Bertrand de Jouvenel

But there are no institutions on earth which enable each separate person to have a hand in the exercise of Power, for Power is command, and everyone cannot command. Sovereignty of the people is, therefore, nothing but a fiction, and one which must in the long run prove destructive of individual liberties.

It is appropriate here to recall that the so-called Dark Ages began with the flight of the individuals into the protection of lords or chapters and came to an end when the individual again found it to his advantage to set forth on his own. We live at a time when everything conspires to push the individual into the fold.

The intellectual’s hostility to the businessman presents no mystery, as the two have, by function, wholly different standards. While the businessman’s motto is the customer is always right, the intellectual’s task is to preserve his perceived standards against the weight of popular opinion.

For, once man is declared ‘the measure of all things,’ there is no longer a true, or a good, or a just, but only opinions of equal validity whose clash can be settled only by political or military force; and each force in turn enthrones in its hour of triumph a true, a good, and a just which will endure just as long as itself.

Command is a mountaintop. The air breathed there is different, and the perspectives seen there are different, from those of the valley of obedience. The passion for order and the genius for construction, which are part of man’s natural endowment, get full play there. The man who has grown great sees from the top of his tower what he can make, if he so wills, of the swarming masses below him.