A Discussion of Spengler's Decline of the West -- Money Against Blood

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A Discussion of Spengler's Decline of the West -- Money Against Blood Keyser Soze 10/5/05 1:21 PM

A Discussion of Spengler's Decline of the West  --  Money Against
Blood

First this overview of Spengler's view of the decline of Faustian
(Western) Civilization from:

Pitrim Sorokin,  Modern Historical and Social Philosophies (New York:
Dover Publications, Inc., 1963), Chap.4 "Oswald Spengler" Pp. 102-105

At the Civilizational phase there arises the world city, the monstrous
symbol and vessel of the completely sophisticated intellect, the
megalopolis in which the life-cycle of the Culture ends by winding
itself up.  A handful of such world centers devalues the entire
motherland and turns the rest into inferior and insignificant
"provinces."  Babylon, Thebes, Alexandria, Rome, Constantinople,
Pataliputra, Baghdad, Uxmal are examples of the early world cities.
Paris, London, Berlin, and especially New York, are recent examples.
"And the rise of New York to the rank of the world city may prove to
have been the most pregnant event of the nineteenth century."

   These cities are "wholly intellect"  ...  They are not "home."  The
birth of these cities entails their death by their growth and and
their contrast of riches and poverty, their their artificial
stimulation and their toedium vitae, and finally by the increasing
sterility of the megalopolitan man.  The world city displays a
metaphysical turn towards death.  The man of the megalopolis no longer
wants to live.  The peasant woman is first of all and most of all a
mother. The megalopolis woman is a childless Ibsen woman, Nora or
Nana, whether in Paris or New York, in Lao-tzu China or Charvaka
India.

   At this level all Civilizations enter the stage of depopulation
which can last for centuries.

   The whole pyramid of cultural man vanishes.  It crumbles from the
summit, first the world cities, then the "provinces," then the land
itself whose best blood has poured into the city and exhausted itself.
At last, only the primitive blood remains, alive, but robbed of its
best elements.  The residue is the Fellah type, dull, dumb, semi-serf
semi-free peasant-laborer.

In today's Western world cities, with their machines technics, we are
the observers and actors in the last act of a great Culture's tragedy.
The lord of the world is becoming the slave of the machine.  The
mechanization of the world has entered a phase of highly dangerous
over-tension.

All organic things are dying in the grip of this megalopolitan machine
organization.  It begins to contradict even economic practice.  The
machine in the end defeats its own purpose. ... the machine technics
is beginning to destroy itself  ...   It will be eaten up from within,
like the grand forms of any and every Culture.  ...

In a similar way money and "democracy" undermine themselves and are
"eaten up from within,"  giving way to the victorious policy of
undisguised forces of Caesarism.  In the early period of Culture the
governing powers are pre-established, God-given and unquestioned.
They are represented by the aristocracy among the nobility and the
clergy.  The policy of that period is the policy of these estates, and
not the policy of the party.

With the rise of the city the intellect, money, and the bourgeoisie
take over the leading role.  In place of the estate there appears the
party.  The prime party is that of money and mind, the liberal, the
megalopolitan.  Aristocracy in the completed Culture, and democracy in
the insipient cosmopolitan Civilization, stand opposed until both are
submerged in Caesarism.  The forms of the governing minority develop
steadily from the stage of the estate, through that of the party,
towards the following of the dictatorial individual (Caesar).  The
estate has instincts, the party has a program, but the following has a
master.

Democracy's passage into Caesarism -- the governmen t representing in
its inward self a return to thorough formlessness, to dictatorial
arbitrariness -- is marked by the following steps.  At the outset of
democracy the field belongs to the responsible, noble and pure
intellect alone.  It introduces the bill of rights and equality under
the law.  Soon, however, it turns out that one can make use of
constitutional rights only if one has money.  The leadership passes
from the idealist intellect to the shrewd money-maker, the bourgeois.
It begins to control the vote and the voters through its political
machinery.  The press, as a powerful propaganda weapon, becomes one of
the most influential and insidious parts of this machinery.  Democracy
through its newspaper and mass magazine expels the book from the
people's mental life.  Through the press, "mass education," and mass
propaganda, it teaches the people to think less and less for
themselves and to accept more and more what is offered by the press
(and radio and television).  The book world, with its profusion of
standpoints that compelled individualo thought to select and
criticize, is now the possession only a few.  The people read only one
paper, "their" paper, which spellbinds the intellect from morning to
night, drives serious books into oblivion, prmotes the books it wants,
and kills the books it disapproves of.

What is truth (under democracy)?  That which the press wills.  Its
commands evoke, transform, and interchange truths.  Three weeks of
press work and the "truth" is acknowledged by everybody.  Mass
education tends to shepherd the masses into the newspaper's power
area.  Of course, there is freedom of speech in democracy, but the
press is free to take, or not to take, notice of what the "citizen"
syas.  It can condemn any "truth to death by simply passing it by in
silence, by not communicating it to the world.  In lieu of the stake
and faggot there is the great silence.

Such a press and such mass education pave the way for the Caesars.
The distature of party leaders supports itself upon that of the press.
The leaders strive to train the bulk of their followers by whipping
their souls with articles, telegrams and pictures that are more
effective than a physical whip or military service, until the masses
clamor for weapons and seemingly force their leaders to an eventual
dictatorship, which these leaders have carefully prepared.  "This is
the end of Democracy.  If  in the world of truth  it is proof that
decides all,  in that of facts it is success.  Success means that one
being triumphs over the others."  Through the press and other means,
the masses, their minds, and their actions are kept under the iron
discipline of the parties, which in turn are the retinue of the few
bosses.  Parliaments, congresses, and elections are a sort of
preconcerted game, a farce staged in the name of popular
self-determination.

"Through money democracy becomes its own destroyer, after money has
destroyed the intellect."  Noble intellectual and moral leaders of the
beginning of democracy are now replaced by unscrupulous and
non-intellectual politicians.  One boss is overthrown by another.
Fights, disturbances, and insecurity become chronic.  As a result men
become tired and disgusted with money values, with all this bickering,
and begin to hope for salvation from somewhere or other, from a
revival of old values, unselfishness, hnoneor, inseward nobility, the
arrival of a new Savior.

In this way Caesarism grows on the soil of degenerated democracy and
sooner or later conquers it.  It establishes money economics and
purely political will-to-order.  Caesarism is thus the final act of
Civilization in the field of social, economic, and political
organization.  Eventually barbarization sets in, and the Culture's
social form steadily disintegrates.  It ends with the "second
religiosity" and with the forms which it -- and its church -- impose
upon the remnants of the Culture's life-cycle.  Its social history has
ended.


Pitrim Sorokin,  Modern Historical and Social Philosophies (New York:
Dover Publications, Inc., 1963), Chap.4 "Oswald Spengler" Pp. 102-105

----------------

Der Untergang des Abendlandes, Gestalt und Wirklichkeit, copyright
1918

Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West, abridged by Helmut Werner
from translation by Charles Francis Atkinson, English abridged edition
prepared by Arthur Helps (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1962)

Parliamentarism is not a summit as the absolute Polis ... but a brief
transition. ... It contains, like the houses and furniture of the
first half of the nineteenth century, a residue of good Baroque.  The
parliamentary habit is English Rococo -- but no longer unselfconscious
and in the blood, but retaining its sovereignty by a fiction.  With
the beginning of the twentieth century Parliamentarism (even English)
is tending rapidly towards taking up itself the role that it once
assigned to the kingship.  It is becoming an impressive spectacle for
the multitude of the Orthodox, while the centre of gravity of big
policy, already de jure transferred from the Crown to the people's
representatives, is passing de facto from the latter to unofficial
groups and the will of unofficial personages.  There is no way back to
the old parliamentarism from the domination of Lloyd George and the
Napoleonism of the French militarists.  And for America, hitherto
living apart and self-contained, rather a region than a State, the
parallelism of President and Congress which she derived from a theory
of Montesquieu has, with her entry into world politics, become
untenable, and must in time of real danger make way for formless
powers such as those with which Mexico and South America have been
long familiar.  (Pp. 374-375)

With this enters the age of gigantic conflicts, in which we find
ourselves today.  It is the transition from Napoleonism to Caesarism,
a general phase of evolution, which occupies at least two centuries
and can be shown to exist in all cultures.  The Chinese call it
Shan-Kwo, the "period" of Contending States."

For us the time of Contending States began with Napoleon and his
violent-arbitrary government by order.  He was the first in our world
to make effective the notion of a military and at the same time
popular world domination -- something altogether different from the
Empire of Charles V and even the British Colonial Empire of his own
day.  If the nineteenth century was relatively poor in great wars --  
and revolutions -- and overcame its worst crises diplomatically by
means of congresses, this has been due precisely to the continuous and
terrific war-preparedness which has made disputants, fearful at the
eleventh hour of the consequences, postpone the definitive decision
again and again, and let do the substitution of chess-moves for war.
For this is the century of gigantic permanent armies and universal
compulsory service.  We ourselves are too near to see it under this
terrifying aspect.  In all world-history there is no parallel.  Ever
since Napoleon, hundreds of thousands, and latterly millions, of men
have stood ready to march, and mighty fleets renewed every ten years
have filled the harbours.  It is war without war, a war of overbidding
in equipment and preparedness, a war of figures and tempo and
technics, and the diplomatic dealings have been not of court with
court, but of headquarters with headquarters.  The longer the
discharge was delayed, the more huge became the means and the more
intolerable the tension.  This is the Faustian, the dynamic, form of
"the Contending States" during the first century of that period, but
it ended with the explosion of the World War.  For the demand of these
four years has been altogether too much for the principle of universal
service -- child of the French Revolution, revolutionary through and
through, as it is in this form -- and all tactical methods evolved
from it.  The place of permanent armies as we know them will gradually
be taken by  professional forces of volunteer war-keen soldiers; and
from millions we shall revert to hundreds of thousands.  But ipso
facto this second century will be one of actually Contending States.
These armies are not substitutes for war -- they are for war, and they
want war.  Within two generations it will be their will that prevails
over that of all the comfortables put together.  In these wars of
theirs for the heritage of the whole world, continents will be
stalked, India, China, South Africa, Russia, Islam, called out, new
technics and tactics played and counterplayed.  The great cosmopolitan
foci of power will dispose at their pleasure of smaller states --  
their territory, their economy and their men alike -- all that is now
merely province, passive object, means to end, and its destinies are
without importance to the great march of things.  We ourselves, in a
very few years, have learned to take little or no notice of events
that before the War would have horrified the world;  who today
seriously thinks about the millions that perish in Russia?

Again and again between these catastrophes of blood and terror the cry
rises up for reconciliation of the peoples and for peace on earth.  It
is but the background and the echo of the grand happening, but, as
such, so necessary that we to assume its existence ...     Esteem as
we may the wish towards all this, we must have the courage to face
facts as they are ...  Life if it would be great is hard;  it lets
choose only between victory and ruin, not between war and peace, and
to the victor belong the sacrifices of victory.  For that which
shuffles queroulously and jealously by the side of the events is only
literature -- written or thought or lived literature -- mere truths
that lose themselves in the moving crush of facts.  History has never
deigned to take notice of these propositions.  In the Chinese world
Hiang-Sui tried, as early as 535, to found a peace league.  In the
period of the Contending States, imperialism (Lien-heng) was opposed
by the League of Nations idea (Hoa-tsung), particularly in the
southern regions, but it was fordoomed like every half measure that
steps into the path of a whole, and it had vanished even before the
victory of the North.  ...

... From the rigor of these facts there is no refuge.  The Hague
Conference of 1907 was the prelude of the World War ...   The history
of these times is no longer an intellectual match of wits in elegant
forms for pluses and minuses, from whcih either side can withdraw when
it pleases.  The alternatives now are to stand fast or go under --  
there is no middle course.  The only moral that the logic of things
permits to us now is that of the climber on the face of the crag -- a
moment's weakness and all is over.  Today all "philosophy" is nothing
but inward abdication and resignation, or a craven hope of escaping
realities by means of mysticisms.  It was just the same in Roman
times. ...

In these conditions so much of old and great traditions as remains, so
much of hisotircal "fitness" and experience as has got into the blood
of twentieth-century nations, aquires and unequalled potency.  For us
creative piety, or (to use a more fundamental term) the pulse that has
come down to us from first origins, adheres onlyh to forms that are
older than the Revolution and Napoleon, forms which grew and were not
made [footnote: including the constitution of the United States of
America.  Only thus can we account for the reverence that the American
cherishes for it , even where he clearly sees its insufficiency.]  ...

 (Pp.376-378)

CAESARISM

By the term "Caesarism" I mean that kind of government which,
irrespective of any constitutional formulation that it may have, is in
its inward self a return to thorough formlessness.  It does not matter
that Augustus in Rome, and Huang Ti in China, Amasis in Egypt and Alp
Arslan in Baghdad disguised their position under antique forms.  The
spirit of these forms was dead, and so all institutions however
carefully maintained, were thenceforth destitute of all meaning and
weight.  Real importance centered in the wholly personal power
exercised by the Caesar, or by anybody else capable of exercising it
in his place.  It is the recidive of a form-fulfilled world into
primitivism, into the cosmic-historyless.  Biological stretches of
time once more take the place vacated by historical periods.

At the beginning, where the Civilization is developing to full bloom
(today), there stands the miracle of the Cosmopolis, the great
petrifiact, a symbol of the formless -- vast, splendid, spreading in
insolence.  It draws within itself the being streams of the now
impotent countryside, human masses that are wafted as dunes from one
to another or flow like loose sand into the chinks of the stone.  Here
money and intellect celebrate their greatest and their last triumphs.
It is the most artificial, the cleaverest phenomenon manifested in the
light-world of human eyes -- uncanny, "too good to be true," standing
already almost beyond the possibilities of cosmic formation.

Presently, however, the idea-less facts come forward again, naked and
gigantic. ... In the form of democracy, money has won.  There has been
a period in which politics were almost its preserve.  But as soon as
it has destroyed the old orders of the Culture, the chaos gives forth
a new and overpowering factor that penetrates to the very elementals
of Becoming -- the Caesar-men.  Before them the omnipotence of money
collapses.  The Imperial Age, in every Culture alike, signifies the
end of the politics of mind and money.  The powers of the blood,
unbroken bodily forces, resume their ancient lordship.  ... the
strongest win and the residue is their spoil.  They seize the
management of the world, and the realm of books and problems petrifies
or vanishes from memory.  ...

Once the Imperial Age has arrived, there are no more political
problems.  People manage with the situation as it is and the powers
that be.  In the period of the Contending States, torrents of blood
had reddened the pavements of the world-cities, so that the great
truths of Democracy might be turned into actualities, and for the
winning of rights without which life seemed not worth the living.  Now
these rights are won, but the grandchildren cannot be moved, even by
punishment, to make use of them.  A hundred years more and even the
historians will no longer understand the old controversies.  ...

...

For world peace -- which has often existed in fact -- involves the
private renunciation of war on the part of the immense majority, but
along with this it involves and unavowed readiness to submit to being
the booty of others who do not renounce it.  It begins with the
State-destroying wish for universal reconciliation, and it ends in
nobody's moving a finger so long as misfortune only touches his
neighbor.  ...   The state of being "in form" passes from nations to
bands and retinues of adventurers, self-styled Caesars, seceding
generals, barbarian kings and what not -- in whose eyes the population
becomes in the end merely part of the landscape.   ...  -- there is
the first hint of them in Cecil Rhodes -- and the alien executioners
of Russian preface, from Genghis Khan to Trotski  ...  when all is
said and done very little different from most of the pretenders of the
Latin-American republics, whose private struggles have long since put
an end to the form-rich age of the Spanish Baroque.

With the formed state having finished its course, high history also
lays itself down weary to sleep.  Man becomes a plant again, adhering
to the soil, dumb and enduring.  The timeless village and the
"eternal" peasant reappear, begetting children and burying seed in
Mother Earth -- a busy, easily contented swarm, over which the tempest
of soldier-emperors passingly blows.  In the midst of the land lie the
old world-cities, empty recepticles of an extinguished soul, in which
a historyless mankind slowly nests itself.  Men live from hand to
mouth, with petty thrifts and petty fortunes, and endure.  Masses are
trampled on in the conflicts of the conquerors who contend for the
power and the spoil of this world, but the survivors fill up the gaps
with a primative fertility and suffer on.  And while in high places
there is eternal alternance of victory and defeat, those in the depths
pray, pray with that mighty peity of the Sevcond Religiousness that
has overcome all doubters forever.  There, in the souls, world-peace,
the peace of God, the bliss of grey-haired monks and hermits, is
become actual -- and there alone.   ...   We may marvel at it or we
may lament it  -- but so it is.

---

Gunpowder and printing belong together -- both discovered at the
culmination of the Gothic, both arising out of Germanic technical
thought -- .. The Reformation in the beginning of the Late period
witnessed the first flysheets and the first field guns, the French
Revolution in the beginning of Civilization witnessed the first
tempest of pamphlets in the autumn of 1788 and the first mass fire of
artilery at Valmy.  But with this the printed word, produced in vast
quantity and distributed over enormous areas, became an uncanny weapon
in the hands of him who knew how to use it. ... The war of articles,
flysheets, spurious memoirs, that was waged from London on French soil
against Napoleon was the first great example.

Today we live so cowed under the bombardment of this intellectual
artillery that hardly anyone can attain to the inward detachment that
is required for a clear view of the monstrous drama.  The
will-to-power operating under a pure democratic disguise has
accomplished the task so well that the object's sense of freedom is
actually flattered by the most thorough-going enslavement that has
ever existed.

...

No tamer of animals has more under his power.  Unleash the people as
reader-mass and it will storm through the streets and hurl itself upon
the target indicated, terrifying and breaking windows;  a hint to the
press-staff and it will become quiet and go home.  The Press today is
an army with carefully organized arms and branches, with journalists
as officers, and readers as soldiers.  But here, as in every army, the
soldier obeys blindly, and war-aims and operation-plans change without
his knowledge.  The reader neither knows, nor is allowed to know, the
purposes for which he is used, nor even the role that he is to play.
A more appalling charicature of freedom of thought cannot be imagined.
Formerly a man did not dare to think freely. Now he dares, but cannot;
his will to think is only willingness to think to order, and this is
what he feels as his liberty.

The dictature of party leaders supports itself upon that of the Press.
The competitors strive by means of money to detach readers -- nay
peoples  --  en masse from the hostile allegiance and to bring them
under their own mind-training.  And all that they learn in this
mind-training is what it is considered that they should know -- a
higher will puts together the pictures of their world for them.  ...

...

Through money, democracy becomes its own destroyer, after money has
destroyed intellect. But, just because the illusion that actuality can
allow itself to be improved by the ideas of any Zeno or Marx has fled
away; because men have learned that in the realm of reality  one
power-will can be overthrown only by another (for that is the great
human experience of Contending States periods);  there wakes at last a
deep yearning for all old and worthy tradition that still lingers
alive.  Men are tired to disgust of the money economy.  They hope for
salvation, from some true ideal of honour and chivalry, of inward
nobility that has saved itself up for the future, everything that
there is of high money-distaining ethic, everyting that is
intrinsically sound enough to be ... the servant --of the State  ...
Caesarism grows on the soil of Democracy, but its roots threat deeply
into the underground of blood tradition.   ...  The mighty ones of the
future may possess the earth as their private property -- for the
great political form of the Culture is irremediably in ruin  -- but it
matters not, for, formless and limitless as their power may be, it has
a task.  And this task is the unwearing care for this world as it is,
which is the very opposite of the interestedness of the money-power
age, and demands high honor and conscientiousness.  But for this very
reason ther now sets in the final battle between Democracy and
Caesarism, between the leading forces of dictatorial money-economics
and the purely political will  to-order of the Caesars.  Pp. 394-395

...

Life's will is to preserve itself and to prevail, or, rather, to make
itself stronger in order that it may prevail.  But in the economic
state of fitness the being-streams are in order as self-regarding,
whereas in a political they must be other-regarding. Whole peoples
have lost the tense force of their race through the gnawing
wretchedness of their living.  Here men die of something and not for
something.  Politics sacrifices men for an idea, they fall for an
idea;  but economy merely wastes them away.  In war life is elevated
by death, often to that point of irresistible force whose mere
existence guarantees victory, but in the economic life hunger awakens
the ugly, vulgar and wholly unmetaphysical sort of fearfulness for
one's life under which the higher form-world of Culture miserably
collapses and the naked struggle for existence of the human beasts
begins.

For this very reason the significance of economic history is something
quite different from that of political.  Economics is only a
foundation, for Being that is in any way meaningful.  What really
counts is not that an individual individual or a people is "in good
condition," well nourished and fruitful, but for what he or it is so;
and the higher man climbs historically, the more conspicuously his
political and religious inward symbolism and force of expression
towers above everything in the way of form and depth that the economic
life as such possesses.  It is only with the coming of the
"Civilization," when the whole form-world  begins to ebb, that mere
life-preserving begins to outline itself nakedly and insistently  --  
this is the time when the banal assertion that "hunger and love" are
the driving forces of life ceases to be ashamed of itself;  when life
comes to mean, not a waxing in strength for the task, but a matter of
"happiness of the greatest number," of comfort and ease, of "panem et
circenses" [bread and circus --DE]; and when, in the place of grand
politics, we have economic politics as an end in itself.

All higher economic life develops on and over a peasantry.  Peasantry,
per se, does not presuppose any basis but itself.  It is, so to say
race-in-itself, plant-like and historyless, producing and using wholly
for itself, with an outlook on the world that sweepingly regards every
other economic existence as incidental and contemptible.  To this
producing kind of economy there is presently opposed an aquisitive
kind, which makes use of the former as a object -- as a source of
nourishment, tribute or plunder.  Politics and trade are in their
beginnings quite inseoperable, both being masterful, personal,
warlike, both with a hunger for power and booty.  Primitive war is
always also booty-war, and primitive trade intimately related to
plunder and piracy.  ...

Politics and trade in developed form -- the art of achieving material
successes over an opponent by means of intellectual superiority -- are
both a replacement of war by other means.  Every kind of diplomacy is
of a business nature, every business of a diplomatic, and both are
based upon penetrative judgement of men and physiognomic tact.

But the genuine prince and statesman wants to rule, and the genuine
merchant wants only to be wealthy, and here the aquisitive economy
divides to pursue aim and means separately.  One may aim at booty for
the sake of power, or at power for the sake of booty.

...

As the horse-powers run into millions and milliards, the numbers of
the population increase and increase, on a scale that no other Culture
ever thought possible.  This growth is the product of the Machine,
which insists on being used and directed, and to that end centuples
the powers of each individdual.  ...

What now developes, in the space of hardly a century, is a drama of
such greatness that the men of a future Culture, with other sould and
other passions, will hardly be able to resist the conviction that "in
those days" Nature herself was tottering.  The techniques will leave
traces of their heyday behind them when all else is lost and
forgotten.  For this Faustian passion has altered the face of the
Earth.  ...

...here the little life units have by the sheer force of their
intellect mastered inert matter.  It is a triumph, so far as we can
see, unparalleled. ...

But for that very reason Faustian man has become the slave of his
creation.  The machine has forcibly increased his numbers and changed
his habits in a direction from which there is no return.  The peasant,
the hand-worker, even the merchant, appear suddenly as inessential in
comparison with the three great figures that the machine has bred and
trained up in the cause of its development: the entrepreneur, the
engineer and the factory-worker. Out of a quite small branch of manual
work there has grown up (in this culture alone) a mighty tree that
casts its shadow over all the other vocations -- namelyh the economy
of the machine-industry.  It forces the entrepreneur not less than the
workman to obedience.  Both become slaves, and not masters, of the
machine, which now for the first time develops its devilish and occult
power.  Not merely the importance but the existence of of industry
depends upon the existence of the hundred thousand talented and
rigorously schooled brains that command the techniques and develop it
onward and onward.  The quiet engineer it is who is the machine's
master and destiny.  His tought is as possibility what the machine is
as actuality.  There have been fears, thoroughly materialistic fears,
of the exhaustion of the coal-fields.  But so long as there are worthy
technical path-finders, dangers of this sort have not existence.  When
and only when the crop of recruits for this army fails -- this army
whose thought-work forms one inward unit with the work of the
machine -- the industry must flicker out in spite of all that
managerial energy and the workers can do.

Suppose that, in future generations, the most gifted minds were to
find their soul's health more important than all the powers of this
world; suppose that under the influence of the metaphysic and
mysticism that is taking the place of rationalism today, the every
elite of intellect that is now concerned with the machine comes to be
overpowered by a growing sense of its Satanism  (it is the step from
Roger Bacon to Bernard of Clairvaux) -- then nothing can hinder the
end of this grand drama that has been a play of intellects, with hands
as mere auxiliaries.

But titanic, too, is the onslaught of money upon this intellectual
force.  Industry, too, is the earth-bound like the yeoman.  It has its
station, and its materials stream up out of the earth.  Only high
finance is wholly free, wholly intangible.  Since 1789 the banks, and
with them the bourses, have developed themselves on the credit-needs
of an industry growing ever more enormous, as a power on their own
account, and they will (as money wills in every Civilization) to be
the only power.  The ancient wrestle between the productive and the
aquisitive economies intensifies now into a silent gigantomachy of
intellects, fought out in the lists of the world-cities.  This battle
is the despairing struggle of technical thought to maintain its
liberty against money-thought.

The dictature of money marches on, tending to its material peak, in
the Faustian [Western] Civilization as in every other.  And now
something happens that is intelligible only to one who has penetrated
to the essence of money. ...  It thrust into the life of the yeoman's
countryside and set the earth moving; its thought transformed every
sort of handicraft; today it presses victoriously upon industry to
make the productive work of entrepreneur and engineer and labourer
alike its spoil.  The machine with its human retinue, the real queen
of this century, is in danger of succumbing to a stronger power.
Money, also, is beginning to lose its authority, and the last conflict
is at hand in which Civilization receives its conclusive form -- the
conflict between money and blood.

The coming of Caesarism breaks the dictature of money and its
political weapon, democracy.  After a long triumph of world-city
economy and its interests over political creative force, the political
side of life manifests itself after all as the stronger of the two.
The sword is victorious over money, the master-will subdues again the
plunderer-will.  If we call these money-powers "Capitalism," then we
may designate ... the will to call into life a mighty politco-economic
order that transcends all class interests, a system of lofty
thoughtfulness and duty-sense that keeps the whole in fine condition
for the decisive battle of its history, and this battle is also the
battle of money and law.  The private powers of the economy want free
paths for their aquisition of great resources.  No legislation must
stand in their way.  They want to make the laws themselves, in their
interests, and to that end they make use of the tool they have made
for themselves,  democracy,  the subsidized party.

Law needs, in order to resist this onslaught, a high tradition that
finds its satisfaction not in the heaping up of riches, but in the
tasks .. above and beyond all money-advantage.  A power can be
overthrown only by another power, not by a principle, and only one
power that can confront money is left.  Money is overthrown and
abolished by  ...   [blood, will-to-power, life] ... and not the
victory of truths, discoveries or money that signifies. ...

...

For us, however, whom Destiny has placed in this Culture and at this
moment of its development -- the moment when money is celebrating its
last victories, and the Caesarism that is to succeed approaches  ...
our direction, willed and obligatory at once, is set for us within
narrow limits ... We have not the freedom to reach this or that, but
the freedom to do the necessary or to do nothing.  ...

(excerpts from pages. 398- 415)

-----------------------

related:

viewpoint #1:

There is no external creator, no divine positive law which could give
an independent foundation to our world and to morality.  Our own act
of thinking is the foundation of our world.  I am responsible for my
personal interpretation of the world.  I give it meaning or
significance and value.  To know, to will and to act are not really
distinct.  The act of thinking creates morality so that the
distinction between theory and practice is invalid.  The community to
which one belongs is the basis of moral existence.  The more I am
myself, the more I identify with all man.

[But what about the man whose mind is controlled by the media?]

viewpoint #2:

A morally good act stems from a motive of duty.  Because of man's
finititude he must struggle to manifest a will that is good in every
respect, not the will that acts merely according to self-interest.
This subordinates the will to a further end and does not represent
good will in the unqualified sense.  The law, the right way of acting,
of ruling, is not to be found in the world of dogmas; it comes from
outside man, from the world of phenomena.  Man must seek and find the
law in his own person.  He must realize that he is a member of a great
human community and therefore assert the pre-eminence of duty over
selfish considerations.  A sense of duty must motivate every act --  
only then is it moral.

Every individual must make himself worthy of happiness by his own
acts.  These can best be attained within a society where individual
freedom is being exercised according to the law and in which the will
of each man is in accord with the will of all members of the comunity.

The autonomous will of each man, then, commands our moral acts.  These
commands are stated in imperatives, directing what we ought to do.
When an imperative commends actions that are necessarily and
universally good in themselves (and not means to a further end), it is
called a "catagorical imperative."  The prime imperative has been
stated:  Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same
time will that such action on such an occasion should become a
universal law.

[Can we trust that the Caesar that Spengler predicted will act
according to a prime imperative?  Why should the man with the will to
power, but not the will to money,  have any more care for the world
and the people in it?]

---Once the Imperial Age has arrived, there are no more political
problems.
People manage with the situation as it is and the powers that be.  In
the
period of the Contending States, torrents of blood had reddened the
pavements of the world-cities, so that the great truths of Democracy
might
be turned into actualities, and for the winning of rights without
which life
seemed not worth the living.  Now these rights are won, but the
grandchildren cannot be moved, even by punishment, to make use of
them.  A
hundred years more and even the historians will no longer understand
the old
controversies.  ...

...

For world peace -- which has often existed in fact -- involves the
private
renunciation of war on the part of the immense majority, but along
with this
it involves and unavowed readiness to submit to being the booty of
others
who do not renounce it.  It begins with the State-destroying wish for
universal reconciliation, and it ends in nobody's moving a finger so
long as
misfortune only touches his neighbor.  ...   The state of being "in
form"
passes from nations to bands and retinues of adventurers, self-styled
Caesars, seceding generals, barbarian kings and what not -- in whose
eyes
the population becomes in the end merely part of the landscape.
 ...  --
there is the first hint of them in Cecil Rhodes -- and the alien
executioners of Russian preface, from Genghis Khan to Trotski  ...
when all
is said and done very little different from most of the pretenders of
the
Latin-American republics, whose private struggles have long since put
an end
to the form-rich age of the Spanish Baroque.

With the formed state having finished its course, high history also
lays
itself down weary to sleep.  Man becomes a plant again, adhering to
the
soil, dumb and enduring.  The timeless village and the "eternal"
peasant
reappear, begetting children and burying seed in Mother Earth -- a
busy,
easily contented swarm, over which the tempest of soldier-emperors
passingly
blows.  In the midst of the land lie the old world-cities, empty
recepticles
of an extinguished soul, in which a historyless mankind slowly nests
itself.
Men live from hand to mouth, with petty thrifts and petty fortunes,
and
endure.  Masses are trampled on in the conflicts of the conquerors who
contend for the power and the spoil of this world, but the survivors
fill up
the gaps with a primative fertility and suffer on.  And while in high
places
there is eternal alternance of victory and defeat, those in the depths
pray,
pray with that mighty peity of the Sevcond Religiousness that has
overcome
all doubters forever.  There, in the souls, world-peace, the peace of
God,
the bliss of grey-haired monks and hermits, is become actual -- and
there
alone....