Today and Destiny: Vitae Excerpts From Spengler's 'The Decline of the West'

Arranged by Edwin Franden Dakin


OSWALD SPENGLER’* Decline of the West belongs in the limited shelf of books that have both anticipated and influenced the trend of human thought, the development of political and economic institutions, the general course of human history. It ranks with Marx’s Capital, with Darwin’s Origin of Species, with Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil. It is a more accurate forecast of the main features of the contemporary fascist state than Marx’s Capital is a prediction of what has actually been done in Marx’s name in Russia, although Spengler, unlike Marx, was more interested in interpreting history than in making it. Like Marx, Spengler is difficult reading, with his typically German combination ot erudition and prolixity. There is therefore a good case tor giving the American public a sort ot topical Spengler, the excerpts from his enormous work which bear most directly and most compellingly on the events and trends that are reflected in today’s headlines. One misses, ot course, some of the quality of any work if one does not read it through without abridgment. But tor the vast majority even ot the educated classes who will never read Spengler from cover to cover Mr. Dakin has done a useful job of intelligent abridgment. He draws from Spengler the moral for America that in the present age we must become hard-boiled and imperialistic as a means of self-preservation.