Page:Rise and Fall of Society.djvu/23

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Introduction

that many an armed-services conscript consoles himself with that kind of logic. This country was largely populated by escapees from conscription—called "czarism" a generation or two ago and held to be the lowest form of involuntary servitude. Now it has come to pass that a conscript army is in fact a "democratic" army, composed of men who have made adjustment with the "social attitude" of the times. So does the run-of-the-mill draftee console himself when compelled to interrupt his dream of a career. Acceptance of compulsory military service has reached the point of unconscious resignation of personality. The individual, as individual, simply does not exist; he is of the mass.

This is the fulfillment of statism. It is a state of mind that does not recognize any ego but that of the collective. For analogy, one must go to the pagan practice of human sacrifice: when the gods called for it, when the medicine man so insisted, as a condition for prospering the clan, it was incumbent on the individual to throw himself into the sacrificial fire. In point of fact, statism is a form of paganism, for it is worship of an idol, something made by man. Its base is pure dogma. Like all dogmas this one is subject to interpretations and rationales, each with its coterie of devotees. But, whether one calls oneself a Communist, Socialist, New Dealer, or just plain "democrat," one begins with the premise that the individual is of consequence only as a servant of the mass idol. Its will be done.


It is an odd circumstance of history that the questing spirit is never obliterated or completely submerged. Social and political pressures may compel the intellectually curious to put on an appearance of conformity—since one must live in one's environment—but actual conformity is impossible for

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