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Full text of "Authority and the individual"

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may send you back to the first man; and yet both
are reckoned ' 'servants" of the public. The ordinary
voter, so far from finding himself the source of all
the power of army, navy, police, and civil service,
feels himself their humble subject, whose duty is, as
the Chinese used to say, to "tremble and obey." So
long as democratic control is remote and rare, while
public administration is centralized and authority is
delegated from the centre to the circumference, this
sense of individual impotence before the powers that
be is difficult to avoid. And yet it must be avoided
if democracy is to be a reality in feeling and not
merely in governmental machinery.
Most of the evils that we have been concerned with
in this lecture are no new thing. Ever since the dawn
of civilization most people in civilized communities
have led lives full of misery; glorjj, adventure > initia/-^
tive.were/or_the privileged few, while for the multi-
tude there was a fife oŁ-severe toil with occasional
harsh cruelty. But the Western nations first, and
gradually the whole world, have awakened to a new
ideal. We are no longer content that the few should
enjoy all the good things while the many are wretched.
The evils of early industrialism caused a thrill of
horror which they would not have caused in Roman
times. Slavery was abolished because it was felt that
*no human being should be regarded merely as an
instrument to the prosperity of another. We no
longer attempt, at least in theory, to defend the
exploitation of coloured races by white conquerors.