Next Chapter

Typos — p. 61: two-dimentional [= two-dimensional]; p. 63: undersand [= understand]; p. 65: distintegrating [= disintegrating]

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Chapter III
Making Democracy Safe for the World

It cannot be doubted that the success of democracy depends upon its ability to produce a ruling class with the loyalty and sense of honour that characterized the Samurai. — J. H. Denison.

"Democracy is a system that can only succeed when it produces a race of aristocrats." — Lord Lothian.

15 — The Democratic Ideology Enforced

So prompt are the fanatical and the interested champions of Democracy, with their dark insinuations about Fascism, and so carefully has the multitude been indoctrinated to frown on the critics of Democracy, that those political philosophers who now venture to question the official ideology not unnaturally try to appear still enamoured of it. Like Louis XVI, they sport a tricolour, if not a Red cockade, when hinting at reforms, and dare not suggest more than an adulterated form of the democratic system.
        Never since the various Acts of Uniformity, passed between 1548 and 1711, aimed at establishing a rigid uniform standard of religious worship in England, has it been more hazardous to hold views at variance with orthodoxy. When, therefore, we approach the handful of prominent political thinkers who have recently shown uneasiness about Democracy, and prescribed the means of making it nationally less lethal, it is only prudent to keep in mind that Uniformity of Opinion on Democracy is now de rigueur and compels the less timorous of its critics to pose, at least outwardly, as still convinced of the soundness of the system. This applies more particularly to those publicists who, as we shall see, are known to be its sturdy champions.
        On this very account, however, we are entitled considerably to magnify the warnings such thinkers give us, and proportionately to discount the routine tributes to Democracy with which even the least pusillanimous among them feel bound to lard their proposed reforms. This said, we may now turn to such thinkers, and observe with interest how, by devious ways, they are all creeping back to the aristocratic doctrine of government although still professing their allegiance to Democracy.

16 — Sir Fred Clarke

        The first, Sir Fred Clarke, as Chairman of the Central Advisory Council for Education, exercises an influence on our future attitude

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to politics and norms of conduct and taste which makes his two books, (58) and (66), most important, the more so because he is an ardent champion of Democracy, Egalitarianism, and Christianity.
        When, therefore, he openly calls for some aristocratic stiffening to the loose, reinless, and chaotic society of modern Democracy, his attitude argues either unmeasured panic, or equally inordinate courage. In (58) he does not commit himself too irretrievably. He merely mentions Aristocracy without disparaging it. Still, it is a beginning. Even if we fail to grasp the meaning of his cautious advice to "democratize aristocracy", which he calls our "central problem" [(58) Chap. II], we can at least appreciate his difficulties and his need of extreme caution. For, as the sequel will show, any searcher, however persevering, would be hard put to it to find any true aristocrat or sign of true aristocracy in England for the last hundred years. What then are we to democratize? He says the phrase means "the preservation of aristocratic quality and temper and standards in its [society's] government and social functions, while using only democratic criteria in its devices for social selection!"
        We may ask how can something which is wholly lacking be preserved? For it is precisely the loss of aristocratic quality and standards that is disturbing these political thinkers. Moreover, how can examples of aristocratic quality, temper, and standards be selected by democratic criteria? In Section 8 above, we saw that there are no democratic criteria for the selection of desirable leaders. If, therefore, we are not to make the democratic criteria of selection more closely resemble aristocratic criteria, how are we to recover the qualities Sir Fred properly regards as indispensable to a sound society?
        In (66) which, chronologically, should be noticed later in this chapter, he more boldly outlines the means for recreating aristocratic rulers, although, unfortunately, he restricts these means to "Education".
        Opening with many admissions damaging to democratic theory, he says of the "upper class" (beati-possidentes): "The vast bulk of the higher cultural achievements of mankind have come from this source, from the presence in society of a minority so placed that either through its own free energies or through its discerning patronage of genius, it could concern itself with the higher refinements of living." — Very true! But heretical from the angle of our Uniformity Act!
        "It would," he proceeds, "be a grave and disastrous mistake to assume that the free society of the future will dispense with such a minority as being contrary to the principle of democratic equality [!!]. What it will have to do . . . is to give conscious thought

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to the process by which such a minority emerges and comes into action." [(66) Chap. II.]
        "A free society of common men," he adds, "is possible and safe only if it can ensure that the right sort of uncommon-common man will continue to emerge and be so placed that he can discharge adequately his all essential functions." (Ibid.)
        Coming from such a champion of Democracy, who insists on only democratic criteria" for social selection, and, to avoid offending his fellow democrats, has the insincere-sincerity to use the expression uncommon-common man" to convey the idea of a competent ruler, these sentiments are a high tribute to the thesis elaborated in the present work, Nor could Sir Fred have expressed them had he not felt that the matter was urgent.
        It is unfortunate that his wisdom does not extend to his constructive programme. For to recommend a form of Education which will ensure the emergence of the kind of élite that a free society must have" if Democracy is to be saved, is grossly to underrate the complexity of the problem.
        "No function of the [educational] system," he adds, "is more vital than the determining of the criteria by which potential recruits to the élite may be recognized." [(66) pp. 48–50.] But does any thinking person really need Dr. Carrel to remind him that "No one can learn to distinguish right from wrong, and beauty from vulgarity, by taking a course of lectures"? [(105) Chap. IV, 9. See also Sections 4 and 12 ante.] For, as we have seen, the drawing of such distinctions in accordance with sound Taste is among the many more important functions of an élite.
        As Sir Fred should know, the lessons of history are wholly inconsistent with the view that Education can suffice for the creation of an élite.
        The fact that he can state that no function of the school system is more vital than that of determining the criteria by which potential recruits to the élite may be recognized, is in itself an indication of the sterility of his proposals. For can anyone believe that schoolmasters, who it may be assumed are "common men", are equipped to frame and apply these criteria for the selection of "uncommon-common men"? The frequency with which in the past men, who have been dismissed as worthless by their schoolmasters, have subsequently distinguished themselves by lofty achievements, is alone a sufficient warning of the palpable inadequacy of Sir Fred's proposals.

17 — Professor R. G. Collingwood

        In a rather pompous and pretentious book published in 1942, Professor Collingwood, facing the question, Democracy or Aristocracy?

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decides in favour of a blend of both. But as his book came out in the third year of World War II, and he had that bee in his bonnet about reasoning along dialectic rather than eristic lines, his ukase on this aristo-democratic mixture need not be taken too seriously, especially in view of the shallow thinking liberally displayed in the rest of his book.
        It is true that Cicero favoured a combination even more monstrous — i.e. Kingship, Aristocracy, and Democracy. (Republic, I. Chap. 54.) But this was two millenniums before men knew much about psychology, sociology, and politics.
        Collingwood claims [(106) p. 192] that "democracy and aristocracy, properly understood, are not hostile to each other. They are mutually complementary", and he adds (p. 193): "Everyone, except where the positions feigned to be maintained are false abstractions, maintains and always has maintained . . . that every democracy is in part aristocracy and every aristocracy in part a democracy." (The italics are mine. — A.M.L.)
        Thus, by the words we have italicized, he contrives to smuggle into his statement subtle warnings calculated to deter the less temerarious of his readers from condemning Democracy too drastically. As in his own efforts to found either Aristocracy or Democracy, alone, on a sound basis, he could find only "false abstractions", he coolly assumes that all other brains (inferior brains are implied) must fail in a similar manner. And he pontificates so brazenly and with such intimidating displays of mellowed erudition that, as we shall see, he has succeeded in scaring all critics of Democracy who are not too sure of their ground or not too deeply convinced of the soundness of their position.
        Truth to tell, however, Collingwood's own position is maintained on "false abstractions"; for, like most English political philosophers hitherto, he is as far as can be from even suspecting the cogency with which the argument for Aristocracy can now be conducted. At all events, if the terms Aristocracy and Democracy retain their accepted meanings, their mutual exclusiveness should be immediately apparent. This, already plain from the reasoning in Chapters I and II, will be seen more clearly as the present thesis develops. Meanwhile, let us recall that, since the rulers in a democracy are chosen by the People and, as we have shown, the multitude cannot choose the wisest and best to rule them, no governing minority in a democracy can ever consist of the "best". Therefore there can be no workable blend of the two régimes.
        Indeed, Collingwood himself implicitly acknowledges this; for, with present-day England in mind, he says: "The minimum of qualifications for fitness to be a member of the ruling class is a very low one." [(106) p. 187.]

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18 — The Earl of Portsmouth

        It is probable that both this writer and the one that follows were emboldened in the fourth year of World War II to venture on an adverse criticism of Democracy by the precedent established in (58) and (106), whilst this precedent may also have suggested to them the doctrinal safety of recommending the Clarke-Collingwood blend of Aristocracy and Democracy.
        At all events, in his Alternative to Death, Lord Portsmouth, after enumerating the many pitfalls of our present régime, argues that, if we are to be saved, Democracy must be led and controlled by an aristocracy. "True aristocracy," he says, "is the complement by which democracy can endure."
        We are not shown in any detail how these two incompatible systems are to be reconciled, or how under the combination an aristocracy can be reared and can function in order "to give leadership to the love which dares not only to live but die for its country and to take the difficult path when it is right".
        His Lordship advances none of the ultimate arguments on either side, nor any of the more unanswerable reasons for the indispensability of an aristocracy. But, it is only fair to say that his work is more rhetorical and hortatory than scientific. It keeps constantly within the limits of ideas familiar to those plutocratic readers who are now seeking a safe doctrinal refuge. It thus avoids open offence both to the democrat and anti-democrat, and gives the comforting impression, always welcome to "nice" people, of broadmindedness and "common" sense.

19 — Dr. F. C. Happold

        The author of (148) betrays even more alarm over present trends than the three already noticed, and sets resolutely to work to try to prove the feasibility of the Clarke-Collingwood blend and of Sir Fred's "democratization of aristocracy". He repeats Sir Fred's explanation of this process and solves the problem of establishing an aristocratic régime by founding schools "for the education of the nation's élite". Moreover, with a pessimism of which the three previously mentioned were free, he declares "they will be schools of that New Aristocracy without which democracy is unlikely, under modern conditions, to survive".
        He deserves the highest praise for having in 1943 expressed the above disquieting truth. But in order to placate indignant heresy-hunters, he hastens to add: "Though they will be schools of training in the widest meaning, they will be in no sense caste schools."
        Seeing, however, that the élites he has in view are, he says, needed

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by the nation "for its health and harmonious development", it is difficult to agree that his schools of leadership will provide them. True, admissions to them will be on the basis of "character, sensitiveness to fine impressions and qualities of personality and grit . . . every form of actual and potential ability and skill, technical, musical, and artistic, as well as literary and scientific". But Happold has yet to learn that all this and even more of the same kind will not be enough.
        He thinks the sickness of our time is due to a "breakdown which is both moral and intellectual". But, as we saw in Section 12, and as we shall see in 23 infra, there are deeper causes than these for the sickness he discusses, and no one who has begun to suspect this would admit that any scheme based on schools for élites, however carefully stocked and run, could have the effect he expects.
        It must, however, in fairness be acknowledged that his contribution to the subject is both thorough and sincere. For, given the belief in the possibility of the Clarke-Collingwood mixture and his own schoolmaster faith in Education, his thesis reveals an appreciation of many of the essentials of an aristocratic body. At all events, he appears to be earnest and honest enough to read with attention what, in the sequel of this treatise, is argued and proposed; and as he also seems unaware of the major reasons for rejecting Democracy, and of the only sound approach to the problem of recreating an aristocracy, we look forward to his acknowledging the justice of the claim here made — that his solution of the problem is both inadequate and unrealizable.

20 — T. S. Eliot

        In his (110), Eliot shows the same uneasiness about Democracy as the four previously-mentioned thinkers. "We can assert," he says, "with some confidence that our own period is one of decline; that the standards of culture are lower than they were fifty years ago, and that the evidences of this decline are visible in every department of human society." (p. 19.)
        We must pause a moment here to demur to this statement; for it is doubtful whether England today is one whit more vulgar or more destitute of high standards than she was sixty or a hundred years ago. If this sounds unduly severe, reference need be made to only three books — J. S. Mill's Autobiography, and Beatrice Webb's My Apprenticeship and Our Partnership. There, readers will find a condemnation of English society and especially of the English ruling class of the middle and latter part of last century and the beginning of this which, but for the unchallenged honesty, perspicacity, and high standards of the authors concerned, would hardly be credible.
        True, the vulgarity and sordid interests of England's leaders

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during the last five or six generations, may now have seeped through to wider and lower levels. Their low tastes, intellectual inferiority, and indolent hedonism may recently have reached deeper strata in the population. But everything low, coarse, tawdry, and shoddy today was undeniably present in germ generations ago in high places, and needed only time to reach the emulatory masses. Nor do we lack confirmation of the writers mentioned. In both Herbert Spencer's [(146) Chap. X], and any good life of Florence Nightingale, we find the same charges as in Mill and Mrs. Webb. And the fundamental charge relates to the levity, insincerity, and general unworthiness of the leading ranks of the nation.
        As to insincerity, we would point out that the congenital class insincerity, which is meant here, precluded a courageous and uncompromising attitude to Truth, and prevented those afflicted with it from being true even to themselves, their caste, and its best interests.
        It is then very doubtful whether any such precipitous deterioration as T. S. Eliot alleges has actually occurred. All that has happened is that, owing to the Education Acts and the vastly improved media of publicity, the manners, tastes, and ideals of the so-called "Upper" Classes, have comparatively recently reached the wider levels of the emulatory masses, and have therefore corrupted the nation to a much greater extent than was possible in 1850. [Mannheim concurs. (104) Intro. III.]
        But Eliot's mistake does not make his observation any less disquieting. Indeed, he has all the more reason to feel uneasy, seeing that Universal Suffrage has now made it possible for these masses, vulgarized from above, to present a more formidable barrier to cultural improvement and elevation, than did the relatively small body composing the "Upper" classes in the 'sixties of last century.
        In other words, whereas in 1860, a Salvation Army for the "Upper Ten" would probably have sufficed to regenerate the whole nation — a fact entirely missed by Charles and William Booth — today the imperative need is a Salvation Army for the whole population, a much more difficult undertaking!
        The very fact, however, that men like Charles and William Booth were capable of thinking that where the greatest poverty prevailed the most urgent work of salvation required to be done, was in itself the best proof of the gross vulgarity of the Age in which Life and Labour of the People of London (1891–1903) and the Salvation Army (1878) came into being. We are still paying extremely dearly for the lack of Taste and insight which made this misapprehension possible.
        To this day it remains as hard as ever it was to convince any English gathering that the well-to-do class can possibly be in need of salvation. Thus, it is no wonder that R. H. Tawney was able to

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speak of "that habit of mean subservience to wealth and social position which after more than half a century of political democracy is still the characteristic and odious vice of Englishmen." [(135) Chap. III, iii.] Exactly fifty-four years previously, Froude felt entitled to say: "Great wealth is regarded with the self surrendering and disinterested devotion which used to be felt for God Almighty." [(145): England's War.] At all events, it was certainly this attitude that blinded General Booth to the most urgent need of his time.
        The oversight has led to a situation in which the grooms, coachmen, gardeners, porters, miners, train and bus drivers, etc., of the former ruling minority are now actually at the country's helm. For, as Froude aptly observed: "The growth of popular institutions in a country originally governed by an aristocracy implies that the aristocracy is not any more a real aristocracy." [(145): On Progress.]
        Hence the crescendo of voices now being lifted among even the champions of Democracy in favour of creating an élite of some kind lest Democracy lands us in disaster. And, since a brand new élite is certainly meant, it looks as if these reformers had at length become aware of a fact which should have been obvious to others besides Mill, Mrs. Webb, Spencer, and Florence Nightingale.
        But alas! it is too late — at least for short-term policies. As the sequel will show, only long-term policies will now serve. Unfortunately, modern people, educated and uneducated, will not listen to long-term policies. Hence the inadequate solution — Education — for the creation of a new élite.
        Returning now to T. S. Eliot, he too favours the advent of a new élite if Democracy is not to bring ruin. "But," he asks, "by what mechanisms can we do this? . . . we lack a criterion of who are the best people; or, if we impose a criterion, it will have an oppressive effect upon novelty." [(110) Chap. II.]
        Eliot's bewilderment on this point straightway sets him above those who, although possessed of no more knowledge, write with much greater cocksureness. It also shows that he cannot allow Sir Fred Clarke's and Dr. Happold's demand that only democratic criteria should be used for social selection. Thirdly, his fear of imposing a criterion lest it should have "an oppressive effect upon novelty", indicates that he wishes to provide for the appearance of some ruler-genius who, by transcending familiar categories, might risk being "turned down" — not to say, hounded down — by schoolmasters with only "democratic criteria" under their noses.
        Nevertheless, the process of a new élite's emergence he leaves on the lap of the gods. But he stresses two important points. First, that the heirs of special advantages should bear a greater responsibility in public affairs (Chap. V); and secondly, he argues that his élite would need to be a minority; for he says: "It is an essential

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condition of the preservation of the quality of the culture of the minority that it should continue to be a minority culture. . . . A 'mass-culture' will always be a substitute culture; and sooner or later the deception will become apparent to the more intelligent of those upon whom this culture has been palmed off." (Ibid., Chap. IV.)

21 — John Middleton Murry

        Murry, whose democratic bias needs no emphasis, also foresees disaster ahead unless Democracy is led by a specially trained ruler-class. But his estimate of the time required for converting "common men" into "uncommon-common men" is singularly short. For whereas the ancient Hindus regarded seven generations as the minimum for this process [(90) Chap. X], he demands only one.
        He declares Democracy unworkable unless "the popular vote actually operates merely as a continuous check on the actions of a politicized ruling class, recruited otherwise than by popular vote". [(121) Chap. III.] Implicitly, therefore, he regards our present system as unworkable; whilst his minimum qualitative requirements for a ruling class — that it should consist of staunch, sincere, and superior Christians, distinguishes him from the five thinkers previously discussed.
        His means for creating a new élite, however, like theirs, is Education; although, by way of first reforming this, he suggests the "'democratization' of the public school", and would apply strictly Christian criteria in the selection of potential members of the élite.
        Nothing is left vague. Murry knows that Democracy must have a ruling class, how this class is to be recruited, and to what principles it must conform. The fact that he overlooks a number of difficulties connected with both Christianity and Education has been partly dealt with already. (Sections 5 and 9 ante.) But the total inadequacy of his programme will be made clear in the sequel.

22 — Professor Alfred Weber

        In introducing his treatise (65) Weber writes: "With the general trend towards mass-organization which will be inevitable in the world of the future, government will be impossible, as all mass-organizations have found, without a ruling class or a permanent élite of leadership" which, "to the extent that it is effective in practice, will be the . . . epitome of the average type."
        Conditioned by "history and culture", the Tone-Setter in the world of the future, he says, "will be the result of our initiative, our will, and our understanding of the depths which we unlock in ourselves and from which the new man will emerge". In short, if we desire men of noble stamp, they must spring from these depths in ourselves.

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        Vague enough! But not untypical of the way in which these scared democrats speak of the creation of an aristocratic class.
        In Chapter VI he tells us that in any society the élite "creates the psychological fluid and then, whether in hierarchical or non-hierarchical form, the masses mould the average type out of it." This is true. But what a comment on T. S. Eliot's charge that our period is one of decline "in every department of human society"! For this means that the average type and his behaviour today are but the reflection of former élites — which is precisely what was claimed in Section 20 ante. (See also Section 12.)
        Speaking of the means of checking the suggestibility, lack of judgment, and self-control of the masses, which endanger all democracies, he says: "whether the defects inseparable from the masses in times of danger can be overcome or not" depends "on the presence of a governing class emotionally accepted by the masses, leaders who have a general conspectus of the situation and can tune the moods of the masses to the right key, or soft-pedal them; it depends, therefore, on an élite fitted for the twin tasks of psychological leadership and objective control of the situation. . . ."
        Dealing with the only way "to re-shape the mass-man" Weber says: "First of all an élite" both "qualified for political and practical leadership" and "composed of persons spiritually, intellectually and characterologically pre eminent" who "act as continual models." (Tone-Setters in our terminology.)
        Later on, he speaks of élite-training for "intellectuals from whom a fructifying rain proceeds of its own accord and is gladly received . . . for these vehicles of an influence emanating purely from their own being, certain educational facilities and means of livelihood are essential".
        Finally, he says: "The most important, the really decisive thing . . . in defiance of all popular prejudice — is the average character quality of the masses, i.e. of their individual men and women."
        None would wish to cavil at any of this. We welcome Weber's insistence on the emulatory rôle of the masses vis-à-vis of their élite. In spite of his neglect of requisites equally important and more difficult to find at this hour, our own convictions are confirmed by his plea for an élite of a "high intellectual calibre equipped for practical and political leadership". When, however, we ask how such an élite is to be created, Weber, like the previous thinkers, ultimately fails us. For his reply is, again, "Education".

23 — Professor Wilhelm Röpke

        Röpke takes a grave view of Western society and singles out England as being today in a state of "economic and social ferment",

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which renders reforms "unpostponable" — reforms "which might assume a dangerous revolutionary character if she be not wisely led". [(21) Chap. IV.] "The sickness of our society is so severe," he says, "so all-embracing and so deep-rooted, that no programme for its cure exists which we can produce out of a hat and hand over to Parliament to put into effect tomorrow." (Chap. VII.)
        His book amounts to a reasoned condemnation, from the democratic standpoint, of the Socialism preached by slap-dash thinkers like Shaw, Webb, Wells, and their doctrinal predecessors. But although he rightly ascribes the present chaos of Western Civilization to the incompetence and corruption of past aristocracies, he strongly emphasizes the need of "an élite" which, he says, is essential to "an organic, healthy and balanced society".
        Against the deterioration of our world, he says, "there is scarcely a more necessary protection than . . . a class which, in opposition to the arbitrary tendencies of the State, embodies tradition, the firm retention of the inviolable principles of the community . . . legitimacy and treasury of experience and common sentiment acquired through generations, and which opposes to dissolving tendencies a proud sense of independence, rooted in the firm foundation of family and vocational tradition, and one which cannot dispense with the anchorage of some family property". (Ibid.)
        "At the risk of shocking democratic sentiment," he adds, "it must be confessed that it lies in the interest of society that a certain number of these rooted families should exceed the average in the amount of property they possess and also in those virtues which would alone justify their doing so" . . . i.e. to be "of service to the community."
        Thus, as a champion of Democracy, he tries with profuse apologies, scattered throughout his book, to restore belief in the need of an aristocracy — an aim which emerges plainly at last, when he declares: "While rediscovering the immense worth of rooted families . . . we acknowledge some virtue in the useful principle which determines the status of the individual to society at his birth."
        The revival of the old Feudal principle of decentralization, in which the hierarchy of power and privilege is transmuted into a "hierarchy based on social service", is Röpke's ideal, and it is hardly distinguishable from the aristocratic régime advocated forty years ago in A Defence of Aristocracy.
        The other striking similarities between his book and both A Defence of Aristocracy and The Sanctity of Private Property are Röpke's via media, or "Third Way" between Capitalism and Communism, which amounts to a wisely-controlled Capitalism, and his advocacy of the same systematic decentralization as is suggested in the two last-mentioned books. [(21) Chap. III.]

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        In his fourth chapter, discussing the rôle of a ruling élite in a healthy society which he likens to the rôle of the key-stone in an arch, holding "together also the lower parts, just as these support the upper he argues that such a condition "is no mere co-ordination but also sub- and super-ordination". The community is "then never two-dimentional but three. It is of necessity pyramidal and hierarchical in a sense which can no longer be misunderstood or misinterpreted as a relationship involving oppressive and arbitrary force." (The last italics are mine. — A.M.L.)
        To the collapse of this arch, Röpke attributes the decay of occidental society. Thus, the choice is not between a ruling élite or none, but only between a good or a bad élite, [(21) X.] All else is neurotic levelling, as explained in Section 13 above
        Now, seeing that these are the sentiments of an ardent democrat their significance can hardly be overrated.
        Röpke's concern about values and how they are to acquire validity has already been discussed (Section 12). As to his proposed reforms of the electoral system, he recalls Mill; but distrusts the Popular Vote as an effective check on governments, and pleads for more enlightened and more potent checks. Here he parts company with his fellow-champions of Democracy (especially Murry and Spitz), who see in the Popular Vote a sufficient control of government to prevent tyranny.
        He calls those who should exercise this check, "secularized clerks — i.e independent men" whose task would be to deal with world problems in their entirety, analysing and comprehending their furthest ramifications and who, unwavering and sine ira et studio would serve Truth". The rôle of these "counterweights to the State" would be "to keep at a distance from people and things, from pleasures and interests", and, loyal to their attitude of objectivity, would "have both the right and the duty to appeal to men's consciences and boldly to set forth" the fruit of their cogitations, "without giving offence", although "warding off the arrogant assumptions of the unlearned and the prejudiced".
        Like the priests of the Middle Ages, they could appeal "to the Great Ones on earth through their consciences", [(21) Chap II.] Such men were St. Ambrose, St. Thomas More, Luther etc., who had the courage to defy the Powers of their day.
        Whilst agreeing that, especially in a democracy, such independent checks are indispensable, we must demur at his examples. For except for the Seven of Göttingen, all those he mentions represent a class which when it voiced a protest against the ruling Power, could invoke a religious faith common both to the "Great Ones" and itself.
        But similar counterweights to the State today could have no such compelling magic with which to stir the consciences of the

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Great Ones. Whose authority could they invoke? How could they overawe the mighty as St. Ambrose overawed the Emperor Theodosius outside Milan Cathedral in the fourth century? The sine qua non of success in such a confrontation is that the accused should share the accuser's deep faith. But who has such a faith today?
        Thus, although Röpke's very justifiable plea arises from his recognition of a definite lack in our society, he forgets that the difficulty today would consist, not in finding men of courage for the part of counterweights to the State, but in the absence of a living faith in an exalted Authority with which such men could overawe delinquents in high places.
        When St. Ambrose forced Theodosius in A.D. 390 to enter Milan Cathedral to do penance for the slaughter of 7,000 people at Salonika, he was confronted by a fellow-Christian as convinced as he was himself. But what English prelate today could successfully resort to similar tactics with one of our rulers, even if he were guilty of the slaughter of fifty times 7,000 people?
        No! We may share Röpke's doubts about the efficacy of the Popular Vote as a check on democratic governments; but he hardly offers us anything of value to strengthen or supplement it.

24 — Professor Karl Mannheim

        Mannheim acknowledges that "when all classes played an active part in Democracy, it ceased to cultivate 'rationality' in order to become a 'democracy of the emotions'", and he records the disquieting fact that "in the last decades we have receded rather than advanced as far as moral and rational progress is concerned". He adds gloomily that "life among the masses of a large town tends to make people much more subject to suggestions, uncontrolled outbursts of impulses and psychic repressions, than those who are organically integrated and held firm in the smaller type of group". [(104) I, iii, iv, vii.] Then, after noting that the lack of leadership in late liberal society is "the result of the change for the worse in selecting the élite", and that "the lower middle class" has been "taking political as well as cultural leadership into their own hands of late", he warns us "that liberal mass society has reached a point in its development when continued drifting leads to disaster". [(104) II, iv, viii, X.]
        He then shrewdly perceives that the problem amounts to "transforming Man", and although the means he suggests for this show either his reluctance to accept its full implications, or his failure to see them, at least his belief in the necessity of the step proves his realism in facing the problem. He keeps, however, to the level of the thinkers already examined, in recommending Educa-

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tion for the creation of the new élites, although he excels them in estimating the magnitude of the reforms required.
        According to him, the ruling élite, besides leading politically, will "set an example of the finer uses of the spirit", and will need to be more resourceful, supple, and yet resistant than any élite of the past, owing to the "uncertain environment" with which they will have to cope and the "unpredictable situations" they may have to face. [(104) IV. ix, and V. v.]
        It must be admitted that Mannheim's imperfect grasp of the ruling élite's functions (Part II (ii)) hardly inspires confidence, and his failure to give precise criteria for the selection of the potential élite — even assuming the adequacy of Education — leaves the method of their creation lamentably vague. But what is most important, especially in the context of this treatise, is the fact that, as a convinced democrat, he recognizes the parlous state to which modern democracy has brought us; acknowledges that the lower middle classes are now leading in all spheres, and cannot see Democracy surviving unless higher men recover leadership.
        Nowhere is his pessimism more conspicuous than in Part V. vi, where, of our Parliamentary system, he says, it "has only succeeded so far because the class antagonism between the ruling groups has never gone really deep, their conflicts were only a sham. But now that a genuine antagonism has developed, the limitations of the democratic parliamentary system will become only too clear". And he adds, "I wish to emphasize that this is the most serious argument against the possibility of maintaining the democratic system!"
        In the debate on the Address in March 1950, Lord Salisbury seemed faithfully to echo these words when he said: "If State Socialism actuated the Labour Party as a whole, then the outlook was pretty grim, because it meant the cleavage between the parties in Parliament would be so deep that it might be difficult, if not impossible, for Parliamentary democracy, as we undersand it to function at all." (The Times, 8.3.50.)
        Both these statements imply that, so long as Parliamentary government was largely a form of shadow-sparring, as it was during last century, Democracy was just workable; but that when the supreme debating chamber shelters two really hostile parties, it is quite unworkable.
        Now, damaging as these two admissions are on the part of two democrats, we can hardly agree that the difficulty to which they refer constitutes the "most serious argument against the possibility of maintaining the democratic system".
        Except for its discussion of the importance of standardized basic values and its outline of the disciplines and broadly established uniformity of outlook, which can alone make Democracy a success,

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Mannheim's later book (43) adds little to his doctrine relating to an élite, and all that concerns us about these matters has already been noticed. (Section 12 above.)

25 — Conclusions from Chapter III

        From the standpoint of the thesis of this book, it is of the utmost significance that it should have been possible to refer to nine prominent present-day publicists (ten, if Lord Lothian be included), all of whom, while paying lip-service to Democracy, nevertheless emphasize the danger of continuing our Parliamentary system any longer without aristocratic leadership and control, and accordingly advocate the creation de toute pièce of an élite qualified to rule and establish uniform values.
        They may be charged with pusillanimity and superficiality for. their unwarranted confidence in Education. But at least at a moment when everybody, high and low, is toeing the official democratic line, and not daring to be too critical of our régime, they have boldly given us grave warnings concerning the future, unless we quickly secure some order of higher men to take the helm in Western Europe and America.
        To ourselves, who for forty years have been consistently advocating aristocratic government, the spectacle of this group of avowed democrats expressing their "second thoughts" in an earnest appeal for a new élite, has, we confess, been an uplifting experience. For the reader may rest assured that, had we wished, we could have found not ten but scores of professed anti-democrats who make the same appeal.
        The fact, moreover, that all of them (except Lord Lothian whose views on the matter are unknown to us) believe that Education will suffice to rear the new élite, is not without its value to us; for it confirms the impression, derived from a long acquaintance with modern political philosophers, that they either refrain from stating, or are actually unaware of, the cogent historical, biological and psychological reasons for rejecting Education as a possible, principal, or solitary source of aristocratic quality.
        Even Happold and Röpke, who come nearest to precision in this matter, nowhere advance any historic proof that Education has ever been the major source of aristocratic quality; whilst Röpke never tells us how to rear the stock deserving to become "rooted" and to transmit their rank by birth alone.
        The most childishly naive feature of all this advocacy by the learned of Education as a magic key to the treasure-house of leadership, or as a means of making the masses fit for Democracy, is the cool, implied assumption that they, the educated incarnate, are all

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right, or, as all of them, despite their education, would now say, "quite all right". There could be no more fatuous illusion. One has only to live with them to know this.
        Another characteristic common to at least nine of these thinkers is their implicit belief in the possibility of men being able to express or produce what they themselves are not. To make this clear, we may fairly assume that they expect the superior men, composing the élites they envisage, to restore harmony, order, balance, and organic integration to our distintegrating society. But as they nowhere suggest that their élites are to spring from any other source than the disharmonious, unbalanced, and unstable populations of Western Democracies, how do they expect from such mobs to obtain recruits for élites who are to restore order, balance, and harmony to society?
        They can expect such a result only if they believe that human beings can express what they are not, or, to be quite fair, can be made to do so by a little judicious training. Perhaps Mannheim should be excluded from this charge. For, although the means he recommends for effecting regeneration are inadequate, he certainly saw the necessity of "transforming Man" before anything else could be done.
        Thus, as was implied from the start, although the constructive contributions made to our subject by these nine thinkers is to a great extent nil, their testimony is precious, first and foremost because it betrays their qualms about the trend of parliamentarian democracy; and, secondly, because in the cure they suggest for our sickness, they range themselves, however cautiously, and with however much insincere-sincerity in their talk of "uncommon-common men", on the side of those who always recognized the importance of aristocratic leadership.
        Since the above was written, another public man has expressed his doubts concerning the future prospects of leadership in England, and his perplexity regarding the source from which leaders are to come. Broadcasting on the night of 30 December, 1951, Lord Beveridge said: "The question now is, where will leadership come from in an economically flattened society? That is the most interesting problem facing us today.
        "Just from where, in our classless collection of men and women, the leadership will come to make us a society with a sense of unity in service to one another and to the world, I do not know." (Daily Mail, 31.12.51.)
        Unlike the nine thinkers previously discussed, he appears to have suggested no solution of the problem. But his broadcast is nevertheless interesting as bearing further witness to the anxiety now felt by thinking people about the urgent need of an élite to lead us.



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