Wednesday, 13 May 2015


Being well acquainted with the psychology of castes, and also with the psychology of other categories of crowds, I do not perceive a single case in which, wrongly accused of a crime, I should not prefer to have to deal with a jury rather than with magistrates.

I should have some chance that my innocence would be recognised by the former and not the slightest chance that it would be admitted by the latter. The power of crowds is to be dreaded, but the power of certain castes is to be dreaded yet more. Crowds are open to conviction; castes never are.
Gustave Le Bon - The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind (1895)

In various ways and from various angles, an aspect of the recent general election was the widespread view that major political parties are becoming much the same. Presumably their supporters think otherwise but the perception of bland similarity seems to be growing.

Unfortunately we don’t have the political language to lay hold of the problem in a clear and unambiguous way. Politics perverts language – it’s what ruling castes always do.

We could take Le Bon’s quote, extend it and build on the idea that a global caste is taking control of global politics. It’s a sound enough idea, but the word caste is old, has a specific social meaning  and to my mind is insufficiently compelling for modern politics.

Which brings up a deeper problem - what language do we use for global political trends? There does seem to be a global caste, but what do we call it? Current political language is lacking good terminology and for obvious reasons there is no political desire to fix it. The global caste is not in favour of transparency – not yet anyhow. And so we are shafted by the paucity of our language.


Demetrius said...


A K Haart said...

Demetrius - there are similarities worth exploring.