D O C . 1 2 9 O C T O B E R 1 9 1 9 1 1 1
129. From Walter Dällenbach
Burgdorf, 9 October 1919
Dear Professor,
I thank you for your letter of September
I too believe you are right in
assuming that reason is not a bond by which humans on Earth can be held together
for a long period. It would not have been possible, however, to encourage a larger
number of practitioners to collaborate even if our goal had been a more attainable
It is certainly very possible that hefty constitutional struggles are in store for
Switzerland. The constitution that ultimately does come out of it should survive for
a few more decades. My feeling, though, is that a constitution can never be a guar-
antee for the smooth functioning of the machinery of government. Even so, it is
important. Since all positive values basically lie in the people on hand, so the con-
stitution can have a great negative impact when it has harmful influences &
obstructs the free play of forces among people. This is presently the case to a high
degree in Switzerland, as the attempted experiment has shown, and I do not doubt
that it is similar in other countries in Europe. So it really would be quite natural to
have a constitution that is constructed by professionals, as in the building of
bridges, because, embedded in it, are, to a lesser degree, badly understood & super-
ficially conceived interests that engineers are familiar with. Lawyers should play
this role with regard to the legal system, of course; but they fail in it. They cannot
afford experiments. So they restrict themselves to tidying the past away into
drawers and leave the future to chance. They confront the organizational problem
with little experience. Today it is possible, though, based on the organizational
experiences of larger industrial operations, especially stock companies, who
already come very close in structure (shareholders’ meetings administrative
board directorate lower-level management workers) to a democracy (particu-
larly when the workers themselves are shareholders, as occurs in America), to indi-
cate quite precisely which constitution is the best under the given conditions. It is
strange that such questions are not examined more, and that the performance of the
machinery of the state & economy is always improved only at the very tips of its
branches: a shoe factory with 6000 workers that, with a most intricate internal orga-
nization, produces 250,000 different shoe designs and dumps them on the
—The outcome of our first attempt is still, after months of battles & cri-
ses, not yet determined and the chances are more favorable again. However, it does
turn out, though, the task & the people who have grappled with it remain. And it is
entirely conceivable to create something in a single shot that stands for decades and
bears fruit, without reason having to bind people permanently to a high degree, as
otherwise on average tends to be the case.
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