Sunday, 6 October 2013

D.H. Lawrence on Democracy (pub.1936 in Pheonix date of writing uncertain)


Democracy as D.H.Lawrence sees it exalts the average over the individual. He presents this as obvious and not worth arguing for thereby denying the historical evidence to the contrary. In the Athenian progression to democracy via tyranny and oligarchy we see the rise of the personal voice as central to democracy. Its temporary lapse in the time of Socrates and their revenge on him for his apparent collaboration with the oligarchs demonstrates the Athenians desire not to have the individual voice that could participate in the polis thrust back down into a mass that required only a philosopher king to guide and decide.

Opposed to this specious cult of the average Lawrence opposes the doctrine of individualism. Only a new Democracy will bring about the rebirth of this. Now there is an outbreak of mystical capitalisation:

When I stand in the presence of another man, and I am my own pure self, am I aware of the presence of an equal, or of an inferior, or of a superior? I am not. When I stand with another man, who is himself, and when I am truly myself then I am only aware of a Presence, and of the strange reality of Otherness. There is me, and there is another being

Further:
So, now we know the first great purpose of Democracy, that each man shall be spontaneously himself - each man himself, each woman herself, without any question of equality entering in at all; and that no man shall try to determine the being of any other man, or of any other woman.

The straw from the straw man of ‘the average’ is recycled into corn dollies:

That is horribly true of modern democracy - socialism, conservatism, bolshevism, liberalism, republicanism, communism: all alike.

Bracing gibberish.

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