Adolf Hitler on 'The Majority Principle'

Continuing with passages from Mein Kampf (see here). This one from page 193 - 3.13 THE MAJORITY PRINCIPLE

SEVERAL VOLUMES WOULD BE NEEDED IF ONE WERE TO GIVE an adequate account of all its hollow fallacies. But if we pass over the details and look at the product itself while in operation, I think this alone will sufffice to open the eyes of even the most innocent and naive person, so that he may recognize the absurdity of this institution by looking at it objectively.

This human aberration is as harmful as it is absurd. In order to see this, the best and easiest method is to compare democratic parliamentarianism with a genuine German democracy.

Do not confuse parliamentarianism with the system of representative government in the U.S. Although both systems are based on 'majority rule' and result in the same problems, there are different rules.

As to what a "genuine German democracy" is, I don't know, but maybe more of a one-party rule rather than coalition governments so that party must take full responsibility? Any ideas or suggestions are welcome. -cy  [see comment below]

The remarkable characteristic of the parliamentary form of democracy is the fact that a number of persons, let us say 500—these days, including women also—are elected to parliament and invested with authority to give final judgment on everything. In practice, they alone are the governing body; for although they may appoint a cabinet that outwardly seems to direct state affairs, this cabinet has no real existence of its own. In reality this so-called government can't do anything against the will of the assembly. It can never be called to account for anything, since the right of decision is not vested in the cabinet but in the parliamentary majority. The cabinet always functions only as the executor of the will of the majority. Its political ability can be judged only by how far it succeeds in adapting to the will of the majority, or in persuading the majority to agree to its proposals.

But this means it must descend from the level of a real governing power to that of a beggar, one who has to beg for the approval of a majority. Indeed, the main job of the cabinet is to secure for itself the favor of the majority then in power or, failing that, to form a new majority that will be more favorably disposed. If it should succeed in either of these efforts, it may go on 'governing' for a little while. If it should fail to win or form a majority, it must resign.

For all practical purposes, responsibility is abolished.

The consequences of such a state of affairs can easily be understood from the following simple considerations:

Those 500 deputies who have been elected by the people come from various dissimilar callings in life; they show widely varying degrees of political capacity, with the result that the whole picture is incoherent and deplorable. Surely nobody believes that these elected representatives of the nation are the choice spirits or first-class intellects! […]

The absurd notion that men of genius are born out of universal suffrage cannot be too strongly repudiated. In the first place those times may be really called blessed when one genuine statesman appears among a people. Such statesmen don't appear by the hundreds or more. Secondly, the broad masses instinctively display a definite antipathy towards every outstanding genius. […]

Throughout world history, exceptional events have mostly been due to the driving force of an individual personality.

But here, 500 persons of sub-par intellectual qualities pass judgment on the most important problems affecting the nation. They form governments, that in turn learn to win the approval of the illustrious assembly for every legislative step—which means that the policy to be carried out is actually the policy of the 500.

And that's just what it usually looks like.

But let's pass over the intellectual qualities of these representatives and ask what is the nature of the task set before them. If we consider the fact that the problems to be addressed are variable and diverse, we can very well realize how inefficient a governing system must be that entrusts the right of decision to a mass assembly, one in which only very few possess the requisite knowledge and experience to properly deal with the matters. The most important economic measures are submitted to a tribunal in which not more than 10 percent have studied economics. […]

The same holds true of every other problem. It's always a majority of ignorant and incompetent people who decide on each measure. The composition of the institution does not change, while the problems to be dealt with come from the most varied spheres of public life. An intelligent judgment would be possible only if different deputies had the authority to deal with different issues. It's out of the question to think that the same people are qualified to decide on transportation questions as well as, say, on questions of foreign policy—unless each is a universal genius. But scarcely more than one true genius appears in a century.

Here we are scarcely ever dealing with real thinkers, but only with dilettantes who are as narrow-minded as they are conceited and arrogant—intellectual prostitutes of the worst kind. That's why these honorable gentlemen show such astonishing levity in debating matters that would demand the most painstaking consideration, even from great minds. Measures of momentous importance for the future existence of the state are discussed in an atmosphere more suited to the card-table. Indeed, the latter would be a much more fitting occupation for these gentlemen than that of deciding the destinies of a race.

He makes it a matter of responsibility. Members of a large legislative body don't have enough individual "skin in the game", thereby taking their votes too lightly. Responsibility for failure can be  passed to someone else.

Of course, it would be unfair to assume that every member in such a parliament was endowed by nature with such a small sense of responsibility.

No,by no means.


Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf