For One Democratic State
in the whole of Palestine (Israel)


FOR One Man, One Vote



Chesterton's Farsighted Reflections on “The Judaism of Hitler”

Dr. Robert Hickson                                                                                        28 January 2006

                                                                                                            Saint Thomas Aquinas

                                                                                                            Saint Peter Nolasco


(Some Implications for the Catholic Church today amidst “the Rulers of the Sophistical and Secretive Modern State” and “a Host of Squalid Oligarchs” in the Criminal Financial 'Overworld'[1])


In the longer light of history – especially the history of Prussianism and of National Socialism (both Germanic and Judaic) – this essay, with the help of a good-hearted and far-sighted Englishman, proposes for consideration a friendly warning, both to the Catholic Church and to the Judeo-Protestant American Imperium and its False Messianic Democracy abroad. It touches upon the matter of Pride, which is not a strength, but, rather, a towering weakness. It touches upon the subtle and poisoning effects of Pride, in contrast to “the gigantic humility of the Incarnation.”[2]

In 1930, G.K. Chesterton wrote a farsighted and justly indignant editorial in G.K.'s Weekly, which was entitled “An Attack from the Altars.”[3] Although he was commenting on “the Modern Churchmen” who were, with conspicuous sophistry, then subverting “the Church of England,” we may, for our own instruction and inspiration, also fittingly apply his conclusion to some parts of the Roman Catholic Church today, where there would seem to be not only a moral crisis, but also a doctrinal crisis – where even the concept of “DOGMA” (“irreformable doctrine”) is being denied as a permanent revelation of reality.

Speaking of “the Modern Churchmen's” novel and unfaithful opinions, Chesterton said:

They express the realities of corruption. These men [these comfortable “Modern Churchmen”] of substantial wealth; of impressive education, of varied influences; have all the powers of destruction they may wish to wield. It is not enough to tolerate them. They must be actively opposed.

One by one, the defenses of our civilization are being broken down by a concentrated attack on the mind. Rome's barbarians were a menace on her borders; ours are also within the State [and now even within the Church].

No camouflage or hypocrisy will hide long the affinities between the philosophy of the Modern Churchmen (with their fellows who profess no God) and the practice of materialism to be seen in Russia [Bolshevist Revolutionary Russia]. Shall we begin to fight only when the battle is over?[4]

The disintegrations and conflations of False Ecumenism were already underway in the Anglican Church and were soon to spread elsewhere, even as an allurement to parts of the Catholic Church. Such “Ecumenism” would more and more appear to be a form of Soft and Sentimental Apostasy, which was also being then concurrently promoted on the continent of Europe and in America by various Congresses for Religious Syncretism.

Such a deliquescent religious syncretism always weakens the integrity of the cultural immune system and subverts a healthy resistance to intrusive and destructive ideologies and alien faiths. But, in addition to this kind of Dialectic of “Solve et Coagula” – i.e., a sort of Hegelian process of emergence and convergence, or amalgamation and “aggregation into larger political units” – Chesterton also saw another, narrower and more concentrated development: namely, a certain very incongruous combination of “heathenry and heresy;” a sort of Hegelian consolidation of “Old Testament Christianity” and a New Heathenism. It was the ideology of Prussianism: an eclectic amalgamation of Lutheranism and Neo-Paganism, which then developed into the Neo-Paganism and Hitlerian “Heresy of Race.” It appeared to him to be deeply rooted in Prussia, although Chesterton saw it coming from even deeper spiritual and historical sources, as we shall see.    

In 1940, ten years after his essay on the Anglican Church and four years after his death, G.K. Chesterton was therefore able to express, through his posthumously published book, other uniquely farsighted reflections about both “Prussianism” and “Hitlerism” and “this new religion of Race.” For, this was another part of the revolutionary dialectic – “solve et coagula” – under New Elites, which were also very anti-Catholic Elites.

This anthology of his earlier essays, entitled The End of the Armistice,[5] was compiled and edited by his friend, Frank Sheed, who published it shortly after the commencement of World War II.

Chesterton's deep discernments and warnings about the impending danger of a “narrow national and tribal fury”[6] and the towering weakness of intellectual and spiritual Pride should help us understand, in order to resist, both aggressive American “Exceptionalism” today and its self-destructive arrogance, and Christian (as well as Judaic) Zionism's comparably insolent sense of “Chosenness” and “Morally Immune Exclusiveness.” Like Chesterton's own “vivid conviction” about neo-Pagan “Prussianism,” we see these later developments, too, as “a poison to the world.”[7]

One of Chesterton's specifically profound and farsighted essays, entitled “The Judaism of Hitler,”[8] will, furthermore, help us see the deeper background of World War II; but it will also aid our understanding of the current wars we are in, and not only in the Middle-East. We may also thereby come to realize why there are now so many growing barriers, and even legal penalties, as well as various psycho-techniques of intimidation, set up against any candid scholarly inquiry into certain neglected or hidden truths of history, especially the history of World War II, but even of World War I. Chesterton himself saw that “the Armistice” after World War I was not truly a “Peace,” but rather, only “a Truce”: a mere temporary “stacking of arms,” full of bitterness, and with a latent explosiveness, indeed.

Chesterton, reflecting upon the then-impending second War in Europe and the wider world, saw “Hitlerism” itself as a further manifestation of “Prussianism,” though with an admixture of some new “biological,” as well as “Asiatic” and often “Gnostic,” ideological variants. “Hitlerism's” own “racial arrogance” prompted the generous and humble Chesterton to make his own trenchant “analysis of the heresy of Race,”[9] and to resist the permeating and resurgent spiritual disease of Pride.

In a certain sense, “Hitlerism” was for Chesterton a sort of “New Prussia,” with an added Asiatic spirit of the Huns, as well as the haughtiness of “the Nordic Man” and a new form of an old thing: “the heresy of Race.” Because of this combination of cruelty and cold Pride, Chesterton himself retained that “vivid conviction that Prussia was Prussianism and Prussianism a poison to the world”[10]  – like their contemporary Asiatic analogue, Japanese militarism. But, he adds, with his unmistakable irony: “General Goering may be trusted to teach us better; till we learn at least that nothing is so anarchical as discipline divorced from authority; that is from right.”[11] (The New American Empire, however, with its own blinding Pride, seems not yet to have learned this lesson: this truth about Power divorced from moral authority and its ill-fruits of anarchy.)

Because of its own pervasive Pride, Chesterton mightily opposed the martial  ideology of “Prussianism” and the “Prussian militaristic government,”[12] even from its inception; but he especially opposed its later public dominance over what he calls “the Old Germany,” which included “Austria,” as well. His reasons for his resistance are important, and timely:

As man may say, as a scientific fact, that there is in Northern China a well of petroleum, we said [before, during, and after World War I] that there is in Northern Europe a fountain of poison. It is a fact; it continues to flow. It is obviously nonsense to call it Germany. It is not really satisfactory even to call it Prussia. It is much more satisfactory simply to call it Pride. It is a thing of the spirit; it is not a nation; it is a heresy [a combination of “heathenism and Lutheranism”]. It is an ideal outside the European ideal; outside what most of us would call the normal human ideal. It is something alien to Europe, which Europe cannot digest and did not destroy.[13]

 Thus, as of the early 1930s, especially, says Chesterton:

The result is that Prussia begins to reappear; which means that Militarism [as in Japan and in Kemal Ataturk's Turkey] begins to reappear. Prussia means Prussianism now exactly as it meant Prussianism then; it always did, it always does, and (short of a spiritual conversion) it always will. Prussia is a patch of eighteenth century heathenry and heresy [and of Old Testament Christianity], which never did believe, nor (to do it justice) generally pretend to believe, in any sort of international ideal or common code of Christendom [much less the Creed of Catholic Christendom]. From the first command of Hohenzollern to the last appeal of Hitler, it [“Prussianism”] is the most simple, one-sided, savage tribal patriotism .... The consequence is that Prussia is the one European State that [as of the mid-1930s] may at any moment wage [like America today] an aggressive war. We all said this steadily for five years [1909-1914] ...; and some of us have always refused to unsay it. But a good many [the New Pacifists] seem to have been ashamed for ten years [1919-1929]  of having told the truth; and are still ashamed, even when [circa 1933-1935] the truth has once again come true.[14]

The reality called Europe made sense to Chesterton only when “you see Europe as Christendom.”[15] Therefore, this alien thing called “Prussianism” (as an ideology and spirit, and a stunting deformation) is something difficult for him to characterize with fair adequacy. He says:

It is difficult to find a fit word for it [this alien spirit] .... The nearest definition I know is this. The civilized man, like the religious man, is one who recognizes that something exists besides himself .... what medieval people called Christendom or the judgment of all Christian princes; what any Christian will call the conscience of man as a witness to the justice of God .... But in one way or other that is the test; that the man [or nation] does not think his dignity lowered by admitting a general law [like the Natural Moral Law or the Ten Commandments or the Sermon of the Mount] though it might go against him.[16]

Further describing this truly alien and destructive spirit of “Prussianism,” Chesterton says:

There does really lie to the north-east between us [in Britain] and the Christian State of Poland and the almost Asiatic State of Muscovy, a real independent source or spring of the opposite spirit [to traditional Christian Europe]. It is not only something that praises itself; it is something that needs no praise except its own .... He [i.e., the Prussian] is simply proud of himself and his sort; and would be equally proud of wrecking [Catholic] Christendom or enslaving humanity. This is the problem of Prussia, which is not even the problem of Prussians, but only of Prussianism. It is certainly not the problem of limits they have accepted and the [Prussian] leadership they have obeyed. But the point is that something unbaptized and barbaric does remain among the [European] nations; as it would say unconquered; as we should say, unconverted; and, anyhow, entirely unrepentant.[17]

We shall soon see that this “Prussianism,” in Chesterton's farsighted understanding, is at the roots of “Hitlerism” and its own “racial arrogance,” although “Hitlerism” ultimately drew upon an older source, as well. The idea of a “Chosen People” can very easily become pervaded with the spirit of Pride, which is, once again, not a spiritual strength, but, rather, a towering spiritual weakness.

In such “Prussianism,” as in the more intense “racial arrogance” of the later “Hitlerism,” Chesterton would always say: “There is that fountain of poisonous pride, there is that isolated idolatry of self.”[18] Moreover, he would add:

And clear and honest thinking must not shrink from starting afresh with that first fact [i.e., that the 1918 Armistice was not a Peace], that there is in Christendom, unconverted and unconquered, a force that is not Christian. Surely it is not so very impossible to believe that it was this [“Prussianism”] that threatened the world with war in 1914; when it is obviously this [i.e., this “Prussianism” which is to be found in the new Hitlerism and in the very “Judaism of Hitler”] that threatens it with war now [in the mid-1930s]?[19]

With characteristic magnanimity and humility, Chesterton says:

Let us forget for a day whatever we may think about the faults of others [like the Pride of “Prussianism”]; and pray that we may not again wreck the hope of the world by faults of our own. Let us pray that if the challenge [of a New War] does indeed come again, we may not meet it by random slander or roaring self-righteousness .... Let us pray to be delivered from the vices and vulgarities of our own [decadent and  post-Christian] civilization; and all the more if we sincerely believe that it is still a civilization, and may need to be defended from something that is still a savagery.[20]

Becoming more specific about the deeper and now more developed “Prussianist” threats in “Hitlerism,” a modest Chesterton winsomely adds:

If the ruin that fell on the House of Hohenzollern [in World War I] was, as I still believe, a doom earned and provoked by the dehumanized pride of Prussia, we [Christians and British] must not forget that the vast economic collapse [in 1929] that has affected the victors [in World War I] has almost as much of the quality of a great historical judgment; and the rebuke of fate to our own mercantile and mechanical [and now psycho-electronic] culture. In so far as modern men can face such facts frankly, they will be worthy to find peace or fitted to face war.[21]

With this brief background-consideration of “Prussianism” and its own “poisonous fountain of Pride,” we may now examine the more censored and explosive topic of “Hitlerism” and its cognates and antecedents.

Chesterton forthrightly says: “Hitlerism is almost entirely of Jewish origin”[22] With his drollery and charm, he notes at once that “This truth might not have the soothing effect which I desire;” and playfully adds that “This simple historical explanation, if it were written on a post-card or a telegraph-form, and addressed to Herr Hitler's private address, might or might not cause him to pause in his political career, and reconsider all human history in the light of the blazing illumination with which I have furnished him in these words”![23] These words, he then seriously contends, “are none the less strictly historical”[24] and must now be more amply examined.

Admittedly, says Chesterton, the creative and imitative Germans

Produced a sort of Prussianism that was praised or blamed as militarism; but they borrowed the idea of militarism from the French .... The greatest of the Prussians [Frederick II, Frederick the Great of Prussia] did not even conceal his contempt for Prussia. He refused to talk anything but French, or to exchange ideas with anybody, except somebody of the type of Voltaire. Then came the liberal ideas of the French Revolution, and the whole movement of German Unity was originally a liberal movement on the lines of the French Revolution. Then came the more modern and much more mortally dangerous idea of Race, which the Germans borrowed from a Frenchman named Gobineau. And on top of that idea of Race, came the grand, imperial idea of a Chosen Race, or a sacred seed that is, as the Kaiser said, the salt of the earth; of a people that is God's favourite and guided by Him, in a sense which He does not guide other lesser peoples. And if anybody asks where anybody got THAT idea, there is only one possible or conceivable answer. He got it [the idea of a Chosen Race] from the Jews.[25]

With a view to Nineteenth-Century and to Twentieth-Century Weimar Germany, Chesterton then says, with trenchancy and some softer irony, the following:

It is perfectly true that the Jews have been very powerful in Germany .... But the Germans will find it very hard to cut up their culture on a principle of Anti-Semite amputation .... But again, it is but [i.e., only] just to Hitlerism to say that the Jews did infect Germany with a good many things less harmless than the lyrics of Heine or the melodies of Mendelssohn. It is true that many Jews toiled at that obscure conspiracy against Christendom; and sometimes it was marked not by obscurity but obscenity. It is true that they were financiers, or in other words usurers; it is true that they fattened on the worst forms of Capitalism; and it is inevitable that, on losing these advantages of Capitalism, they naturally took refuge in its other form, which is Communism. For both Capitalism and Communism rest on the same idea: a centralization of wealth which destroys private property.[26]

Probing deeper into this mystical “idea of a Chosen Race,” our author concludes:

But among the thousand and one ways in which Semitism affected Germanism is in this mystical idea, which came through Protestantism [originally a kind of “Old Testament Christianity,” as often noted]. Here the Nordic Men, who are never thinkers, were entirely at the mercy of the Jews, who are always thinkers. When the Reformation had rent away the more Nordic sort of German from the old idea of human fellowship in a Faith [the Catholic Faith] open to all, they obviously needed some other idea that would at least look equally large and towering and transcendental. They began to get it through the passionate devotion of historical Protestants to the Old Testament.[27]

That is to say:

By concentrating on the ancient story of the Covenant with Israel, and losing the counterweight of the ideal of the universal Church of Christendom, they [the Protestants, especially the “Prussianized” or “Hitlerized” Protestants] grew more and more into the mood of seeing their religion as a mystical religion of Race. And then, by the same modern processes, their education fell into the hands of the Jews.[28]

By way of further explanation of this last sentence, Chesterton observes:

There are Jewish mystics and Jewish sceptics; but about this one matter of the strange sacredness of his own race, almost every Jewish sceptic is a Jewish mystic. When they insinuated their ideals into German culture, they doubtless very often acted, not only as sceptics, but as cynics. But, even if they were only pretending to be mystics, they could only pretend to understand one kind of mysticism. Thus, German mysticism became more and more like Jewish mysticism.[29]

Such Judaized German mysticism – as was to be seen, in Chesterton's view, in “Hitlerism” as well as in “Prussianism” – was, indeed, like Jewish mysticism,

a thing not thinking much of ordinary human beings, the hewers of wood and drawers of water, the Gentiles or the Stranger; but thinking with intense imagination of the idea of a holy house or family, alone dedicated to heaven and therefore to triumph. This is the great Prussian illusion of pride, for which [under Hitlerism] thousands of Jews have recently been rabbled or ruined or driven from their homes.[30]

It was a kind of ironic vengeance, but no one who is at all fair and just could say “that it served them right,” even though the Jews contributed to this new and now transplanted illusion of destructive pride.

Concluding his honest essay on “The Judaism of Hitler,” Chesterton says:

But it is true that it all began with the power of the Jews; which has now ended with the persecution of the Jews. People like the Hitlerites never had any ideas of their own; they got THIS idea indirectly through the Protestants, that is primarily through the Prussians, but they got it originally from the Jews. In the Jews it [“the grand, imperial idea of a Chosen Race” or “mystical religion of Race”] has even a certain tragic grandeur; as of men separated and sealed and waiting for a unique destiny. But until we have utterly destroyed it among Christians [hence, especially among Judaized or Zionized Christians], we shall never restore Christendom.[31]

Chesterton, once again, wrote all of this before 1936 – the year of his death, and only fourteen years after his reception into the Catholic Church. In his essay, entitled “Christendom and Pride,” G.K. Chesterton explores why there should always be a stout and necessarily protracted moral resistance to any “fountain of poisonous pride” and its attendant “isolated idolatry of self” – not only individually, but collectively, as in the case of an aggressively arrogant nation or “self-chosen” people or “collective messianic nation.” Pride and self-adulation are recurrent and permanent temptations of the human mind. And a temptation wouldn't be a temptation, if it weren't attractive!

We must realize that Chesterton's underlying premise in this whole argument is to defend Europe, not only against another devastating war, but also against the spiritual poison which foments such a blind and blundering war: the intrinsic disorder and danger of Pride. For Chesterton, like many Catholics of his time, “the only philosophical name for Europe” is “Christendom,” and thus a restoration of Europe “for the common good” means a restoration of Christendom – hence also a deeper restoration of Humility.[32]

Chesterton often wrote that “all goods look better when they look like gifts” (as they did to Saint Francis of Assisi) and “the test of all happiness is gratitude” – and, furthermore, one cannot be truly grateful without humility.

Therefore, Chesterton is especially attentive to the “Huge Fact” that “the mightiest revolution in the story of Man” was – and is – essentially and inextricably bound up with  the reality of Humility.

We may now at least come to understand better G.K. Chesterton's own well-pondered and deeply grateful Faith, and the light it sheds upon the practical operations of Power, especially “Power without Grace” and “Imperial Arrogance,” with its often attendant spiritual congealment. Moreover, learning from Prussianism and Hitlerism, as he saw them and their effects, we, too, may better come to understand current Zionism as well as a contemporary form of “Americanism,” or what Israel Adam Shamir himself calls “the Judeo-American Empire,” with all of its uprooting and destructive effects upon the world, and upon itself. We may also better come to understand the reactive revival of “Right-Wing Neo-Paganism,” especially in Europe, which is marked by “Naturalism” and “Philosophical Nominalism,” and which is both anti-Christian and anti-Judaic, seeing Christianity itself as a mere “enthusiastic form of disorder and a falsely charismatic” Jewish sect!

Writing in the 1930s, Chesterton said:

Christendom ... has been confronted in these last days with exactly the same problem which confronted it in its first days [under the Roman Empire]. It is loosely called the problem of Paganism; but, when reduced to its realities, it will almost always be found, as I have already suggested, to be a problem of Pride.[33]

This underlying problem of Pride, he argues, was “largely common both to the noble and the ignoble Pagans;” and “the historical question has been confused by exaggerations on both sides.”[34] That is to say:

We are accustomed of late to those who slander Christendom; but there were some who did definitely slander Paganism. There did appear a sentimental type of Christian romance which implied that all early Christians were like Christ, and that all later Pagans were like Nero. To take this view is to miss the whole point of the mightiest revolution in the story of Man.[35]

Despite the multitude of “heathen virtues” – justice, mercy, “vows of chastity” – Christianity was also to imply and accentuate something even deeper, and indeed unique:

Upon one point and one point only, was there really a moral revolution that broke the back of history. And that was the point of Humility. There was this definite thing about the best Pagan; that in him dignity did mean pride. It was a change that stood alone; and was worthy to stand alone. For it was the greatest psychological discovery that man has made, since man has sought to know himself. It was the stupendous truth that man does not know anything, until he can not only know himself but ignore himself. He must subtract himself from the study of any solid objective thing.[36]

For a man of the Catholic Faith, of course, this itself is rooted in “the gigantic humility of the Incarnation.”

But, one must, in the modest words of Albert Jay Nock, also seek “to help the truth along, without encumbering it with oneself.” Chesterton himself often said that “your world would be much larger if you were smaller in it.” It is not, he thought, a good thing to be like Kipling's orang-utan, “who had too much ego in his cosmos.”

Chesterton then goes on to express, with gratitude, an insight from Jonathan Swift:

As Swift profoundly said [in the Eighteenth Century], the very definition of Honour is to “suppose the question [the disputed question at issue] not your own” [i.e., with selfless objectivity] .... But Pride, which is the falsification of fact, by the introduction of self, is the enduring blunder of mankind. Christianity would be justified if it had done nothing but begin [in the Humility of God: the Incarnation] by detecting that blunder. Now at this moment [i.e., in the early-mid 1930s] that blunder is boiling up again on every side of us in Christendom; and threatening to whelm it again in barbarism.[37]

In his already-cited magnanimous and humble 1910 book, before World War I, What's Wrong With the World, Chesterton had said the following about a “wholesome strain” in a certain rooted custom which wisely “begins with the body and with our inevitable bodily brotherhood”:

All true friendliness begins with fire and food and drink and the recognition of rain or frost. Those who will not begin at the bodily end of things are already prigs and may soon be Christian Scientists. Each human soul has in a sense to enact for itself the gigantic humility of the Incarnation. Every man must descend into the flesh to meet mankind.[38]

This rooted attitude permanently combats, wherever it is to be found, the esoteric, secret knowledge of the Gnostics and their spiritual Pride and intense contempt for the purportedly human “entrapment” in matter. Gnostics always reject the Incarnation. They mock the Humility of God.

Later in the same book, Chesterton said:

Now (to reiterate my title) this is what is wrong [with the world]. This is the huge modern heresy of altering the human soul to fit its conditions, instead of altering human conditions to fit the human soul.[39]

And the human soul needs humility to have “a more abundant life” and the spiritual enlargement of love.

Five years after World War II had ended, Evelyn Waugh expressed his own comparable conviction in and through his novel, Scott-King's Modern Europe. After his hero, Scott-King (“Scottie”), a teacher of Classics at the English public school of Granchester, had experienced “Neutralia,” a compositely fictional totalitarian state in modern Europe, his headmaster wanted him to alter his customary teaching and to teach “some other subject as well as the classics.... History, for example, preferably economic history.”[40]

Scott-King refused:

“No, headmaster.”

“But, you know, there may be something of a crisis ahead [for you].”

“Yes, headmaster.”

“Then what do you intend to do?”

If you approve, I will stay as I am here as long as any boy wants to read the classics. I think it would be a very wicked thing indeed to do anything to fit a boy for the modern world.

“It's a short-sighted view, Scott-King.”

“There, headmaster, with all respect, I differ from you profoundly. I think it is the most long-sighted view it is possible to take.”[41]

G.K. Chesterton, looking back himself on the Nineteenth-Century Anglo-Catholic “Oxford Movement” and their own then-much-mocked moral “suggestions of returning to Penance and Mortification,” says the following, from his vantage point in the 1930s:

The great men of that movement lived at a moment when Pride in the Protestant countries like England [as well as Protestant Prussia] was swollen to bursting, partly by vulgar wealth, partly by healthy patriotism .... Yet we have since seen the collapse of that Victorian commercial England as completely as Babylon or Carthage. It might be thought that other nations would learn the lesson, if only from us. But at the moment Pride, that monstrous and towering weakness, has risen to do what it always does: to darken counsel, to confuse facts by confusing motives.[42]

Speaking of “the motive and the mood” of the German National Socialists (as well as perhaps the Jewish National Socialists), as it was then perceptible to him, Chesterton also  says:

Unfortunately it is a hysteria of self-praise, which is fed by its own virtues as well as its own vices. For that is the vital or mortal weakness of Pride .... It is in no partisan spirit that any Christian will smell evil in this vast explosion of gas and wind. Christendom has a new battle before it; no longer with the Lust that is called Liberty; no longer with the Scorn that is called Scepticism; no longer with the Envy that was called Divine Discontent; but with something much less mixed with sympathetic elements than any of these: with that primeval Spirit and Prince of the Powers of the world which it [Christendom] first came upon earth to defy.[43]

Earlier in his analysis of “the New Germany,” in contradistinction to “the Old Germany” of a larger Christendom, Chesterton also spoke of “the strange self-worship of that strange people.”[44] (This formulation might evoke our thoughts about other peoples or nations today, such as Israel, to whom it could also be validly applied, and some of whom, like our “American  Jingoes,” it would be much easier and safer to talk about than to discuss the Zionists themselves, or even the Talmudic and Cabbalistic Jews.) But, this magnanimous Catholic Englishman also attempts to make some larger points for our benefit and by way of explanation, for he desires first to understand “the alien thing” that he may then resist it! In a lucid paraphrase of Chesterton's own insights, Frank Sheed says:

He [Chesterton] had formed a certain theory of Germany – part of a larger theory of Europe – and everything that happened from 1914 to his death in 1936 confirmed it, though not so spectacularly as it has been confirmed by all that has happened since [i.e., between 1936 and 1940]. What the theory is appears fully in the essays themselves, but I give it here in skeleton in order to explain the plan of the book. There is a reality called Europe, which makes more sense when you see it as Christendom.  To this reality Germany belongs and Prussia does not belong [although “the Christian State of Poland” is a full part of this reality, too, in contrast to “the almost Asiatic State of Muscovy”[45]]. The problem for Europe is the healing of Germany by the exorcising of Prussianism; and this, to vary the metaphor, means some sort of uprooting. If racial arrogance had been first taught to the Germans by Hitler, the problem of uprooting it would be less grave, for Hitler is too new to have struck deep root. But it [“racial arrogance”] is a thing long growing and its roots are centuries deep. That is why the first section of this book is on Prussianism. There is a force there which by its very nature is an abiding trouble to Germany and so to the world. Prussia might conceivably be converted by a real religious conversion; otherwise it must be restrained. And to be restrained it must be understood.[46]

Sheed poignantly adds: “If we misconstrue its nature [i.e., the nature of Prussianism and of its further mutation, “Hitlerism,” which spreads aggressively its own “heresy of Race, showing that the world can never be at peace while that heresy remains unbroken”[47]], we shall repeat the mistake [and injustice] of Versailles [“the Carthaginian Peace Treaty”] – we shall build our dams in the wrong places.”[48]

Trying, therefore, to understand the nature of this larger phenomenon with his wholeness and sincerity of heart, Chesterton himself says, with his inimitable touch of light irony and striking paradox:

The trouble of the whole business, for those who do not understand Germany [as of the mid-1930s] is the fact that the strange self-worship of that strange people is really quite as strong in those who call themselves liberals because they are atheists, as in those who are honestly patriots making some attempt to remain Christians. Or rather more so [is the tribal pride of the atheists!]. The more weak-kneed German Catholic may march a good part of the way with Prussianism; but he cannot actually reach the point of Paganism. The German Freethinker [,however,] need only take one step into complete Paganism. Even the Lutheran remembers that there was somebody before Luther; for whom Luther himself expressed some regard. And the ethnological proofs that Jesus Christ was a pure Nordic Teuton are not so satisfactory as was hoped. But the German Sceptic can be completely sceptical about anyone who is not a German; and can put Luther as high above Christ as he likes. It is the very nature of this new religion of Race that it flourishes better in a world of irreligion [and de-Christianization], than of anything we used to call religion.[49]

The secular Enlightenment and French Revolution have both helped to foster this culture of irreligion and apostasy, and even to prepare the way for “this new religion of Race” and “Tribal Fury”[50] as well as for “the Cult of Man.” Let us face the facts frankly, and let us face the “inner logic” of the Enlightenment's own implanted secular premises, which often smugly, and even insolently, promoted the “Dialectic of the Revolution” against Christian civilization, especially against Catholic Christendom. Their “Revolutionary Naturalism” led to “Revolutionary Nationalism” – also Modern Jewish Nationalism.

In sharp contrast to the Catholic Chesterton, A.W. De Porte – then a resident scholar at the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR), in the U.S.A. –  wrote a lucid, but often frigid, book some years after World War II. It was entitled Europe between the Superpowers: The Enduring Balance (1986 – 2nd edition).[51] His essential argument is that the Treaty-of-Westphalia System could not contain Germany, with all of its expansive nationalism and explosive energy, after Germany had been first united under Prussian leadership in 1870-1871; and, so, Europe then had to fight two destructive World Wars. But, now, Europe must be fittingly divided (as it still then was in 1986) between the two new superpowers – the Soviet Union and the United States – in order, he argued, to keep it enduringly balanced and stable and peaceful, as well as prosperous. G.K. Chesterton's analysis – a moral, spiritual, and religious as well as cultural-historical analysis – goes much deeper, I believe, and is more illuminating of reality – then and now.


Chesterton would have us further understand that:

In so far as “Germans,” if not “Germany,” represent a reality in European history [as a part of historic Christianity], in that sense and in that degree Prussia was simply a revolt against Germany [not only in the late Nineteenth-Century Kulturkampf]. The Hohenzollerns were a belated mutiny against the Hohenstaufens. The thing that troubles Europe [as of the mid-1930s] is something that was really Anti-German as well as Anti-European .... The trouble is that a particular patch of the Baltic Plain [namely Prussia] was always too far away from the German Empire [the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nations], as well as the Roman Empire. Its nearness to the Baltic ports gives it a sort of cold cosmopolitan activity, like a very remote colony, while leaving it [Prussia] unwarmed by the more glowing cultures of the south, the vineyards, the shrines, the chivalries and charities of the Faith.[52]

Indeed, he says:

The patch of what we call Prussia, like many patches of what we call Russia, is and has long been a bitter breeding-ground for crude and cranky ideas; a dark and tangled garden of tares and thorns and thistles, on which long-eared professors still solemnly feed .... We must rather imagine [by way of analogy] we are dealing with some strange strip of culture in Asia Minor or Mesopotamia, which was a seed-plot of heresies or inhuman cults in the cosmopolitan world of Antiquity or the Dark Ages. We do not get even near to nerve the truth, by talking for or against “Germany.”[53]

More important than “big imperial and national labels,” however, there is something else: “For the international division is a religious division,” in a very deep sense.[54] For, “all human conflicts are ultimately theological” (the memorable words of Henry Cardinal Manning). This insight should give us much to ponder. It is an important criterion, also for us today.

With reference to the ideology of Prussia – Prussianism and its own special culture (“vital medium”) of ideas –  Chesterton says:

The whole point about the ideas born in this borderland is that they are NOT the normal and traditional prejudices of the older nations. They always have about them that fatal illusion of freshness which belongs to half-baked culture, to cheap new religions, to cocksure colonial [or imperial] policies .... These people [perhaps like the contemporary Jingo-Americans?] are always led deeper and deeper into the mire by their favourite word “Forward!”[55] It was the title of a militant paper before the War [World War I], run by a Jingo Jew who told Germany to break through Europe as an oak breaks through the thicket, without thought of  right or wrong. Towards the end of the war, when Germany really needed defending, the Jew [the editor of the Forward] became a Pacifist. When I think of that particular sort of Jew, I can understand Hitler being an Anti-Semite. But he [Hitler] is none the less a fool to fall back in believing the Jew's first lie [i.e., his advocation of unjust aggression and mere Machtpolitik], which the Jew himself had to abandon.[56]

Furthermore, Chesterton trenchantly adds:

The danger of the Nazi crisis is that it may mean a renewal of the abnormal and anarchical notions  that thrive in the cold unrest which blows like an eternal east wind upon that Baltic Shore. Whether it was the atheism and ape-like energy of Frederick [Frederick the Great, Frederick II, of Prussia] whose ambition was a hungry hollow not to be filled, or whether it was the white nightmare of Superman, pure and spotless as Antichrist... – there was about this narrow Northern culture something not quite human .... The Kaiser [during the Boxer rebellion in 1900 in China] did actually tell his soldiers to behave like Huns.[57]

Lest we be ourselves drawn into “false dialectics” today, and enticed into their many “lures and traps,” we should also learn from Chesterton about the intimately destructive consequences of certain “evil friendships” in history, especially “that strange friendship” between Voltaire and Frederick the Second of Prussia.[58] It recalls for us, also, the comparably strange “friendship” of Pontius Pilate and King Herod.

For, just as it was so that, on “that great social occasion when Pilate and Herod shook hands” –   around the year 33 A.D. – “the two rulers were reconciled [and] on the very day when one of these convicts [a certain Jesus of Nazareth] was crucified” casually and cynically from out of “an ordinary batch of criminals;” so, too, has it often happened again in history. [59] For, as in the case of Herod and Pilate, “something led them to seek each other's support, a vague sense of [common] social crisis.”[60] In this case, it was a crisis caused by germinal, not pervasive, Christianity. But, this speciously expedient reconciliation did indeed happen, and, ironically, says Chesterton, “that is what many people mean by Peace, and the substitution of a reign of Love for one of Hatred.“[61] For, Christ was – and still is – so divisive!

Others, however, mostly Christians perhaps, would call this corrupt collaboration of Pilate and Herod “a certain social interdependence and solidarity among murderers.”[62] It would certainly be imperfect, as the soft irony of Chesterton continues, “to identify this form of Love with the original mystical idea of Charity.”[63]

Chesterton's insight about the communio malorum goes even further, and is politely expressed with an altogether exquisite irony:

It sometimes seems to me that history is dominated by these evil friendships. As all Christian history begins with the happy reconciliation of Herod and Pilate, so all modern history, in the recent revolutionary sense, begins with that strange friendship [between Voltaire and Frederick the Great of Prussia] which ended in a quarrel, as the first quarrel [between Pilate and Herod] had ended in a friendship [“i.e., when Pilate and Herod shook hands”]. I mean that the two elements of destruction, which make the modern world more and more incalculable, were loosened with the light of that forgotten day when [Voltaire] ... traveled north with much annoyance to find the palace of a Prussian king, far away in the freezing Baltic Plain .... The meeting of these two men, in the mid-winter of eighteenth-century scepticism and secularism [and sneering cynicism, too, which is so opposed to the Social Kingship of Christ and Catholic-Christian Civilization], is a sort of spiritual marriage which brought forth the modern world.[64]

But, because of the final quarrel and “divorce” between Frederick and Voltaire, there came into the modern world, not “one united thing, but two conflicting things” (a sort of civil war within the Revolution). Nevertheless, both of these men had a common target: Catholic Christianity. Despite their personal conflict, they together constituted an unmistakably destructive dialectic of dissolution. That is to say, a destructive dialectic of seemingly opposing things, “which between them were to shake the world to pieces.”[65] In other words:

From Voltaire the Latins were to learn a raging scepticism. From Frederick the Teutons were to learn a raging pride.[66]

These two men, despite their differences, agreed and met “on the basis that there is no God, or no God who is concerned with men any more than with mites in cheese;” but their personal quarrel likewise “ended by launching two European forces against each other, both rooted in the same unbelief.”[67]   This “Civil War  within the Revolution” was, and still is, effectively, a Revolution against the Catholic Faith and historic Catholic Christendom, even its remnants today.

In  more colloquial formulations, says Chesterton:

Voltaire said in effect, “I will show you that the sneers of a sceptic can produce a Revolution and a Republic and everywhere the overthrowing of thrones.” And Frederick answered, “And I will show you that this same sneering scepticism can be used as easily to resist Reform, let alone Revolution; that scepticism can be the basis of support for the most tyrannical of thrones, for the bare brute domination of a master over his slaves [as Hegel would himself also, in part, later articulate it].[68]

Such were the evil seeds that were scattered and implanted by these two men and their promoted ideas, but

Of every such evil seed it may be noted that the seed is different from the flower, and the flower from the fruit. A demon of distortion always twists it even out of its own unnatural nature. It [the evil seed] may turn into almost anything, except anything really good .... That Voltairean influence has not ended in the rule of mobs [neither “democratic,” nor even “ochlocratic”]; but [, rather,] in the rule of secret societies .... For the evil spirit of Frederick the Great has produced what might seem the very opposite evil. He who worshipped nothing has become a god who is quite blindly worshipped .... But the root of both perversions is in the common ground of atheist irresponsibility; there was nothing to stop the sceptic from turning democracy into secrecy; there was nothing to stop him [i.e. The Autocrat] interpreting liberty as the infinite licence of tyranny. The spiritual zero of Christendom was at that freezing instant when those two dry thin hatchet-faced men looked in each other's hollow eyes, and saw the sneer that was as eternal as the smile of a skull. Between them, they have nearly killed the thing by which we live.[69]

It is, at least, the thing by which those of the Catholic Faith do still live.

The thing by which we live: that is to say, the Faith and the Grace of Christ and His public order of Christendom, with its spiritual and corporal works of mercy, deepened and warmed, as well – even today – “by the more glowing cultures of the South, the vineyards, the shrines, the chivalries and charities of the Faith.”[70] There is no weak sentimentalism here – but, rather, the redolent and vivid poetry and resilience of the Faith!

Such a Faith constitutes the permanent counterpoise to Voltaire's and Frederick's cold sneering and cynicism and mockery; and a constant counter-movement, under Grace, to the corrosion of hopelessness and the congealment of lovelessness!

G.K. Chesterton has much to teach us, to include the shallow, eclectic “Ecumenists” (or “Sentimental Syncretists”) of today, who are now to be found, not just in the Anglican, but also in the Roman Catholic Church. For, syncretism, once again, tends to weaken the integrity and the constancy of moral resistance; and sentimentalism itself is the affective (or emotional) side of the intellectual “Dialectic,” in that it always inclines the moral agent himself (i.e., the often-unaware “victim” of sentimentalism) to deny the principle of non-contradiction.

Chesterton's insights about Pride are not only timeless, but timely, especially in the context of the over-reaching American Empire of today, which is sometimes more euphemistically called “the Emerging American Empire.” The Christian-Zionist guides and acolytes and fervent supporters of this Imperium, as well as their Judeo-Zionist collaborators, both appear to hold – despite their irreconcilable differences – certain common, self-exalting beliefs of “chosenness” and “exceptionalism” and “aggressive collective superiority.” This may be seen, more specifically, in their rather euphemistic promotion of “Messianic Democracy,” for example in “the Global War on Terrorism and Tyranny.”

Such a condescending and frequently insolent ethos of “creative destruction” and “exclusive uniqueness,” not only uproots other cultures, but seems to consider itself immune from both the moral blindness and the towering spiritual weakness of Pride.

The New Machiavellianism and the now very popular, presumed “Power of Pride” appear to be triumphant in America for the time being, even while, in my judgment, they “strut to their confusion” – and also ours. For, the “lesser people,” the little ones, will also suffer, not just their leaders and our strategic “chaos managers.”

Even the courageous and very modest scholar, and former C.I.A. Analyst, Dr. Michael Scheuer, himself a Roman Catholic, recently wrote a “New Epilogue: An Essay Personal and Substantive” to his original and manifoldly excellent book, Imperial Hubris, wherein he now quite approvingly quotes the cynical wisdom of Machiavelli – as does, much more understandably so, Dr. Michael Ledeen (the Neo-Conservative scholar and one of Scheuer's former opponents):

Simply put, by not killing more of our enemies at the outset, we will be forced to kill a great many more later. In Iraq and Afghanistan, we made the disastrous mistake Machiavelli warned [us] against in The Prince centuries ago. “Hence we may learn the lesson,” Machiavelli wrote, “that on seizing a state [especially unjustly], the usurper should make haste to inflict what injuries he must, at a stroke, that he may not have to renew them daily, but be enabled by their discontinuance to reassure men's minds, and afterwards win them over with benefits. Whosoever, either through timidity [i.e., “provocative weakness”] or from following bad counsels, adopts a contrary course, must keep the sword always drawn, and can put no trust in his subjects, who suffering from continued and constantly renewed severities, will never yield him their confidence [i.e., their trust]. Injuries, therefore, should be inflicted all at once ....” For those worried that using greater military force against Islamist fighters – and causing unavoidable civilian deaths – will make America more hated by Muslims, I would advice them to stow their worries [i.e., to put these anxieties in storage]. We must defend America, and our policies leave force as our sole tool [and maybe, also, a good measure of Fraud?].[71]

Scheuer also now says that “The Islamists can not be appeased; America's choice is [now] between war and endless war.”[72] Therefore, the United States, in his view, must now get really serious and fight, not a fake war, but a genuine war, although, very surprisingly, Scheuer himself entirely begs the question of its justice, as well as such a war's true prudence. With reference to the Generals (and Admirals), Scheuer even concludes that “Our current careerist general officers will be remembered, if remembered at all, for silently wasting the lives of their troops in the to-date phony wars [sic] in Afghanistan and Iraq.”[73] Even more summarily, he says: “Today, America's political, military, and bureaucratic leaders are choosing to lose the 'Global War on Terrorism.'”[74] This neo-Catholic, neo-Machiavellian thinker appears altogether inattentive to the criteria and standards of Just War, an indispensable part of the Roman Catholic tradition of moral theology in its reflections upon the use of power and martial force.

By way of contrast with this current  Catholic thinker, G.K. Chesterton – in his own selfless and grateful humility and magnanimity and Christian hope – discerned in a more nuanced and  differentiated way, and over seventy years ago, what would be the results of “that general break-up of the brain, which seems to be following on the break-up of the creed of Christendom.”[75] The Christian Creed, once cracked, leads to the break-up of the Christian Code. That is to say, the moral code that derives from the creed. Hilaire Belloc, one of Chesterton's close friends, put it very well at the end of one of his verses, in a more humorous Coda:

“The Moral is, it is indeed;

You mustn't monkey with the Creed.”

In contrast to the “chivalries and charities” of the older Creed and Code of Catholic Christendom, what will likely be, by way of contrast, the “chivalries and charities” of our newly Judaized, Protestant American Empire, both at home and abroad? And what will be its “warming” Creed and Code?

Just as there was once a strong Catholic Resistance under the growing tyranny of the Tudor Supremacy of Queen Elizabeth, will there also be, once again, even today, such a strategic-minded “Catholic Recusancy,” as it was the case with the Jesuits of old? And will there be in us, as there was in the heroic and holy life and death of Saint Edmund Campion – himself a young Jesuit priest – “the spirit of chivalry in which they [Campion and the other English martyrs] suffered”?[76] For, it was by their encouraging examples of fidelity to the end that the other Catholic recusants themselves, sub gratia, grew more fruitful of the good. For, many of them truly imitated that early, combatant Jesuit spirit, so newly risen in the Sixteenth Century. That is to say, that magnanimous and resilient and “entirely new spirit of which Campion is the type: the chivalry of Lepanto and the poetry of La Mancha, light, tender, generous and ardent.”[77]

As it was the case for Saint Ignatius Loyola himself, and also for G.K. Chesterton, and as it is still so nourishing for us today, this high spirit and faithful perseverance of Edmund Campion and his companions were always rooted in the Grace of Christ and in the “Humility of the Incarnation.”


                                                             --FINIS--                                           © 2006 Robert Hickson


[1]    These two phrases in the subtitle, in quotation marks, are from G.K. Chesterton and the American philosopher, George Santayana, respectively. Chesterton's own phrases “The Judaism of Hitler” and “the Rulers of the Sophistical and Secretive Modern State” are to be found in his anthology of essays we shall be discussing, The End of the Armistice (1940). The “Overworld” is effectively what Jacques Attali, in his book on Paul Warburg, called “le pouvoir sur le pouvoir” – “the power above the power,” i.e., power above the political power.

[2]    G.K. Chesterton, What's Wrong With the World (New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1910), p. 112.

[3]    Editorial, G.K.'s Weekly, 30 August 1930 – my emphasis added.

[4]    G.K. Chesterton's original 1930 editorial may be found conveniently in Brave New Family: G.K. Chesterton on Men and Women, Children, Sex, Divorce, Marriage and the Family  (edited by Alvaro de Silva) (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1990), pages 221-222 – my emphasis added.

[5]    G.K. Chesteron, The End of the Armistice (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1940)

[6]    Ibid., p. 34.

[7]    Ibid., p. 188. Chesterton spoke of those, like his brother Cecil, who even “died for a vivid conviction that Prussia was Prussianism and Prussianism a poison to the world.” (p. 188) Cecil died in the final year of World War I.

[8]    Ibid., pp. 92-97.

[9]    Ibid., p. 9 – These are the words of Frank Sheed himself in his summary of Chesterton's argument in the book.

[10]  Ibid., p. 188.

[11]  Ibid., p. 35.

[12]  Ibid., p. 17.

[13]  Ibid., p. 18 – my emphasis added.

[14]  Ibid., p. 190.

[15]  Ibid., p. 8.

[16]  Ibid., pp. 18, 19 – my emphasis added.

[17]  Ibid., pp. 19, 20 – my emphasis added.

[18]  Ibid., p. 22 – my emphasis added.

[19]  Ibid., p. 25 – my emphasis added.

[20]  Ibid., pp. 25-26 – my emphasis added.

[21]  Ibid., p. 26 – my emphasis added.

[22]  Ibid., p. 92.

[23]  Ibid.

[24]  Ibid.

[25]  Ibid., pp. 93-94 – my emphasis added.

[26]  Ibid., pp. 94-95 – my emphasis added.

[27]  Ibid., p. 95 – my emphasis added.

[28]  Ibid., p. 96 – my emphasis added.

[29]  Ibid. – my emphasis added.

[30]  Ibid., pp. 96-97 – my emphasis added.

[31]  Ibid., p. 97 – my emphasis added.

[32]  Ibid., p. 217.

[33]  Ibid. – my emphasis added.

[34]  Ibid.

[35]  Ibid. – my emphasis added.

[36]  Ibid., p. 218 – my emphasis added.

[37]  Ibid., pp. 218-219 – my emphasis added.

[38]  G.K. Chesterton, What's Wrong With the World (New York: Dodd, Mead, and Company, 1910), p. 112 – italics in the original.

[39]  Ibid., p. 136 – my emphasis added.

[40]  Evelyn Waugh, Scott-King's Modern Europe (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1949), p. 88.

[41]  Ibid., p. 89 – my emphasis added.

[42]  G.K. Chesterton, The End of the Armistice (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1940), p. 219 – my emphasis added.

[43]  Ibid., pp. 219-220 – my emphasis added.

[44]  Ibid., p. 206.

[45]  Ibid., p. 19.

[46]  Ibid., pp. 8-9 – my emphasis added.

[47]  Ibid.

[48]  Ibid.

[49]  Ibid., p. 206 – my emphasis added.

[50]  Ibid., p. 34.

[51]  A.W. De Porte,  Europe between the Superpowers: The Enduring Balance (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1986 – second edition). The first edition was published in 1978.

[52]  Ibid., p. 173.

[53]  Ibid., pp. 173-174 – my emphasis added.

[54]  Ibid., pp. 173, 208.

[55]  This is now also the name of a candid and aggressive and candidly lucid Jewish newspaper in New York City.

[56]  G.K. Chesterton, The End of the Armistice (1940), pp. 174-175 – my emphasis added.

[57]  Ibid., pp. 175-176 – my emphasis added. On page 176 we may read the Kaiser's actual words, which were addressed to his troops at Bremerhaven in 1900, when they were “about to set sail to join a punitive force” against China, “after the assassination of the German Ambassador to China during the Boxer rebellion of 1900.” The German Kaiser said, in part: “As a thousand years ago the Huns under King Attila gained for themselves a name which still stands for a terror in tradition and story, so may the name of Germany be impressed by you for a thousand years on China so thoroughly that never again shall a Chinese dare so much as to look askance at a German.” (Ibid., p. 176 – my emphasis added.)

[58]  Ibid., p. 30.

[59]  Ibid., p. 29.

[60]  Ibid.

[61]  Ibid.

[62]  Ibid.

[63]  Ibid., pp. 29-30.

[64]  Ibid., p. 30 – my emphasis added.

[65]  Ibid., p. 31.

[66]  Ibid. – my emphasis added.

[67]  Ibid., p. 32 – my emphasis added.

[68]  Ibid.

[69]  Ibid., pp. 32, 33, 34 – my emphasis added.

[70]  Ibid., p. 173.

[71]  Michael Scheuer (the former “Anonymous”), Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror (Dulles, Virginia: Potomac Books, Inc., 2005 – Paperback edition, with a New Epilogue in 2005, added to the originally copyrighted text of 2004), p. 296 – my emphasis added.

[72]  Ibid., p. 268 – my emphasis added.

[73]  Ibid., p. 266 – my emphasis added.

[74]  Ibid., p. 265 – my emphasis added.

[75]  Ibid., p. 203.

[76]  Evelyn Waugh, Edmund Campion (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1946 – first published in 1935), p. 231.

[77]  Ibid., pp. 122-123.