Geschichte Literatur

Rudyard Kipling: Gestern vor knapp 800 Jahren

Rudyard Kiplings „The Reeds of Runnymede“ (Magna Charta, June 15, 1215) — mit einigen Hervorhebungen und Kommentaren.

At Runnymede, at Runnymede
What say the reeds at Runnymede?
The lissom reeds that give and take,
That bend so far, but never break.
They keep the sleepy Thames awake
With tales of John at Runnymede.

At Runnymede, at Runnymede,
Oh, hear the reeds at Runnymede: —
„You mustn’t sell, delay, deny,
A freeman’s right or liberty.
It wakes the stubborn Englishry,
We saw ‚em roused at Runnymede!

Rechte sind „negativ“; sie verbieten dem Staat und dem Mitbürger, dies und jenes mit einem Menschen zu tun. Und sie müssen verteidigt werden.

„When through our ranks the Barons came,
With little thought of praise or blame,
But resolute to play the game,
They lumbered up to Runnymede;
And there they launched in solid line
The first attack on Right Divine —
The curt, uncompromising ‚Sign!‘
That settled John at Runnymede.

„At Runnymede, at Runnymede,
Your rights were won at Runnymede!
No freeman shall be fined or bound,
Or dispossessed of freehold ground,
Except by lawful judgment found
And passed upon him by his peers.
Forget not, after all these years,
The Charter Signed at Runnymede.“

Rechte fallen nicht vom Himmel; sie müssen erkämpft werden.

And still when Mob or Monarch lays
Too rude a hand on English ways,
The whisper wakes, the shudder plays,
Across the reeds at Runnymede.
And Thames, that knows the moods of kings,
And crowds and priests and suchlike things,
Rolls deep and dreadful as he brings
Their warning down from Runnymede!

Die Herrschaft des Rechts (Rule of Law) darf nicht mit der Herrschaft der Mehrheit des Volkes verwechselt werden. Die Frage, wer herrschen soll, ist irreführend. Es geht darum, was herrschen soll: Ein Recht, das jeden einzelnen Bürger vor Staat und Mitbürgern schützt.

Geschichte Res publica

Der Bildungsauftrag öffentlich-rechtlicher Medien in historischer Perspektive


Als Winston Churchill ’störte‘. Milton Friedman:

From 1933 to the outbreak of World War II, Churchill was not permitted to talk over the British radio, which was, of course, a government monopoly administered by the British Broadcasting Corporation. Here was a leading citizen of his country, a Member of Parliament, a former cabinet minister, a man who was desperately trying by every device possible to persuade his countrymen to take steps to ward off the menace of Hitler’s Germany. He was not permitted to talk over the radio to the British people because the BBC was a government monopoly and his position was too „controversial“.

(Capitalism and Freedom, Chicago 2002, S. 19.)

Geschichte Literatur

Mit Rudyard Kipling zum neuen Jahr


A.D. 980-1016

It is always a temptation to an armed and agile nation
To call upon a neighbour and to say: —
„We invaded you last night – we are quite prepared to fight,
Unless you pay us cash to go away.“

And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
And the people who ask it explain
That you’ve only to pay ‚em the Dane-geld
And then you’ll get rid of the Dane!

It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation,
To puff and look important and to say: —
„Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
We will therefore pay you cash to go away.“

And that is called paying the Dane-Geld;
But we’ve proved it again and again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
You never get rid of the Dane.

It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
For fear they should succumb and go astray;
So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
You will find it better policy to say: —

„We never pay any-one Dane-Geld,
No matter how trifling the cost;
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that pays it is lost!

Geschichte Res publica

Wie man die schlechte Nachricht höflich überbringt

Hagen Schulzes „Kleine deutsche Geschichte“ zeichnet – neben vielem anderen – die deutsche Sozialstaatstradition nach. Der Historiker übt Zurückhaltung. Denn die Fakten sprechen für sich.

Schulze über das Deutsche Reich von 1871:

Das Sozialistengesetz von 1878 war die staatliche Antwort auf die Kampfansage der „Umsturzpartei“, wenn es sich auch in Kenntnis politischer Unterdrückungsmaßnahmen des 20. Jahrhunderts fast harmlos ausnimmt – immerhin blieb die SPD-Reichstagsfraktion bestehen und erstarkte von Wahl zu Wahl. Auf der anderen Seite führte die Reichsregierung seit 1880 Schritt für Schritt eine staatliche Sozialversicherung ein, die vorbildlich für ganz Europa wurde, um aus besitzlosen Sozialisten konservative Rentiers zu machen – was das anging, erwies sich die europaweit vorbildliche, wenn auch ganz aus dem Geist des ostelbischen Paternalismus erdachte Sozialpolitik als erfolglos, denn nach der Aufhebung des Sozialistengesetzes 1890 war der Zustrom zur SPD stärker denn je. (Kleine deutsche Geschichte, S. 136)

Ansprüche auf Ansprüche (entitlements) wachsen mit dem Essen.

Geschichte Religion

Russell über Marx und Calvin


Unsere Linksradikalen jugendlichen oder berufsjugendlichen Zuschnitts halten sich für „rationaler“ – es lebe der Komparativ! – als ihre nicht-linken Zeitgenossen. Diese Selbsteinschätzung könnte sich jedoch als hinfällig erweisen, wie Bertrand Russell in „New Hopes for a Changing World“ zeigt:

There is in Marx a cold logic which is reminiscent of Calvin. Calvin held that certain people – chosen not for their virtues but arbitrarily – are predestined to go to heaven, and the rest are predestined to go to hell. No one has a free will: if the elect behave well that is by God’s grace, and if the reprobate behave badly, that again is because God has so willed it. So in Marx’s system if you are born a proletarian you are fated to carry out the purposes of Dialectical Materialism (as the new God is called), while if you are born a bourgeois you are predestined to struggle vainly against the light, and to be cast into outer darkness if you live until the coming Revolution.

The whole process of history proceeds according to a logical system, which Marx took over, with slight modifications, from Hegel. Human developments are as irresistible and as independent of human will as the movements of the heavenly bodies. The force that brings about change in social affairs is the conflict of classes. After the proletarian revolution there will be only one class, and therefore change will cease. For a time the dispossessed bourgeoisie will suffer, and the elect, like Tertullian, will diversify their bliss by the contemplation of the damned in concentration camps. But Marx, more merciful than Calvin, will allow their sufferings to end with death.

This curiously primitive myth…

Was könnte man noch hinzufügen?

(Das Zitat findet sich auf den Seiten 121-122 der Ausgabe, welche 1956 bei George Allen & Unwin in London erschienen ist.)

Geschichte Meme

Auguste Mayer, Hobart-Town

…und, Freund, sehen Sie bloß „Imperialismus“ und „Ausbeutung“?

Geschichte Res publica

Samuel Adams: Maxime

If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude than the animating contest of freedom–go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!

Samuel Adams am ersten August im Jahre des Herrn 1776