The Barbarism of Berlin eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 45 pages of information about The Barbarism of Berlin.
cannot have been really Pro-Austrian, he was simply and solely Anti-Servian.  Nay, even in the cruel and sterile strength of Turkey, anyone with imagination can see something of the tragedy and therefore of the tenderness of true belief.  The worst that can be said of the Moslems is, as the poet put it, they offered to man the choice of the Koran or the sword.  The best that can be said for the German is that he does not care about the Koran, but is satisfied if he can have the sword.  And for me, I confess, even the sins of these three other striving empires take on, in comparison, something that is sorrowful and dignified:  and I feel they do not deserve that this little Lutheran lounger should patronise all that is evil in them, while ignoring all that is good.  He is not Catholic, he is not Orthodox, he is not Mahomedan.  He is merely an old gentleman who wishes to share the crime though he cannot share the creed.  He desires to be a persecutor by the pang without the palm.  So strongly do all the instincts of the Prussian drive against liberty, that he would rather oppress other people’s subjects than think of anybody going without the benefits of oppression.  He is a sort of disinterested despot.  He is as disinterested as the devil who is ready to do anyone’s dirty work.

This would seem obviously fantastic were it not supported by solid facts which cannot be explained otherwise.  Indeed it would be inconceivable if we were thinking of a whole people, consisting of free and varied individuals.  But in Prussia the governing class is really a governing class:  and a very few people are needed to think along these lines to make all the other people act along them.  And the paradox of Prussia is this:  that while its princes and nobles have no other aim on this earth but to destroy democracy wherever it shows itself, they have contrived to get themselves trusted, not as wardens of the past but as forerunners of the future.  Even they cannot believe that their theory is popular, but they do believe that it is progressive.  Here again we find the spiritual chasm between the two monarchies in question.  The Russian institutions are, in many cases, really left in the rear of the Russian people, and many of the Russian people know it.  But the Prussian institutions are supposed to be in advance of the Prussian people, and most of the Prussian people believe it.  It is thus much easier for the war-lords to go everywhere and impose a hopeless slavery upon everyone, for they have already imposed a sort of hopeful slavery on their own simple race.

And when men shall speak to us of the hoary iniquities of Russia and of how antiquated is the Russian system, we shall answer “Yes; that is the superiority of Russia.”  Their institutions are part of their history, whether as relics or fossils.  Their abuses have really been uses:  that is to say, they have been used up.  If they have old engines of terror or torment, they may fall to pieces

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The Barbarism of Berlin from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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