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The Revolt of the Masses Revised ed. Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
But one could argue that however effective his argument, Ortega y Gasset, a Spaniard, was in perfect position to critique fascism and its foibles, being able to observe it from a closer perspective than others. After all, the war for men's hearts and minds was fought out in no small part on Spanish soil in the '30s.
Ortega y Gasset was also not alone in critiquing the rise of mass man, which is the book's major point. Joseph Wood Krutch, for example, in "The Modern Temper" (an excellent companion to this book) had pointed out that the emergence of mass society and the development of technology had stripped away Man's sustaining illusions, at great cost.
"The Revolt of the Masses" decries the leveling of society that the author observes, and the reader is at first made uncomfortable by the argument. I found myself mentally attacking Ortega y Gasset's elitism. I nearly concluded that the book was simply an apologia for an anti-democratic bias and for those who would protect political power from seizure by the common man.Read more ›
It seems that there have been a couple of different interpretations of this book by reviewers. Some have pointed to Ortega's elitism and contempt for mass-man as a sign of him being anti-democratic. And this certainly seems like a logical conclusion except for the fact that Ortega himself asserts that a liberal democracy is the ideal form of government! I was somewhat puzzled by this seemingly contradictory pronouncement myself. It seems to me that democracy inevitably leads to rule by the mass-man. After all, democracy literally means "rule by the people." Nevertheless, on page 76, Ortega writes:
"The political doctrine which has represented the loftiest endeavour towards common life is liberal democracy. It carries to the extreme the determination to have consideration for one's neighbor and is the prototype of 'indirect action.Read more ›
Ortega starts off by defining what he means by 'mass man' and how he is different from the exceptional men. Mass men are those who are content where they are, have opinions but seldom really think and reflect, have no conception of themselves as creatures bounded in a a place, a time, and various social roles, and, in a sense, are simply directionless. Compare these to the exceptional people, those who live life with a sense of purpose (that has little or nothing to do with hedonistic egoism), strive for greatness, and have the thoughtfulness to 'make things happen.'
Written in 1932, Ortega is concerned that several European countries are falling for doctrines like fascism and socialism that put most of their emphasis on 'mass man' rather than appreciating that civilization owes its existence, upkeep, and progress to the exceptional. Ortega is not advocating hereditary rule (has exceptionality is something deserved and earned, not inherited). But Ortega's concern - preficuring Schumpeter's ...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a far far better translation than any other, cf. the Norton edition. This essay present the argument of the relevance of the book today. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Sun_Zeneise
This is a book that I first read somewhere about 1950. It impressed me then for its insights. My rereading of it in 2015 serves to confirm this and truly surprised me at how well... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Old Soldier
For a conservative he strikes me as a European Unionist. He decries youth's lack of morals, the masses lack of morals, and Europe's lack of direction or determined action. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Mark K. Rempel
I first read this book in 1953 when I was nineteen years old. It told me everything I wanted to know about the specter of "hyper-democracy. Read morePublished 13 months ago by alicia k zeiter
José Ortega y Gasset (1883-1955) was a Spanish philosopher, who also wrote books like An Interpretation of Universal History, History as a System and Other Essays Toward a... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Steven H Propp