“Indifference is the armour of sanity”

If I wanted to introduce Democracy into the modern world (a staggering innovation), and if I were considering such schemes as the Referendum or the Second Ballot, there is one reform I should make which I do not remember to have been suggested anywhere: I should count all the citizens who had not voted for an important change as having voted against it. That would knock the Earnest fellows in the wind. For it is not just, and it is not even useful, that only the earnestness of the nation should count. There is much moral value in the indifference of a nation; indifference can be healthy, just as excitement can be unhealthy. The normal citizen should be allowed to grumble at a thing and to laugh at a thing; but he should also be allowed to yawn at a thing. And his yawn should count as well as his yell. A healthy democracy should yawn in chorus; and when the Earnest people introduced some fussy bit of boredom or other, all who were of the contrary opinion should signify the same by holding up their hands — in front of their mouths. For it is a criticism, and a powerful criticism, of any project that it leaves vast varieties of men quite negligent and contemptuous. Indifference is the armour of sanity.

— The Illustrated London News, 15 June 1912.

Published in: on May 13, 2015 at 11:54 am  Leave a Comment  

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