The Resource The new belief in the common man

The new belief in the common man

The new belief in the common man
The new belief in the common man
"With the various propositions concerning beliefs in the common man set down as working hypotheses for a new theory of democratic government, we can now be prepared to survey the major problems which the belief in the common man touches. In the chapters that follow, we shall seek a reconstruction of our belief which will at the same time afford us much opportunity to test these hypotheses. First we shall examine the confusion which has reigned as a consequence of the continued use of the ideas of state and sovereignty. These two ideas are intimately linked to the belief in the uncommon man. They are incompatible with the idea of democracy. The development of modern propaganda presents a second and insoluble dilemma for the older belief in the common man. A realistic survey of propagandist activities will reveal that that dilemma disappears when we take the view of the common man here delineated. In the light of these insights we shall then be able to take a new and more sensible view of majority rule. Instead of the time worn antithesis of majority rule and minority rights, we shall show how majority rule works out its own practical limitations, in terms of the common man as he really is. The old controversy over majority rule and minority rights hinged upon the insistence on "agreement upon fundamentals," which has plagued political thought from Burke to the present day. Even more formidable an obstacle to the future of democracy has appeared to many to be the insoluble conflict between democracy and bureaucracy. From this vantage point, a solution of the further dilemma of expanding government control and free institutions becomes possible. All elite theories have a common origin and a common error. It is a prerequisite for a democratic future that we should radically eliminate them from our thinking. Such theories are being rapidly discredited, but as one passes, another makes its appearance. The new view of the common man is heralded in a new conception of education. The older conflict between classics and civics gives way to a modern version of education of free men for democracy. The almost incredible faith in the omnicompetence and rationality of the common man, of you and me, must be replaced by a tempered yet firm conviction of the common man's political capacity. The common man, even in the aggregate, is not infallible; far from it. But he perceives more readily than the expert the general impact of proposed policies. The judgment of the common man in which we believe is a collective, not an individual, judgment. Limitless and without real content, the belief in the common man destroys rather than maintains constitutionalism and democracy. What we need is a balanced confidence in our power to operate a community of common men by common judgments upon matters of common concern. Exceptional men, if truly exceptional, will devote themselves to the exceptional tasks. The mass of common men will gratefully acknowledge the achievements of such uncommon men by the time they have become common property--part of the life of common man." (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)
Additional physical form
Also issued in print
Cataloging source
Dewey number
no index present
LC call number
LC item number
.F76 1942
Literary form
non fiction
Nature of contents
  • dictionaries
  • bibliography
The new belief in the common man
  • At head of title: Carl J. Friedrich
  • "First edition."
Bibliography note
Bibliographical references included in "Notes" (p. 319-335)
  • net
Control code
23 cm.)
1 online resource (xii, [1], 345 p.
Form of item
Reproduction note
Electronic reproduction.
Specific material designation
System control number

Library Locations

    • Deakin University Library - Geelong Waurn Ponds CampusBorrow it
      75 Pigdons Road, Waurn Ponds, Victoria, 3216, AU
      -38.195656 144.304955
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