by Bodwyn Wook
‘ was the beginning of the end of High Modernity in the North Atlantic. Even revolution every fifteen years could not provide social room and opportunity any longer for the swelling demographic of middleclass expectancies….’ (Bodwyn Wook)
[Mr Wook composed this true gem of historical meditation this morning, and after receipt of the following note from an American colleague:
[“I suppose you too have been ruminating about the 1848 Revolution.
[“It began in Naples, nobody noticed…then in Switzerland with no (outside) reaction. But in March 1848 it reopened in Paris. An instant hit! Everyone wanted to join in. It got so widespread that the Bavarian Royal Mistress, Lola Montez had to flee to Sacramento. Where will it strike next? My ol’ retired Foreign Service buddy thinks only Arab places. But I could imagine Belarus or Ukraine, Moldova , Wisconsin, or South America.”
[Of course the close reader of the following will note that not much is made, by Professor Wook at least, of that man on horseback, Louis Napoleon — after all, who ever could? Emmett Smith — ed ]
Perhaps lots more relevant to our immediate past, of course, is that the Supermarine Spitfire protoype K 5054 was first flown yesterday, in 1936, and that Hitler sent The Wienerwursts & Gestapofied (Cute No Longer!) Wiener Dogs back into the Rhineland to-morrow, again in 1936; the aircraft would play its decided part in the German loss of The Last European War, 1939-41 (John Lukacs, qv) which arguably began with this first Nazi specifically military display, on the eve of the civil proxy-war in Spain.
However, since as both The Baron and, I think, the Mad Poet Navarth will concur, ‘…everything since Waterloo is current events’, let us peek in at 1848.
The chief difference is that the protogogues then were labour in growing conflict with an ascendant middle class at the close of High Modernity. They had two revolutions under their belts, both of which they had seen co-opted by the bourgeoisie to whom more and more also found admission, in 1789 and 1830; now, as in Wisconsin, it is very much an affair of the remaining copy- & freeholders and entrepreneurial small business people all being shoved with the gangs & relays of public-employees, all down into wadded & stuffed amorphousness, in to the laundry bag of History.
The nominally ‘conservative’ political class for its own electoral purposes files an emotionalist appeal to Fear; it is falsely to a no-longer living distinction, as between ‘private sector’ business people & publicly-supported workers, and so there is a churned amount of resentment by ‘the taxpayers’ fuelled further by the bad teaching of History in the public schools.
Here, on the downslope of Time, the American & Old Atlantic western mass in economic and political decline find themselves jammed in to that same down-going of the West with a failing ‘helping professional’ class, and their numerous clientles. These last for good long time have been dealing not in wealth-creation, but rather in subsidized abstractions perhaps, by now, at a fourth or fifth remove from primary molecular, or physical, reality.
In this respect, really, there is to-day no party-difference of merit as between these Public Liberals & Democrats, and the GOPs; this is simply because money itself is an affair of abstraction and no longer actual metal; it is pixels and who fires them off with the most credibility into the burgeoning electronic realms of fantasy ! Should the supply of these glittersome infinitesimals in any wise fail, why, then you shall find the Postmodern Executive, an ‘order’ no longer but (superficially) merely another clientle, infallibly filing for its bonus-subsidy.
For this is where we are to-day, well-beyond the end of the Late Modern, twenty-two years after the pulling down of the wall in Berlin; the real collison in the Earth now is not between two public forms, parliamentary and communist Democracy.
It is rather between two mechanisms for wealth-creation, one public (‘government’) and the other non-territorial & abstractly incorporated. The exact struggle is for who gets to click on the mouse. The last time around, at the end of Rome, and without even a workable decimal system of accounting, the state seized the wealth of the gens, the people. Now, this time, the only question is whether or not the private sector if it assimilates the state will — can it do, successfully? — do any better at the main task of men in History:
That work, I now see, is to craft those stable ages and eras and civilisations and aeons that, altogether, allow the consolidation and transmittal forward in Time the reports of the Past, about all of the experienced conditions of Existence.
To revert to 1848;
It was the beginning of the end of High Modernity in the North Atlantic.
Even revolution every fifteen years could not provide social room and opportunity any longer for the swelling demographic of middleclass expectancies; a direct consequence of the final defeat of the Men of 1848, in Berlin, was the final re-impositon of an aristocratic cap on parliamentary development in Europe. A corollary is that military subsidy of industry by rival and quarrelsome aristocratic familes gave enormous wealth to a new but still sub-honorable class of Industrial Proprietor. It was the sons of these men still-looked-down-on, and their sons in the General staff in particular, all wedded to landed Prussian von-daughters, who would tell the Kaiser to go to Hell & Holland.
There came as well, especially of all of the extra Germans, an immense flood out over the Earth of emigres from the German states & principalities; many would come here to fight & die in the 1861-5 American Civil War. As a rule these Germans, ‘ours’, were great lovers of Liberty in the abstract and, hence, dead-against slavery; and, so, many paid a terribly hard price — in fact — in battle for the Union. Together then with their stay-at-home cousins victorious in France in 1870-1, the Germans perhaps more than any other nationality in the Old Atlantic West would play the deciding part in the end of High Modernity — and, the establishment of the nation-state of the Late Modern that endured from 1865-71 until 1989.
(Here we find room for a deterministic speculation.
(All History is contingent; but, the gritty substance of men’s grainy decisions, their particularity, seems to me at least, and on at least many levels, very much a meld of the given — and what is given. I mean to say that surely it is fair to state that Nature conveys the gifts which men then, themselves swimming & floundering & pissing in that selfsame Nature, like fish or stones or ‘illegal’ Mexicans, must ‘decide’. There is about it all the inescapable air of an emerging possibility of some self-awareness in Nature, Itself. But be that as it may, the problem of Nature ‘versus’ Nurture, Culture, Civilisation, is objectively fraught, this all can agree.
(In any case, though, men must decide History with such awareness as they do happen to have; and, I frankly, objectively, perceive that so many Germans of the optimistic, confident and outgoing sort, so many of them intuitive in the most kindly & affectionate sense, so many of these and not the grandparents of the allegemine-SS left out of the states & principalities that it badly indeed could have affected the very genetic basis of the stay-at-home & yet-everywhere-invasive, tumorous and too-numerous 20th century German personality. The problem is that, as yet, we simply do not know; it is a topic for now only accessible to that great small handful of the actual history-makers among Historians, the sublimely gifted intuitive workers in the field. For surely it must be clear that the Nazis, for all of their inspired dionysian & demoniac, devilish & hellish, firey & antinomian, frenzies nonetheless had to rely on the prevailing abundant characteristics of an obedient, dull & stupid, beerish, torpor among their slug-like, shave-polled & chronically irritable, cabbage-troll underlings.
(It is only polite, of course it is, to note that in this I could be, perhaps, in error; or, at least, that I distinctly am not hewing to a currently-fashionable basis for interpretive deconstruction of late-modern Heinie motives & purposes. There are naturally inhering, again distinct, advantages to scholarly independence & non-affiliation with political institutions. Needless to say, I am the descendant myself on our mother’s side of a veritable load of these insightful ones of the Great Krautish Diaspora of one hundred-and-fifty years’ since! But, the historical record suggests very strongly that in WW II, even more than in 1914-18, even more german Germans in Germany than in 1914-18 were ‘Huns’.
(And, glad & droolishly proud of it!)
[all rights reserved
[6 March 2011]