The majority is never right. Never, I tell you! That's one of these lies in society that no free and intelligent man can help rebelling against. Who are the people that make up the biggest proportion of the population -- the intelligent ones or the fools? I think we can agree it's the fools, no matter where you go in this world, it's the fools that form the overwhelming majority.
It is a strange fact that freedom and equality, the two basic ideas of democracy, are to some extent contradictory. Logically considered, freedom and equality are mutually exclusive, just as society and the individual are mutually exclusive.
There is a limit to the application of democratic methods. You can inquire of all the passengers as to what type of car they like to ride in, but it is impossible to question them as to whether to apply the brakes when the train is at full speed and accident threatens.
I talk democracy to these men and women. I tell them that they have the vote, and that theirs is the kingdom and the power and the glory. I say to them You are supreme: exercise your power. They say, That's right: tell us what to do; and I tell them. I say Exercise our vote intelligently by voting for me. And they do. That's democracy; and a splendid thing it is too for putting the right men in the right place.
Democracy is a political method, that is to say, a certain type of institutional arrangement for arriving at political -- legislative and administrative -- decisions and hence incapable of being an end in itself.
These, then, will be some of the features of democracy... it will be, in all likelihood, an agreeable, lawless, parti-colored commonwealth, dealing with all alike on a footing of equality, whether they be really equal or not.
Democracy is never a thing done. Democracy is always something that a nation must be doing. What is necessary now is one thing and one thing only that democracy become again democracy in action, not democracy accomplished and piled up in goods and gold.
Unless democracy is to commit suicide by consenting to its own destruction, it will have to find some formidable answer to those who come to it saying: I demand from you in the name of your principles the rights which I shall deny to you later in the name of my principles.
You must drop all your democracy. You must not believe in the people. One class is no better than another. It must be a case of Wisdom, or Truth. Let the working classes be working classes. That is the truth. There must be an aristocracy of people who have wisdom, and there must be a Ruler: a Kaiser: no Presidents and democracies.
Democracy with its semi-civilization sincerely cherishes junk. The artist's power should be spiritual. But the power of the majority is material. When these worlds meet occasionally, it is pure coincidence.
When people put their ballots in the boxes, they are, by that act, inoculated against the feeling that the government is not theirs. They then accept, in some measure, that its errors are their errors, its aberrations their aberrations, that any revolt will be against them. It's a remarkably shrewd and rather conservative arrangement when one thinks of it.
The twentieth century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy.