Ignoring the Obvious

From Karl Polanyi
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[4][1] I am going to try to do something that is sometimes reckoned impossible but I will try all the same: I am about to speak about politics [and] about human nature in politics, without at any time talking politics, openly or otherwise, you know what I mean.

So we are tonight out of politics – out of party politics, national politics, state politics, local politics, world politics – in fact out of any kind of politics of any sort. My talk will be about politics in general, all kinds of politics. I want to talk about the tremendously important experiences we are making in the political field today.

For those who have tuned in late I repeat: We are out of any kind of politics tonight: instead we will talk about politics in a truly objective way.

To start off right in the middle: I will give you a proposition which is flase, which may have been ture yesterday but certainly in should not be believed anymore today, and a counter-proposition which appears to be true today although it may not have been believed yesterday.

The false proposition is that the masses of the people are swayed by propaganda, that they are emotional, irrational, fickle, ennemies of themselves, have no political judgment of their own, and so on.

This, I assert, is untrue. Such masses may have existed, but they certainly do not exist in democratic countries today.

As against this false proposition I will argue the exact opposite, namely that the common sens of the common man is the actual and factual basis of politics in a democracy, and that the common man is usually not, if at all mistaken about the paramount issues facing the community – and that the divergences are less due to error than to the different positions occupied by different sets of people is respect to the questions at issue.

Editor's Notes

  1. I typed the second version of the text, p. 4, correction of the the first version in pages 1-2. --Santiago Pinault

Text Informations

KPA: 19/23 (2 typed p., 1 hand-written page 'notes on sources' and 1 typed p. that is a corrected version of the first text)