Serving the Masses


When the titanic apparatus of the mass-order has been consolidated, the individual has to serve it, and must from time to time combine with his fellows in order to renovate it. If he wants to make his livelihood by intellectual activity, he will find it very difficult to do this except by satisfying the needs of the many. He must give currency to something that will please the crowd. They seek satisfaction in the pleasures of the table, eroticism, self-assertion; they find no joy in life if one of these gratifications be curtailed. They also desire some means of self-knowledge. They desire to be led in such as way that they can fancy themselves leaders. Without wishing to be free, they would fain be accounted free. One who would please their taste must produce what is really average and commonplace, though not frankly styled such; must glorify or at least justify something as universally human. Whatever is beyond their understanding is uncongenial to them.

Karl Jaspers, Man in the Modern Age (1931)

I am reminded of what Jaspers is talking about here when I read these articles…

“The Tea Party Jacobins,” @NYTimes Review of Books
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/may/27/tea-party-jacobins/#fn1-469870163

“The Very Angry Tea Party,” @NYTimes
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/13/the-very-angry-tea-party/

The Methlab of Democracy,” @Unemployed Negativity Blog
http://networkedblogs.com/4PwxD

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