"What is democracy?" it was asked back in August 1927.

Dr Frank Crane supplied the public with the answer: "Democracy is a force of opinion and of feeling operating within the people, enabling the majority of them to get what they want by means of organization and to make these gains secure by laws, for it is only by making its own mistakes that a nation can achieve its destiny, which is to grow.

"Democracy is the only sort of organization which operates for the benefit of the majority of the people which is its object. All other kinds of government are governments by a minority of some sort or other. In a monarchy the welfare of the dynasty and its allied ruling classes is foremost. In an oligarchy, it is the will of a superior few that dominates. The scattered republics of past history, such, for instance, as the Greek republic, were not at all democracies in the sense in which the United States, Great Britain and France are democracies. 

"For they went upon the assumption that great mass of people were too ignorant to know what they needed, and had to be guided by superior minds. The sort of government which the Bolsheviks gave to Russia after the overthrow of the Czar was in no sense a democracy. It was as autocratic as that bureaucracy which it displaced. It merely substituted a new set of autocrats. To be sure, these new rulers professed to have the welfare of the great masses at heart; but, for that matter, so did the Czar, and the difference was merely a matter of opinion as to what constitutes the welfare of the people. 

"Socialism might operate as a democracy, if the majority of the people were persuaded that is the best thing and if they deliberately chose it. But socialism foisted upon a people, the majority of whom do not believe in it, would be nothing but another kind of autocracy. It follows from this that the purpose of democracy is not at all to give an ideal government. In fact, the government it usually gives is very imperfect. 

"All democracy aims to do is to give the majority of the people the sort of thing they want. Democracy, therefore, is the only program in which liberty is possible. For liberty consists in doing what one pleases, and not in doing what some one thinks is best for him. Under democracy the minority is not necessarily suppressed. Only the minority can not have its way in determining the acts of the state until it has succeeded in becoming the majority. Thus the ways are always open. Any man, or any group of men, can agitate as they please, so long as they obey the laws and refrain from violence in their endeavor to convince the majority."

On 'The Mike Wallace Interview' program in 1958, Aldous Huxley told Mike, "I think what is going to happen in the future is that dictators will find, as the old saying goes, that you can do everything with bayonets except sit on them. But, if you want to preserve your power indefinitely, you have to get the consent of the ruled, and this they will do partly by drugs as I foresaw in 'Brave New World', partly by these new techniques of propaganda. They will do it by bypassing the sort of rational side of man and appealing to his subconscious and his deeper emotions, and his physiology even, and so, making him love his slavery. I mean, I think, this is the danger that actually people may be, in some ways, happy under the new regime, but that they will be happy in situations where they oughtn’t to be happy."

Aldous added, "This idea that the candidates had to be merchandised as though they were soap and toothpaste and that you had to depend entirely on the personality. I mean, personality is important, but there are certainly people with an extremely amiable personality, particularly on TV, who might not necessarily be very good in positions of political trust. But they were being advised by powerful advertising agencies who were making campaigns of a quite different kind from what had been made before, and I think we shall see probably all kinds of new devices coming into the picture. I mean, for example, this thing which got a good deal of publicity...subliminal projection." Subliminal projection, Mike explained to viewers, "We will be persuaded to vote for a candidate that we do not know that we are being persuaded to vote for."

Aldous argued, "Advertisement plays a very necessary role, but the danger it seems to me in a democracy is this, I mean what does a democracy depend on? A democracy depends on the individual voter making an intelligent and rational choice for what he regards as his enlightened self-interest, in any given circumstance. But what these people are doing, I mean what both, for their particular purposes, for selling goods and the dictatorial propagandists, is to try to bypass the rational side of man and to appeal directly to these unconscious forces below the surfaces so that you are, in a way, making nonsense of the whole democratic procedure, which is based on conscious choice on rational ground." 

Aldous continued, "...These are all instruments for obtaining power, and obviously the passion for power is one of the most moving passions that exists in man; and after all, all democracies are based on the proposition that power is very dangerous and that it is extremely important not to let any one man or any one small group have too much power for too long a time. After all what are the British and American Constitution except devices for limiting power, and all these new devices are extremely efficient instruments for the imposition of power by small groups over larger masses."

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