Forms of Power

“When a pig with a rope round its middle is hoisted squealing into a ship, it is subject to direct physical power over its body. On the other hand, when the proverbial donkey follows the proverbial carrot, we induce him to act as we wish by persuading him that it is to his interest to do so. Intermediate between these two cases is that of performing animals, in whom habits have been formed by rewards and punishments; also, in a different way, that of sheep induced to embark on a ship, when the leader has to be dragged across the gangway by force, and the rest then follow willingly.

All these forms of power are exemplified among human beings. The case of the pig illustrates military and police power. The donkey with the carrot typifies the power of propaganda. Performing animals show the power of ‘education’.

The sheep following their unwilling leader are illustrative of party politics, whenever, as is usual, a revered leader is in bondage to be a clique or to party bosses.

Let us apply these Aesopian analogies to the rise of Hitler. The carrot was the Nazi program (involving e.g. the abolition of interest); the donkey was the lower middle class. The sheep and their leader were the Social Democrats and Hindenburg. The pigs (only so far as their misfortunes are concerned) were the victims in concentration camps, and the performing animals are the millions who make the Nazi salute.”

Power, Bertrand Russell

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