The great mass of people . . . will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one.
The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force.
Mankind has grown strong in eternal struggles and it will only perish through eternal peace.
Whoever lights the torch of war in Europe can wish for nothing but chaos.
I recognized the infamy of that technique whereby the movement carried on a campaign of mental terrorism against the bourgeoisie, who are neither morally nor spiritually equipped to withstand such attacks. The tactics of Social Democracy consisted in opening, at a given signal, a veritable drum-fire of lies and calumnies against the man whom they believed to be the most redoubtable of their adversaries, until the nerves of the latter gave way and they sacrificed the man who was attacked, simply in the hope of being allowed to live in peace. But the hope proved always to be a foolish one, for they were never left in peace.
The same tactics are repeated again and again, until fear of these mad dogs exercises, through suggestion, a paralyzing effect on their Victims.
Through its own experience Social Democracy learned the value of strength, and for that reason it attacks mostly those in whom it scents stuff of the more stalwart kind, which is indeed a very rare possession. On the other hand it praises every weakling among its adversaries, more or less cautiously, according to the measure of his mental qualities known or presumed. They have less fear of a man of genius who lacks will-power than of a vigorous character with mediocre intelligence and at the same time they highly commend those who are devoid of intelligence and will-power.
The Social Democrats know how to create the impression that they alone are the protectors of peace. In this way, acting very circumspectly but never losing sight of their ultimate goal, they conquer one position after another, at one time by methods of quiet intimidation and at another time by sheer daylight robbery, employing these latter tactics at those moments when public attention is turned towards other matters from which it does not wish to be diverted, or when the public considers an incident too trivial to create a scandal about it and thus provoke the anger of a malignant opponent.
These tactics are based on an accurate estimation of human frailties and must lead to success, with almost mathematical certainty, unless the other side also learns how to fight poison gas with poison gas. The weaker natures must be told that here it is a case of to be or not to be.
I also came to understand that physical intimidation has its significance for the mass as well as for the individual. Here again the Socialists had calculated accurately on the psychological effect.
Intimidation in workshops and in factories, in assembly halls and at mass demonstrations, will always meet with success as long as it does not have to encounter the same kind of terror in a stronger form.
Then of course the Party will raise a horrified outcry, yelling blue murder and appealing to the authority of the State, which they have just repudiated. In doing this their aim generally is to add to the general confusion, so that they may have a better opportunity of reaching their own goal unobserved. Their idea is to find among the higher government officials some bovine creature who, in the stupid hope that he may win the good graces of these awe-inspiring opponents so that they may remember him in case of future eventualities, will help them now to break all those who may oppose this world pest.
The impression which such successful tactics make on the minds of the broad masses, whether they be adherents or opponents, can be estimated only by one who knows the popular mind, not from books but from practical life. For the successes which are thus obtained are taken by the adherents of Social Democracy as a triumphant symbol of the righteousness of their own cause; on the other hand the beaten opponent very often loses faith in the effectiveness of any further resistance.