Georg Simmel – The underground and aristocratic power

In non-democratic regimes, two main features can be identified:

  1. The governed and the rulers are implacably separate, that is, distinct.
  2. And above all, the rulers act with the utmost opacity towards the ruled.

This is why secrecy in these regimes is so important.

Georg Simmel theorized this inSecrecy and secret societies explains:

secrecy has always been part of the accessories of aristocratic power. It exploits, first of all, a psychological fact – the unknown, as such, always seems to frighten, powerful, threatening – in an attempt to conceal the numerical weakness of the ruling class (…) The use of secrecy within the aristocratic regime is only the exacerbated form of this exclusion and of those social privileges, for the sake of which the aristocracy is usually reluctant to promulgate laws based on universal principles.

Georg Simmel, Secrecy and Secret Societies

→ Quotes on Secrecy

Let us pull out two new ideas:

  1. Since the number of rulers is minimal in relation to the number of ruled, it is necessary for the former to create obscurity.
  2. Moreover, it is because the privileged are so well off that they do not wish or do not want to establish laws based on universal principles.

General Knowledge: The Secret