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My struggle for existence in Vienna - Mein Kampf
During my struggle for existence in Vienna, it had become clear to me that
Social activity must never and on no account be directed toward philanthropic flim-flam, but rather toward the elimination of the basic deficiencies in the organization of our economic and cultural life that must-or at all events can-lead to the degeneration of the individual .
The difficulty of applying the most extreme and brutal methods against the criminals who endanger the state lies not least in the uncertainty of our judgment of the inner motives or causes of such contemporary phenomena.
This uncertainty is only too well founded in our own sense of guilt regarding such tragedies of degeneration; be that as it may, it paralyzes any serious and firm decision and is thus partly responsible for the weak and half-hearted, because hesitant, execution of even the most necessary measures of selfpreservation.
Only when an epoch ceases to be haunted by the shadow of its own consciousness of guilt will it achieve the inner calm and outward strength brutally and ruthlessly to prune off the wild shoots and tear out the weeds.
Since the Austrian state had practically no social legislation or jurisprudence, its weakness in combating even malignant tumors was glaring.
I do not know what horrified me most at that time: the economic misery of my companions, their moral and ethical coarseness, or the low level of their intellectual development.
How often does our bourgeoisie rise in high moral indignation when they hear some miserable tramp declare that it is all the same to him whether he is a German or not, that he feels equally happy wherever he is, as long as he has enough to live on!
This lack of 'national pride' is most profoundly deplored, and horror at such an attitude is expressed in no uncertain terms.
How many people have asked themselves what was the real reason for the superiority of their own sentiments?
How many are aware of the infinite number of separate memories of the greatness of our national fatherland in all the fields of cultural and artistic life, whose total result is to inspire them with just pride at being members of a nation so blessed?
How many suspect to how great an extent pride in the fatherland depends on knowledge of its greatness in all these fields?
Do our bourgeois circles ever stop to consider to what an absurdly small extent this prerequisite of pride in the fatherland is transmitted to the 'people'?
Let us not try to condone this by saying that ' it is no better in other countries,' and that in those countries the worker avows his nationality 'notwithstanding.' Even if this were so, it could serve as no excuse for our own omissions. But it is not so; for the thing that we constantly designate as 'chauvinistic' education; for example among the French people, is nothing other than extreme emphasis on the greatness of France in all the fields of culture, or, as the Frenchman puts it, of 'civilization The fact is that the young Frenchman is not brought up to be objective, but is instilled with the most subjective conceivable view, in so far as the importance of the political or cultural greatness of his fatherland is concerned.
This education will always have to be limited to general and extremely broad values which, if necessary, must be engraved in the memory and feeling of the people by eternal repetition.
But to the negative sin of omission is added in our country the positive destruction of the little which the individual has the good fortune to learn in school. The rats that politically poison our nation gnaw even this little from the heart and memory of the broad masses, in so far as this has not been previously accomplished by poverty and suffering.
Imagine, for instance, the following scene:
In a basement apartment, consisting of two stuffy rooms, dwells a worker's family of seven. Among the five children there is a boy of, let us assume, three years. This is the age in which the first impressions are made on the consciousness of the child Talented persons retain traces of memory from this period down to advanced old age. The very narrowness and overcrowding of the room does not lead to favorable conditions. Quarreling and wrangling will very frequently arise as a result. In these circumstances, people do not live with one another, they press against one another. Every argument, even the most trifling, which in a spacious apartment can be reconciled by a mild segregation, thus solving itself, here leads to loathsome wrangling without end. Among the children, of course, this is still bearable; they always fight under such circumstances, and among themselves they quickly and thoroughly forget about it. But if this battle is carried on between the parents themselves, and almost every day in forms which for vulgarity often leave nothing to be desired, then, if only very gradually, the results of such visual instruction must ultimately become apparent in the children. The character the) will inevitably assume if this mutual quarrel takes the form of brutal attacks of the father against the mother, of drunken beatings, is hard for anyone who does not know this milieu to imagine. At the age of six the pitiable little boy suspects the existence of things which can inspire even an adult with nothing but horror. Morally poisoned, physically undernourished, his poor little head full of lice, the young 'citizen' goes off to public school. After a great struggle he may learn to read and write, but that is about all. His doing any homework is out of the question. On the contrary, the very mother and father, even in the presence of the children, talk about his teacher and school in terms which are not fit to be repeated, and are more inclined to curse the latter to their face than to take their little offspring across their knees and teach them some sense. All the other things that the little fellow hears at home do not tend to increase his respect for his dear fellow men. Nothing good remains of humanity, no institution remains unassailed; beginning with his teacher and up to the head of the government, whether it is a question of religion or of morality as such, of the state or society, it is all the same, everything is reviled in the most obscene terms and dragged into the filth of the basest possible outlook. When at the age of fourteen the young man is discharged from school, it is hard to decide what is stronger in him: his incredible stupidity as far as
any real knowledge and ability are concerned, or the corrosive insolence of his behavior, combined with an immorality, even at this age, which would make your hair stand on end
What position can this man-to whom even now hardly anything is holy, who, just as he has encountered no greatness conversely suspects and knows all the sordidness of life- occupy in the life into which he is now preparing to emerge?
The three-year-old child has become a fifteen-year-old despiser of all authority. Thus far, aside from dirt and filth, this young man has seen nothing which might inspire him to any higher enthusiasm.
But only now does he enter the real university of this existence.
Now he begins the same life which all along his childhood years he has seen his father living. He hangs around the street corners and bars, coming home God knows when; and for a change now and then he beats the broken-down being which was once his mother, curses God and the world, and at length is convicted of some particular offense and sent to a house of correction.
There he receives his last polish.
And his dear bourgeois fellow men are utterly amazed at the lack of 'national enthusiasm' in this young 'citizen.'
Day by day, in the theater and in the movies, in backstairs literature and the yellow press, they see the poison poured into the people by bucketfuls, and then they are amazed at the low 'moral content,' the 'national indifference,' of the masses of the people.
As though trashy films, yellow press, and such-like dung could. furnish the foundations of a knowledge of the greatness of our fatherland!-quite aside from the early education of the individual.
What I had never suspected before, I quickly and thoroughly learned in those years:
The question of the 'nationalization' of a people is, among other things, primarily a question of creating healthy social conditions as a foundation for the possibility of educating the individual. For only those who through school and upbringing learn to know the cultural, economic, but above all the political, greatness of their own fatherland can and unit achieve the inner pride in the privilege of being a member of such a people. And I can fight only for something that I love, love only what I respect, and respect only what I at least know.
Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler: Chapters Below.
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