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Knowledge Area Module 2:

Principles of Human Development

Student: Timothy Beushausen

Student ID# A00128233
Program: PhD in Applied Management and Decision Sciences
Specialization: Leadership & Organization Development

KAM Assessor: Dr. Steven Tippins

Faculty Mentor: Same

Walden University
May 24, 2009


The purpose of this research is to trace the development of Positive Thinking, as taught in

leadership seminars commonly conducted throughout the corporate world, back to its

ideological, philosophical, religious, and social origins in American life. The philosophy of

pragmatism, as explicated by William James, the sociology of knowledge founded by Karl

Mannheim, and the Puritan work ethic traced by Max Weber into the spirit of capitalism, when

taken together throw a sharp illumination on how this concept of mind functions in today’s

world. I hope to apply this to a team concept of leadership, and to determine how it can be

applied in a more general context than the accumulation of capital.



The purpose of the following analysis is to examine the scope and impact of the work of James,

Weber, and Mannheim within the context of the social thought of their times, and their impact on

social thinking today. William James was a seminal thinker in founding a science of psychology.

Weber rationalized social thought within the realm of capitalism. Mannheim critiqued the

Marxian concept of ideology, and founded the sociology of knowledge. The ideas of each of

these scientist/philosophers reached further into the possibilities for human development than

any of their epigones would find possible. Their work still stimulates research and discussion at

the beginning of the 21st Century, and will continue to provide humus for robust new research

into the foreseeable future.



From the standpoint of the worker, the Puritan work ethic has turned ugly in today’s market,

driving all who are caught marketing our skills on a commodity level into a frenzied rat race to

the bottom of what Mao Zedong designated as “Third World” conditions of life and labor.

Positive thinking came out of the Puritan work ethic as the form of thought for the capitalist in

pursuing his vocation as an entrepreneur within the marketplace. For this, goal setting, critical

thought, and a positive mental attitude are still needed. The first goal is to create a basis of

financial independence for oneself. Then one can find ways to help others, even in transcending

the limits of capitalism.


BREADTH .......................................................................................................................................1
Individual and Society ...............................................................................................................1
Karl Mannheim’s Sociology of Knowledge ........................................................................2
William James’ pragmatism and Mannheim ......................................................................9
Max Weber and the Puritan Work ethic ...........................................................................15
Mannheim, James, Weber and Marx’s Humanism ............................................................21
The Puritan Work ethic and the Concept of Grace………………………………… ........24
The Steel Cage ..................................................................................................................37

DEPTH ...........................................................................................................................................43
Annotated Bibliography .........................................................................................................433
Literature Review Essay ..........................................................................................................71
Kant…………….. ..............................................................................................................71
James…………….. ............................................................................................................73
Dewey…………….. ..........................................................................................................91
Behaviorism .......................................................................................................................95
Vulgar Materialism and Modern Researh…………….. ....................................................97
Truth as an Epistemic Ideal……………..........................................................................104
Weber’s Historical Causation …………….. ...................................................................109
Mathematical Model of Weber’s Historical Causation…………….. .............................113
Class, Status, Party...........................................................................................................114
Empirical Relevance of Class and Status.........................................................................119
Occupational Status and Perceived Limitations. .............................................................121
Democracy, Knowledge and the Division of Labor.. ......................................................124
The Iron Cage…………….. ............................................................................................127
Weber’s Verstehen ...........................................................................................................140
Weber, the Elect, and the Poor…………….....................................................................144
The Role of Ideas in History.. ..........................................................................................145
Ideology and Utopia…………….....................................................................................150
Mannheim’s Critics: Left .................................................................................................162
Shils Leads with his Right ...............................................................................................164
Ideology and Sociology ...................................................................................................169
Utopia ……………..........................................................................................................172
What happens after the Revolution?……………. ...........................................................174
Hegel…………….. ..........................................................................................................176
Rationalism…………….. ................................................................................................180
Proletarian Philosophy .....................................................................................................184
Civics as Applied Sociology…………….. ......................................................................190
Conclusionl……………. .................................................................................................199

APPLICATION ...........................................................................................................................201
Professional Practice, Human Development,
and Agency in Financial Security ...................................................................................201
Discussion ..............................................................................................................................216
Bonfires of the Vanities …………….. ............................................................................216
Adam Smith…………….. ...............................................................................................220
Spencer and Sumner ........................................................................................................223
Critical Possibility Thinking ............................................................................................226
REFERENCES ............................................................................................................23231



My purpose is to show that the founders of social science, who were generalists

envisioning broad perspectives on human concerns, including philosophy, psychology, and

religion, attempted to lay the groundwork for sociology as a discipline relevant for ethical and

moral evaluation of social phenomena. Karl Mannheim, Max Weber, William James, and Karl

Marx, each with varying philosophical, theoretical and practical perspectives, taken together

created the basis for a transformative vision of society that can help in changing the way we

define our fundamental rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Rather than pitting

individuals against each other in a zero sum game for control over resources (economic man),

reducing human relationships to abstract social transactions as the fundamental unit of study, or

juxtaposing the individual against society, as though for the one to thrive the other must suffer,

social science must develop a humanist perspective that views and supports the highest

development of the individual as the social entity.

Individual and Society

In the study of human society, a variety of perspectives are needed to focus research on

relevant, critical problems that we must resolve to provide our posterity with a chance at creating

a more peaceful, humane world we can all live in and with. The challenge of human survival

makes social science the most hopeful and important intellectual endeavor we have ever

undertaken. Yet, the reification of social knowledge into material force, along with all of the

other products of our labor (art, culture, literature, science), has transformed mainstream

sociology into a tool for controlling deviant behavior, rather than an informed approach toward

human liberation. Positivism, with its view of social transactions as objects, to be treated exactly
as objective reality, reduces the scope of social science from that of helping to liberate humanity

from our fears, delusions, and superstitions, to that of controlling deviant behavior, adjusting it to

the mechanisms of a social machine that defines reality and transcends critique (Sayer, 1992). By

imposing an outdated, mechanistic empiricism (no longer appropriate even for physical science)

on social philosophy, the Positivism of Comte (1851/1988) has been adopted as the methodology

of social science by mainstream researchers throughout most of the 20th Century.

Comte (1875/1968) limited critique to prediction and control of abnormal data points. If

social facts are to be treated as irreducible raw data, seen through the eyes of a value-neutral

observer, rather than as perceptions visible through the world outlook of a social actor, each

observation is completely unrelated to all other data categories except through correlations,

which must then be explained in terms of intervening variables. Social phenomena acquire the

status of natural facts, rather than revealing their true nature as social constructs, and we become

the products of our environmental or genetic precursors, rather than the creators of ideas who can

change history through social action.

Karl Mannheim’s Sociology of Knowledge

Mannheim (1929/1954) argued that human cognition of social reality is grounded in and

defined by the fundamental interests of social groups, which range over a spectrum in their

respective attitudes toward social change. This means that no matter how objective the social

observer, or scientist, tries to become, one is always working from a set of premises that define

the research problem as well as the social reality in which it exists. Mannheim compared the

problem of the social observer to that of perspective in art: any two-dimensional representation

of a three-dimensional reality has to choose a point of view (in perspective, actually a single
point in front of the picture (Arguelles, 1975)) that completely determines the shapes, sizes, and

positions of the objects in the picture, rather like a shutter on a camera. Objects will appear in

different aspects and relationships to each other depending on the characteristics and position of

the lens, as well as their position and orientation toward the camera.

Mannheim (1954) established the basis for the sociology of knowledge that attempts to

synthesize these various perspectives into an objective view of social reality. He saw social

reality as largely in the eye of the beholder, viewed through the lens of ideology. Different social

universes emerge from the world outlook of different social observers, just as different pictures

emerge from the cameras of different artists viewing the same scene, depending on focus,

emphasis, and fundamental values. In dealing with descriptions of social reality, or social

problems, the question of objectivity cannot be adequately addressed without first examining the

fundamental assumptions of the observer in terms of social position, unconscious group

identifications, perceived roles in social action, and specific perceptions arising from and within

the individual’s social context. There can be no universal consensus on what constitutes positive

social change because different groups will see things differently. The problem which a social

scientist chooses to define or work on will depend entirely on one’s perception of social reality.

To follow Mannheim’s argument, varying sets of assumptions, arising from the consensus of

various groups, create a spectrum of varying and conflicting world outlooks, depending on the

relative stance of the social observer’s unconscious group identification toward social change.

For the working professional who wishes to effect social change, examination of the values,

goals, and presumptions one brings to the definition of the social problem is the beginning of

objectivity in social science.

Mannheim (1954) was the first social scientist actually to examine the ideas of the

various groups that constitute modern society, from the most reactionary to the most

revolutionary. He saw them all as working in different directions to maintain the equilibrium of

society, even as it experiences revolutionary social change. In today’s world, the exponential

increase in the rate of technological development drives the rate of social change, which is

inevitable (Frenzel & Frenzel, 2004). Even the most conservative groups must deal with the fact

that technology will change society, often in ways that are entirely unpredictable. For instance,

Fanon (1959/1984) pointed out the psychic change that occurred in Africa when transistor radios

became available in every village, most of which were just emerging from the Iron Age. Being

caught in the settler/native social dynamic, and having their ears tuned to the entire world, drove

these traditional cultures into an epoch of nationalist revolutions.

Mannheim (1954) defined ideology as emerging from the most extremely conservative

position, which sees absolutely nothing wrong with things as they are and brooks no serious

proposal for social change. During the capitalist revolution, utopian thinking emerged from

rationalized Protestant asceticism (Weber, 1905/2002), and the spirit of capitalism was born to

unleash new social forces. Now that capitalism is entrenched world-wide, in Weber’s phrase, it

provides an “iron cage” of ideology, within which we must each follow our calling as defined

through the continuous rationalization of labor on a global basis as information technology

introduces automation into higher levels of intellectual work (Frenzel, & Frenzel, 2004).

Mannheim saw that yesterday’s utopia is today’s ideology. Under the universal domination of

capital, whether the state-owned capital of the Five Year Plan (Dunayevskaya, 1942), or the

privately owned capital of the “free market” (Dunayevskaya, 1957/2000), today’s utopian
thinking emerges from the classes that are enslaved to the machine, which now includes

intellectual workers as well as traditional blue-collar employees. In an industrial setting defined

by speed-up of the production line, concessions driven by the cost of slave labor and high rates

of unemployment created by automation, working people and allied intellectuals may perceive

that change is needed to realize more humane ideals. They may in fact demand immediate,

“chiliastic” (Weber, 2002) change in the effort to control the terms and conditions of their own

labor, whether working in so-called “ socialist” utopias such as the former Communist Bloc of

Eastern Europe, or in the belly of the nominally “capitalist” beast nominally defined as “ the Free


Barbara Kopple (Kopple & Caplan, 1990) documents the efforts of meatpackers in

dealing with dehumanizing and dangerous conditions brought on by automation, and

management driven by blind ambition for continuously increasing profits. The workers brought

into question the entire social reality created through competition with slave labor under NAFTA

and the WTO. The defeat of the ideals raised in 1986 at Solidarity City (the Meatpacker’s Local

P-9 union encampment in Austin, MN) has exacerbated conditions of life and labor among

meatpackers, as Schlosser (2001) documented, engendering unsafe practices that drive high

injury rates, threaten the environment, and menace public health.

Meatpackers originally entered the 20th Century with horrifying conditions detailed by

Upton Sinclair (1906/2003), who took the viewpoint of immigrant workers in Chicago’s

stockyards. They formed one of the most powerful and militant unions in the country, the

meatpackers Union, which conducted strikes that led to major reforms, culminating in the

Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (many other unions, under the auspices of the AFL-
CIO, the Teamsters, and the United Mine Workers, also led in these struggles). By 1986, the

Meatpackers Union had been subjected to a hostile take-over by the United Food and

Commercial Workers, which first sanctioned, then led the effort to defeat the Local P-9 strike in

Austin, Minnesota (Rachleff, 1990). Under the retrogressive leadership of the UFCW, AFL-CIO

International Unions have modified the Kroger (Yellow Dog) contract and imposed it throughout

the labor movement, transforming unions that once spoke for working people into whip- hand s

for management. Here, social change has buckled from progress into retrogression, although the

national union bosses of the UFCW and their lackeys in the American Communist Party

(CPUSA) call it progress. As the members of Local P-9 asked (Kopple & Caplan, 1990), “which

side (of the picket line) are you on?”

This retrogression did not start, but rather culminated in the strike of Meatpacker’s

LocalP-9, and consolidated itself in the defeat of the workers. The fast food industry was

founded by marketing mavericks in the 1950’s in Southern California (where grocery stores first

started operating on a 24/7 basis), as Schlosser (2001) pointed out, and certainly represents a

trend toward social change. Because it has now entered the international arena, penetrating even

Russia and China, one might suspect that the fast food business represents positive social change.

This is surely true from the point of view of franchise owners, who can expect one million

dollars in yearly income for a one million dollar investment in a single franchise store. Simply

put, this “progress” may be viewed differently by the people who work for sub-minimum wages,

and whose lives are endangered by Third World conditions of life and labor now being

introduced in America through competition with slave labor, whether as children working in

these fast-food stores under a loophole in the child labor laws, or as peasants working for less
than $10 per day in the Malquiladora meat packing industry of Northern Mexico (Schlosser,


Globalization under the WTO and NAFTA (Boudousquie, Maniam, & Leavell, 2007)

represents nothing new, other than the latest development of capitalism under the impact of

information technology. This trend is characterized by the most intensive automation and

production line speed-up humanly possible, with competition from a huge army of unemployed

to ensure the maximum reduction of labor costs. Marx defined the “rosy dawn of capitalism” in

precisely these terms (1929/1954, p. 667):

"The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement

and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the
conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the
commercial hunting of black skins, signalized the rosy dawn of the era of
capitalist production. These idyllic proceedings are the chief moments of
primitive accumulation".

Despite those who tout the “New Economics,” globalization in fact has a long history dating

back to the discovery of America in 1492, although it may well be experiencing a new “rosy

dawn” as the global reach of multinational corporations now stretches beyond exploitation of

natural resources (not forgetting the never fully eradicated slave labor system) into industrial

exploitation of nominally “free” labor. Many who work under these new conditions may

consider the impact of the social changes introduced by this trend to be negative. It all depends

on which side of the picket line you are on.

Mannheim’s (1954) most penetrating insight was that the entire range of world outlooks

created by various groups in social competition maintains the equilibrium of the system through

social change. Conservative ideology sees no gap between the ideal and the real. Liberals see a

gap, but believe it can be closed through evolutionary change. Radical anarchism equates private
property with violence and seeks to implement the ideal immediately, along the lines of chiliastic

millennialism. These views represent a range of varying perspectives on the same system that

actually maintain the social /political equilibrium, even through shifting power alignments

between the contending groups. In identifying this systemic balance, Mannheim may be

considered one of the early founders of Systems theory (Taylor, 1911/2008).

Mannheim (1954) saw the intellectual as fundamentally non-aligned, joining and

speaking for various groups to rationalize their world outlook (Weltanschauung), depending on

the balance of power. However, he also pointed out a possible independent role for the

intellectual, which is to synthesize the varying perspectives into the sociology of knowledge that

systematically catalogues all views, with specific reference to the assumptions and purposes of

the observer within each contending group. This approach summarizes the contributions of each

group, preserving the insights revealed by the specific focus of each while pointing out

respective blind spots. From this synthesis, Mannheim created a new form of objectivity, which

he called the sociology of knowledge, forged from the experiences of each group, thus providing

a multi-dimensional view of the entire social system. Mannheim correctly attributed the major

contribution to the statement of the problem of ideology to Marx, and pointed out that his

acolytes were never able to apply the critical thrust of the concept of ideology to their own


Mannheim (1954) clearly distinguished between this social definition of objectivity,

appropriate for the science of society, and the definition of objectivity bequeathed by scientific

methodology as exemplified in the natural sciences. In the century after Galileo Galilei (1564--

1642) laid the foundations for physical science in the critical method of Socrates, Enlightenment
philosophers such as John Locke (1664/1990), David Hume (1740) and later John Stuart Mill

(1863) developed the epistemological tenets of empiricism, in opposition to rationalism. The

crux of the matter lies in Plato‘s allegory of the cave, in which the mind knows a realm of pure

forms through the exercise of reason, from which all true propositions can be deduced. Plato

argued that sense experience is an unreliable guide to reality, equivalent to viewing shadows on

the wall of the cave, cast by the true forms in Reality as they appear between the fire and the

wall. Empiricism argued that all knowledge is derived from sense experience, and that anything

that cannot be verified through the senses cannot be known.

William James’ pragmatism and Mannheim

Philosophers since John Locke (1990) have endlessly discussed Empiricism, many

postulating that the mind is a ‘white tablet’ (Tabula Rasa: see Ibn Sina’s epistemology (Inati,

1984); Aristotle’s On the Soul, (350 BCE); Summa Theologica, (Aquinas, 1274/1947, 1. 79. 2)),

on which sense impressions leave their mark. A common theme deriving from these pillars of

Western philosophy is the implication of total separation between subject and object, whether in

the Rationalism of Plato and Aquinas, or the Empiricism of George Berkeley (1710), David

Hume (1740), John Stuart Mill (1863), Gilles Deleuze (1953/1991), and Pierre-Félix Guattari

(Deleuze & Guattari, 1996). As Mannheim pointed out (1954), the new empiricist approach to

knowledge founded during the Enlightenment put the emphasis on the subject, rather than the

object of experience.

A modern approach to empiricism can be found in pragmatism, the typically American

contribution to this discussion (James, 1908/1911). Charles Peirce originally defined the

principle of pragmatism (cited in James, 1911, p. 46):

“To develop a thought’s meaning, we need only determine what conduct it is
fitted to produce: that conduct is for us its sole significance, and the tangible fact
at the root of all our thought distinctions, however subtle, is that there is no one of
them so fine as to consist in anything but a possible difference of practice. To
attain perfect clearness in our thoughts of an object, then, we need only consider
what conceivable effects of a practical kind the object may involve—what
sensations we are to expect from it, and what reactions we must prepare. Our
conception of these effects, whether immediate or remote, is then for us the whole
of our conception of the object, so far as that conception has positive significance
at all.”

In this popular lecture series, James argues that pragmatism takes an empirical approach

to philosophy, rather than viewing the world in terms of a closed system, embracing open

systems, concrete facts, action, and possibilities, leaving no room for absolute truth, the

ideal forms of Plato. Pragmatism advocates no specific results, but represents only

scientific, experiential, and investigative methodology. According to James, metaphysics

must learn from scientific method. The goal of rationalist metaphysics is to gain power

through learning the magic word that names the universal principle. Pragmatism inspects

the practical value of the word, and “set(s) it at work within the stream of your

experience.” Pragmatism is not a program for identifying the ideal with the real, as in

Mannheim’s definition of ideology, but rather a program for changing reality, therefore a

product of what Mannheim described as utopian thought.

Theories are an instrumental means for predicting new observations, which can

then be used to test the theoretical framework. Pragmatism puts theory to work, perhaps

in remaking our concept of nature (James, 1911). With nominalism, pragmatism always

appeals to particulars. With utilitarianism, it emphasizes the practical. With positivism, it

dislikes empty abstractions. With empiricism, it stands against all forms of rationalism.

Pragmatism stands for no particular result, no dogma, and no doctrine, other than
following scientific method. All pragmatic truth is provisional, experiential, and

scientific. To the extent that it helps order, summarize, and account for our experiences,

aligning and relating them to each other, an idea is useful, and therefore true. If it

simplifies, explains, and helps to understand experiences, observations, or correlations

that would otherwise be disconnected, it is instrumental to understanding. The question,

put simply, is within what parameters, or domain, does the idea (intervening variable,

theory) work?

James (1911) argued further that the criterion of truth is whether or not an idea

corresponds with reality. The main arguments (between various philosophers of

empiricism) are over the nature of reality, and what it means to correspond, agree with, or

reflect reality. The pragmatic question is, “What difference does it make?” How will our

experiences differ if the idea is true or false? True ideas can be corroborated, validated, or

verified in experience. True thoughts are instrumental to action, leading to practical

results. If an idea has no practical value, it may be true, but irrelevant to our current

purposes. The truth of an idea starts the process of verification. Its utility is how it works

in experience. “The true, to put it very briefly, is only the expedient in the way of our

thinking, just as the right is only the expedient in the way of our behaving." (James, 1911,

p. vii)

Although problematic in itself, the philosophy of empiricism is to be

distinguished from the concept of empirical methodology, or scientific method, as used

by practicing scientists, in both the social and natural sciences, and which pragmatism

embraces (James, 1911). The fundamental methodology shared by all scientists is

inductive: all evidence must be based on sense observations (whether perceptual or

sensory) that are in fact reproducible, and therefore verifiable. Hamlet’s sighting of his

father’s ghost would not qualify as a scientific observation. The scientific investigator

frames working hypotheses as intervening variables, then deduces correlations that can be

tested through observation and experiment (Kuhn, 1962/1996). Axioms, well-established

correlations, and prior experimental results may be used to build models and test theories.

Only those observations that can provide insights and guidance in research are useful.

The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle (Cassidy, 2008) has destroyed the absolute

separation of the observer from the “thing in itself” under observation in physical science,

precisely because sense impressions are created by quantum particle/waves that are changed by,

and must they change the quantum object, thereby imparting either a determinate mass or

velocity to an indeterminate cloud of probability functions. Harris (1983) argued that a

philosophical empiricism stripped of the contradictions of prior philosophies can be established

by starting with the evidence of 20th Century empirical investigations, and building an

epistemology from evidence implied by actual research. Although such a program may shake the

ghost out of the machine of Continental Rationalism (Descartes, 1986) in a way his empiricist

critics never quite managed to accomplish, it can come as no surprise to Karl Mannheim, who

had already anticipated such a situation in the social sciences.

In his opening statement, Mannheim (1954) defined the problem of objectivity in social

science in the following terms: “The principal thesis of the sociology of knowledge is that there

are modes of thought which cannot be adequately understood as long as their social origins are

obscured.” Not only does the individual find situational, but also ideological and moral
determinants of social perception. Organized groups provide competitive as well as cooperative

bases for thinking and doing, theory and practice. The social position and privileges of the group

will determine whether it sees the need to change the world, or to maintain the status quo. The

problems group action deals with provide its direction, and the ideas by which it defines and

confronts those problems. The need for group action determines one’s world outlook. Reason, as

defined in the Platonic ideal, separates thought from action, knowledge from experience.

Mannheim’s sociology of knowledge derives objectivity through the synthesis of the experiences

of conflicting groups. Mannheim is the only early sociologist who actually catalogued the

various viewpoints of actual interest groups in society, and showed how each views the total

social system in which they all are involved.

Mannheim’s concept of social action (1954) provides the basis for defining social reality,

selecting those experiences that define the elements of thought. Volition provides the principle

by which social problems are conceived, and thereby concrete reality to the problems that are

conceived. The group will is inextricably linked to the definition of social problems. The social

object provides the criterion for truth, but values, the collective unconscious as described by Jung

and group volition provide the intellectual interest embedded in social action that defines

research problems, hypotheses, and models by which social theory orders experience.

Unconscious motivations, presumptions, and evaluations of the social observer must be brought

to critical awareness to understand a new form of objectivity, not by excluding value judgments

but “through the critical awareness and control of them.” (p5).

The degree to which the social observer makes unconscious value judgments is largely

ignored in mainstream sociology, which focuses as a science on prediction and control of deviant
behavior, rather than fostering social change. We view mass murderers with horror, building

more prisons, rather than questioning the quality of the social conditions that produce such

deviants. Durkheim (1897/1997) was the first to prove that social statistics vary with social

conditions, but for social observers interested only in social control, to protect and preserve

social norms is the primary goal of social science, precluding even the most cursory glance at the

social order that produces a surfeit of sociopathic personalities. The militarization of American

life that proceeds as a garrison state is erected in Washington D. C. Through such legislation as

the USA Patriot Act, the Homeland Security Act, and the Immigration and Naturalization Act, is

not perceived as a factor in the generalized devaluation of human life that transforms American

reality into Israeli and Spartan fascism. Because it identifies social facts as natural phenomena

rather than as social constructs, mainstream social science cannot critique the society it

perceives, but can only accept normative values on their face (Sayer, 1992). Such an attitude

toward objectivity prioritizes prediction and control of that which deviates from the norm, rather

than attempting to understand how social pathology may arise from the deceptions, lies, illusions

and delusions that society perpetrates as normal.

Following Mannheim’s (1954) argument, group membership socializes the meaning of

experience, providing us with a world outlook. The way the group experiences the world

provides concrete meaning to the way we conceptualize reality. Thought guides conduct,

providing us with values by which to make decisions between right and wrong. The life of the

mind is socially conditioned, providing us with the means by which we judge our decisions to act

as agents of social change, and the ideals that motivate our actions. Whether we raid the gun

shops to arm ourselves to drive racist, murderous police out of our community—as did the
returned Black Viet Nam veterans during the Watts rebellion (Thomas, 1965); or we organize

free breakfast programs, health clinics, clothing drives, and rent strikes, advocate for community

control of the schools and the police, and campaign to stop police brutality, drug dealing and

reduce crime rates—as did Fred Hampton, Mark Clark, and the other Black Panthers Cook

County State’s Attorney Hanrahan murdered in 1969 under cover of law (Acoli, 2003)—this will

depend on the shared values, mores, and cognition of the group to which we belong, or with

which we have identified ourselves as intellectuals. Mannheim described such a revolutionary

situation as America approached during the Watts Rebellion and the subsequent rise of the Black

Panther Party in terms of a “transvaluation of values” (1954, p. 24) rooted in the common

perceptions, thinking, and conversations of an entire social group, each member of which takes

part in collective action to overthrow a hated social reality deemed oppressive by all, and highly

resented. All recognized the legitimacy of the 63 day 1944 Warsaw uprising against the Nazi

occupation of Poland. The individual finds new ways to interact with others, and the social

action of each contributes to the upheaval, with new motivations arising from the group. Max

Weber and the Puritan Work ethic

Such a movement was Christianity, in its early days of persecution by Roman authorities

and conflict with Jewish leaders. Once it had attained power (brokered by Constantine at the

Council of Nicea in 323 CE), the Christian movement became the guardian of the status quo,

adumbrating objective salvation through institutional authority for over a thousand years,

eventually promulgating an ideology for the maintenance of the status quo known as

Scholasticism, a rationalist philosophy. Today, the Roman Catholic (universal) church owns

more real property than any other organization in the world (Yallop, 2007), and espouses the
most reactionary views with the highest authority, through the 20th Century designation of the

Pope as the infallible Vicar of Christ (many Catholics believe that Pope John Paul, the only

contemporary Pope who threatened to use church wealth to help ameliorate world poverty, was

murdered by reactionary elements who still control Church finances (Yallop, 2007)). To say the

least, the primary institutions of Christianity in the world today can no longer be viewed as

utopian under Mannheim’s categorization, but are more in tune with reactionary, or ideological

social strata.

What the philosophers of the Enlightenment wrestled over in terms of Empiricism vs.

Rationalism, the 16th Century Reformation in Europe had first transformed into religious conflict.

As Erasmus (cited in Smith, 1920) (c. 1466–1536) pointed out, there is nothing in Luther’s 95

theses that is revolutionary in terms of church doctrine, other than “freedom of conscience for

good Christians, “which denies the authority of Rome to administer sacraments ( Luther,

1517/1915). The utopia of 1st Century Jewish heresies and revolutions had been transformed into

the ideology of Scholasticism, and the arguments between Luther and Calvin were basically

arguments among Schoolmen. Their unforgivable sin was to align themselves with the absolute

rulers of Europe, who wrested the power to define the boundary between secular and religious

authority away from the church, thereby establishing the separation between church and state

(Sibley, 1970).

Max Weber’s goal was to interpret and explain social behavior in terms of “its causes, its

course, and its effects” (Weber, 1962, p. 29). Social action must have subjective meaning to the

subject and involve others. Weber defines the meaning of social action in terms of “ideal types”

subject to rational proof if everything within its context can be clearly grasped by the intellect.
An ideal type is approached when the subject uses appropriate means to reach a goal, and

“logically executes a course of action in accordance with accepted ways of thought” (p30).

Understanding that departs from this ideal may be empathetic, in terms of sympathetic self-

analysis and emotional involvement, if logical explanation cannot otherwise prevail. Weber

defined this as verstehen. However, intellectual understanding must substitute for empathy to the

extent that the goals and values of the actor are radically different from our own. If we cannot

understand them at all, we may understand them simply as given data, albeit non-interpretable to

the extent that we have no comprehension or susceptibility to them. Although the emotional

context of behavior may be beyond our experience, we may still understand the behavior in

terms of its impact, direction, and means used. If we can first understand behavior logically, we

may then account for emotionally based deviations. Until the ideal type is understood, we cannot

account for irrational elements.

These ideal types arise from experience, and are not to be seen as Platonic ideals. They

are comparable to the gedankenexperiment of Einstein in physics. Although no purely Galilean

coordinate system has ever been observed, the fundamental equivalence of all such systems must

be presumed to banish “ether,” and its concomitant “action at a distance” explanation of gravity

(which begs the question of supernatural explanation), from ontological existence. The “thought

experiment,” or “ideal type” is a methodological device that leads to fertile fields of empirical

observation, rather than an intellectual reality postulating the realm of pure forms.

Weber (2002) discussed the Reformation in Europe in terms of his formulation of an

ideal type he called “the Protestant Ethic,” which he identified as the spirit of capitalism. After

examining the social stratification of religious beliefs in Europe at the time of industrialization,
he suggested that asceticism oriented toward a Christian ideal may be a characteristic of those

who most successfully accumulated capital in the early days of the Industrial Revolution. Pietism

grew in commercial circles as a reaction to the horrors depicted by Marx in his description of the

rosy dawn of capitalism. On the other hand, the large number of capitalist entrepreneurs from

clerical families may have been in rebellion against an ascetic childhood. However, Weber made

the point that many Protestant churches, especially those influenced by Calvinism, produced

brilliant businessmen who were extremely pious. Quaker and Mennonite churchmen were well

known for their piety as well as their wealth, the former in America and the latter in Germany.

The Pietist sects also produced strong accumulators of wealth. Weber suggested that perhaps the

English, who enjoyed free political institutions as well as commercial success, may have derived

some benefits from the strictly religious character of their beliefs. Why were the Calvinists such

strong capitalists, whereas Lutheranism had little correlation to capitalist development? Weber

found the difference not in theological disputes over Aristotle’s logic (transubstantiation vs.

consubstantiation, form vs. substance, etc.), but rather in specific similarities and differences

between their world outlooks.

To distill the essence of what he meant by capitalism’s spirit, Weber turned to Benjamin

Franklin, who attended the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention of 1787, signed both the

Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America, and is still

widely considered to be the wisest American. In quotations directly from Franklin’s Collected

Works (cited in Weber, 2002, p. 9):

“Remember, that time is money…credit is money…money is of the

prolific, generating nature… the good paymaster is lord of another man’s purse…
the most trifling actions that affect a man’s credit are to be regarded... He that idly
loses five shillings' worth of time loses five shillings… (and) all the advantage
that might be made by turning it in dealing, which …will amount to a
considerable sum of money.”

What Weber singled out from this pragmatic philosophy of avarice are: the ideal of an honest

tradesman, of impeccable credit; the idea that the accumulation of capital is a moral duty; and the

ethos of pecuniary gain as an end in itself. Franklin’s writings display the early roots of

pragmatism in American colonial thought, which provided fertile soil for the later works of

Charles Peirce, William James, and John Dewey.

The idea of having such a “calling” in life, or a profession, which is a task set by God

one has a moral duty to perform, clearly has religious origins. Perhaps less apparent is the origin

of the word “profession,” as in “sales professional,” “professional occupation,” or “professor.”

The first professionals, other than practitioners of “the world’s oldest profession,” were

professors of the faith, or preachers. The Old Testament story of Jonah, actually derived from the

Epic of Gilgamesh, of Babylonian origin, tells the adventures of a man with a calling who

deliberately attempted to shirk his duty (Sanders, 1960; Green, 2005). However, the word

“calling,” referring to one’s divinely appointed task in life, or field of work, is of Protestant

origin, as a Biblical mistranslation of Luther into “beruf,” who was influenced by German

mysticism (Weber, 2002).

Although of ancient origin, the idea that fulfillment of duty in worldly affairs is of the

highest moral value is clearly of Reformation origin, deriving, however indirectly, from Luther’s

mistake. In this, all Protestant denominations refuted the Catholic ideal of fulfilling a higher

morality as an ascetic monk, who takes a vow of poverty, chastity, and obedience to God’s will

as expressed through Church authority (Weber, 2002). Taking his lead from Thomas Aquinas,
Luther saw fulfilling one’s calling as related to the flesh, like eating and drinking, indispensable

to living in God’s grace, but nevertheless morally neutral. In Luther’s view, the monastic life is

actually quite selfish, whereas fulfilling one’s calling is a fruit of the Spirit, showing brotherly

love. Luther was faced with chiliastic peasant rebellions, such as those led by Thomas Münzer.

Because he allied his church with the secular authorities, Luther‘s task was to suppress such

sentiments. Therefore, one must accept one’s place in society, and fulfill one’s worldly duties,

whether those of a peasant or a noble, to live a life of faith in God’s will. Every calling

legitimized by secular authority has the same value in the eyes of God. Thus, the idea has an

ideological, rationalistic purpose, to preserve the status quo by convincing rebellious peasants to

accept their status in feudal society, while accepting the excesses of the rich as perhaps

concomitant to the presumption of their dwelling in God’s bountiful blessings and grace, as

exhibited in the worldly manifestation of their wealth.

Weber (2002) argued that Luther was still a long way from the “Philosophy of avarice”

espoused by Franklin, although it is certainly possible to see at this point the lineaments of

America’s singular contribution to philosophy (pragmatism) in the Reformation. The Old

Testament idea was to tend to one’s own business, honor God, and let the wicked worship

Mammon. Jesus repudiated worldly wealth, pointing out that it is for God to give and take away.

Early Christians were so focused on the second coming of Christ they had little time for worldly

values. One may as well continue one’s labors while waiting to be swept up into the sky, even if

currently in slavery. Paul placed little value on position or occupation. He considered pursuit of

gain beyond one’s needs as evidence of worldliness, and morally wrong because it can only be

accomplished at the expense of others (see his New Testament epistles).

As he battled rebellious peasants and fanatics attempting the immediate implementation

of God’s kingdom on Earth, Luther (1915) emphasized acceptance of one’s place in life as

divinely ordained. One’s social station establishes the locus of worldly activity. Absolute

obedience to God’s Will means accepting things as they are. Thereby, in Mannheim’s terms,

Luther opposed an ideology that brooks no social change, accepting the equivalence between the

real and the ideal, to the utopian chiliasm of Münzer, which demanded immediate realization of

God’s Kingdom on Earth. He clearly stated the idea of having a calling as a moral obligation, but

Luther did not carry this idea to its logical limits because he believed in sanctification through

faith, and justification through grace, rather than works. His insistence on purity of doctrine as a

pillar of faith prevented him from being an innovator in ethics (Weber, 2002). Because Luther’s

conception of the calling adhered to tradition, it was of little significance to the “Spirit of

Capitalism,” which was the driving force of the capitalist revolution.

The relationship between material pursuits and religious motives can be more clearly

seen in Calvinism, Puritanism, and the Protestant sects that derived from them. John Calvin

cannot be said to have advocated the pursuit of wealth as an ethical imperative. He was primarily

concerned with salvation, not ethical reform. The cultural revolution of capitalism has roots in

the Reformation, but this was not the intention of the reformers themselves (Weber, 2002).

Reformers only aim at incremental, positive change, rather than the qualitative transformations

introduced by revolutions (Mannheim, 1954). Because Calvin’s followers were persecuted in

Europe, many of them emigrated to America to found New Jerusalem on virgin soil (simply

removing the native Americans as the Zionists simply removed the Arabs in founding modern

Israel), and fully participate in kicking off the second major stage of the Industrial Revolution.
Mannhiem, James, Weber, and Marx’s Humanism

Weber was interested primarily in the way ideas influence history. He believed religious

ideals played an initial role in the development of capitalism, and opposed these ideas to

Marxism, in which ideas are seen as merely ephemeral phenomena arising from the material base

of social organization. From today’s perspective of Marxist-Humanism (Dunayevskaya, 2000), it

is easy to see that Weber’s thesis was more effective against vulgar materialists, beginning with

Engels, who truncated the humanism of Marx (1844/1964), which transcended both materialism

and idealism. Because they officially transformed Marxism from a utopian ideal (Mannheim’s ,

not Marx’s usage) of “freely associated labor” into an ideology perpetuated by an absolute state,

Weber clearly repudiated the Marxists of his day, of the Engels/Plekhanov strain, which we

might follow Dunayevskaya (1984/1996) in designating as Post-Marx Marxists in a pejorative

sense (PMMAP). Perhaps less apparent from Weber’s , but more easily seen from Mannheim’s

viewpoint, and most clearly from Dunayevskaya’s , is the fact that Stalin built his absolute state

on production line speed-up, lowering wages through piecework, automation, and the

transformation of labor into material force, which are the hallmarks of capitalism, in Marx’s

view (1867/1954).

The philosophic views of Weber and Mannheim truncate the critical dialectic of Hegel at

process, which is a materialistic viewpoint, as we shall see in our analysis of pragmatism, a

reformist philosophy consistent with the views of both. Because materialist philosophical

approaches lack the categories of transcendence and transformation into opposite, they are less

able to grapple with revolutionary social changes, such as those introduced by capitalism, than

idealist philosophies, such as that of Hegel (1837/1990). Post-Marx Marxists reverted to the
vulgar materialist viewpoint precisely because they were less interested in “transvaluation of

values” than in simply becoming the new bosses. Mannheim clearly showed they were never

able to apply the concept of ideology, which they used to critique capitalism, to themselves.

Marx never argued that ideas are not important in changing history. In his thesis on Feuerbach

(no. 11), he wrote, “the philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point,

however, is to change it” (from which Engels, unforgivably, dropped the word “however” in his

translation (Marx & Engels1888/1969)).

Weber (2002) elaborated his position in explaining that religious ideas played a greater

role in spurring the early development of the capitalist revolution than they do today, among

many other historical forces. Capitalist culture inherited certain features from the Reformation,

but did not result from it on the “iron rails of historical necessity.” In an insight that seems to be

a precursor of recent developments in complexity theory, he pointed out that the Reformation

originated in “innumerable historical constellations, especially purely political processes, which

not only do not fit into any ‘economic law,’ but fit into no economic scheme of any kind, (that)

had to come together in order for the newly created Churches to continue to exist at all (p. 36).”

Neither could the capitalist revolution be considered to be a necessary result of the development

of the “spirit of capitalism.” However, when large groups of people began to act in terms of this

ideal type, the capitalist revolution took off in “seven league boots.”

Along the tracks left by this historic development, we can trace the transformation of a

utopian ideal (in Mannheim’s, certainly not Marx’s sense) into an ideology, as the Spirit of

Capitalism that originally expressed the freedom of a Christian’s conscience transformed itself

into a “Steel Cage” of technologically driven rationalized labor. In Russia and China the
religious origins of this spirit of capitalism had been thoroughly repudiated at an early stage. The

ideology that resulted was specifically anti-capitalist (although the economies were state

capitalist), until recently, when the leaders realized that specific ideological assertions are not

needed to maintain power. The assertion that the real is identical with the ideal is still used to

suppose an “end to ideology” (Bell, 1960/2000) in the West, while at the same time crushing, or

co-opting new utopian movements (Mannheim’s definition) in the East, such as the massacre at

Tienamen Square, or Raisa Gorbachev’s thoroughly hypocritical embrace of Marxist Humanism

on the other side of the now rusted Iron Curtain. In terms of Marx’s primary definition of

capitalism as the absolute separation of theory from practice (Marx, 1964), all so-called

“socialist” countries are thoroughly capitalist. The only real dispute with the “capitalist bloc” is

conducted with respect to the quality and velocity of state planning, although this distinction has

also begun to fade (Dunayevskaya, 2000).

The Puritan Work ethic and the Concept of Grace

Calvinism, Pietism, Methodism, and Baptist sects embraced the ascetic Protestantism

that, at a certain juncture, influenced and provided the spirit by which capitalism developed

(Mannheim, 1954). The distinction between these religious tendencies was never clear. For

instance, Methodism was only intended by John Wesley as a new awakening of the ascetic spirit

within the Established Church of England, not as the foundation of a new denomination (Wesley

and Outler, 1980). In coming to America, it finally broke all ties with the Anglican Church.

Pietism sprang from English Calvinism; later Spener led it into Lutheranism. Baptists originally

opposed Calvinism, but later they embraced it (Hard Shell vs. Soft Shell Baptists). Puritanism

attacked Anglicanism (as the Colonial mind attacked all things British), and then gradually the
two were reconciled, like feuding spouses. Complex dogmas were developed in terms of

doctrine, causing splits that only the most fanatical could grasp intellectually.

However, moral conduct can arise from similar maxims derived from various dogmas.

Great similarities in dogma can exist under wide variations in conduct (Weber, 2002). Even

though various dogmatisms died, they left their mark on the ascetic morality, and later the

secular ethic that remained. Theories about the after-life frightened churchmen into moral

behavior, providing psychological sanctions that directed and held the believer accountable in

the conduct of life. Because the boundaries between religious ideas are fluid, they must be seen

in terms of ideal types, for logical clarity if not historical exactness.

Calvinism was the first great divide in Protestantism, with its dogma of predestination

(Calvin, 1536/1960), the historical and cultural significance of which may be greater than its

religious significance. King James I saw this dogma as the primary political threat of the

Puritans, who elevated the dogma to the central purpose of the Westminster Confession of Faith

(Westminster Assembly, 1646), and raised it as a banner to become the rallying standard for

great awakenings. This document deserves careful reading because the doctrine of predestination

as stated provides the fundamental belief system from which the spirit of capitalism arose. Grace

is dispensed according to God’s will, and is in no way commensurate with the personal worth of

the believer. Neither faith nor will have any influence over the gift of Grace. When Luther wrote

“The Freedom of A Christian,” (1520/2005) this state of grace was his ultimate source of

inspiration, although it never became a central dogma in the Augsburg Confession, under the

influence of Melancthon. Lutherans subsequently believed that grace is revocable and can be

won back through penitence, humility, trust in God’s word, and participation in the sacraments.
Calvin, on the other hand, moved the doctrine of predestined grace to the center of his dogma in

the third edition of Institutes of the Christian Religion (1960).

The Westminster Confession follows the logical necessity of the doctrine of Grace to the

extreme dictate that only a few are chosen for Grace, all to God’s glory. God alone is subject to

no law, but reveals Hi swill to mankind only at his pleasure. Our personal eternal destiny is a

mystery he chooses not to reveal. Humankind deserves only eternal death at the hand of an angry

God, unless He has decreed otherwise to glorify His own name. Our personal merit, guilt,

penitence, repentance, confession, or any act whatsoever plays no part in salvation, which is

predestined, and subject to no human influence. God is transcendent being, beyond human

comprehension, who in His infinite wisdom has predestined human fate from eternity. The

believer can do nothing whatsoever to alter his state of grace. Because God’s will is unknowable,

there is no assurance of salvation. Neither priest, nor sacrament serves as a means to attain grace.

Church membership includes the unwitting doomed, who can in no way be distinguished from

the faithful. Christ died only for the elect, and was himself doomed to die from eternity. Church

and sacrament were thus completely eliminated from salvation, in absolute opposition to


Calvinism thereby banished magic from the world, as the Empiricists had previously

banished magic from philosophy. They considered religious ceremony at the grave to be an

expression of superstition. As humans, we are all inheritors of Adam’s fall from Grace. We have

no means to attain grace, which is not subject to our choice, but only to God’s will. The flesh is

corrupt; sensuous and emotional elements in culture and religion are idolatrous. Even in decline,

the dogma of predestination influenced Christian conduct and attitudes toward pessimism and
despair. Trust no one is the credo: in God we trust, only. Even confession, for the sake of

discharging guilt, was banished, leaving it pent up in the ethical attitude of Puritanism. Bunyan’s

Pilgrim’s Progress (Bunyan, 1678/2003) has Pilgrim flee the City of Destruction crying, “life,

eternal life,” with no room whatsoever for any other thought, even for the lives of his wife and


Because the organization of social life must be according to God’s commandments,

Pilgrim must achieve success in pursuit of his calling to show obedience for God’s glory.

Following a calling in service to others is an outward manifestation of brotherly love, but only

for the glory of God. Natural law defines our daily tasks, in the interest of rationalization of

labor. The universe is at man’s disposal, to serve our purposes. The social utility of labor

therefore serves God’s glory. The Puritan Ethic never questioned the meaning of life. Weber

explained that the certainty of salvation depends only on faith in Christ. No one can know

another’s faith, by any means. The invisible Church is truly invisible as the body of Christ,

which can only be known through personal faith. The question of developing infallible criteria

by which Christians can recognize each other became of central importance within the church in

determining such matters as the administration of the Eucharist, especially in Pietism. The

individual’s state of grace must be known for admission to Communion, which determined the

social standing of participants (Weber, 2002).

Calvin’s Scholastic interpretation of communion provided the motivation for inviting

Servetus to Geneva for a discussion of the subject, upon which Calvin promptly burned the

heretic at the stake. In Geneva, a statue to Servetus still stands, although there is none to Calvin,

the despotic dogmatist who once ruled Geneva with an iron fist (Smith, 1920). In his view, it is
the duty of the Christian to banish self-doubt, which is evidence of insufficient faith. Worldly

activity is evidence of election, even if the daily prayer of the Christian is, “Lord, forgive me for

my non-belief.” Lutheranism aims at the certainty of union with deity. Again following Weber’s

argument (2002), to the Calvinist, the transcendence of God prevents this. Only in His acting

through us can we be conscious of God. Action justifies and originates in faith through grace.

This circular argument provided the only possibility of communion with God. As a tool of the

divine will, I am inspired to ascetic action. Calvinism sets all feelings aside, and an effectual call

to salvation can only be exhibited in one’s dedication to one’s calling, specifically demonstrated

in worldly success, the evidence of God’s Grace.

To the extent that our conduct as Christians serves the glory of God, it can be measured

by our success in the world. Real good works provide the certainty of salvation. They are useless

to attain salvation, but serve as the only certainty that one lives in grace. Only through the

measure of my social utility, which manifests in the degree of success I exhibit in my calling, can

I eliminate the fear of damnation. The fire and brimstone sermons of the Puritan clerics serve as

a stimulus to my success in worldly endeavors. Self-control at all times separates the chosen

from the damned. This is not a doctrine of salvation by works, but rather that we can only be sure

of our salvation through the fruits of our labor. Following one’s calling is not merely an ethically

neutral means of surviving in the world, as Luther would have it, but is the highest form of

ethical behavior, the goal of one’s religious passion, and success in this endeavor is the only sure

sign of salvation. An entire code of conduct in one’s profession rationalizes life, provides every

action with meaning, and assures the Elect that we are living in a state of grace rather than any

natural state. Rather than “I think, therefore I am, ” (Descartes, 1641/1986) the Puritan
substituted eternal vigilance and concentration of effort as the demonstration not of existence,

but rather of living a life dedicated to the glory of God, therefore of living in God’s grace. This is

the method (Wesley and Outler, 1980) by which the sinful state of nature is conquered.

As the Catholic Benedictine and Jesuitical monks had already discovered in their

monastic credos, systematic rational conduct and purpose can free the faithful from irrational

impulses, and through self-control conform action to ethical dictates. Puritanism brought this

ideal out of the monastery and into professional practice. Puritan asceticism shapes the entire

personality, subjecting the passions to the governance of Reason, bringing order into the entire

conduct of life. Thus, as professionals we are subject to a higher calling in the practice of our

worldly occupations. Essentially, God's Elect has become a monk, not with respect to his specific

assigned task but rather in how successfully he performs his calling (Weber, 2002). Rather than

take formal vows, one proves one’s faith through the performance of one’s duties.

Only a life of continuous success and productive activity can sustain the consciousness of

being a saint. Since one can never be sure about the status of one’s neighbor, he may easily

become an object of hatred and contempt, an enemy of God wearing the mark of Cain, as

evidenced in his failure to be a productive member of society, or to perform well the duties of his

calling. The belief in a just world results in scape-goating and blaming the victim, which are still

major themes in capitalist culture. There is no excuse for poverty, is a sure sign of God’s

displeasure, which could result from no other cause than failure of focus, lack of discipline, and

laziness. We will see how these themes carry into the profession of selling. In the age of

Puritanism, this attitudinal complex could result in witch burning, but most likely resulted in

schisms. Servetus may have been the first schismatic who was burned as a witch. He was
certainly the first to suffer this fate as the result of being invited to a discussion of the meaning of

the Eucharist.

Although religious account books of sin and triumph over temptation, presumably

existing from the foundations of a predestined world, are kept by angels to be opened and read at

judgment day, Benjamin Franklin kept his own books on his (Pilgrim’s ) progress in attaining

moral virtues, weighed solely in terms of their social utility (Weber, 2002). God’s actions can be

seen in every detail, along with a full revelation of His purposes (contrary to doctrine), thereby

providing the means to conduct life as a business enterprise, dedicated to God’s glory. The

rationalization of ethical values, especially the work ethic, in the conduct of life was the primary

influence of Calvinism in providing the spirit by which capitalism developed. Variously

subjected to persecution, Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, and other schismatic’s upheld the

Westminster Confession, and defended it as an article of faith, until the doctrine of predestination

spread to the shores of the New World on the Mayflower.

Pietism as well as Puritanism insists on constant vigilance in regulating moral behavior,

repudiating pleasure and extolling the value of work in fostering ethical values such as

discipline, self-control, and sacrifice. Proof of faith through conduct characterized Pietism within

the Anglican Church, and in fact Methodism and Puritanism are often considered as forms of

Pietism. However, the religious ecstasy of union with God found within Pietism was quite

foreign to the strict discipline of temperance practiced by the Puritan, exposing the religiously

rational person to influence from the passions, which Calvin deemed depraved, of the flesh.

However, under the influence of Pietism, the ascetic conduct of life found its way into Lutheran

denominations in Germany. Development of certainty in and perfection of one’s state of grace,

and the signs of God’s providence in the form of success in one’s calling, were the main

contributions of Pietism to Lutheran doctrine (Weber, 2002). The bottom line is that God blesses

his chosen few through success in their labors. In place of Calvinism’s lifelong struggle to attain

assurance of salvation, Pietism substituted the need for communion and reconciliation with God

in this life, thereby adapting the pure logic of the doctrine of predestination to irrational

influences within Lutheranism. Working class persons, clerical workers, and officials were

thereby provided with a confession suitable to their various callings, whereas Calvinism was

more suitable to capitalist entrepreneurs.

Continental Pietism (Methodism) repudiated elements of Calvinist dogma while

embracing emotional, conversion religion, emphasizing methodical, systematic conduct to attain

certainty of salvation. John Wesley (CE 1703—1791) intended his method as a reform effort

within the Anglican Church. His (1980) emphasis on feeling, combined with a proselytizing

mission to the masses, characterized Methodism in America. Repentance often led to ecstatic

behavior at public meetings, providing immediate certainty of salvation and union with the

Almighty through divine grace. The Holy Spirit provides immediate knowledge of forgiveness at

the moment of conversion. According to Wesley, sanctification can then be attained through a

separate, subsequent spiritual transformation, which may not occur until one is nearing the end of

one’s mission, which provides serenity and absolute certainty of salvation. That is how one

becomes saved (born again), and then sanctified, after a presumably long pilgrimage.

The elect are made clearly visible to each other by the immediate fact that sin no longer

has any power over them. Works for the purpose of glorifying God were only a means of

knowing one’s own state of grace, as the Puritans insisted. The difference between Methodism
and Anglicanism is not doctrinal, but lies in religious practice, where the fruits of the Spirit in

conduct provide clear evidence of spiritual rebirth. Once converted, the emotions are

immediately directed toward the goal of sanctification, in place of the doctrine of predestination,

through a rational, life-long struggle for perfection. Conduct provides the same guide to

assurance of salvation as in Calvinism, as Wesley himself points out (cited in Weber, 2002),

even though the pure doctrine of works is substituted for the doctrine of predestination.

Methodism added nothing new to the idea of the calling.

The Baptist movement, which included the Mennonites and the Quakers, grew directly

out of Calvinism. They all began as communities of born-again Christians, or sects, consisting of

baptized adults who have already gained salvation. Justification is by accepting the gift of

salvation through faith, which baptism symbolizes. Only the Holy Spirit, working on the

individual, can provide the conviction needed for the act of faith. The calling is to repentance, to

be born again in the spirit of God. The lives of the Apostles provide the model of how to live in

the world, meaning avoidance of intercourse with worldly matters to the early Baptists. Daily

communion with the Holy Spirit is the only evidence of election. The Spirit testifies to the reason

and conscience of each individual, as the Quaker’s developed in their familiar doctrine. This

discarded the sole authority of the Bible, and eventually all authority of sacraments. Even the

Bible could only be “rightly divided” through the inner revelation of the Spirit. Without this

inner light, we remain creatures of the flesh. Once converted, it is nearly impossible to lose

salvation. However, the attainment of this state of grace is subject to the development of

perfection in the individual. Conduct that shows repudiation of worldly things and submission to

God’s will is the only sure sign of true rebirth, therefore it is crucial to salvation. Grace cannot be
earned, but the man of conscience, who acts accordingly, is justified in thinking himself reborn.

This doctrine of good works is the working equivalent to the Calvinist conception of success in

the calling as proof of the performance of duty, and therefore the source of assurance of salvation

(Weber, 2002).

While waiting for the Spirit to descend and shed some light, we must clear our minds of

every irrational impulse, passion, and inclination of the natural man. Only through deep repose

can the soul hear the word of God. Some go into trance-like states for hours at a time to exhibit

their receptivity to this inner voice. Hysteria, speaking in tongues, prophesying, chiliastic

enthusiasm, and other irrational outbursts may interrupt this repose. To silence the flesh, a moral

course of action according to conscience is advisable. The radical repudiation of all magic,

sacraments, and idols left few alternatives to the practice of worldly asceticism. Although born in

radicalism, the strict imitation of Christ was not necessary for all believers. Rich churchmen

defended worldly virtues and private property; leading strict Baptist morality down the path of

the Calvinist work ethic.

In all of these sects, Weber detected a commonality existing in the idea of the state of

grace, protecting the elect from the corruption of the flesh, and the influence of the world. Not

sacraments, confession, or good works can provide assurance of salvation, but only a course of

conduct exhibited in the application of the work ethic in the performance of the calling. As the

Puritan idea of the calling entered the world of business, it infused the conduct of business with

asceticism, as the elect planned his life under God’s will, which is to His glorification. The saints

now lived not in monasteries, but rather within the world and its institutions, although not being

of the world, but rather of the Kingdom of God. This work ethic is required of everyone who
wishes to attain certainty of salvation (Weber, 2002). It places action squarely in the world, but

neither of nor for the world.

During the period of the revolution of industrial capital, the clergy held sway through

their connection with the after-life, which meant everything. The church influenced and shaped

national character and conscience, although the religious framework has since been discarded.

The accumulation of wealth was condemned not because it is wrong, but rather because it

subjects the capitalist to the temptations of idleness and distracts from the pursuit of

righteousness. Otherwise, there is no objection whatsoever to possession of riches by the saints.

Only activity in one’s calling, not the enjoyment of the fruits of our labor, glorifies God within

His will.

Under the Puritan work ethic, the first deadly sin is to waste time, of which there is little

for the assurance of election. Getting more sleep than necessary is morally wrong. As much

conscious attention to work as possible must be manifest in the dedicated, moral pursuit of one’s

calling. Inactivity is provided for by the observance of Sunday, on which even God rested. The

performance of hard, continuous physical or mental labor for the remainder of the waking hours

is the best defense against all temptations. Even sexual activity within marriage must be only for

purposes of procreation rather than pleasure. Labor in itself is the end of life, as ordained by God

in placing mankind under His curse for disobedience to His will. To be in a state of grace means

being willing, able, and actually working, all to God’s glory. Work for its own sake has become

a transcendent value.

This is very different from the traditional concept of work, which lost value beyond the

maintenance of the person, family, and community. Traditionally, the man of means, who can
live by virtue of his property in the alienated labor of others, is not expected to work. To the

Puritan conscience, the possession of wealth does not exempt anyone from work. Even the

wealthy man has a calling, which God has prepared, for his profession and for his labor, all to

God’s divine glory. Rational labor in a calling is what God commands, not labor per se, as proof

of conscientiousness, care and method. The opportunity to make a profit must be pursued

diligently as a revelation from God. This is good stewardship, and riches may be accumulated to

the glory of God, but not for self-aggrandizement. The accumulation of wealth in pursuit of

one’s calling is a moral duty (Weber, 2002).

The Puritan work ethic condemned dishonesty and greed. The sin of covetousness meant

the pursuit of wealth for its own sake. This contrasts to the attainment of wealth as the fruit of

labor in a calling as a sign of God’s blessing. The value of deliberate, unceasing, productive

labor in a calling as the highest ethical value, as well as the best possible proof of salvation,

provided powerful psychological motivations for the embodiment of this attitude toward work in

what Weber designated as the spirit of capitalism. The positive sanction of acquisition provided

the basis for the accumulation of capital. The limitation of consumption released even more

wealth for productive activity. The Puritans, who hated the feudal way of life, did not permit

their fortunes to be absorbed into the nobility, but rather plowed them back into further


The Puritan work ethic favored the development of rational economic life, and thereby

provided for the development of modern economic man. As wealth accumulated through

industry and frugality, religion was forgotten, and only the work ethic remained. Those

Christians who accumulate riches should also give all they can, to accumulate other-worldly
wealth. The honest businessman fulfills his moral duty in pursuing profit, is blessed by God, and

assured of grace. The same work ethic provides excellent and industrious workmen, who treat

their work as a way of life ordained by God. Faithful labor at low wages by unskilled workmen

is also pleasing to God (Weber, 2002). Rational conduct based on the calling is a fundamental

element of the spirit of capitalism, born out of Christian asceticism. This work ethic built the

world economic order in which we now live. Today, this order forces each of us to work in a

calling. We no longer need the fear of God, but only the fear of poverty to drive us forward in

our calling.

With the Puritan work ethic, we can trace the development of the rationalist idea of the

calling, originally embedded in a tradition-supporting ideology and philosophy (Scholasticism),

into a reformist restatement by Luther, for the purpose of repudiating monasticism while at the

same time protecting reform efforts from chiliastic utopian enthusiasms, as espoused by Thomas

Münzer. Calvin originally meant to support the most extreme Protestant absolutism through his

elevation of the doctrine of predestination to a central tenet in theology, and the subsequent

working out of all of its logical ramifications. However, many Protestant schisms resulted from

the idea that the whole of life should be rationalized, and magic abolished from religion. Many

reformers adapted the idea of the calling to the establishment of new absolutisms, especially in

the New World, to which they were banished.

The Puritan arrived on American shores with the idea of conquering nature and, perhaps

as remnants of the lost tribes of Israel, establishing New Jerusalem. They would conquer the

natural, sinful side of human nature, as they would the wilderness, all to God’s glory, and God’s

Will would be manifested in the Elect’s victorious overcoming of the world. The sects
themselves kept spinning off new schisms, and the demands of building new utopias dictated

much of the work. Anyone with an industrious spirit could escape into the wilderness, to pursue

the allure of God’s bounty in terms of seemingly unlimited land and resources, with an axe, a

musket, a barrel of dry gunpowder and a sack of corn, and establish New Jerusalem, as did

Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and their original Mormon sect (even adopting a New Old

Testament). The Puritan work ethic, elevated by the theology of predestination into the

transcendent value of life, only received a revolutionary thrust when it adapted to the industrial

revolution as the spirit of capitalism.

The Steel Cage

Empirical philosophy also rose out of the new emphasis on experience introduced by the

Enlightenment, fueling the Industrial Revolution by providing a philosophical framework for the

scientific method and reasoning needed to unleash the energy of fossil fuels. New discoveries

provoked new ideas, and new ideas needed new paradigms, theoretical frameworks, and methods

of investigation. Empiricism, which originally broke the bonds of rationalism as a utopian

movement against the ideology of Scholasticism (Mannheim, 1954), has now allied itself with

the new ideology of capitalism, the ‘steel cage’ alienating all human labor. The absolute

rationalization of labor under the work ethic transformed the worker into an appendage of the

machine, and conception was divorced from execution, theory from practice.

As theoretical and practical developments of our understanding and utilization of matter

and energy are expanding on an infinite frontier, science is forever divorced from philosophy by

the limitations of empiricism and pragmatism, which ask only theoretical, rather than human

questions. All facts are seen as discrete, atomized, sensual phenomena, which in principle bear
no relationship to any other sensation, and only have meaning in terms of their utility. Although

science now serves as the basis for human life, it can serve only industry, thereby completing the

alienation of labor through the rationalization of its social utility. Man’s relationship to nature,

and therefore science, is through industry, the absolute alienation of labor (Marx, 1964).

Empiricism aligned itself with capital’s rationalization of labor under the Puritan work ethic ,

stripped predestination and “beruf” (calling) of their religious garb, and became the new

ideology, or perhaps, in Weber’s metaphor, “steel cage, ” (Stahlhartes Gehäuse; 2002, p. xxiv).

Pragmatism, America’s original contribution to philosophy is as close as the

philosophers can come to introducing experience into philosophy, abstractly. Truth has meaning

only in terms of utility, which Marx showed to be an external relationship (1964). He reasoned

that philosophy, religion, history, politics, art, and literature all confront us as objects in the

marketplace, products of alienated labor, whose “cash value,” to use one of pragmatism ‘s

favorite terms, is grounded in utility. Men like Dewey, Peirce, and James led the new reform

(utopian in Mannheim’s sense) movement to unite theory and practice by incorporating within

philosophy the experiences of industrial workers struggling for power over the terms and

conditions of their own labor, rather than merely accepting maximized economic rationalization

of labor power as their lot in life in fulfillment of their “calling.” Marx (1964) pointed out that

although the will to unify theory and practice was there, philosophy was unable to accomplish

such a feat precisely because the philosophers could only liberate humanity abstractly, rather

than in life. Against all of the abstract materialists (idealists), whether calling themselves

communists, Marxists, or utopians, Marx argued that “We should especially avoid establishing

society as an abstraction opposed to the individual. The individual is the social entity” (cited in
Dunayevskaya, 1973/1989, p. 53). In his brilliant essay Science, Society, and Life, Marx threw

down the gauntlet to empiricism, however cloaked or labeled, in a ringing challenge that was

deliberately garbled in all English translations but one: “to have one basis for life and another for

science is a priori a lie, ” (Marx, 1947, p. 23).

It is not that every society up to ours has not had a separation of theory from practice,

mental from manual labor, thought from execution. As the spirit of capitalism, the rationalization

of labor, originally to God’s glory in the Protestant work ethic, becomes absolute, transforming

the worker into an appendage to the machine. Although Weber’s intent was always anti-Marx, in

fact Marx was no vulgar materialist, as were the communists and all of his epigones, starting

with Engels. In Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, Marx (1964) outlined the birth of a New

Humanism, transcending both idealism and materialism, what Dunayevskaya (2000) called a

“new continent” of thought.

It is no accident that the only translation of Science, Society, and Life that does not garble

Marx’s astonishing conclusion is that of Grace Lee Boggs, who, with C. L. R. James and Raya

Dunayevskaya, led the Johnson/Forest tendency within the Socialist Worker’s Party in America.

Neither is it an accident that this was the first English translation of any of Marx’s Economic and

Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. State capitalism in Russia has the same relationship to science,

and to the worker, as does any other form of capitalism, whether Chinese, or in any other so-

called socialist country. Because Marx’s New Humanism was such a total break with the

bourgeois form, all of his epigones divorced his philosophy from their theories and transformed

Marx’s dialectic of freedom into a triadic dialectic of process: thesis, anti- thesis, and synthesis

— the hallmark of vulgar materialism, which Weber opposed to his last breath. Elsewhere in
these essays Marx (1964) almost envisioned yesterday’s Communists and today’s “New

Thinkers” (Beyond War Foundation, 1988) when he completely hammered away the bourgeois

form in arguing that the new society could never result from communism, or the transcendence

of capital, but must transcend even that, and begin on a new, human basis (Marx, 1964).

One of Mannheim’s clearest (1954) perceptions was that a ruling ideology can take any

criticism that is hurled at it, and transform the meanings of words into their opposites, thereby

using utopian arguments against the reformers to maintain the status quo. However, his

sociology of knowledge was strictly an empirical endeavor, and was as divorced from

philosophy, in Marx’s words, as is the remainder of bourgeois science, “to have one basis for life

and another for science is a priori a lie” (Marx, 1844/1947). Like Marx, Mannheim saw society

as a system governed by the interests of contending groups, who use ideas to advance their

various material interests. However, Mannheim could not trace the transformation into opposite

of utopian into ideological thought, any more than he could create a sociology of knowledge that

is more than synthetic, transcending synthesis and qualitatively transforming society into

something completely new, capitalism into its absolute opposite of freely associated labor, as

could Marx. Mannheim was in full possession of the Trinitarian (truncated) dialectic of thesis

/anti- thesis /synthesis, as were Marx’s vulgar materialist epigones, with no categories for

transcendence and transformation into opposite. Marx showed all abstract materialists such as

Mannheim to be idealists. In his revealing essay critiquing Hegel’s philosophy, Marx pointed out

that this New Humanism is the truth uniting both idealism and materialism (Marx, 1947).

As Dunayevskaya argued (Savio, Walker & Dunayevskaya, 1965), “There was nothing

mechanical about Marx’s new materialist outlook. Social existence determines consciousness,
but it is not a confining wall that prevents one’s sensing and even seeing the elements of the new

society.” Citing Hegel, she further argued that the spirit is the “indwelling spirit of the

community…As Hegel put it in his early writings, ‘the absolute moral totality is nothing else

than a people... (and) the people who receive such an element as a natural principle have the

mission of applying it.’” Here we get a glimpse of what happens to the Spirit of Capitalism

supplied by the Protestant work ethic when working people release themselves from the steel

cage that constitutes the vast social universe of capitalism.

The post-Marx Marxists truncated the dialectic, removing the categories of

“transcendence” and “transformation into opposite” from their dialectic method. They thereby

transformed historical Materialism into vulgar materialism, ending all thought with the Trinity of

thesis /anti-thesis /synthesis, which is process, the highest level abstract materialism can reach. In

this sense, Marx’s utopians converge with Mannheim’s: they all want to become the new boss,

while exploiting labor exactly as before, changing nothing in production relationships. That is

why, when the Hormel workers of Local P-9 in Austin, Minnesota struck against automation and

their union bosses, they threw all of the communists and leftists out of their union meetings the

moment these “supporters” tried to take over the strike. The workers raised such serious

questions as “How shall a man work?” One striking P-9 worker pointed out to a leftist on the

picket line that no one is going to support communism, because it doesn’t make any difference

whether the state or a private entity owns the property, the owners will still demand speed-up,

concessions, and exposure to the risk of man-killing automation from the workers. When asked

how she would deal with competition from foreign workers working for slave wages, she said,

“Pay everyone a union wage. That should solve the whole problem.”
The coal miners had struck against automation in1949-50 (Phillips & Dunayevskaya,

1984), raising the same safety questions, as well as questions regarding concessions and speed-

up that Meatpackers Local P-9 raised in 1986. Although they had struck against a new epoch of

Automation, by1986 the workers were confronting the face of the counter-revolution in America,

Reaganism, which introduced a new age of retrogression. Solidarity with the P-9 strike showed

new passions and new forces for the creation of a new society that only Marx’s philosophy of

revolution can embrace (Dunayevskaya, 1996). That is because a new, human world cannot be

built by reformers, philosophers, or theorists, but rather only by human subjects, struggling for

freedom, developing their own philosophy through praxis in the form of a New Humanism,

which Marx himself derived from practice (praxis). In fact, this is precisely the movement from

practice that Marx discovered in the essays of 1848-49 when he announced this philosophy. As

such, philosophy is never finished, and must always be an open system helping to unleash human

potential as every man, woman, and child joins the discussion (Dunayevskaya, 2000). For this

purpose, the real meaning of philosophy, or love of wisdom, becomes an integral part of human

knowledge. The battle of ideas in the marketplace of freedom is far from over. It has only begun.


Annotated Bibliography

Axtmann, R. (2006). The myth of 1648: Some musings of a skeptical Weberian. International
Politics, 43(5), 519+. Retrieved from Proquest Research Library Database.


This contribution sketches Max Weber’s model of historical causation and contrasts it to

Robert Brenner’s property relations approach, as appropriated by Teschke. Axtmann considered

theoretical and methodological differences between Teschke’s Marxian political analysis and

Weber’s approach. Axtmann also offered a substantive argument concerning the role of religion

in state formation. He suggested that Teschke’s focus on the ‘logic of exploitation’ leads to his

marginalizing the role of religion and the importance of the collective action of ordinary people.


Axtmann outlined the Weberian model of historical causation, comparing it to Brenner’s

property relations approach, as Teschke used it. Theoretical and methodological differences

result from Weber’s use of ideal types and his concept of the structure of social action, on the

one hand, and a materialist approach to history reflecting one stream of Marxian empiricism on

the other. Axtmann critiques Teschke’s marginalization of the role of religion, thereby discarding

the role of the masses in collective action. This would have horrified Marx, who always kept an

ear to the ground for new ideas from the freedom struggles of his age, even when cloaked in

religious garb.

Max Weber’s methodology created a ground between extremes of empiricism, whether

idealist or materialist, and relativism that strongly resonates with the positions of James and

Sayer. Weber’s main battles were with the vulgar materialism of Engels/Plekhanov Marxists, in

which he succeeded in staking out a position more suited to the study of society, similar to

James’ radical empiricism and Marx’s New Humanism, which were all attempts to escape from

the narrow constraints of 19th century science, which Lenin identified as “the empiricism of a

machine gun.”

Cavalcanti, T., Parente, S. & Zhao, R. (2007). Religion in macroeconomics: A quantitative

analysis of Weber’s thesis. Economic Theory, 32, 105–123. doi10. 1007/s00199-006-


The authors conducted an experimental study with a dynamic general equilibrium model

of development and growth to test Weber’s hypothesis that Calvinistic asceticism contributed to

the rise of capitalism. They introduce a counterfactual exercise against their model, assuming

that England had remained Catholic at the onset of the Industrial Revolution, quantifying a

parameter for differences in religious belief between Catholics and Protestants, and calculate that

England may have had to wait 70 years for the revolution under their simplifying assumptions.

They conclude that Weber’s model may have some plausibility in comparing Northern to

Southern Europe, but none whatsoever in comparing Europe to Latin America.


The authors attempted, using quantitative economic modeling and experimental

techniques, to answer precisely the question of how much later would the Industrial Revolution

have started in England if it had not undergone the Protestant Reformation and continued as an

essentially Catholic nation. Grounded in today’s anti- theoretical distinction between land, labor,

and capital, these authors assume that capitalism can be described by assuming that industrious

people, of a Puritan mentality, worked hard to accumulate wealth in their young years, and then

invested it when they got older. The entire history of the first industrial revolution is missing

from their mathematical model, including the enclosure movement, the Opium War, and the

mass starvation in Ireland. Even with their oversimplified assumptions, the authors still find that

the industrial revolution was perhaps accelerated by 70 years because England turned Protestant.


The authors assumed a utility theory of value, rather than the classical labor theory Smith

proposed as an antidote to Mercantilism. The New Economics preached by today’s globalists is

essentially a return to this older philosophy, and is subject to all of the criticism offered by Smith

in Wealth of Nations (1776/2003), which today’s econometrists would do well to return to before

attempting to construct economic models of capitalism. It is interesting that this study, even after

making the most egregious oversimplifications in constructing a mathematical model for

development, still find a Weberian role for ideas in historical causation, however minimal.

Chan, T., Goldthorpe, J. (2007). Class and status: the conceptual distinction and its empirical
relevance. American Sociological Review, 72(4), 512--532. Retrieved from Proquest

The authors considered Max Weber’s concepts of class and status as forms of social

stratification. Economic security, cultural consumption, party affiliation, and ethico/political

attitudes were taken as determinants of either one or the other of these categories. This study

points beyond the one-dimensional Duncan Socio-Economic Index, citing empirical evidence for

the continued existence of Weber’s distinctions between class and status in British society, this

study examined the stratification of life outcomes based on Weber’s categories. Chan and

Goldthorpe used the CASMIN class schema for an operational definition of class, and a multi-

dimensional scaling analysis to explore the structure of status-groups based on friendship



The main distinction between the scales used to measure class and status is that the class

scale reflects employment relations, whereas the status scale reflects occupational social honor.

The hierarchy of status that emerged empirically ranks symbolic workers near the top, placing

those who work with materials lower. Managers who have to talk to blue-collar employees rank

below white-collar staff employees. Occupational prestige does not enter into the acquisition of

status, with a low correlation between status as determined by occupational structure and status

as determined by socioeconomic factors. Although moderately correlated, class and status as

here defined are quite distinct. Status is defined by loose social networks, whereas class, the

major determinant of opportunities, is determined by relationships to the market for occupational

skills and capital.


This study points to the differences in expectations and attitudes between mental and

manual laborers. Blue-collar workers set no goals beyond planned leisure activities, and make no

attempt to acquire the knowledge skills needed for higher status occupations for the very good

reason that they are too scarce to admit more than a few anyway. One road to success is available

in acquiring status, perhaps in cultural, civic, leisure, military or religious activities, which tend

to overlook class differences. However, real class differences remain between those who

consume haute culture and those who only consume popular culture. These differences can only

be overcome by acquiring the knowledge skills needed for mental work, and actually acquiring

one of these very scarce jobs. The bureaucratic division between mental and manual labor is

maintained by solid walls under capitalism which would take nothing less than a thorough

uprooting of the capitalist system to overcome.

Demirezen, I. (2006). Marx, Weber, Durkheim and Mannheim’s epistemological stand-points

and their comparisons with each other. Paper presented at the 2006 annual meeting of the
American Sociological Association in Montreal. Retrieved from socINDEX. Database.


Marx, Weber and Durkheim concerned themselves with ideas in general and religious

ideas in particular. This essay compares and contrasts what each of them had to say about ideas

and religion. Demirezen compared Mannheim’s methodology to those of Marx and Weber in

terms of how each approached ideas in general, and religion in particular. Weber certainly broke

with Marx in taking sides with the status quo rather than revolutionary insurgents, but his anti-

materialism was aimed more at the Engels/Plekhanov interpretation of Marxism, rather than
Marx’s own humanism, in which Marx argued for the unity of materialism and idealism,

transcending both.


Marx was first and foremost a revolutionary journalist, interpreting and contributing to

the ideas that arose from mass struggle. In action, his polemics against religion were completely

reductionist, although he never espoused vulgar materialism. In the last analysis, humans really

do create ideas, and can only be governed by them in so far as we permit them to govern us.

Marx was more interested in creating revolutionary ideas than being governed by reactionary

ideas. To this extent, his view of religion was reductionist. In Varieties of Religious Experience,

James (1902/2008) took a different approach, attempting to find the validity of religion in

experience. Weber argued against vulgar Marxist epigones, stressing the importance of ideas in

history, but in fact was very Marxian in his approach to class. The main difference between

Weber and Marx was that Weber stood clearly and resolutely on the opposite side of the class



All three thinkers, James, Weber, and Marx, attempted to find a course between the

extremes of radical materialism and absolute idealism in their various attempts to create methods

appropriate to social rather than physical science. Each made important contributions to Sayer’s

(1992) important methodological synthesis, which can provide a new humus for the creation of

social science adequate to human needs, that does not separate science from life, which Marx

(1947) branded as a priori a lie!


Geoghegan, V. (2004). Ideology and utopia. Journal of Political Ideologies, 9(2), 123--138. doi:
10. 1080/13569310410001691172


Mannheim and Bloch both believed that the concepts of ideology and utopia are closely

related. Although Bloch accused Mannheim of plagiarizing his idea of utopia, they in fact

analyzed the relationship in different ways. Mannheim viewed both concepts as they emerged

historically through the conflict of group interests in defining modernity, enabling reactionary

and revolutionary elements to transcend reality in pursuing their struggles for power. Bloch saw

ideology as carrying a utopian surplus of unachieved human potential. This paper discusses the

relationship of both thinkers to the ideas of Marx, in terms of their relevance to ‘post-secular’

political philosophy.


To Mannheim, utopias that do not eventually attain power are of little consequence. In

his dialectical theory of history, both ideological and utopian elements emerge through the

politics of conflicting social groups, which may end up sharing power in a dynamic, systemic

synthesis. Today’s utopian vision of freedom may contain ideological resistance to those who

later try to share in the original promise. Reactionaries may stigmatize all oppositional activity as

utopian, while refusing to make any distinction between the impossible and that which is merely

inconvenient to defenders of the status quo. Mannheim terms the illusions of such defenders of

the existing social order ‘ideological, ’ archaic, and extinct, as opposed to the utopian, which

preserves the ideals and hopes of humanity. The sociology of knowledge embodies the

progressive mission of intellectuals within the context of modernity, exploring distorted

experience and generating a new sense of totality, the synthesis of the partial visions of the

groups to which the intellectuals may have originally been attached.


Mannheim provided the first full discussion of conservatism in Ideology and Utopia

(1954), which continues to exist as an ideology because society never measure sup to the

conservative vision, thereby actually providing it with a utopian thrust, contra-radicalism, for

maintaining the status quo. He founded the sociology of knowledge, which is no small

achievement considering the valuable histories of ideas that have been generated under this

impulse. Bloch and Mannheim both provide illumination, although they define ideology and

utopia differently. Although Mannheim was vague in his elucidation of the sociology of social

knowledge production, applying his analysis in this direction is especially important in

examining the stratification of social ignorance, which reflects strongly on the social

organization of labor, the next phase in my research.

Henry, P. (2003). Occupational status and a gradient of perceived limitations, Journal of

Sociology, 39(2), 165+. Retrieved from Questia database.


This study of Australian society developed a gradient of perceived psychological

limitations that define occupational stereotypes, correlated to measures of occupational status

that reflect commonly held evaluations of prestige. Education and income are strongly correlated

to occupation, in terms of the competence, experience and education required for the job.

Education and income provide honor and prestige to status-groups, thereby conferring value to
the community, reflecting a social ordering of competence, with scarcity of positions and

competence increasing in order of increasing prestige.


The study found that the demographic variables of income and education are strongly

correlated with occupational status and achievement motivation, whereas negative psychological

factors, especially stress/challenge avoidance, were all negatively correlated to the occupational

status scale, to an extremely high degree of significance. This negative factor, strongly reflecting

lack of confidence in performing non-routine tasks and immobility when challenged, was as

strong a predictor r of occupational status as all other factors combined, which confirms

theoretical expectations that accepting and overcoming challenges is required for strong

achievement. Clearly, occupational status reinforces stable psychological perceptions of

occupational worth. Persons in unskilled occupations experience low self-esteem, which then

limits their chances of self-realization. People in high status occupations maintain attitudes that

help maintain their success. The willingness to accept challenges and set goals is reinforced by a

sense of unlimited potential.


Although no similar study has been conducted in the United States, a US study of

attributional style among life insurance agents (Seligman and Schulman, cited in Henry, 2003)

found that willingness to take personal responsibility for results, accept challenges, and set goals

made a major difference in quantity, retention, and non-redundancy of insurance sold. This is

extremely important for my demonstration, because it provides an empirical basis for the

attitudinal training that is necessary for building a successful insurance agency. Not intuition and
natural talent, but rather planning, goal setting, and careful prioritization are needed for such an


Kando, T. (2008). What is the mind? Don’t study brain cells to understand it. International
Journal on World Peace, 25(2), p83-105. Retrieved from SocINDEX Database.


This paper looks at the modern belief that the mind is the same thing as the brain, and

therefore consists of genetic and chemical processes. Contrary to this notion is the more

commonsense view that our minds are made up of experiences in the world and with others, and

while the brain may be the material home of the mind, it is not the mind itself. Professor Kando

began with a refutation of materialistic reductionism and positivism, and then built on the work

of William James, George Herbert Mead, and Joel Charon to make the case that the mind is a

product of learning and not the same thing as the brain.


To Kando, mind is an emergent phenomenon as mysterious as the process of life itself.

The materialist positivism of Comte and the utilitarianism of Mill are presumed in the power

structure of social science research funding, which pours $4G per year into reductionist research

through the NSF and the NIMH. Ill-informed research that presumes morality and ethics are

coded into genetic structures gets funded under supposedly value-neutral suppositions, thereby

reinforcing the unexamined prejudices and presumptions of normative, positivistic social

science. Thus, scientific journals continue to confuse the brain with the mind, in the same way

that the material is confused with the spiritual.


Since Durkheim, sociologists have tended to reify society as some supra-individual entity

that thinks and acts as an agent for the collective totality of individuals. Sociologists can then act

as ventriloquists, speaking for society in punishing and correcting deviant behavior. Such

separation between mental and manual labor is emblematic of the separation of science from life,

a priori a lie (Marx, 1947). In developing a new model for critical possibility thinking, I must

avoid such structural fabrications at all costs, and not set myself up as the ultimate interpreter of


Kumar, K. (2006). Ideology and sociology: Reflections on Karl Mannheim’s Ideology and
Utopia. Journal of Political Ideologies, 11(2), 169-181. doi: 10.


Much of what Mannheim called ‘ideology' is now ‘social constructionism’ and 'discourse

analysis.’ Social scientists are now suspicious of utopias, whereas utopian scholars prefer literary

sketches of perfect societies to revolutionary or messianic social movements. Today’s calls for

the revival of utopian thought fail to specify what social and political conditions are likely to

favor such a revival. Mannheim analyzed the social and political conditions under which utopian

thought flourishes. For sociology, the study of ideology contributed to empirical sociology,

stratification theory, and cultural sociology in attempting to analyze media bias in industrial


Thatcherism and Reaganism, major working class defeats such as Reagan’s destruction

of PATCO, and the impact of the Kroger contract on the Meatpacker’s Union all brought on

nihilism in thought that renders the whole concept of ideology meaningless precisely because of

its critical edge. If all truth is relative, science is religion. Any opposition between ideology and

truth can only be a false dichotomy. Social constructionism is the current vogue, posing as the

absolute truth of relativism (an oxymoron) while it is in fact an ideology no longer capable of

demystifying or exposing truth, unable to recognize such a category as false consciousness.

Foucault’s substitution of the term ‘discourse’ for ideology now imposes the dominant mindset

in place of the radical world outlook provided by Marx’s identification, and Mannheim’s

application of ideology.


Mannheim, who was perhaps more in tune with Marx than the other Marxists referred to

so far (excluding Marxist-Humanists), believed that truth is a perspective that can be reached by

intellectuals, precisely to the extent that their thinking is not subject to the interests or ideology

of a particular group (Kumar, 2006). To the extent that social constructionism is derived from the

sociology of knowledge, Mannheim is one of its originators. If ideology can be divorced from

truth, how is it possible to be critical in the sociology of fascism? Why not just talk about

programs, doctrines, or philosophies, and forget about false consciousness, and whatever other

Marxist baggage we have been carrying? This is where the social realism of Sayer (1992) is

crucial. We must retain those man-made concepts that contribute to critical verstehen.
Lacbelier, P. (2006). Democracy, knowledge and the division of labor. Humanity and Society, 30
(2), 167--179. Retrieved from SocINDEX database.


The article discusses social problems in the division of labor and the distribution of

social knowledge. A major consequence of the division of labor under modern capitalism is that

workers are not comfortable with reading. Having taught them how to read enough to fulfill

minimal job functions, such as submitting an application for a position, their teachers never

provided instruction that relates “book learning” to practical experience. This division of labor

shapes a person’s life, self and leisure, aiming at productive efficiency by adapting abilities to

production requirements, while at the same time the ideology of production adapts the minds of

workers to becoming appendages to machines. Weber identified three classes of labor based on

the relationship to and power over knowledge: knowledge professionals, knowledge consumers

and the disempowered.


Drawing from his training in sociology applied to lived experience as a graduate student

and political activist, the author observed that activist faculty and students become or remain

satisfied with defining their public engagement primarily in terms of teaching and research,

rather than actively working for social change. Most people take for granted an abysmal gulf

between making history and every-day life, only participating in political life during elections or

crises. The division of labor in society defines how people work, think, and live their lives,

reflecting fundamental social problems in the absolute separation of mental from manual labor.

Sociologists already know most of these things, but keep their knowledge locked up in ivory

towers, where it is inaccessible to ordinary citizens, who look at books as objects rather than as
reading material. Using Weber’s categories of “knowledge power,” the author suggested means

by which intellectuals, especially sociologists, may help address these social problems.


Marx (1964) identified this gulf between mental and manual labor as the essence of

capitalism, ultimately to be transcended not in the first negation of communist society, but in the

second negation of “freely associated labor,” which asks us not to define what we are against, but

to create an entirely new form of social organization based on what we are for. Lacbelier does

not seem to recognize the implicit theory in freedom struggles, or how intellectuals can articulate

new theory to help guide such practical struggles beyond elections and crises.

Leary, D. (2004). On the conceptual and linguistic activity of psychologists: the study of
behavior from the 1890s to the 1990s and beyond. Behavior and Philosophy, 32, 13--35.
Retrieved from Academic Search Premier Database.


Early in the twentieth century psychology became the study of "behavior.” This article

reviews developments within animal psychology, functional psychology, and American society

and culture that help explain how a term rarely used in the first years of the century became not

only an accepted scientific concept but even, for many, an all-encompassing label for the entire

subject matter of the discipline. Leary then discussed the subsequent research of Watson,

Dolman, Hull, and Skinner, as they attempted to explain ‘behavior’ throughout the course of the

twentieth century. Finally, the article suggests the need for greater conceptual and linguistic

diversity in psychology. In this last regard, reference is made to cognition and consciousness, to
James and Dewey, and to the fact that prediction and control of behavior, or behavior

modification, might not be the most relevant aim of contemporary psychology.


This article examines what was going on in animal research, functional human

psychology, and American society as a whole that led to Watson’s issuance of his behaviorist

manifesto in1913, and the perceived limitations of behavioral research today. Beginning with

Darwin’s work, which placed humans squarely within the animal kingdom; researchers began to

investigate comparative animal intelligence, which eventually led to dropping speculations about

animal minds, and consciousness, which cannot be observed, and substituting studies of their

learning and behavior, the only things that scientists can observe in animals. However, James

and Dewey were also influenced by Darwin, arguing that mind is expressed in natural selection

of purposive action, adapting responses to environmental stimuli for the purpose of survival.

Consciousness selects action appropriate in terms of consequences, thereby developing mind as a

tool serving survival, evolving in the struggle for existence.


Mind is therefore a function within the stream of consciousness, orchestrating life

processes through learning from experience. The pragmatists thereby helped lay the critical

ground for research that transcends the narrow goals of prediction and control of behavior.

Concepts from systems and chaos theory, such as self-adaptive systems and emergence, have

replaced Darwin’s Malthusian metaphors. Meaning can no longer be excluded from the study of

social phenomena, as we deal with objects that are socially defined and study systems that

include self-reflective processes such as our own efforts to understand human behavior.

Nolt, J. (2008). Truth as an epistemic ideal. Journal of Philosophical Logic, 37(3), 203—237.
doi: 10. 1007/s10992-007-9068-9


Peirce, James, Putnam and Wright have variously proposed truth as an epistemic ideal

(TEI), meaning that fixed warranty by human observers under ideal conditions of knowledge is

the necessary and sufficient condition of truth. Kripke’s semantics of intuitionist logic are here

used to examine this notion. Nolt shows that standards of warrant, and one’s ideal standard for

inquiry both determine truth as so defined. The problem of truth has not been resolved, merely

pushed back by any such definition, which may in fact be circular. All requirements but one of

formal logic are here met, but the difficulties involved in defining ‘warrant’ still leave us with

the problem of truth, which was the starting point.


Weber, James, and Mannheim all wrestled with the problem of truth as presented under

empiricism’s critique of idealism, which originates in the skepticism of Socrates. The problem is

to find some middle ground between relativism and absolutism that will enable critique without

dissolution into solipsism, the inevitable end of empiricism and rationalism. Peirce and James

both supplied definitions of warrant that imply endless scientific inquiry, with perhaps the most

reasonable interpretation of Peirce making it the regulative ideal of inquiry, perhaps the best for

which we can hope. No useful notion of truth is infallible, but must be at least falsifiable by

further experience, which is unknowable.


In Sayer’s (1992) terms of practical adequacy, to predict results which are useful subject

to the purpose of inquiry, notions of truth must remain open to the possibility of failure even if

they are contrary to previous experience. Unverified or unverifiable presumptions lacking

practical adequacy are in fact useless. TEI summarizes a common thread in the efforts of many

to create a critical methodology that remains anchored in truth while avoiding the extremes of

relativism and absolutism. It runs through the methods of James, Mannheim, and Weber, and is

preserved in Marx’s New Humanism (1962). Sayer’s (1992) realist method is the most

comprehensive explication of this methodology, which is crucial for the future development of

humanistic social science.

Ormerod, R. (2006). The history and ideas of pragmatism. The Journal of the Operational
Research Society, 57(8), 892. doi: 10. 1057/palgrave. jors. 2602065


This paper examined the origins of philosophical pragmatism in the USA in the second

half of the 19th-century and its development and use up to the Second World War. The story was

told through the lives and ideas of some of the main originators: Holmes, Peirce, James, and

Dewey. The core idea of pragmatism, that beliefs are guides to actions and should be judged

against outcomes rather than abstract principles, dominated American thinking during the period

of economic and political growth from which the USA emerged as a world power. The paper

suggested that the practical, common sense, scientific approach embedded in pragmatism

resonates with practical operations research, and that much of pragmatism could be attractive to

practitioners and academics alike.


Kant coined the term ‘pragmatic belief’ in his Critique of Pure Reason, (1781/2003),

which exercised a heavy influence on Peirce. His primacy of will thereby originated in

Schopenhauer’s elevation of will over intellect. Mill’s Utilitarianism provided the valuation of

action in terms of results, the optimum result being the greatest good for the greatest number.

Peirce’s original philosophy of pragmatism, which he redubbed ‘Pragmaticism’ to distinguish it

from James’ popularization, identified meaning in terms of the practical link between an idea and

the results expected in practice. Peirce used this as the criterion of truth for obtaining observable

results through the application of scientific method, and for establishing standards of objectivity

for inquiry. James defined experience not as that of scientific research communities, but rather as

relative to the individual stream of consciousness. The practical meaning of ideas is here put to

work in a personal rather than scientific context, according to the individual’s ability to use them

to predict experience, controlling emotions and behavior through internal rather than external

social sanctions.


My efforts to build a thriving insurance agency will be strongly rooted in operations

research methodology, with a strong emphasis on pragmatism in terms of the no nonsense,

scientific approach suggested here. In sales training, much cognitive damage is inflicted on the

trainees by the organization’s ideological demands, which is a situation I must avoid in

developing critical possibility thinking.


Packard, N. (2008). Weber on status-groups and collegiality: Applying the analysis to a modern
organization. Humanity and Society, 32(1), 2-23. Retrieved from SocINDEX database.


The article explicated Weber’s derivation of the ideal type ‘status-group’ from his

studies of the Chinese Literati, and then applied it to the Göring Institute of World War II

Germany. Göring stole the Freud Institute (abandoned by Dr. Freud barely in time to save his

own life) and provided it with a Nazi mandate for conversion into a modern, state-funded mental

health industry practicing psychotherapy in the interests of the state. As occupational status-

groups, both the Literati and Nazi therapists generated and mediated social value conflicts,

especially during times of political stress (although the Nazis did not achieve their projected

thousand years of experience). The Reich generously funded short-term directive therapeutic

practice to align deviant behavior with specific social norms through behavior modification,

providing a medical rationale for compulsive, invasive physical treatment administered by

medical doctors.


Weber’s 1903 thesis of the Iron Cage of capitalism provides a firm grasp, in human

terms, of the rise of Nazi power in Germany, not forgetting Weber’s own contribution to racist

theory noted elsewhere in this thesis. The Calvinist thesis of the natural depravity of man, and

the grace of God’s omniscient selection of the elect from the damned contributed heavily to the

development of modern capitalism under the Puritan work ethic. As a secular religious ethic, the

spirit of capitalism had lost its spiritual aspect, becoming fully rationalized, secularized and

institutionalized through the British and later the American industrial revolutions. By the 20th
Century, the Nazi medical propaganda machine exploited Luther‘s ideal of the calling, creating a

secular religion by transforming the rationale for obedience to God’s will into obedience to the

state. This ideal social norm supposedly returned Germans to their psychological religious roots,

even to the point of obliterating self for the service of the state, all to the glory of God, in this

case der Führer.


The reason Hitler was so heavily admired by corporate elements in the United States

prior to his pact with Stalin can be found in this analysis of the role of ideology, posing as

absolute scientific truth, in the creation of a garrison state. The USA Patriot Act and the

Homeland Security Act, along with the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (formerly

the Simpson-Mazzoli Bill), draconian anti-poor laws posing as drug control laws, such as the

mandatory minimum sentencing laws of 1986), the ongoing state level privatization of prisons

since the Attica rebellion and massacre, and many other tendencies in American life point in the

same direction. This is why the critical teeth were stripped out of social science methodology,

with a happy smile now defining the meaning of verstehen. This is all being accomplished under

the auspices of the secular religion of Puritanical capitalism, as defined by Weber, who would

have found little fault in Hitler’s application of his ideas. To define the kind of people we want to

become, we must clearly understand the kind of people we are.

Pooley, J. (2007). Edward Shils’ turn against Karl Mannheim: the Central European connection.
American Sociology, 38, p364–382. doi10. 1007/s12108-007-9027-5

While at the London School of Economics, Edward Shils was influenced by Karl Popper

and Friedrich Hayek to criticize Karl Mannheim’s sociology of knowledge, which he had

previously embraced enthusiastically, conducting a vituperative and merciless assault on

Mannheim’s theoretical work. This sudden transformation cannot be understood outside of what

Kennan (1961) described as the paranoia of embattled democracies in defending themselves

during troubled times. Hayek and Popper took issue with all who advanced any form of state

planning, as manifested in the Engels/Plekhanov strain of Marxism touted by the Stalinists, in the

national socialism of Germany, or John Menard Keynes’ (1938, 2008) General Theory of Income

and Employment, Interest, and Money touted at Cambridge. However, as a fellow Hungarian

émigré and lecturing professor at the London School, Mannheim was by far their closest and best



According to Shils’, Hayek’s, and Popper’s criticism of Mannheim, his “totalizing”

outlook represented the cynicism of idealistic intellectuals whom they thought had paved the

way for fascism and communism. They held Mannheim to be an especially obnoxious and

egregious example of the kind of pompous epigone they thoroughly despised. Mannheim saw a

philosopher/king role for intellectuals in creation of a sociology of knowledge suitable for policy

and planning. This involved far more than the abstract ‘economic man’ of Keynesianism, and

had no relationship to Stalinist or Nazi state planning. However, such inconvenient facts weighed

less in their estimation of Mannheim as a target for intellectual wrath than did the fact that he

was so close at hand. Mannheim attempted to analyze and understand the various ideological

positions available within Western political thought.



Because they can disassociate themselves from their point of origin, Mannheim held that

intellectuals may be especially suited to synthesize social knowledge to provide a holistic (not

totalitarian) view from the partial insights of the various intellectual factions. Mannheim’s

position built on Lukacs’ (1923/1971) (another Hungarian intellectual, as was Popper) History

and Class Consciousness. Mannheim had little to say about the sociology of the class that

produces social knowledge, and therefore lacked the capacity for self-criticism, a failing not at

all uncommon even today. However, the criticism of his fellow Hungarian intellectuals must

today be regarded as mean-spirited anti-communism, probably aimed at Mannheim’s roots in the

ideas of Georgi Lukacs. Mannheim’s critique of ideology is especially appropriate today, with

the death of ideology (Bell, 1960/2000) and its rebirth as Foucault’s nominalism.

Reiland, R. (2006). Fat cats, Calvin, and the poor. The Humanist, 66(6). Retrieved from Proquest
Research Library Database.


As an economist, Reiland recognized the influence of Weber’s thesis on the relationship

between the development of capitalism and Calvinism, and related his experience of the

Calvinist moral code at Muskingum College in Ohio, which retained a strict moral code left over

from its origin in the church. As a Catholic, he was scape-goated at the school for Romanism,

and failed to see the absolute justice of the Calvinist deity in foreordaining billions of humans to

absolute poverty while blessing the super-rich with enervating over-abundance.



As an economics professor at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, Reiland recognized

the implications of Weber’s thesis on the role of predestination in determining the Puritan work

ethic as a driving force in the development of capitalism. Weber saw no injustice in the poverty

of billions of people, but saw it as his job to create a social science that would prevent the

degenerate and weak from overcoming the strong, especially under capitalist competition, where

command over labor and capital markets by racial elites must be maintained and supported by

the state. Reiland seemed to miss Weber’s point, that capitalist markets cannot be relied upon to

protect the strong from the weak, and that scientifically guided government intervention may be

needed to aid “survival of the fittest” under capitalist conditions. To Weber, this was no reason to

overthrow capitalism or embrace a more humanistic value system, but provided the unexamined

values that guided his “value-free” methodology, the purpose of which was to control deviant

behavior in the service of the strong, or “the elect” of capitalism.


This work shows the outlines of the Puritan work ethic in forming a secular religion in

today’s society. Of special interest is the scape-goating of the poor, a remnant from the ancient

religious practice of human sacrifice to appease angry deities, which functions today to maintain

the belief in the prevalence of justice. Under God’s omniscient plan of predestination, justice can

be seen in the destruction of the morally weak, or the moral weakness of whomever suffers as

did the biblical Job. Job’s job was to suffer. In a perfect society (actually, not perfect so much as
unevaluated through lack of critical acumen), imperfection is literally in the eye of the beholder.

By confessing our sins, we may always be forgiven, even before the torch is set to the kindling.

Skrupskelis, I. (2007). Evolution and pragmatism: An unpublished letter of William James.

Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society, 43(4), p745-752. Retrieved from Proquest


In this previously unpublished letter to William Erasmus Darwin (Charles Darwin’s son,

named after his grandfather), William James explained the importance of evolutionary theory to

the philosophy of pragmatism, both theoretically and morally, James always recognized the

complexity of psychology as a higher biological function, both in terms of the need for a radical

approach to empiricism in such a science and in understanding humans in terms of our existence

as biological organisms. It is not some ineffable ‘soul’ that differentiates humans from other

animals, but precisely the fact that we make it our business to know and to evaluate.


James’s most distinctive views, both theoretical and moral, were shaped by the new

theory of Darwin, which clearly located humanity within the animal world. In the struggle of the

human organism for existence, knowledge and values both serve biological functions in helping

us to survive. James held standards of truth to be relative to the purpose of action, and the

concrete difference they actually make, rather than to some presumed essential, ideal realm of

reality. No absolute essence, whether objective or subjective, can define an absolute morality that

is in fact missing from nature herself.

As opposed to both rationalism and empiricism, there is an empirical relationship

between subject and object in experience. Moral knowledge cannot be progressive because there

is no ideal target state for evolution. No evolutionary goal is possible involving any absolute

typology of perfection, completely separated from the conditions of existence. The

transformative, developmental perspective of biological evolution permits no such moral goal.

However, contrary to the Jamsean formulation, I would hold that social evolution occurs within

moral perspectives, and can be evaluated in terms perhaps not completely separated from the

conditions of existence.

Weinstein, J. (2003). Civics as applied sociology. Social Justice, 30(4), p21+. Retrieved from
Questia database.


A group becomes self-conscious, in Sorokin’s term ‘for itself,’ when it provides each

functional member with the same degree of access to and influence on the decision-making

process, reaching its full potential to achieve an emergent existence. Through the democratic

process, the group can understand, explain, and act on its own interests. In practice, sociology

applied to anything less than a democratically governed group is simply dealing with an object,

indulging in reductionist psychologism. That is why the sociologist is always looking for

representative, statistically significant samples, which enable reliable generalization to the

universe. The statistically significant random sample is one in which each member of the

population has an equal probability of being selected. The attributes of a democratic aggregate

are most representative of the group.



Upton Sinclair’s League for Industrial Democracy (LID) articulated the principle that, for

democracy to remain functional, it must operate within all institutional decision-making

processes, such as education, industry, and civic organizations. Sinclair elucidated industrial

democracy in Sinclairism, which the Japanese applied in implementing quality circles, as

opposed to Taylorism, still the ruling paradigm for management control of production in the US.

As the student auxiliary of LID, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) issued the Port Huron

Statement, which focused applied sociology on the development of a fully democratized society,

which must supply the underpinning of political democracy for it to work. The philosophical

forerunners of sociological thought were the first to take the idea of popular rule seriously, and

promote democracy.


Smith’s ‘invisible hand’ suggested that social causation may occur behind the backs of

purposeful actors in the marketplace, reaping unintended results. Smith’s political orientation

was that of laissez faire, which did not connote today’s meaning that elites should be left to

plunder the public treasury in peace, but rather that society, conceived as a democratic

marketplace, should be left alone by plutocrats, autocrats, kings, and aristocrats. Unrestricted

capitalism, under these conditions, would not result in monopolistic advantage, but rather a fair

and equitable division of labor. This was an ideal that could be easily associated with

Jeffersonian democracy and the revolutionary spirit of America in 1776.


Zimmerman, A. (2006). Decolonizing Weber. Postcolonial Studies, 9 (1), 53-79. doi: 10.


Here Weber is identified as a far-right ideologue, sometimes a lone spokesperson for

imperialism in academic circles, and an original theorist of neo-racism for the neo-colonial era,

denying the sole role of biological determinants in racial inferiority, while upholding, and

thereby rationalizing the dominant culture of the colonizer over the native in what Fanon

(1952/2008) identified as the Settler/Native dialectic. The “white man’s burden is thereby

upheld, replicating the political and economic inequities of imperialism in the post-colonial era.

Under new nationalist flags, the citizens of the former empire now immigrate to the metropolitan

centers of the West for their education, where they learn the dominant values of settler culture,

which they return home to implement as administrators over the deracialized, economic empire

of neo-colonialism. Europe is no longer the conqueror, but merely the superior civilization to

which all others must conform.


Modern globalization reflects a mobility of capital that demands stagnation and continued

underdevelopment, thereby feigning a ‘cultural relativism’ that actually imposes cultural

superiority under empire that supersedes racial superiority under colonialism. Through the World

Bank and the International Monetary Fund, Western investors maintain conditions of slave labor

and free exploitation of natural resources such as oil and precious metals, whether through the

establishment of racist hierarchies or by way of more flexible cultural hierarchies (Rhodes,

1970). Globalization is the new by-word for empire, with forms of economic and political

domination replacing the gunboat diplomacy of the British Empire, now under the one-world

rubric of Pax-Americana. Before the old colonialism had died, Weber had already prepared the

analytical framework for the new imperialism that commenced with the ascendency of America

over the British Empire at the end of WWII (Greene, 1970). Weber simply precludes all

perspectives that are nonwestern, or do not uphold the status quo.


Today’s ‘cultural relativist’ Weberian epigones, whom Marx would have identified as

‘prize-fighters’ for capitalism, use Weber’s rationalization of capitalist economics as their

springboard for apologetics for the status quo. Weber differed little from Marx’s explanation of

class conflict, placing his adumbration of the new, empirical science of sociology squarely on the

side of the ruling rather than insurgent classes. Today’s neo-racists appeal to Weber rather than

Marx to denigrate all suggestions that political and economic inequities have any social origin as

‘dependency theory,’ which is patently false in the neo-racist world view.


Literature Review Essay

Jonathan Edwards systematized and justified the Puritan theme of predestination (cited in

Ormerod, 2006) at the core of Weber’s (2002) identification of the instrumental role of the

Puritan work ethic in the foundation of capitalism, which we will explore in relation to Jamesean

psychology and Mannheim’s concept of ideology. To the Puritan, the ground of reality lies in the

mind of God, who communicates his ideas to humanity through His Word. Unitarianism reacted

to the Calvinistic postulate of the inherent depravity of humankind by developing a creed

asserting the innate moral goodness of the individual. Seeking a philosophic alternative to the

Unitarian religion, as well as to Locke’s empiricism, Emerson helped develop New England

Transcendentalism as a stronghold against Calvinism and the Enlightenment, under the influence

of Kant distinguishing between intuitive reason and analysis of sense experience. Emerson

influenced Nietzsche, James, Dewey, and Holmes.


Kant (2003), who originally coined the term ‘pragmatic belief’ (from the Greek

pragmatikos, meaning deed) in his Critique of Pure Reason, influenced Peirce’s thinking greatly.

Peirce’s primacy of Will derived from Schopenhauer’s elevation of Will over intellect. His

valuation of action in terms of results originated in the Utilitarianism of Mill, for which the

optimum result is the greatest good for the greatest number. Peirce borrowed from all of these

sources to state the original philosophy of pragmatism, identifying the meaning of an idea in the

link between its application and the ensuing results. His primary concerns were with obtaining
observable results through the application of positivistic scientific method, and establishing

objective standards.

Peirce defined the scientific endeavor in terms of research communities devoted to

disinterested inquiry (Ormerod, 2006). He distinguished between mathematics and positive

science, the former drawing logically necessary conclusions from formal hypotheses, the latter

deriving positive knowledge about reality from experience. Philosophy is concerned with

common sense in its greatest generality, providing a general conception of reality that serves as a

basis for the remainder of the positive sciences: Phenomenology, normative science (aesthetics

and ethics), and metaphysics. Phenomenology brings order to experience by inquiring into the

general characteristics of all phenomena, however derived. Peirce thought of predicates in terms

of consistency with realism rather than nominalism, deriving semiotics as a theory of meaning.

Today, semiotics is divided into semantics, the meaning of meaning; syntactics, the study of

grammar and deep structure; and pragmatics, which Habermas developed as communications

theory. Semiotics fathered the structuralism of Claude Levi-Strauss in the 1950s and 1960s and

laid the foundation for today’s post-structuralism.

Peirce’s epistemology derived from his experience as a laboratory scientist, which led

him to believe that the universe is intelligible, and accessible to understanding (Ormerod, 2006).

To Peirce, science is a cooperative endeavor, taking for granted propositions already established

as certain. Scientific method presumes a reality independent of opinion, affecting the five senses

according to natural laws, and enabling reasonable judgments about reality. Knowledge is

fallible, induction providing the test of certainty, with progress measured by the self-correcting

elimination of errors through experience. Peirce’s affinity with Darwinism arose not from
Darwin’s refutation of teleology, but rather from the process of natural selection, which is

grounded in random mutations, or errors. All observations are made within defined limits of

error, and natural laws change and adapt over time, becoming absolute only by the pragmatic

decision of a scientific research community.

We sharpen concepts and hypotheses by considering their practical effects (Ormerod,

2006). For instance, truth is the conclusion that anyone who investigates a matter long enough

will eventually draw, emerging from the consensus of the research community as opinions

converge. Peirce based quantitative induction on statistical sampling, by which the probability

that an element within a population possesses a particular property can be established. His

method of qualitative induction samples the consequences of a hypothesis. Cumulative inductive

sampling eventually restricts the limits of error indefinitely as observation statistically

approaches the correct probability value. Peirce’s central theme throughout voluminous writings

on numerous scientific subjects was the question, “What does it mean to say that we know

something in a world based on chance?” Uncertainty means that knowledge is fallible, and that

mind therefore cannot mirror reality. Knowledge can only be determined socially through the

scientific consensus of a research community.


William James’ Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking (1907)

replaced Peirce’s experience of scientific research communities with individual experience. Here

James put Peirce’s concept of meaning to work in a personal rather than scientific context,

deriving the usefulness of ideas in terms of the individual’s ability to use them in predicting

experience, enhancing emotions, and controlling behavior internally rather than being controlled
externally through social sanctions. Jamesean radical empiricism viewed reality as constructed

through pure experience. He defined pragmatism as oriented toward consequences and action

rather than any closed ontology, a priori presumption, idée fixee, or absolute; focusing on facts,

consequences, and adequacy: “…ideas (which themselves are but part of our experience) become

true just in so far as they help us to get into satisfactory relation with other parts of our

experience, to summarize them and get about among them by conceptual short-cuts instead of

following the interminable succession of particular phenomena” (cited in Ormerod, 2006). Truth

is the result of belief defined as that upon which we are prepared to take action, applied in a

specific context. The Cambridge pragmatism of James and Peirce influenced Lewis, Goodman,

Quine, Kuhn, and Putman. James explained Peirce’s philosophy clearly and concisely to the

intelligent layman, providing a model for popularization of scientific ideas without


James began his laboratory scientific work in physiology in 1861, founding the first

psychological laboratory at the Harvard School of Medicine two years after Darwin (1859/2006)

announced the Darwin/Wallace theory of evolution, forcing publication of his own 20 years of

research as The Origin of Species. Louis Agassiz, James’ mentor, opposed the theory, while

Jeffries Wyman, another mentor, supported the new research, although the intellectual

community generally received it as under-cutting the theistic account of creation. Organizing the

new science of psychology, James created empirical methods for the study of psych, Aristotle’s

soul stripped of religious connotations. His grounding in Darwinian biology inspired

functionalism, the view of mental activities as rooted in the biological needs of living organisms;

although James and Darwin both warned against considering function in isolation from structure,
an annoying habit of contemporary pseudo-intellectuals Gould (2002) identified as neo-


In his Principles of Psychology, James (1890/1950) clearly distinguished between the

science he was explicating and its philosophical background, thereby establishing heuristic

methods appropriate to the study as well as the hermeneutic validity of its concepts. Sharing

American philosophical concerns, he clarified thinking about the new science. James later turned

exclusively to philosophical writing, but his primary concerns in creating Radical Empiricism

and contributing to pragmatism have clear roots in his views on psychology as a science, which

he explored in Principles. Reaching deeply into the philosophical past of psychological thought,

James laid a fresh and robust foundation for a new science that continues to generate research

questions today, a century later.

A self-described radical empiricist, James grounds Principles in the science of

physiology while taking for granted the clearest introspective human experience, that individual

minds are somehow (in a manner still mysterious, dimly perceived, as through a glass darkly)

functionally grounded in the structure of the human brain. The mind is an evolutionary

adaptation to environment far more flexible than any instinct, or genetically programmed

behavior. Like Peirce and all realists, James assumed that physical reality exists independently of

our minds. In Principles he defined psychology as “the science of mental life, both of its

phenomena and of their conditions” (cited in Heidbreder, 1933, p156). The phenomenological

aspect is borne in the stream of consciousness, whereas the conditions of mental life emerge

from brain physiology.

As his first major scientific problem, James studied Kant’s theory of scientific method,

the empiricism of Chauncey Wright, and the evolutionism of Herbert Spencer. Wright

considered the empirical justification of cause and effect to be a universal postulate in scientific

inquiry, following Hume and Mill in believing that inductive inferences must be empirically

justified because no a priori principle can supply the necessary connection. The young James

first accepted this postulate as a classical empiricist, later critiquing this principle, radically

extending Peirce’s objections. In the last chapter of Principles, (1950) ‘Necessary Truths and the

Effects of Experience,’ James summed up his preliminary methodological findings. From

Spencer, James noted variability and fitness as two primary mechanisms of survival. However,

Spencer popularized Lamarkian ideas about ‘use inheritance,’ which he used to rationalize his

idea of society as a big, highly evolved animal. Rejecting such nonsense, James took Darwin’s

concept of biological variation and selection, and combined it with falsification through testing

of hypotheses in Pierce and Lotze to devise his theory of mental evolution, which he called

‘psychogenesis.’ To James, variability of ideas results in selection through adaptation to

experience. That which is useful in realizing our ends is true, emphasizing an individual, as

opposed to social (Peirce’s scientific consensus) criterion of truth. We choose based on the

effects of experience. The action of will is choice, understood as selection, and viewed in terms

of Darwin’s theory of natural selection.

James clearly distinguished the limits of rationality, with Pearson finding the sole

foundation of logic and mathematics in the innate capacity to compare, excluding experience. To

Pearson, reality consisted of elementary qualities, sensations that constitute the a priori

properties of subjectivity (cited in Woodward, 1993). These experiences, working directly,

impose order on inner relations, which in directly influence the mind. From the materials of

experience, thought creates abstract systems and hypothetical laws, the very stuff of thought.

Predication, classification, reasoning and mathematics are the bases of rationality. Rational

thought cannot tell whether its contents, such as numbers and geometric forms, are real, but only

that if they are, then certain formal relationships exist among them.

James refused to follow Kant’s analytic/synthetic distinction. Quine (cited in Woodward,

1993) noted that he would expect such a distinction to fall in any theory of man-made truth.

Truth may be found through introspection and analysis of a working hypothesis, narrowing error

by approaching a limit in an evolutionary process. The truth of an idea is established through

events, in relation to its practical consequences relative to particular thoughts through a process

of inquiry. Truth is not related to any correspondence theory of mind and reality. Kant’s critiques

of reason and morality suggest that truth is based on belief. Peirce’s hypothesis testing and

Lotze’s Kantian view of scientific method lead to the same conclusion. James synthesized both

the Kant/Peirce suggestion that truth is based on belief, and Darwin’s theory of evolution into his

own theory of mental evolution, psychogenesis (Woodward, 1993), but did not accept the

Kantian duality between phenomena and noumena, theoretical and practical knowledge.

James argued that in no aspect of experience can ideas be seen as reflections, or copies of

reality. Although he wished to ground scientific and moral truth in something more than learning

from experience, he would not accept any logical theory that coherence within a deductive

framework could guarantee truth. Seeking guidance from nature, James extended the

Darwin/Wallace concept of natural selection to the realm of ideas. He clearly rejected the

philosophic dualism of mind/body. Ideas are neither copies of reality, nor are they merely
rational or empirical. Wherever beliefs come from, their truth is established through a process of

selection, in which those that are most adapted to practice survive.

Woodward found this concept coherent with modern ideas about probability and chaos,

especially Croce’s 1990 thesis (cited in Woodward, 1993), calling attention to James’ open,

probabilistic ontology, and Siegfried’s 1978 thesis on chaos. Whether or not James provided

final answers to questions of the philosophy of science, he clearly stated the problems, and

refused to commit himself to any existing school of thought. It is interesting that, after he wrote

the last chapter of Principles, his interests focused on philosophy from that point forward, and

rather than rewrite his work using the radically empirical methodology he had derived from this

study of the human mind, he went on to state the principles of Radical Empiricism and became a

major influence in the philosophy of pragmatism, which inspired behaviorism in psychology and

led to the science of social psychology.

Consciousness lies in the action of the cerebral cortex, as it mediates between neural

inputs and outputs. The immediate and personal character of experience provides the

fundamental data of psychology. James evaluated all of the new kinds of psychological

investigations, including the experimentalism of Wundt (whose mature developments in Gestalt

theory he never lived to see), British Associationism, and French studies of psychopathic

personalities, valuing knowledge won through all methods, while critiquing narrow views and

research principles. Even in his psychical research, James clearly distinguished between

speculation and observation. “He was fundamentally of a scientific turn of mind…. (although) he

was so alive to human hopes and desires (especially religion, which he investigated in Varieties
of Religious Experience (2008)) that he could not help giving them a chance” (Heidbreder, 1933,

p156) (parenthetical words mine).

Grounding his phenomenology of consciousness in will, choice, and belief, James

considered intellect to be only one of many human coping mechanisms. He observed that

deterministic rationalism appeals only to intellect, constituting a kind of blindness to other

human faculties. James’ sharp critique exposed the true appeal of determinism in terms of its

practical result, which is to serve as a pillow to intellectual sloth in over-simplifying reality

rather than grappling with its complexity. All thought originates in experience, which validates

and verifies value as truth. The clearest and most immediate field of experience is self-

consciousness. Although James would eventually deal with challenges to the existence of

consciousness in his philosophy, he considered such questions to be too metaphysical for the

science of psychology.

Consciousness of self is an empirical fact, and every thought is part of a personal

consciousness, whether of a primary or secondary personality. With Heraclitus, James believed

that we can never step twice into the same stream (of consciousness), that any idea reconsidered

exists in an altered state, and that the object of thought must never be confused with the process

of thinking about it. James rejected determinism as inadequate to moral experience, and

evaluated varieties of religious experience (James, 2008) (experience = reality) as empirically

verifiable. With Bergson, James rejected Hume’s “sensate” as the foundation of causation and

necessity. We exercise freedom of will relative to a future open to possibility and effort. In

dismissing Plato’s ideal realm of absolute truth as a myth, James dismissed both absolute

idealism and naïve objectivism.

To James, the dualism between subject and object is an empirical, inescapable fact of

psychology. Single, complete thoughts, inseparable from language, reference objects with all of

the ‘fringe’ connotations that accompany transitive states of consciousness. This stream flows

without break, form interacting with substance, thereby creating complexity in terms of unity and

continuity. Perception is selective, leading to deliberation and choice in identifying the attributes

of its object. Not all selection activities are volitional, some are even unconscious, but

nevertheless selection narrows the possibilities in the stream of consciousness. The individual

constructs self out of such material, thereby finding salvation and meeting her calling, which we

will explore in Weber’s (2002) identification of the Protestant ethic.

When behavior adapts to circumstances, arriving at the same goal through a variety of

means, following James we can infer the existence of mind. In Principles, James postulated a

stream of consciousness, with the entire brain constantly changing its state as human will directs

thought, resulting in behavior. Taking partial semiotic cues from James, the Behaviorists reduced

this concept of perception and thought embedded in experience to simple stimulus and response,

and learning to simple and operant conditioning, both objectively observable, as constituting the

entire field of psychology.

Watson, Pavlov, and Skinner reduced Jamesean spontaneity, grounded in free will, to

genetically preprogrammed behavior, or instinct, which can be shaped in the laboratory using

variable rewards and punishments in a technique known as Behavior Modification. Presumably

lacking the self-consciousness requisite to mental life, the founders of Behaviorism assumed no

empirical distinction between mind and body, dismissed introspection as unscientific in favor of

observing behavior, and inferred nothing unobservable, deeming consciousness an empty

abstraction. Denying consciousness as an unverifiable intervening variable, similar to the

discarded physical concepts of ‘phlogisten’ and ‘ether,’ Behaviorism rejected Jamesean self-

awareness, embracing only the functionalism derived from James’ evolutionary biology.

James viewed self-consciousness from two perspectives. As awareness of self, ‘I’ thinks,

whereas ‘Me’ is the objective self, projected in social life as observed by others, with a spiritual

aspect. Personal identity is the remembered sequence of self in action. We exercise the will to

believe through habit. James believed his personal clinical depression was brought on through

over-indulgence in introspection, his primary scientific methodology, and overcame this medical

problem through action and choice. James’ Varieties of Religious Experience (2008) presented

this struggle as a moral choice, sustained through faith, which is the will to believe. He thought

too highly of human aspirations, hopes, and dreams to crush faith under the enfilade of

empiricism (the empiricism of a machine gun, in Lenin’s apt phrase). To quote C. L. R. James

(1947, para. 7):

“The bourgeois hypotheses are for the most part unconscious. They are the
inevitability of bourgeois society, natural division of labor, more particularly of
men into capitalists and workers, constantly expanding technical progress,
constantly expanding production, constantly expanding democracy, and
constantly rising culture. But during the last thirty years, these have crumbled to
dust in their hands. They have no hypotheses they can believe in and that is why
they cannot think. Historical facts, large and small, continuously deliver
shattering blows at the foundation of their logical system. Nothing remains for
them but the logic of the machine gun, and the crude empiricism of police

William James’ interest in religion was detached and impersonal, and his assessment of

belief empirical. James hoped to establish the validity of religion through mystical experience,

and did not dismiss the possibility of Spiritualism (which Houdini the magician later thoroughly

debunked). William Barrett (cited in Ormerod, 2006), the existentialist philosopher (Sartre was
influenced by James), suggested that perhaps James should have taken a more pragmatic

approach to religion, elevating prayer to the status of praxis. Others see a Svedborgian religious

influence through his father, Henry.

James pointed out that established beliefs are held, in the face of contradictory facts, until

some new idea enables a new synthesis of old and new experience. Kuhn (1996) picked up on

this idea, defining normative research and its response to change. Barrett (cited in Ormerod,

2006) observed that Wittgenstein’s pragmatic analysis of language, and the 20th Century rise of

Existentialism under the influence of Heidegger and Sartre have brought James’ ideas back into

vogue: “(James) is a thinker of very great force.”

Subsequent directions in psychology and epistemology derived from James’ attitude

toward introspection. One extreme considers our awareness of our own states of consciousness to

be the immediate, infallible, undistorted experience of reality, as distinct from the reconstructed

form in which we know external objects. Comte (founder of naïve objectivist sociology), took

the opposite extreme, according to which “the thinker cannot divide himself into two, of whom

one reasons while the other observes him reason. The organ observed and the organ observing

being, in this case, identical, how could observation take place?” (cited in Heidbreder, 1933).

Comte is here presuming objectivity as possible only in the absolute separation of subject from


Sayer (1992) identified Comte’s formula as Scientism, a bastardized mix of idealism and

empiricism concocted by Comte in applying J. S. Mills’ recipe for a new social science, modeled

on the mechanistic natural science married to technology and capitalism that emerged from and

drove the industrial revolution. Today’s normative social science inherited Comte’s materialistic,
deterministic precepts. Although functional and behavioral psychological methodologists paid lip

service to James, their reductionist interpretation of pragmatism fully embraced the British

Empiricism James had so thoroughly criticized as woefully inadequate for any humanistic


Although Hume’s empiricism was considered radical in its day, James established his

own separate stream of Radical Empiricism. Philosophically, modern empiricists were children

of Epicurus, Democritus, and Lucretius, whereas James derived insights about change

(Heraclitan fire) from Stoicism. Zeno’s paradox was designed to show the impossibility of

change under atomistic assumptions, which British Empiricists adopted while dismissing Zeno as

a Sophist. Simply ignoring Zeno through misinterpretation rather than grappling with the

implications of the paradox prevented modern naïve, objectivist materialists from understanding

causation in terms of structural relationship between systemic elements, recognizing only

contingent rather than causal relationships. To James, both causal and contingent relations are

directly experienced in terms of relationships between structure and function.

To James, contra Comte, introspection is verifiable using appropriate methods.

His methodological approach to introspection resonates strongly with, and clearly

foreshadows Sayer’s (1992) middle ground between idealism and relativism, which he

labeled ‘realism,’ James focused more on experience, whereas Sayer focused on the role

of experience in defining reality. Sayer’s criterion of truth is ‘practical adequacy,’ which

is the extent to which knowledge in action generates expectations that are subsequently

realized. James’ criterion of truth is utility, which is the extent to which an idea helps

explain experience. “The true, to put it very briefly, is only the expedient in the way of
our thinking, just as the right is only the expedient in the way of our behaving" (cited in

Crosby, & Viney, 1993). To James, reality is what we experience. Sayer’s stream of

realism is the legitimate descendant of the exploratory methodology James first

discovered in Principles, and subsequently clarified in his philosophic statement of

Radical Empiricism.

In James’ view, subject and object are empirically and irreducibly separated in terms of

experience, rather than subject to any philosophical distinction. Continental Rationalism

(Descartes’ ‘ghost in the machine’) absolutely separated subject from an unknowable object,

known only through the reflection of sensations relative to a priori ideal prototypes. To

somehow look behind experience for ‘true’ forms, known only to intuition, is pointless when the

truth of an idea can only be defined in terms of its practical adequacy to experience. The world

of thought and our thoughts about the world are both connected to experience. Cartesian doubt

(actually reconstituted Scholasticism, stripped of any concept of divinity) and John Locke

notwithstanding, form cannot be separated from substance.

To Sayer (1992), neither theory nor observation can be value-neutral, in line with James’

critique of Comte’s definition of scientific objectivity, which rendered absurd the notion that

human interests have nothing to do with scientific constructions. Science begins with a “craving

to believe that the things of the world belong to kinds which are related by inward rationality

together” (cited in Crosby & Viney, 1993). Science is selective, built on plastic human

assumptions and demands. James denied the rationalistic “law of sufficient reason,” admitting

order and chaos, causation and mystery. Methodology must be pluralistic, adapted to the subject

matter at hand. James evaluated all experience (reality) in terms of memory, judgment, and
inquiry. The sensate, from which selective perception determines the way we construct reality,

exists within the stream of consciousness. James would have been comfortable with Sayer’s

socially constructed objects, which perhaps reflect Peirce’s criterion of truth as educated opinion

upon which a research community must eventually agree.

Although British Empiricism upheld the primacy of experience over theory, it

contradicted this principle in adhering to the dogma of atomism, causation as grounded only in

succession, the absolute separation of the five senses, and accepting a priori judgments and

propositions as something other than as formal definitions or empirical hypotheses subject to

experimental confirmation. James recognized the specific problems arising in both experimental

and comparative methods, identifying two transcendent linguistic problems that result in

confusion between thought and its object: Mental facts for which no words exist will be missed

entirely, and words can identify facts for which there is no introspective evidence of existence.

The persistent identity we attribute to ideas is a result of our confusion of thoughts with their

objects, which he found to be the primary sin of empiricism, whether Continental or British.

Furthermore, in observing a mental state, the psychologist must identify only what is,

“undistorted by custom, learning, or the uncritical habits of common sense” (Heidbreder, p175).

James grounded the science of psychology in a radical approach to empiricism’s roots,

deriving his scientific methodology through his observations as a student of the psyche. In his

careful critique of philosophy, even as it guided him in establishing psychology as an empirical

science, James reformulated a clearly inadequate, atomistic, mechanistic logical empiricism on a

radically new methodological basis. Quoting from Peirce, James explained,

“My philosophy is what I call a radical empiricism, a pluralism, a ‘tychism,’

which represents order as being gradually won and always in the making…. It is essential
to the evolution of philosophic thought that someone should defend a pluralistic
empiricism radically” (cited in James, 1977, p. xlii).

James first developed his methodology heuristically, while exploring the human psyche.

His distinctive approach, as opposed to British empiricism, derived directly from his

empirical observations in Principles. His Radical Empiricism (James, 1977) primarily

addresses psychological subjects, and in the course of his philosophic writings, James

revisited Principles in its entirety.

To James, the unity of experience is ‘concactenated’ (cited in Crosby & Viney, 1993),

formed out of the chaotic material of experience by our selective, classificatory, constructive,

theorizing attention. Although he accepted the mechanistic claims of 19th Century science, James

did not accept ‘science’ as the ultimate ordering of experience, and conceived the study of

psychology as broader than any such narrowly defined science. A science of the psyche cannot

be value-neutral, but embraces human interests, needs, and assumptions. As Sayer (1992) would

later point out, naïvely objective empiricism, today’s normative stream of social science

research, cannot be accused of actually being value-neutral, or of making observations that are

not theory-laden; but only of refusing to acknowledge these facts, and therefore of failing to

grapple with its own prejudices and presumptions. In accepting experience, consciousness and

self as we find them in introspection, James laid the psychological groundwork for a pragmatic

methodology that remains open to further development, as exemplified by Sayer (1992).

Experience is complex and dynamic, but not beyond systematic understanding. James

constructed pragmatism as an open, unfinished system, a precursor to complexity and chaos

theory. To James, any unitary, universal monism is a myth. His Radical Empiricism defined

‘pure experience’ as relative and fallible, as are all of our intellectual constructs, hypotheses or
facts, subject to future experience. Empty abstractions and generalizations are useless without

reference to concrete experience. In Principles, James as philosopher and scientist tentatively but

surely formulated a methodology adequate to the complexity of a new, fundamentally social

science. The subject of the psyche, as encountered in experience and explored through the widest

possible spectrum of approaches, demanded the radicalization (in the sense of getting to the root)

of empirical investigation, in terms of method, constructs, and observation, which eventually

became the basis of his clear statement of Radical Empiricism, and later his Pragmatic Method

(James, 1977).

In The Perception of Reality (cited in Crosby & Viney, 1993), James argued that

concepts are real to the extent that they are rooted in sensation, are vivid and immediate, are

coherent with other ideas, and have practical and emotional value to the self. In The Stream of

Thought he argued that this reality is fluid, dynamic, and changing between persons and cultures.

The dualism between subject and object, as relationship between knower and that which is

known, is not of two opposed substantial realms of mind and body, but rather an experientially

given, empirical fact that forms the subject matter of psychology. Rather than separate mental

from physical substance, psychology is interested in how the mind, as a function of the brain,

actually works, and how changes in the brain correspond to thoughts and emotions.

Although concepts must refer to sensual experience, both must also be consistent with

religious and moral needs. The social nature of man makes it impossible to doubt the existence

of other minds, which is a matter beyond sensation that brings us to spiritual awareness. By

refusing to preclude psychical and religious experience, Jamesean psychology paved the way for

later philosophical development. The scope of Principles accepted empirical information from
all forms of investigation related to the stream of experience, all ways of studying the psyche,

whether of the paranormal, the abnormal or religious belief. Furthermore, data from the five

senses imply no absolute, atomistic monism. There is no such thing as an individual sensation,

separated from the stream of consciousness and unrelated to all other sensations except by

contingency. The stream consists of a teeming multiplicity, from which selective attention must

discriminate structure and relationship to identify objects. Because relationships are inseparable

from objects, neither science nor philosophy needs British Associationism as glue to patch

together the atomized, disassociated world of Mill, Hume, and Hartley. This conception of

reality clearly paved the way for Radical Empiricism. Sayer’s (1992) causal powers of objects

are clearly rooted in Jamsean psychology and Realist in Pragmatic method.

James may not have provided a final solution to the problem of knowledge in his concept

of pure experience, in which subject and object are both part of a process of cognition, but he did

seriously critique the reduction of science to materialism. James’ influence can be seen in

Bernstein’s 1983 reformulation of the German hermeneutic tradition (cited in Woodward, 1993),

also opposed to neo-Kantian analytic philosophy, which finds structure embedded in shared

experience and nature. Edie’s 1987 critique viewed Rorty as returning to James through Dewey’s

emphasis on function, thereby missing major points of epistemological realism. Rosenthal’s

Speculative pragmatism provided ‘internal relationships of meaning’ to show that observation is


“Necessary Truths and the Effects of Experience,” the final chapter of Principles of

Psychology (1890/1950), highlights James’ rejection of Kant’s division between analytic and

synthetic knowledge. The genetic epistemology presented here, and later developed by Piaget,
ranges over various kinds of knowledge and how they develop. James established the link to

evolution through the surviving effects of action. This links James’ pragmatic approach to

meaning to the German hermeneutic tradition through praxis, in terms of the verifiable content

of evidence. To Siegfried (cited in Woodward, 1993), James’ combination of artistic with

scientific vision relates a ‘concrete hermeneutics’ to evolution through a ‘transformation of some

idealist presuppositions,’ neither mechanistic nor socio-biological. Woodward found the center

of James’ vision is a ‘reconstructed realism,’ through which humans construct order, relative to

Lotze, Peirce, and German hermeneutics.

Woodward (1993) shows the common ground between psychologists’ interest in

cognitive development and philosophical discussions of truth, belief and meaning, thereby

establishing the role of James’ evolutionary epistemology in history and in theory. “True ideas

are those that we can assimilate, validate, corroborate and verify. False ideas are those that we

cannot.” Fallibilism discards scientific hypotheses that do not meet the test of logic, that (P→Q)

↔ (⌐Q→⌐P), Aristotle’s logical contrapositive. According to Popper’s (1959) The Logic of

Scientific Discovery (cited in Woodward, 1993), one counter-example invalidates a scientific

hypothesis, but no accumulated weight of empirical evidence can otherwise establish its truth.

James, Wright, Peirce, Fries and Myers all contributed to Fallibilism, although strong links to

Kant remain obscure. Woodward cites Myers in tracing the origin of James’ pragmatism to

1885, and goes on to show the true origin in James’ mid ‘60’s critique of Spencer. James derived

the idea that we posit uncontradicted beliefs as absolute reality from Kant by way of Peirce and

Lotze, according to Woodward.

James’ Radical Empiricism rejected all metaphysical dualism, subjective idealism, and

the proposition that mind somehow ‘mirrors’ reality. The distinction between mind and body is

relative to experience. The field of consciousness is always complex, consisting of feelings,

sensations, thoughts, images, memories, and dreams. Intellectualism, devoid of sympathetic

insight, or verstehen (Weber, 1962), and emotion is blind, cutting off value mediated by feeling

and oblivious to the feelings of others. Feelings can be the best guide to truth. Here, James seems

to anticipate the modern conception of emotional intelligence (Goleman, 1995).

Throughout his Principles of Psychology, (1950), James made a careful study of all

statements of scientific method, both by scientists, especially those investigating psychological

phenomena, and philosophers, and explored their relationship to a methodology appropriate for

the new science of psychology. “Necessary Truths and the Effects of Experience,” the final

chapter of Principles, summarized his criticism of empiricism, rationalism, and Kant’s divorce

between theory and practice, without fully synthesizing James’ own methodological discoveries,

which are developed throughout Principles. It is interesting that, after he wrote the last chapter of

Psychology, James’ interests focused on philosophy from that point forward, and rather than

rewrite his work using the radically empirical methodology he derived from this study of the

human mind, he went on to state the principles of Radical Empiricism and became a major

influence in the philosophy of pragmatism, which inspired behaviorism in psychology and led to

the science of social psychology.

Self is social, with environmental contexts, as well as biological and physiological

aspects. In1917, Dewey (cited in Crosby & Viney, 1993) acknowledged the contribution of

James’ Principles to the foundations of social psychology, particularly James’ identification of

the social self and social instincts. Here, Dewey suggested attention be directed to human

interactions and group behavior, investigating the relation between instincts and social habits.

George Herbert Meade then picked up Dewey’s gauntlet and founded the science of social



Dewey championed pragmatism after Peirce and James. He systematically formulated

metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics in pragmatic terms (Ormerod, 2006). He was

strongly influenced by Burlington Transcendentalism, to which intuition meant introspection and

analysis, during undergraduate studies at the University of Vermont, later turning to Hegel for a

philosophy to provide guidance in living. During graduate studies at Hopkins, he was inspired by

Wundt’s Gestalt psychology. He integrated this with evolutionary theory, dropped Hegel, and

committed himself to experimental work. He championed the Progressive Movement, and

established an experimental school for educational reform at the University of Chicago. Modern

philosophers Putman, Habermas, and Rorty acknowledge his influence (cited in Ormerod, 2006).

Dewey applied philosophy to social practice in relating education to political reform. His

thought represented the Progressive Movement, which identified positive social change as the

need to reform the socially destructive habits of working people, such as exemplified in the

Pullman Strike. Knowledge is instrumental to action. Dewey’s Instrumentalism influenced

colleagues at the University of Chicago: Mead in founding Social Psychology and Watson in

founding Behaviorism, and was seminal for researchers at Columbia and several other

universities in New York.

Dewey formulated a theory of inquiry that accounts for how thought functions in

practical problem solving and in scientific inquiry (Ormerod, 2006). Scientific inquiry is self-

correcting, to be reviewed in the light of social rather than scientific values. Intelligent inquiry

solves problems, correcting itself through experimental testing and refinement of hypotheses

formulated in the light of experience. Morals and politics yield to this approach, as do the natural

sciences. For instance, legislation to change functions of government can be tested, with social

context defining the problem and suggesting its solution, and results reflecting back on the

process of inquiry. No rule is infallible, but progress results from intelligent personal habits

within social structures that support continuous inquiry.

Education is crucial to such progress. Children are active, willful, and impulsive,

influenced by as well as acting on their environment. Flexible and intelligent habits can be

cultivated in an environment that permits and evokes intelligent inquiry. Practical activities that

suggest the direction of theory should be emphasized, which can then guide further action. These

ideas provided the philosophical foundation of Dewey’s education laboratory at the University of

Chicago, the Dewey School, in which he tested and developed the new Gestalt psychology, in

the light of the psychology of James, who would surely have embraced the new synthesis with

the latter findings of Gestalt had he lived to see them (Ormerod, 2006). Dewey never lost the

idea of the unity of knowledge which he had first learned from Hegel.

Growth is the goal in human development, both in powers and abilities, through an open

capacity for and sensitivity to experience. Ends cannot be separated from means, knowing from

doing, theory from practice. In Dewey’s laboratory, children learned through goal-directed group

activities, conducted as workshops, addressing needs of family, business, and industry. Although
not a socialist himself, Dewey was sympathetic to American socialism, which grew in the wake

of the labor movement. Dewey was an enemy of oligarchy and economic injustice. As a political

naturalist, he held that a philosophical view of politics and society can learn from the natural

sciences that humans are political animals, and that social interaction is an emergent

phenomenon, a biological activity that creates, preserves, and propagates shared meanings, and

that cannot be reduced to its biological components (Ormerod, 2006). Consciousness arises

socially, emerging from complex relationships between systemic elements of open systems,

creating both individuals and society.

The unpredictable physical and highly organized social environments with which we

interact justify the state and natural rights, rather than any appeal to reason (Ormerod, 2006).

Dewey studied early and modern cultures and institutions. His method of philosophic criticism

was genetic analysis, tracing the history of ideas and institutions, comparing action and its results

in terms of original intention. Instrumentalism analyzes action in terms of means and ends.

Concepts and theories can be made to serve even higher ends, such as social justice. Dewey

proposed that justice can only be known by first categorizing, then comparing just to unjust

actions. Justice arises from concrete living activity, and becomes a dead letter when embodied in

an abstraction such as an ideal or principle, which leaves no room for alternative viewpoints in

debates over political principles and projects.

The quality of our participation in the political process can be evaluated through

experience. Generational and technical change introduce social instability, which now has

reached crisis proportions, requiring the best intellectual and moral resources of the entire

community, which only democratic economic and social justice can call forth. Democracy
provides the widest universe of discourse for the human experiment, and the broadest possible

framework for intelligent inquiry, which will determine the outcome of the battle of ideas.

Dewey wrote in 1937 that practical problem solving is critical to inquiry: all “controlled inquiry

and all institution of grounded assertion necessarily contain a practical factor, an activity of

doing and making which reshapes antecedent intellectual material and sets the problem of

inquiry” (cited in Ormerod, 2006). Political philosophy concerns method in clarifying,

criticizing, and adjudicating means to ends.

Impact of Pragmatism

European philosophers have viewed pragmatism’s insistence on practical efficacy as

quintessentially American, expressing crass materialism coupled to naïve democratizing, and

well adapted to unlimited expansion s Natty Bumppo (Cooper, 1984) first explored, then Paul

Bunyan conquered the Western Frontier. Pragmatism expressed the go-getter, maximum

achiever attitude engendered in the Puritan work ethic, as identified by Max Weber (2002).

Dewey pointed out that abstract principles cannot provide a basis for action precisely because

ends cannot be separated from means. Empirical questions always arise from the examination of

means. Ends must always be compared to outcomes. Inquiries into possible outcomes of social

action can be conducted along empirical lines, through the scientific analysis of factual evidence,

with each issue weighed against experience, history, and context. Preferring logical positivism,

symbolic logic, and linguistic analysis as paradigmatic frameworks for normative social science,

professional philosophers failed to notice their loss of a critical edge in adopting methods from

physical science. Sartre, Marcuse, Freud, and others questioned whether the world really can be

improved through human effort. A critical pragmatism is surely preferable as a guide to action to
such existential angst.

Marx and Habermas both emphasized praxis in rapidly accelerating technical change at

the center of their social vision. In founding the Frankfurt synthesis of Marxian class interest

with Freudian alienation, Habermas focused on modern politics, in terms of Dewey’s theory of

value, clarifying rational grounds for social criticism, and analyzing the role of ideology in

public debate. Widespread public discussion of social concerns enables the adoption of

reasonable policy. The role of ideology in creating technocratic consciousness must be carefully

examined and rooted out.

Out of the Frankfort School, Mannheim’s (1929/1954) Ideology and Utopia developed

ideology as fundamentally conservative and reactionary and utopian thought as critical, radical,

and potentially revolutionary. He examined the systemic relationships of all competing

ideologies to class interests, and was the first to actually examine the various world outlooks that

define competing interests. His sociology of knowledge provided an intellectual framework for

the history of ideas, now being written in all fields of endeavor.


Leary asked what was going on in animal research, functional human psychology, and

American society as a whole that led to Watson’s issuance of his behaviorist manifesto in 1913

(cited in Leary, 2004), and what are the perceived limitations of behavioral research today?

Beginning with Darwin’s work placing humans squarely within the animal kingdom, researchers

began to investigate comparative animal intelligence, eventually dropping speculations about

animal minds and consciousness, which cannot be observed directly, and focusing on direct

observations of animal learning and behavior. With Angell’s 1913presentation to the APA (cited
in Leary, 2004), behavior became a category in psychology, and grew in preferential use as

psychologists became dissatisfied with introspection as a method and consciousness as a subject

of study. The ultimate outcome of mental processes was seen to lie in how an organism

functions, which is defined as behavior.

Under the inspiration of Darwin’s ideas about evolution, James and Dewey had argued

that mind is expressed in natural selection of purposive action, which adapts responses to

environmental stimuli for the purpose of survival. Selected by consciousness, action is

appropriate in terms of its consequences. Mind is a tool serving survival, having evolved in the

struggle for existence. As such, it is a function within the stream of consciousness, orchestrating

life processes through learning from experience. Dewey (Leary, 2004) conceived of spiraling

stimulus-response (S-R) circuits with feedback, rather than James’ S-R arcs. Watson studied at

the University of Chicago under Dewey, but turned to Angell for the definition of functional

psychology. Summarizing James and Dewey, consciousness is embedded in nature, functionally

adapting behavior to environment. Under the leadership of Mead (founder of social psychology),

the Chicago functionalists never forgot Angell’s point that for human beings the environment is

social as well as physical.

The experimental work of Tolman, the theorizing of Hull, and the success of Skinner in

actually controlling behavior under some circumstances, outline the primary scope of

behaviorism throughout the remainder of the 20th century. The rise and consolidation of the

Progressive Movement during this same period, in which Dewey, Mead, and other pragmatists

were leaders, provided the social backdrop in America for the course of behaviorism. The idea

was that America’s otherwise perfect democracy was blemished by the dysfunctional behavior of
poor people, which must be predicted and controlled. In Beyond Freedom and Dignity, his opus

to utopian reform in America, Skinner (1971) stepped completely outside of his laboratory

results with pigeons, proposing operant conditioning as the model for all learning and the basis

for social control. By this time, major criticisms had already arisen within the social sciences of

the reductionism, logical positivism, philosophical materialism and scientism under which

consciousness had been reduced to behavior.

Although James, Dewey, and Mead laid the groundwork for the excessive claims of

behaviorism, they also helped to lay the critical ground for research that transcends the narrow

goals of prediction and control of behavior. Darwin’s simplistic metaphors (primarily inherited

from economics, especially the Malthusian hypothesis) have been replaced by concepts from

systems and chaos theory, such as self-adaptive systems and emergence. Meaning can no longer

be excluded from the study of social phenomena, as we deal with objects that are socially

defined and study systems that include self-reflective processes such as our own efforts to

understand human behavior. As are the systems of thought and behavior found outside of

Skinner’s boxes, the question “Whither Behaviorism?” to Leary is still open.

Vulgar Materialism and Modern Research

The popularization of vulgar Darwinism (Kando, 2008), originally defined by James and

thoroughly critiqued by Gould (2002), holds that morality and ethics are coded into genetic

structures. Kuhn’s paradigm might describe this as normative research, although extending

Kuhn’s r-r-revolutionary analogy a bit further, we might also describe it as a scientific counter-

revolution. With the government, under the auspices of the NIMH (National Institute of Mental

Health (see Goring Institute below)) and military research, pouring $4 trillion per year more into
reductionist research into consciousness and self-awareness, the unexamined prejudices and

presumptions of normative, positivistic social science continue to receive that much more

reinforcement (with scientists behaving like pigeons in Skinner boxes), in the form of ill-

informed research published in scientific journals that continues to confuse the brain with the

mind, in the same way that material is confused with spiritual.

Kando described this in Marxian terms as reification, providing material form to abstract

concepts, personifying ideas into something tangible, often in the interest of operationalizing

measurement, but even more often in the interest of visualization, as when we attribute human

characteristics to animals or organizations. This process can be most clearly seen in cartoon

characters, such as Tony the Tiger, or Dino the dinosaur, who personified energy in your belly or

your gas tank. Sociologists, following Durkheim, tend to reify society, as though there were

some supra-individual entity that thinks and acts as an agent for the collective totality of

individuals. Sociologists can then act as ventriloquists, speaking for society in punishing and

correcting deviant behavior.

When psychologists equate the mind and consciousness with the brain, they presume

both to be material substances that can then be investigated using microscopes, chemicals,

weights and measures, like any other physical object. This is not to say that conditions such as

hunger, fear, motivation, etc. do not have physiological correlates, but only that a state of being,

quality, or experience, cannot be reduced to such physiological measures. A lie detector cannot

detect a lie, but only physiological changes that people usually, but not always, go through when

they are lying, and often when they are not. The physiology, motivation, and feeling of hunger

are neither located in the stomach, nor in any particular brain neuron. Hunger is a state, a
process, or a sensation, but not an object that can be quantified in terms of ‘insufficient food


Consciousness may require neuro-chemical processes to emerge, but it is not the sum of

these processes. It may be the result of chemical processes in our nervous system, just like pain

is the result of tissue damage. Different mental functions are performed by different parts of the

brain, but mind is a function, a process emerging from experience, that requires language, and

therefore society, for self-awareness. My computer can process this document, enabling me to

create and store it. However, the computer will never produce this document. Turn the computer

on, and this document springs back on to the monitor. Turn my brain off, and the remainder of

this document will never be produced. No computer ever had a thought. The idea of a thought

emerging from a computer is as unlikely (not inconceivable) as life originating in a laboratory.

When humans try to breathe life into their conceptions, they only reify monsters, as did Mary

Wollstonecraft-Shelly’s (1818/2004) Dr. Frankenstein.

The good doctor meant well, as did his creation, an allegory for reductionist science, but

like today’s research establishment, he was wedded to Comte’s Positivism, believing that life,

rather than merely a semblance of life, can be derived from electricity interacting with matter.

Dr. Galvani may have galvanized a frog leg back in 1737, but he was further from inspiring the

breath of life than the discoverer of the lodestone was from inventing a warp drive for the

starship Enterprise. Martindale (1960, p53) defined positivism for the social sciences as, “that

tendency in thought which rigorously restricts all explanation of phenomena purely to

phenomena themselves, preferring explanation strictly on the model of exact scientific

procedure, and rejecting all tendencies, assumptions, and ideas which exceed the limits of
scientific technique.” The primary drawback of positivism is that it suffers from the same

limitation Bruce Willis exhibited in The Sixth Sense (Shyamalan, 1999): positivism, along with

Descartes, sees the machine only through the eyes of the ghost, but cannot see ghosts. By failing

to examine their own presumptions, precepts, and values, positivists can point to Comte as the

founder of social science, modeled on Galileo’s laboratory experiments, but cannot identify

themselves as acolytes of Comte’s religion of Scientism. This is the ruling paradigm of today’s

normative social science research (Kuhn, 1996), sturdily resisting all criticism, however


Even James and Mead worshipped at this materialistic altar, laying a trail that leads

directly to Skinner and his boxes. Because James saw philosophy as the higher calling, he

abandoned the science of psychology, of which he was a major architect, thereafter deriving

from his studies of the mind and hammering out a radical methodology for an empirical science

of psychology which neither he, nor anyone else has fully realized even today. He went on to

become a major thinker in pragmatism, expanding it beyond the narrow fetters of the scientistic

presumptions of men like Peirce. The underlying ontology of orthodox science is reductionist

materialism, which James thoroughly critiqued. Karl Popper fashioned Lotze’s Kantian

formulation of hypothesis testing into his own theory of falsification (Woodward, 1993), paying

lip service to critical rationalism while covertly importing the atomism and natural law of

Lucretius, Berkeley, Hume, Locke and Mill. James had methodically rooted these

presuppositions out of radical empiricism.

Today’s rationalists, on either side of the narrow ideological divide between Popperism

and post-Marx Marxism, whether epigones of the London School of Economics or acolytes of
Stalin’s Five-Year Plan, all follow Descartes into Plato ‘s cave, separating subject from object

and theory from practice. The ghost still lives in the machine, recreating the entire material

universe with each observation, even in the extremely durable Copenhagen interpretation of

quantum mechanics (today’s standard model of quantum electrodynamics), brilliantly hammered

out by Bohr and Heisenberg. As Dr. Samuel Johnson said when he kicked the stone, “I refute it

(Bishop Berkeley), thus.” (cited in McFadden, 2000, p. 195). Critiquing modern psychological

functionalism’s behaviorist legacy, Lockwood (1989) identified behaviorism’s fundamental error

as locating belief within a functional-causal context of external observation rather than as an

expression of consciousness. The presumption that a specific material substrate, whether

deducible a priori, or subject to empirical verification, must exist for any specific state of

consciousness is simply incoherent in the light of ongoing research. An unknown bard provided

this reply to Dr. Johnson: “Kick the rock, Sam Johnson, break your bones, but cloudy, cloudy is

the stuff of stones.” (cited on p36). Rationalism, in its unrelenting materialism, functions as a

bridge from Berkeley to Descartes, providing a thin baptismal chrism for solipsism.

The closed universe presented by Popper’s Critical Rationalism presumes that all

phenomenology of mind can be reduced to material substance, In this vision, self-consciousness

cannot be seen as a category, therefore such science cannot admit that it is guided by any

philosophical ontology or metaphysics, but rather prefers to interpret its own blindness as “value-

neutrality.” All abstractions must be reducible to physical building blocks to earn the ascription

of physical reality. On work-days, scientists drop the religious trappings of inductive empiricism,

exchanging their ascension robes for the laboratory coats of deductive-nomological theory,

having survived the firing squad of peer review. Although critical rationalists profess immediate
conversion when confronted by falsification, Kuhn (1996) suggested that they are more likely to

die than change their minds.

A major issue that still causes confusion is the difference between the Darwin/Wallace

co-discovery of the fact of evolution, and the scientific metaphors (from the realm of economics)

that Darwin used to state his theory of evolution (Skrupskelis, 2007). Darwin wrote thousands of

pages of observations illustrating the fact that evolution has indeed occurred in biological

systems, although it would be four decades before Mendel’s contemporaneous gene theory could

provide a mechanism for mutation, and the process is still not well-understood (McFadden,

2000). From James’ synthesis of Peirce’s philosophy of pragmatism and the Darwin/Wallace

theory of evolution by natural selection, functionalism developed an explanation of social and

psychological phenomena with serious self-limitations through the exclusion of meaning. As

James clearly argued, this is dangerously simplistic for understanding an evolving organism that

possesses language and self-consciousness. Functionalism assumed that structure can be fully

relegated to a black-box for a sub-process (Lockwood, 1989), explained with reference to

relationships between elements and by establishing the conditions necessary for development.

However, this does not explain origin (Sayer, 1992), and leaves untouched the emergence of new

elements from relationships in open systems.

The corpus of scientific thought since James and Darwin/Wallace shows clearly that

evolution has also occurred in all aspects of creation other than biological. Many different strata

of systems have emerged, dating back to the first few billionths of a second during the proto –

event astronomer and astrophysicist Fred Hoyle (a steady-state theorist) disparagingly dubbed

“The Big Bang.” Today, Father Georges LeMaitre’s solution to Einstein’s equations of General
Relativity is universally known as “the Standard Cosmological Model.” Although his appellation

has been retained, few follow Dr. Hoyle in scoffing at the theory as the rehashed Catholic dogma

of creation ex nihilo. Today, theories of evolution are themselves an open system, undergoing

development on many fronts. The only epistemological, metaphysical, and ontological

framework available to men like James and Darwin was that which is most appropriate for

closed systems: foundationalism, atomism, reductionism, naïve objectivism, logicism,

deductivism, and scientism (Sayer, 1992). That is perhaps why James’ thought evolved from

science to philosophy, considering the latter to be the higher calling.

Darwin and James discovered the fundamental realities of transformation and change.

James rejected many aspects of the science of his time, including foundationalism, the theory of

absolute knowledge. In laying the foundations for the science of psychology, James first

identified all aspects of his new scientific method, Radical Empiricism, although this

methodology remains yet to be fully realized in the study of the psyche. Separately, he was an

original thinker in the philosophy of pragmatism, which he conceived and that still exists as an

open-ended system of thought in continuous development. Nevertheless, from today’s

perspective Darwin, Wallace and James were conducting initial explorations of the most

complex of open systems, and could not be expected to have fully escaped from the closed

ontology they had inherited as the orthodox view of science. In fact, with all of the new

developments in chaos and complexity theory, quantum evolution and adaptive, open systems,

we still have not fully escaped from many of these limitations from the past, especially in the

development of a fully humanistic social science.

Surprisingly, although perhaps not so for James, who never liked to arrive at any

absolute, even the absolute dismissal of a view he is arguing against, James ended a recently

discovered discussion of relativism with respect to the evolution of morals by viewing the

question as open (Skrupskelis, 2007). If survival of the fittest, the ultimate value of evolution, is

relative only to the continued existence of a life instinct, its replacement by the development of a

death instinct in all living things, resulting in the ultimate extinction of all life, would leave no

means to evaluate whether or not the universe had failed. If there is some absolute ground for

preferring life to death, then the passion or instinct for survival could be said to be objectively

right by serving this higher good. A key aspect of James’ legacy is his emphasis on the role of

habit formation in the ‘nurture’ or ‘education’ of individual character, leading to an elevation of

the importance of learning as a topic of psychological study. It was not a major subject of

empirical study before William James, but it has been ever since. Similarly, a concern for the

practical, for what really matters regarding human welfare, was firmly entrenched by those who

took their cue from James.

Truth as an Epistemic Ideal

According to Peirce, “Truth is that concordance of an abstract statement with the ideal

limit towards which endless investigation would tend to bring scientific belief…” In James’

formulation, “Absolute truth…. Means an ideal set of formulations toward which all opinions in

the long run of experience can be expected to converge (cited in Nolt, 2008). Nolt identifies

these definitions as expressing the notion of truth as an epistemic ideal, meaning that all

observers would warrant the truth value of a statement under ideal epistemic conditions. For both

philosophers, these conditions would mean endless scientific inquiry. One interpretation of
Peirce’s statement takes it to be a regulative ideal of inquiry, which we must either assume or

hope for.

Both philosophers, in turning toward useful rather than ideal definitions of truth, would

not hold any notion of truth to be infallible, but rather subject to further experience, which is

unknowable. For instance, I must presume that there is no unicorn in my garden. This truth may

be unshakeable, at least until I actually encounter the unicorn in the garden. The fact that my

knowledge is in principle fallible, that is, subject to empirical verification or at least falsification,

is no reason for me to expect it to fail. In fact, I know from my own experience that it will not.

When the unicorn appears, I will know that I have finally lost it. The practical adequacy of the

notion of the fallibility of all propositions lies in being able to accept failure to predict useful

results, even contrary to previous experience. Such failure is a new experience to which I must

somehow adjust my previous expectations, even revising my theoretical framework, or at least

re-establishing its boundary, if necessary, perhaps including unicorn sightings as real events.

Whether any particular assumption is in fact unverified, or is in principle unverifiable, makes

very little difference if it lacks practical adequacy. Either way, it is useless.

However, Nolt (2008) held that under any definition of truth as an epistemic ideal (TEI),

including the practical adequacy of Sayer, a proposition must first be fixedly warranted by

human inquirers under certain ideal epistemic conditions, and vice versa. ‘Warranted’ means

only justified, verified, or proved. Peirce and James established ongoing scientific inquiry as the

ideal epistemic condition, although other interpretations exist, such as Putnam’s ready

availability of all relevant evidence, Wright’s arbitrarily close scrutiny of pedigree, and the
possibility of extensive improvements in information. Peirce hedged his bets by saying that

ultimately, disciplined consensus is the best we can hope for, while yet holding even our most

cherished truth as subject to falsification. Any empiricist, if confronted with a truth that has

purported to reach this ideal, would consider it to be rationalistic dogma. At best, an ideal can

only be approached from an empirical stand point, but never transcendentally realized.

Pragmatism established this criterion of truth to counter any argument that truths may exist that

cannot be warranted intellectually. Inquiry, discipline, confirmation, and pair-wise convergence

of the inquiry space are all critical to any such concept of truth. Nevertheless, such a criterion of

truth faces the problem of universal quantification and of negation, whether as unconfirmable or

as refuted. TEI also fails to reach any absolute, therefore leaving any such definition open to

relativism, which pragmatism was trying to avoid in the first place.

An idea cannot be both warranted and unwarranted for the same observer in the same

state, if by warranted we mean at least indicated by a preponderance of the evidence. The

discipline of communal inquiry by a research community may involve evidentiary pathways that

cross, converge, or diverge. Two different inquirers in the same evidentiary state may disagree as

to warrant, with either one or both being mistaken, subject to a uniform standard of warrant

within a given universe of discourse. This is the definition of discipline. Without such discipline,

the door is left open to relativism, and realism founders. TEI can hold rigorously only if

discipline is perfect, which is never the case.

Under the presumption that progress in science must yield increasing numbers of

warranted propositions, most of these must remain fixed, in not being contradicted by further
experience. Fixed warrant means confirmation. Because a confirmed proposition must in fact be

considered fallible, it can never be established as absolute. In formal logic, a proposition is either

true or false. Such reasoning is inadequate here, because a proposition may either be confirmed,

unconfirmed, or unconfirmable. A proposition is false if and only if its truth value is

unconfirmable. Here, truth value is relative to the state of evidence.

Relating truth of a proposition to confirmation in the future does not help, because two

different disciplines, using different evidence, could disagree permanently over whether the

proposition or its negation is confirmed. With limited human investigative resources, the

majority of propositions will never be investigated. All evidence actually available to humans,

were it available to any one of us, and would confirm propositions that have not yet been

investigated. However, the only way to preserve equivalence between truth and confirmation is

to link truth to the ideal confirmability of the proposition.

In this spirit, the inquiry space, which includes all possible paths of inquiry, can be

expanded to include all possible evidentiary states attainable over an endless stretch of time.

Peirce, in fact, does this (Nolt, 2008), identifying possible confirmation in at least one of

infinitely many paths of disciplined inquiry as truth. However, more in line with Peirce’s actual

intent, the practical adequacy of a proposition can be maintained until its negation is confirmed.

Kuhn’s dominant paradigm of normative research will continue to function, even though it has

made a prediction that has been proven wrong, until some accommodation can be made to the

disconcerting empirical evidence, or a more powerful paradigm that can explain all of the facts is

adopted by a new generation of researchers. Few scientists are as quick to abandon a false
premise as Popper suggests they ought when confronted by a new evidentiary state that

demonstrates the fallibility of a proposition (Kuhn, 1996).

An inquiry space, that is, all paths of inquiry within a discipline, Is pair-wise convergent

(Nolt, 2008) when paths have combinatorial closure, which simply means that confirmatory

evidence states from two different lines of inquiry can be combined into a new evidence state

wherein the proposition remains confirmed. This releases truth from relativity to either observer

or evidence states, guaranteed by discipline. It also establishes the truth values for propositions

paired under ‘not,’ ‘and,’ and non-exclusive ‘or’ operators in traditional Aristotelian logic.

Peircian truth is consistent with universal quantification, in which inconsistencies arise when the

inquiry space is infinite, because it sets global convergence as an ideal limit of inquiry,

considered as a maximum state in which any proposition confirmed by any set of inquiry paths is

confirmed. Pair-wise convergence remains adequate for finite spaces. Although Peircian truth

meets all the requirements of prepositional and predicate logic, it still suffers from a problem

with negation. If, realistically, some value of a proposition must be true, but is unconfirmable,

any assigned value must be unconfirmed. By Sayer’s definition of truth as practical adequacy,

this is not a problem, since no truth can be determined from inadequate evidence. The problem

arises because any particular value is unconfirmable, meaning that the negation of all values is

confirmed. This logical confirmation must be subject to the absence of any warrant to reject it.

Therefore, all unreasonable values are confirmed, and reasonable values of the negation of an

unconfirmable hypothesis must be considered as neither true nor false, thereby negating the law

of contradiction. Enough has been said to show that the pragmatic criterion of truth can be
adapted to a realist position, as in Sayer’s concept of practical adequacy, without losing more

than one postulate from the demonstrations of formal logic.

Weber’s Historical Causation

Axtmann (2006) outlines the Weberian model of historical causation, comparing it to

Teschke’s interpretation of Brenner’s property relations approach. Teschke studied the role of

property relations in the formulation of international relations from 1000 CE through 1748 CE,

when the Peace of Westphalia marked the end of the Thirty Years’ War, which consolidated the

secular claims of the absolutist state in Europe. From that point on the separation between church

and state would be determined by secular, rather than religious authority (Sibley, 1970). The

advent of capitalist parliamentary polity in England in 1688 CE brought international relations

into an era of geopolitics, in which the British Empire exported modernization, transforming

absolutist states into parliamentary democracies under the global influence of capitalism.

Brenner’s property relationship is “the inherently conflictive relations of property—

always [sic!] guaranteed directly or indirectly, in the last analysis, by force—by which an

unpaid-for part of the product is extracted from the direct producers by a class of non-producers”

(Cited in Axtmann, 2006). Teschke used this model to assert his claim that international relations

are governed by the structure of social property relations. Feudalism is thus understood in terms

of compulsion through political modes of appropriating social surplus. Prior to capitalism,

violent exploitation characterized class relations. Conflicts within the ruling class were over

relative share in the means of coercion. War and peace were governed by internal class relations,

with international relations resulting from the outcome of class conflicts.

Teschke pointed out, as did Weber himself, that Weber’s ideal types, such as his typology

of ‘legitimate domination,’ do not account for historical change (Cited in Axtmann, 2006).

Historical change, in Weber’s model, results from the structure of social action in various

institutional forms of association. The question is whether there is any relationship between such

structures that reinforces or restrains them. Although most groups are economically determined,

structural change must account for how social action affects existing constraints, using resources

and opportunities to further group self-interest. Political structural change, such as the

formulation of the modern state, results from dynamic relations between institutional structures

of social action, with no single realm, such as the economic, determining the entire process. This

explanatory model is the basis of Weber’s analysis of the role of the Protestant Ethic in the

development of capitalism.

In the mainstream of Weberian interpretation, Axtmann (2006) identified four sources of

social power as ideology, the military, politics, and the economy, each resulting in its own form

of organization (none of which is primary), that provide social structure. In social change,

complexity in the relations between various organizational forms introduces unpredictability into

the process. Teschke accuses Weber’s model as being eclectic, denying necessary relations

between social spheres, and failing to account for dialectical contradictions. Weber’s (1978)

research strategy of identifying relations of structural adequacy is certainly more than a

presumption of multiple causation. A century of debate over historical necessity and

contradictions has not resolved the latter issues, except in perhaps underlining the futility of

comparing theories grounded in fundamentally different visions of reality, theories of

knowledge, and methods. Weber would never, as do Post-Marx Marxists, deny functional
autonomy to organized political power, seeing politics as integral to the logic of exploitation.

Neither would he posit war as arising out of property relations through economic necessity.

Collins (cited in Axtmann, 2006) argued that, to Weber, legitimacy derived from the

ability to overpower external threats is important to political power structures in maintaining

internal order: “the state with high prestige vis-à-vis other states assures itself of a higher degree

of legitimacy for its demands for internal obedience." Loss of international standing can result in

increased internal tyranny, internal coups, or revolutions. Weber analyzed the economic origins

of imperialism, as well as class forces that motivate external politics. His attention to religion

exhibits the same kind of focus James took in distancing himself from positivism. The pragmatic

focus on action is found in Weber’s category of social action. Such action has a structure, from

which causal relations can be derived. Although empirical in approach, Weber maintains ideal

types similar to TEI of pragmatism. Weber seems to be locating a middle ground between

idealism and relativism, as did James and Sayer. Marx himself founded a New Humanism

in1848, uniting the truth of both materialism and idealism. Engels, from whom Post-Marx

Marxism (of the Engels/Plekhanov strain) took its cue, transformed the empiricism of Marx into

vulgar materialism. This is the vein in which Teschke worked, although disregarding other

Marxian criticism as well as Marx.

Certainly, during the period of nation state formation, religion played a major role in

international relations, whether in terms of Christianity vs. Islam, Pope vs. Emperor,

Reformation vs. Counter Reformation, or England vs. Spain. Royalty was stripped of its sacral

trappings, and vernacularization of holy writ enabled the proliferation of confessions, as

everyone gained direct access to interpretation of God’s Word. A society of heretics cannot abide
theocratic politics, which inevitably gives the ruling denomination power to suppress all others.

The rational state that resulted from this process no longer attempted to impose a moral order on

its subjects, preferring to inculcate national solidarity in terms of a secular religion of bigotry and

fanaticism, especially against religious minorities. In his approach to property relations as the

material base of society, Teschke marginalized religion, even though religious agitation

mobilized the European masses into political struggle, forcing rulers to either suppress or

accommodate religious enthusiasm. His logic of exploitation ignores not just religious struggle,

but all popular resistance in establishing nation states and international relations. Weberians

studied such struggles empirically, rather than abstractly. Teschke, the political Marxist, perhaps

inherited more from the Rationalism of Descartes than from the Humanism of Marx.

Weber’s use of ideal types, with his concept of the structure of social action, compared to

a materialist approach to history reflecting one stream of Marxian empiricism, reveals theoretical

and methodological differences that perhaps reflect less of a “Great Divide” than differing

investigative and explanatory purposes. Max Weber’s theoretical perspective provides a ground

between extremes of empiricism, whether idealist or materialist, and relativism that strongly

resonates with the positions of James and Sayer. In marginalizing the role of religion, Teschke

also discarded the role of the masses in collective action, which would have horrified Marx, who

always kept an ear to the ground for new ideas from the freedom struggles of his age. Perhaps,

had post-Marx Marxists paid more attention to the sociology of religion, as did Weber’s classic

(1922/1993), they could not have been stabbed in the back by Stalin while permitting themselves

to be overrun by fascism, the secular religion created by socialists to fully rationalize labor under

the Protestant Ethic.


A Mathematical model of Weber’s Historical Causation

Cavalcanti, Parente & Zhao, (2007) use a mathematical growth model of capitalism to

determine the effect of belief on England’s Industrial Revolution. Although it might be argued

that the inadequacies of the mathematical model subtract out of the derivation, leaving only the

distilled differences in ‘belief utility,’ this procedure may best be answered by Weber himself, in

responding to one of his first critics:

“…suggesting a derivation (Ableitung) of economic forms from religious

motives, which is something I never maintained. Wherever possible, I will try to
make even clearer that what I sought to ‘derive’ from asceticism in its Protestant
recasting was the spirit of ‘methodical’ conduct of life, and that this spirit stands
only in a relation of ‘adequacy’ (Adäquanz) to economic forms–yet a relation I
believe to be of the greatest importance for our cultural history” (Weber, 2001,

Weber went further to suggest that the inanity of such criticism would best be corrected

through familiarity with the source material. The enclosure movement, the pauperization of the

peasantry and the guildsmen, the enslavement of Africans, and all of the concomitant phenomena

Marx identified as “the rosy dawn of capitalism” are missing from a model based on youthful

work effort resulting in capitalized pension plans. Smith designed his idealized market to reflect

logical tendencies of capitalism, if restrained by democratic conditions, especially focusing on

the rationalization of labor. The authors of this study quoted Weber in defining the purpose of

their experiment:

“... however, we have no intention whatever of maintaining such a foolish and

doctrinaire thesis that the spirit of capitalism could only have arisen as the result
of certain effects of the Reformation, or even that capitalism as an economic
system is a creation of the Reformation.... On the contrary, we only wish to
ascertain whether and to what extent religious forces have taken part in the
qualitative formation and the quantitative expansion of that spirit over the world”
(cited in Cavalcanti, Parente, & Zhao, 2007).

Although they may have set out to do exactly what Weber here suggested, their failure to

accomplish the stated objective results from the qualitative validity of their approach, which is

seriously flawed. Had such a model any serious validity, the Industrial Revolution in England

would have been delayed by70 years, no doubt. It is interesting that the researchers conceded

that Weber’s thesis may explain differences between industrialization in Northern and Southern

Europe, but cannot explain underdevelopment in such places as Latin America. Weber framed

his research question about the role of ideas and economic interests in history in terms that would

not contradict any of the new research in growth economics. Haber (1997) wrote what is today

considered the standard work on the subject, which would meet Weber’s approval in arbitrarily

dismissing ‘dependency theories’ (Zimmerman, 2006).

Class, Status, Party

Weber (1978) began his analysis of stratification with the legal order, which requires a

staff to enforce rules, obtaining conformity through the use of force to inflict sanctions. The

structure of the legal order influences the distribution of power, defined as the opportunity to

impose will on communal action in the face of resistance. Power is not strictly economic, but

may also be valued for the prestige it confers, although prestige may also confer social or

economic power. The legal order may uphold power and honor, but it cannot guarantee either.

Social order is the distribution of honor between groups within a community. Economic order

involves the distribution and use of products and services. Class, status, and parties result from

the distribution of communal power among various groups in society.

Classes are not communities, but can become the bases for communal action. A group

constitutes a class when the members share common economic interests originating in

commodity or labor markets that determine their opportunities for obtaining commodities and

income. Specifically, what constitutes a class situation is determined by the power to exchange

goods and services for income. The fundamental fact of economic life is the creation of specific

opportunities from the power people have over the distribution of property in a competitive

market for exchange. Those who own no goods or services that can be valued as commodities

cannot acquire any. Those not forced to exchange their property can monopolize opportunities to

profit, thereby gaining a decisive advantage in price wars with those compelled to sell for

subsistence, Property ownership provides entrepreneurial opportunities through the control and

transfer of capital based on market conditions that are unavailable to those who have only the

direct product of their own labor to bring to the market, even when no individual buyer or seller

controls market prices.

The kind of property and services offered further differentiate class situations. For

instance, Engels was a rentier, as opposed to an entrepreneur. Marx, whose research Engels

supported, was a dependent of a rentier. This relationship of dependency was ultimately

responsible for the consolidation of Engelsian Marxism in the historic period immediately

following Marx’s death, and the subsequent loss of Marx’s New Humanism, until its rediscovery

in the Eastern European revolutions. To put it simply, the boss had the last word. However

differentiation in the class situations of capitalists and laborers breaks down, the market chances

provided by class are decisive to an individual’s fate, providing a strong incentive to the

development of class consciousness and forms of communal action for those similarly situated.
As a property form to be bought and sold on the market, slaves do not constitute a class, but

rather a status-group. Because Marx had his ear to the ground, he could hear the thunderous roar

of the emergence of chattel property on the historic stage of freedom struggles, as compared to

Engel’s denigration of women in a theoretical ‘world historic defeat,’ and Weber’s dismissal of

all forms of struggle except workers’, and their affect on the labor market.

Weber (1978) saw communal action as derived from the feeling of the actors that they

belong together. Social action is group action serving rational interests. The intellectual

transparency of class situation in terms of its causes and effects is crucial to the development of

class action, in which the decision-making process must be fully democratic to represent the

human subjects involved, thereby reflecting the socially derived will of the group. Only when

people recognize that their real life opportunities result from the distribution of property and the

structure of the economic order can they conceive of the idea of taking collective action to

control the terms and conditions of their own labor. The modern labor union was born in such

class-consciousness. Price wars on the labor market constitute the most common form of modern

class struggle.

A status-group is usually a community, organized on a principle of the social estimation

of honor rather class interest. Class distinctions can be variously linked to status, with property

ownership usually a prerequisite to status honor, although property can actually be a burden to

the parvenu who wishes to attain status. People with and without property can socialize within a

status-group. Generally, a member of a status-group is expected to live according to a specific

lifestyle (the ability to do so may be economically determined), and observe certain restrictions

in social intercourse. Selection of marriage partners may be constrained to those within the
status-group. Strict conformity to the dominant fashion is expected, determining whether one

will be accepted as a gentleman. Recognition may determine employment, marriage, and

socializing opportunities. Genealogy, residence, or any number of exclusive factors may usurp

status honor, even conferring legal privileges in the distribution of economic power.

The extreme evolution of status, grounded in ethnicity, may result in caste, which is

upheld by ritual as well as convention and law. Social subordination accompanies ethnic

exclusivity, with honor attached only to the upper caste. Even physical contact with a member of

a lower caste may require religious expiation. Dignity, beauty, and grace are conferred by birth

into the dominant caste. Lower caste members may find succor only in the hope of an after-life.

A caste will have its own cults and gods.

In this analysis of power, which is found in Weber’s (1978) chapter titled ‘Political

Communities,’ he should not be seen as presenting a full theory of social stratification, but

perhaps as laying stress upon the establishment of sociology as a scientific discipline with its

own, clear purview, as opposed to the legal and political order. The period in which he wrote had

witnessed the consolidation of Engelsian Marxism in Russia, and all academic efforts to establish

a science of society had to carefully delineate the distinction between ‘sociologists’ and

‘socialists,’ or be dismissed by academics as ‘rabble rousers.’ This is why Weber was so

adamant in showing the role of ideas in history, whereas the Marxian rationalists emphasized

‘property relationships.’ Weber’s "Ideal Types," which were comparable to Einstein’s

gedankenexperiments, and his concept of "verstehen," that attempts to enter into the world

outlook of the social actor while yet remaining critical of it, are what relate his work to current
efforts in establishing truth as an epistemic ideal (Nolt, 2008), and the work of realists such as

Sayer (1992) in laying the methodological foundations for a more humanistic social science.

Weber’s work on the Puritan work ethic should be read in its original 1904 version

(Weber, 2002), then compared to Alcott Parsons’1922 rewriting (Weber, 1992). Weber’s mind

was always encyclopedic, but never over-processed. Parsons seemed to transform into dogma

what was clearly meant to be tentative, exploratory, and an aid to verstehen. Weber’s Puritan is

alive and breathing. One almost wants to meet the man who started a newspaper because

Philadelphia did not have one (Benjamin Franklin). In his translation, which might better be

considered as an interpretive paraphrase, Parsons seemed to transform Weber’s sociology into a

new Westminster confession, like a system builder offering sociology as a closed ontology rather

than exploring it as an open system. Parsons’ own writings, such as The Structure of Social

Action (1937/1968), are cut and dried, difficult to digest. Like his interpretation of Weber,

Parsons’ writings on Marshall, Pareto, and Durkheim (1968) are best read with the original, if

only to clarify his treatment of the original works. After writing The Protestant Ethic and the

Spirit of Capitalism, Weber went on to write The Sociology of Religion (1993), a breath taking

survey that belongs with James’ Varieties of Religious Experience (2008) as a classic, one the

original sociological treatment and the other the first truly psychological view of the subject. In

the reprint of Weber’s original Protestant Ethic (2002), the translators explained their translation

of Weber’s designation of the Luther /Calvin ideology of the calling as ‘The Steel Cage,’ rather

than retaining Parsons’ usage, ‘The Iron Cage.’ I have kept the latter designation only because of

the association with Goring’s Institute and Nazi psychotherapy, to which I will turn after

examining the empirical relevance of class and status.

Empirical Relevance of Class and Status

Contemporary research trends have collapsed Weber’s highly differentiated distinctions

between class and status to a one-dimensional metric, the Duncan Socio-Economic Index (cited

in Chan & Goldthorpe, 2007). Having established the continued existence of distinct British

class and status orders in a previous study, here they showed that the stratification of life

outcomes can occur in terms of either class or status. Operationally, Chan & Goldthorpe used the

CASMIN class schema to define class, with its seven categories: 1. Higher managers and

professionals; 2. Lower managers and professionals; 3. Intermediate employees; 4. Small

employers and own-account workers; 5. Lower supervisors and technicians; 6. Semi-routine

workers; 7. Routine workers. The status scale used is based on the occupational structure of close

friendship developed out of national survey data for Great Britain, using a multidimensional

scaling analysis based on inputs of dissimilarity indexes between occupational groups of the

occupational structure of friendship for each group.

Although both scales are based on occupation, the definition of class reflects the

employment relations involved, whereas the definition of status reflects the social honor ascribed

to occupation. The resulting status hierarchy of occupations ranks those that work with symbols

and people near the top, with lower status for those that work with material things. Blue-collar-

managers rank below white-collar staff employees. Status as here defined does not reflect

occupational prestige, which involves judgments of job rewards and requirements and in fact is

highly correlated with socio-economic status. The correlation between status established by the

occupational structure of friendship and socio-economic status as established by education and

income is low. Although moderately correlated, class and status as here defined are quite
distinct. Status is defined by loose social networks, relations among equals who socialize

intimately, and pursue similar lifestyles through consumption habits.

Class position is here empirically found as a determinant of major life chances, as would

be expected if the Weberian ideal type is valid. The risk of unemployment and variability of

earnings are highest for blue-collar and self-employed workers, and nearly nonexistent for

salaried employees. Long-term earnings are better for those in the upper class, who have better

employment contracts. Income of salaried workers generally tends to rise throughout the

working years, whereas working class salaries level out early in their careers. Including status in

either earnings by age or unemployment has very little effect. Because both of these measures

are good indicators of security and prospects, class clearly predominates over status in

determining life chances.

Cultural consumption as a concomitant of life-style should be stratified along status lines,

if the Weberian category of status-group is to be upheld. Lifestyles establish cues that mark the

exclusivity of the status-group. Cultural taste confers distinction, distinguishing another

hierarchy separate from that of crass economic advantage. The main distinction is between those

who appreciate high culture, as opposed to those who only consume popular culture. In the

higher levels of the status order, libertarians as opposed to authoritarian views predominate,

along lines of ideal interests. Party membership is distributed along class lines of material

interests, with the lower classes flocking to the Labor Party.


Occupational Status and Perceived Limitations

In a study of Australian society, Henry (2003) developed a gradient of perceived

limitations. Measuring occupational status by the ANU3_2 scale, Henry developed a scale of

perceived psychological limitations and correlated it to the measure of occupational status.

Occupational stereotypes reflect commonly held valuations of prestige, such as white/blue-collar

differences in perceived lifestyle and background. Because occupation is a strong indicator of

education and income, it also has implications for social designations of status and honor. Those

who possess valued skills are considered to have high competence, forming the basis for popular

perceptions of occupational desirability, both in terms of income and worth to the community.

The status of an occupation reflects a social ordering of competence, with jobs and those

qualified to fill them increasing in scarcity in order of increasing prestige.

A scale to measure competence perceptions should measure personally evaluated

potential, or self-worth. Social perceptions of the worth of one’s occupation are a strong measure

of ability and worth, creating a social hierarchy of competency evaluations that, as Sennett and

Cobb (cited in Henry, 2003) have shown, also affects feelings of self-worth. Australians believe

that competence and effort result in upward mobility, to a level concomitant with personal talent.

Serious limitations in the availability of high-status jobs restrict many from actually achieving

such goals. Realities do not meet expectations, resulting, according to Nickel (cited in Henry,

2003) in feelings of inferiority and incompetence. The class situation of market position creates a

sense of lack of agency in social relationships experienced as negative emotions of inferiority.

Boride (cited in Henry, 2003) considers such low evaluations of self-worth as

unavoidable results of social consciousness. Feelings of powerlessness and personal limits result

in self-fulfilling prophecies of failure. Outstanding success requires goal setting, a positive

outlook, careful planning, and self-direction. In two separate studies, Giddiness, and Ready, et al.

(cited in Henry, 2003), psychological and economic constraints pervade daily life for low status

workers, making free choice illusory. Lachlan and Weaver (cited in Henry, 2003) found a

negative correlation between perceived constraints and socio economic status. Such attitudes

result in helplessness in dealing with stress, rather than problem solving behaviors. A strong

desire for security, rather than outstanding success, results in mediocrity and failure to set goals.

The measure of occupational status as shown on the ANU3_2 should show a negative

correlation between high status and negative attitudes regarding self-worth, confidence,

potential, and freedom of choice if the scale is actually grounded in group perceptions of social

status. Henry (2003) constructed a7-point Liker scale of 21 statements from a previous

qualitative pilot study of 40 subjects from manual and professional occupations. Analysis of the

pilot study indicated that professionals set high achievement goals, whereas manual laborers seek

security, avoid challenges, and have low aspirations. Four factors were identified: Factor 1

reflects high achievement motivation, opportunity seeking and desire for change; factor 2 reflects

belief that the future holds little opportunity for positive change; Factor 3 reflects desire to

maintain the status quo, with any change viewed as having negative consequences; and Factor 4

reflects low self-esteem, avoidance of challenge in the belief that it will only result in failure.

The last three factors were highly correlated, indicating that they play a major role in a coherent
cognitive field that reflects a strong sense of personal limits, pessimism about the future, and

inaction. Factor1 is negatively correlated with the other three.

The demographic variables of income and education were strongly correlated with

ANU3_2, as well as psychological Factor1, achievement motivation. The negative factors were

all negatively correlated to the occupational status scale, to an extremely high degree of

significance. Further regression analysis revealed that Factor 4, stress/challenge avoidance,

which strongly reflects lack of confidence in performing non-routine tasks, leading to immobility

in the face of challenge, was as strong a predictor of ANU3_2 score as all other factors,

including demographic, combined. This makes sense if accepting and overcoming challenges is

seen as required for strong achievement. The only alternative is to attribute success to luck,

which has been shown to be highly unlikely in the light of this research.

Democratic attitudes in the United States are similar to those in Australia, in that

Americans also share a widespread perception that the economy constitutes a meritocracy, with

talent rising to its appropriate status. Because high status job opportunities in the US are also

extremely limited, as they are in Australia, the adjustment of attitudes to the persistence of

failure must follow a similar trajectory, creating a strong likelihood that similar research in the

US would yield similar results. A US study of attributional style, which is willingness to take

personal responsibility for results, conducted by Seligman and Schulman (cited in Henry, 2003)

predicted quantity, retention, and non-redundancy of insurance sold. Taking personal

responsibility for success is grounded in goal setting behavior, and willingness to accept

challenges. Occupational status clearly reinforces psychological characteristics that are stable

throughout life experiences that include perceptions of occupational worth. The low self worth of
persons in unskilled occupations limits their chances of improvement in a self-fulfilling way. The

psychological attitudes of people in high status occupations provide valuable resources that help

maintain their success. A sense of unlimited potential helps in accepting challenges and setting

higher goals.

Democracy, Knowledge and the Division of Labor

Citing Weber’s concept of the division of labor along bureaucratic lines, Lacbelier (2006)

defined ‘knowledge power’ not in class terms of ruling bureaucrats and laborers, but in status-

group terms of the producers of social knowledge, those who consume social knowledge, and

those who look at rather than read books, having no interaction with social knowledge

whatsoever. Lacbelier argued that the bureaucratic division of labor, which Marx (1964) found to

be the essence of modern capitalist society, defines the structure of work, leisure, and the very

way we live and think. The vast gulf that separates thinkers from doers defines the whole of

existence in terms of one’s job, taking this separation to result from differences in natural

intellectual capacities rather than as a specific historical form of society. Thus, the rationalization

of labor under the Puritan work ethic not only maximizes economic efficiency (profits), but also

creates the best of all possible worlds, in which stupid people do stupid work and intellectuals

define themselves as the sole possessors of intelligence. Although sociologists know this is not

true, it is the dominant society’s primary myth, marketed to the majority through mass media to

entertain, sell products, and deflect potential critical discontent.

Boride, Foucault, Leotard, DiMaggio & Mohr, (cited in Lacbelier, 2006) and many others

showed that knowledge power helps to determine the distribution of other forms of power,

including political. Weber (cited in Lacbelier, 2006) originally noted that the bureaucratic
professionalization of administrative power placed the requisite knowledge “in the hands of a

specially trained, credentialed, and specialized few” Political power concentrates in the hands of

those organizations that actually conduct the business of life. In Weber’s words, “the decisive

aspect here... is the leveling of the governed in face of the governing and

Bureaucratically articulated group, which in its turn may occupy a quite autocratic position, both

in fact and in form.” Knowledge power is the source of the status group’s authority, which then

becomes a determinant of class. From Weber’s perspective, the producers of social knowledge

actually define and disseminate knowledge of the society in which we live, thereby creating and

reinforcing its class structure.

The consumers of official knowledge constitute the second most powerful status group,

deriving their authority from their specialized occupational knowledge while engaging in critical

discussion of social knowledge. Because of their high status, these are not likely to engage in

serious social criticism, except to the extent that they perceive their status as threatened by the

ever expanding routinization of intellectual labor. The ‘blue-collar’ workers are altogether

disconnected from knowledge power, lacking requisite skills and experience to wield it, and

therefore increasingly powerless to control the terms and conditions of their own lives even

though they are, formally, the much touted ‘participating democrats’ in the socially defined

political democracy.

Knowledge professionals, whose incomes may actually be smaller than those of some

blue-collar workers, nevertheless constitute a ruling status group, perhaps best designated by

Lukacs (1981) as ’prize-fighters for capitalism.’ Lacbelier (2006) suggested they rule by virtue

of the power that knowledge confers in all social institutions, as science and technology
increasingly dominate society. In her book, Diminished Democracy, Theda Skocpol (cited in

Lacbelier, 2006) documented the replacement of membership power in civic associations by the

power of professionals, thereby introducing the division of labor between thinkers and doers into

the very process of democratic involvement itself, From the American Association of Retired

Persons and the Democratic Party, to the AFL-CIO, members seldom meet, have no control

whatsoever over policy, and suffer the limitation of their participation to the payment of dues.

Lacbelier pointed out that Skocpol’s knowledge itself is limited to the status-groups who produce

and consume social knowledge, thereby making her an actual participant in the

professionalization of criticism of democratic institutions while professing otherwise. The vast,

unwashed American masses have never heard of her, or what she has to say.

To Lacbelier, Skocpol represents the political limits of sociological critique: even when

it is effective in showing the sources of America’s myriad social problems, it remains ensconced

in ivory towers, and at best is consumed only by those status-groups who consume intellectual

culture. Sociological research fails to empower citizens to participate in the use of the knowledge

so attained, and will continue to fail to democratize society (which is, in fact, the fundamental

mission of sociology) until such time as sociologists themselves redefine their own relationship

to workers, the disenfranchised, and the vast majority of the people whose problems they make

their profession of studying. Intellectuals must become political activists in helping to

disseminate social knowledge to ordinary citizens, those who currently spend their entire lives

working, without ever picking up a book for more than entertainment.

In the book Making history, Richard Flacks (Cited in Lacbelier, 2006) redefined

democracy as
"a social arrangement in which the gap between history and everyday life is permanently closed

because society’s members achieve the ability to make history (i.e., to influence and decide the

terms and conditions of their lives) in and through their everyday lives.” This definition casts a

stark light on the ersatz nature of American democracy, in which engagement in decision-making

is only exercised by less than half of the potential electorate, and only in so far as they choose

between professionally determined (by the Democratic or Republican Party), yet virtually

indistinguishable candidates, who then make promises they cannot keep while continuing to

serve the interests of the status quo.

Flacks identified American society as dominated by elites precisely to the extent that

they, rather than ordinary people, make the decisions that determine the terms and conditions of

the rest of our lives. To the extent that the fundamental purpose of society, under the domination

of the Puritan work ethic, is to produce more wealth efficiently for its current owners, this is,

speaking from the world outlook that Mannheim defined as ideological, the best of all possible

worlds. If the purpose of society (Marx, 1964) is the fullest possible human development of each

individual, the rationalization of labor may be seen, in Weberian terms, as an ‘Iron Cage,’ that at

best currently produces accelerated social retrogression, and at worst produces fascism.

The Iron Cage

Packard (2008) first applied Weber’s ideal type of status-group to the Chinese Literate,

which lasted for two millennia, then to the Göring Institute of World War II Germany, finding

many similarities between both organizations and Weber’s concept. The Göring Institute had a

Nazi mandate to convert the Freud Institute into a modern, state-funded mental health industry

practicing psychotherapy in the interests of the state. Packard’s application of Weber’s concept
of ‘status-group’ to a modern group reveals that status societies generate and mediate social

value conflicts, especially in societies under political stress. The Nazis partially mitigated

Germany’s economic depression by stealing assets from wealthy Germans, who were then

dispatched to ovens as part of the health program to purify the master race. To save socially

dysfunctional but genetically pure Germans, the Reich generously funded psychotherapy, which

is short-term directive therapeutic practice for the purpose of bringing deviant behavior under

social control by aligning it with specific social norms. Very consistent with functionalism and

behaviorism, such practice provides a medical rationale for compulsive, invasive physical

treatment administered by medical doctors.

Cox observed in The Professionalization of Psychotherapy in Germany, 1928--1949

(cited in Packard, 2008), that to understand the historic circumstances under which the Third

Reich rose to power, including the social and psychological conditions in the context of Western

cultural traditions, and to understand this in human terms, one must take into account Weber’s

1903 thesis of ‘The Iron Cage’ of capitalism. This cage is the intellectual trap of Calvinism,

predestination, the natural depravity of man, God’s omniscience, and the Puritan work ethic. The

Spirit of Capitalism had lost its spiritual aspect, becoming fully rationalized, secularized and

institutionalized through the British and later the American industrial revolutions. By the 20th

Century, the Nazi medical propaganda machine exploited Luther‘s ideal of the calling, creating a

secular religion by transforming the rationale for obedience to God’s will into obedience to the

state. This ideal social norm supposedly returned Germans to their psychological religious roots,

even to the point of obliterating self for the service of the state, all to the glory of God, in this

case der Fuehrer.

Fascism is an ideological descendant of the esthetic attitude of Benjamin Franklin,

deliberately twisted into its ultimate logic by cynical men for Machiavellian purposes, all

academically justified by materialism, determinism, and Nietzsche’s nihilism. The social and

intellectual vacuum at the center of this whirlwind had brewed a witch’s cauldron of counter-

revolution and murder out of many decades of brutal suppression of all liberal democratic ideals

workers’ organizations, and civic associations, and the liquidation of all freedom fighters as

‘communist’ since the counter-revolution of 1848, and the total collapse of the Second

International on the eve of the Great War. Its aftermath was not the origin of runaway repression

(as is commonly believed), but rather the key to unleashing the whirlwind lies in the inception of

the war. Dunayevskaya (1981/1991) identifies the transformation of revolution into counter-

revolution in the collapse of the Second International when the most revolutionary congress of

working people ever assembled was subjected to a leadership coup, voting to supply war credits

to the Kaiser and thereby providing the green light for World War I. This is the event that drove

Lenin to re-examine Hegel, identifying the dialectical category of transformation into opposite

that Post-Marx Marxists had truncated from dialectics.

By the armistice of November 11, 1918, the combatants merely suspended the Great War

because they had all expended their youth, laying out untenable markers for the fighting of future

wars by a new generation to be bred perhaps eugenically (the National Socialists in Germany

actually implemented this then commonly accepted notion), rather than implement the Marshall

Plan, which had to wait until the final cessation of hostilities at the variously dated end of World

War II. German working people had once been the leaders of the European Revolutions of 1848,

the high point of which Marx (1844) identified as when the Silesian weavers burned the titles to
the machines to which they were appended (cited in Messinger, 2007). Citing the Collected

Works of Marx & Engels, Messinger further wrote, “Hence Marx proudly called the German

proletariat ‘the theoretician of the European proletariat.... A philosophical people can find its

corresponding practice (praxis) only in socialism, hence it is only in the proletariat that it can

find the dynamic element of its emancipation.’” After dying as cannon fodder in the Great War,

and having their organizer murdered and their organizations and forms of action destroyed by

capitalists or co-opted by Stalinists, who inevitably sold them back into the hands of the

capitalists, by the post-war era German workers had diminished their expectations to the lowest

common denominator of security. Their sense of personal efficacy and agency were thoroughly

demoralized to the point of actually being willing to accept an iron cage of capitalist ideology as

their God-given vocation, or calling ( Luther ‘s Beruf), in exchange for an illusion of security

(Fromm, 1969).

Weber’s sociology contributes greatly to the analysis of the Third Reich and its

therapeutic practice of mental health. Weber’s occupational status-group sheds light on the actual

practices and functions of the Göring Institute, an exemplary example of how such a group

thrives in turbulent political conditions, as Weber observed; and how, and as Cox (cited in

Packard, 2008) added, the medical mental health profession can adapt easily to authoritarian

(even totalitarian) regimes. Weber (1978) distinguished a status-group as enjoying a certain

lifestyle, as consumers of the dominant high culture. The status-group occupational lifestyle that

Weber described includes formal and scientific education, rational instruction and behavior, and

prestige ascribed to race and profession. The ability to define culture is one of the privileges of

status. Chivalric gentility is pragmatically defined as belonging to a pure racial type. Being a
middle manager in industry or government, advising governments, and classifying information

are all Weberian status-group functions. Such a group may practice eugenics, monopolize

privilege and political power, abhor work (even capitalist accumulation), and recognize charisma

by descent. Their purpose is to maintain respect and honor for possessing special knowledge and

inside access to government. Such honor cannot be obtained merely by making money or

working hard.

Rather than being grounded in the means of getting income, which reflects class, status-

groups are based on cultural consumption and privileged lifestyles, with specific incentives,

language, and honor. Resenting government regulation and capitalist competition, a status group

may manipulate the market, but will submit to strong government. Abjuring hard bargaining and

hard work, a status-group will fight to maintain the loyalty of its membership. Economic

depression coupled with a laissez faire regulatory climate provide ideal opportunities for an

occupational status-group to monopolize the production of scientific knowledge, employment,

lobbying, funding, publishing opportunities, and professional credibility. Because professional

positions are always scarce, officials are self-serving and protective of their jobs.

Weber analyzed an ancient status-group, the Chinese Literati, in The religion of China

(cited in Packard, 2008), demonstrating the empirical validity of his concept of status-group.

Highly trained scholars (a prerequisite for literacy in the language of ancient China), as civil

servants they spent their lives passing exams, perfecting their morals, and competing for

prestigious positions as scribes and advisors to the power elite. The group was responsible for

‘rational administration’ and ‘all intelligence’ (state secrets), From good family backgrounds,

members of the group were called ‘living libraries’ (ancient policy woks). The aim of Confucian
education was spiritual rebirth into an esthetic life of self-control and awe toward authority, as

embodied in elders. Professional examinations and certifications were difficult, designed to

screen a surplus of candidates for scarce funding and positions, offering status honor rather than

financial incentives. Examinations tested for mastery of appropriate Confucian ‘ways of

thought,’ in Weber’s words, a “systematic and pragmatic correction of facts from the point of

view of ‘propriety’” (cited in Packard, 2008).

Thus, the official function of the Literati was to resolve value conflicts in Chinese

society, applying Confucian ideals of propriety to changing circumstances over a period of

millennia. By appeasing the leadership and maintaining the balance of Heaven, they thereby set a

public example of how to incorporate new social values into the ancient social regimen. As

gentlemen of culture, the Chinese Literati concerned themselves with the ethics of duty in public

office, mastering the elements of compulsion in the bureaucratic organization of the state. They

naturally opposed feudalism which, in today’s parlance, involves nepotism over qualification by

civil service examination. The Literati maintained loyalty and cohesion in its membership,

demanding respect for their status.

Mao Zedong sought to root Confucianism out of Chinese society through the Cultural

Revolution, by which he rationalized youth rebellion, drawing totalitarian lines only when the

youth criticized Mao Zedong rather than Confucian thought. In this respect, Maoism failed to

defeat the Chinese civil service, which eventually removed his heirs, ‘the Gang of Four,’ from

the reins of power. From the Weberian analysis of the Chinese Literati emerges the ideal type of

a status-group monopolizing social power to dictate social norms and values. No other group

earned the privilege of a long life in ancient China, with increased opportunities for reproduction,
conditioned on continued success in meeting the strenuous requirements of civil service

examinations. Absolute respect for elders and senior officials maintained rather than challenged

the status quo, creating a climate antithetical to social change or revolution. Nazi psychotherapy,

adapting such status-group functions, was a clear impediment to Weber’s concept of teaching

science as a vocation of social change, in which students are introduced to new facts, without

value judgments, and encouraged to take their own position in making sense of contradictory

values and norms.

The status-group follows a strategy of usurping privilege and honor, conforming to the

authority of strong government, and silencing the rebellious voice of youth. The basic distinction

of honor was between gentlemen of status and plebeians, including the military, landed gentry,

novae riche, and capitalist parvenus. The Literati fought and died to retain their monopoly of

social honor. Like the prophets of Judaism, the Literati pronounced doom on society when the

ruler abandons the Way of Heaven, resulting in turning society upside down, or revolution. Only

by acceding to prescribed rituals and ceremonies could the ruler maintain Literati support, which

was otherwise unflagging. Through discipline and class struggle, which includes monopolization

of privileged control over markets, the Weberian status-group maintains its lifestyle based on

cultural consumption and control over value systems. As a status-group, the Literati acceded to

authoritarian power so long as the ruler accessed their special knowledge and services.

After elucidating Weber’s empirical demonstration of his construct of the status-group in

his analysis of the Literati of China, Packard turned to Cox’s analysis of the Göring Institute

(cited in Packard, 2008), whose mission was to implement the Nazi program of social control

through the medical model of psychotherapy. They specifically modeled their practice on
Stalin’s institutionalization of political dissenters in psychiatric or work-camp facilities,

depending on whether or not they were considered redeemable. Posing as a tool of social

adjustment, in the hands of the Nazi Literati psychotherapeutic practice involved behavior

modification strikingly similar to Mao Zedong’s political re-education camps. Rather than

destroy Freudian psychoanalysis, Göring ostensibly purged the discipline of its ‘exploitative,

capitalistic character,’ developing it into a modern tool for brainwashing social deviants into

becoming model citizens of the Third Reich. Göring used political power to usurp monopolistic

control over the profession, and traditional inquisitorial tactics to literally burn the German

Freudians as witches while taking over their methods. Göring considered Freudian

psychoanalysis to be too pessimistic and frivolous, catering to individuality rather than

subordinating individuals to the group. Opting for behavioral rather than psychic controls, Nazi

psychotherapy provided the correction needed for short-term, coercive behavioral modification.

Göring’s ideology of mental and social hygiene integrated the individual into society by

simply abolishing individuality, rejecting the personal subconscious mind as unscientific, while

acknowledging a collective unconsciousness. The word ‘Nazi’ stands for National Socialism, the

ideological cover under which brown shirted thugs acquired the functional role of a status- group

such as the Literati, endowing themselves with the responsibility of interpreting and determining

the values of society, while covertly practicing the rapacious plunder of the German ruling elites

they purportedly served. They touted traditional Romantic values such as patriarchy, "just war"

(pre-emptively undertaken, as in Germany’s "defensive" invasion of Poland, or Bush’s

nonexistent weapons of mass destruction used to justify the US/Iraq War), purity, physical and

spiritual health, and Aryan supremacy, a new heresy grafting 19th Century American Jim Crow
legislation and ‘race theory’ (rationalization of slavery) into German jurisprudence while

feigning deep roots in the German collective unconscious.

The Nazis considered Freudian psychoanalysis to be unscientific precisely because it

aids the individual in struggling against society, rather than demanding total surrender to the

diktats of the party. Charting his theoretical path between narrow determinism and absolute


“Freud had been a leading advocate among those who feared that medical
monopolization of the treatment of medical disorders would lead to a functional
and technical narrowing of the field from a means of humane insight to that of
mechanical ‘cure’” (Cox, cited in Packard, 2008).

The historic dispute was over whether ‘mental illness’ is biologically based and curable

by medication, electro-shock therapy, behavior modification, and other technical means

that can be administered by medical experts. Regardless of technique, only1in 6

psychotherapists are effective: those who can establish a relationship of trust with the

patient, and are willing to enter the patient’s cognitive world, taking into account

meaning and exercising ‘verstehen’ to help with the process of self-healing (Rogers,

1989). Psychotherapy has never been a ‘hard’ science precisely because it requires

conflict resolution, compromise, and democratic discussion, as determined by

professional consensus within the medical helping professions.

After driving Freud out of Germany and burning his books, Göring put his own

name on the German Institute for Psychological Research and Psychotherapy in Berlin.

Evidently the Nazis were not satisfied with Freud’s capitulation to their power, asking

only that his ideas be presented correctly. They did, however, utilize Freudian methods
when they worked. For eugenic reasons, sexually dysfunctional Nazis such as

homosexuals needed to be cured, whereas those from inferior racial stock were simply

prosecuted as criminals, and then murdered. The Göring Literati renamed Freudian

Psychotherapy ‘Germanic,’ modifying rather than destroying the practice.

The social disorder introduced by the Nazis, the pragmatic utility of administered

adjustment techniques to national socialist ideology, Göring’s personal interest, and professional

expectations for growth and expanded practice all conspired to keep a modified Freudian

medical practice alive in Germany. These conditions meet Weber’s criteria for an occupational

status-group. The existence of experts in a specialized body of knowledge, Göring’s provision of

an official monopoly in the ‘care and control’ of the German people, and the anarchy of social

competition for der Führer’s favor enabled the consolidation of the new status-group, which had

previously been marginalized in German medicine. The new, improved Psychotherapy used

coercive techniques to induce conformity to political demand s. The Göring Institute

monopolized the expertise to identify and cultivate proper German character, care for and control

the German soul, ensure party loyalty, and imposed an iron work ethic on the masses, in return

for the security of ascribed social honor as a racial legacy, with no need for personal

accomplishment beyond blind service to the Führer.

Cox (cited in Packard, 2008) concluded that professional Psychotherapy functioned well

as an occupational status-group in Germany, in service to authoritarian power, under anti-

democratic auspices. As a practicing neurologist and psychotherapist, Göring protected his

Institute from being usurped by others in possession of the requisite political and professional

power. As a badge of their fall from status, psychiatrists were responsible for implementing Nazi
euthanasia and ethnic cleansing policies, universally considered to be a dirty job, except by men

such as Dr. Mengele. The Nazis enforced the destruction of higher education, while fighting with

each other for control over the government and deprofessionalizing psychiatry. Nazi

Psychotherapists originally had a hard time getting licensed, gaining teaching posts, and securing

an income. As a status-group, they were uniquely situated to take advantage of the chaotic

political fragmentation of the Nazi regime because they possessed resources insulated from

government and private enterprise, and thereby from the ravages of war. Their claim to social

honor was grounded in formal education, scientific training, hereditary leadership, privileged

marriage, friendship, and “possibly monopolistic appropriation of privileged modes of

acquisition or the abhorrence of certain kinds of acquisition, status, and conventions (traditions)

of other kinds” (Weber, cited in Packard, 2008). Weber’s entire description of an occupational

status-group is especially appropriate in describing German Psychotherapy under Göring.

Cox (cited in Packard, 2008) showed how the Göring Institute appropriated privileged

modes of acquisition, such as funding by the Labor Front and the Reich Research Council for

short-term therapies for military and youth programs, while disdaining psychotherapy for profit.

To Weber a status-group as “a plurality of persons who, within a larger group, successfully claim

a special social esteem, and possibly also status monopolies” (cited in Packard, 2008). Like the

Chinese Literati goal of fostering a new soul in their members, the Göring Institution mandate

was to provide a new soul for Germans, manifested in correct thinking and submergence of

individuality to the need s of the community, the state (Führer), and homeland (Vaterland). The

Göring Institute was the qualified keeper of the hearts and minds of the Volk, guiding them in

thought, behavior, and lifestyle. The Institute’s mission was to maintain the Romantic German
ideology of soul, rendering the spirit and body of Germany, especially her youth, suitable to the

service of the state (Führer). Like the Chinese Literati, they maintained a monopoly on their

specific role as interpreters and arbiters of values and norms, providers of mental therapeutic

services, and even keepers of official secrets about the German people developed by Hitler’s far-

flung paranoid intelligence network, retained intact by the Allied occupation government to spy

on the Russians.

Along with Nazi rocket scientists (such as SS Sturmbannfüehrer Werner von Braun),

General George S. Patton, commander of the US Third Army and military governor of most of

the American occupation zone in Germany, provided protection and relocation for many SS

intelligence officials, as well as the continuation of their spy network. Perhaps this helps explain

similarities to the American FBI’s branding of Dr. Martin Luther King as a communist under J.

Edgar Hoover, and Nixon’s military Cointelpro (counter intelligence and propaganda) service,

which kept illegal intelligence files on American peace activists, also branding them. Along with

the entire Black American domestic semi-colony, as communists. As the SS and its clones have

proven, such intelligence is very useful for purposes of blackmail, as were the files alleging

sexual liaisons Hoover kept on King.

Like the Chinese Literate, Göring Institute incomes derived from bureaucratic office. The

ancient Literati had the official privilege of a long life, whereas Göring Institute personnel were

exempt from military service and death camps. Renegades were subject to ostracism or death.

Whereas the Literati had an over-supply of qualified applicants from which to screen members

using the ancient equivalent of civil service exams, the attending psychologist program of the

Göring institute had a surplus of women applying for the position. With a general shortage of
men resulting from their utility as cannon fodder, officials were forced to deflect women into

teaching and nursing programs.

The Göring Institute exhibited many, if not all of the attributes Weber identified as

belonging to an occupational status-group. They usurped the status and techniques of Freudian

psychoanalysts using Nazi political influence. The pretenders adopted the lifestyle of the older

group by controlling and distributing their educational credentials and techniques, moving into

their social circles, eschewing dirty occupations such as capitalist or worker, and even deriving

honor from the severity of Germany’s wartime budget limitations. The new, modernized,

intellectually impoverished practitioners monopolized power over the ‘care and control’ of

Germany’s soul, subjugating the individual to Nazi-defined communal necessities. They

jealously defended their territory from encroachments by Party officials and university


Cox’s findings (cited in Packard, 2008) were that Freudian theory and practice were not

destroyed under the Nazis, merely truncated to narrow materialism, cynically manipulating

cultural symbols supplied by German Romanticism in the name of behavior modification. Cox

warned that such an occupational status-group cannot only be expected to merely survive, but

may indeed thrive under non-democratic conditions, as Weber predicted in his analysis of the

autonomy of the Chinese Literati from stressed political and economic circumstances. They

pursued lifestyle and consumption patterns easily extorted through liquidation of a wealthy

ruling elite. They inculcated willingness to serve up youth as cannon fodder for the militarized

total warfare state, thereby making themselves useful to the social machinery of Nazi rule. They
demonstrated Weber’s assessment that occupational status-groups can thrive under chaotic

political conditions, and that they can survive through servility to authoritarian regimes.

The Göring Institute maintained professional continuity throughout the Third Reich,

expanded its practice, and attained status to a degree unique in German history. The excellent fit

of Weber’s ideal type of occupational status-group, derived from his studies of ancient religion

in China, to a modern institution such as the Göring group shows how Weber’s ideal type

‘status-group’ may be applied to other modern organizations. Packard (2008) concludes that such

analysis provides insights into social dynamics under conditions that jeopardize human life and

values. Putting this knowledge to humanistic use may be problematic under ‘value-free’

scientific presumptions, which we have shown elsewhere are not objective at all, but simply

blind to consciousness of self.

Weber’s Verstehen

Zimmerman (2006) identified Weber as a far-right ideologue, sometimes a lone

spokesperson for imperialism in academic circles, and an original theorist of neo-racism, which

Etienne Balibar (cited in Zimmerman, 2006) defined as a form of scientific racism for the neo-

colonial era that denies biological determinants of race, while upholding the culture of the

colonizer, thereby rationalizing the continued dominance of settler (western) culture over that of

the native, and thus upholding the political and economic inequities of imperialism in the post-

colonial era. Under new nationalist flags, the citizens of the former colonial empire now emigrate

to the metropolitan centers of the West for their education, where they learn the dominant values

of the ‘white man’s burden,’ which they return home to implement as administrators over the
deracialized, economic empire of neo-colonialism. Europe is no longer the conqueror, but merely

the superior civilization to which all others must conform.

Under empire, cultural superiority supersedes racial superiority. The mobility of capital

demands stagnation and continued underdevelopment. In imposing the plans of the World Bank

and the International Monetary Fund on the Third World under the careful planning of

University of Chicago ‘supply side’ economists, the Western investors must maintain conditions

bordering on, and actually reproducing slave labor, while also maintaining free access to exploit

natural resources such as oil and precious metals, whether through the establishment of racist

hierarchies or by way of more flexible cultural hierarchies. Prior to the Great War, Weber’s ideas

met the needs of German and American imperialism for imported labor. Although actually dating

back to 1492, Globalization is the new by-word for empire, with new forms of economic and

political domination replacing the gunboat diplomacy of the British Empire, now under the one-

world rubric of Pax-Americana.

Today’s ‘cultural relativist’ epigones appeal to Weber’s cultural rationalization of

capitalist economics as a mainspring for apologetics for the status quo, which Weberian

sociology represents par-excellence. The primary use of Weber by today’s neo-racists is to

denigrate all suggestions that political and economic inequities, especially as between the two

billion people who live on less than $2 per day, and the developed world, have any social origin

other than ‘dependency theory, ‘ which is patently false in the neo-racist view. Such ideas imply

that had America, for instance, encouraged democracy in places such as Iran, rather than

financing by proxy and through any means necessary the crushing of democratic movements

throughout the world since the 19th Century rise of American Imperialism, perhaps we would
have democratic friends rather than dictatorial enemies in the same places where we now face

the ‘blowback’ (Johnson, 2001) from our own terrorism.

Although the idea of verstehen, as interpreted by Parsons, is not specific to Weber, this

dominant idea in Weber invokes the role of values in rationalizing the racism and cultural

imperialism now practiced under the ethos of capitalism. Weber specifically disagreed with

Ploetz (cited in Zimmerman, 2006), who argued that Christian love and sympathetic social

welfare programs for the poor had weakened the superior white races of Europe through

dysgenics, permitting the survival of the unfit. Weber, who with Lincoln, conceded that racial

inferiority may play a major role in society, knew full well that the Calvinist form of the Puritan

work ethic had increased social contempt for the poor, and argued that social welfare programs

had permitted strong, although indigent, persons to survive, rather than propagating the weak.

Having visited America, as did Ploetz, Weber argued that no such ‘racial instinct’ as Ploetz had

identified (actually getting the idea from the Scientific Racism that had arisen in America to

defend the slave-labor system against the abolition movement) was responsible for the fury of

white racial hatred in America, but rather the old, European feudal contempt for labor, embraced

by the Southern planter class who had no personal use whatsoever for any Puritan work ethic.

Along with other theorists we have discussed in these pages, Weber’s verstehen of racism

in America did not extend to self-critical analysis of his own treatment of Polish minorities.

Weber openly admired many of the Black intellectuals he had met in America, all of whom had

white ancestors, and despised poor Southern whites as well as ‘half-ape’ plantation cotton belt

negroes. Weber recognized race, culture, and class as determinants of superiority, providing a

rationale for the more subtle racism that has replaced Ploetz’s crude Social Darwinism, adapted
from the Scientific Racism born in America for later use by the Nazis. In fostering the spread of

Nazism throughout the world since the end of World War II (Israeli and South African Apartheid

were both born in the aftermath of that war), America has found the neo-racism of Weber far

more useful than the crude racism of Ploetz and Hitler.

Weber’s imperialism and racism, first developed in his work for the Prussian government

on Polish immigrants (in removing them from the land and replacing them with German farmers,

who would then provide a social bulwark against the socialist ideas of free labor), provided the

values for his scientific methodology. Weber saw the free capitalist labor market, rather than any

social principle of Christian love, as providing the dysgenic means by which inferior Polish races

prevailed over their German superiors. Most Social Darwinists feared the threat posed by inferior

races over-running their more human superiors, usually along nationalist lines. Thus was racism

born in the heart of Europe, even though the American slaveocracy articulated its first pseudo-

scientific rationale.

Weber explained his racist political work, “the politician must recognize a fundamental

fact: the irresolvable and eternal struggle of man against man on the earth…” (cited in

Zimmerman, 2006, p63). Weber exemplified radical nationalism and racism both in politics and

in science. His racist apologetics rationalized irrational economic policies, as against the

rationalization of labor under capitalism, in nationalist appeals to preserve the German race from

inferior Poles, Slavs, and other sub-human species. Weber viewed such value judgments as taken

for granted, forming the backdrop for scientific theory in so far as they embody true human

values in preserving the ‘permanent power-political interests of the nation.” In the context of all

of his other work, the lip-service he paid to value neutrality in science in his 1918 lecture
“Science as a Vocation” (cited in Zimmerman, 2006, p64) can only be understood as the origin

of the uncritical acceptance of the unexamined values that has become a tradition in Weberian

and mainstream social science we have examined elsewhere. As opposed to Sayer’s (1992) use

of verstehen, which provided for the critical evaluation of other cultures in the light of a self-

critical statement of underlying values, Weber’s verstehen can only be seen as value neutral if

white racism is fully accepted on its own terms, as the culmination of the human endeavor.

Weber, the Elect, and the Poor

Reiland (2006) presented his experience of Calvinist religio-political secular religion at

Muskingum College in Ohio, founded by Calvinists, and retaining a strict moral code derived

from the era of church governance. As an economics professor at Robert Morris University in

Pittsburgh, Reiland recognized the implications of Weber’s thesis on the role of predestination in

determining the Puritan work ethic as a driving force in the development of capitalism. Reiland

pointed out that Weber considered capitalist society, as defined under this ethic, to be the

culmination of human endeavor. In secular-religious terms, the billions of absolutely

impoverished people on earth, who have no command over labor or capital markets, through the

grace of God, and for no fault of their own, are simply predestined to remain among the non-

elect. Although this is the religious doctrine, the secularized doctrine actually finds fault with the

poor, scape-goating and blaming the victim in an effort to retain a belief in a just world order.

Although Calvin would scoff at such foolishness, pointing out that we are not to attempt

to probe the divine mind, or assess its justice, the purity of the doctrine was never practiced, even

by Calvin himself, who burned Servetus at the stake after inviting him to Geneva to discuss

issues regarding the Eucharist. The Salem witch trials and the McCarthyism of the ‘50s, down to
the current Homeland Security and USA Patriot Acts, are manifestations of this same impulse,

generated from the insecurity of the elect in their continuous struggle to avoid being swallowed

into poverty.

Reiland (2006) may have over-stated the case a bit in remarking that Weber saw

capitalism as the perfect society. If that were indeed the case, Weberian sociology could never

have carved out a secular calling for the sociologist. In fact, as we learned from Zimmerman

(2006), contrary to the Social Darwinists in the far right clubs to which he belonged, Weber

showed that the capitalist market functions to maintain persons of inferior caste, and that only

governmental intervention can ensure ‘survival of the fittest’ in society. Weber saw the Prussian

state which he served loyally as naturally generating eugenic and ‘ethnic cleansing’ programs to

deal with such problems, especially with respect to internal Polish and other Eastern European

immigrants, but he constantly worried that the state did not go far enough in protecting the

‘elect’ from the damned, and he devised a scientific methodology for helping the state achieve its

goal in protecting the master race in the continuing human struggle for existence. Like Marx, he

viewed history as the struggle between group interests, but contra-Marx Weber sided with the

dominant culture in its supreme efforts to control deviant behavior.

The Role of Ideas in History

Demirezen (2006) compares Marx directly to Weber and Mannheim. Marx’s basic

concept of social structure identified base and superstructure. The base concerns how human

beings create their material conditions of existence, which he called the mode of production.

Changes in the economic base of society cause changes to occur throughout the superstructure,

which includes culture, ideas, political ideology, and all social institutions other than economic.
This view transcends the limits of vulgar materialism, in which no idea can function as the

material cause of anything, and idealism, that denies reality altogether to the material world of

experience, the ground of empiricism. Marx wrote that “ the materialistic doctrine that men are

products of circumstances and upbringing, and that, therefore, changed men are products of other

circumstances and changed upbringing, forgets that it is men who change circumstances” (cited

in Demirezen, 2006). Any social or psychological method that considers cognition must also

account for human sensuous activity. History can only be understood in terms of material

production as the basis for the various forms of social intercourse, such as morality, religion, and

philosophy, and how they arise from that base. Ideas, even the best ideas, such as ‘freely

associated labor,’ cannot be realized in history before the material conditions for their expression

exist. Outmoded ideas may in fact impede progress in material conditions.

Western modes of production evolved from slave, to feudal, to capitalist class relations,

which mediate between base and superstructure. When changes occur in society, it is because

new productive forces render obsolete old relations of production, creating contradictions

between old and new classes expressed in social realms of discourse and action. The relationship

of a class to the mode of production from which it arises determines its class interests, which are

expressed in ideology. Ruling ideas are simply the ideas of the ruling class, expressing dominant

material relations. Alienation arises when the product of labor no longer expresses the

personality of the worker in communal effort, but rather becomes a commodity on the

marketplace. This alienation is from self as well as from humanity because work is objectified,

with no reward for its expenditure beyond compensation for the socially necessary labor time in
its production. Labor itself becomes a commodity, bought and sold at its exchange value, whose

utility in use is only the capacity to produce surplus value, which the capitalist appropriates.

To Marx, religion provides the structure for alienation, primarily functioning as an

‘opiate’ to still class struggle (cited in Demirezen, 2006). The religious struggles by which the

peasants and workers of Europe entered history were expressions of and protests against

economic distress. Religion has a contradictory secular basis related directly to social structure.

Starving masses will only settle for ‘pie in the sky when you die’ up to a point, beyond which

they will conduct food riots, agrarian rebellions, strikes, and other forms of mass resistance.

Religion must be revolutionized in practice by removing the contradiction wherein it demands

universal belief, while yet supplying support for non-producing classes whose only function is to

appropriate surplus value within an ideological means of domination. Marx’s interest in religion

did not extend beyond its function as ideology, in support of ruling ideas. He saw religious

writings, meanings, and beliefs at best as rationalizations supporting the status quo, at worst as

lies to deflect class struggle. At no point did he explore religious content. In Marx’s context, the

subjective meaning of religious experience had no value.

Weber actually took interest in the concrete meaning of action for a specific actor, as well

as the subjective meaning of social action. However, motives may better be explained from

ascribed rather than expressed intentions (Demirezen, 2006). Interpretation can be direct, or

indirect. Verstehen, which is the suspension of disbelief to create empathy with the actor in a

concrete situation, is the indirect means by which motivation can be ascribed. Examining the

social actor’s writings and explanations, the observer makes an attempt to understand the

meaning of an action from the stand point of the actor. Interpretive understanding provides
causal explanations of social action, which always has a subjective meaning oriented toward its

effect on the behavior of others.

Weber’s thesis about the relationship of the Protestant work ethic to the rise of modern

capitalism provides an understanding of the role of ideas in history, and critiques any vulgar

materialist interpretation of Marx’s concept of the primacy of base over superstructure

(Demirezen, 2006). Although religious ideas are important factors in their influence over action,

they are affected by economic forces and cannot be seen as independent variables in history.

Weber went on to study the psychology of world religions, concluding that material and ideal

interests govern conduct. However, ideas create world outlooks, which can determine the course

of action motivated by material interests. The Calvinist, whether capitalist or employee, believed

that success in one’s occupation is the only available assurance of salvation. Failure is simply

unacceptable, as a sure indication of continued absence of God’s grace. Such beliefs generated

asceticism in the accumulation of wealth, providing a strong impetus to re-investing it rather than

spending it on self-indulgence. Demystified, this ethic became the rationalized spirit of

capitalism. To Weber, ideas are closely connected to structure through ‘elective affinity,’ which

emphasizes the contingent connection between beliefs and their consequences in social action.

Mannheim, under the influence of Lukacs, critiqued Marx’s world outlook by showing

that it, too, can become an ideological reflection of class interest (Demirezen, 2006). This would

be absurd to Marx, who saw the revolutionary subjectivity of masses in motion as the only real

basis for objectivity. When class society is abolished through freely associated labor, ideology as

the rationalization of class interest ceases to exist. However, when radical criticism of society

becomes co-opted into the system, the rationalizations of all contending classes are expressed as
ideology, with nothing more revolutionary on the horizon than elitist rule in the name of the

working class, as happened in Russia. To this situation, as well as the total situation throughout

the West, where co-optation of revolutionary movements became the mode of systemic survival,

Mannheim’s total conception of ideology is extremely appropriate. This total conception calls

into question all contending opponents’ conceptual frameworks, in terms of how the battle of

ideas arises from the experience of each interested group, understanding each world outlook as a

mode of thought arising from the situation of the individual.

Functional analysis does not seek motives, but rather describes the structural elements

involved in totally different settings. If every view can be considered ideological, relativism is

one possible solution to the theory of knowledge, which validates any proposition. Mannheim

proposed relationalism as an alternative, which is yet another approach to TEI (truth as an

epistemic ideal). This is the sociology of knowledge. Rather than seek absolute truth, the

relationist recognizes the effects of history and class (Demirezen, 2006). Mannheim proposes

free-floating intellectuals as best qualified by education to reduce the level of bias, transcending

narrow class viewpoints in their mastery of the tools of knowledge. Although intellectuals may

be detached from the Weltanschauung of their point of origin, Mannheim found positive

elements in ideology: each class point of view contributing knowledge of society as a complex

whole that would otherwise be missed. The intellectuals can fuse such partial viewpoints into a

new knowledge of society that transcends class and ideology, both of which play a positive role

in providing parts of the overall picture, as light from a prism provides the various spectral colors

that constitute the original ray. Intellectuals have written many histories of ideas in a wide

variety of areas to enlighten social inquiry along the lines Mannheim proposed for the sociology
of knowledge. Whereas James and Weber ventured into the realm of religion from

phenomenological and sociological viewpoints, Mannheim was the first to actually study each

highly politicized world outlook from within, exercising a form of verstehen in elucidating

liberal, conservative, and radical ideologies.

Marx’s original concept of ideology was polemic, used to question and criticize the entire

world outlook of the ruling class, which tends to be stated as the objective view of the entire

society. Mannheim proposed that Marxism could itself be criticized in the same way. Not only

infrastructure, but history and social viewpoints also determine ideology, which may even reveal

as much as it obscures. Weber also acknowledged that special interests have a strong influence

on ideas. Mannheim proposed the total concept of ideology in framing a durable sociology of


Ideology and Utopia

Goldman (1994) located Mannheim within the context of the sociology of knowledge,

Mannheim’s own creation, taking up the conditions and modalities under which Mannheim

produced social knowledge. The rapid development of a sociology of science since Mannheim’s

proposal of this new field has not focused on the producers of social knowledge. As Mannheim

himself pointed out, his concept of ‘total ideology’ is not only a tool for unmasking the economic

interests underlying consciousness, separating truth from the claims of power. The sociology of

knowledge analyzes meanings of beliefs and ideas relative to the experience of social groups, in

terms of the viewpoints and perspectives available to the average member. How do we approach

knowledge producers and their products objectively and with sensitivity to the social dynamics

of their work?
Scholars have only recently begun to recognize the relevance for today of Mannheim’s

intellectual reach. Before Grams defined hegemony, Mannheim wrote that knowledge “is clearly

rooted in and carried by the desire for power and recognition of particular social groups who

want to make their interpretation of the world the universal one” (Cited in Goldman, 1994).

Intellectuals elucidate the ‘world outlook’ of the group to which they attach themselves. In the

democratic marketplace of ideas, each particularistic viewpoint struggles to become universal.

The analysis of ideological positions reveals the social forces and impulses on which they are

based. Goldman critiqued Mannheim for failing to account for the effect of the struggle for

power on the formulation of ideology. Foucault and Mannheim both elaborated a theory of the

role of intellectuals in defining truth, each arguing for a political economy of truth to expose the

relationship of ideology to power.

We have just evaluated the Göring Institute in Weberian terms as an occupational status-

group. The psychotherapeutic practice of the Nazis cannot be fully understood in these terms

alone. We must turn to the normative function of ideology to find the social roots of Nazism,

more visible prior to the Hitler-Stalin Pact of 1939, which in providing the green light for that

war also generated the ideological smog that has clouded the issue of fascism in American life

ever since. The fate of Chaplin’s first dialogue movie, The Great Dictator (1940), made at the

height of American isolationism, when many influential Americans were still in love with

Adolph Hitler, and at any rate no one thought it would be possible to convince American white

men to go back to killing Germans (the Japanese later provided the needed racist rationale), is a

case in point. Eugenics, the pretentious claims of pseudo-intellectual animal breeders, had not yet

fallen into disfavor, although Chaplin certainly did for thumbing his nose at Der Führer. Henry
Ford, the National Association of Manufacturers, Winston Churchill, and many in America’s

ruling elites avidly supported Nazi racist ideology, the legal structure of which derived directly

from America’s late 19th Century Jim Crow laws, and the rationale for which was provided by

the Scientific Racism that had developed in the death struggle of the slave system against


20th Century normative sociology clearly expressed the fundamental problem of society

as the correction of deviant behavior, preferably through the control techniques of the

behaviorists. Skinner had not yet written Beyond Freedom and Dignity, (1971/2002) his paean to

social control, but the ideals of social Darwinism (Hofstadter, 1944/1955) had been around for

decades. Social Darwinist ideology was the platform of the Progressive Movement. Dewey’s

social theories, derived from the psychological ideas of James (in which Dewey grounded his

pragmatism), established normative sociology’s viewpoint that the only social change needed

after the consolidation of political democracy and capitalism in America was to correct the

inappropriate behavior of working people, which ranged from anarchistic and social uses of

dynamite (Adamic, 1931), through the conduct of mass strikes, such as the successful general

struggle of the American working class to establish the 8 hour day, 5 day work-week (which

culminated in the St. Louis Commune, through which working people directly governed their

city at its high point); to supporting populist and socialist political movements. In the shadow of

Jamesean functionalism (derived from Darwinism), Watson established behaviorism as a

psychological discipline, the purpose of which was to predict and control behavior, which served

as the theoretical apparatus of Nazi psychotherapy. Social Darwinism provided the intellectual

context for social legislation creating the AMA occupational status group stranglehold on the
distribution and use of molds, synthetic pharmaceuticals, surgical procedures, and psychiatric

medicine (Chase, 1977), generating a still extant medical services delivery system founded on

the premise that those who cannot afford treatment, and are therefore unfit, should not survive

the struggle for existence. Turn of the 20th Century social engineers erected a system of restricted

medical school admissions that assures those who cannot afford to pay highly inflated

monopolized market prices for medicine die.

All of the ideological tools used by the Nazis were ready-made for them under an

American label. The most quintessentially American product, other than decorticated

pragmatism, was racism, brewed in the cauldron of America’s Melting Pot, a democratic stew

from which a new American archetype (blonde-haired and blue-eyed, excluding Jews, Negroes,

and Indians, as Weber foresaw) would surely emerge. Using Weberian verstehen, we can only

imagine the plight of the thoroughly demoralized German working class from which National

socialism emerged. When the Nazi economy revived slightly from the infusion of plunder from

Germany’s wealthy banking classes (under cover of eugenic measures against the Jews), the

worker’s status expectations of security seemed within reach, and they embraced nihilism in the

garb of the Puritan work ethic, otherwise identified by Weber as the Spirit of Capitalism. A

populace with expectations lowered below the widely-perceived minimum sustenance level,

having no achievement motivation whatsoever, suddenly injected with the bacillus of racism,

blamed sub-species and interbreeding with inferiors for all of humanity’s problems. Originally of

no status, the worker now had an ascribed status by way of skin color. This was an opiate that re-

created Christianity as a new secular religion, and posed as the fundamental glue of culture. The

sense in which the Nazis used the word Aryan meant human, so that the master race was actually
the human race, with all others constituting sub-species. If this were the absolute truth, even

humanists could get on the Nazi bandwagon. The Final Solution would have to work if humanity

were to survive.

Robert Ardrey (1961, 1966/1997), Desmond Morris (1967), and others wrote pseudo-

scientific works that posited human descent from killer apes. As elements of the pop culture of

the ‘60s, these ideas influenced the opening scene from 2001: A Space Odessey (Kubrick,

1968/2007), in which the tossed bone-weapon, representing the advent of technology among

killer apes, dissolved to a view of presumably the highest human technological achievement: a

space station in stationary orbit between the earth and the moon. The same line of speculation

has also suggested that humans eliminated our nearest competitors, such as Neanderthal Man,

through mass murder. Carried forward by legitimate scientists straying far from their own

training and discipline, such as Herrnstein’s The Bell Curve (1996), Wilson’s Sociobiology

(1975/2000), and William Shockley’s revived eugenics (he shared the 1956 Nobel Prize in

Physics for the investigation of the transistor, and during his tenure as Professor of Engineering

at Stanford University from 1963 through 1975 attempted to use his scientific credentials to

revive the pseudo-science of eugenics), this kind of pop-Darwinism permits any presumed

biological “telos” to be assigned any unobserved structure (a functional-causal black box) to

explain any presumption, such as racial superiority. Stephen J. Gould taught scientific

methodology to laymen in many writings, culminating with the Structure of Evolutionary Theory

(2002), his magnum opus published the year of his death. The work is accessible to any

intelligent layman who wants to know how biological science actually works, written by a

practicing paleontologist well within his discipline.

Gould is a premier example of a high-ranking member of an occupational status group,

well-placed to evaluate the meaning of scientific methodology. He served as Professor of

Geology and Curator of Invertebrate Paleontology at Harvard and in 1982 was awarded the title

of Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology. In 1983 he became a fellow of the American

Association for the Advancement of Science, which he served as president from 1999-2001. He

served as president of the Paleontological Society in 1985-1986, and also presided over the

Society for the Study of Evolution in 1990–1991. He was nominated to the body of The National

Academy of Sciences in 1989. He served as Vincent Astor Visiting Research Professor of

Biology at New York University from 1996-2002. The American Humanist Association awarded

him the Humanist of the year award in 2001. In 2008, the Darwin/Wallace Medal award was

posthumously conferred upon Gould.

No stronger or more effective opponent of pseudo-scientific occupational status-groups,

would-be modern reincarnations of the Göring Institute (such as the Institute for Creation

Research), attempting to pass themselves off as legitimate scientific concerns, ever turned a pen

to paper exposing their discredited presumptions and credentials. Gossett (1963/1997) researched

the history of racism to supply a guide to the origin of modern scientific racism, of exactly the

same variety as that promulgated by the Göring Institute, in the American apologetics of slavery

after the institution was challenged by the Black freedom struggles. Montagu (1945/2007)

weighed in with more stellar scientific credentials to thoroughly discredit racism, which he

showed to have no place whatsoever in empirical scientific investigations other than the history

of discredited ideologies.
In the most recent news, a man was elected president of the United States only because of

his racial ascriptions. Racial theory will not be rooted out of popular culture in the immediate

future, and is even consumed by high-status occupational elites with financial strings to major

universities (Smith, 1974). Combine racism with the departing presidential administration’s

vision of total War as America’s role in the 21st Century (see the Bush administration’s The

National Security Strategy of the United States (2002)), and we have a potent brew for

retrogression only marginally more sophisticated than Nazi psychotherapy. Foucault and

Mannheim both examined globalizing, totalizing discourses that conceal the actual struggles and

accidents that lead to domination of a particular world outlook (Goldman, 1994) as the strongest

barriers to scientific truth. The analysis of the production and distribution of knowledge is the

path of critical thinking, whether defined by Weber’s interpretive understanding, Sayer’s

combination of Weber’s verstehen and ‘practical adequacy’ derived from James, or Mannheim’s

concept of total ideology, for which the retrieval of specific insights of all groups in society can

be synthesized into a sociology of knowledge. Sayer (1992) pointed out that, without some

grounding in humanistic values, there is no way to evaluate the claims of an ideology such as

racism, forcing us to accept the normative views it promulgates as the dominant mindset in

German or American society, without any way to evaluate its ersatz scientific claims and mal-

appropriated credentials. Without access to human values, Gould could not have written The

Mismeasure of Man (1981/1996), and we would be forced to accept Herrnstein’s Bell Curve

(1996). Without the values of democracy and an appreciation for cultural diversity, we would not

understand the monstrous abuse in interpreting the ‘g’ scale as a measure for genera intelligence.
To enable us to escape from such intellectual traps, sociology must remain true to its democratic

calling and ground itself as a science in a humanistic philosophic framework.

The sociology of knowledge began in the criticism of neo-Kantian epistemology,

resulting in a variety of perspectives, all struggling for academic and intellectual prestige. Neo-

Hegelianism, historic ism, critical theory, ontology, and logical positivism were all contenders

for the academic robe of truth. Today’s third generation of criticism includes deconstruction,

hermeneutics, edifying philosophy, and discursive rationality. All accused Mannheim’s new

discipline as ungrounded, without sufficient critical acumen to lead to truth. Mannheim analyzed

the variety of epistemological approaches as rationalizations of world outlooks rooted in the

needs of social groups. In his defense against charges of relativism on all sides, Mannheim

examined the origin and significance of fear of relativism (1936), stating that such fears can only

be relevant if relativism is confused with the older, absolute ideal of objective truth. Mannheim

stated his preference for a relativism that “calls attention to those moments that make

propositions discernable within their situation to any absolute proclamation of truth, no less

partial than its competitors, yet incapable of grappling with the concrete determinants of thought,

overlooking altogether the biases and presumptions that condition the evolution of knowledge”

(cited in Goldman, 1994).

Mannheim later found relationism to be a positive contribution from relativism, which is

the mutual reference of all elements of meaning to each other and their respective roles in a

particular system. Relational statements cannot be formulated absolutely, but only in terms of

structures within a world outlook. The remainder of relativism for Mannheim lacked standards

and order, “everyone and no one is right.” Perspectivism allows that various viewpoints come
into existence in relationship to each other and the social milieu from which they arise, but none

can be understood without reference to another perspective, which is itself a product of history.

Mannheim maintained a neo-Kantian dualism between what is disclosed by perspective, and

what is disclosed by facts, congruence with an unknowable reality acting as a check on

perspectives and judgments.

With Hegel, Mannheim maintained an existential content of truth at every stage in the

evolution of human thought, with a specific goal. The absolute unfolds in an “enduring and

comprehensive dialectical movement” (cited in Goldman, 1994), “the structure of appearance

signifies the way in which one views an object, what one grasps in it, and how one constructs the

facts for oneself in thought.” Perspective is either concretely grounded or tied to viewpoint.

Relationism permits access to certain aspects of social truth only from specific viewpoints.

Certain aspects of history can only be grasped through particular circumstances, making the

history of the knowing subject epistemologically important in the process of cognition.

All interpretations of history from temporally emergent viewpoints do not have equal

standing, according to objective criteria set for the evaluation of interpretations, subject to

concrete historical evidence. Inspection can reveal which perspective more deeply penetrates

social reality, distinguishing truth, differentiating among norms, thought modes, and behavioral

patterns. Truth of perspective means that history determines correct conclusions, with different

perspectives determining different partial truths, each correct within its own field. Ethical values

and moral judgments are valid to the extent to which they refer to norms that help the individual

discover new possibilities of human development in new situations, or guidance to the existing

one. Incorrect or distorted knowledge ignores or conceals new realities, clings to outdated
ideologies, and imposes inappropriate categories. With Lukacs, Mannheim held that

consciousness is historically determined. False consciousness results from a distorted mental


Mannheim’s relationism captured the original meaning of relativism, when Renaissance

skepticism emerged as a result of the rediscovery of the Greek classics, their original meaning,

and their original critics. Skepticism doubted the ground of belief in reason or revelation,

rejecting fixed standards of truth and righteousness. 19th Century relativism arose in response to

social and institutional changes that swept Europe, overwhelming existing faiths and institutions.

World outlooks were subject to intense analysis by academic elites seeking meaning and purpose

in the face of radical changes in prestige, meaning, and social action. They valued communal

consensus over critique. Sharp contradictions between social groups and interests created well-

grounded fears of civil wars, class conflicts, social fragmentation, and family dissolution.

Mannheim’s interest was to find unity and synthesis in partial views, accomplishing in thought

what could not be accomplished in reality. He sought to synthesize different ideologies and

philosophies into a comprehensive view, a relative optimum of what cannot be combined into a

system, as necessary preparation for a new synthesis in the future.

Mannheim believed in absolute being at some point, thereby positing some sphere of

experience as absolute. Like Weber and James, he found ground between relativism and idealism

on which to build a critical theory. He was a model for the role he proposed for radically

disassociated intellectuals to create a synthesis of partial viewpoints, benefiting from the truth of

each in creating a sociology of knowledge. Self-critical awareness of the values and

presumptions one brings to the task is preferable to a blind denial that any such value
orientations exist, as is actually the case with ‘value-free’ objectivity in social science, which in

so denying also precludes possibility of taking a critical stance. To further this task, Mannheim

advocated the creation of an occupational status group, with social power to act as carriers of the

social will to synthesis.

The mission of the intellectuals is to take an unaffiliated, ruling point of view. Without

ruling authority, they would nevertheless be trained to grasp totality. Through education,

intellectuals could release themselves from the particularities of their personal social experience,

cultivating a will to seek dynamic social equilibrium orientated toward the whole. Weber also

sought such leadership, with a commitment to an ultimate ideal (cited in Goldman, 1994). From

Durkheim, Mannheim added the goal of social and intellectual integration and acceptance of the

whole, to mediate between conflicting groups. They must locate more comprehensive, systematic

centers for reinterpreting older elements of culture, developing a broader social vision, ranking

ascending syntheses as they penetrate social reality more deeply.

Mannheim’s ideology and utopia are two types of reality transcendence because both are

incongruent with social reality (Geoghegan, 2004). Ideologies are outdated, looking to an

irredeemable past, whereas utopias point to the future. Mannheim’s theory of history is

dialectical, developing through conflict driven by succeeding social strata, each with a social

vision articulating its newly established status quo and implementing its political project. Each

new transformative vision is the basis of a new social reality, which is eventually challenged by a

newer vision of a new rising class. At this point, yesterday’s utopia becomes today’s ideology,

changing in function from criticizing reality to defending the status quo. Historically, liberalism

went from being a utopian vision of the rising bourgeoisie in overturning the medieval world, to
the ideological effort to defend the middle class status quo from challenge by rebellious workers.

The situation is considerably more complicated by his theory that social context determines

thought. Mannheim was very skeptical of any transhistoric vision, including Marxist claims that

the world outlook of the workers is universal. Some labeled Mannheim as a relativist for this

reason, which is a claim that he rejected, as we have seen. His analysis of reality-transcending

viewpoints shows a preference for historical evidence patterned to distinguish between

ideologies and utopias.

Utopias that do not eventually attain power are of little consequence. In accordance with

the dialectical theory of history, both ideological and utopian elements animate the politics of

rising social strata, which may only partially realize their projects. Ideological aspects of their

social vision may block the utopian promise. The liberal idea of freedom contains a high level of

resistance to the idea of equality (Geoghegan, 2004), which only became apparent to later strata

who hoped to cash in on the original utopian promise. The terms ‘ideology’ and ‘utopia’ carry a

lot of historic baggage. All oppositional political activity is stigmatized as utopian, whereas

ideological defenses make no distinction between what is really impossible and what is merely

not possible without changing the existing social order. The term ‘ideological’ describes the

defensive illusions of the dominant strata.

Mannheim’s distinction involves temporal appropriateness, with the ideological

indicating that which is out of date, archaic, and extinct as opposed to the new, rising star of the

utopian. The sociology of knowledge (Geoghegan, 2004) itself emerged out of the socialist

utopia. For thought that is congruent with reality to dominate would bring ideology to an end, as

well as utopia, with loss of the ideals and hopes of humanity. In the modern context the
sociology of knowledge can explore distorted experience and generate a new sense of totality,

which is the progressive mission of modern intellectuals. However Mannheim viewed historical

and social reality, it is contemporary, dividing ideology from utopia. Mannheim included a full

discussion of conservatism in Ideology and Utopia. Conservatism exists as an ideology precisely

because society does not live up to the conservative vision, which provides it with a utopian

thrust. In response to radicalism, the conservative mind was forced to develop a counter-utopian

vision to remain in power. Paul Tillich decided that this effectively negates the concept of utopia.

Mannheim’s Critics: Left

Ernst Bloch (cited in Geoghegan, 2004) criticized Mannheim from a Marxist perspective,

considering the sociology of knowledge a flawed and harmful theory. He accused Mannheim of

plagiarizing the concept of utopia from his1918 The Spirit of Utopia, then misusing it, without

including a single reference. Bloch used a normative approach to ideology and utopia, making

judgments without reference to history, which in Mannheim’s view, sinks into unreflective

particularism. Bloch drew on historical resources of rationality and value to distinguish truth

from error, good from evil, and to analyze the emergence of these two forms in history, their

current constellation, and future course. A red thread that runs through the historic succession of

ideologies, utopia embraces authenticity that has not yet emerged. Although Bloch was a

historical materialist, utopia need not be historically realizable to validate a specific utopian


Bloch (cited in Geoghegan, 2004) believed that because they fundamentally challenge

existing power constellations, our highest human aspirations have been ever subject to historical

defeat. The real difference between ideology and utopia is the difference between self-delusion
and authentic humanism. Mannheim tossed all those utopian hopes that do not become active

oppositional utopias into the trash of ‘wishful thinking.’ Mannheim tied ideologies and utopias to

specific social strata, whereas Bloch analyzed the social production of ideas. Bloch’s utopian

thinking is not distorted, a product of analysis and aspirations, and therefore will remain even in

the triumph of congruent thinking, which is scientific. Because history has many utopian

moments, the archaic can still retain relevance in contemporary society. When justice is done and

historic accounts settled, the social contract linking the generations will restore humanitarian

ideas that have been cast down, and radical hermeneutics will settle the score.

Bloch’s usage of the term ‘utopia’ is so ubiquitous as to destroy its explanatory value, in

Adorno’s words (cited in Geoghegan, 2004), “Everything borders on being nothing.” In the

Marxist tradition, the word ‘ideology’ denotes a wide range of phenomena, as ideological

cultural and political formations, as false consciousness, and as the project of social classes.

Bloch argued that National Socialism consolidated power in Germany by exploiting utopian

elements in the German peasantry’s archaic, pre-capitalist dimensions, ignored by orthodox

Marxists and Mannheim. To Bloch, nihilism rather than ideology is the real enemy. The

optimism of Fascism was not so stupid as to disbelieve in everything. For Bloch, ideology needs

the utopian to succeed as ideology, whereas an ideology of simple lies would never succeed,

requiring utopian resources to gain power. The Nazi slogan of ‘home, soil, and nation’ captured

longings for security and community. Lenin used the term ‘proletarian ideology,’ or true

ideology, showing how the utopian depends for emergence on existing ideological forms. To

Bloch, ideology and utopia both inform practice, and are part of reality rather than past and
future ideals. He criticized Mannheim for refusing to accept Marx’s claim that the proletariat has

no material reason to hide from reality.

That may be true in proletarian social action, when workers act democratically, in their

own interests, as a class. However, when, as a thoroughly demoralized occupational status group,

they are whipped into a mob by an ideological demagogue such as Der Führer, seeking security

in fascism’s ersatz offer of an escape from freedom (Fromm, 1969), one doubts whether even

Marx could have foreseen so many negative consequences of the collapse of the First

International. Surely Bloch’s own failure (Geoghegan, 2004) in the wake of the 1939

Hitler/Stalin Pact to recognize Stalin as the face of the counter-revolution rising right out of the

Party gives one pause to wonder about his own objectivity as a revolutionary exponent of the

working class. If nothing else, such poor continuing performance as is exemplified in Bloch’s

belief that Russia had no woman question because it had resolved the worker’s question, lends

credence to Mannheim’s skepticism about the Engels/Plekhanov strain of Marxism’s universalist

claims to totality. Mannheim’s normative grounding is clear in his statement that: “selection and

accentuation of certain aspects of historical totality may be regarded as the first step in the

direction which ultimately leads to an evaluative procedure and to ontological judgments” (cited

in Geoghegan, 2004). Any sociological critique of consciousness as false must ultimately be

grounded in some values, although the critic may perceive her objectivity as an expression of the

inherent objectivity of the working class.

Shils Leads with his Right

During World War II, Edward Shils went from being inspired by to harshly criticizing

Karl Mannheim’s sociology of knowledge. Karl Popper and Friedrich Hayek, fellow Hungarian
émigrés to England, conducted a vituperative and merciless assault on Mannheim’s theoretical

work that cannot be understood outside of the paranoia and unreason of embattled democracies

in rationalizing their existence during troubled times. Writing in the pages of Economica, the

journal of the London School of Economics, Hayek and Popper took issue with all who advanced

any form of state planning, as manifested in the Engels/Plekhanov strain of Marxism touted by

the Stalinists, in the National Socialism of Germany, or in Keynes’ General Theory of Income

and Employment, Interest, and Money touted at Cambridge. These men felt that the totalizing

cynicism of idealistic intellectuals had wrecked European society, paving the way for fascism

and communism, and because he was a very popular lecturer among students at their beloved

London School of Economics, they held up Mannheim as an especially obnoxious and egregious

example of the sort of pompous epigone they despised so thoroughly. The fact that Mannheim’s

role for intellectuals, which is to create a sociology of knowledge suitable for policy and

planning, only vaguely resembled Keynesianism, Stalinism or Nazi state planning, weighed less

in their estimation of Mannheim as a target of opportunity for their intellectual wrath than did the

fact that he was so close at hand.

Mannheim thought that, by analyzing and understanding the various ideological positions

available within Western political thought, intellectuals were in an especially suitable position to

synthesize social knowledge in a fashion that could provide a holistic view from the partial

insights of the various intellectual factions. The simplistic way to attack this position, which

builds on Georgi Lukacs’ (another Hungarian intellectual) History and Class Consciousness

(1971), is to deny that social knowledge is social or that it is historical. By coining their own
meanings for ‘scientism’ and ‘historicism,’ this is precisely what Popper, Hayek, and later Shils


The fact that John Maynard Keynes’ General Theory would soon become one of the most

influential economics treatises in history did not deter Karl Popper or Friedrich Hayek from

attacking state-planning in any form, holding that economic activity is far too complex to be so

regulated. At that period, when World War II was far from won, Popper, Hayek, and Shils

(Pooley, 2007) could not have anticipated that Keynes’ treatise would become the policy

document for state planners, at least until the collapse of the Phillips curve in the Nixon

Recession destroyed their ability to trade employment for inflation. From that 1940’s

perspective, the only fundamental disagreement among policy woks was over the degree of state-

planning to be implemented, its scope and direction. Stalin and Mao leaped forward on five-year

plans, whereas the Japanese, like Grand Fenwick, roared ahead on 20 year plans and American

aid for having lost the war (1955/1983). The emergence after Nixon of the dire Marxian

prediction that the rate of return on capital has a permanent tendency to decline is the reason the

employment/inflation trade-off (actually another version of Hitler’s guns/butter trade off) no

longer works as policy, but these events had to await another three decades to emerge.

Meanwhile, the Hungarian intellectuals could denigrate everyone who even resembled a state-

planner. Karl Mannheim got caught squarely in their crosshairs.


The world-wide rise of fundamentalism from all three desert religions, Judaism, Islam,

and Christianity (whose common central ethic is defense of the water-hole), has forced the

demarginalization of theological ideas, if only for the purpose of obstructing fundamentalist

intention of controlling or at least disrupting secular society, as in the Se ptember11th fit of

righteous indignation directed against indefensible American foreign policy (Johnson, 2001).

Mannheim suggested that religious ideas performed as ideology in the Middle Ages, when the

Christian ideal of brotherly love could not be realized in a society grounded in the institution of

serfdom. These ideals formed the basis of a utopian movement in Anabaptist orgiastic chiliasm.

Thomas More’s Utopia (1515/2003) did not meet Mannheim’s requirements for activism, as did

the polemics of Thomas Münzer, the radical Anabaptist cleric. Chiliasm resurfaces only in

religiously attenuated political movements, but cannot serve as a modern form of political

consciousness, revealing a secular agenda in Mannheim’s original utopian typology. In flight

from Hitler’s persecution, Mannheim later began to recognize the contemporary significance of

religious belief even as, in Bloch’s words, “Nazis steamed into the vacated, originally Münzerian

regions” (cited in Geoghegan, 2004). Permitting our highest ideals to be manipulated by

dangerous ideological forces can only lead to a new holocaust that will make the

humanitarianism of the Nazis look beneficent.

Marx’s influence is most apparent in Mannheim and Bloch’s treatment of ideology.

Mannheim adapted Marx’s particularist use of ideology in exposing false consciousness, which

is a fundamental task of any critical sociology, to a universal concept capable of self-criticism.

The proletarian stance taken by Post-Marx Marxists above the social process by which ideology

is formed was simply delusion, permitting them to forget to apply their own critical tools to

themselves. However, Mannheim was guilty of the same sin, forgetting to apply the sociology of

knowledge to his proposed occupational status group of producers of social knowledge

(Goldman, 1994); thereby leaving his ideas open to charges of relativism from all sides. Though
touting a specific rather than a general theory of ideology, Mannheim credited Marxist theory

with discovering the distinction between the two, with the particular referring to skepticism

about motives, actions, and presumptions of opponents, and the general theory denoting the

global roots of thought and action in specific social strata.

Marx denoted as utopian both premature visions of social change, and ideological

blockages to proletarian creative action. Mannheim’s view of utopian consciousness as distorted

may be closer to Marx than Bloch’s, who saw utopian consciousness in the working class as

undistorted. Although Bloch used some early works of Marx, such as his1843 letter to Rüge, and

his characterization of Owen, Fourier, and Saint-Simone as great, early utopians in the

Communist Manifesto (1848/2005); he might well have remembered Marx’s identification of the

fundamental utopia of the working class, ‘freely associated labor,’ to which communist society is

only a preliminary but contingently necessary step in negating capitalism. Here, we could

perhaps make Bloch’s distinction between abstract utopians and the emergence of a concrete

utopia of fulfilled existence, but certainly not in what Marx also identified in his introduction to

the Russian edition of Capital as a State Capitalist society, which is the best description of the

form of social organization Stalin bequeathed to Russia, with its Stakanovitch five-year speed-

ups, continuous concessions, and constant shortages (manifested in the West with the difference

of high unemployment and overstocked shelves).

Marx considered religion to be ideological, the fabrication of a social foe, with no

redeeming utopian value. Mannheim and Marx both consigned religious politics to the decline of

the medieval order, with no role in establishing the new. Mannheim and Bloch both explored

how ideology and utopia function in perpetuating self-deception and hope, and emphasized their
centrality to any attempt to understand the contemporary world. The emergence of religious

ideology as terrorism forces us to re -evaluate the role of America as a utopian ideal in the

modern world (Bruckberger, 1959), and grapple with the extent to which we have transformed

such dreams into the dross of ideology, failing to meet the expectations for even minimal

security of the billions who live on less than $2.00 per day. We must make credible progress in

this realm to defuse the righteous indignation of fundamentalists of all persuasions currently on

the verge of attaining nuclear weapons of mass destruction that could annihilate us all.

Ideology and Sociology

Although the mad rush of intellectual discourse to the far right in the ‘80s and ‘90s has

left earlier discussions of Marxism and Mannheim in the lurch, sociology has found new labels

for the topic of ideology, such as social constructionism and discourse analysis (Kumar, 2006).

Professional sociologists distrust utopian thinking, whereas utopian scholars prefer the ivory

towers of literary utopias to revolutionary or chiliastic social movements. Mannheim analyzed

the social and political condition sunder which utopian thought flourishes. Bell’s (1960/2000)

premature announcement of the end of ideology (pre-dating as it did the social movements of

women, workers, Blacks, and youth in the ‘60s) notwithstanding, everyone had something to say

about ideology. Marcuse’s (1964/1991) analysis of late capitalist ideology became the bible of

the new left. Paris in May of 1968 recreated memories of the Paris Commune, generating

innumerable critiques of the institutional ideological hegemony of ruling class viewpoints in

education, politics, culture, and sexuality.

Although still highly regarded in schools of management, Mannheim was disregarded by

New Left academics as the ‘bourgeois Marx. ’ Theorists aiming at stirring up working class
militancy and consciousness were miffed at his substitution of intellectuals for workers as the

architects of the sociology of knowledge. Mannheim became an unperson (Orwell, 1949) after

1970, as the use of ideology as an analytical concept was also dropped, along with the study of

Marxism. The collapse of communism in Eastern Europe contributed to the discrediting of

Marxism, to the extent that it was identified with the ideological strain of Engels/Plekhanov, or

mainstream post-Marx Marxism. In this view, the post-structuralism and post-modernism that

replaced post-Marx Marxism would best be designated as post-post-Marx Marxism. As

systematic statements of belief, with or without links to status groups or classes, political

doctrines such as communism or fascism may be studied in their own right, with fruitful results.

For sociology, the study of ideology was linked to appearance and reality, truth and error,

subjective consciousness and the objective world (Kumar, 2006). It had contributed to empirical

sociology, stratification theory, and cultural sociology in attempting to analyze media bias in

industrial strikes.

Post-modernism in the sociology of the ‘80s suggested that there is no truth, objectivity is

a myth, and history has no meaning. The triumph of the totalizing ideologies of Thatcherism and

Reaganism, major working class defeats such as Reagan’s destruction of PATCO and the impact

of the Kroger contract on the Meatpacker’s Union, all contributed to advent of a corrosive

relativism that rendered the concept of ideology almost meaningless. If the truth of science is

completely relative to the viewpoint of the scientist, any opposition between ideology and truth

must itself be a false dichotomy, and the term may indeed be as useless as the concept of race,

best forgotten in scientific discourse.

Social constructionism is currently in sociological vogue. Ideology is everywhere, going

under different names, without the previous connotation of demystifying and exposing truth.

Berger and Luckmann’s The Social Construction of Reality (1967), identifies social reality as

man-made, in terms of language, thought, and scientific constructs, thereby implying that all

human knowledge is subjective. The experimental detachment of scientific objectivity is a myth.

Race, ethnicity and nationalism are socially constructed categories, paving the road for a cultural

relativism that cannot recognize such a category as false consciousness. Immemorial tradition

may have been invented recently. Feminist studies of gender and sexual identity witness the

emergence of structures of ideas and emotions that condition our self-definition. Foucault

substituted the term ‘discourse’ for ideology, which now serves to enlighten some areas while

concealing others, provide evaluations, and to impose a dominant world outlook in place of a

radical one, much as ideology once did.

Mannheim, who was perhaps more in tune with Marx than most of the other Marxists

referred to so far, believed that truth is a perspective that can be reached by intellectuals,

precisely to the extent that their thinking is not subject to the interests or ideology of a particular

group (Kumar, 2006). To the extent that social constructionism can be seen to be derived from

the sociology of knowledge, Mannheim can be seen as one of its originators. If ideology can be

divorced from truth, how is it possible to be critical in the sociology of fascism? Why not just

talk about programs, doctrines, or philosophies, and forget about false consciousness, and

whatever other Marxist baggage we have been carrying? This is where the social realism of

Sayer (1992) is crucial. We must retain those man-made concepts that have supported critical

evaluation of the institutional structure of society. This is the humanistic mission of social
science: to help us discern the difference between truth and lies in our man-made constructs,

providing practical adequacy ”in guiding us in building democratic economic, educational, legal,

and other institutions, especially political, which are otherwise captured by ideological elites.”


What of utopia, the other term of Mannheim’s Ideology and Utopia? For

Mannheim, the two were linked, in ways that few of his critics understand. The function of

ideology is to support the status quo and enforce order, but it has a utopian aspect. Utopia is

more than the principle of hope for positive change. It has an element of ideology in it. The real

problem with Mannheim’s synthesis, on which he based his sociology of knowledge, is that it

remains at the level of process, rather than reaching for transcendence. From a vulgar materialist

viewpoint, this is preposterous. However, Hegelian transcendence and transformation into

opposite not only unite the truth of materialism and idealism, but also retain both in the highest

contradiction. This is the absolute, new humanism that Marx announced in his Critique of the

Hegelian Dialectic (1964). Society is more than a material process. It involves human beings.

Humanism is more appropriate to its study than rationalism.

Mannheim, like Marx, was a far better Hegel scholar than Mannheim’s Marxist epigone

critics. Ideology is that which is unrealizable. It consists of the pie in the sky hopes and dreams

that keepers of the status quo feed to the masses to placate them. The aspirations of ideology

offer objects the prevailing social order cannot possibly allow, but finds convenient to

incorporate. For instance, the medieval Church offered paradise and Christian brotherly love,

neither of which were attainable but both of which were useful. Utopia is fantastic to the ruling

elites, yet is realizable in principle and has actually been realized. When social groups embody
utopian ideals, and realize them in social action, these ideals become the new ideology.

Mannheim criticized those who equate utopia with revolution, but recognized their appreciation

of social dynamics, that in fact utopias are necessary in any positive social change. Utopias

express and realize “those ideas and values in which are contained in condensed form the

unrealized and unfulfilled tendencies which represent the needs of each age…break (ing) the

bond of the existing order…only those orientations transcending reality will be referred to by us

as utopian which, when they pass into conduct, tend to shatter, either partially or wholly, the

order of things prevailing at the time” (Kumar, 2006). Such ideas are anathema to conservative

forces with no material interest in changing anything.

Mannheim argued that his concept, while grounded in empirical reality, enters the

structure of history addressing theoretical questions, such as revolutionary change. Revolutionary

socialism is just such a utopian ideal, with its goal of a free and egalitarian society. The

contradiction in the idea of freedom arises when those who have attained it to some degree close

ranks against all newcomers, who also wish to share in the benefits of egalitarianism. As long as

class-divided society continues to exist, some people will always think they are supposed to be

freer than others, whether by race, inheritance, or some other ascribed characteristic. Mannheim

was the first to sketch the actual ideologies of liberalism, conservatism, and socialism, showing

how these tendencies interact, preserving the social order yet moving it forward. As

contradictory elements, they function together to actually preserve the system. 18th Century

utopian liberalism became 19th Century bourgeois conservatism, Communism and social ism

were the new utopias that challenged this ideology. Understanding that the contradiction is never

synthesized, but actually becomes sharper in the new society, can help to understand how the
Russian Revolution was transformed into the Stalin counterrevolution, and how such unwanted

transformations have become the problematic of our age.

What happens after the Revolution?

This world-shaking transformation redefined the entire question for today’s

revolutionists, which is now, “What happens after the revolution?” Are women to be dragged

back into bondage? Are workers to be re-chained to their machines? Does the fastest output by

the strongest worker become the new standard of production? What emerged from the Russian

Revolution was not socialism, neither was it Communism. It was State-Capitalism, as best

described by James and Dunayevskaya, (1950/1986). They argued that, in an age of absolutes,

characterized by Cold War and hydrogen bombs, all universals acquire concrete meaning for

individuals as well as for society. Total planning is met by permanent crisis, the struggle for

men’s minds met by the effort to completely mechanize humanity. The absolute contradiction of

state-capitalism contains all previous contradictions. When workers confronting automation are

forced to ask, “What kind of work shall a person do?” the human activity of philosophy becomes

actual. Confronted by the need to establish a theoretical basis for Soviet democracy, Lenin broke

with the materialism of the Second International and applied the Hegelian dialectic to Marx’s

Capital, the Russian Revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat.

The Russian workers successfully used his conception of the complete abolition of

bureaucracy and all ordering from above as a weapon to abolish the one-party state (James &

Dunayevskaya, 1986). Lenin’s problems of production in 1920 Russia are universal. Although he

was not able to surmount the historic barriers confronting the revolution with his New Economic

Plan, in his philosophic notebooks he began to confront the dialectical method of Marx’s
Humanism to envision the creation of a higher way for labor to organize socially, as freely

associated labor, the essence of the dictatorship of the proletariat. “What kind of labor shall a

human do?” is the critical question in the current stage of automation in capitalist production.

West Virginia coal miners confronted automation in their 1949-1950 battle against the automatic

miner, a man killer; as did Meatpacker’s Local P-9 in Austin, MN in their 1986 strike against

Automation and the Kroger contract. The high point reached by these struggles has compelled

workers to confront this issue. Today’s crisis in production flows from the antagonism between

mental and manual labor. From Descartes’16th Century Rationalism to Mid-Twentieth Century

Stalinism, the fundamental contradiction of capitalism has been in the division of labor between

intellectuals and workers.

In establishing its power over feudal society, the revolutionary bourgeoisie of the First

Industrial Revolution developed an ideology of scientific progress in the philosophy of

Rationalism (James & Dunayevskaya, 1986). This ideology combated superstition, increased

production, and expanded productive forces. This expansion was accomplished through the

division of labor between thinkers and doers, thereby re-establishing idealism. Here is where the

concealment that prevents rationalism from actually rising to philosophy comes in. At the idea

that harmonious progress is the only possible result of this social process, rationalism shows its

true colors whether expressed as vulgar, uncritical materialism or idealism of the same stripe that

recognizes no human ideals or utopias. Once the result of individuals associated in a common

effort to control nature, today the division of labor lies in the control of the administrative elite

over the masses. The final clash between mental and manual labor, state-centralized capital and a

thoroughly socialized proletariat, will spell out the end of Rationalism. The political ideology of
rationalism is democracy, providing equal opportunity for all to take command of society, and

therefore equality at law, in voting rights, and in the labor market. Anyone with sensitivity to the

deteriorating conditions of life and labor in the United States can sense that political democracy

is bankrupt. No one knows what is to take its place.

The planned economy under a one-party state differs from corporatist laissez-faire only

in its degree of rationalism (James & Dunayevskaya, 1986). The solution to continuous crises in

production is always more production through technological advance. Any private property that

stands in the way of this complete rationalization of labor can be appropriated. Today’s Spirit of

Capitalism started out as a utopian ideal, made the journey to power, and installed itself as the

ideology of the Iron Cage, the complete rationalization of labor under the Puritan Work Ethic.

Events in the Soviet Union parallel our previous description of fascism. The Labor Bureaucracy

(CCCP) rose out of the modern mass movement of the working class in response to the

centralization of capital, which kept it in power. The proletarian representative turned into an

administrator. The only viable solution to today’s crisis is to abolish the division of labor in

production, which is inconceivable without a total transformation of society. This crisis in

production has brought bourgeois rationalism to an end.


All critiques of rationalism are grounded in Hegel and concerned with the proletariat

(James & Dunayevskaya, 1986). The French Revolution first challenged uncritical materialism

and idealism. This ideology fell into permanent crisis when the Napoleonic counter-revolution

encountered the insurgent masses. Kant’s critique exposed the contradiction between science and

human freedom. His solution was to install a moral elite in leadership, all men who obey moral
law and act according to the General Will. Thus, vulgar idealism is replaced by critical idealism.

Having witnessed revolution and counter-revolution, Hegel could not resolve the contradiction

with men of good will.

Hegel’s critique of Rationalism, whether Cartesian or Kantian, starts with

contradiction as the creative and moving force in history (James & Dunayevskaya, 1986).

Self-movement, not direction, underlies all development. Self-movement results from

internal contradiction, not competition. The nature that confronts man as an alien power

is man-made. Self realization through individual incorporation of the whole of human

development is the goal of history. Freedom is not utility, but rather creative universality.

Lenin recognized that these dialectical principles at the center of Hegelian philosophy are

revolutionary. If appropriated by the proletarian consciousness as dialectical materialism,

these utopian ideals would guide human development. The Post-Marx Marxists

transformed Marx into a vulgar materialist, only interested in expanding production and

increasing consumption. In fighting this tendency, Marx found that only the creative

activity of masses in motion can expand the dialectic of Hegel. Marx transformed this

dialectic into a weapon against bureaucracy, especially in production.

To Hegel, the successive manifestations of a world spirit, creating a new utopian

vision out of previously unattainable elements of the old ruling ideology, is objective

history. Rather than confine the human quest for universality to the development of a

sociology of knowledge, Marx realized the objective movement lies in changes in

relations of production, in the need for the free development of all human capacities in

mental and manual labor. For Hegel, this was the work of a small elite with a monopoly
of leadership talent (James & Dunayevskaya, 1986). To Marx, masses in motion, in

pursuit of Mannheim’s utopian ideals, create world historic movements. Rather than

deliver society into the hands of a professional labor bureaucracy, such as the Central

Committee of the Communist Party, which could only replicate the essence of Tsarism,

Marx proposed the only possible humanistic future as lying in the abolition of the

distinction between mental and manual labor. Communism, the immediate response to

capitalism, would perform the historic role of seeing this project through. Communism

represented a temporary transition to a free society, never the goal of human


This was the mission of the dictatorship of the proletariat, not the entrenchment

of a new bureaucracy. Hegel could not carry the dialectic through to its logical

conclusion because he had no experience of a disciplined and united workers’ movement,

such as that which rose on the wings of the General Strike of Mau 1, 1886, when half a

million American workers and tens of thousands of supporters went on strike or joined

marches and picket lines for the 8 hour day. This was the turning point from which

American labor went on to create the American Federation of Labor and the First

Workingman’s International Association, to which the American delegation promptly

sent a request to make May 1 the International Day of Labor, which so carried. Workers

were ready to take over the reins of capital through self-organization and development of

the proletariat under the universal idea of freedom (James & Dunayevskaya, 1986).

Freedom was the unattainable ideology of Liberal Democracy, which it held out

to all for the sake of convenience without any intention of acting on or delivering the
promise. When new passions and new forces seized upon this ideal, it was transformed

into a practical and realizable utopia. In fact, the Paris Commune of 1871 was an historic

realization of concrete universality for the masses, as was the St. Louis Commune of

1877. The events in Paris of May, 1968 show that, as an imminent historic ideal, this idea

of freedom was never defeated, but still lives in the hearts and minds of working people

allied intellectuals, women and the revolutionary idealism of youth.

In Hegel’s day, only the state bureaucracy could represent the universal needs of

the community. Thus, the Stalinist epigones who attempted to truncate the dialectic at

process are in fact the real inheritors of Hegel’s mantle (James & Dunayevskaya, 1986),

with no other reason to call themselves Marxist than the transformation of the utopian

vision of the Russian Revolution into the ideology of control, the ultimate development

of Rationalism. The only dogma Hegel left standing was that of the backwardness of the

masses, which Stalinists and the New Left now perpetuate; always ready to deliver the

masses into the hands of the capitalists in the last resort, rationalized by the vulgar

materialism of the state bureaucracy.


As the historic limit of rationalism, Post-Marx Marxism, of whatever variety,

always tail-ends state bureaucracy at the end of the day, whether it is North Korea’s Kim

Il Sung, Shining Path Maoism, orthodox Trotskyism, or some other variant of Engelsian

vulgar materialism. Rationalism dressed up as Marxism, including Raisa Gorbachev’s

Marxist Humanism, is all the professional Stalinist bureaucrat has to offer, as an

unrealizable ideology precisely because of his monopoly on the reins of power. Under the
ideology of state-capitalism, the party poses as exponent of a revolutionary utopian ideal

that it could never permit to be realized. Vulgar materialism demands only that the

worker works harder than ever before, transforming labor into a material force of

production. The vulgar idealism lies in positing the Party to lead, as it has never led

before, using carrots and sticks to goad recalcitrant workers into more frenzied

production activity. Stalinists view workers as lazy and indifferent, performing as little

and taking as much as possible. They see the workers in the same light as the Progressive

Movement of Dewey, as rebellious children who need someone to modify their behavior.

While the labor bureaucracy hands out marching orders, as the UFCW told Meatpacker’s

Local P-9: “you go back to work,” workers continue to resist speed-up and discipline,

whether from the Party, or imposed under the Kroger contract, neither of which was ever

submitted to a vote (Meatpackers simply woke up one morning to find themselves under

the hegemony of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW)).

As did the Progressives and the Fascists, Stalinists needed to fashion an ideology to

combat the sullen attitude of the workers, therefore they imposed the police state under an

exclusively scientific world outlook. In the wake of the terrorist event of September 11, 2001,

Congress imposed the Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Act, long time wish lists of

security agencies now realized in panicked disregard of the Constitution or the Bill of Rights.

Congressman Dennis Kucinich, (D., OH) commented that he was witnessing the creation of a

garrison state in America. KGB actually translates Department of Homeland Security. As

ideology, this view is scientistic rather than scientific. Sociology suffers from the same attitude

in the hands of the same kind of bureaucrats. Only in so far as it is utopian in Mannheim’s usage
can social science actually become scientific, by promoting democracy in all social institutions,

thereby providing the scientific observer with the opportunity to study representative samples of

groups that have actualized themselves and attained self-consciousness.

The official Soviet history of philosophy, like all Soviet history, is bound in loose leaf,

subject to rewriting at any time. The enemy of social progress is and always has been

superstition, posing in philosophical and religious garb as idealism. While pretending to defend

Marx’s materialism from Hegel’s idealism, Stalinists actually defended themselves against the

revolutionary dialectical logic Marx had already set on its feet (James & Dunayevskaya, 1986).

State-planning is conducted by trained intellectuals completely freed from class bias, performing

the role assigned to them by Mannheim as keepers of the sociology of knowledge, or as Weber’s

ancient Chinese Literati, or Nazi psychotherapists, take your pick. The theoretical enemy of

totalitarianism is the theory of state-capitalism. The philosophic enemy is the New Humanism of

Marx, from which he never departed. The real enemy of the Soviet state was never capitalism,

but the workers’ collective resistance to labor discipline. This is why the Kroger contract was

never subject to a vote, but simply imposed on the Meatpackers Union by the UFCW hierarchy,

with no more mandate than the Communist labor bureaucrats, serving as it does to transform the

labor bureaucracy into the whip-hand of capital. The Stalinists were terrified that an objective

basis for class struggle actually existed in Russia. They substituted “criticism and self-criticism”

for Hegel’s objective contradiction, thereby transforming their materialism into idealism.

All development depends on the subjective intuitionism of the labor bureaucrat. No less

august an occupational status group than the Institute of Philosophy of the Academy of Sciences

of the USSR dished up Zhdanov’s new idealism of the state plan as the official ideology of
Soviet society in 1949 (James & Dunayevskaya, 1986). While the role of the worker in the

struggle for socialism is to work harder, all intellectual life is subsumed under the Party, which

acts as the consciousness of the bureaucracy, directing and controlling it, and planning ahead. As

did the ancient Chinese Literati and the psychotherapists under the Göring Institute, the Party

defined morals and resolved value conflicts, establishing what is politically correct. The masses

were material forces of production at the disposal of the Party in its control of capital. The

murderous rule of the Polite Bureau, designed to keep the workers in continuous speed-up as the

leaders plan, has never been paralleled. Anyone who believes that they simply threw up their

hands under the gun of Reagan’s Star Wars, and shouted, “We surrender!” is living in a dream


As I hope I have shown, the same dark forces are at work throughout the world today, on

both sides of the “Iron Curtain,” and in all forms of capitalism, whether statist or privately

owned. Christian Humanists, as exemplified by Peter Drucker, lead today’s middle class struggle

to avoid being absorbed into the proletariat. Only the divine authority of faith can rescue the

individual from sin. To them, rationalism, as expressed in the division of labor, is poised for the

destruction of civilization. Proposing capitalism’s complete destruction, they advocate a new

medievalism, grounded in militant anti-rational and anti-democratic ideology. The individual

conflict between sin and salvation is the basis of the new social order. This ideology, as

Mannheim shows ideologies are want to do, offers no possible solution to the absolute divorce

between mental and manual labor brought on by the rationalization and division of labor under

the Puritan work ethic. Their political economy is decentralization of capital, with every worker

knowing his or her calling. Freedom can never be attained on this earth, but only in an
undeliverable after-life. Popular sovereignty must be dismantled, in favor of rule under a natural

elite. The only alternative is absolutism.

In Italy, Germany, and France, at the University of Chicago, and with spreading influence

Christian Humanism embraces the embattled middle classes in suppressing workers’ struggles

and prepares them for Fascism. Such an ideological weapon is useful to big business in attracting

mass support, which is how Peter Drucker became an organization guru, joining forces with the

labor bureaucracy to prevent workers from exercising control over the terms and conditions of

their labor, and thereby remain at the bottom of the ladder in production. The degradation of

labor has extended to the point that no individual can do anything about it, much less in terms of

his own struggle for salvation. By repudiating rationalism and attracting intellectuals to Fascism,

Christian Humanism plays a crucial role in the battle of ideas surrounding today’s absolute crisis

in production.

Threatened with their own proletarianization, withdrawing in horror from the barbarism

of Stalinism, and fearful of the working class, for whom they share with all others the Hegelian

contempt, the middle classes are attracted to the barbarism of Fascism precisely because it offers

security in a misconstrued, idealized and authoritarian past, in this case with no less an authority

than God himself. Petty-bourgeois intellectuals, also victims of the absolute rationalization of

labor with nowhere to turn, fall victim to their own indecision, isolation, alienation, and

confusion. Modern intellectuals, the most educated in history, are undergoing theoretical

disintegration, manifested as Existentialism in France, psychoanalysis in America, and

indecision between Christian Humanism and psychoanalysis in Germany. After centuries of the

division of labor between thinkers and doers, this is the destruction of reason (Lukacs,
1952/1981), the disintegration of a society without values or perspective, the final climax to

centuries of division of labor between philosophers and proletarians:

“It may be postulated as a general statement that the decline of bourgeois

ideology set in with the end of the 1848 revolution…Certainly the decline started
much earlier in the sphere of theoretical learning, particularly economics and
philosophy; bourgeois economics had produced nothing original and forward-
looking since the demise of the Ricardo school in the 1820s, while bourgeois
philosophy had yielded nothing new since the demise of Hegelianism (1830s and
1840s). Both these fields were completely dominated by capitalist apologetics. A
similar situation obtained in the historical sciences. The fact that the natural
sciences continued to make enormous strides during this period—Darwin’s great
work appeared between 1848 and 1870—does not affect the picture one bit; there
have been new discoveries in this area right up to the present. This in itself did not
forestall a certain degeneration of general methodology, an increasingly
reactionary slant in the bourgeois philosophy of natural sciences, and an ever-
growing zeal in the use of their findings for the propagation of reactionary views.”
(pp. 309-310).

Proletarian Philosophy

Today’s problems in philosophy cannot be resolved by anything less than revolutionary

action of workers, blacks, women and youth (James & Dunayevskaya, 1986). No small group of

intellectuals, not even sociologists, can substitute theory for revolutionary action. Only

proletarian revolution can put Russian state-property in its place. In the United States, only

proletarian revolution will put science into the service of human values and establish democracy

in all existing social institutions. The evils decried by Christian Humanism and Existentialism

are not subject to any ideological solution, but can only be resolved through the transformation

of society by the only groups capable of resolving them, the exploited themselves. Reason as

Woman, as Black masses in motion, as Workers’ struggles, as the idealism of Youth, and as the

new revolutionary subject of Gay Liberation: these are the concrete manifestations of Reason in

today’s liberation struggles. Everything begins with the creativity of masses in motion, fighting
for the ideals of freedom from which they have been excluded. This was Lenin’s universal as

early as1905:

“ the point is that it is precisely the revolutionary periods that are

distinguished for their greater breadth, greater wealth, greater intelligence, greater
and more systematic activity, greater audacity and vividness of historical
creativeness, compared with periods of philistine, Cadet reformist
progress…direct political activity by the ‘common people,’ who in their simple
way directly and immediately destroy the organs of oppression of the people,
seize power, appropriate for themselves what was considered to be the property of
all sorts of plunderers of the people–in a word, precisely when the sense and
reason of millions of downtrodden people is awakening, not only for reading
books but for action, for living human action, for historical creativeness” (Cited in
James & Dunayevskaya, 1986).

By 1917, the proletariat had created workers, soldiers, and peasants committees, their

form of social and political rule. The Russian Revolution could only have been sustained by the

creativity of masses in motion, their sensitivities to their own problems, their forms of reason and

labor organization, sociality, and humanity. As Marx had pointed out in his introduction to the

Russian edition of Capital, the ancient Russian commune could help provide a new pathway to

revolution, thereby enabling Russia to by-pass the capitalist stage of development. Stalin’s

liquidation of the Kulaks, a polite word for genocide, eradicated that possibility. Today, the

historic challenge still remains. Philosophy must become proletarian. This task cannot be

separated from the reorganization of production, which only the workers can accomplish by

becoming theoreticians and philosophers themselves.

In the encounter with Marx, Lenin and Hegel, we must dismiss altogether the Stalinist

effort to equate state-property with revolution, and the Post-Marx Marxists’ (Engels/Plekhanov)

effort to equate Marx’s New Humanism with Rationalism. Now that the Russian masses have

overturned Stalinist rule using Lenin’s weapon of total resistance to control from above, the
critical question today is how to transform the Stalinist counter-revolution into its opposite, the

revolution in permanence, as conceived by Marx rather than Trotsky (James & Dunayevskaya,

1986). The negation of the negation is the dialectical law Lenin discovered between 1914 and

1917, the self-mobilization of the masses. The revolutionary struggle of workers against

bureaucracy is precisely what Post-Marx Marxist ideology is designed to hide, a primary

function of ideology in Mannheim’s analysis. Although no longer maintaining its stranglehold on

state power, Stalinism as the conscious, active counter-revolution is still the deadly enemy of all

freedom struggles, whether in Eastern Europe or South America. Stalinists, in the final analysis,

always turn the workers over bound and gagged to the capitalists. The theory of state capitalism

provided by James & Dunayevskaya (1986) was the opening salvo in the assault on Stalinism.

The enormous scope of the ensuing revolutionary attack on Stalinism finally resulted in its fall in

Eastern Europe and Russia. This ideology is no more moribund than Fascism. It has only been

deposed from superpower state status. The theory of state capitalism elaborated here provided

the theoretical foundation for the development of the philosophy of Marxist-Humanism in

America, under the auspices of Raya Dunayevskaya and News and Letters Committee.

Dunayevskaya is the continuator of Marx’s Marxism for the 21st Century.

Marxist Humanism (the dash used above indicates Dunayevskaya’s contribution in

America) arose from the Eastern European revolutions, providing the philosophic ground for

evaluating the vulgar materialism of Engels/Plekhanov. In1949, the theory of State Capitalism

arose out of the Johnson/Forest tendency of the Socialist Workers’ Party in America, providing

the explosive critique for the final assault on Stalinism. With eyes of today, we can see that

Mannheim hardly deserved the opprobrium heaped upon his sociology of knowledge, and it
almost seems laughable that anyone could argue that ideas are not socially and historically

determined. The tragedy is that Mannheim did provide a means to critique Marxism, as well as

other ideologies on the left and right. Perhaps, had his ideas received a more sympathetic hearing

in America (although he has long been an icon in graduate schools of business), Mannheim’s

sociology of knowledge could have provided a means for democracy to criticize itself rather than

generate decades of ideological anti-communist putrescence.

Although terror-bombing was universally condemned when the Nazis, under the

leadership of men such as Werner von Braun, slung missiles at England, by the end of World

War Il the US had adapted the idea of carpet bombing, with massive ‘collateral damage’ from

the RAF, by instantaneously igniting an aerial ‘carpet’ of millions of gallons of oil to melt cities

such as Dresden. In the attacks on Japanese civilian targets, nuclear weapons were substituted for

the oil. If we could have emerged from World War II in horror at the genocide we had

perpetrated in Japan and Germany, evaluating the roots of totalitarian thought in the racism of

America’s ‘paranoid democracy’ that permits us to accept such collateral damage, perhaps we

could have developed sympathy rather than absolute hostility for world-wide democratic

movements, which became the ideological basis for the Cold War.

Orwell’s (Eric Arthur Blair) 1984 (1949), based on the novel We by Russian novelist

Evgeny Zamyatin, described that hysteria best in terms of mind control and the total propaganda

of warring superpowers more afraid of their own citizens than of each other. By signaling our

nonchalance about the use of nuclear weapons in terrorist attacks on civilians to attain American

foreign policy goals, such as the Truman Administration’s determination to control Caspian Sea

oil reserves (Scott, 2003), the Cold War established the ‘balance of terror,’ with the Russians
quickly replacing the massive Red Army threat to Europe with their own nuclear weapons. This

balance was maintained through the ABM agreement, steering policy away from the slippery

slope resulting from any ‘nuclear umbrella’ that could provide unilateral first strike capability to

either superpower (super-terrorist). With today’s nuclear proliferation, such a balance no longer

exists. The official policy of the US is to use nuclear cudgels to implement policy, exhibiting no

reserve whatsoever about their potential for actual deployment (Kyvig, 1990). Minor changes in

administration, such as from Democrat to Republican, have not altered this policy, which

terrorizes the world. Counter-revolutionary regimes like Iran lead the pack against US policy,

with their own nuclear program.

When Kennedy co-produced the Cuban Missile crisis, all sides were forced to save face

through compromise, with the US guaranteeing no more attempts to overthrow Fidel, while

promising to withdraw nuclear missiles from Turkey within six months. In return, the Russians

withdrew their nuclear umbrella from Cuba. Fidel is a clear case where, had not Kennedy’s

‘brightest and best’ Cold Warriors dominated intelligence analysis, Mannheim’s sociology of

knowledge could have provided us with the ability to see the democratic movement that thrust

Fidel into the leadership role of the Cuban Revolution, rather than forcing him and Cuba into the

loving Soviet bear hug for survival. The CIA had expected Cuban civilians to welcome the US

backed invasion with open arms, as did the French in Normandy in WWII. All the Batista

supporters thought they had to do was establish a beach-head at the Bay of Pigs, then funnel

arms and equipment to the aroused Cuban populace. Instead, they met universal opposition, with

every man, woman, and child willing to defend ‘the Beard’ rather than permit the Mafia to once

again rule their tiny island. Kennedy may have learned from this in his apparent readiness to
reverse directions in Vietnam, where the CIA was providing him with the same advice. We will

never know, because Johnson, the ultimate Cold Warrior, was waiting in the wings.

In domestic policy, the United States did follow the Keynesian, rather than Mannheim’s

state-plan. However, by the Nixon Recession, brought on largely by the stresses and strains of

the US/Viet Nam War, the abilities of state-planners in the US had been exhausted. Prior to this

point, they had always been able to balance inflation against unemployment. With the collapse of

the Phillips Curve, state-planners noticed that Marx’s anticipation of the permanent tendency of

the rate of interest to decline had finally emerged, permanently splitting the United States into a

two-tiered society, with older workers who had won many historic battles through their unions

rapidly losing any toe-hold in the upper tier by simply permitting themselves to be replaced by

contract labor. Carter best exhibited his abject confusion in his handling of the Iranian Hostage

Crisis, which he permitted to drag down his reelection campaign, leaving the field wide open for

Reagan, who became the face of the Counter-revolution in America.

The Iranian Revolution need not have collapsed immediately into counter-revolution,

had America not committed itself to support of the murderous Shah. Carter was not obligated to

maintain the Cold War ruse that America’s strong man in Iran had been anything other than a

murderous dictator, using American support to bolster the massive destruction of democratic

struggles and union movements, just as Hitler had accomplished in Germany. There was no ‘iron

clad necessity’ in America’s swallowing the equation of Russia with Nazi Germany in our post-

war propaganda, as revealed by any attention to Kennan’s Russia and the West under Lenin and

Stalin (1961, pp5, 6):

“there is, let me assure you, nothing in nature more egocentrical than the
embattled democracy. It soon becomes the victim of its own war propaganda. It
then tends to attach to its own cause an absolute value which distorts its own
vision on everything else. Its enemy then becomes the embodiment of all evil. Its
own side, on the other hand, is the center of all virtue. The contest comes to be
viewed as having a final, apocalyptic quality. If we lose, all is lost; life will no
longer be worth living; there will be nothing to be salvaged. If we win, then
everything will be possible; all problems will become soluble; the one great
source of evil—our enemy—will have been crushed; the forces of good will then
sweep forward unimpeded; all worthy aspirations will be satisfied.”

Our perceptions are grounded in our preconceived notions. Mannheim’s state-planning

under intellectuals practicing the sociology of knowledge would have involved more than

Keynes’ presumptions about ‘economic man,’ as Kennan’s insight clearly reveals the need for

political as well as economic analysis. Although Mannheim originated at Habermas’ Frankfort

School, he held forth as a popular lecturer at the London School of Economics during the same

period when Keynes developed his ideas at Cambridge. Our state-planners adopted the ideas of

Keynes rather than Mannheim precisely because the abstraction of ‘economic man’ precludes

other kinds of insights into the nature of society. Let there be no mistake that Obama is as

capable of invading Iran as Bush II. Had the US encouraged democratic movements and political

tendencies in Iran rather than crushing them, perhaps we would not be confronted with the

prospect of going to war again because we cannot rid ourselves of Cold War anti-communist


Civics as applied sociology

Weinstein (2003) defined democracy as a means by which a group expresses its will and

manages its affairs. Each functional member of the group has the same degree of access to and

influence on the decision-making process. Other means of governance operate on a premise that

some members have differential access to the decision-making process, thereby making it

possible for variously constituted minorities to govern, without reference to any general will as
democratically defined. Theoretically, this definition of democracy meets Sorokin’s (cited in

Weinstein, 2003) minimum Marxist definition of a group ‘for itself,’ at which the self-

consciousness of the group reaches its full potential to achieve an emergent existence. Rather

than exist as an object for others, the group can understand, explain, and act on its own interests.

In practice, sociology applied to anything less than a democratically governed group is simply

dealing with an object, indulging in reductionist psychologism.

The sociologist is always looking for representative, statistically significant samples

(Weinstein, 2003). Representative samples enable reliable generalization to the universe. The

statistically significant random sample is one in which each member of the population has an

equal probability of being selected. The attributes of a democratic aggregate are most

representative of the group. The League for Industrial Democracy (LID), which fielded Upton

Sinclair as a presidential candidate, articulated the principle that democracy must operate within

all institutional decision-making processes, such as education and industry, or political

democracy becomes dysfunctional. Sinclair elucidated industrial democracy in Sinclairism,

which the Japanese applied in implementing quality circles, as opposed to Taylorism, still the

ruling paradigm for management control of production in the US. Students for a Democratic

Society (SDS), the student auxiliary of LID, held in the Port Huron Statement that applied

sociology supports a fully democratized society, which must supply the underpinning of political

democracy for it to work.

At the birth of the industrial age, philosophers such as Adam Smith, Ferguson,

Condorcet, Godwin, and Malthus were the first to take the idea of popular rule seriously, and

promote democracy (Weinstein, 2003). All were aware that purposeful action can reap
unintended results. This is because collective causation may operate over and above the

intentions of individuals. Smith’s well-known ‘invisible hand’ of market equilibrium is an

outstanding example of social causation. Buyers flocking to the market may cause prices to rise,

whereas sellers trying to maximize price may actually cause it to fall. Population increases

geometrically relative to a limited supply of resources. The moral lesson for sociology was that

good and evil is not absolutes, but relative to consequences that may be unknowable to an


The best intentions can wreak unanticipated havoc. Society evolves in an unconscious

manner, as a result of group action. Smith first observed the results of the division of labor. The

political orientation was that of laissez faire, then a liberal doctrine with an opposite meaning to

today’s connotation (Weinstein, 2003). To Smith, this did not mean that elites should be left to

plunder the public treasury in peace, but rather that society, conceived as a democratic

marketplace, should be left alone by plutocrats, autocrats, kings, and aristocrats. Unrestricted

capitalism, under these conditions, would not result in monopolistic advantage, but rather a fair

and equitable division of labor. This was an ideal that could be easily associated with

Jeffersonian democracy and the revolutionary spirit of America in 1776.

Saint-Simone and Comte presided over what Weinstein (2003) called the second birth of

sociology, propagating social democratic ideals of positivism, altruism, socialism, and sociology.

Human existence is social, and needs management to actually enable democratic self-rule. Rather

than religion, which accommodated easily to aristocratic and totalitarian regimes, positive

science would serve in aiding democratic self-determination of nations, arbitrating the true

course of progress. Social science would lead the way, maximizing the value of scientific
endeavor under democratic control. Comte’s technocratic priesthood might, in modern parlance,

be translated into today’s professional practitioners of social change.

Marx presided over sociology’s ‘third birth’ (Weinstein, 2003). He founded the First

International Workingman’s Association in 1848, with a perspective for international social

revolution. Although Lenin’s Bolsheviks took over the Third International after the collapse of

the Second into World War I, Marx had long since broken with the First International over its

Goltha Program and thereafter supported no existing parties, positing rather the historic

imminence of the revolutionary party. Communists, early utopian and post-Marx

notwithstanding, Marx’s humanism, which he also announced in 1848, posited ‘freely associated

labor’ as the form of the new society resulting from the workingmen of the world actually

uniting, rather than being flung across international borders as cannon fodder.

Social revolutions of the age resulted from the enslavement of labor, including the

South’s attempt to harness working people in the chains of slavery in the United States.

Freedmen, working men and women were knocking on the doors of the stratified society that had

actually resulted from the industrial revolution, demanding industrial and other forms of

democracy, What passed for political democracy excluded the masses from participation in the

decision-making process, and still does. Marx contributed a technical point of view on solving

the problems of democracy and sociology, producing a clear statement of the problem, as well as

recommending the kind of social action needed to solve it. The sociological aspects of Marx’s

thought offered a clear guide to changing society in a progressive manner, making it more

democratic and egalitarian. The overthrow of capitalism, and even the momentary phase of

adjustment Marx conceived as communism, were only preconditions to the establishment of true
democracy, which would be the actual birth pains of civilized human society.

Spencer, Weber, Durkheim, Simmel, and Pareto were the first to describe their work as

sociology. At this point, Gouldner (cited in Weinstein, 2003) identified a split in sociology,

brought on by the misidentification of Marx’s thought with the post-Marx Marxism of the

Communist Party. Formed by Lenin along the lines of the Tsarist secret police, by the

adventitious rise of Stalin to power the Party had implemented a full-blown program of counter-

revolution, reverting to Tsarism without its religious or monarchical trappings. Despite its partial

degeneration into what Mannheim identified as classic ideology, which is the rationalization of

dictatorial power, academic Marxism retained its analytical and sociological side. Weber

disassociated himself from Marxism, seeing only its ideological degeneration, disregarding its

activist and pro-democratic origins in the Humanism of Marx.

Weber’s generation of sociologists were self-consciously anti-Marxist, attempting to

explicate a value-free rationale for the emerging discipline (Weinstein, 2003), thus paving the

way for the admission of sociology into academic circles. We must not forget the anti-

intellectualism of the Bolsheviks in Russia, shooting down with machine guns everyone who

identified himself with academia (Medvedev, 1989). Almost as if in conspiracy with these

ideological terrorists, academia took seriously ersatz Bolshevik claims to Marx’s mantle, having

little use for a discipline with a pro-democratic orientation in any case because they already

considered Western political democracy to be its absolute form. Remembering Weinstein’s point

that the application of sociological technique to anything less than a democratic aggregate is

reductionism, attributing psychological processes to an object rather than identifying truly social

processes as subject, this great divide in thought may provide us with clues as to why
sociologists such as Weber and psychologists such as James were unable to fully escape the

narrow empiricism they so carefully tried to mediate. Political democracy is a sham when the

institutions of society are not democratized, especially economic and educational institutions.

Such a society exists more as object than as subject, unable to generate a representative sample

of its constituents. This made little difference to mainstream sociologists who took their lead

from the far more differentiated conceptions of men such as James and Weber, while neither

understanding nor implementing their ideas. Logical positivism and materialistic determinism,

which collapse the efforts of both men to establish critical methodology, are sufficient to

describe a mechanistic, dead caricature of democracy.

The influence of Communism did not end with providing the foil for developing a

dialectically truncated sociology. It also provided the model for fascism, the most extreme

reaction to the Communists. In places such as Italy and Germany, where the collapse of the

Second International left the most conspicuous vacuum for the complete destruction of all

democratic impulses, fascism led to holocaust. The end of World War II did not crush fascism,

but witnessed the emergence of apartheid regimes in Israel and South Africa, with Nazis under

US auspices proliferating throughout South America. The social malaise of today’s retrogression

in American life has roots in our inability and unwillingness to deal with fundamental issues of

democracy, in our social science and in our polity.

Mannheim’s Diagnosis of Our Time (1944) was the first of three major discussions on the

crisis in and reconstruction of democracy. Mannheim argued that since academic sociology

became institutionalized at the turn of the 20th Century, the conflict between the consolidation of

formal political democracy as ideology and individual freedom has reversed previous gains in
self-government, with mainstream sociology playing an ideological rather than critical role (cited

in Weinstein, 2003). Today’s retrogression in moral and rational progress is glaringly apparent to

all who are not paid apologists for the status quo. Sociologists and intellectuals have ignored the

democratic calling of their discipline and our age. The Jeffersonian dictum, “eternal vigilance is

the price of liberty,” (Phillips, 1852) and Benjamin Franklin’s (1755/1963): “They that can give

up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety,” have

never been more studiously ignored. The so-called value-free social science founded in reaction

to Communism has been shown by Sayer (1992), working in the tradition established by James,

Weber and Mannheim, to be yet another form of ideology. Mannheim sounded the tocsin for

social scientists to renew their original commitment to democracy as a society in which all

members have equally privileged influence in planning and making decisions, with recognition

of the modern need for democratic social planning, both in terms of what kind of people we are

and what kind of people we want to become.

Dewey and Mead, working in the tradition established by James, led the way. The

Chicago school of American sociologists pursued a similar line of investigation in the United

States. Park, Wirth, and Ogburn shared a common interest in the extent to which current trends

support democratic institutions and values (Weinstein, 2003). Selznick (1957/1984) observed

that modern society must exercise social control, especially over the industrial system. Not

whether, but how to implement democratic planning is the question. Commonly overlooked,

precisely for racist reasons, is the work of Dubois and the Atlanta School, under the banner of

Pylon, in practical sociology and democracy, Democracy in America must remain a lie until

African Americans are admitted to the planning process, en masse, not merely by selecting a
racial avatar as chief executive. Although the Democrats have now selected a black face to serve

as president, the extent to which this ‘ historic moment’ amounts to anything more than the

charade under which a black face was nominated to the Supreme Court remains to be seen,

although there can be little doubt about the passion for freedom of those who voted for Obama.

Mills, Lipset and Wilson also contributed to the democratic tradition within sociology. Mills

especially argued for the extension of democracy to economic and institutions other than


Under the leadership of Upton Sinclair (Weinstein, 2003), the League for Industrial

Democracy educated millions of Americans on the need to actually create, rather than merely

presume a democratic society. Their clear warning that big government is the hand maiden of big

business was taken up by President Eisenhower (1961), who noted that the unholy alliance

constituting the military-industrial-political-complex (his speech writer cut out the word

political) is the greatest threat to freedom in the world today, even at the height of the red-baiting

McCarthy Era. Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) was the student auxiliary of LID. The

Berkeley students, taking their inspiration from the freedom schools they had helped establish

during the Freedom Summer of 1964 (the Mississippi Summer Project), realized that they

themselves needed to democratize their own educational institution. The Mississippi Freedom

Democratic Party arose out of the voter registration activities of that summer, under the

leadership of Fanny Lou Hamer, to become a pivotal force in the 1964 Democratic Convention

under whose rules the new spearhead for freedom was organized. The Democratic super-

delegates, with no authority whatsoever, ejected the MFDP from the convention, leading to

today’s bankruptcy of the party in democratic ideas, which has not been corrected by the recent
presidential election. Putting someone forward with a commitment to democracy would have

been more appropriate than selecting a creature of the Chicago Democratic machine. Al Jolson,

the famous Vaudeville singer, had a black face. All it takes is a little bit of charcoal.

SDS broke with LID in 1962 over the issue of red-baiting, which was intolerable to the

students who eventually embraced Angela Davis as a spiritual leader. SDS reorganized under the

Port Huron Statement. This became the New Left manifesto for the ‘60s, which still constitutes a

thorough diagnosis of Mill’s ‘malaise’ in American democracy. Ordinary people still do not

participate meaningfully in the democratic process, President Johnson’s momentary and ersatz

‘participatory democracy’ notwithstanding (the moment Democratic Party plutocrats began to

lose control of it, they shut it down). Our lack of self-determination as a people results from the

political and economic rule of America’s governing and ownership elite, which has no broader

basis for popular support than the Communist Party had when the Russian people decided to

throw it off their backs. The establishment of democratic systems and procedures in all American

institutions was the remedy proposed by the Port Huron Statement, projecting nothing less than a

non-violent revolution.

Gitlin, at New York University, emerged from SDS to become a leading sociologist.

Eugene Walker, at News and Letters in Chicago, is a leading social activist, philosopher, and

practicing theoretician for Marxist-Humanism, founded out of the Johnson-Forest Tendency

within the Socialist Worker’s Party by Raya Dunayevskaya. SDS, LID, Sinclair and Mannheim

are all spiritual descendants of Marx. Dunayevskaya created the category of post-Marx Marxism

as a pejorative. Practitioners of social change, whether as sociologists or working in other

professional disciplines, are well aware of their Weberian democratic calling.


I hope that I have demonstrated that the problems of this age are generic, and that no one

has found the organizational solution to the questions raised by the freedom struggles of this age.

The core of the problem lies not in social theory, but in our philosophy, which is where we

determine what kind of a people we are, and what kind of a people we want to become. William

James recognized that the scientistic empiricism of his age was not suitable ground for the study

of the human psyche, grappled with philosophic issues in his study of the mind, and created a

radical empirical methodology that eventually became the foundation for his statement of

pragmatism. He never anticipated that he would inspire truncated forms of inquiry such as

Functionalism and Behaviorism, but did create a fine legacy for methodological realists such as

Andrew Sayer to begin to reformulate a humanistic social science. Marx made the clearest

statement of a New Humanismin1848, but his epigones, as did James’, truncated his philosophic

method into vulgar materialism, attempting to take a shortcut to the absolute by way of theory

rather than philosophy, thereby translating theory into a pillow for intellectual sloth.

As James’ Radical Methodology was forgotten, so were the ideas of Weber and

Mannheim, who both tried, variously, to forge a middle ground between materialism and

idealism to shed light on human problems. Using Weber’s ideal typology of status group and his

concept of verstehen, and Mannheim’s concepts of ideology and utopia, we have applied them

directly to 20th Century social problems such as Fascism, Communism, and capitalism,

illuminating the terrain significantly. Holocaust Jews who see a Nazi in every brown shirt have a

grain of truth in their vision, although few of these (with no reflection on those Israelis who

remember the socialist roots of Zionism in a real quest for peace) would recognize fascism in the
ongoing attempt to sweep aside the original inhabitants of Palestine. As was so eloquently

expressed on an Israeli peace Website, “there is more than one way to conduct a holocaust.”

After nearly a decade of continuous erosion in American security as we pursue fruitless

‘pre-emptive warfare,’ we are still confronted with the fundamental question arising out of the

events of September 11, 2001, which is, “How do we create the preconditions for peace, both

domestically and internationally?” In a nuclear (new, clear) world with 2 billion people starving

on less than $2 per day, nothing could be more terrifying to certain elements of the American

psyche than the election of a Black president. As Bush shuffles off the stage, muttering his fear

of terrorists, we could not make a greater or more disastrous error than to presume that the fear

that drove his administration is groundless. We must find away to express the energy, hope, and

idealism that fueled this event to create new historic ground in reaching for the future, and look

far beyond any new ‘economic stimulus package.’ If this discussion even partially illuminates

the philosophic and organizational problems we must confront in this effort, it will have served

its purpose. No task could be more urgent, and no effort more rewarding.


The purpose of this project is to unify theory and practice in applying the tools of

knowledge from our analysis of human development to my own experience. Specifically, my

aim is to build a platform for my own financial security by marketing my skills above the

commodity level, which means that I name my own price for my own services. Under the

capitalist work ethic, financial security can only be attained when it is no longer necessary to

work for money, which means the accumulation of enough capital to provide for my needs. This

does not mean that I will quit working, but only that the focus of my activities will change from

meeting my own bare necessities to actually serving the public interest. Ralph Nader is a good

example of someone who has accomplished this: He lives on a small monthly stipend provided

by the organization he has created, while continuing to work for social change. Because the unity

of theory and practice can only be located in philosophy, from the beginning of my

organizational effort I will develop a philosophy of Critical Possibility Thinking, which expands

positive thinking in new directions that can point beyond capitalism to a social organization of

‘freely associated labor,’ which is the goal of human development.

Critical Possibility Thinking and Creating Financial Security

The processes of ideology, as revealed by Mannheim, the relationship between rational

thought and purposeful behavior explored by James and Peirce, and the relationship between

rational thought and social action explored by Weber all converge on the activity of marketing

and selling in a capitalist marketplace. The marketplace of ideas presents us with an unreflective
form of the Protestant work ethic in positive thinking, which is the entrepreneurial interpretation

of Luther‘s concept of the calling, the thinking side of the split between thought and execution

that characterizes capitalist society and culture. We have seen how the action side of the calling

can degenerate into the most extreme form of secularized Christianity, which is fascism.

However, secular religion can also express the calling of the capitalist, which is to accumulate

wealth. That is why positive thinking looks so similar whether marketed by a televangelist or a

sales training program. I shall first evaluate some of the negative aspects of positive thinking,

which the faithful never do, then I shall develop a form of positive thinking that can be used for

more than just personal aggrandizement, but expressed in a manner that can point in the direction

of ‘freely associated labor.’ I do not expect to arrive at this absolute in building a successful

marketing concern, but I hope to at least put these ideas together in a manner that will help those

who work with me market their skills above the commodity level, receiving financial rewards

commensurate with such an effort as well as returning value to society that is constructive.

The narrow, ideological agenda of secular religion can lead to the suspension of critical

faculties, which is disastrous to any sales or marketing effort. When the market changes under

the impact of technology and popular culture, old techniques that served the original designers of

the marketing program well may no longer work, or they may work only for a small percentage

of those who make a good faith effort to apply them. From the management point of view, the

only possible reason for failure is laziness on the part of the sales representative, which is

dereliction of duty, the underlying cause for the fall from grace. Under the Protestant work ethic,

the only visible difference between the elect and the damned is success in one’s calling. If that

calling is the accumulation of wealth, poverty is the mark of Cain, the sign of disgrace. Failure
means that one has not set goals under the discipline of work, which is the only purpose for

conscious effort. The way this is broken down in most sales organizations, the salesman simply

has not made enough cold calls.

From the point of view usually adopted within the secular religion of positive thinking,

only success stories are told. An example would be the number of people miraculously ’healed’

at a tent meeting. Those who were not healed are simply not counted. Furthermore, those who

may have contacted disease vectors at the meeting and contracted new communicable diseases

are not counted. The number of people who may have been miraculously healed at a baseball

game is studiously ignored, making it impossible to establish any kind of control group. The

other side of this coin is scape-goating, or blaming the victim. Not receiving the healing can only

be the result of lack of faith. Failure to accept the managerial chrism is the reason for not getting

enough business to stay in business. That is the law and the gospel. The elect can only be

identified by the blessings they receive from God in doing business, but even this success is

suspect. However, it is the only means by which the ‘elect’ can identify each other for purposes

of doling out privileges such as communion, perks, raises, bonuses, etc.

In the life insurance business, only 5% of those who acquire a new license will renew it

three years later. Yet, the standardized goal is to acquire 600 clients who will provide referrals

within the first three years. One is deemed a failure if this goal cannot be reached, which puts

95% of those who start up in the insurance business into the failure bracket, with more to follow

before the three year target date is reached. This is an incredible result, considering the fact that

it is not possible to get a license without company backing, and that all of the marketing agencies

in the business use psychological profiles to measure attribution styles, as well as success in past
efforts, to screen recruits. This is not troublesome from the managerial point of view, which

simply recruits enough new hires to ensure that the company’s needs for sales personnel are met.

From the point of view of the 95% who, no matter how hard they work, turn out to be ‘lazy,’ this

can be devastating, both personally and professionally.

1979 was my first year in the life insurance business. I graduated from college in 1976

with a baccalaureate in economics, and Prudential was looking for such men (my only flaw was

that I was pushing 30, rather than in my early twenties) to market debit insurance. Although

management handed me a health insurance marketing program that cost $100/week in bulk

mailing expenses, they also turned over a debit book from which I was expected to develop new

business. Between these, the personal market (now universally designated as ‘Project 100’), and

the Property and Casualty license, I was supposed to be able to survive the first quarter on a

$300/week salary, then live on commissions from that point forward. However, at Antioch

College, I was taught to use my critical faculties under all circumstances, and I immediately

learned from my prospects that the program I was offering them did not meet their expectations.

A whole life policy is paid for using level premiums through age100, at which time the face

value of the policy matures, and the insured receives that amount plus any dividends paid by a

mutual company, which Prudential is. The premiums are over-paid during the early life of the

policy so that the excessive amount paid in can be used to reduce the net amount at risk over

time, thereby keeping the premiums level as the mortality rate rises with increased age. Any

dividends and accumulated cash values are considered to be prepaid premiums, and therefore are

not taxed when cashed in. This can be a great means for transferring wealth to a younger

generation in a higher tax bracket, but the guaranteed cash values accumulate at a low rate, and
are mixed in with the mortality experience to the point that the consumer cannot evaluate a life

insurance policy from the standpoint of an investment vehicle. This is why whole life cannot be

sold as an investment, but only to provide the security that investments cannot provide.

My market was Orange County, Southern California, in1979. The engineers displayed

bumper stickers that read, “Thank You, Ronald Reagan.” The federal government was paying

double digit interest rates on T-Bills to finance Star Wars and murderous proxies throughout

Central America, and everyone expected to make at least 14% return on their investments. The

‘termites’ under the auspices of A. L. Williams had already assaulted the industry with their

battle cry, “Buy term and invest the rest!” Very few prospects (except those who were already

worried about their health and therefore only marginally insurable) were interested in the

security I was selling. I did not have enough capital to survive for two years while I built a

property and casualty business for the purpose of selling life insurance through the back door,

and I received 0% rather than 3% response from my mailings soliciting health insurance business

from mom and pop operations. My entire sales group failed. My manager went back to selling.

Prudential shut down the debit side of their entire operation. I went back to driving cabs for

several decades. In response to the crisis created by the unethical Williams marketing tactics, the

industry created Universal Life policies, which would play a major role in my renewed

marketing efforts almost 30 years later.

By the early years of the 21st Century, my driving days were almost over. Having worked

under the dehumanizing side of the Protestant work ethic for decades, I had spent almost all of

my waking hours behind the wheel, alert and at attention, chasing the daily ‘nut,’ which is what

it takes to keep a driver in business. I had really gotten to the point where I could no longer
concentrate on driving for 60+ hours a week, forget about holidays, and do so in a manner

consistent with public safety. I was driving a school bus in 2001, when the September attack on

the World Trade Center put Chet Romanowski out of business and into his grave. That was the

end of my driving career. By 2004, I went to work as a volunteer administrative assistant for the

Illinois for Kucinich presidential campaign, with my wife as the Illinois coordinator. The high

point of this effort for me came when Howard Dean raised one million dollars for eating a ham

sandwich at his Internet connected computer workstation. At this point, volunteers who handled

information technology issues had already split the Illinois Kucinich campaign, which the good

senator permitted to happen through a series of poor campaign managers. Dean had built his

whole campaign through IT, and I began to think I wanted to learn more about that subject. I

subsequently joined two graduate programs in information security, one focused on management

and the other on technology. By 2007, I was ready to take on an internship.

At the age of 57, that was really not as unrealistic as it might now appear. I was forced to

turn down a great offer to train as a network engineer because I did not have $4, 000 in cash to

pay upfront for every technical manual with a certification attached to it. I began to realize that,

sans certifications, I was not going to penetrate the Chicago market for IT meat. Evaluating my

own credentials from a managerial perspective, I realized my best shot at the time was in

financial services. I accepted an internship as a life insurance agent with Western Southern;

whereas such were the only bona fide offers I was getting anyway. In my view, I was never again

going to fail because of the shortcomings of a corporate training program, so I enrolled at

Walden to conduct my own research into sales and management. The idea was to build up a

clientele of 600 customers who would consider me as their life insurance agent. By the end of
three years, this effort should succeed, thereafter providing me with enough referrals that, like

most professionals, I would no longer need to make cold calls. The old ‘natural market’ has been

transformed by the industry into the standardized ‘Project 100,’ but the chances of success are

still only1in 20. I entered this proposition with eyes wide open, knowing that I would never

permit any sales agency, no matter how badly it was floundering, to pull me under.

I almost made it at Western Southern. They offered me a salary for one year, provided I

could validate it, and my validation for the fourth quarter would have been in had the

underwriters put any priority on placing the business I gave them, and had my district manager

not torpedoed my marketing effort. One aspect of positive thinking that I must retain in my own

development of a marketing philosophy is not to permit the failure of others, even my trainers, to

deter me from meeting my own goals. However, analysis of what went wrong is the key to future

success, and that is my only purpose here, not casting blame. In terms of blaming the victim,

perhaps I victimized one of the ten largest life insurance marketing concerns in the world. For

that, I can only apologize. I suspect the company will carry on, and that the Chicago/Midwest

Agency was floundering even before I got there. When the district manager presented me with

the option of working sans salary, I realized that would cost me more than I could afford in

gasoline, and that I could just as easily work for nothing out of my own home office. My

marketing efforts had led me to the point where I was about to violate my agreement as a captive

company agent not to conduct any outside business anyway. The parting of our ways was only a

matter of time. I only wish the income I was using to pay for my marketing efforts had lasted for

two or three more months. I was that close to success.

The reason I came that close to succeeding in life insurance was because I had learned

the lesson Western Southern taught me by negative example. In fact, I already knew that nothing

is free, and that you get exactly what you pay for, but it took me too long to apply this in the

propaganda atmosphere provided by Western Southern. In this case, the ‘Project 100’ is not for

purposes of marketing life insurance to your friends, but only for the purpose of getting 2 or 3

hundred referrals from them, from which to build a clientele. That probably worked for some of

the sales managers at Western Southern in their marketing milieu. For me, asking people that I

knew for telephone referrals to their acquaintances was like taking out a pair of pliers and trying

to pull their teeth. To overcome reluctance, we were supposed to get two ‘tie downs’ affirming

the value of the conversation I had with them, thereby softening their resistance. In this

marketing era, when millions of Americans have actually placed their names on a ‘do not call’

list that every cold caller must update on a monthly basis to remain in legal compliance, the best

I could get from friends and acquaintances was the assurance that they would bird dog some

business for me if they happened to run into anyone who needed life insurance. Because I have

never met any such person who did not chase me down the street in a wheelchair, no useful

referrals ever came in from my ‘Project 100,’ although for management purposes I had to lie

about that and actually claim to be conducting interviews won through this effort. Another agent,

who started on salary about the same time I did, never lied to management. His sales plan failed

about the same time mine did, so however one handles management on this matter cannot be

considered to be a determinant of success. In my own marketing efforts, I will never pay anyone

to lie to me. That is an absolute waste of time.

The majority of the business I sold in my natural market lapsed within the first year,

anyway, thereby eliminating the natural market part of the triad. Western Southern handed me a

debit book, 70% of which consisted of ageing Universal Life (UL) policies. Hank Gilbert, the

corporate troubleshooter who recruited me into the Naperville office, had made a great living

converting these underfunded, lapsing policies into new business. However, actually

accomplishing that feat is a very delicate matter. Hank was forced to shut down Naperville

because he could not meet the company’s new hire demands, and he was promoted to district

manager. When he sent me to the Chicago/Midwest district, he told me the presiding district

manager of my new office, Mickey, had his own issues, and that I should not permit that agency

to slow me down. I could have met this expectation had I stayed under Hank long enough to

learn how he pitched sales to the ageing UL crowd, which is an extremely tough market.

Although they constituted the majority of my book, no one in the new office knew how to

communicate with these customers. Mickey issued standing orders for new agents not to attempt

to crack this market, and I was never able to penetrate it.

The universal life customers at Western Southern deserve a bit more attention, because

the way today’s upper management at one of the ten largest insurance consortiums in the world

marketed these policies twenty to thirty years ago, when I was a Prudential agent, reflects the

marketing tactics I want to avoid using. I knew there was a crack in the picture the company had

given me of my debit book when an old woman gladly made an appointment with me (which I

did not keep), stating over the phone, “Your company screwed me out of $20,000.” The

insurance industry concocts the regulations handed down by federal and state insurance

regulators and commissioners. When the Williams termites first started replacing whole life
business with term policies, under the still heard slogan of, ‘Buy term and invest the rest’ (the

meaning of which should be clear from the foregoing discussion), the ethical standards of the

insurance industry dictated that one must not replace existing business, even that of a competitor,

with new business, because the customer stands to lose too much money, especially first and

second year commissions paid to the sales agent and manager.

When the industry hit upon the formula for Universal Life, this standard changed to an

older standard from the real estate industry, “Let the buyer beware.” Western Southern actually

paid its agents complete commissions on brand new business to replace existing whole life

policies with UL policies, generally written for the same face amount at half the premium. Some

variation of these tactics must have been used industry-wide, with disastrous results for the

supposedly, but actually not very investment savvy customer. Western Southern implemented a

rule that each debit customer must have their business reviewed on a yearly basis. In my book of

about 400 policyholders, I never spoke to one who would permit an agent to actually conduct

such a review. The only way to get into the door was just before the policy lapsed because it had

been underfunded for twenty years. By this time, the customer was already indignant, and talking

to other agents.

The company corrected the ethical problem created by these shady sales techniques by

paying off a class action settlement to all of its customers who did not tear up their mail from

Western Southern, and then forbidding all further discussion of the lawsuit among sales agents.

Today’s UL policy is a pretty savvy vehicle for stashing money, although federal regulations

now limit the amount that can be laundered that way. By paying the minimum premium, the
customer can make the policy perform like a whole life policy, which is what they thought they

still had in the first place.

Actually, the original Western Southern UL policy was one of the most customer

favorable contracts the company ever offered to the public, and they subsequently tweaked some

of the benefits to make the overall performance more profitable. None of this helps when you are

dealing with a lifetime Western Southern policyholder, who started out with a whole life policy,

was offered the same amount of insurance by the company for half price twenty years ago, and is

now being informed that the cash value, about which they received yearly unread reports, has

now reached the vanishing point. The customer is too old to buy another whole life policy for an

affordable rate, and must accept a drastic cut in coverage along with premium hikes on what he

had thought was ‘whole life.’ This was the majority of my debit book, along with a few 3%

annuities that the customer would pay a penalty to cancel. I doubt seriously that the agents who

conducted this scam even knew what they were doing. My marketing program will succeed by

teaching sales personnel to exercise their own critical faculties, rather than suspend them in favor

of ‘company policy.’ Only when everyone wins can a lasting relationship be established for

meeting the client’s real financial security needs.

I did not realize until six months into my sales efforts at Western Southern that two of the

legs in my marketing effort were extremely weak: the debit book and the personal market. This

left only the commercial market, which none of the sales trainers believed in because they were

preaching the gospel of sales, not marketing, and they were convinced we could present

perceived value to potential clients without spending a dime to find them. If I had it to do over

again, I would spend $100/week buying commercial leads, and establish myself as trustworthy
with as many of these potential customers as possible. Usually, these leads result in an e-mail

address. I was able to provide good advice to some of these potential clients, and actually won

anew of them over by advising them how to lose a few pounds before applying for life insurance,

and how to shop for the best deal. These are the people who will trust you, and bring their

business back to you when they are ready.

The whole sales program was based on getting enough people to trust you that they will

bring in their business without solicitation, and recommend friends and relatives, which is how

other professionals do business. However, Western Southern, which had only 66% of their

optimum sales staff at the time I was being trained, put all of its eggs in the basket of personal

sales, and trained me mainly in the art of personal selling. This was a good approach, back in the

day when insurance salesmen could go door to door, make appointments in people’s homes, and

collect the premiums every week. Industry-wide experience shows that the most intensive

training in personal selling works for only 5% of the people who enter the business, no matter

how carefully they are trained. Marketing is the real key to success with today’s customers.

The Chicago/Midwest office of Western Southern Life Insurance Company may or may

not have foundered by now. Last year, when I was put on probation, or quit, no one was doing

very well, especially the new agents. Some of the old timers were doing good insurance business

out of the back door to some other business they had already established, but such efforts were

not duplicable. Mickey got so desperate he even asked for backdoor business, even though it

violated the captive agent agreement. Company initiatives, most of which paid for a large part of

mailing costs, that showed promising results in other districts produced dismal sales in

Chicago/Midwest. I had expected this from the start, having hired into the Naperville office to
replace a fired sales staff, just before the company forced its closure. When you join a sinking

ship, it is not always realistic to expect not to go down with it. However, I received the training

and experience I needed, and am prepared to continue on my own until my efforts pay off


The corporate mantra at Western Southern was that, by using personal sales techniques,

a business could be built without spending any money on leads. The primary lesson I learned

there is that all such efforts are futile. During the course of my training I found several

motivational websites that attempt to teach positive thinking for salesmen. I noticed that some of

them have a link directly to a life insurance agent. This is the key to any successful marketing

effort today: you must have some sort of automated media that will reach customers and generate

business. Marketing means using such media in place of making cold calls and using sales

techniques such as tie-downs, horror stories, etc. The best way to market is to hire a company

that generates leads, and outsource this part of the effort, whether by mail or telephone.

I have been invited to several dinners to explain how to make money on the Internet.

Throwing such dinners is an excellent approach. The entire lead generation effort can be

outsourced. It gets interested parties together in one room, and provides a friendly setting for

generating further interest. When I have about $10, 000 to spend, I am going to throw my first

dinner. The idea is to create a marketing lever, whether by television, Internet, or some other

medium, that will reach a large audience and generate a calculable response. The mailings from

Western Southern did not produce expected results of any useful percentage in the

Chicago/Midwest market, but other mailing efforts could very well work. I can continue to

redesign my marketing levers until I create one that will produce a given financial result. From
that point on, it will simply be a matter of cranking it enough to produce a desired income,

without over extending myself. The last thing I want to do is kill my own fledgling business by

failing to deliver promised results to potential clients.

Until I can throw my first dinner, I shall have to rely on the mail. I will be offering

college funding services (provided through outsourcing) to people who have too much money to

get a free ride. Because a real solution to the disposition of assets for the purpose of minimizing

the expected parental contribution can be provided by a universal life insurance policy, this

business will provide a way to begin building a relationship with clients for security and

eventually financial planning. The insurance will be a back door business, but it will be a good


This is what I was doing at Western Southern last year at this time, when Mickey cut off

my cash flow. I think the weekly mailing I was doing was beginning to pay off, and all I needed

was one bona fide customer for the college funding business in order to launch it. As with God’s

grace under the Puritan work ethic, nothing is guaranteed, and I was forced to cut these efforts

short. As soon as I can swing it, I will outsource my mailing for college funding, and start to

throw seminars, eventually banquets, to generate business. Until then, I have only my personal

market to fall back on, which must be handled more carefully to prevent the new business from

lapsing, the way it did in my previous effort.

I and my wife spent the first month of this year putting together her birthday party, which

was held in a rented space, onJanuary26th of this year. At that time, she announced the official

commencement for our fund-raising effort for orphans, which has become a priority for us since

two of her great grandchildren lost their parents. As a Black minister, with many ministerial
contacts throughout the Aurora area, we are hoping to raise funds through these contacts as well

as begin church marketing for life insurance, by which congregation members leave a bequest

for the church through a church-owned life insurance policy on their own lives. This marketing

involves finding churches that have enough members to be able to spare $10/week out of their

tithes for a life insurance policy on themselves, with the church designated as owner and

beneficiary of the policy. Naturally, no one that the church would be forced to bury can be asked

to make such a contribution, so the first order of business will be to straighten out the donor’s

family need for financial security. Life insurance companies started out as widows and orphans

protection societies. From that inauspicious beginning, they went on to become major financial

institutions in today’s economy. By replicating the institutional history of the industry on a

personal basis, I will create my own financial security, and help show others how to do the same

for themselves.

In so doing, I will create a marketing effort that starts through churches and college

funding. To make it work, I will need to implement a sales training program that incorporates

positive thinking and positive mental attitude (PMA), on the tried and true formula derived

directly from Benjamin Franklin and the Puritan work ethic, that PMA=OPM (positive mental

attitude= other people’s money).. However, there are very negative aspects of the Puritan work

ethic which I do not want to take along as baggage. For this purpose, I will need to develop my

own philosophy of critical possibility thinking, rather than borrow from the self-help literature,

both in sales and popular psychology, that is currently available. The primary goal of my sales

organization will be to develop critical thinkers, who could be dropped into a desert with a

suitcase full of rocks and manage to barter their way out of there. For this, self-deception is
poisonous; something to be avoided at all costs. Nothing is free. That is the first word of

financial freedom. You will always get exactly what you pay for. An example of deception used

in marketing is the Quixstar pitch, which I turned down earlier this year.

Quixstar is the new marketing approach of Amway, which along with the A. L. Williams

organization showed a special affinity for President Ronald Reagan back in my early days in the

business. The Quixstar marketing approach involves a triad of milti-level tiers, the first two of

which are given to the new representative, gratis, by company management. That means that the

person who brings me into Quixstar offers to create two chains of income for me, without any

effort on my part. All I have to do is recruit a third, additional chain of my own, and I can secure

my future as a Quixstar agent. Without going into the ethical question as to whether or not this is

a Ponzi scheme, which I certainly think it is, I would have to be a fool to believe anyone is going

to recruit and train twenty agents to work for me. To sell such deception to my own recruits, I

would have to suspend my critical faculties and believe in such fairy tales myself, not to mention

put people to work who believe in fairies. If I were any good at selling in that manner, I would

already be well on the road to success at Western Southern.


Bonfires of the Vanities

Although the Baehr (2002) translation of Weber’s Protestant Ethic seems to present a

more tentative and exploratory work than Parsons’ (1992) original interpretative English

translation portrays, Weber’s (2001) defense of his own work, as well as the thrust of Weber’s

(1993) sociology of religion, and, as Parsons (1968) convincingly argues, the corpus of his

further research present probably the best proof in sociological literature that ideas do influence
history, and that Calvin’s theological ideas about of predestination and grace form a strong

foundation for the ethic that guided modern capitalist development. For those who remain

unconvinced, Merton’s Science, Technology, and Society in Seventeenth Century England (Cited

in Parsons, 1968, p511) presents further evidence to make Weber’s case. That is not to say that

the secular religion of capitalism, all that is left of the original ethical and moral impulse, is an

exact replication of Calvin’s theology, or that Calvin even practiced what he preached in Geneva.

The well-known story of how Calvin invited Servetus to Geneva to discuss the theology

of the Eucharist (Smith, 1920), then burned Servetus at the stake for taking a modern approach to

the transubstantiation/consubstantiation controversy among Schoolmen (Servetus argued that the

blood and the wine are symbolically present in communion), is perhaps more famous than the

ultimate reaction of the citizens of Geneva after they had rid themselves of the tyrant John

Calvin. They built a statue to Servetus that still stands in the center of town. This first of many

Protestant witch-burnings cannot be attributed to anything in Calvin’s doctrine of grace, other

than the insecurity of the would-be Elect whose self-knowledge of salvation should never, as

Calvin himself warned (1960), be questioned in any attempt to plumb the mind of God. Socially,

though, the burning of the unrepentant witch represents a more ancient ritual of human sacrifice,

which is important in placating the wrath of God against the community as a whole. Witch

burning remained a central activity among Calvin’s Puritan acolytes, and as Arthur Miller

wickedly pointed out in The Crucible (1953/1976), was part of the capitalist social structure they

established in America. The McCarthy hearings of the 1950’s was certainly a memorable

outbreak of the witch-burning frenzy, but the recent USA Patriot Act and Homeland Security Act

are far more subtle and far-reaching variants of the social impulse. Sherman McCoy, the
protagonist of Wolfe’s (1987/2008) Bonfire of the Vanities, is a fictional example that throws

light on exactly how this recurrent hysteria functions. In this case the scape-goat fell from the

pinnacle of capitalist success because of vanity.

In Italy, the Bonfire of the Vanities was a medieval ritual in which objects that might

tempt one to sin were burned in an enormous bonfire. In 1497, Savonarola burned thousands of

art objects, books, and sinful toys such as playing cards, musical instruments, and cosmetics at

the Shrove Tuesday festival. Sherman McCoy considered himself to be a ‘Master of the

Universe,’ one of the select Wall Street brokers who made millions of dollars on a single deal.

His father was the original Puritan capitalist, frugal in his own personal spending, and strictly

observant of the Protestant work ethic, having produced enormous wealth not for the sake of

making money but for the glory of God. Sherman fell from grace because of pride, and was

sacrificed in a modern reenactment of the ancient ritual of human sacrifice that is all too familiar,

with all parties involved fully conscious of their own corruption. Hypocrisy is integral to the

ceremony, with the burning of the unrepentant witch serving to purify the community, for which

nominal repentance serves even better than genuine contrition.

Wolfe’s story brings out the real difference between the calling of the capitalist and that

of the worker. The worker performs a rational function as an appendage to the capitalist machine

rather than as an accumulator of wealth, but the capitalist enjoys no better benefits than the

worker, in terms of personal rewards. Whereas working stiffs may be faced with poverty as the

reward for their continual efforts, capitalists eschew personal displays of wealth to maximize the

accumulation of capital. Both work primarily for the glory of God rather than for personal gain,

and to demonstrate living in grace. The New York workers were especially infuriated at their
Wall Street demigods for their vanity and conspicuous consumption, which is why they took so

much pleasure in bringing one down. You just aren’t supposed to have that much fun

accumulating wealth, although success in the endeavor is evidence of living in grace.

The fear of poverty drives today’s workforce in Perot’s rat-race to the bottom, which

results from decades of direct legal conspiracy to destroy the union movement (Adamic, 1931;

Dunn, 1927; Rasmus, 2006), just as the German workforce was thoroughly demoralized in their

preparation for Nazi ideology. Although today’s ideologues believe we are ready to march off

into slavery under the auspices of the World Trade Organization in the process of Globalization,

this is more wishful thinking by today’s new Mercantilists than the true mood of labor. In the

Civil War, Americans put on blue uniforms and fought to the last drop of blood to prevent

ourselves from being enslaved by the same slave power most recently represented by George W.


The best way to understand the depth of the passion that put Obama in office (although

he seems little aware of it) is to trace it to its origins in 1776. When Jefferson and Paine issued

the Declaration of Independence (ratified by the signatures of their peers and by the blood of

British revolutionists) on July 4, 1776, they defined inalienable human rights in terms of life,

liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and the right to revolution as against any government that

becomes destructive of these ends. The unfitness of today’s neo-liberals and neo-conservatives to

inherit this on-going American revolution is no better shown than by their refusal to recognize

any such natural law.

Adam Smith

Instead, they appeal to the free market as the final arbiter of the rights and privileges of

citizenship. Their rationale is Social Darwinism (Chase, 1977), although they appeal to the

‘guiding hand’ of the marketplace (Smith, 2003). Wealth of Nations, published the same year as

the Declaration of Independence, is actually titled An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the

Wealth of Nations. The thrust of this inquiry is a powerful, passionate, and convincing argument

against the mercantilism of his day, in favor of a capitalism that perhaps never existed, except in

spirit. Smith discovered the labor theory of value, which is quite simply that the labor of its

people, not the pot of gold in the kings (today’s corporate) coffers is the sole source of exchange

value, the market’s measure of wealth. The new Economics, properly called New Mercantilism,

can take no refuge in Smith, whose concept of laissez faire never meant to provide a federal

trough for the feeding frenzy of international corporate sharks, who supposedly should be ‘left

alone.’ To Smith, laissez faire meant that civil society, in pursuing its economic interests, should

be left alone by kings, monopolists, cartels, corporations, and all who would control prices

through unholy alliances. To Smith, the wealth of the nations lies not in the King’s treasure

trove, but rather in the marketable exchange values created by the socially necessary labor time

of its citizens.

Wealth of Nations stands as the first and most concise statement of the labor theory of

value, although Meek (1956) traced the subsequent history of the concept. In 1776, when Natty

Bummpo (Cooper, 1984) was already fleeing West to escape from Eastern bankers, lawyers, and

industrialists, the only thing needed, besides an axe, a musket, dry gunpowder, a mule, and a

sack of corn, to survive in the wilderness was to be left alone. Nothing could be clearer than the
fact that success in ‘the pursuit of happiness’ was the result of one’s own labor, that a man’s

word was his bond, and that in so far as he maintained an upright and moral bearing, the

blessings of God’s bountiful gifts would naturally follow assiduous effort to conquer the

wilderness. Nowhere was the Puritan work ethic more successfully applied in the accumulation

of capital than in America’s second industrial revolution. The bounty of nature was taken for

granted, as was the blood of the Indians and workers sacrificed in guerilla and class warfare.

Nature’s bounty can still be taken for granted, because we can still apply our minds in

extracting it. Today’s economy has collapsed because we no longer put people to work

producing wealth. We dedicate thousands of gigabucks to maintain an imperialist military stance,

with hundreds of Air Force bases scattered around the world. Air bases now serve the role under

today’s imperialism that gunboats served under colonialism in acquiring natural resources and

world markets for capital. Militarism costs7 to 20 times what it would cost to defend the security

of Americans and the sovereignty of the nation (Center for Defense Information, 1992). This

level of spending actually erodes, rather than enhances national security. Unproductive men and

women in uniform constitute the armed sector of today’s vast army of the unemployed, who

produce only national insecurity, and whose families actually live on care packages and food

stamps. One billion dollars spent by the Pentagon in this Faustian effort that actually decreases

America’s security posture in the world, applied to the civilian economy would produce seven

billion dollars in goods and services (Center for Defense Information, 1991). Do the math the

way Adolph Hitler did in presenting his guns for butter production possibility curve, and half a

trillion per year in military expenditures costs 3 trillion per year in productive civilian economic

activity, marketable exchange values, the actual wealth of nations. Put the millions of people to
work who are now structurally unemployed and we would produce so much wealth the very

subject matter of economics, which implies scarcity, would need a new designation to imply

abundance. Under such conditions, the industrial, technical world would spread rapidly rather

than contract, embracing the billions of people whom it now exploits. Perhaps, along the way,

America would lose some of her ‘terrorist’ enemies.

I doubt that it would be possible to find direct, immediate evidence that Peale

(1952/2003) and Hill (1937/2005) actually derived their ideas from the Puritan work ethic, when

such evidence must be inferred from Weber’s concept of historical causation even to

demonstrate the influence of these ideas on capitalist development. Indirect evidence may be

cited from these authors themselves: Hill having gleaned his ideas from observation of the

original robber barons (Josephson, 1934/1962), whereas Peale interviewed successful business

persons. Because these works are not academic, but form the nucleus of the ‘self-help’ literature

category, and are famously used throughout the world of sales training, they could not be used as

source material. Our investigations into source material provide convincing evidence that Peale

and Hill may be compared directly to the sources, and found to be fully secularized versions of

the original Westminster Confession, with the same driving work ethic and the same rewards

promised to those who work hard and strictly within the ethical code. Perhaps the most direct

connection is to the writings of Benjamin Franklin, whose Poor Richard’s Almanac (2007)

espoused the Puritan work ethic for 25 years of continuous publication. Weber (2002) took

Franklin to be an American exemplar of this ethical orientation, and Franklin is still considered

to be the Solomaic source of American wit and wisdom. The Franklin close is still part of the

stock and trade of the salesman, and can still be used to close any sale.
Hill (2005) wrote that what the mind can conceive and visualize, it can achieve. This

concept is closely related to the Jamesean pragmatic philosophy of will, in which goal directed

behavior plays a major role. It is also consonant with the European view of American

pragmatism, which collapses the philosophy into Paul Bunyanesque conquest over nature,

Manifest Destiny, overweening greed and the presumption of infinite natural resources. Hill has

actually stated, within the confines of the Puritan work ethic, the true relationship of mind to

nature. No limits to the potential development of the human mind and spirit have ever been

demonstrated. Although limitless natural resources are no longer available on the third rock from

the Sun, limitless energy resources are indeed waiting for humankind to learn how to avail

ourselves of them. There is no reason to take this as some absolute from an ideal or revealed

world available only to the few philosophers possessed of some divine insight, muse, etc. “What

the mind can conceive and visualize” is an absolute if that absolute is the absolute development

of humanity, first discovered empirically in the Paris Commune and then projected by Marx’s

Humanism. Marx expressed this philosophically as, “Time is the space for human development,”

and “Human power is its own end.” the actual philosophy of capitalism is rationalism, which

reduces human labor power to a material force, the limit of the Scottish School’s concept of

historical causation. Marx discovered labor as human subject as well as object. Under this

conception, labor power becomes not only the source of all abstract economic value, but the

wellspring of all human values as well.

Spencer and Sumner

Although Hill (2005) said that he derived his concepts about the powers of mind from

observing captains of industry, it is quite likely that he observed Andrew Carnegie, who
underwrote his work, more than most. Carnegie underwent an epiphany while reading Herbert

Spencer, who adumbrated a theory of social evolution before Charles Darwin’s announcement of

his discoveries, and from the same sources in Malthus and Ricardo. Carnegie wrote (cited in

Hofstadter, 1955, p45):

“I remember the light came in as in a flood and all was clear. Not only had
I got rid of theology and the supernatural, but I had found the truth of evolution.
“All is well since all grows better,” became my motto, and true source of comfort.
Man was not created with an instinct for his own degradation, but from the lower
he had risen to the higher forms. Nor is there any conceivable end to his march
toward perfection. His face is turned toward the light; he stands in the sun and
looks upward.”

Spencer had already coined the term “survival of the fittest” when Darwin published his

work in 1859. One might think evolution implies social change, and government

intervention in the economy, but not to Spencer. He viewed society as a highly evolved

organism that could not be interfered with through positive legislation without doing

great damage to civilization. One might view the questionable interpretation of the 14th

Amendment, originally enacted after the Civil War to ensure the voting and civil rights of

freedmen, now applied by a reactionary Supreme Court to attach all personal property

rights to corporations, in a jaundiced light under this line of reasoning, but such an idea

never occurred to Spencer. Laissez faire is the only rule for any other government

intervention in the economy than forcing the states to recognize corporations as

individuals under the Bill of Rights. Large corporations and monopolies are natural

results of the struggle for existence, and Captains of Industry, or Robber Barons,

(Josephson, 1962) were a superior breed of men.

This would seem to have little to do with evolutionary biology or The Puritan

work ethic under today’s neo-Darwinian Synthesis under the influence of Fisher,

Haldane, and Wright (Williams, 1966), but Spencer was a thorough-going Lamarkian,

and little of his evolutionary cosmogony would make sense without “use inheritance.”

Simply put, like Lysenko in Stalinist Russia, Lamarck posited that inheritance could

occur through use. For instance, the neck of the giraffe grew longer through generations

of reaching higher into the trees for nourishment. Darwin himself, who had not read

Mendel’s work on the gene (neither had nearly anyone else), found it difficult to discard

this idea. Rich men, who had practiced frugality, discipline, and all of the Puritan virtues

in accumulating capital, could expect their progeny to inherit these character traits,

thereby creating a eugenically bred master race. Capitalism, competition, Calvinism, and

civilization itself are all grounded in the struggle for existence, resulting in the best of all

possible worlds under the optimism of Andrew Carnegie, Napoleon Hill’s financial angel

and intellectual model as well as the brutal murderer of striking workers in the 1892

strike at his steel mill in Homestead, PA (Brecher, 1972).

William Graham Sumner (cited in Hofstadter, 1955, p51) tied this constellation of

evolutionary ideas directly to the Puritan work ethic:

“Let it be understood that we cannot go outside of this alternative: liberty,

inequality, survival of the fittest; not-liberty, equality, survival of the unfittest.
The former carries society forward and favors all its best members, the latter
carries society downwards and favors all its worst members.”

Tying Spencer’s evolutionism directly to conservative thought, Sumner assumed the industrialist,

frugal and temperate, who accumulates wealth, all to God’s glory, is the strong. Misinterpreting

Smith’s concept of laissez faire, Sumner forever equated it in the conservative mind with the
idea that corporate entities, no matter how monopolistic, must be left alone by government.

Marx, in his introduction to the Russian edition of Capital, had already predicted the end result

of the concentration of capital as the merger of private property with government, but Sumner

never considered this possibility, “…the strong and the weak … (are) equivalent to the

industrious and the idle…if we do not like the survival of the fittest, we have only one possible

alternative, and that is the survival of the unfittest” (p57). The process of natural selection, and

therefore the progress of civilization, can only proceed if competition is unrestricted (by

government, cartels and combinations, monopolies and even unions (when they win strikes) are

all part of the natural order. Sumner was probably the first to point out that the writers of The

Federalist Papers actually feared that democracy would degenerate into mob rule if not checked,

and therefore created aristocratic limits to the Constitution of the United States by design. In

Hifstadter’s words (p66): “Like some latter-day Calvin, he came to preach the predestination of

the social order and the salvation of the economically elect through the survival of the fittest.”

Critical Possibility Thinking

Any schema of positive thinking that can actually discern the difference between truth

and lies must banish self-deception and all efforts to deceive the public from its stock of sales

tactics. A classic example of the use of self-deception in positive thinking training is the daily

affirmation, in which I stand in front of my mirror just before exiting the bathroom for my of ice,

and chant some charming lie about my own personal powers. Self-hypnosis is a useful tool in

selling, but I do not believe I could ever sell a lie to my own subconscious mind, which is where

the sale must be transacted. How am I going to make myself believe that I sell my product to one

in three interviews with potential clients, if my real record is one in ten? In using affirmations,
the best approach is to say something that is believable in the first place. If I cannot convince my

own subconscious mind, I will not convince anyone else either.

Critical thinking must lie at the bottom of any effort to develop a positive mental attitude

that will work in the face of an intractable reality. What we have to remember is that technology

is constantly reshaping the market, and only those who are critical enough to separate flagrant

con jobs from real efforts to help will be able to discern new opportunities when new

possibilities open up. Critical possibility thinking is crucial. Today’s customer is extremely

sensitive to charlatanry of all sorts, and will immediately suspect a slap on the back by any Dale

Carnegie charm school graduate. Only those of us who can offer services far above the

commodity level will be able to avoid being sucked into today’s universal rat race to the bottom

of the barrel, in the words of Ross Perot.

Any effort by today’s ruling Democrats to revive the economy will not help all of us for

the simple reason that no one has the idea of a full employment economy on the table. This

means that a lot of us will have to take responsibility for our own financial outcomes. Rather

than offer our labor power on the market for labor as a commodity, we will find it necessary to

offer services that are valuable, and that no one else can duplicate. Those who have the critical

ability to adapt to a market for services that is driven to rapid change by technology will not have

to make cold calls, or beg clients to try out their services. We will be able to name our own price

for our service, and control the terms and conditions of our own labor. As Chet Romanowski (the

founder of Illinois Charter Bus Company who died of disappointment when the event of 9/11

destroyed his tour business) used to say, “If you are not having fun, you should not be working

Within this context of critical evaluation of marketing opportunities, taking

responsibility for our own results, and positive thinking, the most important marketing skill that

we must develop is goal setting. This is not taught in primary, graduate, or post-graduate

education, which primarily focuses on attaining the skills necessary to work for someone else.

Goal setting is the most important skill we can learn, but few ever encounter anything regarding

the subject unless it is in a sales training course, where the material has been standardized. From

Western Southern, and many others, we have SMART goals: Specific, and in writing;

Measurable, in terms of dollars; Achievable, in that they are not humanly impossible; Relevant,

with reference to some purpose; and Timely, with respect to a daily action plan for attaining

them. Two of the most important aspects of goal setting are to create them with reference to

some value system that provides a sense of purpose for life, and to visualize not only their

achievement, but the daily, concrete effort it takes to realize them. My sales training program

should reflect these ideas at the center of the work effort.

At the heart of the Protestant work ethic is the idea of eternal vigilance. Keep awake,

conscious, and sober at all times, focusing only on the acquisition of money. The closest I ever

came to this was in driving taxi for two decades, during which better than 9 out of 10 waking

hours were spent chasing the almighty dollar. This is taking it too far, and was only necessary

because I was selling driving skills, a commodity every family from a Third World country

willing to move to Chicago can duplicate. Because they help each other, many of them were able

to go on to become doctors while I had my eyes glued to the windshield, booking more income

but nevertheless stuck in a deeper rut. I think it is fair to say that any manager who cannot take

time for vacations, family, and recreation is a pretty poor boss to work for, even if self-
employed. This is an over-rationalized part of the Puritan work ethic I will discard, perhaps

relevant to some sinner’s guilt, but never the less too close to fascism for comfort. Work should

never be permitted to devour the whole of life.

Victim blaming and scape-goating are those parts of the Puritan work ethic that generated

the Salem witch burnings, not to mention their historic role in fueling the Spanish Inquisition and

creating the negative Christian image of the Jew (actually, the devil, complete with horns). The

sociology of such secularized religion is founded on the irrational belief in a just world, that

misfortune is the result of God’s wrath, and that good deeds will always be rewarded by divine

Providence. This is actually the logical inverse of the Puritan belief that good financial fortune

may be, but is not necessarily a sign of actually being one of the ‘elect,’ living in God’s grace.

However, secularized religion is not very logical, and has no place in positive possibility

thinking. Possibility thinking that builds on real human values is not one-sided, but can learn

from mistakes through critical assessment of what went wrong to avoid them in the future. There

is no justice in past misery, but we can discard negative, self-destructive behaviors to help create

the kind of a future we visualize for ourselves and our children. We can only create such

visualization in action according to some rational purpose, which is the heart of pragmatism. By

taking that which is rational as that which is best according to human values, we can transform

pragmatic and positive philosophy into humanism without discarding the critical edge that has

always accompanied the movement of negativity.

I am going to cut it off at this point, knowing full well that much work will be needed to

develop a full-bodied goal setting and motivational training program from this sketchy

beginning. I want to build a sales force in college funding, in which my sales personnel make
$100, 000 per year, generating me an income of $250, 000. I will develop a step-wise procedure

for training people to do this, without actually doing it for them. Finding people willing to take

responsibility for their own financial results is the first order of business, after I take

responsibility for my own. For now, it is a matter of using the plans and ideas I have been

working on to actually generate financial results. Once I have distilled a set of activities that can

produce a certain amount of money, it will only be a matter of turning the crank as many times as

necessary to get the desired income of $250,000 per year. This may sound unrealistic, but I think

it is well within the SMART goal framework. We are still within the capitalistic milieu, and the

Puritan work ethic is still the spirit of the system. With this in mind, and to the glory of God

(Universal), I will make every effort, as did old Ben Franklin (the wisest American who ever

lived), to use the Ben Franklin close for every sale, weighing the advantages against the

disadvantages, and ever walking in grace.


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