The Essence of The Order

by Alfred Kotz

6 August 2004

[from SS Leadership Guide]

The Order: About its Essence

An order is spiritual strength. The spiritual strength becomes visible through the order's success. There are different kinds of orders. One bristles with strength, the other downright trembles with weakness. Between the two of them there are many degrees.

The spiritual strength comes from the person who commands. This explains the variations in value and expression of orders, for one person is talented and strong, but the other is clumsy, of thin blood and weak.

The order reveals the character of the commander. It reflects his ability, his knowledge, his will, his knowledge of people, and his joy of responsibility.

Just as the character of men varies, so does their relationship to the concept of "command," both in the ability to themselves command and the way they obey orders. Command and obedience are a unity, viewed from two sides. Only this unity ensures success. To command must also belong obedience. An order without obedience has no effect. It can look splendid and is nonetheless like fireworks, which expend their energy in pretty colors.

Our entire life is filled with orders. From a false sense of feeling, some people will rebel against our concept of the essence of the command, if they do not fully think through how life is inalterably encircled by command and obedience.

Many will resist the demand of the command, which is however a moral demand, because an order in the realm of our world-view is always aimed at the regulation of moral expressions of people in the narrower or wider sense. If an order demands unconditional obedience, then this unconditionality should also be defended, even if somebody objects that the infamous "order" could be given to leap from a high tower onto the pavement. That wouldn't be an order; it would be insanity. In the German Fatherland care has been taken so that such a misuse of spiritual power over others is impossible.

Anyone who rebels at "always being ordered around" comforts himself with a deception. He is simply excited by the name of something that always has value. He also deceives himself when the command no longer is called an "order," but in truth remains one. Why must he stumble over false concepts while he consciously marches in rank in file in the folk order? Does he not give up his train seat for the war-injured comrade? Among moral people the necessity of consideration is also a command; consideration is obedience. Both simply bear different names.

A well brought-up man, a man of good character will of his own accord do what must be done. Trying to regulate the entire action of this man with orders is only conceivable for the person who does not know how to get along with people. That kind of order insults and demeans. It has the consequence that the result remains far less than what would have been accomplished without some ordering around.

Don't forget that the tone makes the music.

We can thus somehow relate every part of our life to the factor "order," whose secret is not exclusive for men. The mother's effort as well for the education of children is an unbroken series of orders and struggles for the right success, hence for obedience. Is it not a reward for a mother to know she has gained her child's obedience before it is two years old? What the child refuses at two, it will not give at twenty.

Every order is directed at a goal. Its path always leads through obedience. Whoever commands has the responsibility for the goal, which, as we have seen, always stands in connection to matters of life in the moral sense. This knowledge protects us against thoughtless orders. It demands of us knowledge of everything within the circle whose center is the order we give.

We must already know much about the subordinate. For example, we must know whether he is in a position to carry out our order. We must know that the way the order is carried out depends on our way of commanding. It is necessary to precisely know the cause that led to our order and we must know the effect before we command.

Our knowledge must have no gaps; otherwise uncertainty emerges when giving the order. The consequences are ambiguity and mistakes in the execution. Next to knowledge stands our will. It is the father of the deed. It fills an order with strength. If is weak, the deed is weak.

Whoever leads must command. We do not need a company or a platoon to lead, we do not have to be the chairman of a club or the head of a big department or factory; we will nonetheless often have to lead and to command. We must in the end also command when we face difficult tasks all alone, where norms and forms are lacking or fail. We will have to command where no other person obeys. We must have learned to also command ourselves.


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