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Voices of Europe produced and recorded by Milt Mayer in cooperation with the University of Chicago under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters and now Milton Mayer. If you draw interior lines to a central point from London and Paris Madrid and Rome Belgrade and Athens the enter Moscow and Berlin the lines will pinpoint somewhere near the Austrian village of lines. They are recognized by his two or three hundred peasant neighbors they have Erich Ritter from Korea not live bean. His wife and three children he likes lines he says because it's in the center of things and he needs to be in the center of things. He travels and travels and travels everywhere. He speaks Spanish Japanese and Russian. Not to
mention of course German French and Italian. And in a moment you'll hear how he speaks English. The descendant of a family of the old Austrian nobility. Eric you know the Dean's profession is that of journalist and actual profession in Europe is articles treatises and books in the primary fields of politics and religion and been translated in many languages you know here. You know I think just about everyone I've met in Europe professes to believe fervently in democracy. House sincere are these people. Well as a matter of fact there are really quite sincere if they profess to believe. But actually the real question is are they true believers in the mock recy or are they true believers only in the label. Although they sometimes mean something else. Now first of
all I'm convinced when they say democracy they really mean liberty personal liberty individual liberty and this is something in which they're all more or less fairly believe. Which doesn't mean that in the final real stress they might not sell down their right to liberty and their thirst for liberty just one little bit of security and I mean mostly an army security. So from this point of view they don't talk sincerely. All the other Europe is full of small groups of small conventicles about conspiracies small has associations small groups and then you find a true belief or expression. You know this was used before the Principle of people who went into the matter of things and saw things in a shop and cruel life
and their cons realizes what has happened during the course I shouldn't say you are you're a princess this is my all time because of two different parts of the real continental Europe the lands of the church the Catholic Church the Greek Orthodox Church. At the start of Europe I would add from Germany and then the islands on the peninsula of northern Europe England is going to Navy and Holland and as you know though this is just already a halfway house of the United States. These people are the regular guys and the south and the Central and East Europeans. Without a real you appear a little bit nearer to Asia a little bit nearer to Africa that is the range of world these are me I say. These are precisely those Europeans Against from our most recent American
immigration restrictions have been directing these real Europeans because real Europeans of course have one of them myself and I can see from an American point of view that up to a point they felt there were these these real Europeans that are not as easily as similar and the North Europeans are not and or from a racial point of view because its religion is a religious outlook which creates basic mentalities and a basic mentality of for South and Central Europe is very fiercely personal list. I think American or English or North European individuals and that is a myth. I think that the real individual is in the South and East European. Now let's have a distinction please between individual ism and personalize. Yeah of course here you court me and I would have said actually personal ism rather than individuals. That is the more precise a term
that is the more precise term I would say that the Protestant world that has no view of it and America is a commune where the man of the individual person he's standing in the community and he's acting very much in conformity in the community and the judgment of the community upon his acts were near Central and Southern and Eastern Europe is somewhere an article an archaic inclination it's a very typical thing that you never got into a truly Protestant world. You never got anarchists on your mouth and I think yes we usually are far south you get these European extraction. So in other words the actions come from the catholic got a great got a box Well certainly Protestantism presented to presidents this anarchist Europe to us that is Catholic and Greek Orthodox Europe and the totalitarian Europe in contrast with with the freedom of Protestantism.
Yeah and the real fact is that I personally only feel truly free you know in an old church country. Of course political freedom is something else and here you have the thing it is only possible if you have a very strong community feeling that you can really have democracy you know for democracy. Whereas the natural reaction of our innate anarchism of the Catholic world is precisely that we have to pay the price of government from above our government from above can be benevolent and patriarchal and can be very liberal and can be very very free. All the alternative is unfortunately the government from above is not terminal but brutal. You don't rule out one single party with a so-called leader of the which you are washed and then of course you have real tyranny. But it is not self governing So that is precisely
the point and that is I think one of the great basic misunderstandings between the Anglo-Saxon world. And between the truly Continental the Anglo-Saxon world mean America listening to them and I think especially over the years 1918 1919 a lot of the more recent past has done everything to the story or patriarchal order and therefore has this great cyclists of tyranny because you must always understand one thing take a man like Louis to 40 that is more like it in a way it's worse that is absolute monarchy that is the man who supposedly didn't really say that he was supposed to say let us in what. Now I understand. But compare now for instance the power of the law is the pointing to the power of the American part of the American Congress is an expression only the 14th could never has a concept of the male population of this country.
He never could have asked for an economic declaration and an economic general confession if you want to make a general confession went to prison. But you have an income tax you could never help for instance after prohibition law. If we would have passed his they are subject to abstain from drinking wine and cognac they would have courted him alive within 24 hours. But you see in the English speaking world the idea is always we are ruling ourselves and therefore parliamentary rule by its very nature. Because the Parliament can only say the word we in the sense of the real representation whereas a monarch O stands on thin ice. So produce formula of wheat we are actually producing new cells. Our representative form of our government is possible. I would say that the most dangerous type locally not in a worldwide relation but locally in the pipe to the home was in a sense the US attorney.
But here we are moving out already of the realm of the pure around of the old church. Here we really had not only the vertical pressure which is typical for the old church countries it means pressure from above but we already had what is typical of Anglo-Saxon with horizontal oppression you see from the sides from the neighbors to supervision by the neighbors in the Nancy which was really quite voluntary. On the other hand in Russia there is a certain spill nark little resistance of course not organized because you cannot organize. You were much freer then number three in Italy you are much freer. The Italian tyranny of the Spanish tyranny which other two really purely capitalist the later seems like her the individual freedom was best preserved. You find his admission even in the book aren't about Italy and Spain I know very well myself and the country I visit the gate and again where a military dictatorship there should be no doubt that this is a military dictatorship
then brutally tries to bring a semblance of law and order to that nation. And of course things look so it always has been the feeling and the right feeling got every sensitive traveller from overseas or even within Europe. When you travel from the north to the south or from the east or to the west the moment he left the Protestant area and got into the Catholic area immediately Law and Order was we immediately that the trains did not run on time and you see here the trains do not run on time. We have to ask ourselves to what extent was Italian Fascism and certainly it is not the whole story. It is nevertheless an aspect of the problem. To what extent was Italian Fascism and effort from above brutally and by means of menace impressions to bring an amount of this plane into the air you people so all to make it
capable of competing with often. She demanded to ring in fascism our our our our talent or military dictatorship whatever you call it has to be viewed in a different way. This German National Socialist which brought discipline to an already quite disciplined people and therefore really was a hyper perversion of its own and therefore it was quite right to be in a way more benevolent towards the Italian Fascist experiment which I don't like to talk personally but more benevolent than folk would release them. Analysts like Howard that just mentioned before quite justified the way then it is you see in the German area. Can you be as benevolent toward the Russian communist experiment. Again because here was an anarchical situation. This is this whole church. Yes this is your church world but of course Russia lacks and this is a very important
element. The experience of the Renaissance and of Iraq is your only hope of travelling over Europe is a renaissance and baroque which really is so to say it is the flowering of Catholic culture where as a rasher and I'm speaking here about ancient question was always essentially medieval. Now actually I love you all and here I am completely in consonance with all the modern research done about reformation and of course the leaders of the whole problem of discipline and the Anglo-Saxon world and the Protestant world the real formation is not at or an early liberal movement. The Reformation is then surely the late medieval reaction Rigo resist the reaction of severity possibility for everybody for real discipline of the individual or the person as against that human is pagan sensuous are not equal spirit of the Messiah.
This is this is absolutely LOVE this is the life I know. But are you am I to understand that that this this renaissance. Libertarianism is not as well preserved and there are Anglo-Saxon democratic institutions are experiments and I observe the fact that you insist on painting Hitler on this as it is under the patriarchal old church. Yeah I did I should have made myself a little bit clearer because actually I quite readily admit I talked to you before I spoke about the horizontal pressure of the horizontal controls which are typical Bible sex in the West for the Catholic world. If the control cover it comes from above.
But the thing is this. Remember what Helen last one said about the necessary precondition of the necessary situation which must prevail. If democracy is to succeed democracy means now the Republican parliamentarism of parliamentarism as such. And he says two things are necessary first of all and this is the minor premise a two party system. But then comes the major premise and that is something really crucial. The parties and preferably only two should be immediate in and out. They should merely be more or less the two aspects of one and the same view or ideology of Eltham charge whatever you may call it. And this situation really by and large you do have in the process the progressive North European American world prototypical in England very typical of the United States
voted typically for instance in Canada too but in other words almost everybody you meet there I'll say is I believe in democracy of course we get it here too. But the thing is really sincere is a matter of fact that you know democracy has become of the United States almost a substitute for many people who are alleging that it is really their religion and how do you achieve that. Why did you have in Spain in 1932 twenty eight different parties which were up all represented in the parliament. Thirty two in Germany and 32 in Germany. And why do you get to in America and already whereas in Germany now the one party believes for instance in race in the second party in nationality and a third party in religion like the centrist party and the foreign classes like the Marxist parties in the Marxist parties the left communist socialist and socialist. In other words and real universe of diametrically opposed parties and all ready to jump at their throats and only waiting for the moment.
And if one party has an absolute majority. Well yes you do have these tremendous uniformity in the end of second world. Now let us think only America. You only have it because in a way you have top military of society with us everywhere that now I can only give you and I only want to tell you how and why. Because every presidential address and every valedictorian speech every presidential message and every senatorial debate and every leading article in every editorial in every theater everything we always pray. So Republicanism democracy democracy Republicanism Republicanism the market another where society instinctively sees to it that no rabbit can live different opinion might but you're where you're accusing us of being totalitarian. And I don't mind we're all friends here. I'm
maybe I've died halfway try to defend the Americans by saying we're not allowed to tell a carrier that we are apolitical that is we're nonpolitical really. Your your saying that and in your anarchic of all church world I take it under the patriarchy there flourish is real politics that is real political competition real idiology real difference real struggle and whereas in the United States in here I'd be likely maybe to please my countrymen and myself guilty. I think the worst you can say of us is if we really are not political. No I wouldn't I wouldn't put it this way at all. You ARE YOU are political. But you all are basically all of the same political if you will which creates politically though really you will need for picture.
And are you saying that democracy necessarily in its nature leads to this this condition. No I don't I don't think that at all. But this is the necessary precondition a democracy should work and I would say I can prove it. And there's something very unscientific when I say now I think instinctively the American people feels it from its point of view as long as it cannot get away from the mark receive it right be FEEL SO and I don't see for the moment what other attitude the American people take that in order to preserve its form of government. It must annihilate or eliminate or push aside or silence radical dissenters those who dissent the radical reforms for U.S. but this is one of the reasons why I am opposed to democracy because I don't see you need this uniformity of the sea and this totalitarian enforcement by horizontal pressure
all of which I would much more prefer personally. You have a colossal riot of ideologies. But then under these conditions as we have them on the continent you cannot afford democracy you must have a monarchy ahead in order to assure the necessary liberty for free discussion. Because you see as long as there was a Francis Joseph in Austria or even a William the second in Germany we could truly afford to have parliamentary us we could truly afford a realist mixed government because a paper hanger like Hitler couldn't get up to the top because there was a man I perceive no my idea man. This law I'm not going to sign if it only has your signature but not mine. In addition I cannot become a law. Especially I think my knowledge gives religious minorities and racial minorities the class of minorities in finitely safer in a monarchy.
But then there are you know real democracy because democracy is the rule of the majorities in the court the majority can decide anything against the minority. Yes there's this of course is high treason not here in Austria but in the United States. The you know we got we got our little show going across the ocean simply because this man at the top this France shows of this Nicolas the second time this will help the second hour is the way the 14 minute whimsically say to the paperhanger who was Prime his prime minister. Yes I will put my signature. And with those two signatures. Freedom was destroyed. Now we have we have to have in the United States you know. Well very roughly
three to four hundred signatures on a bill which might destroy our lives with a little bit better or worse. I wonder whether it's you know I spent the war in the United States and I saw this terrible tragedy because don't forget to get my own view was right. I am a liberal. Names meaning these words and its true origin or Spanish sense because especially word stuff as well. I'm a liberal because I'm a Catholic and crazy about freedom and because I'm a liberal I am for mixed government that means a monarchist and an anti-Democrat No. Therefore the thing which gripped my heart during the war was the treatment of the Americans of Japanese descent it was an unpopular minority they were put into relocation centers that when tortured minorities of
dissenters when either Germany or Russia we I don't know that but it was absolutely truly incompatible with the Constitution. But since then we have a tiny minority and unfortunately the majority of public opinion of the masses was against them. They did not get a real redress until after the war when the thing was over. And when they were released and when I think I am I think I'm right. They even got me compensation but nobody is going to give them back the years spent in the oven cation Sanders. But this you see could not have been quite possible I think quite possible because of the Acts of the seans can never be 100 percent under Francis Joseph. Think about the whole thing yes it worked for a while. Most of them truly sympathized with the Russians. They even spied for the Russians. There was not a single case of the Japanese of an American of Japanese extraction spying on Japan in the United States but I think my father was a very great admirer of Francis
Joseph but if Francis Joseph would have signed the law that some of his subjects after all you see that relationship is like father and son. It's the king in the subject and the Father the Son. If he signs it would have signed a law or put the letter C. 250000 were Fenians in relocation centers. I think my father would have shut the f up. I think it would have turned into an assassin because that would have been unthinkable. Our don't forget here. I am not viewing can I always emphasize this in all my books not the relationship of the Father who is 30 years old and the son is 5. But on the father we speak to five in the sun is 30. In other words it is a relationship and that is essential. It's a relationship between end up with the respect and the sinew R D for the man with the great experience. Or rather not even that because that's more political. It's a family relationship. But there always has been in Europe a very great
upheaval of the notion of the straightforward man who talks mainly to his suffering and they're going to stop and stand up for his rights and for his privileges. But you know I use the word privilege on purpose because the word pollution ourselves nothing but the whole history of Old Europe is privileged to gain privileges to gain position to have rights to have relief right now. What's this specific relationship whereas nowadays you have really no rights s to take a case not the United States take a case now like Britain. Well it has been said that the British Parliament can do everything and look the same except to change a man and a woman a woman to a man is no Supreme Court in Britain and the mamak there. I think this is a travesty. Maliki is a pure rubberstamp there is no mileage you can say I'm not going to sign Islam because Islam is unjust it's not really popular that people
may want to see our great ideal always has been unfortunate there's no English word for it that way. I would translate it the country of law of real genuine law or equity in order. The Spaniards had the same expression is that today there is no such French expression and then oh by we mean a state which is really based on the real loss for the real redress for the person as possible. I think there is only possible in a truly mixed government. Into the private Frank now I do not consider the United States as a truly mixed government or not very definite effort has been made in your constitution to realize the idea. Because if let us say one party would have a complete majority for a long time even finally and I don't know the Supreme Court or so can't be packing my party. Now you see my
idea is truly mixed government et representation of the people is one pillar of monarchy as a second pillar and the Supreme Court as a circular. Only my ideal Supreme Court comes from somewhere from a third source let us say for instance from the universities. Then you can have a real balance. The mother cannot appoint to supply all the none of the three she could rule alone. Then of course if you have three pillars the chances and I can only see the Chartist number the absolutes are there because that is if you don't get it slightly and then the liberty of the individual is better safe then the future inherit you know the future of the human race lies exactly where. The future of the human race lies in a return to the
real reason to hold the reason. Reason based upon specific traditions which have to be really new and improved not the silly conservatism but in the view of our total human experience and building up of the total human experience and not just try to pick up a system like democracy which has failed two thousand three hundred years ago when democracy murdered SOCRATES And to revive that and consider such a revival as an extremely progressive. That this is laughable historically. Thank you very much. Voices of Europe was produced and recorded in Europe by Milton Mayer in cooperation with the University of Chicago under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center. This program is distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters. This program has been
Voices of Europe
Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn
Producing Organization
University of Chicago
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program features an interview with Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, an Austrian nobleman and socio-political theorist.
Series Description
Interviews with noted Europeans on a variety of subjects, conducted by Milton Mayer, American author and broadcaster, lecturer and professor in the Institute of Social Research at Frankfurt University.
Broadcast Date
Global Affairs
Political thinkers
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Interviewee: Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Erik von, 1909-
Interviewer: Mayer, Milton, 1908-1986
Producing Organization: University of Chicago
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 57-7-4 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:10
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Chicago: “Voices of Europe; Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn,” 1957-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 6, 2023,
MLA: “Voices of Europe; Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn.” 1957-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. February 6, 2023. <>.
APA: Voices of Europe; Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from