≡ Menu

Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 285 of the 1993 Liberty Fund edition of the J.F. Huntington translation of Bertrand de Jouvenel’s 1945 volume, On Power (original emphasis; footnote excluded):

The will of democratic Power goes by the name general.  It crushes each individual beneath the weight of the sum of individuals represented by it; it oppresses each private interest in the name of a general interest which is incarnate in itself.  The democratic fiction confers on the rulers the authority of the whole….

This personification of the whole is a great novelty in the Western world, and is a throwback to the world of the Greeks, from whom its inspiration comes.  But the citizens of an ancient city state, being enclosed within its walls and having been conditioned by much the same education, showing in social standing differences that were but of degree, came much nearer to being a real whole than the people of an extensive nation, of various origins and traditions, and marked by a diversity of functions.

This whole is not a fact, for all the care that is taken to break down every private formation an tradition in existence.  It is a fiction, which it is sought the harder to accredit for being the title deed of Power.