Friedrich Nietzsche, Miscellaneous Maxims and opinions (Vermischte Meinungen und Sprüche).

Miscellaneous Maxims and Opinions, the first supplement to Human, All Too Human, first published in 1879.  A second supplement, The Wanderer and his Shadow (Der Wanderer und sein Schatten) followed in 1880.

  

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Previous Section   304. THE REVOLUTION SPIRIT AND THE POSSESSION SPIRIT   Next Section

The Revolution Spirit and the Possession Spirit.  The only remedy against Socialism that still lies in your power is to avoid provoking Socialism — in other words, to live in moderation and contentment, to prevent as far as possible all lavish display, and to aid the State as far as possible in its taxing of all superfluities and luxuries.  You do not like this remedy?  Then, you rich bourgeois who call yourselves "Liberals” confess that it is your own inclination that you find so terrible and menacing in Socialists, but allow to prevail in yourselves as unavoidable, as if with you it were something different.  As you are constituted, if you had not your fortune and the cares of maintaining it, this bent of yours would make Socialists of you.  Possession alone differentiates you from them.  If you wish to conquer the assailants of your prosperity, you must first conquer yourselves.  And if that prosperity only meant well being, it would not be so external and provocative of envy; it would be more generous, more benevolent, more compensatory, more helpful.  But the spurious, histrionic element in your pleasures, which lie more in the feeling of contrast (because others have them not, and feel envious) than in feelings of realised and heightened power — your houses, dresses, carriages, shops, the demands of your palates and your tables, your noisy operatic and musical enthusiasm; lastly your women, formed and fashioned but of base metal, gilded but without the ring of gold, chosen by you for show and considering themselves meant for show — these are the things that spread the poison of that national disease, which seizes the masses ever more and more as a Socialistic heart-itch, but has its origin and breeding place in you.  Who shall now arrest this epidemic?  
 

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