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Full text of "Authority and the individual"

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haps the most important is self-respect. By self-
respect I mean the good half of pride—what is called
£ 'proper pride/' The bad half is a sense of superiority.
Self-respect will keep a man from being abject when
he is in the power of enemies, and will enable him
to feel that he may be in the right when the world
is against him. If a man has not this quality, he will
feel that majority opinion, or governmental opinion,
is to be treated as infallible, and such a way of feeling,
if it is general, makes both moral and intellectual
progress impossible.
Self-respect has been hitherto, of necessity, a virtue
of the minority. Wherever there is inequality of
power, it is not likely to be found among those who
are subject to the rule of others. One of the most
revolting features of tyrannies is the way in which
they lead the victims of injustice to offer adulation
to those who ill-treat them. Roman gladiators saluted
the emperors who were about to cause half of them
to be slaughtered for amusement. Dostoevski and
Bakunin, when in prison, pretended to think well
of the Czar Nicholas. Those who are liquidated by
the Soviet Government very frequently make an
abject confession of sinfulness, while those who
escape the purges indulge in nauseous flatteries and
not infrequently try to incriminate colleagues. A
democratic regime is likely to avoid these grosser
forms of self-abasement, and can give complete
opportunity for the preservation of self-respect. But
it may do quite the opposite.