The Modern Politician

In either case, there is no guarantee that
this ruling class or ruling body represents the best mind of the
nation or its noblest aims or its highest instincts.
Nothing of the kind can be asserted of the modern politician
in any part of the world; he does not represent the soul of a
people or its aspirations. What he does usually represent is all
the average pettiness, selfishness, egoism, self-deception that is
about him and these he represents well enough as well as a great
deal of mental incompetence and moral conventionality, timidity
and pretence. Great issues often come to him for decision, but he
does not deal with them greatly; high words and noble ideas are
on his lips, but they become rapidly the claptrap of a party. The
disease and falsehood of modern political life is patent in every
country of the world and only the hypnotised acquiescence of
all, even of the intellectual classes, in the great organised sham,
cloaks and prolongs the malady, the acquiescence that men yield
to everything that is habitual and makes the present atmosphere
of their lives. Yet it is by such minds that the good of all has
to be decided, to such hands that it has to be entrusted, to such
an agency calling itself the State that the individual is being
more and more called upon to give up the government of his
activities. As a matter of fact, it is in no way the largest good of
all that is thus secured, but a great deal of organised blundering
and evil with a certain amount of good which makes for real
progress, because Nature moves forward always in the midst of
all stumblings and secures her aims in the end more often in
spite of man’s imperfect mentality than by its means.


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