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The Conservatives: Friedrich Julius Stahl: "What is the Revolution?" (1852)

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Only Christianity is capable of shutting down the revolution. For Christianity is the archetype [Urbild] of that realm of freedom of which revolution is merely a caricature [Zerrbild]. But where the archetype is consumed in the light of its glory, there the shadows of the caricature must fade. For that reason, too, the revolution will not be shut down, because the archetype of Christianity is never consumed on earth, but instead revolution can only be suppressed, have a foot placed on its neck; but it will never cease its rebellion, and when the guardians slumber, it will rise up. In the same way that Amalek was suppressed by Israel in battle, but immediately rose up when the praying hands of Moses fell. Therefore there will be no return to the time in which governing authorities might nonchalantly give themselves over to their injustices and vices, their inclinations and hobbies, their rivalries [other] than in profound tranquility and under secure rule. The enemy of human society is girded and threatens to fell society when it leaves the fortress of divine protection by sinning against its divine vocation. And we, too, who live as subjects in this era, are already surrounded by divine tribunals on our earthly passage. We, too, dare not close the wakeful eye and take off the armor; for all of us are called to be guardians and fighters against revolution. Revolution is indeed a realm of sin that permeates all of human life and human essence. The fight against it does not stand still at the barricades and in the parliaments. Everyone who professes faith in Christianity and leads a life of God-fearing, of loyalty toward king, of contentment in his profession, of cultivation and love – he wields gigantic blows against the revolution. Christian faith and the Christian creed have the eternal promises on their side. The double-edged sword of God's word, even from the meekest mouth, will penetrate the rock-hard armor of the revolution. But these promises are linked to a condition: to Christian loyalty. Whoever wants to break with the revolution must first break with his own sin. Nobody can fell the enemy in the world unless he first fells him in his heart. Christian loyalty is the thoroughgoing, complete break with the revolution. Therefore may God provide that the princes among the nations do not depart from the fortress of his care and the guardians do not slumber and the fighters do not grow weary, and that the praying hands of Moses do not fall; and may He provide that we stay loyal, so that we may be contrived as victors in the early dispute and in the eternal decision. Let it come true!

Source: Friedrich Julius Stahl, Siebzehn parlamentarische Reden und drei Vorträge. Berlin: Wilhelm Hertz, 1862, pp. 132-46.

Translation: Jeremiah Riemer

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