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Full text of "Authority and the individual"

possible, the initiative required involves so much
energy and time, ,and is so likely to end in failure,
that most people prefer to acquiesce in the status quo,
except to the extent of voting, once in five years, for
some candidate who promises reform.
In a highly organized world, personal initiative
connected with a group must be confined to a few
unless the group is small. If you are a member of a
small committee you may reasonably hope to influ-
ence its decisions. In national politics, where you are
one of some twenty million voters, your influence is
infinitesimal unless you are exceptional or occupy
an exceptional position. You have, it is true, a
twenty-millionth share in the government of others,
but only a twenty-millionth share in the government
of yourself. You are therefore much more conscious
of being governed than of governing. The govern-
ment becomes in your thoughts a remote and largely
malevolent "they," not a set of men whom you, in
concert with others who share your opinions, have
chosen to carry out your wishes. Your individual
feeling about politics, in these circumstances, is not
that intended to be* brought about by democracy,
but much more nearly what it would be under a
and of ^ capacity to
^r^fo[t to be important, Oab
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only be restored if power can be delegated to smalF
groups in which jhe individual is not overwhelmed
by mere numbers. A considerable degree oficentral