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Full text of "Authority and the individual"

THE    ROLE   OF   INDIVIDUALITY
think of anything that mankind has gained by the
existence of Jenghis Khan. I do not know what good
came of Robespierre, and, for my part, I see no
reason to be grateful to Lenin. But all these men,
good and bad alike, had a quality which I should not
wish to see disappear from the world—a quality of
energy and personal initiative, of independence of
mind, and of imaginative vision. A man who pos-
sesses these qualities is capable of doing much good,
or of doing great harm, and if mankind is not to sink
into dullness such exceptional men must find scope,
though one could wish that the scope they find
should be for the benefit of mankind. There may be
less difference than is sometimes thought between
the temperament of a great criminal and a great
statesman. It may be that Captain Kidd and Alexander
the Great, if a magician had interchanged them at
birth, would have each fulfilled the career which, in
fact, was fulfilled by the other. The same thing may
be said of some artists; the memoirs of Benvenuto
Cellini do not give a picture of a man with that
respect for law which every right-minded citizen
ought to have. In the modern world, and still more,
so far as can be guessed, in the world of the near
future, important achievement is and will be almost
impossible to an individual if he cannot dominate
some vast organization. If he can make himself head
of a State like.Lem^jor monopolistwpfwa^great in-
dustr^Ji^_Rockef^U^r^or a controller of credit like
the elder Pierpont Morgan, he can produce enormous
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