Full text: Problems in eugenics

R. Michels. Sociology and Eugenics.233 
tasks in party life the concentration of power in political parties is 
augmenting. All party struggles resolve themselves into struggles between 
the dominating party oligarchy and other equally narrow party oligarchies 
striving to possess themselves of sovereignty. The dominant oligarchs are 
sometimes (though very rarely) thrown out of power in a body, when strong 
opposition culminates in conquering the masses. More frequently, however, 
the dominant oligarchy slowly liberates itself of its own enemies in the 
party, by letting down the bars to the leaders of the opposition, who 
quickly get sobered by responsibility and, having tasted power as party 
leaders, are quite as determined to retain it by all means as any of their 
predecessors in office. In either event there is no escaping the conclusion that 
both in the State and in party management oligarchy is inevitable. At some 
future time the socialists may possibly be successful, but socialism never. 
In the initial period of the labour movement, the basis of political 
leadership consists above all, though not exclusively, in the oratorical gift. 
No crowd can resist the power, aesthetic and emotional, of the spoken word. 
The beauty of the speech moves the crowd, and this suggestion subjects it 
to, and gives it wholly into the hands of, the orator. It is in the nature of 
democracy, so far as it aims at exciting sentiments, feelings and actions 
emanating directly or indirectly from the collectivity, that the word, 
written or spoken, exercises a great political repercussion on the people. 
In every democratic regime the leaders are orators and emphatic newspaper - 
writers. In France: Gambetta, Clemenceau; in England, Gladstone; in 
Italy : Crispi, Luzzatti. In democratically ruled States, among the qualities 
which enable a man to rise to the leadership of public affairs, the first place 
is assigned to oratorical ability, adroitness, and versatility. The same may 
be sustained, even in a still higher degree, of the party life. Carlyle said : 
No British man can attain to be a statesman or chief of workers till he has 
first proved himself a chief of talkers(1). For England, the susceptibility 
of the crowd to oratorical effects has already been noticed in 1826 by an 
Italian observer : The English people, so sensible, so sparing of their time, 
will stop to listen to any man speaking in public, with as much pleasure as they 
go to hear the best actors(2). In France, Ernest Charles ascertained, on the 
authority of professional statistics of the members of the Parliament, that 
nearly all the representatives of the young, active, lively, and progressive 
parties in the House, are well-known journalists and clever orators ; that 
(1) Thomas Carlyle, Latter Day Pamphlets, n. V : Stumf-Orator, pag. 167, in 
Thomas Carlyle's Works (“The Standard Edition,” Vol. III., London, Chapman 
and Hall, 1906). 
(2) Giuseppe Pecchio, Un'Elezione di Membri del Parlament0 in Inghilterra, 
Lugano, pag. 109, 1826.

Note to user

Dear user,

In response to current developments in the web technology used by the Goobi viewer, the software no longer supports your browser.

Please use one of the following browsers to display this page correctly.

Thank you.