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Aristocide under Fuehrers and Commisars, by Nathaniel Weyl

Aristocide under Fuehrers and Commisars, by Nathaniel Weyl

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The main propositions I shall advance are that the Nazi and Communist systems engage in the deliberate slaughter of the most intelligent, competent and creative elements in society to an extent unprecedented in history; that this is due, not to such “accidental” factors as the emergence of paranoid leaders, but is inherent in the totalitarian systems; that the genetic havoc thus inflicted on mankind is in excess of that due to any other historic calamity, and that that damage is irreversible.

The impoverishment of the human gene pool caused by modern aristocidal movements may, but does not necessarily, lead to an irreversible spiral of societary selfdestruction. Each purge of brain leads to a further coarsening and brutalization of the population, to an increase in its credulity and to loss of critical facilities. A power base for cruder, more mediocre and more unscrupulous leaders is provided. This leadership is generally adept at imposing myths and absurdities on the masses, convincing the latter of its own infallibility, and finding scapegoats-spies, wreckers, enemy agents-so that purges and executions of the innocent serve to explain away its own failures and to satisfy the envy and resentment of the mob. As societies are progressively deprived of their intelligent and conscientious elements, a more and more spiritless residue remains, one which proves increasingly pliant to the demands of the dictatorship.

Where the Nazis programmed total extermination -as in the cases of the Jews and the Gypsies- the planned holocausts obviously had their limits. The case was different, however, where the plan involved the reduction of entire peoples and races to the status of helots and uneducated slave laborers. Hitler’s program for the Slavs involved the total destruction of their educated class and the genocide of their actual and potential elites. Had he won World War I1 and imposed this plan, permanent aristocide in Eastern Europe would have been inevitable. As able, bright and altruistic men and women emerged from the truncated body of the Slavic peoples, the Nazi program would have required that they be identified, tracked down and physically destroyed. As we know from the Irish experience under the Tudors and Stuarts, the planned decapitation of an entire people in order to leave behind a sodden mass of peasantry and unskilled laborers implies a continuing reign of terror, stretching across the centuries.

All in all, superior Jewish intelligence is thus matched by a comparable superiority in creativity and leadership ability. Hence, the destruction of European Jewry by Hitler (and the attempted destruction of Soviet Jewry by Stalin) were not merely monstrous crimes of genocide, but acts of aristocide and attempted aristocide without parallel in history. At the highest levels of intellectual achievement, as represented by Nobel laureates in science, one might say roughly that the annihilation of Jewry destroyed about one fourth of the potential scientific genius of Western Europe and perhaps over half of that of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.

The main motivation for political anti-Semitism of a virulent sort, as I have suggested elsewhere, is envy of superior intelligence, wealth, status and this envy is normally directed against the upper classes as a whole, against the leadership of society, against the Establishment, against all that stands higher than the dull level of mediocrity.

Genocidal anti-Semitism is fundamentally merely one form of aristocide.

Perhaps the primary reason for the prolongation of aristocide in totalitarian systems is that the latter assign to the state or party the central role in life. Morality is totally subordinated to political expediency and the latter is seen as the march of world history and human destiny. Any and all crimes are justified if they serve the chiliastic concept of history.

The ideological stakes of politics are so high that it must seem to every faction that the only saf
The main propositions I shall advance are that the Nazi and Communist systems engage in the deliberate slaughter of the most intelligent, competent and creative elements in society to an extent unprecedented in history; that this is due, not to such “accidental” factors as the emergence of paranoid leaders, but is inherent in the totalitarian systems; that the genetic havoc thus inflicted on mankind is in excess of that due to any other historic calamity, and that that damage is irreversible.

The impoverishment of the human gene pool caused by modern aristocidal movements may, but does not necessarily, lead to an irreversible spiral of societary selfdestruction. Each purge of brain leads to a further coarsening and brutalization of the population, to an increase in its credulity and to loss of critical facilities. A power base for cruder, more mediocre and more unscrupulous leaders is provided. This leadership is generally adept at imposing myths and absurdities on the masses, convincing the latter of its own infallibility, and finding scapegoats-spies, wreckers, enemy agents-so that purges and executions of the innocent serve to explain away its own failures and to satisfy the envy and resentment of the mob. As societies are progressively deprived of their intelligent and conscientious elements, a more and more spiritless residue remains, one which proves increasingly pliant to the demands of the dictatorship.

Where the Nazis programmed total extermination -as in the cases of the Jews and the Gypsies- the planned holocausts obviously had their limits. The case was different, however, where the plan involved the reduction of entire peoples and races to the status of helots and uneducated slave laborers. Hitler’s program for the Slavs involved the total destruction of their educated class and the genocide of their actual and potential elites. Had he won World War I1 and imposed this plan, permanent aristocide in Eastern Europe would have been inevitable. As able, bright and altruistic men and women emerged from the truncated body of the Slavic peoples, the Nazi program would have required that they be identified, tracked down and physically destroyed. As we know from the Irish experience under the Tudors and Stuarts, the planned decapitation of an entire people in order to leave behind a sodden mass of peasantry and unskilled laborers implies a continuing reign of terror, stretching across the centuries.

All in all, superior Jewish intelligence is thus matched by a comparable superiority in creativity and leadership ability. Hence, the destruction of European Jewry by Hitler (and the attempted destruction of Soviet Jewry by Stalin) were not merely monstrous crimes of genocide, but acts of aristocide and attempted aristocide without parallel in history. At the highest levels of intellectual achievement, as represented by Nobel laureates in science, one might say roughly that the annihilation of Jewry destroyed about one fourth of the potential scientific genius of Western Europe and perhaps over half of that of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.

The main motivation for political anti-Semitism of a virulent sort, as I have suggested elsewhere, is envy of superior intelligence, wealth, status and this envy is normally directed against the upper classes as a whole, against the leadership of society, against the Establishment, against all that stands higher than the dull level of mediocrity.

Genocidal anti-Semitism is fundamentally merely one form of aristocide.

Perhaps the primary reason for the prolongation of aristocide in totalitarian systems is that the latter assign to the state or party the central role in life. Morality is totally subordinated to political expediency and the latter is seen as the march of world history and human destiny. Any and all crimes are justified if they serve the chiliastic concept of history.

The ideological stakes of politics are so high that it must seem to every faction that the only saf

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Aristocide
under
Fuehrers
and
Commissars
NATHANIEL
WEYL
THE
MAIN
PROPOSITIONS
I
shall advance arethat the
Nazi
and Communist systems en-gage in the deliberate slaughter of the mostintelligent, competent and creative elementsin society to an extent unprecedented inhistory; that this
is
due, not to such “acci-dental” factors as the emergence of para-noid leaders, but
is
inherent in the totali-tarian systems; that the genetic havoc thusinflicted on mankind
is
in excess of thatdue to any other historic calamity, and thatthat damage
is
irreversible.By
aristocide,
I
mean, not the slaughterof the artificial aristocracies of pedigreeand status, but the extermination of whatThomas Jefferson called “the natural aris-tocracy among men,” grounded
on
“virtueand talents,” and constituting “the mostprecious gift
of
nature for the instruction,the trusts, and government of society.” Thepreservation and promotion of this elite,Jefferson believed, was of such cardinal im-portance that one might say that “that formof government
is
the best, which providesthe most effectually for
a
pure selection ofthese natural aristoi into the offices of gov-ernment.”lMan’s evolutionary advance and progres-sive mastery over both competitive’ faunaand
his
inanimate habitat can be attributedprimarily to the growth of his mentalpowers. In historic eras, the superior repro-duction, greater life-span and comparativeimmunity from common causes of prema-ture death of the creative and intelligentmembers of society furthered
this
process.Intelligence by itself
is
not enough tomake men or peoples
fit
for leadership. Itmay be mated with evil character and onerecalls Weldon’s comment concerning Fran-cis Bacon that “surely, never
so
many partsand
so
base and abject
a
spirit tenanted to-gether in any one earthen cottage
as
in thisman.” Intelligence may be bookishly sev-ered from practicality and its possessormay be endowed with such irritating andrepulsive traits that he never acquires theopportunity to put his brains to productiveemployment.
A
great deal of comparatively recent psy-chological and statistical analysis hasshown, however, that intelligence tends tobe strongly correlated positively with thosetraits of leadership, will, sensitivity, altru-ism, tolerance, integrity, and purity of pur-pose that men and women of good will
+
civilized countries have usually esteemed.The genius-monster
is
happily
an
exception, such a conspicuous one that
his
rarepresence makes
a
deep impression.The natural aristocracy, moreover, em-braces more qualities than mere problem-
Modem
Age
 
solving ability.
When
Jefferson wrote of“virtue and talents,” what he had in mindwas a broader spectrum
of
intelligence andcharacter than would emerge
a
centurylater as
IQ.
If
intelligence in the narrowersense
is
stressed in the pages that follow,the reason
is
simply that
IQ
is
measurable,whereas such cognate psychic qualities
as
creativity, aesthetic discrimination and in-tegrity of character can merely be approxi-mated in crude fashion.Throughout history, epidemics and evenpandemics of aristocide have occasionallymade their appearance. Some of these
ca-
lamities have been caused by impersonalforces. In other instances, the causal agentsof the slaughter do not seem to have beendriven by any conscious desire to extermi-nate intellectual elites.The Mongol invasions of Europe and theMiddle East were probably the most devas-tating example of aristocide in the historyof pre-Marxian man. Total annihilation ofthe inhabitants of those cities which refusedto surrender on demand was aristocidal be-cause the wealth, capacity and intelligence
of
the afflicted civilizations was concentrat-ed, perhaps even more then than now, inthe urban centers. The effect on human lifecan be measured by the minarets
of
humanskulls which such monsters as Timur
i
Lengleft behind as their legacy. Some of theTransoxanian cities thus razed have van-ished even from the memory of man.The aristocidal effect of the activities ofGenghis Khan and his successors was toblight the entire civilization of the lands be-tween the Caspian and the Karakoram. Ac-cording to one authority, the Mongol ex-perience kept Russia in such cultural dark-ness that she was never able to experiencethe Renaissance.2 In Karl Marx’s not un-biased opinion, the Mongol holocaust im-printed
a
permanent and indelible pattern
of
slavishness upon the Slavic peoples.8Yet the purpose of these Mongol war-lords, insofar as
it
can be ascertained, wasnot to exterminate the intelligentsia, butrather to lay waste cities which seemed tothem useless,
as
indeed
they
were withinthe limited perspectives of the transhu-mance and nomadism of the Mongol way
of
life.
Movements
of
Planned Aristocide
Aristocide on a vast scale is largely a mod-em phenomenon and an inherent compo-nent
of
the revolutionary seizure and con-solidation of power by totalitarian regimes.Whether or not it ceases once a certainstage of power consolidation and economicprogress has been attained remains an openquestion.The impoverishment of the human genepool caused by modern aristocidal move-ments may, but does not necessarily, leadto an irreversible spiral of societary self-destruction. Each purge of brain leads to
a
further coarsening and brutalization ofthe population, to an increase in its credul-ity and to loss of critical facilities.
A
powerbase for cruder, more mediocre and moreunscrupulous leaders is provided. This lead-ership
is
generally adept
at
imposing mythsand absurdities on the masses, convincingthe latter of
its
own infallibility, and find-ing scapegoats-spies, wreckers, enemyagents-so that purges and executions
of
the innocent serve to explain away its ownfailures and to satisfy the envy and resent-ment of the mob.
As
societies are progres-sively deprived of their intelligent and con-scientious elements,
a
more and more spirit-less residue remains, one which proves in-creasingly pliant to the demands of thedictatorship.Thus far, the modern world has experi-enced three totalitarian systems with inbuiltaristocidal drives
:
Nazi Germany, SovietRussia under Lenin and Stalin, and thePeople’s Republic
of
China.Other than the obvious point that theNazi mania was race-oriented and the Com-munist mania class-oriented, there are othersignificant points of difference. While bothCommunists and Nazis were conspiratorsagainst the state and the established order,the latter preserved closer links with thedominant establishment. Its seizure ofpower did not involve total war against the
286
Summer
1975’
 
former ruling classes and their expropria-tion and extermination. Nazi control wasexercised through existing corporate insti-tutions upon which state power was super-imposed. Hence, the Nazis failed to develop
a
total monolithic state to the same extentas the Communists. In his admirable biog-raphy of Stalin, Ulam points out that theSoviet dictator wielded more absolute andtotal power in peacetime than his Germancounterpart did in ~artime.~The significance of these differences can-not be appraised objectively because theNazi system was shattered at
a
time whenits revolutionary momentum had by nomeans ceased. In his introduction to
Hit-
ler’s Secret Conversations 1941 -1944,
Tre-vor-Roper points out that the Fuehrerplanned future purges and blood baths per-haps as extensive
as
those of
his
Georgianrival. He revealed that once the Jews hadbeen exterminated, “the old European
aris-
tocracies, the ‘upper class
mafia’
of frivo-
lous
cosmopolitan reactionaries-the samepeople who had corrupted German diplo-macy for
so
long and who still sabotagedthe Duce in Italy-would
be
liquidated;the Churches
.
.
.
would be extirpated; and,at the first report of
a
mutiny in the Reich,‘the whole anti-social rabble,
a
few hundredthousand men’ conveniently kept in concen-tration camps for the purpose; would be ledout to exec~tion.”~erhaps the differencebetween
Nazi
and Soviet aristocidal pro-grams was not
so
much extent,
as
order
of
procedure.Another possible difference is that Nazigenocide and aristocide were carried outin terms of a specific plan for the so-calledEuropean New Order and to that extentmay have had finite limits. By contrast, theSoviet cycle
of
extermination was predi-cated on Stalin’s bizarre thesis that,
as
theSoviet Union comes closer and closer to
so-
cialism, the class struggle becomes sharperand more intense. This was
a
formulawhich opened the door to permanent aris-tocide.The contrast, however,
is
not as sharp
as
it may appear to be
prima
facie.
Where theNazis programmed total extermination-asin the cases of the Jews and the Gypsies-the planned holocausts obviously had theirlimits. The case was different, however,where the plan involved the reduction
of
entire peoples and races to the status
of
helots and uneducated slave laborers. Hit-ler’s program for the Slavs involved the to-tal destruction of their educated class andthe genocide of their actual and potentialelites. Had he won World War I1 and im-posed this plan, permanent aristocide inEastern Europe would have been inevitable.
As
able, bright and altruistic men andwomen emerged from the truncated bodyof the Slavic peoples, the Nazi programwould have required that they be identified,tracked down and physically destroyed. As
we
know from the Irish experience underthe Tudors and Stuarts, the planned decapi-tation of an entire people in order to leavebehind
a
sodden mass
of
peasantry and un-skilled laborers implies
a
continuing reignof terror, stretching across the centuries.The final difference is that both the
So-
viet and the Chinese Communists wagedclass war in the countryside, exterminatingthe more hard-working and capable peas-ants and thus stultifying
a
major breedingground for new intellectual elites. TheNazis abstained from this particular folly.
Dimensions
of
Nazi
and
Communist
Gem-
cide
The sheer magnitude of the genocide andaristocide perpetrated by Nazi and Commu-nist regimes differentiates this phenomenonfrom anything comparable which occurredin the past. The nearest approaches to theseenormities are the religious wars withinChristendom, both during the later centu-ries of the Roman Empire in the West andduring the age of the Reformation, thepersecution of witches in Europe, and
of
heretics and Albigenses under the Inquisi-tion.In discussing the unprecedented magni-tude of genocide in the Soviet Union, thedissident Marxist-Leninist historian RoyMedvedev observes that some tens of thou-
Modern
Age
287

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