2. Spectre vs. Spirit
We have presented the history of the Modern Age as a 500-year conflicted relationship between two collective entities symbolized as Faust and Mephistopheles: the white Europeans and the Jews, especially the Jewish lords of international finance. It was a marriage of convenience, and both parties were aware of the core antithesis between them; but each side was confident that when the moment came, it could trump the other and lay claim to the world-girdling empire they were building together. In the nineteenth century there unfolded a preclimactic stage of the drama, laden with the tension of a simmering fissure in the heart of the continent, fracturing out along fault lines around the globe.
In 1848 a revolt broke out in several countries, seeking the overthrow of the old monarchies. It was fueled by an incendiary document which proclaimed that “A spectre is haunting Europe ~ the spectre of communism.” So opened the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx, whose utopian fantasies drew reform-minded liberals and uneducated workers into his secret agenda to replace the European ruling class with his Jewish-run Communist League. The rebellion was unsuccessful, but ferment continued through the rest of the century. In 1867 Marx published Das Kapital, which sprang directly from the Jewish collective soul with its thesis that human nature, society, and destiny are all determined by economics.
Once again, enough Gentiles from both sides of the class divide were taken in to foment another major debacle: the so-called Paris Commune of 1870. For almost a whole year the great city was reduced to anarchy, as competing gangs of adventurers, thugs, and crackpots vied for power, all shouting rhetorical slogans and waving flags of many colors, mostly red or black.
The historical tide was against all the old social forms with their medieval pedigrees, whether aristocratic or ecclesiastic. But new forces were stirring in the landscape that were opposed to the Mephistophelian current ~ and also to the Faustian drive toward industrialism and mechanization. The broadest banner of this camp was anti-modernism. Its proponents were as outraged as the liberals at the squalor and degeneracy of the new urban culture, but rather than goading the working class to revolt, they sought to roll back the forces that had spawned a proletariat in the first place. Their revolutionary slogan was “back to nature”; it led many city-dwellers to move to the countryside, while scholars did serious research into the primeval roots of society. Communities arose that attempted to revive the lifestyle of their pre-Christian ancestors and resurrect their Gods: Wotan and Freya, Baldur and Tyr, and the whole pagan pantheon.
This trend was especially strong in the Germanic countries, including the Second Reich itself, where it morphed into a heavily politicized branch called the Volkisch movement. Its adherents actively opposed the forces of communism and anarchism, which they saw as all of a piece with parliamentarism and democratism. In place of this pernicious modern plague they enshrined the awakening Germanic Volk-soul. To Marx’s famous opening line they could well have replied: “A spirit is saving Europe ~ the spirit of Germanism!”
Some Volkisch groupings were virulently anti-Christian, while others sought a fusion of the Christian mystery with their revived Teutonic heritage. The most prominent apostle of the latter tendency was Richard Wagner, who was acknowledged by friends and foes alike as an artistic genius. His operas inspired a passionate following, and a large circle of upper-class people formed around Wagner and his wife Cosima. This bund was a veritable religious movement with a plan to transform the Reich by spreading their music-fueled enlightenment outward to the Volk. By the time of Wagner’s death in 1883 there were a hundred local groups devoted to the cause, counting thousands of members, many of whom were also German nationalists and Volkisch leaders.
In the last and most productive years of his life, Wagner was friends with the French Count Gobineau, author of An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races. Written before Darwin’s blockbuster, it described the steady decline of the European aristocracy, and attributed it to the corruption and mongrelization of a pure white Aryan race that had existed in the primordial past. His conclusion was pessimistic, claiming that the decline was irreversible. Wagner embraced his thesis but reversed the outcome: it became part of his optimistic doctrine of racial regeneration.
A closer friend and member of the inner circle of Wagnerites was Houston Stewart Chamberlain, a British Germanophile and successful author. His views converged with Wagner’s and spawned a creative teaching that inspired the legions who trekked every year to the town of Bayreuth in northern Bavaria for the performance of the operas. A theatre had been built and specially crafted to accommodate the unique staging features in Wagner’s cutting-edge art, which heralded the cinema and inspired the early filmmakers. This Festpielhaus was promoted as “a shrine of Germanism, the center of the Aryan peoples” ~ and in fact Bayreuth was at the geographical center of the Reich.
The beliefs of Wagner, elaborated after his death by Chamberlain in his monumental bookFoundations of the Nineteenth Century (1899), were that the Aryan race encompassed all the European peoples: the Celts, Franks, Slavs, Greeks, and Latins, as well as the Anglo-Saxons, Scandinavians, and Germans. Furthermore, in the private conversations of the inner circle, the terms “Aryan” and “German” became almost synonymous, so that the Germanism the group championed had this strong underlay of Pan-Aryanism. Adapting Gobineau’s theories to the Darwinian revelation, they embraced the emerging eugenics movement and called for a new racial synthesis of the best specimens of all branches of the white race.
But the Geist of the Wagnerites transcended the merely biological perspective of Francis Galtonand his eugenic cohorts: they knew that the blood of the regenerated race must be raised up in a fusion with Spirit. Wagner’s visionary choice of a vehicle for this Higher Power was an Aryan Christ. The vision was made manifest in his final opera Parsifal, which we’ll speak of in the next chapter. To fully grasp its meaning, we have to understand the context from which it arose, theWeltanschauung of the Wagnerian elect. Within this sophisticated group were individuals conversant with Hinduism, Theosophy, and the Christian mystics, and their challenge was how to embed the heady spiritual truths into a platform upon which the Volk could plant their earthy feet. A consensus formed around a program for a Germanized Christianity that would sever its ties with Judaism and integrate it with the doctrine of race.
In Foundations Chamberlain made the case that Jesus was racially and spiritually Aryan, even though he professed the Jewish religion. He presented the history of Galilee in a manner that showed its inhabitants to have been mainly Greeks and Phoenicians, intermixed with the remnants of a sort of lost tribe of Indo-Aryans. Furthermore, he said that the Gospel teachings clearly sprang from the same exalted spirit evident in the Upanishads and other Aryan artifacts, rather than “the legalistic and materialist faith of the Jews”. This theory was definitely a precursor of those that sprang up a half-century later asserting that Jesus had attained his wisdom from sojourns in India and Persia.
Chamberlain’s writing style was designed to appeal to the intelligentsia and literati of the time, and seduce them away from the heavy Jewish influence in those fields. He thereby found it expedient to insinuate his conclusions rather than stating them directly, and to compromise by ascribing “a few Jewish traits” to the Savior. Despite the success of this section of the book in furthering the cause, Cosima was furious when she read it, and privately took Chamberlain to task for the heresy of even suggesting the possibility that Jesus may have been Jewish. This clearly shows that in the esoteric converse of the Wagnerites, it was totally accepted and taken for granted that Christ was Aryan.