15 | MP introduction
tradesman, but utterly empty-headed when it comes to politics.
Many public men have been kindhearted individuals, but ruthlessly
bloodthirsty when it came to carry out 'the will of the people'.
A man may be decent and kindly when you meet him in his house,
or when you are in need of help. He may show common-sense in his
daily tasks. He may be self-assured in his family, or among his
mates. But when he is thrown togther with a, preferably large,
number of heterogeneous people, he is often utterly transformed.
His reactions may be shaped by his participation in a mass, al-
though he is not in physical contact with its members. One may
act as a part of a mass in a small circle. A person who dishes
out the views of the 'News Chronicle', or of the 'Daily Mail', to
his patient family, speaks not as himself, but as a member of
a mass. The discussions of this book deal with people only in
their public capacity.
So much about the emotional resistance which the reader is
bound to feel at one stage or another of our enquiry. It remains
to touch slightly on three methodological points. By meaking a
clean sweep of them here, we may avoid misunderstanding later
(1) Any statement about the behaviour of human beings in a
group allows for exceptions, for divergent individuals who do
not move in the direction indicated. These exceptions do not in-
validate the truth of the statement. "The English hated the Hun",
"the French fear the Germans", "the working people feel oppress-
ed", "we are still superstitious" - statements like these refer
to the majority of the group concerned. The exceptions do not
affect the issue, and are in most cases of little importance for