Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER IX.: THE DEMAND FOR POLITICAL FALLACIES:—HOW CREATED BY THE STATE OF INTERESTS. - The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 2
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CHAPTER IX.: THE DEMAND FOR POLITICAL FALLACIES:—HOW CREATED BY THE STATE OF INTERESTS. - Jeremy Bentham, The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 2 
The Works of Jeremy Bentham, published under the Superintendence of his Executor, John Bowring (Edinburgh: William Tait, 1838-1843). 11 vols. Vol. 2.
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THE DEMAND FOR POLITICAL FALLACIES:—HOW CREATED BY THE STATE OF INTERESTS.
In order to have a clear view of the object to which political fallacies will in the greatest number of instances be found to be directed, it will be necessary to advert to the state in which, with an exception comparatively inconsiderable, the business of government ever has been, and still continues to be, in every country upon earth; and for this purpose must here be brought to view a few positions, the proof of which, if they require any, would require too large a quantity of matter for this place—positions which, if not immediately assented to, will at any rate, even by those whom they find most adverse, be allowed to possess the highest claim to attention and examination:
1. The end or object in view, to which every political measure, whether established or proposed, ought according to the extent of it to be directed, is the greatest happiness of the greatest number of persons interested in it, and that for the greatest length of time.
2. Unless the United States of North America be virtually an exception, in every known state the happiness of the many has been at the absolute disposal either of the one or of the comparatively few.
3. In every human breast—rare and short-lived ebullitions, the result of some extraordinary strong stimulus or incitement excepted—self-regarding interest is predominant over social interest: each person’s own individual interest, over the interests of all other persons taken together.
4. In the few instances, if any, in which, throughout the whole tenor or the general tenor of his life, a person sacrifices his own individual interest to that of any other person or persons, such person or persons will be a person or persons with whom he is connected by some domestic or other private and narrow tie of sympathy; not the whole number, or the majority of the whole number, of the individuals of which the political community to which he belongs is composed.
5. If in any political community there be any individuals by whom, for a constancy, the interests of all the other members put together are preferred to the interest composed of their own individual interest, and that of the few persons particularly connected with them these public-spirited individuals will be so few, and at the same time so impossible to distinguish from the rest, that to every practical purpose they may, without any practical error, be laid out of the account.
6. In this general predominance of self-regarding over social interest, when attentively considered, there will not be found any just subject of regret, any more than of contestation; for it will be found, that but for this predominance, no such species as that which we belong to could have existence: and that, supposing it, if possible, done away, insomuch that all persons, or most persons, should find respectively, some one or more persons, whose interest was respectively, through the whole of life, dearer to them, and as such more anxiously and constantly watched over than their own, the whole species would necessarily, within a very short space of time, become extinct.
7. If this be true, it follows, by the unchangeable constitution of human nature, that in every political community, by the hands by which the supreme power over all the other members of the community is shared, the interest of the many over whom the power is exercised, will on every occasion, in case of competition, be in act or in endeavour sacrificed to the particular interest of those by whom the power is exercised.
8. But every arrangement by which the interest of the many is sacrificed to that of the few, may with unquestionable propriety, if the above position be admitted, and to the extent of the sacrifice, be termed a bad arrangement; indeed, the only sort of bad arrangement—those excepted, by which the interest of both parties is sacrificed.
9. A bad arrangement, considered as already established and in existence, is, or may be termed, an abuse.
10. In so far as any competition is seen, or supposed to have place, the interests of the subject many being on every occasion, as above, in act or in endeavour constantly sacrificed by the ruling few to their own particular interests,—hence, with the ruling few, a constant object of study and endeavour is the preservation and extension of the mass of abuse: at any rate, such is the constant propensity.
11. In the mass of abuse, which, because it is so constantly their interest, it is constantly their endeavour to preserve, is included not only that portion from which they derive a direct and assignable profit, but also that portion from which they do not derive any such profit. For the mischievousness of that from which they do not derive any such direct and particular profit, cannot be exposed but by facts and observations, which, if pursued, would be found to apply also to that portion from which they do derive direct and particular profit. Thus it is, that in every community, all men in power—or, in one word, the ins—are, by self-regarding interest, constantly engaged in the maintenance of abuse in every shape in which they find it established.
12. But whatsoever the ins have in possession, the outs have in expectancy. Thus far, therefore, there is no distinction between the sinister interests of the ins and those of the outs, nor, consequently, in the fallacies by which they respectively employ their endeavours in the support of their respective sinister interests.
13. Thus far the interests of the outs coincide with the interest of the ins. But there are other points in which their interests are opposite. For procuring for themselves the situations and mass of advantages possessed by the ins, the outs have one, and but one, mode of proceeding. This is the raising their own place in the scale of political reputation, as compared with that of the ins. For effecting this ascendency, they have accordingly two correspondent modes: the raising their own, and the depreciating that of their successful rivals.
14. In addition to that particular and sinister interest which belongs to them in their quality of ruling members, these rivals have their share in the universal interest which belongs to them in their quality of members of the community at large. In this quality, they are sometimes occupied in such measures as in their eyes are necessary for the maintenance of the universal interest—for the preservation of that portion of the universal happiness of which their regard for their own interests does not seem to require the sacrifice: for the preservation, and also for the increase of it; for by every increase given to it they derive advantage to themselves, not only in that character which is common to them with all the other members of the community, but, in the shape of reputation, in that character of ruling members which is peculiar to themselves.
15. But in whatsoever shape the ins derive reputation to themselves, and thus raise themselves to a higher level in the scale of comparative reputation, it is the interest of the outs, as such, not only to prevent them from obtaining this rise, but if possible, and as far as possible, to cause their reputation to sink. Hence, on the part of the outs there exists a constant tendency to oppose all good arrangements proposed by the ins. But, generally speaking, the better an arrangement really is, the better it will generally be thought to be; and the better it is thought to be, the higher will the reputation of its supporters be raised by it. In so far, therefore, as it is in their power, the better a new arrangement proposed by the ins is, the stronger is the interest by which the outs are incited to oppose it. But the more obviously and indisputably good it is when considered in itself, the more incapable it is of being successfully opposed in the way of argument otherwise than by fallacies; and hence, in the aggregate mass of political fallacies, may be seen the character and general description of that portion of it which is employed chiefly by the outs.
16. In respect and to the extent of their share in the universal interest, an arrangement which is beneficial to that interest will be beneficial to themselves: and thus, supposing it successful, the opposition made by them to the arrangement would be prejudicial to themselves. On the supposition, therefore, of the success of such opposition, they would have to consider which in their eyes would be the greater advantage—their share in the advantage of the arrangement, or the advantage promised to them by the rise of their place in the comparative scale of reputation, by the elevation given to themselves, and the depression caused to their adversaries.
But, generally speaking, in a constitution such as the English in its present state, the chances are in a prodigious degree against the success of any opposition made by the outs to even the most flagrantly bad measure of the ins: much more, of course, to a really good one. Hence it is, that when the arrangement is in itself good, if with any prospect of success or advantage, any of the fallacies belonging to their side can be brought up against the arrangement, and this without prejudice to their own reputation,—they have nothing to stand in the way of the attempt.
17. In respect of those bad arrangements which by their sinister interest the ins stand engaged to promote, and in the promotion of which the outs have, as above, a community of interest,—the part dictated by their sinister interest is a curious and delicate one. By success, they would lessen that mass of sinister advantage which, being that of their antagonists in possession, is theirs in expectancy. They have, therefore, their option to make between this disadvantage and the advantage attached to a correspondent advance in the scale of comparative reputation. But, their situation securing to them little less than a certainty of failure, they are, therefore, as to this matter, pretty well at their ease. At the same time, seeing that whatsoever diminution from the mass of abuse they were to propose in the situation of outs, they could not, without loss of reputation, unless for some satisfactory reason, avoid bringing forward, or at least supporting, in the event of their changing places with the ins,—hence it is, that any such defalcation which they can in general prevail upon themselves to propose, will in general be either spurious and fallacious, or at best inadequate:—inadequate,—and by its inadequacy, and the virtual confession involved in it, giving support and confirmation to every portion of kindred abuse which it leaves untouched.