Karl Marx

The Attitude of Herwegh and Ruge to “The Free” [107]

Source: MECW Volume 1, p. 287;
Written: in November 1842;
First published: in the Rheinische Zeitung No. 333, November 29, 1842;
Transcribed: in 2000 for marxists.org by Andy Blunden.

Berlin, November 25. The Elberfelder Zeitung and, from it, the Didaskalia contain the news that Herwegh has visited the society of “The Free”, but found it beneath all criticism. Herwegh has not visited this society, and therefore could have found it neither beneath nor above criticism. Hemegh and Ruge found that “The Free” are compromising the cause and the party of freedom by their political romanticism, their mania for genius and boasting, and this moreover was frankly stated by them and perhaps may have given offence. Consequently, if Herwegh did not visit the society of “The Free”, who as individuals are excellent people for the most part, it was not because he upholds some other cause, but solely because, as one who wants to be free from French authorities, he hates and finds ludicrous the frivolity, the typically Berlin style of behaviour, and the insipid aping of the French clubs. Rowdiness, blackguardism, must be loudly and resolutely a repudiated in a period which demands serious, manly and soberminded persons for the achievement of its lofty aims.