Harold Walsby: Political Collectivism
Paradoxically enough, it is to fascism that we have to turn in order to find the political movement and expression most exclusively representative of the real masses – to find, in other words, the mass movement par excellence, the supreme example of political collectivism. This curious paradox was well expressed by Goebbels when he declared that the Nazi regime was more democratic than democracy. It is also clearly reflected in this shrewd observation by Le Bon (who, though he had a contempt for democracy, had an insight into the psychology of masses) in which he predicts that the advent to power of the crowd or mass will bring with it “a barbarian phase”: “Universal symptoms show in all nations the rapid growth of the power of the crowd. The advent of the crowd will, perhaps, mark one of the last of the Western civilisations, a return to the periods of confusion and anarchy which precede the emergence of new societies.” How ironically true of fascism, the supreme spokesman of the crowd, the most accurate, the most exclusive interpreter of the ideology of the vast, apolitical, unobjective, emotional masses.
The rise and advent to power of fascism, we suggest, represents the emergence of a new factor in the general political evolution: the reactionary upsurge into more or less permanent political life, of the hitherto non-political, apathetic, unrepresented masses; the broad masses – who have little or no interest in the burdensome and difficult democratic theories of rational, thoughtful, responsible citizenship, of political liberty and freedom of thought, of equality of rights, duties, access to wealth, responsibilities, opportunities and education.
As is well known to those engaged in the practical donkey-work of political activity, the majority of people in democratic countries have very little real interest, even of the passive kind, in political issues – particularly the basic ones – and have still less active interest in the democratic political parties. Even at election times, which do not come often, serious discussion of real issues is rare and undertaken only by the minority – while, if a majority do actually vote, it is frequently not large and has to be stimulated, bribed, threatened or cajoled by electioneering stunts, scares, flattery, car rides, festivities, sensational accusations and counter-charges, and other equally non-political attractions. But, with all this clamour and publicity, it is usual for a substantial percentage of the electorate to remain indifferent and to ignore their democratic rights.
The contemplation and realisation of these facts may cause unpleasant emotions of disappointment and despair in those more thoughtful, democratic individuals who – presuming the coming of universal enlightenment – are hopefully and ever seeking for signs of it among the masses and in day-to-day political affairs. In order to spare themselves these unpleasant feelings there is a danger that they may tend to gloss lightly over the facts. But for science and scientific understanding the hard facts cannot be ignored or glossed over; they must be squarely faced. Our wishes, emotions and declarations of faith in human nature are irrelevant when we are seeking to establish factual, scientific truth. And the evidence abounds for those who seek it and have eyes to see.
Fascism, as we have said, is the most exclusive representative of the political collectivism of the masses. Many books by students of fascism include indirect references to this political collectivism when they refer to the “mass state,” “mass enthusiasm,” “collectivist state,” “mass thinking,” etc. Chamberlain, in his book A False Utopia, quotes an editor of Nazi Germany as saying: “We have become a nation of mass meetings, mass theatres, mass celebrations, and mass elections.” Chamberlain comments: “In the collectivist state the individual is completely submerged in the mass. A trained psychologist could find in each of them a remarkable illustration of the powers of mass hypnotism.”
Referring to the famous Saar elections of January, 1935 – when Saarlanders had the choice of remaining democratic (either by choosing to continue under the existing League of Nations’ administration or by becoming part of France) or of going fascist and becoming part of Germany where the Nazis had been in power for two years – Konrad Heiden, in One Man Against Europe (1939) writes:
Hitler was in power in Germany and his government aroused enthusiasm in many, but in many fear and hatred. The horrors of the concentration camps, the bloody deeds of the 30th June, 1934, were better known in Saar territory, when the press was free at least in name, than in Germany where every word was watched. The suppression of the workers’ trades unions and the persecution of the Catholic Church was bound to arouse uneasiness in a population which consisted almost entirely of miners and metal workers and 60 percent of which were Catholics. (p. 159.)
On the morning of the voting 50,000 National Socialists called on wavering voters and assured them that there were no secrets. Anyone who voted against his own country would be found out and called to account in a concentration camp. In fact the voting, supervised by a League commission took place with exemplary order. But most of the voters no longer believed in the secrecy of the ballot, any more than voters in Germany believe in it. Above all the nationalist watchword proved to be irresistible; it attracted voters who even shortly before had been doubtful. It was irresistible, too, because no conception of political reality adhered to the cause of the League; there was no vital force in it. The people of the Saar saw in practice only Germany on the one side and France on the other. So on the 13th January, 1935, 477,000 Saarlanders voted for Germany and only 46,000 for the League of Nations. That represented 9.3 percent against 8.8 percent. Only 2,000 voted for France. (p. 167.)
Of Hitler and the power of suggestion, Heiden says,
In his good hours he exerts a power of suggestion which would be surprising if shown in an experimental demonstration, but we must always remember that a mighty suggestive power precedes the German dictator before his actual appearance… we must remember the extreme impressionability of crowds under sustained influence, and also how long the world has now been exposed to the suggestions of National Socialism.
With the advantages of this suggestion, extraordinary propagandist risks can be taken. People can be made to believe things when the proof of the contrary is staring them in the face. Hitler has injected into a large number of people all over the world the idea that he is loyal to his convictions. In fact, he only clings to them – so long as they serve his purpose. He is the perfect representative of a political movement which has no real belief except in the practice of ruling, and no principle except to have an answer for every situation, and as such he changes his basic views as and when required.
… The German people is already being transformed into a mechanical chorus, for it is no longer its mental attitude that counts, but only its technical approval. The symbol of this mechanisation is the extraordinary desk or lectern from which Hitler speaks. In an unguarded moment a man named Boese, on the authority of the head of the German Radio, gave the following particulars of it. “This desk, of which at that time, the spring of 1936, there were five examples, has a number of buttons, by means of which Hider gives certain signals while he is speaking; he gives the sign for film photographs to be taken and for the dimming or brightening and the direction of the searchlights. By thus regulating the mood of the audience he increases the will to applaud until at another signal the Storm Troops by clapping and shouting let loose general applause…
Under the glare of searchlights, thus controlled by his suggestion-machine, human beings are lost to sight and nothing remains but the inchoate mass, the mechanical chorus… Crowds applaud, individuals may still contradict. One of his close acquaintances said in confidence, ‘If he discovers among ten thousand shouters one man with a grim look on his face, Hitler’s day is spoilt.’ (pp. 275-6.)
Again and again we have evidence from the statements of fascists themselves that their worship of the state is no more than the worship of the primitive group. R. A. Brady, in The Spirit and Structure of German Fascism, quoting from Deutsches Kulturrecht Hamburg, 1936, says that the Nazis regard
… the state as a natural community – a natural community made up of a people fused together through ties of blood, speech, customs, and common experiences, and which in its most fully developed form we characterise by the term nation. The nation is fixed and eternal, and stands at the centre of all historical and political experience.
The culture of this state comes out of a wholly simple, wholly primitive perception of the people, and in obedience to their will and law. Since it grows out of the people it cannot be commanded from above… it is not a state function, since it is no less than the spiritual side of the people’s life and being. As actualisation of the feeling and will of the people, the principles which underlie it can in nowise be clarified and formulated. (pp. 84-5.)
Quoting again from the same source Brady goes on,
speaking of the difference between the pre-liberal and the Nazi cultural authoritarianism, they offer this contrast: Authority for National Socialism comes out of the people itself, not out of a power which rules superior over it; the will of the state comes out of the folkways, is free, sovereign, and of a new type. The will of the state is the will of the people, and this is not to be found on the surface of daily life and in day by day interests, but only where the final and partially unconscious longing is formed. That is to say, out of the national soul.
… How, then, is this authority determined? The answer is worth quoting in full:
Out of the national soul emerges the law from which the National Socialist leader derives his legitimation and his policies. He is not thus an organ of will superior to the people, but instrument of the will of the people which exists in him. Who rules the people of its own will, and who expresses the character of the National Socialist state in two syllables, we know as The Leader.
Leader is the opposite of magistrate. Who leads does not determine the objectives arbitrarily and by himself; that is done by the led. The led are the people. But the Leader knows the goal and knows the direction . . . Who carries this spirit in him I who knows the direction is the Leader. (pp. 85-6.)
In other words, he who best speaks with the voice of the masses, of the group, he who most accurately voices their thoughts and interprets their feelings, he is the popular leader. Apropos of this, it is interesting to note that Dr. C. G. Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist, who was “personally fascinated by the problem of Hitler’s personality, and had studied it for years,” has said (H. R. Knickerbocker’s Is Tomorrow Hitler’s? 45-6): “… Hitler is the mirror of every German’s unconscious… He is the loud-speaker which magnifies the inaudible whispers of the German soul until they can be heard by the German’s conscious ear. He is the first man to tell every German what he has been thinking and feeling all along in his unconscious… His Voice is nothing other than his own unconscious, into which the German people have projected their own selves; that is, the unconscious of seventy-eight million Germans. That is what makes him powerful.” “Hitler,” said Jung, “listens and obeys. The true leader is always led.”
Heiden, in his Der Fuehrer, says much the same thing when he writes:
With unerring sureness Hitler expressed the speechless panic of the masses faced by an invisible enemy and gave the nameless spectre a name. He was a pure fragment of the modern mass soul, unclouded by any personal qualities. One scarcely need ask with what arts he conquered the masses; he did not conquer them, he portrayed and represented them. His speeches are day-dreams of this mass soul; they are chaotic, full of contradictions, if their words are taken literally, often senseless… often they can be refuted by reason, but they follow the far mightier logic of the subconscious, which no refutation can touch. Hitler has given speech to the speechless terror of the modern mass, and to the nameless fear he has given a name. That makes him the greatest mass orator of the mass age… (pp. 90-1.)
He does not dominate the minds of millions, his mind belongs to them. Like a piece of wood floating on the waves, he follows the shifting currents of public opinion. This is his true strength.
The true aim of political propaganda is not to influence, but to study, the masses… (p. 117.)
Further confirmation of the fact that fascism and fascist leaders represent the most exclusive expression of the mass or group modes of behaviour, thinking and feeling – represent, in a word, the supreme example of political collectivism – comes from Mussolini himself. In his book, My Autobiography, he declares:
I have made a profound study of the interests, the aspirations and the tendencies of our masses… I cover with my contempt dishonest and lying opponents, slanderers, deniers of the Country, and everyone who drowns every sense of dignity, every sentiment of National and human solidarity is the filthy cesspool of low grudges. Defeated ones who cluck to the wind, survivors of a building which toppled for ever, accomplices in the ruin and shame in which the Country was going to be dragged, sometimes do not even have the dignity of silence…
I am strict with my most faithful followers… I am near to the heart of the masses and listen to its beats, I read its aspiration and interests. I know the virtue of the race. I probe at its purity and soundness. (p. 251.)
It is noticeable what a great part is played by the individual’s “fear of the group” under fascism. As we have inferred, this fear is omnipresent in every society, but under fascism it becomes greatly emphasised and ruthlessly exploited.
“The structure of the Third Reich cannot be understood,” says Konrad Heiden, referring to the Nazi Gestapo, “without this monstrous apparatus for intimidation. In the beginning is fear, the state is all-powerful, obedience is the fount and source of all things. And yet it would, be a mistake if we thought of the German people’s fear of its government as synonymous with aversion. No, there is enthusiasm. This contradiction between mob-enthusiasm and police rule is one of the mysteries of dictatorship, and seems almost to suggest that the object of enthusiasm is police-rule itself. Does the slave derive happiness from the presence of the jack-boot on his neck? It is certain that relief from responsibility has always been a substantial element in the happiness of the mob – the submersion of the man in the mass, no matter whether he be high or low, educated or uneducated.” (One Man Against Europe, pp. 105-6.) Note especially the words “In the beginning is fear, the state is all-powerful, obedience is the fount and source of all things.” In this fear of the all-powerful state – to which the individual must be completely subjected, subservient and obedient – we can easily recognise the clearest possible example of our concept of the individual’s fear of the all-powerful group. The underlying, universal dread of the group is, indeed, one of the main keys to the understanding of fascism, of the “contradiction between mob enthusiasm and police rule,” of the “mysteries of dictatorship.”
The complete and utter political subordination of the individual to the omnipotent, omnipresent fascist state – the exclusive, totalitarian political organisation of the “national” or “racial” group, i.e., of the masses – is a favourite theme of fascist leaders and spokesmen. In his No Compromise, Melvin Rader, in a chapter headed “Race, State and Individual,” writes:
Repeatedly in Fascist literature, the State is said to be an organism or group mind. Mussolini speaks of the State as having a will and as being itself conscious. Alfredo Rocco has declared that the State is an organism distinct from the citizens who at any time compose it, and has its own life and its ends higher than those of individuals, to which those of individuals must be subordinated. Similarly Walther Darré, Nazi Minister of Agriculture, has referred to the State as a super-organic organism, which exacts devotion, sacrifice of the individual, and abandonment of egoism for the sake of a higher aim. (p. 230.)
In discussing the ideas of Gentille, the Italian fascist, Rader continues:
Gentile means by spirit, moreover, not the separate and individual mind, which he regards as an unreal abstraction, but the one universal Person to which we all belong: the one man in whom all individuals are united and with whom they are all identified. He accordingly exalts the collective mind at the expense of individual freedom: In the way of conclusion, then, it may be said that I, as a citizen, have indeed a will of my own; but that upon further investigation my will is found to coincide exactly with the will of the State, and I want anything only in so far as the state wants me to want it. (p. 250.)
… the Fascists worship the parochial community. They have created a new collectivism, narrow, intolerant and repressive. Whether the object of worship be called the State or the Race, the totalitarian community is primarily the expression of collective selfishness, opposed to the super-national interests of Western culture, and equally opposed to the freedom of individual personalities. Fascism affords no rich and inclusive unity, but a monotonous uniformity. Only a servile mind could regard this servile society as the highest of values. (p.318.)
Additional evidence of fascism’s conformity with group behaviour, in respect of its hostility to, and suppression of, the independent individual and independent thinking, is to be found in the following quotations give by Professor Gangulee:
The Nation and not the Individual is the first concern of the Law. (Nazi Party Slogan.)
Not only the individual, but all cultural organisations have therefore in the last resort to serve the community of the people, and it is in relation to this that they get their meaning and justification. To this extent only a political activity is to be recognised and tolerated in the life of the people. Therefore economics, law, science, art, religion have no independence; they have all to be political. Thus, even law is to be determined in a way that is at variance with the formal conception hitherto prevailing. What serves the state is right, what injures it is wrong. (Professor Wilhelm Sauser: Philosophy of the Law and of the State, 1936.)
There is no freedom of the individual. There is only freedom of peoples, nations or races; for these are the only material and historical realities through which the life of the individual exists. (Dr. Otto Dietrich, addressing students of the University of Berlin, 1937.)
In the National-Socialist conception of the state the problem of protecting the individual against the state does not arise. National Socialism defends the people as a whole against the individual, when and wherever his interests are not in harmony with the general welfare of the whole German people… Since the state consists of the totality of its citizens, united in a common destiny by common blood and a common philosophy of life and comprised in a single Party organisation, it is neither necessary nor possible to define a sphere of freedom for the individual citizen as against the state… (From the Beamtenkalender, 1937.)
The National-Socialist Government has dissolved the Trade Unions and the Federations of employers. ‘It will oppose anyone and anything tending to divide the people into groups. (Dr. Ley: Germany Speaks, 1938.)
The German journalist… will only be able to discharge this duty if he identifies himself with the creative idea of the state. (George Foerster: Freedom in the Authoritarian State, 1933.)
Hear nothing that we do not wish you to hear. See nothing that we do not wish you to see. Believe nothing that we do not wish you to believe. Think nothing that we do not wish you to think. (Goebbels.)
Freedom means to be bound by the ties of race… and this demands protection of the race. (Alfred Rosenberg.)
The slogan of objective science has been coined by the professoriate simply in order to escape from the very necessary supervision by the power of the state. What is called the crisis of science is nothing more than that the gentlemen are beginning to see of their own accord how they have gone off the line with their objectivity and independence. (Hitler to Rauschning.)
The old idea of science based on the sovereign right of abstract intellectual activity has gone forever… The true freedom of science is to be an organ of a nation’s living strength and of its historic fate. . . (Dr. Rust, Nazi Minister of Education, at the centenary of Heidelberg University.)
The Party takes over the function of what has been society – that is what I wanted them to understand. The Party is all-embracing. It rules our lives in all their breadth and depth. We must therefore develop branches of the Party in which the whole of individual life will be reflected. Each activity and each need of the individual will thereby be regulated by the Party as the representative of the general good. There will be no license, no free space in which the individual belongs to himself… Of what importance is that if I range men firmly within a discipline they cannot escape? Let them then own land or factories as much as they please. The decisive factor is that the state, through the Party, is supreme over them, regardless whether they are owners or workers. (Hitler to Rauschning, 1934.)
Finally, in order to show that the complete subjection of the independent, thinking individual (i.e. the intellectual) to the “state,” “nation,” or “race” – that is, to the organised group or masses – is quite typical of fascism, and moreover, is one of its keystones, We give a few samples from the spokesmen of Italian fascism.
Mussolini, for instance, in The Political and Social Doctrine of Fascism (Hogarth Press) asserts:
The principle that society exists solely through the well-being and the personal liberty of all the individuals of which it is composed does not appear to be conformable to the plans of nature, in whose workings the race alone seems to be taken into consideration, and the individual sacrificed to it… (quoting Renan, p. 16.)
But the Fascist negation of Socialism, Democracy and Liberalism must not be taken to mean that Fascism desires to lead the world back to the state of affairs before 1789, the date which seems to be indicated as the opening years of the succeeding semi-Liberal century… Absolute monarchy has been and can never return, any more than blind acceptance of ecclesiastical authority… (p. 19.)
For if the nineteenth century was a century of individualism (Liberalism always signifying individualism) it may be expected that this will be the century of collectivism, and hence the century of the State… the doctrines of Democracy are the heirs of the Encyclopedists… (p. 20.)
The foundation of Fascism is the conception of the State, its character, its duty, and its aim. Fascism conceives of the State as an absolute, in comparison with which all individuals or groups are relative, only to be conceived of in their relation to the State… (p. 21.)
The State is the guarantor of security both internal and external, but it is also the custodian and transmitter of the spirit of the people, as it has grown up through the centuries in language, in customs and in faith. And the State is not only a living reality of the present, it is also linked with the past and above all with the future, and thus transcending the brief limits of individual life, it represents the immanent spirit of the nation… (p. 22.)
… but whoever says Liberalism implies individualism, and whoever says Fascism implies the State…(p. 23.)
Fascism desires the State to be a strong and organic body, at the same time reposing upon broad and popular support… The Fascist State organises the nation, but leaves a sufficient margin of liberty to the individual; the latter is deprived of all useless and possibly harmful freedom, but retains what is essential; the deciding power in this question cannot be the individual, but the State alone. (p. 24.)
Melvin Rader gives the following:
For we know now that a natural, native, initial liberty does not exist between State and individual, but rather that they are united in a biological unity. Political liberty must take this fact into account, it must make it its norm. This is the punctum saliens of the new Italian political culture, this is the revolution of principles. In order to regulate the relationship between State and individual, they must no longer be looked upon as separate entities; they must be perceived in their biological unity. (Enrico Corradini: La Riforma Politica in Europe, p. 100.)
For Liberalism, the individual is the end and society the means; nor is it conceivable that the individual, considered in the dignity of an ultimate finality, be lowered to mere instrumentality. For Fascism, society is the end, individuals’ the means, and its whole life consists in using individuals as instruments for its social ends. . . Individual rights are only recognised in so far as they are implied in the rights of the State. (Alfredo Rocco: “The Political Doctrine of Fascism,” International Conciliation, Oct. 1926, pp. 402-3.)
The liberty of the individual coincides perfectly with obedience to the State, that is to say, with the realisation of that ultimate good for which the individual himself lives and works and through which he becomes a participant in history and in the divine life. (Roberto Farinacci, “Render unto Caesar ,” Living Age, Jan. 1939, p. 410.)
Mussolini, in a like manner, affirms that the individual exists only in so far as he is within the State and subjected to the requirements of the State, and that the individual in the Fascist State is not annulled but rather multiplied. The Nazis also insist that the individual can achieve freedom and personal dignity only by identifying himself with the race, the nation and the State. Personality, declares Rosenberg, does not stand in an alien relationship to the masses, but is the highest expression of the national will.
The reader will have noticed, in the above quotations, that fascism’s antipathy to individual independence of mind – in other words, to intellectualism – is there clearly identified with its uncompromising opposition to the Left-wing, i.e. to “Socialism, Democracy and Liberalism.”
We have said that the mass modes of thought and behaviour – based largely on a strong dread (latent or otherwise) of opposing the group – which are characteristic of groups of the larger or more primitive type, are also more characteristic of the political creeds of the Right than of the Left. And, we have previously noted, the parties of the Right tend, on the whole, to be the mass parties, or rather, to be those parties with greater support in the community, to be parties with mass followings. We have just seen, from an examination of fascist ideology (the extreme Right-wing) and its typical utterances, how well the relevant political and ideological facts support our theory. Let us now look cursorily at conservatism, the second Right-wing outlook, and see how well our ideas fit the facts of the conservative ideology.
Considered in relation to our original scale of political opinion, conservatism presents us with a distinct qualitative transition from the fascist outlook. For instance, fascism is inherently and unalterably anti-democratic; its hostility towards all other outlooks is absolute and uncompromising. Conservatism, on the other hand, tends to be moderately democratic and compromising in its attitude towards all other political groupings. The fascist ideology, as we have seen, utterly and emphatically rejects logic, theory, discussion, arbitration etc., and particularly individual independence of thought. Though conservatism may not fervently and fanatically extol these things it nevertheless definitely rejects the complete, absolute intolerance of them characteristic of the fascist attitude. This “rejection of rejection” marks the first major qualitative change or transition, the first major negation of negation, in the development of ideology and in the vertical growth of intellect.
Nevertheless, by a comparative examination of the ideological material – that is, of the fascist and conservative modes of behaviour, thought, feeling – we can easily detect such similarity in the characteristic features of the conservative outlook to some of the features typical of fascism, even though, in the process of development they may have undergone important modifications.
The conservative’s strong identification with the national group, the nation, the race (national unity, “bull dog breed” etc.); his love of heroes and of strong, forceful leadership, of “character” rather than of intellect or understanding; his preference for practical action over theoretical consideration; his admiration for discipline, personal power, patriotism, courage, bravery, militaristic and physical qualities generally; his pride in “Empire,” national honour and national, racial superiority (Britain rules the waves); his assumption of the inborn inferiority of the masses and the necessity for a biologically determined (by superior birth and breeding) elite or ruling caste; his tendency to rely on “instinct” and feeling for political guidance, and to distrust reason or logic; his liking for symbols and symbolism, especially those relating to the national or racial group (Britannia, Royalty, the national flag and colours, patron saints, John Bull, “St. George for Merrie England” etc.); his aversion for social, economic or racial “equality ,” for “internationalism” and Left-wing ideas generally; his sympathy and reverence for authority, hierarchy, mysticism and the “glorious” racial past – all these features of the typical conservative outlook are plainly seen to be closely related to the characteristic mass modes of the behaviour and thought of primitive groups in general, and of fascism in particular.
It is a significant fact that fascists reserve most of their political intolerance for the violent vilification of liberalism, socialism and communism, and have little to say about conservatism as such.
The study of mass modes of behaviour and their underlying mechanisms helps to shed light on many problems and everyday events concerning the bigger political groups, particularly those of the Right-wing.
It is interesting, for instance, to observe that a well-known and oft-remarked fact – namely, that open schisms, splits and factious disputes occur less frequently among members of the Right-wing than among those of the Left – becomes more intelligible in the light of “the individual’s identification with, and fear of, the group” (which prevails more strongly among the members of the larger type of group, and consequently becomes a strong, unifying force in Right-wing politics). The conservative tendency of most people to “go with the crowd, with the majority” will readily come to mind in this connection and is too well-known to require any emphasis. “Rebellious Tories,” it is often remarked by their critics, “are soon brought to heel by the crack of the whip.” “The Left,” frequently remark the conservatives, “are always squabbling among themselves.”
Thus we can see that our concepts of “political collectivism,” “dread of the group,” “vertical development of intellect” etc., apply equally well to both the conservative and the fascist modes of expression, and to the qualitative relations and distinctions between them. It should be stressed and made quite clear, however, that, despite the many similarities in their ideologies and the fact that they occupy vertically adjacent positions in the political scale, conservatism, from this very point of view, does represent a major and real qualitative modification of the fascist attitude; and that politically and ideologically, a wider gulf separates them than is frequently supposed among some of their critics of the extreme Left, who tend merely to lump them together.
The fact is that democratic conservatism, as with any other democratic political outlook, represents an ideological level which – because of its modification of the common, primitive assumptions – does not correspond with that occupied by a large and numerous section of the population. While the conservative ideology may express the general, negative political attitude of these people more nearly than the ideologies of the rest of democratic parties, this numerous section remains, on the whole, either weakly interested in politics or completely apathetic and indifferent. Only when fascism comes along, to express their real thoughts and feelings in an unmodified, unqualified, unconditioned form, does their indifference gradually depart and their “political” enthusiasm grow. Hence, one of the most important reasons for fascism’s comparatively rapid growth and rise to political power: it represented the intolerant, uncompromising, largely negative ideology of the masses more clearly and surely than could either democratic conservatism or any of the other democratic groups.
Continue reading The Domain of Ideologies by Harold Walsby (1947)
Part I Mass Groups and Intellectual Groups
Forward | The Paradox | The Political Groups | The Left Wing and Intellectualism | The Masses and Emotional Suggestibility | Fear of the Group | Political Collectivism | Political Individualism | The “Mass Rationality” Assumption
Part II Ideological Structure and Development
The Ideological Field | Definition of Ideology | Cognitive Assumptions | The Process of Assumptions | The Absolute Assumption | Identification | Development and Repression | Conclusion | Bibliography | Index