Friday, October 20, 2006

Talking Politics

“…Take the British policy. England’s need to secure the Indian glacis is legitimate. But what will be the consequences of it? Edward knows as well as you and I that Russia has to make good her losses in Manchuria, and that internal peace is as necessary to her as daily bread. Yet—he probably can’t help himself—he forces her to look westward for expansion, stirs up slumbering rivalries between St. Petersburg and Vienna—”

“Oh, Vienna! Your interest in that ancient obstruction is due, I presume, to the fact that her decaying empire is a sort of mummy, as it were, of the Holy Roman Empire of the German people.”

“While you, I suppose, are Russophil out of humanistic affinity with Cæsaro-papism.

“Democracy, my friend, has more to hope from the Kremlin than she has from the Hofburg; and it is disgraceful for the country of Luther and Gutenberg—”

“It is probably not only disgraceful, but stupid into the bargain. But even this stupidity is an instrument of fate—”

“Oh, spare me your talk about fate! Human reason needs only to will more strongly than fate, and she is fate!”

“One always wills one’s fate. Capitalistic Europe is willing hers.”

“One believes in the coming of war if one does not sufficiently abhor it.”

“Your abhorrence of war is logically disjointed if you do not make the state itself your point of departure.”

“The national state is the temporal principle, which you would like to ascribe to the evil one. But when nations are free and equal, when the small and weak are safe-guarded from aggression, when there is justice in the world, and national boundaries—”

“Yes, I know, the Brenner frontier. The liquidation of Austria. If I only knew how you expect to bring that about without war!”

“And I should like to know when I ever condemned a war for the purpose of realizing national aspirations!”

“But you say—”
Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain (1924), tr. H.T. Lowe-Porter
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