“But now Luckeni is Mussolini”

Excerpt from Black Lamb and Grey Falcon:

More on the killing of the King of Yugoslavia:

I knew, of course, how and why the murder [of the King of Yugoslavia] had happened. Lucheni [the Italian assassin who killed Express Elizabeth of Austria] has got on well in the world. When he killed Elizabeth over forty years ago, he had to do his own work in the world; he had to travel humbly about Switzerland in search of his victims; he had but one little two-edged dagger as tool for his crime, and he had to pay the penalty.

But now Lucheni is Mussolini, and the improvement in his circumstances can be measured by the increase in the magnitude of his crime. In Elizabeth the insecure and traditionless town dweller struck down the symbol of power, but the modern representative has struck down power itself and degraded its essence. His offense is not that he has virtually deposed his king, for kings and presidents who cannot hold their office lose thereby the title to their kingdoms and republics. His offense is that he made himself dictator without binding himself by any of the contractual obligations which civilized man has imposed on his rulers in all creditable phases of history and which give power a soul to be saved. This cancellation of process in government leaves it an empty violence that must perpetually and at any cost outdo itself, for it has no alternative idea and hence no alternative activity. This aggressiveness leads obviously to the establishment of immense armed forces, and furtively to incessant experimentation with methods of injuring the outer world other than the traditional procedure of warfare.

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