Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito

Friday, 15 June 2012

The individual dies but the folk lives on for ever

One of the great mistakes made by some people in the stagnant situation that I have described is to vent their frustration at the slowness of progress by blaming the common multitude, saying of that multitude that because it is not prepared, so far, to listen to the message of its salvation it is in fact "not worth saving". The assumption here is that all we have been doing is merely for the benefit of that multitude - seen as an aggregate of individuals. This is a fundamental error. The great majority of people, of any nation and in any era, are not especially good or bad, not especially heroic or unheroic. That they may not be moved by the vision of a great ideal is something we must attribute essentially to the fact that there are not mobilized, in the presentation of that ideal, the great resources of propaganda that are necessary to promote it. When we say that what we are doing is "for the British people", what we mean is that we are working for the British people as a national entity, as a strictly impersonal concept - and one which is timeless; that is to say we are working for the British people of the past and of the future as much as of the present: we are working for an ethnic group rather than just for so many millions of individuals who happen to be living in the same country at the present moment. Here the English language is a little deficient; whereas in German there are two distinct words, in one case the word volk - meaning an ethnic, racial and national group, and in the other case leute - meaning people as in any collection of individuals, in English we talk of 'people' in both contexts, which can be confusing. Perhaps we should revive the old English word folk, as a term synonymous with nation.

But, more than this, we are working for an ideal and a vision which far transcend 'people', taken at the level of the average individual. That ideal and vision, because of their greatness, are always worthy of our highest dedication and sacrifice, quite regardless of how 'people', at any one juncture of time or place, may measure up to them. Such ideals and visions are, in this world, only ever truly understood by a few. It is for those few to acquire the machinery whereby an ideal and vision can be communicated down to the ordinary masses in language by which they can understand them in terms of those things that affect their own ordinary lives. Before this task is accomplished, it is futile to expect the masses to respond to any great message.

As long as we begin our mission by taking the ordinary man or woman in the street exactly for what they are, not expecting from them any more than they are able to give, and recognizing that they will only ever be moved by the mighty currents of affairs set in motion by active minorities, we will not be despondent when they fail to heed our call, and we will not take this as a signal to give up the struggle.

Tyndall J, The Eleventh Hour, Third Edition 1998, Welling: Albion Press, pp 489-90  

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