To the Jacobins of this epoch [the French Revolution], as well as to those of our times, this popular entity constitutes a superior personality possessing attributes peculiar to the gods of never having to answer for their actions and never making a mistake. Their wishes must be humbly acceded to. The people may kill, burn, ravage, commit the most frightening cruelties, glorify their hero today and throw him into the gutter tomorrow, it is all the same; the politicians will not cease to vaunt the people's virtues and to bow to their every decision.
Crowds exhibit a docile respect for force, And are but slightly impressed by kindness, Which for them is scarcely other than a form of weakness. Their sympathies have never been bestowed upon easy going masters, but the tyrants who vigorously oppressed them. It is to these latter that they always erect the loftiest statues. It is true that they willingly trample on the despot whom they have stripped of his power, but it is because having lost his power he resumes his place among the feeble who are to be despised because they are not to be feared. The type of hero dear to a crowd will always have the semblance of a Caesar, His insignia attract them, His authority overawes them, and his sword instils them with fear.
A civilization, when the moment has come for crowds to acquire a high hand over it, is at the mercy of too many chances to endure for long. Could anything postpone for a while the hour of its ruin, it would be precisely the extreme instability of the opinions of crowds and their growing indifference and lack of respect for all general beliefs.