1990s >> 1990 >> no-1027-march-1990

50 Years Ago: Should We Leave Politics to the “Intelligent Minority”?

Mr. Shaw has given us another weapon with which to attack him. He now ridicules the ignorant masses who fell for Hitler and Mussolini, but has he forgotten that he has named himself among their great admirers7 Who was it who said only 18 months ago that he thought them “two highly capable revolutionary and proletarian leaders”? In saying that Mr. Shaw placed himself among the self-deluding masses who, he says, are not capable of engaging in politics.

In actual fact the working class, with all their costly errors, have not shown themselves worse than the intellectual thousand. In many respects they have shown themselves superior. It is Hitler’s highly-educated university professors and others who have swallowed whole the Nazi nonsense about superior and inferior races, and it is their British counterparts who gave support to a class doctrine equally nonsensical. When Dr Ley, one of Hitler s key-men, says that “an inferior race needs less space, less food and less culture than a superior race”, few people in this country would defend it as a proposition (though some are willing to apply it elsewhere in the Empire), but how many of the intellectual thousand will be prepared to repudiate the corresponding class doctrine? Mr. Shaw may pass the test, but will even Mr. Wells? And even if he does how many other comfortably placed intellectuals will reject and oppose the capitalist practice which divides the population into a “superior” class which gets more space, better housing, more food and better quality food, and more culture than the “inferior” class?

(From an editorial “Democracy and Understanding“, Socialist Standard, March 1940.)