119. Imitators

Almost every­one admires what they are told to admire, and despises what cus­tom tells them to despise. They believe what they are advised to believe, and doubt what rumour whis­pers they should doubt. This sub­mis­sion holds regard­less of a person’s clev­er­ness or the price of their edu­ca­tion. The full weight of every cul­ture, from exam­i­na­tions, to employ­ment prospects, to grandma’s approval is directed at ensur­ing that the socially approved is seen to be right and good. Democracy’s hor­rid lit­tle secret is that most human beings are paid up sub­scribers to total­i­tar­ian con­for­mity. Heaven help the man or woman who says that the earth is not flat.

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