I shall have more to say about this type of parliamentary bedbug.Even a man of thirty will have much to learn in the course of his life, but this willonly be to supplement and fill in the framework provided him by the philosophy hehas basically adopted. When he learns, his learning will not have to be a revision of principle, but a supplementary study, and his supporters will not have to choke downthe oppressive feeling that they have hitherto been falsely instructed by him. On thecontrary: the visible organic growth of the leader will give them satisfaction, forwhen he learns, he will only be deepening their own philosophy. And this in theireyes will be a proof for the correctness of the views they have hitherto held.A leader who must depart from the platform of his general philosophy as such,because he recognizes it to be false, behaves with decency only if, in recognizing theerror of his previous insight, he is prepared to draw the ultimate consequence. In sucha case he must, at the very least, renounce the public exercise of any further politicalactivity. For since in matters of basic knowledge he has once succumbed to an error,there is a possibility that this will happen a second time. And in no event does heretain the right to continue claiming, not to mention demanding, the confidence of hisfellow citizens.How little regard is taken of such decency today is attested by the general degeneracyof the rabble which contemporaneously feel justified in 'going into' politics. Hardly aone of them is fit for it.I had carefully avoided any public appearance, though I think that I studied politicsmore closely than many other men. Only in the smallest groups did I speak of thethings which inwardly moved or attracted me. This speaking in the narrowest circleshad many good points: I learned to orate less, but to know people with their opinionsand objections that were often so boundlessly primitive. And I trained myself,without losing the time and occasion for the continuance of my own education. It iscertain that nowhere else in Germany was the opportunity for this so favorable as inVienna.General political thinking in the old Danubian monarchy was just then broader andmore comprehensive in scope than in old Germany, excluding parts of Prussia,Hamburg, and the North Sea coast, at the same period. In this case, to be sure, Iunderstand, under the designation of 'Austria,' that section of the great HabsburgEmpire which, in consequence of its German settlement, not only was the historiccause of the very formation of this state, but whose population, moreover, exclusivelydemonstrated that power which for so many centuries was able to give this structure,so artificial in the political sense, its inner cultural life. As time progressed, theexistence and future of this state came to depend more and more on the preservationof this nuclear cell of the Empire.