Well, there was the terrifying day that the workers staged their first May Day parade and marched to the Prater, the great public park in the center of Vienna -- and nothing happened! The workers and their wives marched "four abreast" singing the Internationale and their kids sang school songs. Just a Sunday afternoon at the park!
Zweig and all his buddies in high school were absolutely transfixed and intoxicated by the ongoing revolution in the arts, from Nietzsche to Hofmannstahl to Mahler. But at the same time, there was this young chap, son of a customs official, who experienced fin de siècle Vienna as a mortal threat to ethnic Germans because in the Austrian-Hungarian empire ethnic Germans were a divided minority fighting against all the other ethnic nationalities: Czechs, Hungarians, Jews, you name it. You may know his name; it begins with an "H."
The point is that the Hapsburg imperial regime had been playing mild ethnic politics with all the various ethnic identities for decades, and thought it had the whole thing pretty well in hand. No doubt it did, provided it did not get into a losing war and lose most of its revenue and therefore find itself unable to reward its supporters in the manner they expected.
In many ways we are in a similar position all across the West. Our ruling class successfully marshalled the working class into the bourgeois state decades ago by rewarding it with a broad array of neo-feudal benefits while warping the bourgeois state of individual rights and limited government almost out of recognition -- and dealing itself lots of lovely sinecures.
Then our ruling class brought high-born women and blacks into the room with the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s. This was a great idea except that the supporters of political parties are not really interested in rights: they are interested in loot, which was delivered first as Affirmative Action, then diversity, and now diversity and inclusion. Hey, handing out loot and privilege is what politicians do, whether they wear kingly crowns or merely facelifts.
The problem is that, first, people are insatiable: what have you done for me lately; second, at some point you run out of other peoples' money; and third, the ruling class tends to forget who deserves what loot and why.
That's how I understand the rage of the white working class here in the US, of the gilets jaunes in France, and of the White Van Man in Britain. Was a time when these folks were the little darlings of the ruling class. Well, when you are a little darling you are supposed to get regular presents from your sugar daddy, right? How come the presents stopped coming?
Of course, from the ruling class things look different. Hey, pal, you are still getting your Social Security, your Medicare, your health insurance, so what's yer problem? Well, any little darling knows the answer to that. How come you don't look at me the way you used to, Daddykins? And it's Sugar-Puff, not "pal."
But the thing is that the ruling class promised a perfect world of safety and justice and benefits, and that the working class and the gilets jaunes would live happily ever after. And the little darlings, starting to get lonely in their love-nests remember every loving word, every promise, every gorgeous present of jewelry from Sugar Daddy as if it were yesterday.
The answer, to chaps like me is to tell the little darlings that their first mistake was that first date with the married Sugar Daddy. Sooner or later, you have to get with the bourgeois program, and stop believing in the blandishments of every damn politician to show up on the hustings.
But, as Stefan Zweig points out, all good things come to and end. That long-ago glorious summer of the Viennese bourgeoisie, particularly including the Jewish bourgeoisie, came to a crashing end -- through no fault, really, of the bourgeoisie. The Hapsburgs got reduced to Dukes. And after the crash, you have to suck it in, and get with the program.
So I dare say that the knotty problem at the center of western politics: how does the wise and worthy ruling class take care of the ageing stable of little darlings while beguiling the pretty new faces at the same time and still keeping a credit balance at the bank?
I don't know. I just don't want to be the fall guy that has the pay the bill for the ruling class's many follies and injustices.