Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms [of government] those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.
Are the worst enemies of society those who attack it or those who do not even give themselves the trouble of defending it?
A crowd is not merely impulsive and mobile. Like a savage, it is not prepared to admit that anything can come between its desire and the realization of its desire.
The beginning of a revolution is in reality the end of a belief.
The role of the scholar is to destroy chimeras, that of the statesman is to make use of them.
In crowds, it is stupidity and not mother wit that is accumulated.
One of the most constant characteristics of beliefs is their intolerance. The stronger the belief, the greater its intolerance. Men dominated by a certitude cannot tolerate those who do not accept it.
All the civilizations we know have been created and directed by small intellectual aristocracies, never by people in the mass. The power of crowds is only to destroy.
A crowd thinks in images, and the image itself calls up a series of other images, having no logical connection with the first … A crowd scarcely distinguishes between the subjective and the objective. It accepts as real the images invoked in its mind, though they most often have only a very distant relation with the observed facts … Crowds being only capable of thinking in images are only to be impressed by images.
The masses have never thirsted after truth. They turn aside from evidence that is not to their taste, preferring to deify error, if error seduces them. Whoever can supply them with illusions is easily their master; whoever attempts to destroy their illusions is always their victim.