I am so old that I can remember when other people’s achievements were considered to be an inspiration rather than a grievance.
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.
In crowds, it is stupidity and not mother wit that is accumulated.
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 obedient always think of themselves as virtuous rather than cowardly.
The jaws of power are always open to devour, and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing.
Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life. Thus people haunted by the purposelessness of their lives try to find a new content not only by dedicating themselves to a holy cause but also by nursing a fanatical grievance. A mass movement offers them unlimited opportunities for both.
The truth is that, to many people calling themselves Socialists, revolution does not mean a movement of the masses with which they hope to associate themselves; it means a set of reforms which ‘we,’ the clever ones, are going to impose upon ‘them,’ the Lower Orders.
The goal of the ‘liberals’ — as it emerges from the record of the past decades — was to smuggle the country into welfare statism by means of single, concrete, specific measures, enlarging the power of the government a step at a time. Never permitting their direction to be summed up into principles, never permitting their direction to be identified or the basic issue to be named. Thus, statism was to come, not by vote or by violence, but by slow rot — by a long process of evasion and epistemological corruption, leading to a fait accompli. (The goal of the ‘conservative’ was only to retard that process.)
There had been many things I had not really understood. I had regarded the Communist Party as a poor man’s party, and thought the presence of certain men of wealth within it accidental. I now saw this was no accident. I regarded the Party as a monolithic organization with the leadership in the National Committee and the National Board. Now I saw this was only a facade placed there by the movement to create the illusion of the poor man’s party; it was in reality a device to control the ‘common man’ they so raucously championed.