Peter Starbuck
"Reclaiming Drucker" - Page 3

A voice for freedom

Drucker.s next major influence was a figure who is all but forgotten today, the Bavarian Friedrich Julius Stahl. Born Joel Golson in 1802, Stahl was a convert from Judaism to Christianity who taught law at Berlin University. Stahl succeeded Edvard Gans, the last of the Hegelian left-wingers, in 1839 to the professorship of jurisprudence. His own views were rather more conservative, and the clash of politics between Stahl and Karl Marx, then a student at the faculty, had resulted in the latter.s leaving the university.

Stahl.s views were sometimes reactionary, and he argued that authority, not majority rule, was required for political decisiveness. His philosophy was also in the tradition of the infallibility of Christianity and the right of the monarch as the sole ruler in partnership with the church. He criticised the Enlightenment for rupturing this order. But, for Stahl, political rights were a nation.s greatest assets. He strongly opposed Marxism and totalitarian rule; despite his views on authority, he believed in the need for a democratic Christian state. Thus his ideas were in diametric opposition to those of the Nazis.

This, plus his Jewish birth, was of interest to Drucker, who regarded Stahl as Germany.s foremost political philosopher. From Stahl, Drucker added to the building blocks of his views on what constituted a workable society, combining Stahl.s ideas with those of Schumpeter on democratic free-market economy. He took the view that Stahl was anticipating many of the developments of the US contribution, and began to regard the US as the only possible hope against the rise of totalitarian rulers such as Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini. Further inspiration came from Drucker.s study of the French political philosopher, Alexis de Tocqueville, who regarded the US as being able to solve the problems of democracy when most countries in Europe had failed to do so.

Drucker chose to write his first major published work on Stahl.s philosophy, in part in order to make his own views plain. His monograph, Friedrich Julius Stahl: Conservative Theory of the State and Historical Development, was published by the distinguished publishers J C B Mohr of Tubinqen on April 26, 1933. The Nazis reacted as expected, and the book was eventually banned and ordered destroyed. By this time, Drucker had prudently left Germany for Austria and, after a few weeks, moved on to England later in 1933. Here he stayed until moving permanently to the US in 1937.