This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

The myth of the general will

Let us now probe into mind of those who live in democratic ages in order to dispel a certain illusion. If we ask how the democrat thinks, we notice that he has a very particular set of ideas through which he seeks to understand his world. These ideas are always very simplistic because a democracy requires that its precepts be comprehensible to everyone, even those most averse to rational enquiry. Thus, the democrat takes for granted certain concepts that would be alien in any other time or place. For example, the notion of a homogenous and unified will of the people or the general will.

There is no such thing as a “general will” any more than there is such a thing as an “average intelligence.” That is to say, if we really did compute the “average intelligence” of an American, this number would probably not correspond to any actual living Americans. Every individual would be either higher or lower than the average. Likewise, when we speak of a “general will,” things become even more absurd, and even if we could somehow compute such a thing, this artificial will would be at variance with all the real ones for the same reason just mentioned.

The problem is complicated further by the fact that men work upon each other’s minds and so the two minds working together is not the same thing as two isolated minds added together arithmetically. When we transfer this to a larger scale, we arrive at some frightening observations.

When men combine they become, not a collection of individual and insulated selves, but “mass men.” When this happens, the mental reactions of the group do not equal a sort of “average intelligence” of all those present, even though this is what one might expect from a purely mathematical standpoint. On the contrary, because masses tend to de-individuate and feed off of one another, and because this de-individuation must proceed toward a level common to everyone present, it cannot move up toward a level present only in the minority, nor can it approach the “average” intelligence. The only way the group can form their aggregate and come to an agreement is by moving downward toward the mental level of the lowest elements present. This phenomenon is the combined result of logical necessity and human psychology. It represents a condition which can be properly termed the “democratic psychosis.”

The mingling of minds on a massive scale produces not a unified “mastermind” that contains all answers to all problems, but rather degrades the group to the condition of the herd.

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