizing influence upon its victim, so Nietzsche's vitriolic anathemas against all that civilized mankind held estimable and holy shocked the reasoning powers of at least his foreign readers into a partial moral insensibility.

No man, it was felt, could so write of these things, and really mean exactly what he wrote. A legion of reviewers swarmed over Nietzsche's books, adapting, construing, interpreting, each according to his own fancy, the passionate fulminations of this past master of invective.

But to Germany, or at least to the leaders of German thought and German government, Nietzsche spoke as a prophet. In their ears, his scathing doctrines became, not rhetoric, but religion. And his vision of the Super-man, ruthless, hard, taking without scruple, injuring without qualm, a law unto himself-this was the false god after which Germany went avidly astray.

"In our present civilized world," declared Nietzsche, "we know only the degenerate criminal the criminal who distrusts himself, who often seeks to belittle and ex


cuse his act; and we try to forget that every great man was a criminal, only not in miserable style, but in great style. We forget that every great act is a crime."

And so we find our Iconoclast, who began with accepting Schopenhauer's Will to Live, advanced another step upon his ruthless way; he has evolved the Will to Power. No longer is it simply that "Self preservation is Nature's first law;" it is right and lawful that he who can shall take whatever he will, provided only it adds to and does not detract from his ability to take yet more ruthlessly whatever his neighbor may have that pleases his sovereign fancy. Nietzsche had reached the point where, selfelected, he held himself above the moral law; and from this objective standpoint, he reversed, or attempted to reverse, all those tables of value theretofore accepted by civilized humanity.

Nor did he cease with this; for the prophet, perforce, must justify his prophecy. It was in the closing chapter of his last book, "Der Anti-Christ," that he scaled the very summit of blasphemous presumption and gave free and final rein to his furious invective against the world's accepted standards of right and wrong. In this chapter he writes:

"I condemn Christianity. I bring against it the most terrible of accusations that ever an accuser put into words. It is to me the greatest of all imaginable corruptions. It has left nothing untouched by its depravity. It has made a worthlessness out of every value, a lie out of every truth, a sin out of everything straightforward, healthy and honest. Let anyone dare to speak to me of its humanitarian blessings! To do away with pain and woe, is contrary to its principles. It lives by pain and woe; it has created pain and woe in order to perpetuate itself. It invented the idea of original sin. It invented 'the equality of souls before God,' that cover for all the rancor of the useless and base. It combats

all good, red blood, all love and all hope for life, with its anaemic ideal of holiness. It sets up 'the other world,' as a negation of every reality. The cross is the rallying post for a conspiracy against health, beauty, wellbeing, courage, intellect, benevolence-against life itself. . This eternal accusation I shall write upon all walls: I call Christianity the one great curse, the one great, intrinsic depravity, for which no expedient is sufficiently poisonous, secret, subterranean and mean. I call it the one immortal shame and blemish upon the human race."

Nor is he kindlier toward Judaism-toward the Judaism of the later days, at least. He has words of admiration, indeed, for the warrior nation which came flaming out of Egyptian bondage to the conquest of Palestine; this accorded, measurably at least, with the Nietzschean ideal Super-man: But that Judaism which followed the Babylonian cap

tivity excites only his bitter contempt and execration. His dissertation upon the origin of morality is one of the most characteristically Nietzschean of all that he has written. For Nietzsche taught, in the last analysis, a dual system of morals, a Master morality for his beloved Super-man, and a Slavemorality for the masses of mankind who were either too impotent, too spiritless or too foolish to make headway against the predatory proclivities of their masters. And in the earlier Hebrew, the man of war and conquest, swarming into a land flowing with milk and honey, and making it his own by the edge of his sword, and putting its inhabitants, men, women and children, to a bloody death, he beheld the realization of his ideal Super-man, for whom good was synonomous with strength, power, beauty, courage, ruthlessness, ferocity, because these things contributed to the exercise and the realization of his Will to Power and gave him added greatness and supremacy.

But when the Jews were carried into captivity, when they became no longer masters, but slaves, the reversed conditions of their lot (reasoned Nietzsche), reversed the definition of "good." Resort to the sword became, then, the very worst thing in the world for them; it meant extermination, nothing less. Unable to combat their masters with the appropriate weapons of Masters, they then resorted to the supreme weapons of the Slave; they adopted the moral law as their instrument in the irrepressible struggle for supremacy. Possessing no other weapon, the slave forged an idealogical one, and sought by subtlety and indirection to achieve that which he no longer dared attempt openly. The characteristics of cowardice, timidity, obsequiousness (which are the marks of slaves), were elevated in the moral law to the rank of virtues. They became love of one's enemies, obedience to God, meekness of heart; and the covetousness, envy, malice, and uncharitableness of these suppressed people, thirsting after power yet terrified by their masters, through the alchemy of the moral law were transmuted into their opposite virtues. Thus in Christianity, Nietzsche easily beheld the supreme triumph of slaves and inferiors over the truly great and powerful.

It is thoroughly characteristic of this philosophy that, in spite of his terrific condemnation of Christianity and the moral law, Nietzsche would not abolish these. Indeed, his objections to both are based, not upon their intrinsic and essential qualities, but upon the fact that they impose restrictions upon the ruthless aggressiveness of the Superman. He finds place and use for them both, as the proper ideals and means of control of the masses-the slaves, as he was fond of designating them. They held these underlings more easily compliant, less inclined to rebel against the exactions of the Supermen, to whom, alone, he would arrogate the

prerogatives of "Master-morality," in other words, the right to take without accounting, to inflict suffering without compassion, to live and act with ruthless disregard of all obligations except their own, supreme Will to Power.

Such, in brief, were the teachings of Nietzsche, high priest of the Germanic philosophy; and it is to that philosophy that Germany's policies of treachery and intrigue, of falsehood and deceit, of ruthless brutality and unblushing violation of every law that humanity holds sacred are directly attributable. In the eyes of Germany, or at least in the eyes of that Power which has thus far controlled the war policies of that country and her allies, the Hohenzollern caste are Super-men; and, as such, are clothed with divine right to murder and pillage and lay waste, to lie and intrigue and to do whatever else may promise to further their own sovereign Will to Power. Herein lies the explanation of Kaiser Wilhelm, and of Hindenburg and Von Tirpitz, and all the long list whose names have become anathema upon the lips of civilization. This explains the wanton tearing of that "scrap of paper" which breached the Belgian frontier and poured a flood of barbarism upon an unoffending people. This is the reason, the horrible unreason, that lies back of the slimy, midnight activities of the most perfectly organized system of espionage the world ever saw, and that projected and maintains the brutal and cowardly untersea outrages against international law upon the high seas. It was this philosophy which inspired the warsong, "Deutschland ueber Alles !"

That this philosophy must be absolutely discredited in the eventuation of the World War, and that this ravening beast of rapine shall be beaten to his lair and there either. utterly destroyed or so crippled as to be rendered forever powerless to menace the peace and safety of civilization, cannot be doubted for one moment. This is the supreme task now confronting mankind. The price already paid toward this end is incalculable and unthinkable; but civilization is not hesitating, and cannot hesitate, will pay to the last drop of blood, but the purchase shall be complete. And when peace finally comes-a peace that shall have set the seal of the world's disapproval forever upon this Germanic philosophy with all its reversals of moral values-there must ensue a mighty rebuilding not only of the material fortunes of the devastated countries, but of the ideals and the philosophy of mankind. In that rebuilding, the position, the purposes and the power of Freemasonry will become plainly manifest; for then shall dawn the great morning of Masonic opportunity and responsibility toward the world.

How greatly Civilization is already indebted to Freemasonry cannot be stated in definite terms; but it may be stated that to it, more than to any other known single

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