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Power, 1938,
by Bertrand Russell

Chapter I: The Impulse to Power

Between man and other animals there are various differences, some intellectual, some emotional. One of the chief emotional differences is that some human desires, unlike those of animals, are essentially boundless and incapable of complete satisfaction. The boa constrictor, when he has had his meal, sleeps until appetite revives ; if other animals do not do likewise, it is because their meals are less adequate or because they fear enemies. The activities of animals, with few exceptions, are inspired by the primary needs of survival and reproduction, and do not exceed what these needs make imperative.

With men, the matter is different. A large proportion of the human race, it is true, is obliged to work so hard in obtaining necessaries that little energy is left over for other purposes; but those whose livelihood is assured do not, on that account, cease to be active. Xerxes had no lack of food or raiment or wives at the time when he embarked upon the Athenian expedition. Newton was certain of material comfort from the moment when he became a Fellow of Trinity, but it was after this that he wrote the Principia. St, Francis and Ignatius Loyola had no need to found Orders to escape from want. These were eminent men, but the same characteristic, in varying degrees, is to be found in all but a small exceptionally sluggish minority. Mrs. A, who is quite sure of her husband's success in business, and has no fear of the workhouse, likes to be better dressed than Mrs. B, although she could escape the danger of pneumonia at much less expense. Both she and Mr. A are pleased if he is knighted or elected to Parliament. In day-dreams there is no limit to imagined triumphs, and if they are regarded as possible, efforts will be made to achieve them.

Imagination is the goad that forces human beings into restless exertion after their primary needs have been satisfied. Most of us have known very few moments when we could have said:
If it were now to die
"Twere now to be most happy, for I fear
My soul hath her content so absolute
That not another comfort like to this
Succeeds in unknown fate.
Imagination is the goad that forces human beings into restless exertion alter their primary needs have been satisfied. Most of us have known very few moments when we could have said:
If it were now to die
"Twere now to be most happy, for I fear
My soul hath her content so absolute
That not another comfort like to this
Succeeds in unknown fate.
And in our rare moments of perfect happiness, it is natural, like Othello, to wish for death, since we know that contentment cannot last. What we need for lasting happiness is impossible for human beings : only God can have complete bliss, for His is "the kingdoms and the power and the glory. '' Earthly kingdoms are limited by other kingdoms; earthly power is cut short by death; earthly glory, though we build pyramids or be "married to immortal verse," fades with the passing of centuries. To those who have but little of power and glory, it may seem that a little more would satisfy them, but in this they are mistaken : these desires are insatiable and infinite, and only in the infinitude of God could they find repose.

While animals are content with existence and reproduction, men desire also to expand, and their desires in this respect are limited only by what imagination suggests as possible. Every man would like to be God, if it were possible ; some few find it difficult to admit the impossibility. These are the men framed after the model of Milton's Satan, combining, like him, nobility with impiety. By "impiety" I mean something not dependent upon theological beliefs: I mean refusal to admit the limitations of individual human power. This Titanic combination of nobility with impiety is most notable in the great conquerors, but some element of it is to be found in all men. It is this that makes social co-operation difficult, for each of us would like to conceive of it after the pattern of the co-operation between God and His worshippers, with ourself in the place of God. Hence competition, the need of compromise and government, the impulse to rebellion, with instability and periodic violence. And hence the need of morality to restrain anarchic self-assertion.

Of the infinite desires of man, the chief are the desires for power and glory. These are not identical, though closely allied : the Prime Minister has more power than glory, the King has more glory than power. As a rule, however, the easiest way to obtain glory is to obtain power; this is especially the case as regards the men who are active in relation to public events.The desire for glory, therefore, prompts, in the main, the same actions as are prompted by the desire for power, and the two motives may, for most practical purposes, be regarded as one.

The orthodox economists, as well as Marx, who in this respect agreed with them, were mistaken in supposing that economic self-interest could be taken as the fundamental motive in the social sciences. The desire for commodities, when separated from power and glory, is finite, and can be fully satisfied by a moderate competence. The really expensive desires are not dictated by a love of material comfort. Such commodities as a legislature rendered subservient by corruption, or a private picture gallery of Old Masters selected by experts, are sought for the sake of power or glory, not as affording comfortable places in which to sit. When a moderate degree of comfort is assured, both individuals and communities will pursue power rather than wealth : they may seek wealth as a means to power, or they may forgo an increase of wealth in order to secure an increase of power, but in the former case as in the latter their fundamental motive is not economic. This error in orthodox and Marxist economics is not merely theoretical, but is of the greatest practical importance, and has caused some of the principal events of recent times to be misunderstood. It is only by realizing that love of power is the cause of the activities that are important in social affairs that history, whether ancient or modern, can be rightly interpreted.

In the course of this book I shall be concerned to prove that the fundamental concept in social science is Power, in the same sense in which Energy is the fundamental concept in physics. Like energy, power has many forms, such as wealth, armaments, ,civil authority, influence on opinion. No one of these can be regarded as subordinate to any other, and there is no one form from which the others are derivative. The attempt to treat one form of power, say wealth, in isolation, can only be partially successful, just as the study of one form of energy will be defective at certain points, unless other forms are taken into account. Wealth may result from military power or from influence over opinion, just as either of these may result from wealth. The laws of social dynamics are laws which can only be stated in terms of power, not in terms of this or that form of power. In former times, military power was isolated, with the consequence that victory or defeat appeared to depend upon the accidental qualities of commanders. In our day, it is common to treat economic power as the source from which all other kinds are derived; this, I shall contend, is just as great an error as that of the purely military historians whom it has caused to seem out of date. Again, there are those who regard propaganda as the fundamental form of power. This is by no means a new opinion; it is embodied in such traditional sayings as magma est veritas et prevalebit and "the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church." It has about the same measure of truth and falsehood as the military view or the economic view. Propaganda, if it can create an almost unanimous opinion, can generate an irresistible power; but those who have military or economic control can, if they choose, use it for the purpose of propaganda. To revert to the analogy of physics: power, like energy, must be regarded as continually passing from any one of its forms into any other, and it should be the business of social science to seek the laws of such transformations. The attempt to isolate any one form of power, more especially, in our day, the economic form, has been, and still is, a source of errors of great practical importance.

There are many ways in which different societies differ in relation to power. They differ, to begin with, in the degree of power possessed by individuals or organizations ; it is obvious, for example, that, owing to increase of organization, the State has more power now than in former times. They differ, again, as regards the kind of organization that is most influential : a military despotism, a theocracy, a plutocracy, are very dissimilar types. They differ, thirdly, through diversity in the ways of acquiring power : hereditary kingship produces one kind of eminent man, the qualities required of a great ecclesiastic produce another kind, democracy produces a third kind, and war a fourth.

Where no social institution, such as aristocracy or hereditary monarchy, exists to limit the number of men to whom power is possible, those who most desire power are, broadly speaking, those most likely to acquire it. It follows that, in a social system in which power is open to all, the posts which confer power will, as a rule, be occupied by men who differ from the average in being exceptionally power-loving. Love of power, though one of the strongest of human motives, is very unevenly distributed, and is limited by various other motives, such as love of ease, love of pleasure, and sometimes love of approval. It is disguised, among the more timid, as an impulse of submission to leadership, which increases the scope of the power-impulses of bold men. Those whose love of power is not strong are unlikely to have much influence on the course of events. The men who cause social changes are, as a rule, men who strongly desire to do so. Love of power, therefore, is a characteristic of the men who are causally important. We should, of course, be mistaken if we regarded it as the sole human motive, but this mistake would not lead us so much astray as might be expected in the search for causal laws in social science, since love of power is the chief motive producing the changes which social science has to study.

The laws of social dynamics are -- so I shall contend -- only capable of being stated in terms of power in its various forms. In order to discover these laws, it is necessary first to classify the forms of power, and then to review various important historical examples of the ways in which organizations and individuals have acquired control over men's lives. I shall have, throughout, the twofold purpose of suggesting what I believe to be a more adequate analysis of social changes in general than that which has been taught by economists, and of making the present and the probable near future more intelligible than it can be to those whose imaginations are dominated by the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Those centuries were in many ways exceptional, and we seem to be now returning, in a number of respects. to forms of life and thought which were prevalent in earlier ages. To understand our own time and its needs, history, both ancient and mediaeval, is indispensable, for only so can we arrive at a form of possible progress not unduly dominated by the axioms of the nineteenth century.

Chapter II: Leaders and followers

The Power impulse has two forms: explicit, in leaders; implicit, in their followers. When men willingly follow a leader, they do so with a view to the acquisition of power by the group which he commands, and they feel that his triumphs are theirs. Most men do not feel in themselves the competence required for leading their group to victory, and therefore seek out a captain who appears to possess the courage and sagacity necessary for the achievement of supremacy. Even in religion this impulse appears. Nietzsche accused Christianity of inculcating a slave-morality, but ultimate triumph was always the goal. "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." Or as a well-known hymn more explicitly states it :
The Son of God goes forth to war,
A kingly crown to gain.
His blood-red banner streams afar.
Who follows in His train?

Who best can drink his cup of woe,
Triumphant over pain,
Who patient bears his cross below,
He follows in His train.
If this is a slave-morality, then every soldier of fortune who endures the rigours of a campaign, and every rank-and-file politician who works hard at electioneering, is to be accounted a slave. But in fact, in every genuinely cooperative enterprise, the follower is psychologically no more a slave than the leader.

It is this that makes endurable the inequalities of power which organization makes inevitable, and which tend to increase rather than diminish as society grows more organic.

Inequality in the distribution of power has always existed in human communities, as far back as our knowledge extends. This is due partly to external necessity, partly to causes which are to be found in human nature. Most collective enterprises are only possible if they are directed by some governing body. If a house is to be built, some one must decide on the plans; if trains are to run on a railway, the time-table cannot be left to the caprices of engine-drivers; if a new road is to be constructed, some one must decide where it is to go. Even a democratically elected government is still a government, and therefore, on grounds that have nothing to do with psychology, there must, if collective enterprises are to succeed, be some men who give orders and others who obey them. But the fact that this is possible, and still more the fact that the actual inequalities of power exceed what is made necessary by technical causes, can only be explained in terms of individual psychology and physiology. Some men's characters lead them always to command, others always to obey ; between these extremes lie the mass of average human beings, who like to command in some situations, but in other prefer to be subject to a leader.

Adler, in his book on Understanding Human Nature, distinguishes a submissive type and an imperious type. "The servile individual," he says, "lives by the rules and laws of others, and this type seeks out a servile position almost compulsively." On the other hand, he continues, the imperious type, which asks : "How can I be superior to everyone?" is found whenever a director is needed, and rises to the top in revolutions. Adler regards both types as undesirable, at any rate in their extreme forms, and he considers both as products of education. "The greatest disadvantage of an authoritative education," he says, "lies in the fact that it gives the child an ideal of power, and shows him the pleasures which are connected with the possession of power." Authoritative education, we may add, produces the slave type as well as the despotic type, since it leads to the feeling that the only possible relation between two human beings who co-operate is that in which one issues orders and the other obeys them.

Love of power, in various limited forms, is almost universal, but in its absolute form it is rare. A woman who enjoys power in the management of her house is likely to shrink from the sort of political power enjoyed by a Prime Minister; Abraham Lincoln, on the contrary, while not afraid to govern the United States, could not face civil war in the home. Perhaps Napoleon, if the Bellerophon had suffered shipwreck, would have tamely obeyed the orders of British officers as to escaping in boats. Men like power so long as they believe in their own competence to handle the business in question, but when they know themselves incompetent they prefer to follow a leader.

The impulse of submission, which is just as real and just as common as the impulse to command, has its roots in fear. The most unruly gang of children ever imagined will become completely amenable to the orders of a competent adult in an alarming situation, such as a fire; when the War came, the Pankhursts made their peace with Lloyd George. Whenever there is acute danger, the impulse of most people is to seek out Authority and submit to it; at such moments, few would dream of revolution. When war breaks out, people have similar feelings towards the Government.

Organizations may or may not be designed for the purpose of meeting dangers. Economic organizations in some cases, such as coal mines, involve dangers, but these are incidental, and if they were eliminated the organizations would flourish all the better. In general, meeting dangers is no part of the essential purpose of economic organizations, or of governmental organizations concerned with internal affairs. But life-boats and fire-brigades, like armies and navies, are constructed for the purpose of meeting dangers. In a certain less immediate sense, this is also true of religious bodies, which exist in part to allay the metaphysical fears that are buried deep in our nature. If anyone feels inclined to question this, let him think of such hymns as :
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in thee;
Jesu, lover of my soul,
Let me to thy bosom fly,
While the gathering waters roll,
While the tempest still is high.
In submission to the Divine Will there is a sense of ultimate safety, which has led to religious abasement in many monarchs who could not submit to any merely earthly being. All submissiveness is rooted in fear, whether - the leader to whom we submit be human or divine.

It has become a commonplace that aggressiveness also often has its roots in fear. I am inclined to think that this theory has been pushed too far. It is true of a certain kind of aggressiveness, for instance, that of D. H. Lawrence. But I greatly doubt whether the men who become pirate chiefs are those who are filled with retrospective terror of their fathers, or whether Napoleon, at Austerlitz, really felt that he was getting even with Madame Mere. I know nothing of the mother of Attila, but I rather suspect that she spoilt the little darling, who subsequently found the world irritating because it sometimes resisted his whims. The type of aggressiveness that is the outcome of timidity is not, I think, that which inspires great leaders; the great leaders, I should say, have an exceptional self-confidence which is not only on the surface, but penetrates deep into the subconscious.

The self-confidence necessary to a leader may be caused in various ways. Historically, one of the commonest has been a hereditary position of command. Read, for example, the speeches of queen Elizabeth in moments of crisis: you will see the monarch over-riding the woman, convincing her, and through her the nation, that she knows what must be done, as no mere commoner can hope to do. In her case, the interests of the nation and the sovereign were in harmony; that is why she was "Good queen Bess." She could even praise her father without arousing indignation. There is no doubt that the habit of command makes it easier to bear responsibilities and to take quick decisions. A clan which follows its hereditary chief probably does better than if it chose its chief by lot. On the other hand, a body like the mediaeval church, which chose its chief on account of conspicuous merits, and usually after he had had considerable experience of important administrative posts, secured, on the average, considerably better results than were secured, in the same period, in hereditary monarchies.

Some of the ablest leaders known to history have arisen in revolutionary situations. Let us consider, for a moment, the qualities which brought success to Cromwell, Napoleon, and Lenin. All three, in difficult times, dominated their respective countries, and secured the willing service of able men who were not by nature submissive. All three had boundless courage and self-confidence, combined with what their colleagues considered sound judgment at difficult moments. Of the three, however, Cromwell and Lenin belonged to one type, and Napoleon to another. Cromwell and Lenin were men of profound religious faith, believing themselves to be the appointed ministers of a non-human purpose. Their power-impulses thus seemed to themselves indubitably righteous, and they cared little for those rewards of power -- such as luxury and ease -- which could not be harmonized with their identification with the cosmic purpose. This is specially true of Lenin, for Cromwell, in his last years, was conscious of falling into sin. Nevertheless, in both cases it was the combination of faith with great ability that gave them courage, and enabled them to inspire their followers with confidence in their leadership.

Napoleon, as opposed to Cromwell and Lenin, is the supreme example of the soldier of fortune. The Revolution suited him, since it made his opportunity, but otherwise he was indifferent to it. Though he gratified French patriotism and depended upon it, France, like the Revolution, was to him merely an opportunity; he had even, in his youth, toyed with the idea of fighting for Corsica against France. His success was due, not so much to any exceptional qualities of character, as to his technical skill in war: when other men would have been defeated, he was victorious. At crucial moments, such as the 18 Brumaire and Marengo, he depended upon others for success; but he had the spectacular gifts that enabled him to annex the achievements of his coadjutors. The French army was full of ambitious young men ; it was Napoleon's cleverness, not his psychology, that gave him the power to succeed where the others failed. His belief in his star, which finally led to his downfall, was the effect of his victories, not their cause.

To come to our own day, Hitler must be classed, psychologically, with Cromwell and Lenin, Mussolini with Napoleon.

The soldier of fortune, or pirate chief, is a type of more importance in history than is thought by "scientific" historians. Sometimes, like Napoleon, he succeeds in making himself the leader of bodies of men who have purposes that are in part impersonal: the French revolutionary armies conceived of themselves as the liberators of Europe, and were so regarded in Italy as well as by many in Western Germany, but Napoleon himself never brought any more liberation than seemed useful for his own career. Very often there is no pretence of impersonal aims. Alexander may have set to work to hellenize the East, but it is doubtful whether his Macedonians were much interested in this aspect of his campaigns. Roman generals, during the last hundred years of the Republic, were mainly out for cash, and secured their soldier's loyalty by distributions of land and treasure. Cecil Rhodes professed a mystical belief in the British Empire, but the belief yielded good dividends, and the troopers whom he engaged for the conquest of Matabeleland were offered nakedly pecuniary inducements. Organized greed, with little or no disguise, has played a very large part in the world's wars.

The ordinary quiet citizen, we said, is led largely by fear when he submits to a leader. But this can hardly be true of a gang of pirates, unless no more peaceable profession was open to them. When once the leader's authority is established, he may inspire fear in mutinous individuals ; but until he is a leader, and is recognized as such by the majority, he is not in a position to inspire fear. To acquire the position of leader, he must excel in the qualities that confer authority : self-confidence, quick decision, and skill in deciding upon the right measures. Leadership is relative : Caesar could make Antony obey him, but no one else could. Most people feel that politics is difficult, and that they had better follow a leader-- they feel this instinctively and unconsciously, as dogs do with their masters. If this were not the case, collective political action would scarcely be possible.

Thus love of power, as a motive, is limited by timidity, which also limits the desire for self-direction. Since power enables us to realize more of our desires than would otherwise be possible, and since it secures deference from others, it is natural to desire power except in so far as timidity interferes. This sort of timidity is lessened by the habit of responsibility, and accordingly responsibilities tend to increase the desire for power. Experience of cruelty and unfriendliness may operate in either direction: with those who are easily frightened it produces the wish to escape observation, while bolder spirits are stimulated to seek positions in which they can inflict cruelties rather than suffer them.

After anarchy, the natural first step is despotism, because this is facilitated by the instinctive mechanisms of domination and submission; this has been illustrated in the family, in the State, and in business. Equal co-operation is much more difficult than despotism, and much less in line with instinct. When men attempt equal co-operation, it is natural for each to strive for complete mastery, since the submissive impulses are not brought into play. It is almost necessary that all the parties concerned should acknowledge a common loyalty to something outside all of them. In China, family businesses often succeed because of Confucian loyalty to the family ; but impersonal joint-stock companies are apt to prove unworkable, because no one has any compelling motive for honesty towards the other shareholders. Where there is government by deliberation, there must, for success, be a general respect for the law, or for the nation, or for some principle which all parties respect. The Society of Friends, when any doubtful matter has to be decided, do not take a vote and abide by the majority: they discuss until they arrive at "the sense of the meeting," which used to be regarded as prompted by the Holy Spirit. In their case we are concerned with an unusually homogeneous community, but without some degree of homogeneity government by discussion is unworkable.

A sense of solidarity sufficient to make government by discussion possible can be generated without much difficulty in a family, such as the Fuggers or Rothschilds, in a small religious body such as the quakers, in a barbarous tribe, or in a nation at war or in danger of war. But outside pressure is all but indispensable : the members of a group hang together for fear of hanging separately. A common peril is much the easiest way of producing homogeneity. This, however, affords no solution of the problem of power in the world as a whole. We wish to prevent the perils-- e.g. war --which at present cause cohesion, but we do not wish to destroy social co-operation. This problem is difficult psychologically as well as politically, and if we may judge by analogy, it is likely to be solved, if at all, by an initial despotism of some one nation. Free co-operation among nations, accustomed as they are to the liberum veto, is as difficult as among the Polish aristocracy before the partition. Extinction, in this case as in that, is likely to be thought preferable to common sense. Mankind need government, but in regions where anarchy has prevailed they will, at first, submit only to despotism. We must therefore seek first to secure government, even though despotic, and only when government has become habitual can we hope successfully to make it democratic. "Absolute power is useful in building the organization. More slow, but equally sure, is the development of social pressure demanding that the power shall be used for the benefit of all concerned. This pressure, constant in ecclesiastical and political history, is already making its appearance in the economic field." (note: Berle and Means, The Modern Corporation and Private Property, p. 353. They are speaking of industrial corporations.)

I have spoken hitherto of those who command and those who obey, but there is a third type, namely, those who withdraw. There are men who have the courage to refuse submission without having the imperiousness that causes the wish to command. Such men do not fit readily into the social structure and in one way or another they seek a refuge where they can enjoy a more or less solitary freedom. At times, men with this temperament have been of great historical importance ; the early Christians and the American pioneers represent two species of the genus. Sometimes the refuge is mental; sometimes physical; sometimes it demands the complete solitude of a hermitage; sometimes the social solitude of a monastery. Among mental refugees are those who belong to obscure sects, those whose interests are absorbed by innocent fads, and those who occupy themselves with recondite and unimportant forms of erudition. Among physical refugees are men who seek the frontier of civilization, and such explorers as Bates, the "naturalist on the Amazon," Who lived happily for fifteen years without other society than the Indians. Something of the hermit's temper is an essential element in many forms of excellence, since it enables men to resist the lure of popularity, to pursue important work in spite of general indifference or hostility, and to arrive at opinions which are opposed to prevalent errors.

Of those who withdraw, some are not genuinely indifferent to power, but only unable to obtain it by the usual methods. Such men may become saints or heresiarchs, founders of monastic orders or of new schools in art or literature. They attach to themselves as disciples people who combine a love of submission with an impulse to revolt ; the latter prevents orthodoxy, while the former leads to uncritical adoption of the new tenets. Tolstoy and his followers illustrate this pattern. The genuine solitary is quite different. A perfect example of his type is the melancholy Jacques, who shares exile with the good Duke because it is exile, and afterwards remains in the forest with the bad Duke rather than return to Court. Many American pioneers, after suffering long hardship and privation, sold their farms and moved further West as soon as civilization caught up with them. For men of this temperament, the world affords fewer and fewer opportunities. Some drift into crime, some into a morose and anti-social philosophy. Too much contact with their fellow-men produces misanthropy, which, when solitude is unattainable, turns naturally towards violence.

Among the timid, organization is promoted, not only by submission to a leader, but by the reassurance which is felt in being one of a crowd who all feel alike. In an enthusiastic public meeting with whose purpose one is in sympathy, there is a sense of exaltation, combined with warmth and safety: the emotion which is shared grows more and more intense until it crowds out all other feelings except an exultant sense of power produced by the multiplication of the ego. Collective excitement is a delicious intoxication, in which sanity, humanity, and even self-preservation are easily forgotten, and in which atrocious massacres and heroic martyrdom are equally possible. This kind of intoxication, like others, is hard to resist when its delights have once been experienced, but leads in the end to apathy and weariness, and to the need for a stronger and stronger stimulus if the former fervour is to be reproduced.

Although a leader is not essential to this emotion, which can be produced by music, and by some exciting event which is seen by a crowd, the words of an orator are the easiest and most usual method of inducing it. The pleasure of collective excitement is, therefore, an important element in the power of leaders. The leader need not share in the feelings which he arouses; he may say to himself, like Shakespeare's Antony :
Now let it work: mischief, thou art afoot,
Take thou what course thou wilt!
But the leader is hardly likely to be successful unless he enjoys his power over his followers. He will therefore be led to a preference for the kind of situation, and the kind of mob, that makes his success easy. The best situation is one in which there is a danger sufficiently serious to make men feel brave in combating it, but not so terrifying as to make fear predominant -- such a situation, for example, as the outbreak of war against an enemy who is thought formidable but not invincible. A skilful orator, when he wishes to stimulate warlike feeling, produces in his audience two layers of belief: a superficial layer, in which the power of the enemy is magnified so as to make great courage seem necessary, and a deeper layer, in which there is a firm conviction of victory. Both are embodied in such a slogan as "right will prevail over might."

The kind of mob that the orator will desire is one more given to emotion than to reflection, one filled with fears and consequent hatreds, one impatient of slow and gradual methods, and at once exasperated and hopeful. The orator, if he is not a complete cynic, will acquire a set of beliefs that justify his activities. He will think that feeling is a better guide than reason, that our opinions should be formed with the blood rather than the brain, that the best elements in human life are collective rather than individual. If he controls education, he will make it consist of an alternation of drill and collective intoxication, while knowledge and judgment will be left to the cold devotees of inhuman science.

Power-loving individuals, however, are not all of the orator type. There are men of quite a different kind, whose love of power has been fed by control over mechanism. Take, for example, Bruno Mussolini's account of his exploits from the air in the Abyssinian war:

"We had to set fire to the wooded hills, to the fields and little villages.... It was all most diverting. ... The bombs hardly touched the earth before they burst out into white smoke and an enormous flame and the dry grass began to burn. I thought of the animals: God, how they ran ... After the bombracks were emptied I began throwing bombs by hand.... It was most amusing: a big Zariba surrounded by tall trees was not easy to hit. I had to aim carefully at the straw roof and only succeeded at the third shot. The wretches who were inside, seeing their roof burning, jumped out and ran off like mad.

"Surrounded by a circle of fire about five thousand Abyssinians came to a sticky end. It was like hell."

While the orator needs much intuitive psychology for his success, the aviator of Bruno Mussolini's type can get his pleasure with no more psychology than is involved in knowing that it is unpleasant to burn to death. The orator is an ancient type; the man whose power is based on mechanism is modern. Not wholly: read, for example, how Carthaginian elephants were used, at the end of the first Punic War, to trample mutinous mercenaries to death, where the psychology, though not the science, is the same as Bruno Mussolini's. (note: Diodorus Siculus, Bk. XXV (fragment). See Flaubert's Salammbo.) But speaking comparatively, mechanical power is more characteristic of our age than of any previous time.

The psychology of the oligarch who depends upon mechanical power is not, as yet, anywhere fully developed. It is, however, an imminent possibility, and quantitatively, though not qualitatively, quite new. It would now be feasible for a technically trained oligarchy, by controlling aeroplanes, navies, power stations, motor transport, and so on, to establish a dictatorship demanding almost no conciliation of subjects. The empire of Laputa was maintained by its power of interposing itself between the sun and a rebellious province ; something almost equally drastic would be possible for a union of scientific technologists. They could starve a recalcitrant region, and deprive it of light and heat and electrical power after encouraging dependence on these sources of comfort; they could flood it with poison gas or with bacteria. Resistance would be utterly hopeless. And the men in control, having been trained on mechanism, would view human material as they had learnt to view their own machines, as something unfeeling governed by laws which the manipulator can operate to his advantage. Such a regime would be characterized by a cold inhumanity surpassing anything known in previous tyrannies. '

Power over men, not power over matter, is my theme in this book; but it is possible to establish a technicological (= technological) power over men which is based upon power over matter. Those who have the habit of controlling powerful mechanisms, and through this control have acquired power over human beings, may be expected to have an imaginative outlook towards their subjects which will be completely different from that of men who depend upon persuasion, however dishonest. Most of us have, at some time, wantonly disturbed an ants' nest, and watched with mild amusement the scurrying confusion that resulted. Looking down from the top of a sky-scraper on the traffic of New York, the human beings below cease to seem human, and acquire a faint absurdity. If one were armed, like Jove, with a thunderbolt, there would be a temptation to hurl it into the crowd, from the same motive as in the case of the ants' nest. This was evidently Bruno Mussolini's feeling, as he looked down upon the Abyssinians from his aeroplane. Imagine a scientific government which, from fear of assassination, lives always in aeroplanes, except for occasional descents on to landing stages on the summits of high towers or rafts on the sea. Is it likely that such a government will have any profound concern for the happiness of its subjects? Is it not, on the contrary, practically certain that it will view them, when all goes well, in the impersonal manner in which it views its machines, but that, when anything happens to suggest that after all they are not machines, it will feel the cold rage of men whose axioms are questioned by underlings, and will exterminate resistance in whatever manner involves least trouble?

All this, the reader may think, is mere unnecessary nightmare. I wish I could share this view. Mechanical power, I am convinced, tends to generate a new mentality, which makes it more important than in any former age to find ways of controlling governments. Democracy may have become more difficult owing to technical developments, but it has also become more important. The man who has vast mechanical power at his command is likely, if uncontrolled, to feel himself a god --not a Christian God of Love, but a pagan Thor or Vulcan.

Leopardi describes what volcanic action has achieved on the slopes of Vesuvius :
These lands that now are strewn
With sterilizing cinders, and embossed
With lava frozen to stone,
That echoes to the lonely pilgrim's foot;
Where nestling in the sun the snake lies coiled,
And where in some cleft
In cavernous rocks the rabbit hurries home--
Here once were happy farms,
And tilth, and yellowing harvests. and the sound
Of lowing herds; here too
Gardens and palaces:
Retreats dear to the leisure
Of powerful lords ; and here were famous towns,
which the implacable mountain, thundering forth
Molten streams from its fiery mouth, destroyed
With all their habitants. Now all around
Lies crushed 'neath one vast ruin.(note:)

【I questi campi cosparsi
Di ceneri infeconde, e ricoperti
Dall' impietrata lava,
Che Sotto i passi al peregrin risona ;
Dove s'annida e si contorce al sole
La serpe, e dove al noto
Cavernoso covil torna il coniglio ;
Fur liete ville e colti,
E biondeggiàr di spiche, e risonaro
Di muggito d'-enti ;
Fur giardini e palagi,
Agli ozi de' potenti
Gradito ospizio, e fur cittià famose,
Che coi torrenti suoi l' altero monte
Dall' ignea bocca fulminando oppresse
Con gli abitanti insieme. Or tutto intorno
Una ruina involve.
(note: I owe the above translation to the kindness of my fiiend, Mr. R. C. Trevelyan.】
These results can now be achieved by men. They have been achieved at Guernica; perhaps before long they will be achieved where as yet London stands. What good is to be expected of an oligarchy which will have climbed to dominion through such destruction? And if it were Berlin and Rome, not London and Paris, that were destroyed by the thunderbolts of the new gods, could any humanity survive in the destroyers after such a deed? Would not those who had human feelings to begin with be driven mad by suppressed pity, and become even worse than those who had no need of suppressing their compassion?

In former days, men sold themselves to the Devil to acquire magical powers. Now-a-days (Nowadays) they acquire these powers from science, and find themselves compelled to become devils. There is no hope for the world unless power can be tamed, and brought into the service, not of this or that group of fanatical tyrants, but of the whole human race, white and yellow and black, fascist and communist and democrat; for science has made it inevitable that all must live or all must die.

Chapter III: The Forms of Power

Power may be defined as the production of intended effects. It is thus a quandtative concept: given two men with similar desires, if one achieves all the desires that the other achieves, and also others, he has no more power than the other. But there is no exact means of comparing the power of two men of whom one can achieve one group of desires, and another another ; e.g. given two artists of whom each wishes to paint good pictures and become rich, and of whom one succeeds in painting good pictures and the other in becoming rich, there is no way of estimating which has the more power. Nevertheless, it is easy to say, roughly, that A has more power than B, if A achieves many intended effects and B only a few.

There are various ways of classifying the forms of power, each of which has its utility. In the first place, there is power over human beings and power over dead matter or non-human forms of life. I shall be concerned mainly with power over human beings, but it will be necessary to remember that the chief cause of change in the modern world is the increased power over matter that we owe to science. Power over human beings may be classified by the manner of influencing individuals, or by the type of organization involved. An individual may be influenced: A. By direct physical power over his body, e.g. when he is imprisoned or killed; B. By rewards and punishments as inducements, e.g. in giving or withholding employment; C. By influence on opinion, i.e. propaganda in its broadest sense. Under this last head I should include the opportunity for creating desired habits in others, e.g. by military drill, the only difference being that in such cases action follows without any such mental intermediary as could be called opinion.

These forms of power are most nakedly and simply displayed in our dealings with animals, where disguises and pretences are not thought necessary. When a pig with a rope round its middle is hoisted squealing into a ship, it is subject to direct physical power over its body. On the other hand, when the proverbial donkey follows the proverbial carrot, we induce him to act as we wish by persuading him that it is to his interest to do so. Intermediate between these two cases is that of performing animals, in whom habits have been formed by rewards and punishments ; also, in a different way, that of sheep induced to embark on a ship, when the leader has to be dragged across the gangway by force, and the rest then follow willingly.
All these forms of power are exemplified among human beings.
The case of the pig illustrates military and police power.
The donkey with the carrot typifies the power of propaganda.
Performing animals show the power of"education."

The sheep following their unwilling leader are illustrative of party politics, whenever, as is usual, a revered leader is in bondage to a clique or to party bosses.

Let us apply these Aesopian analogies to the rise of Hitler. The carrot was the Nazi programme (involving, e.g" the abolition of interest) ; the donkey was the lower middle class. The sheep and their leader were the Social Democrats and Hindenburg. The pigs (only so far as their misfortunes are concerned (misspeling: con-concerned) were the victims in concentration camps, and the performing animals are the millions who make the Nazi salute. The most important organizations are approximately distinguishable by the kind of power that they exert. The army and the police exercise coercive power over the body; economic organizations, in the main, use rewards and puunishments as incentives and deterrents; schools, churches, and political parties aim at influencing opinion. But these distinctions are not very clear-cut, since every organization uses other forms of power in addition to the one which is most characteristic.

The power of the Law will illustrate these complexities. The ultimate power of the Law is the coercive power of the State. It is the characteristic of civilized communities that direct physical coercion is (with some limitations) the prerogative of the State, and the Law is a set of rules according to which the State exercises this prerogative in dealing with its own citizens. But the Law uses punishment, not only for the purpose of making undesired actions physically impossible, but also as an inducement; a fine, for example, does not make an action impossible, but only unattractive. Moreover --and this is a much more important matter-- the Law is almost powerless when it is not supported by public sentiment, as might be seen in the United States during prohibition, or in Ireland in the '80's, when moonlighters had the sympathy of a majority of the population. Law, therefore, as an effective force, depends upon opinion and sentiment even more than upon the powers of the police. The degree of feeling in favour of Law is one of the most important characteristics of a community.

This brings us to a very necessary distinction, between traditional power and newly acquired power. Traditional power has on its side the force of habit; it does not have to justify itself at every moment, nor to prove continually that no opposition is strong enough to overthrow it. Moreover it is almost invariably associated with religious or quasi-religious beliefs purporting to show that resistance is wicked. It can, accordingly, rely upon public opinion to a much greater degree than is possible for revolutionary or usurped power. This has two more or less opposite consequences : on the one hand, traditional power, since it feels secure, is not on the look-out for traitors, and is likely to avoid much active political tyranny ; on the other hand, where ancient institutions persist, the injustices to which holders of power are always prone have the sanction of immemorial custom, and can therefore be more glaring than would be possible under a new form of governmeht which hoped to win popular support. The reign of terror in France illustrates the revolutionary kind of tyranny, the corvee the traditional kind.

Power not based on tradition or assent I call "naked" power. Its characteristics differ greatly from those of traditional power. And where traditional power persists, the character of the regime depends, to an almost unlimited extent, upon its feeling of security or insecurity.

Naked power is usually military, and may take the form either of internal tyranny or of foreign conquest. Its importance, especially in the latter form, is very great indeed -- greater, I think, than many modern "scientific" historians are willing to admit. Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar altered the whole course of history by their battles. But for the former, the Gospels would not have been written in Greek, and Christianity could not have been preached throughout the Roman Empire. But for the latter, the French would not speak a language derived from Latin, and the Catholic Church could scarcely have existed. The military superiority of the white man to the American Indian is an even more undeniable example of the power of the sword. Conquest by force of arms has had more to do with the spread of civilization than any other single agency. Nevertheless, military power is, in most cases, based upon some other form of power, such as wealth, or technical knowledge, or fanaticism. I do not suggest that this is always the case; for example, in the War of the Spanish Succession Marlborough's genius was essential to the result. But this is to be regarded as an exception to the general rule.

The distinction between traditional, revolutionary, and naked power is psychological. I do not call power traditional merely because it has ancient forms: it must also command respect which is partly due to custom. As this respect decays, traditional power gradually passes over into naked power. The process was to be seen in Russia in the gradual growth of the revolutionary movement up to the moment of its victory in 19I7.

I call power revolutionary when it depends upon a large group united by a new creed, programme, or sentiment, such as Protestantism, Communism, or desire for national independence. I call power naked when it results merely from the power-loving impulses of individuals or groups, and wins from its subjects only submission through fear, not active co-operation. It will be seen that the nakedness of power is a matter of degree. In a democratic country, the power of the government is not naked in relation to opposing political parties, but is naked in relation to a convinced anarchist. Similarly, where persecution exists, the power of the Church is naked in relation to heretics, but not in relation to orthodox sinners.

Another division of our subject is between the power of organizations and the power of individuals. The way in which an organization acquires power is one thing, and the way in which an individual acquires power within an organization is quite another. The two are, of course, interrelated : if you wish to be Prime Minister, you must acquire power in your Party, and your Party must acquire power in the nation. But if you had lived before the decay of the hereditary principle, you would have had to be the heir of a king in order to acquire political control of a nation ; this would, however, not have enabled you to conquer other nations, for which you would have needed qualities that kings' sons often lack. In the present age, a similar situation still exists in the economic sphere, where the plutocracy is largely hereditary. Consider the two hundred plutocratic families in France against whom French Socialists agitate. But dynasties among the plutocracy have not the same degree of permanence as they formerly had on thrones, because they have failed to cause the widespread acceptance of the doctrine of Divine Right. No one thinks it impious for a rising financial magnate to impoverish one who is the son of his father, provided it is done according to the rules and without introducing subversive innovations.

Different types of organization bring different types of individuals to the top, and so do different states of society. An age appears in history through its prominent individuals, and derives its apparent character from the character of these men. As the qualities required for achieving prominence change, so the prominent men change. It is to be presumed that there were men like Lenin in the twelfth century, and that there are men like Richard Cœur de Lion at the present time; but history does not know of them. Let us consider for a moment the kinds of individuals produced by different types of power.

Hereditary power has given rise to our notion of a "gentleman." This is a somewhat degenerate form of a conception which has a long history, from magic properties of chiefs, through the divinity of kings, to knightly chivalry and the blue-blooded aristocrat. The qualities which are admired, where power is hereditary, are such as result from leisure and unquestioned superiority. Where power is aristocratic rather than monarchical, the best manners include courteous behaviour towards equals as an addition to bland self-assertion in dealing with inferiors. But whatever the prevalent conception of manners may be, it is only where power is (or lately was) hereditary that men will be judged by their manners. The bourgeois gentilhomme is only laughable when he intrudes into a society of men and women who have never had anything better to do than study social niceties. What survives in the way of admiration of the "gentleman" depends upon inherited wealth, and must rapidly disappear if economic as well as political power ceases to pass from father to son.

Hereditary power has given rise to our notion of a "gentleman." This is a somewhat degenerate form of a conception which has a long history, from magic properties of chiefs, through the divinity of kings, to knightly chivalry and the blue-blooded aristocrat. The qualities which are admired, where power is hereditary, are such as result from leisure and unquestioned superiority. Where power is aristocratic rather than monarchical, the best manners include courteous behaviour towards equals as an addition to bland self-assertion in dealing with inferiors. But whatever the prevalent conception of manners may be, it is only where power is (or lately was) hereditary that men will be judged by their manners. The bourgeois gentilhomme is only laughable when he intrudes into a society of men and women who have never had anything better to do than study social niceties. What survives in the way of admiration of the "gentleman" depends upon inherited wealth, and must rapidly disappear if economic as well as political power ceases to pass from father to son.

The intellectual, as we know him, is a spiritual descendant of the priest ; but the spread of education has robbed him of power. The power of the intellectual depends upon superstition : reverence for a traditional incantation or a sacred book. Of these, something survives in English-speaking countries, as is seen in the English attitude to the Coronation Service and the American reverence for the Constitution ; accordingly, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Supreme Court Judges sill have some of the traditional power of learned men. But this is only a pale ghost of the power of Egyptian priests or Chinese Confucian scholars.

While the typical virtue of the gentleman is honour, that of the man who achieves power through learning is wisdom. To gain a reputation for wisdom a man must seem to have a store of recondite knowledge, a mastery over his passions, and a long experience of the ways of men. Age alone is thought to give something of these qualities; hence "presbyter," "seigneur," "alderman," and "elder" are terms of respect. A Chinese beggar addresses passersby as "great old sire." But where the power of wise men is organized, there is a corporation of priests or literati, among whom all wisdom is held to be concentrated. The sage is a very different type of character from the knightly warrior, and produces, where he rules, a very different society. China and Japan illustrate the contrast.

We have already noted the curious fact that, although knowledge plays a larger part in civilization now than at any former time, there has not been any corresponding growth of power among those who possess the new knowledge. Although the electrician and the telephone man do strange things that minister to our comfort (or discomfort), we do not regard them as medicine-men, or imagine that they can cause thunderstorms if we annoy them. The reason for this is that scientific knowledge, though difficult, is not mysterious, but open to all who care to take the necessary trouble. The modern intellectual, therefore, inspires no awe, but remains a mere employee; except in a few cases, such as the Archbishop of Canterbury, he has failed to inherit the glamour which gave power to his predecessors.

The truth is that the respect accorded to men of learning was never bestowed for genuine knowledge, but for the supposed possession of magical powers. Science, in giving some real acquaintance with natural processes, has destroyed the belief in magic, and therefore the respect for the intellectual. Thus it has come about that, while men of science are the fundamental cause of the features which distinguish our time from former ages, and have, through their discoveries and inventions, an immeasurable influence upon the course of events, they have not, as individuals, as great a reputation for wisdom as may be enjoyed in India by a naked fakir or in Melanesia by a medicine-man. The intellectuals, finding their prestige slipping from them as a result of their own activities, become dissatisfied with the modern world. Those in whom the dissatisfaction is least take to Communism; those in whom it goes deeper shut themselves up in their ivory tower.

The growth of large economic organizations has produced a new type of powerful individual: the "executive," as he is called in America. The typical "executive" impresses others as a man of rapid decisions, quick insight into character, and iron will ; he must have a firm jaw, tightly closed lips, and a habit of brief and incisive speech. He must be able to inspire respect in equals, and confidence in subordinates who are by no means nonentities. He must combine the qualities of a great general and a great diplomatist: ruthlessness in battle, but a capacity for skilful concession in negotiation. It is by such qualities that men acquire control of important economic organizations.

Political power, in a democracy, tends to belong to men of a type which differs considerably from the three that we have considered hitherto. A politician, if he is to succeed, must be able to win the confidence of his machine, and then to arouse some degree of enthusiasm in a majority of the electorate. The qualities required for these two stages on the road to power are by no means identical, and many men possess the one without the other. Candidates for the Presidency in the United States are not infrequently men who cannot stir the imagination of the general public, though they possess the art of ingratiating themselves with party managers. Such men are, as a rule, defeated, but the party managers do not foresee their defeat. Sometimes, however, the machine is able to secure the victory of a man without "magnetism" ; in such cases, it dominates him after his election, and he never achieves real power. Sometimes, on the contrary, a man is able to create his own machine; Napoleon III, Mussolini, and Hitler are examples of this. More commonly, a really successful politician, though he uses an already existing machine, is able ultimately to dominate it and make it subservient to his will.

The qualities which make a successful politician in a democracy vary according to the character of the times ; they are not the same in quiet times as they are during war or revolution. In quiet times, a man may succeed by giving an impression of solidity and sound judgment, but in times of excitement something more is needed. At such times, it is necessary to be an impressive speaker--not necessarily eloquent in the conventional sense, for Robespierre and Lenin were not eloquent, but determined, passionate, and bold. The passion may be cold and controlled, but must exist and be felt. In excited times, a politician needs no power of reasoning, no apprehension of impersonal facts, and no shred of wisdom. What he must have is the capacity of persuading the multitude that what they passionately desire is attainable, and that he, through his ruthless determination, is the man to attain it.

The most successful democratic politicians are those who succeed in abolishing democracy and becoming dictators. This, of course, is only possible in certain circumstances ; no one could have achieved it in nineteenth-century England. But when it is possible, it requires only a high degree of the same qualities as are required by democratic politicians in general, at any rate in excited times. Lenin, Mussolini, and Hitler owed their rise to democracy.

When once a dictatorship has been established, the qualities by which a man succeeds a dead dictator are totally different from those by which the dictatorship was originally created. Wire-pulling, intrigue, and Court favour are the most important methods when heredity is discarded. For this reason, a dictatorship is sure to change its character very considerably after the death of its founder. And since the qualities by which a man succeeds to a dictatorship are less generally impressive than those by which the regime was created, there is a likelihood of instability, palace revolutions, and ultimate reversion to some different system. It is hoped, however, that modern methods of propaganda may successfully counteract this tendency, by creating popularity for the Head of the State without the need for any display of popular qualities on his part. How far such methods can succeed it is as yet impossible to say.

There is one form of the power of individuals which we have not yet considered, namely, power behind the scenes: the power of courtiers, intriguers, spies, and wire-pullers. In every large organization, where the men in control have considerable power, there are other less prominent men (or women) who acquire influence over the leaders by personal methods. Wire-pullers and party bosses belong to the same type, though their technique is different. They put their friends, quietly, into key positions, and so, in time, control the organization. In a dictatorship which is not hereditary, such men may hope to succeed to the dictator when he dies ; but in general they prefer not to take the front of the stage. They are men who love power more than glory; often they are socially timid. Sometimes, like eunuchs in Oriental monarchies, or kings' mistresses elsewhere, they are, for one reason or another, debarred from titular leadership. Their influence is greatest where nominal power is hereditary, and least where it is the reward of personal skill and energy. Such men, however, even in the most modern forms of government, inevitably have considerable power in those departments which average men consider mysterious. Of these the most important, in our time, are currency and foreign policy. In the time of the Kaiser William II, Baron Holstein (permanent Head of the German Foreign Office) had immense power, although he made no public appearances. How great is the power of the permanent officials in the British Foreign Office at the present day, it is impossible for us to know ; the necessary documents may become known to our children. The qualities required for power behind the scenes are very different from those required for all other kinds, and as a rule, though not always, they are undesirable qualities. A system which accords much power to the courtier or the wire-puller is, therefore, in general not a system likely to promote the general welfare.

Chapter IV: Priestly Power

In this chapter and the next I propose to consider the two forms of traditional power which have had most importance in past times, namely, priestly and kingly authority. Both are now somewhat in eclipse, and, although it would be rash to assume that neither will revive, their decline, whether permanent or temporary, makes it possible to study both institutions with a completeness which is not attainable where still vigorous forms of power are concerned.

Priests and kings, though in a rudimentary form, exist among the most primitive societies known to anthropologists. Sometimes one person combines the functions of both. This occurs not only among savages, but in highly civilized States. Augustus, in Rome, was Pontifex Maximus, and in the provinces was a god. The Caliph was the head of the Mohammedan religion as well as of the State. The Mikado, at the present day, has a similar position in the Shinto religion. There has been a strong tendency for kings to lose their secular functions owing to their sacredness, and thus to develop into priests. Nevertheless, at most times and places, the distinction between priest and king has been obvious and definite.

The most primitive form of priest is the medicine-man, whose powers are of two kinds, which anthropologists distinguish as religious and magical. Religious powers depend upon the assistance of superhuman beings, while magical powers are supposed to be natural. For our purposes, however, this distinction is not important. What is important is that the medicine-man, whether by magic or by religion, is thought to be able to do good or harm to other people, and that his powers are not shared by all and sundry. A certain amount of magic, it is thought, may be practised by the laity, but the medicine-man's magic is stronger. When a man falls ill or meets with an accident, it is usually due to the malevolent magic of an enemy, but the medicine-man knows of ways by which the evil spell can be removed. Thus in Duke of York Island the medicine-man, after discovering by divination the source of the patient's illness, takes a packet of lime and recites a magical formula :
Lime of exorcism. I banish the octopus; I banish the teo snake; I banish the spirit of the Ingiet (a secret Society) ; I banish the crab; I banish the water snake; I banish the balivo snake; I banish the python; I banish the kaia dog. Lime of exorcism. I banish the slimy fluid ; I banish the kete creeping plant; I banish To Pilana; I banish To Wuwu-Tawur; I banish Tumbal. One has sunk them right down deep in the sea. Vapour shall arise to hold them afar; clouds shall arise to hold them afar; darkness shall reign to hold them afar; they shall betake themselves to the depths of the sea. (note: Rivers, Medicine, Magic, and Religion, p. 16)
It must not be supposed that this formula is usually ineffective. Savages are much more subject to suggestion than civilized men, and therefore their diseases can very often be both caused and cured by this agency.

In most parts of Melanesia, according to Rivers, the man who cures diseases is the sorcerer or priest. There is not apparently, in these regions, a very clear differentiation between medicine-men and others, and some of the simpler remedies may be used by anyone. But
Those who combine the practice of medicine with that of magical or religious rites usually acquire their art by a special process, either of initiation or instruction, and in Melanesia such knowledge has always to be purchased. The most complete instruction in any branch of medico-magical or medico-religious art is of no avail to the pupil unless money has passed from himself to his instructor. (note: Rivers, Medicine, Magic, and Religion, p. 44)
From such beginnings it is easy to imagine the development of a definite priestly caste, with a monopoly of the more important magical and religious powers, and consequently with great authority over the community. In Egypt and Babylonia their power proved itself greater than that of the king when the two came into conflict. They defeated the "atheist" Pharaoh Ikhnaton,(note: or Akhnaton) and they seem to have treacherously helped Cyrus to conquer Babylon because their native king showed a tendency to anti-clericalism.

Greece and Rome were peculiar in antiquity owing to their almost complete freedom from priestly power. In Greece, such religious power as existed was chiefly concentrated in the oracles, especially Delphi, where the Pythoness was supposed to fall into a trance and give answers inspired by Apollo. It was, however, well known by the time of Herodotus that the oracle could be bribed. Both Herodotus and Aristotle relate that the Alcmaeonidae, an important Athenian family exiled by Peisistratus (died 527 B.C.) , corruptly procured the support of Delphi against his sons. What Herodotus says is curious: the Alcmaeonidae, he tells us,
"if we may believe the Athenians, persuaded the Pythoness by a bribe to tell the Spartans, whenever any of them came to consult the oracle, either on their own private affairs or on the business of the State, that they must free Athens (from the tyranny of the Peisistratidae). So the Lasedaemonians, when they found no answer ever returned to them but this, sent at last Anchimolius, the son of Aster--a man of note among their citizens--at the head of an army against Athens, with orders to drive out the Peisistratidae, albeit they were bound to them by the closest ties of friendship. For they esteemed the things of heaven more highly than the things of men."(note: Bk. V, Ch. 63. Rawlinson's translation.)
Though Anchimolius was defeated, a subsequent larger expedition was successful, the Alcmaeonidae and the other exiles recovered power, and Athens again enjoyed what was called "freedom."

There are several remarkable features in this narrative. Herodotus is a pious man, completely devoid of cynicism, and he thinks well of the Spartans for listening to the oracle. But he prefers Athens to Sparta, and in Athenian affairs he is against the Peisistratidae. Nevertheless it is the Athenians whom he cites as authorities for the bribery, and no punishment befell the successful party or the Pythoness for their impiety. (note: Herodotus gives another instance of corruption of the Pythoness, Bk. VI, Ch. 66.) The Alcmaeonidae were still prominent in the days of Herodotus ; in fact the most famous of them was his contemporary Pericles.

Aristotle, in his book on the Constitution of Athens, represents the transaction in an even more discreditable light. The temple at Delphi had been destroyed by fire in 548 B.C., and funds for the purpose of rebuilding it were collected throughout Greece by the Alcmaeonidae. They--so Aristotle avers--used part of the funds to bribe the Pythoness, and made the expenditure of the rest conditional on the overthrow of Hippias, son of Peisistratus, by which means Apollo was won over to their side.

In spite of such scandals, control of the oracle at Delphi remained a matter of such political importance as to be the cause of a serious war, called, on account of its connection with religion, the "Sacred" War. But in the long run the open recognition of the fact that the oracle was open to political control must have encouraged the spread of free thought, which ultimately made it possible for the Romans, without incurring the odium of sacrilege, to rob Greek temples of most of their wealth and all of their authority. It is the fate of most religious institutions, sooner or later, to be used by bold men for secular purposes, and thereby to forfeit the reverence upon which their power depends. In the Graeco-Roman world this happened more smoothly and with less upheaval than elsewhere, because religion had never the same strength as in Asia and Africa and mediaeval Europe. The only country analogous to Greece and Rome in this respect is China.

Hitherto we have been concerned only with religions which have come down from immemorial antiquity, without any known historical origin. But these have been superseded, almost everywhere, by religions derived from founders ; the only important exceptions are Shinto and Brahmanism. The origins of the older religions, as of those found by anthropologists among present-day savages, are completely obscure. Among the most primitive savages, as we have seen, there is not a clearly differentiated priestly caste ; it would seem that, at first, priestly functions are a prerogative of the older men, and presumably especially of such as produce an impression of wisdom, or sometimes of pre-eminence in malignant magic.(note: Rivers, Social Organization, p. 167)

With advancing civilization, in most countries, priests become increasingly separate from the rest of the population and increasingly powerful. But as the guardians of an ancient tradition they are conservative, and as possessors of wealth and power they tend to become hostile or indifferent to personal religion. Sooner or later, their whole system is over-thrown by the followers of a revolutionary prophet. Buddha, Christ, and Mohammed are the historically most important examples. The power of their followers was at first revolutionary, and only gradually became traditional. In the process they usually absorbed much of the old tradition which they had nominally overthrown.

Both religious and secular innovators --at any rate those who have had most lasting success- have appealed, as far as they could, to tradition, and -- have done whatever lay in their power to minimize the elements of novelty in their system. The usual plan is to invent a more or less fictitious past and pretend to be restoring its institutions. In 2 Kings xxii we are told how the priests "found" the Book of the Law, and the King caused a "return" to observance of its precepts. The New Testament appealed to the authority of the Prophets ; the Anabaptists appealed to the New Testament; the English Puritans, in secular matters, appealed to the supposed institutions of England before the Conquest. The Japanese, in A.D. 645, "restored" the power of the Mikado; in I868, they "restored" the constitution of A.D. 645. A whole series of rebels, throughout the Middle Ages and down to the 18 Brumaire, "restored" the republican institutions of Rome. Napoleon "restored" the empire of Charlemagne, but this was felt to be a trifle too theatrical, and failed to impress even that rhetorically minded age. These are only a few illustrations, selected at random, of the respect which even the greatest innovators have shown for the power of tradition.

The most powerful and important of all priestly organizations known to history has been the Catholic Church. I am concerned in this chapter with the power of priests only in so far as it is traditional; I will not, therefore, at present, consider the early period when the power of the Church was revolutionary. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Church had the good fortune to represent two traditions : in addition to that of Christianity, it also embodied that of Rome. The Barbarians had the power of the sword, but the Church had a higher level of civilization and education, a consistent impersonal purpose, the means of appealing to religious hopes and superstitious fears, and, above all, the sole organization that extended throughout Western Europe. The Greek Church, which had to deal with the comparatively stable empires of Constantinople and Moscow, became completely subordinate to the State; but in the West the struggle continued, with varying fortunes, until the Reformation, and to this day is not ended in Germany and Mexico and Spain.

For the first six centuries after the Barbarian invasion the Western Church was unable to contend on equal terms with the turbulent and passionate Germanic kings and barons who ruled in England and France, in North Italy and in Christian Spain. For this there were several reasons. Justinian's conquests in Italy had for a time made the Papacy a Byzantine institution, and had greatly diminished its influence in the West. The higher clergy were drawn, with few exceptions, from the feudal aristocracies, with whom they felt more at one than with a distant and alien Pope whose interferences were resented. The lower clergy were ignorant and mostly married, with the result that they were more anxious to transmit their benefices to their sons than to fight the battles of the Church. Travel was so difficult that Roman authority could not be exerted in distant kingdoms. The first effective government over a large area was not that of the Pope, but that of Charlemagne, whom all his contemporaries regarded as unquestionably the Pope's superior.

After the year 1000, when it was found that the expected end of the world had not taken place, there was a rapid advance in civilization. Contact with the Moors in Spain and Sicily hastened the rise of the scholastic philosophy. The Normans, after being for centuries a mere piratical scourge, acquired, in France and Sicily, whatever the contemporary world had to teach, and became a force for order and religion instead of for disorder ; moreover they found papal authority useful for the purpose of legitimizing their conquests. By them, for the first time, ecclesiastical England was brought completely under the dominion of Rome. Meanwhile, both the Emperor and the King of France were having the greatest difficulty in controlling their vassals. It was in these circumstances that the statesmanship and ruthless energy of Gregory VII (Hildebrand) inaugurated the increase of the papal power which continued throughout the next two centuries. As this period affords the supreme example of priestly power, I shall consider it in some detail.

The great days of the Papacy, which begin with the accession of Gregory VII (1073) , extend to Clement V's establishment of the Papacy at Avignon (1306). Its victories during this period were won by what are called "spiritual" weapons, i.e., by superstition, not by force of arms. Throughout the whole period, the Popes were outwardly at the mercy of the Roman mob, led by the turbulent nobles of the City--for, whatever the rest of Christendom might think, Rome never had any reverence for its Pontiff. The great Hildebrand himself died in exile; yet he acquired and transmitted the power to humble even the greatest monarchs. Canossa, though its immediate political consequences were convenient for the Emperor Henry IV, became a symbol for subsequent ages. Bismarck, during the Kulturkampf, said "we will not go to Canossa" ; but he boasted prematurely. Henry IV, who had been excommunicated, needed absolution to further his schemes, and Gregory, though he could not refuse absolution to a penitent, exacted humiliation as the price of reconciliation with the Church. As politicians, men might rail against the Pope, but only heretics questioned the power of the keys, and heresy was not countenanced even by the Emperor Frederick II at the height of his struggle with the Papacy.

Gregory VII's pontificate was the culmination of an important period of ecclesiastical reform. Until his day, the Emperor had been definitely above the Pope, and had claimed, not infrequently, a decisive voice in his election. Henry III, father of Henry IV, had deposed Gregory VI for simony, and had made a German Pope, Clement II. Yet Henry Ill was not in conflict with the Church; on the contrary, he was a saintly man, allied with all the most zealous ecclesiastics of his time. The reform movement which he supported, and which Gregory VII carried to triumph, was directed essentially against the tendency of the Church to become infected with feudalism. Kings and nobles appointed Archbishops and Bishops, who themselves, as a rule, belonged to the feudal aristocracy, and took a very secular view of their own position. In the Empire, the greatest men under the Emperor had been originally officials, who held their lands in virtue of their official position ; but by the end of the eleventh century they had become hereditary nobles, whose possessions passed by inheritance. There was a danger of something similar in the Church, particularly in the lower ranks of the secular clergy. The reforming party in the Church attacked the cognate evils of simony and "concubinage" (as they called the marriage of priests). In their campaign they showed zeal, courage devotion, and much worldly wisdom; by their holiness they secured the support of the laity, and by their eloquence they won over assemblies originally hostile. At Milan in 1058, for example, St. Peter Damian summoned the clergy to obedience to the reforming decrees of Rome ; at first he provoked so much anger that his life was in danger, but at last he prevailed, and it was found that every single priest among the Milanese, from the Archbishop downward, had been guilty of simony. All confessed, and promised obedience for the future ; on these terms, they were not dispossessed, but it was made clear that future offences would be punished without mercy.

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