View Poll Results: Is the Revolt of the Masses an Accurate Picture of Society

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Thread: Revolt of the Masses

  1. #21
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    Revolt of the Masses

    Quote Originally Posted by Anagram View Post
    Ortega wasn't arguing for that. He was a firm believer that liberal democracy was the best political system.
    So does he just basically argue the Dunning Kruger Effect, as Charles Darwin and Bertrand Russell did before him?

    Is it merely an observation or does he suggest a remedy?

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    Re: Revolt of the Masses

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben K. View Post
    So does he just basically argue the Dunning Kruger Effect, as Charles Darwin and Bertrand Russell did before him?

    Is it merely an observation or does he suggest a remedy?
    Not particularly, other than that bringing widespread attention to it, might help dissipate it somewhat.
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    Re: Revolt of the Masses

    Quote Originally Posted by Anagram View Post
    Ortega wasn't arguing for that. He was a firm believer that liberal democracy was the best political system.
    I can see that:

    Ortega sees a growing problem among the masses due to the rise of democracy. With the growing belief that everyone is equal comes a belief among the masses that their unexamined opinions are inherently equal in many areas to the minority.

    That the masses should be led by those "qualified" is a long standing opinion.

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    Re: Revolt of the Masses

    Quote Originally Posted by Anagram View Post
    I just finished reading Jose Ortega y Gasset's book, The Revolt of the Masses. He basically contends that there are two types of people in the world, the mass and the minority. The minority are the truly talented people who also put great demand on themselves to make advancements in science, philosophy, and politics. The mass are those without the talent or drive to do such. He's quick to point out that this has nothing to do with class, as there is minority and mass in both the upper and lower classes.

    Ortega sees a growing problem among the masses due to the rise of democracy. With the growing belief that everyone is equal comes a belief among the masses that their unexamined opinions are inherently equal in many areas to the minority. Those who have spent little time thinking about or studying politics believe that their political opinions carry as much intellectual weight as those who have been doing so for thirty years. They don't recognize that there are people in some areas who know better than they do. The problem that Ortega sees with this is that because the masses greatly outnumber the minority, politicians wanting power will begin to appeal to these unexamined opinions of the minority, leading to people who don't really know what they're doing to direct the political conversation. Writing in the 1930's Ortega sees this as the reason behind the rise of power of fascism in Italy and Bolshevism in Russia, condemning both movements. He definitely does not reject democracy and is a strong proponent of that political system over all others, but he does see this as a serious problem with it that needs to be addressed.

    Especially a problem for Ortega are those that he calls the specialists. These are the people who are legitimately knowledgeable in one area. They are usually college educated people who really are experts in their narrow field. However, this knowledge generally leads to them believing they are experts in other fields, not usually deferring to those who are actually experts in them. Ortega sees them as often more stubborn and more arrogant than the regular masses in projecting their opinions in fields they are clearly ignorant of. Ortega writes the book specifically to challenge these people to examine their political ideals the same way they examine knowledge in their own narrow field of work.

    So my question is, do you think that Ortega's work is a generally accurate view of society? Is he correct about the categories of mass and minority and the relationship between them? Do most people stubbornly view their opinions as inherently equal to those who know better than them?
    Generally any theory that starts, "There are two types of people in the world," should be taken with a grain of skepticism. The problem with people isn't that they think all opinions are equal, but that such equality is only arbitrarily applied to prop up those opinions that feed into their ideology.
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    Re: Revolt of the Masses

    Quote Originally Posted by Anagram View Post
    I just finished reading Jose Ortega y Gasset's book, The Revolt of the Masses. He basically contends that there are two types of people in the world, the mass and the minority. The minority are the truly talented people who also put great demand on themselves to make advancements in science, philosophy, and politics. The mass are those without the talent or drive to do such. He's quick to point out that this has nothing to do with class, as there is minority and mass in both the upper and lower classes.

    Ortega sees a growing problem among the masses due to the rise of democracy. With the growing belief that everyone is equal comes a belief among the masses that their unexamined opinions are inherently equal in many areas to the minority. Those who have spent little time thinking about or studying politics believe that their political opinions carry as much intellectual weight as those who have been doing so for thirty years. They don't recognize that there are people in some areas who know better than they do. The problem that Ortega sees with this is that because the masses greatly outnumber the minority, politicians wanting power will begin to appeal to these unexamined opinions of the minority, leading to people who don't really know what they're doing to direct the political conversation. Writing in the 1930's Ortega sees this as the reason behind the rise of power of fascism in Italy and Bolshevism in Russia, condemning both movements. He definitely does not reject democracy and is a strong proponent of that political system over all others, but he does see this as a serious problem with it that needs to be addressed.

    Especially a problem for Ortega are those that he calls the specialists. These are the people who are legitimately knowledgeable in one area. They are usually college educated people who really are experts in their narrow field. However, this knowledge generally leads to them believing they are experts in other fields, not usually deferring to those who are actually experts in them. Ortega sees them as often more stubborn and more arrogant than the regular masses in projecting their opinions in fields they are clearly ignorant of. Ortega writes the book specifically to challenge these people to examine their political ideals the same way they examine knowledge in their own narrow field of work.

    So my question is, do you think that Ortega's work is a generally accurate view of society? Is he correct about the categories of mass and minority and the relationship between them? Do most people stubbornly view their opinions as inherently equal to those who know better than them?
    I absolutely agree. I'm frankly not even an especially great fan of "Democracy" as a general concept in the way it is currently practiced by the Western World. It basically revolves entirely around hordes of ignorant louts who can't see six inches beyond their own noses shouting "gimme!" up at government officials, and voting for whichever demagogue looks prettiest on TV and promises to give them the heftiest handout (regardless of whether they actually deliver on it or not).

    There should really be some sort mechanism in place to hone the electorate down to (mostly) only those individuals who are actually qualified to intelligently discuss and understand the issues affecting national level policy; a licensing or accrediation process, of sorts.
    Last edited by Gathomas88; 10-31-13 at 02:28 PM.

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    Re: Revolt of the Masses

    Quote Originally Posted by Gathomas88 View Post
    I absolutely agree. I'm frankly not even an especially great fan of "Democracy" as a general concept in the way it is currently practiced by the Western World. It basically revolves entirely around hordes of ignorant louts who can't see six inches beyond their own noses shouting "gimme!" up at government officials, and voting for whichever demagogue looks prettiest on TV and promises to give them the heftiest handout (regardless of whether they actually deliver on it or not).

    There should really be some sort mechanism in place to hone the electorate down to (mostly) only those individuals who are actually qualified to intelligently discuss and understand the issues affecting national level policy; a licensing or accrediation process, of sorts.
    The issue with that type of process is tha those who are deemed to be qualified tend to ensure they have benifits from the government or restrict the rights of other groups they may not like. This has been seen in the US, the rights of women, blacks (and other minorities) have been restricted during thimes when voting rights have been restricted. Womens rights have been quite restictive in the past, only to expand after they gained the right to vote. How long have african americans rights been restricted, how long have their voting rights been resticted? When did the rights of Blacks start to improve, around the same time as the ability to vote was improved.

    In China the people who get to vote on the government (Communist party members of which there are I believe around 6 million perhaps double that, tend to use that power to enrich themselves through the power that they hold. In Russia a nominal democracy it is the same case.

    Overall with out the right to an actual meaningfull vote the rights of people can and often will be restricted, it may be specific groups of society that have their rights restricted along with the restrictioin of the right to vote. Or it just might mean that economic benifits will be provided to those with the ability to vote, while government expenditures are removed from areas where people do not vote.

    Just because someone might be more informed and knowledgable does not mean they will not take advantage of the system to enrich themselves or hold others down
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  7. #27
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    Re: Revolt of the Masses

    Quote Originally Posted by Gathomas88 View Post
    I absolutely agree. I'm frankly not even an especially great fan of "Democracy" as a general concept in the way it is currently practiced by the Western World. It basically revolves entirely around hordes of ignorant louts who can't see six inches beyond their own noses shouting "gimme!" up at government officials, and voting for whichever demagogue looks prettiest on TV and promises to give them the heftiest handout (regardless of whether they actually deliver on it or not).

    There should really be some sort mechanism in place to hone the electorate down to (mostly) only those individuals who are actually qualified to intelligently discuss and understand the issues affecting national level policy; a licensing or accrediation process, of sorts.
    education is that counter balance.

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    Re: Revolt of the Masses

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Tammerlain View Post
    The issue with that type of process is tha those who are deemed to be qualified tend to ensure they have benifits from the government or restrict the rights of other groups they may not like. This has been seen in the US, the rights of women, blacks (and other minorities) have been restricted during thimes when voting rights have been restricted. Womens rights have been quite restictive in the past, only to expand after they gained the right to vote. How long have african americans rights been restricted, how long have their voting rights been resticted? When did the rights of Blacks start to improve, around the same time as the ability to vote was improved.
    I wasn't suggesting anything so discriminatory; only that putting some sort of test or brief course in place that a person must pass before being allowed to vote might not be a bad idea. The process could conceivably be handled in a fashion somewhat similar to obtaining a driver's license or citizenship without unduly limiting any particular group's presence in the electorate.

    Requiring that a person actually demonstrate some level of knowledge and initiative concerning the political process before taking part in shaping any of a given nation's policies could do wonders for cutting down on the "low information" riff-raff, so to speak.

    In China the people who get to vote on the government (Communist party members of which there are I believe around 6 million perhaps double that, tend to use that power to enrich themselves through the power that they hold. In Russia a nominal democracy it is the same case.

    Overall with out the right to an actual meaningfull vote the rights of people can and often will be restricted, it may be specific groups of society that have their rights restricted along with the restrictioin of the right to vote. Or it just might mean that economic benifits will be provided to those with the ability to vote, while government expenditures are removed from areas where people do not vote.

    Just because someone might be more informed and knowledgable does not mean they will not take advantage of the system to enrich themselves or hold others down
    Perhaps, but is that really all that big a problem in comparison to what we see today? I'd take a highly competent oligarchy elevating a nation's fortunes over an unruly mob running things into the ground any day.

    China is hardly "democratic" and it has seen more growth, development, and modernization over the course of the last few decades than most Western nations have seen in their entire histories.

    Quote Originally Posted by Unitedwestand13 View Post
    education is that counter balance.
    It has rather clearly failed.

  9. #29
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    Re: Revolt of the Masses

    I think the OP just describes how people fall into a bell curve, and then complains about it. People fancying themselves to be more exceptional than they really are seems like a much bigger problem than the fact that geniuses are rare. Of course, all geniuses are just smarter relative to everyone else. Every one of us on this forum knows more than Isaac Newton did and tackles problems that would boggle his mind. Hawking would be left behind by school children three hundred years from now. I don't think the fact that we fall on a bell curve is a problem. I think the fact that we glamorize exploiting people is a problem.
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    Re: Revolt of the Masses

    I think his view is generally right, and that democracy itself is superior to some other forms of political systems, but it is not the answer to class warfare, as the concept of equal rights doesn't make people actually feel equal, and in some cases, fuels class envy. It's about the best model we have, but it is wrought with problems all its own. What it eventually leads to is economic weakening of society, as people come to believe they have a right to the private property of others.
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