Sunday, September 20, 2009

Motivations for Power - Helen MacInnes 1968

I have been rereading The Salzburg Connection [1968] by Helen MacInnes. Through the medium of the novel, she addresses serious issues the West faced in her day and still confronts today. The whole passage is worth reading with care but the conclusion is most compelling. Anton, the dedicated Nazi, saw himself as working for universal peace. He believed the world reaches peace through radical manipulative domination. It is a clear, ringing example how even the best goal can be fundamentally abused

This novel begins at a remote mountain lake in Austria, about 1966. Anton is a younger Nazi, part of a group staying organized in hope of regaining their former power. On page 42-3. Anton, after he murders an opponent, explains his ideas and his motivation while talking to himself. He reflects.

"We may be few as yet, but that's the way every real power group started. Not in huge masses—that's something to be used later. Not even with popular approval—only democracies think in terms of the majority, and they are not model for us. They waste themselves in talk talk talk and self-indulgence. We have better brains than most of them and a sense of realism they never possessed. One thing East Germany showed me and that was the fat-cat weakness of the West. The Communists have more to teach us; we can learn something from them. They have the right idea about power and how to get it and how to keep it. Look at Russia today [1966]. Eleven million Communists, that's all, controlling more than two-hundred million non-Communists. China is the same: nineteen million Communists as the elite group over seven hundred million people. Popular approval? That's a laugh. Just give us all newspapers and radio stations and TV channels, and we'll give the people all the five-year plans they want; and we'll see. – Crazy, are we? It can be done. Because it has been done. And we will do it better. Better than any Russians or Chinese. And we will be clever this time. The way the old Germany handled the Jewish problem was worse than a crime, it was a blunder. We'll handle the Jews the way Russia does—a few for a showcase, the rest nothing-men. Yes, we'll succeed where the old Germany failed; we'll use all of its greatness and repeat none of its mistakes. And it was a great country. Our enemies could destroy our homes and our nation, but we still have our brains and our courage and our perseverance. We don't give up, we don't compromise. And we have a cause. Universal peace through world domination. Why should we let the Communists have that plumb?"