Full text: Problems in eugenics

R. Michels.Sociology and Eugenics.235 
self-conceit, which has the power, however, of being communicated to the 
mass; in certain rarer cases, finally, goodness of heart and disinterested­ 
ness, qualities which remind the crowd of the figure of Jesus Christ, and 
which reawaken in them those religious sentiments which are not extinct 
but only weakened. 
Concluding, it would not be inopportune to say that these elements of 
the crowd which succeed in elevating themselves above their fellow-citizens, 
and in becoming leaders of the party, are the very superior and better 
elements, not always surely in the moral sense—because party leadership 
often deteriorates the moral qualities of the man, as I minutely described in 
my above-mentioned book on sociology(x)—but in an energetic, an intellectual, 
and, to a certain extent, also a physical way. Indeed, as we have briefly 
explained in this paper, it is true that the real independence of the demo­ 
cratic chief from the mass on which he theoretically depends, to the point 
even of being at any moment liable to be dismissed by it, independence 
which inverts the terms and renders the leader, originally a servant of the 
mass, absolute master of it, is owing in great part to an always increasing 
necessity of the division of labour and differentiation of party work, which 
accentuates more and more the competence of the leader on the one hand, 
and the incompetence of the followers on the other. The cause, in ultimate 
analysis, of the predominance of the leaders in party life is based, then, on 
the conditions of party organisation as a whole, and consists in a profes­ 
sional and educational superiority. To reach this competence it is, how­ 
ever, requisite there be men who can prove themselves to possess certain 
dynamic and pre-eminent qualities. 
Thus we may sustain the thesis: Without party organisation many 
socially useful elements would be lost, in the sense that they would never 
change their social class, and remain all their life long in the proletariat; in 
other terms, they would have no occasion to improve their standard of 
life and develop the special gifts which enabled them to help the people. 
Because there is no doubt that modern capitalism renders the rising of the best 
forces within the working class to economic independence and individual wealth 
increasingly difficult. In the past, especially during the youth of the new 
factory system, some of the most clever and most ambitious work­ 
men succeeded, by virtue of an indefatigable activity and, of course, a 
good deal of luck, in becoming employers. To-day the accumulation 
of industrial property and the increasing cost of even the most 
elementary instruments of labour indispensable to industrial manage­ 
ment prevent, in all the old countries, such a transformation taking place. 
The type of the so-called self-made man is, so far as concerns industry, a 
rather rare and old-fashioned one; only in young countries, like the 
two Americas and Australia, will it be easy to find a greater number of 
(1) Zur Soziologie des Parteiwesens, pag. 19311.

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.