IO8 ÉLITE MUST NOT BECOME EXCLUSIVE question. To pretend to evade the problem was to put oneself in the situation of a man in the seventeenth or eighteenth century who pretended it was unnecessary to abolish slavery. Men like Scharnhorst and Gneisenau had to fight hard to introduce conscription in Prussia. On the political level, we had to wage a struggle of the same sort. As long as social classes existed, it was impossible to set free the forces of the nation. I never stopped telling my supporters that our victory was a mathematical certainty, for, unlike Social Democracy, we rejected nobody from the national community. Our present struggle is merely a continuation, on the international level, of the struggle we waged on the national level. Let everyone, in his own field, take care to do his best, with the knowledge that on every occasion we were pushing the best of us forward ; that's how a people surpasses itself and surpasses others. Nothing can happen to us if we remain faithful to these principles, but one must know how to advance step by step, how to reconnoitre the ground and remove, one after another, the obstacles one finds there. If one neglected to appeal to the masses, one's choice would be rather too much confined to intellectuals. We would lack brute strength. Brute strength consists of the peasant and worker, for the insecurity of their daily life keeps them close to the state of nature. Give them brains into the bargain, and you turn them into incomparable men of action. Above all, we must not allow our élite to become an exclusive society. The son of an official, at the fifth or sixth generation, is doomed to become a lawyer. There, at least, no more responsibility! So what kind of rôle can a nation play when it's governed by people ofthat sort—people who weigh and analyse everything? One couldn't make history with people like that. I need rough, courageous people, who are ready to carry their ideas through to the end, whatever happens. Tenacity is purely a question of character. When this quality is accompanied by intellectual superiority, the result is wonderful. The bourgeois with whom we flirted at the time of our struggle were simply aesthetes. But what I needed was partisans
PRINCIPLES OF RECRUITMENT FOR PUBLIC SERVICE IOQ who would give themselves body and soul, men as ready to break up a Communist meeting as to manage a Gau. In war, it's just the same thing. The commander who interests me is the man who pays with his own hide. A strategist is nothing without the brute force. Better the brute force without the strategist! Intelligence has taken refuge in technique; it flees from situations of utter calm, where one grows fat as one grows stupid. Since private enterprise adapts itself to the same evolution— nowadays the heads of firms are nearly all former factoryhands—one might arrive at the following paradoxical situation : an administration composed of cretins, and private firms capable of forming a brains-trust. Thus, to maintain their rôle, the officials, for lack of intelligence, would possess only the power they obtain from their functions. A military unit needs a commander, and the men never hesitate to recognise the qualities that make a commander. A man who is not capable of commanding usually feels no wish to do so. When an idiot is given command, his subordinates are not slow to make his life a burden. If Germany has never had the equivalent of the French Revolution, its because Frederick the Great and Joseph II once existed. The Catholic Church makes it a principle to recruit its clergy from all classes of society, without any discrimination. A simple cowherd can become a cardinal. That's why the Church remains militant. In my little homeland, the bishop a hundred years ago was the son of a peasant. In 1845 ne decided to build a cathedral. The town had twenty-two thousand inhabitants. The cathedral was planned to hold twenty-three thousand. It cost twentyeight million gold crowns. Fifty years later, the Protestants built their largest church, in the State capital. They spent only ten millions.