Book Reviews, Charles, European History, Political Discussion & Analysis, Popular, Social Behavior
comments 7

The Revolt of the Masses (José Ortega y Gasset)

Oh, but this is a fascinating book.  Written in 1930 by the Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset, it is one of those books that is occasionally mentioned, especially recently, but rarely actually read.  1930, in Spain, was the hinge of fate, and it has been nearly a hundred years since Ortega wrote.  That means we can see where he was wrong, and where he was right, and what he wrote says to us today.

First, though, we have to hack our way through two misconceptions that both seem to attend any modern mention of The Revolt of the Masses.  The first, simpler, misconception is that this is a book about class, about how Ortega favors the bourgeois, or the rich, over the working class, or at least that it is an analysis of their conflicts.  Given that class was a hot topic in 1930, this is a reasonable guess from the title, but it is totally wrong.  This misconception cropped up repeatedly after Trump’s election, and, for example, the review by David Brooks in the New York Times of J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy was titled “The Revolt of the Masses.”  But Ortega was a political moderate, and seems to not have been exercised by questions of class at all.  Rather, this is a book about human excellence, what it can accomplish, and how it can be destroyed.

The subtler, more pernicious, misconception is that Ortega’s call for excellence is a call for masses to defer to experts—supposedly, according to various chatterers, Ortega’s main point is that experts are ignored.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  In fact, Ortega thinks all, or almost all, modern experts are the definition of mediocrity, and the masses deferring to them is like deferring to a mirror.  Instead, people should defer to a natural aristocracy, not of blood, but of focus and accomplishment.  Those people are not experts, who are narrow, but are instead broad people of taste, judgment, and discipline.  We will return to this misconception later, with specific recent examples, but now that we are past the reef, we can sail into the open ocean of Ortega’s thought.

So, if this is not a book about class, who are the “masses”?  Ortega divides every society into “minorities,” a small set of people who are “specially qualified,” and the “masses,” everyone not specially qualified.  The key question is who is average and who is not.  A mass person feels as if he is “just like everybody,” that he is not particularly special, and not only does this not concern him, he celebrates the fact.  (Thus, someone who examines his talents and concludes he is mediocre, and feels that is a problem, is not a mass man.)  But this, of course, begs the question—what makes a person above average or, in Ortega’s term, “specially qualified”?  They are those who make personal demands for excellence upon themselves, and live in that way.  This makes them the minority, by definition.  They may not fulfil those demands; it is the demand being made, that alone, which makes the person a minority.  In contrast, mass men “demand nothing special of themselves, but [ ] to live is to be every moment what they already are, without imposing on themselves any effort toward perfection.”

The minority, the elite, are thus not coterminous with traditional aristocracy or a ruling class.  Ortega acknowledges that in traditional social elites excellence is more likely to be found, but mere heredity does not make a person place demands on himself, so an aristocrat by blood can be a mass man just like a peasant or a steelworker—and a peasant or a steelworker can be a member of the minority.  The class of intellectuals, in particular, fancy themselves to be above the masses, but are often vulgar pseudo-intellectuals, swept along by lazy, commonplace thinking, and therefore mass men.  Children of the excellent frequently ride on their parents’ accomplishments; they thereby become mass men themselves.  Ortega wants “nobility” to mean not nobility of blood, but to restore the meaning of “noble” as “well-known, that is, known by everyone, famous, he who has made himself known by excelling the anonymous mass.”  Anyone can do this, from any walk of life, but few do, human nature being what it is.

Having gotten definitions out of the way, Ortega’s first substantive point is that in the past, the mass was content to exist in the background, ceding to the minority such higher-level societal functions as art, government and political judgment.  No more.  Now, the mass assert their right to dictate in all such areas, without having to demand from themselves, much less achieve, excellence.  In politics, this is “hyperdemocracy,” and Ortega thinks it a degradation.  In other areas, such as philosophy (Ortega’s specialty), it means that readers (and, today, listeners and YouTube watchers), do so “with the view, not of learning from the writer, but rather, of pronouncing judgment on him when he is not in agreement with the commonplaces that the said reader carries in his head.”  It’s not that the mass man thinks he’s an expert.  “The characteristic of the hour is that the commonplace mind, knowing itself to be commonplace, has the assurance to proclaim the rights of the commonplace and to impose them wherever it will. . . . . The mass crushes beneath it everything that is different, everything that is excellent, individual, qualified and select.”  Mediocrity rules, and does not care that it is mediocre.

All this is a new thing in our history, but not in world history.  It can be found in the declining years of Rome, among other places.  Ortega ascribes its modern growth, though, not to decline, but to liberal democracy, to the discovery of the abstract sovereignty of the individual.  He doesn’t dislike liberal democracy—quite the contrary, he thinks both that it’s great, and that it’s inevitable and broadly irreversible, as I discuss further below.  But if the individual is sovereign, we should not be surprised if each man treats himself as if he is indeed sovereign.

None of this implies decadence—contra Spengler, Ortega thinks that relative to the nineteenth century, which viewed itself as a time of “plenitude” when the destination of society had been reached, the twentieth century, viewing the future as open-ended and in flux, is in many ways superior.  (At this point, you have to remember it’s 1930, look around you at the world of 2018, as well as the past hundred years, then chuckle grimly and draw your own conclusions.)  But the twentieth century takes it too far, because the mass men dominate, and they have “lost all respect, all consideration for the past.”  Thus, the mass men both see the future as open, but assured, and themselves as perfect and satisfied.  That’s a dangerous combination, for it leads to a world “empty of purposes, anticipations, ideals.”  It was those things the minority supplied, and it was those things that drove the world forward.  Now, with the triumph of the masses, nobody supplies those things.  So the twentieth century is an apogee—but the nature of apogees is there is nowhere to go but down.

Thus, the nineteenth century, for all its accomplishments, also gave us the rise of the mass man, and the mass man will, unless his rise is constrained, within thirty years, “send our continent back to barbarism.”  (This is a book quite explicitly about Europe.  America is treated as close to a non-entity, with thinly veiled contempt.  And Europe is defined as France, Germany, and England—it does not, for these purposes, really even include Spain.)  The mass man, for example, feels that he himself is qualified to decide, and should decide, political matters, rather than his vote “supporting the decision of one minority or another.”  That will lead to the disappearance of liberal democracy, which Ortega regards as man’s highest political achievement (“legislative technique”), but it will also lead to the end of “industrial technique,” since the pursuit of technical excellence by minorities drives industry forward, just like other pursuit of excellence drives political organization forward.

It is this latter “industrial technique,” this combination of “scientific experiment and industrialism,” that Ortega names “technism.”  Technism has allowed the mass man to escape the feeling that dominated all prior societies, that of material scarcity and restrictions.  At the same time, liberal democracy makes the mass man believe that he is master of his psychic and political destiny.  Thus, the mass man feels in his bones that life is now “exempt from restrictions” on every level.  That is to say, in modern parlance, he is emancipated.  “The world which surrounds the new man from his birth does not compel him to limit himself in any fashion, it sets up no veto in opposition to him; on the contrary, it incites his appetite, which in principle can increase indefinitely.”  Ortega’s objection is not that appetites increasing is bad; he did not foresee the logical endpoint of total emancipation, which is total autonomy combined with total tyranny and a denial of basic reality.  Instead, his objection is that the mass man fails to appreciate that all this, that benefits him, was created with great toil by the excellence of minorities; he thinks it manna from heaven.  What characterizes the mass man is inertia—the opposite of the ceaseless, self-generated search for excellence that characterizes the truly noble.  And this failure to understand the sources of the bounty that blesses him, his “radical ingratitude,” combined with the new dominance of the mass man over society, means it will all disappear, and barbarism will return, as excellence flees.

For Ortega, such barbarism isn’t of the type that, looking backward, the twentieth century actually delivered.  Rather, “barbarism is the absence of standards to which appeal can be made.”  That seems like not a fatal problem, but it is.  No standards, no progress, only regress.  Certainly, mass men are the creators of such tripe as Syndicalism, Fascism (explicitly in the Mussolini sense) and, Communism (“a monotonous repetition of the eternal revolution,” oblivious to history, like all these movements).  They are created by “the type of man who does not want to give reasons or to be right, but simply shows himself resolved to impose his opinions.  This is the new thing: the right not to be reasonable, the ‘reason of unreason.’ . . . Hence his ideas are in effect nothing more than appetites in words. . . .”  (Ortega would not have enjoyed spending time on Facebook, much less Twitter.)  When mass men of politics say they are “done with discussions,” this is what they mean.  It implies also that “direct action,” that is, violence, becomes not the ultima ratio, the final argument when all others are through, but the prima ratio, the first argument.  This is always true, “at every epoch when the mass, for one purpose or another, has taken a part in public life.”  In all areas, what is recognized by the excellent, the minorities, in all times as “civilized,” from literature, to sexual relations, to art, to manners, to justice, decays.  It is those standards for those things that make “the community, common life” possible.  Result of their end:  barbarism, if we don’t change course.

We can certainly see this degradation of all standards today, to a degree that makes Ortega’s prescience startling (although he was far off the mark on one matter, which I talk about last).  Not only is the mass man as Ortega defines him far more dominant, over the whole Western world, than in Ortega’s time, but we see the barbarism Ortega identifies has long since arrived.  Certainly almost nobody demands excellence in any field; instead, the mass men who rule demand such rubbish as “diversity and inclusion,” the wholesale granting of unearned benefits on the basis of (preferred) immutable characteristics.  The very idea that there is such a thing as excellence is denied as a matter of course.  Similarly with the political processes Ortega identifies.  We hear all the time, mostly from the Left but also from the Right, that the time for discussion is over, and the time for action is here, by which the speaker means “conform to my unreasoned and emotion-driven demands or be crushed.”  (Such language is all over the latest push to confiscate firearms, for example, along with other forms of knuckle-dragging political behavior that would have horrified Ortega, with his focus on high rationality and political liberty.)  And, more broadly, what characterizes everything in the West is a call for total autonomy implemented, if necessary, by government tyranny, and a rejection of any standards as an offense against emancipation.

Ortega believed that as long as the minority of the excellent dominates, progress is inevitable.  And the reverse is also true.  Therefore, Ortega would, perhaps, not be surprised by the situation today.  Moreover, since barbarism has arrived in the form of the domination of mass men, it is natural that a portion of those mass men hold themselves out as the minority, as the elites.  But, of course, they are merely the rulers—they do not actually demand of themselves any pursuit of excellence at all.  The names of categories are maintained, in art, politics, and culture, but they are hollow, for the standards are set by mass men clothed in false skins.  So, it is entirely possible, if standards have decayed and barbarism returned, for there to be nobody at all to whom the masses can turn for guidance.  The polestar may simply have winked out, to, perhaps, be restored at a time to be announced, when the world is remade.

Thus, The Revolt of the Masses feels surprisingly fresh, given not only its age but all the water that has passed under the bridge since it was written.  Yes, Ortega does display a simplistic, if touching, faith, in liberal democracy, which has since his time shown its deficiency.  The Europe of 1930 is the triumph of “liberal democracy and technical knowledge,” shown by, among other things, a tripling of the population of Europe.  (Ortega is wrong here, of course—there is no necessary, or actual historical, linkage of liberal democracy with the rise of technical knowledge or its impacts in the Industrial Revolution.)  He concludes that “liberal democracy based on technical knowledge is the highest type of public life hitherto known,” and though it might be possible to imagine a better, anything better must continue to embody both liberal democracy and technical knowledge, and that it would be “suicidal” to return to any pre-nineteenth-century form.  It is the “truth of destiny.”

That was a supportable argument, maybe, in 1930, but not now.  True, the term no longer means what it meant for Ortega.  For him, it meant political liberty, “consideration for one’s neighbor,” “indirect action” (i.e., a rejection of violence), and, explicitly, universal suffrage where the mass of voters chose among programs offered by their betters.  Today, it means, as Ryszard Legutko says, “coercion to freedom,” where no political liberty is offered to those opposed to unbridled autonomy, and democracy means only being allowed to vote for what today’s elites, who are not Ortega’s minority, allow.  Ortega thought liberal democracy “announces the determination to share existence with the enemy.”  Those who today howl “I can tolerate anything but intolerance” can have nothing in common with this sentiment.  So perhaps we can say that Ortega may have been right, but liberal democracy as he used the term is dead, a casualty of the barbarism he feared, replaced by its zombie equivalent (although probably such zombification was inevitable, in the nature of liberal democracy, as several recent writers have claimed).

As I promised, let’s turn back to the second misconception about Ortega’s thoughts, regarding “experts.”  In the past few years, there have been minor outbreaks of renewed interest in Ortega’s thoughts, always facile.  For example, in the Atlantic, a colloquy recently appeared between a staff writer and a reader, where the statement was endorsed by both, that Ortega “describes a movement that appeals to a cross-section of non-intellectual people across class lines that seems to parallel Donald Trump’s cross-cultural appeal. There it seemed to lead to Fascism.”  Ortega would have a conniption.  His objection is not that the mass man fails to be intellectual; it is that the mass man does not pursue excellence.  For the most part, Ortega loathes modern intellectuals as the very worst type of mass man.  Nor does he make any suggestion at all that mass men lead to Fascism; rather, he says that the domination of mass men leads to regression in political organization, one possible end of which is Fascism.  The Atlantic colloquy continues, with such gems as “[T]he digital age seems to have trouble accepting ‘elite’ consensus regarding complex topics such as climate change (and gun control, evolution and tax policy, among many other subjects where the vast majority of scientists, economists, etc., accept certain basic facts that are rejected by large swaths of the public).”  Ortega did not care about what scientists and economists had to say.  At all.  He would call them ignoramuses, narrow men whose narrow learning did not qualify them to say anything at all to society at large, especially about topics not subject to rigid calculation.  His “elites” were men of excellence and broad learning, not sophists and calculators.

To Ortega, “special qualifications” are not those of experts.  Our experts are scientists and similar types who are narrow and ignorant outside of a tiny area, yet presume to think otherwise.  His leaders, to whom the mass should defer, are men of great mind, not technicians.  They are aristocrats.  In fact, Ortega despises the “ ‘man of science,’ the high-point of European humanity,” as being actually “the prototype of the mass man.”  This is because the days of scientific discoveries by generalists, like Newton, are over, and the days of narrow specialization by each scientist are here.  Science itself is not specialized, and in fact must be informed by areas outside science—but scientific work, today, must be specialized.  The days of encyclopedic minds are gone, and what we have are specialists, each only knowledgeable in “the small corner of which he is an active investigator.”  Given this hyper-specialization, men who are overall mediocre, rather than excellent, can actually keep science advancing (this is today called the “Ortega Hypothesis”), because “a fair amount of the things that have to be done in physics or biology is mechanical work of the mind which can be done by anyone, or almost anyone.”  But such men think they are excellent, even though each “knows very well his own tiny corner of the universe; [but] he is radically ignorant of all the rest.”  He is a “learned ignoramus,” which is bad enough, but worse is in store, for “By specializing him, civilization has made him hermetic and self-satisfied within his limitations; but this very inner feeling of dominance and worth will induce him to wish to predominate outside his specialty.  The result is . . . that he will behave in almost all spheres of life as does the unqualified, the mass-man.”

This is what we see, most of the time, when people demand that the public listen to “experts”—that we listen to specialists in one area who are thereby presumed to be competent to lecture us in areas either only loosely related, or, more often, wholly unrelated.  The names are endless, but include everyone from Bill Nye to Stephen Hawking.  It is these specialists, Ortega says, who exist in a state of “ ‘not-listening,’ of not submitting to higher courts of appeal,” a characteristic of the mass man.  That is, the experts we are told today we must listen to are, for Ortega, the archetypical mass men, whom we should ignore, and to whom we listen to at our peril.

Finally, Ortega veers off the mark in his last chapter, which covers a third of the book.  Here, he extols the need for a European superstate.  This chapter has various insights, including that force follows public opinion, and that if Europe does not rule the world, it is not clear that anyone will or can, leading inevitably to “universal barbarism.”  His analysis of nationalism is interesting (“In defending the nation we are defending our tomorrows, not our yesterdays”), but his idea that all states proceed to fusion of social classes (which seems in contradiction to the rest of his book) is demonstrably false.  The biggest problem, though, is that he extends this idea of fusion, or consolidation, to extend beyond the nations of Europe, to a true fusion of Europe.  We have seen the zenith of this idea in our lifetimes, and it was not a very high zenith.  It has been falsified that “The more faithful the national State of the West remains to its genuine inspiration, the more surely will it perfect itself in a gigantic continental state.”  Nor is it true that “Only the determination to construct a great nation from the group of peoples of the Continent [will] give new life to the pulses of Europe.”  Quite the contrary, in fact, as we have seen.  The so-called great nation is about to be no nation at all, as all can clearly see.  It is not the failure of prediction that bothers me, but that the reasoning and analysis on which it is based, which is conclusory and fantastical, is far inferior to that in the rest of the book.

Despite the last chapter’s failings, this book is very much worth reading and pondering.  (I read it because my mother asked me to, on the grounds that she would likely never get around to it herself, and I would do her a service by reviewing it.)  It does not offer a program to fix the problems identified—that is something we will have to come up with for ourselves.  I don’t know if Ortega had anything to say about that in his other writings.  My guess is that he would not be surprised by Europe’s terminal decline, or by that America was able to extend his thirty-year deadline for the West by a few decades, yet is now in the same leaky boat of the Europe of 1930, but with more holes and more fat people in the boat.

PDF (Typeset) Version


  1. Kevin says

    No standards, no progress indeed Load up the boat with fat people!!

    Fascinating discussion, and amazing how applicable to today

    I have seen the continued existence of a “specially qualified” minority – though largely ignored or drowned it in today’s world

    Charles – I think you do a disservice in your wholesale denunciation of “experts” – we need folks such as you helping to sort the what from the chaff (much as you do in these reviews) Certainly a number of “experts” belong to the masses, but surely you know of some who do not…?

    Aristotle was right – it is indeed about virtues. Nichomachean Ethics is required reading for anyone wishing to distinguish themselves from the masses.

    • Charles says

      Thank you. Ah, but I’m not an expert–for Ortega, that would be someone who knows a tremendous amount about a narrow area, and nothing else. Knowledge is not synonymous with expertise. I may provide value through my thoughts, but hopefully that’s not because of some technical expertise in the Ortega sense, but because I try to demand excellence of myself, through both breadth and depth of thought and knowledge.

  2. “Mediocrity rules, and does not care that it is mediocre.”

    This makes me think of two different (but related?) phenomena I’ve noticed in recent times.

    The first is that there are really very few, if any, things of true, ascertainable and exclusive high quality left. For example, luxury is a “mass market” now. Think of automobiles– Lexus, BMW and Mercedes are all in a competition to be the highest volume luxury brand, not the most profitable, the most exclusive, the most refined or well-engineered (hey, I am NOT saying Lexus is a piece of crap… but it’s closer to a fancy Toyota today than it has ever been, I think.) Similarly, think of luxury hotels. These things are slapped up all over the place and you can go anywhere in the world, even some real dives, and stay in a luxury hotel, and not really for all that much money, either. There was a time where a luxury hotel was a.) physically unique to its time and place, ie, it had a history and b.) almost exclusively catered to a creme de la creme of society. Now, if you have enough rewards points or are part of the Fast Money nouveau riche du jour, you can stay at as many luxury hotels as you want, wherever you go. One more– nice homes. Think about the difference in quality and craftsmanship between an Italian villa or French chateau or an English baronial mansion, compared to your modern supermoney mensch estate. I’m not even talking about $5M McMansions. I am talking about someone with a $45M home built on a cliff overlooking the ocean. That thing isn’t going to be inhabitable 50 years from now, whether or not it slides down the ravine in a geophysical upset or not!

    Can you even think of some kind of high-quality luxury that the average, mass man can’t obtain with just enough luck, points or cash money saved up (or unusued credit card balance)?

    The second is that markets have been sliced and diced so minisculely, especially in the media production space (websites/blogs, YouTube/streaming, podcasts etc.) there is essentially an “audience” for any twerp that wants to put on a show. You don’t even have to be good anymore. Just to want a platform is enough of a reason for most people to get started. Most people have nothing to say, and fewer still have anything interesting and fewer still than that have anything original. Yet there are hundreds of thousands of derivative-derivative, curated claptrap nonsense productions just in the English-speaking web world. I have no idea what the non-English web has but considering it’s more numerous I have to assume it’s even worse.

    This is a trite example but it’ll suffice as illustration. I know someone who plays games on the internet for an audience, part of the Twitch or “Let’s Play” phenomenon. This person is mediocre in their abilities and doesn’t even try to make what they’re doing interesting. On average they sustain 2 live viewers a night (probably their grandma and their dog). Yet there they are, “playing for the crowd.” This seems like part of the “mass man” idea, where it doesn’t matter if you’re good and the fact that you’re like everyone else is a quietly reassuring reason to put yourself out there. “I have the right, and who would stop me?”

  3. Eugene says

    I know I am quite late to the game, but I could not resist leaving a comment. I happen to own two copies of this book, one riddled with my own marginalia, the other left in its pristine condition – a good indicator of how I feel about The Revolt of the Masses (TRotM). This is indeed an extraordinary book, all the more so when you consider its relative brevity. But then extraordinary works need not be prolix. Almost a century after its appearance, Ortega y Gasset’s magnum opus is as relevant as ever. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that TRotM is essential reading if one is to understand the modern world.

    Your review does an excellent job of distilling the merits of the book as well as its flaws. As your analysis of the merits is impeccable (you do well to dismantle the misconception that Ortega y Gasset’s criticism of the masses is class-based), I will limit myself to the flaws. It is true that the idea of a supranational European state has been discredited, but only in its present incarnation. Ortega y Gasset argues that the driving force of European history is unification, integration, and expansion. This idea is at the heart of his trenchant criticism of nationalism (a “false dawn”, he’d say), which he views as an attempt to overturn history. According to Ortega y Gasset, history has its own inexorable laws, and one turns the clock back to restore an ante-state only at the risk of annihilation. If one is to accept that logic, the desire of, say, a French nationalist to return to the pre-EU France is akin to a German in 1890 pining for a return to some kind of grand duchy before it had been gobbled up by Bismarck. The European Union is ailing, but is the idea of a European Union to be buried completely (note the article usage)? As far as the integration of European states is concerned, Ortega y Gasset turned out to be prophetic. But if we are to follow his argument to its logical conclusion, what is Europe to do once it’s fully united? If unification, integration, and expansion are indeed the driving force of history, the growth of Europe cannot stop, since the arrest of expansion will usher in the kind of stasis that enfeebles the European man. What then? Does Europe bring non-European states into its fold? But surely the result will be a Europe that is no longer European (and, as your own review mentions, we know what Ortega y Gasset thought about the non-European part of the world). Without the contemplation of this prospect, Ortega y Gasset’s argument seems incomplete.

    There are a few other arguments that appear quaint; someone less charitable might call them potty. I think, for example, of Ortega y Gasset’s pronouncements on the lassitude of tropical men, which he attributes to the climate of their environs. This might have been true in 1925, but the air conditioner has solved that problem (and the economic success of states such as Singapore demonstrates that the indolence of the tropical man need not detain us for long).

    But these are cavils.

    The biggest problem, it seems to me, is the lack of any yardstick that can be used to separate the wheat from the chaff. The mass man is perfectly content with being as he is and places no demands upon himself, while the excellent man is in a state of constant self-improvement and servility. So far, so simple. But how is one to measure the propensity of an individual to make demands upon himself? By gauging one’s accomplishments? Surely there are mass men who have done quite well for themselves! If we are to have a “superior minority” in charge of things, how do we select its members? What criteria are to be used? Things are made more complicated by the fact that a superior man – a man who is aware of his own limitations – will be, out of his intellectual modesty, less inclined to consider himself as a superior man and, therefore, less inclined to step forward. This argument is not at all developed in TRotM. To be fair, Ortega y Gasset is not obligated to provide answers; asking the right questions is sufficient.

    I am also rather uneasy about the distrust of, and disdain for, experts that you mention. There is certainly no shortage of experts (as well as pundits, pseudo-intellectuals, and “thought leaders”) who are, as you say, ignoramuses. But don’t the “superior minorities” need experts to govern effectively? If one has a tumor, one will probably defer to an oncologist (an expert with a very specialized knowledge in one field) and not to a “superior man” with an encyclopedic knowledge. Admittedly, Ortega y Gasset must have been opposed not to experts qua experts, but to experts who attempt to make inroads into areas and fields of public life for which they are eminently unqualified. This objection is a fair one. Nevertheless, experts must have their place as well.

    On the whole, though, TRotM is a formidable, vastly underrated book, and your review does it full justice.

    • Charles says

      Thank you. All good points. It seems to me that civilizations have a life of their own, and they either bring forth and advance the excellent, or they don’t. Thus, the self-view of each man is less important, for he is embedded in a larger structure of which he is only a part. So, for example, in a civilization devoted to excellence, experts will be valued in their place. As with so much that relates to the life of a culture, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, so capturing the parts, analytically, while often helpful, cannot capture the whole.

  4. Arthur Rutherford Jermin says

    Wonderful. Charles Haywood has the political astuteness of Martin Heidegger, and the philosophical profundity… not of Martin Heidegger. He is, admittedly, smarter than Donald Trump, and so perhaps cannot stand the fact that a dumb business man is the leader of the free world rather than a true business man and CEO such as himself. I don’t recall, but did Ross Perot also consider himself a neo Aristotelian existentialist?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *