In Germany, shortly before fascism came to power, a group of reactionary writers began to attack the capitalistic system of production and its social organizations even more vehemently than had previously been done by the exponents of the radical labor movement. An outstanding contributor to this group was Ferdinand Fried, whose book The End of Capitalism, published in 1931, announced the close of the liberalistic-capitalistic epoch and the ascendency of state capitalism, brought about by the collapse of the old world-economy and the rise of fascism and planning.
Lawrence Dennis’s new hook The Dynamics of War and Revolution1 belongs in the same literary category., it predicts for America what Fried once declared was Germany’s inevitable fate. Neither writer, however, has much in common with the actual fascistic political movement, nor with the pseudo-fascism preceding it. Just as Fried was exiled and his book forgotten, so will Dennis and his work find little appreciation among fascists or “anti-fascists”. The reason for this may be found in the illusions of these writers, who actually believe that the present fascistic movement has the character of a genuine revolution able to transform the world basically enough to guarantee further progressive development. Though they are right in predicting the success of fascism over bougeois democracy, they are wrong in assuming that fascism can, even temporarily, break that economic stagnation which is at the bottom of all social upheavals of the present epoch.
Because Dennis, Fried, etc., expect much more from fascism than it is able to deliver, their theories do not fit very well into the vague ideological structure of fascism; nor do these theories suit the changing requirements of the victorious fascist class. Not that they are considered dangerous; rather fascism is not “dangerous” enough to find those theories usable for any length of time. As a matter of fact, fascism is not at all in need of new social theories. What it wants are political and economic methods to secure its rule over existing society. “If one makes dogmas out of methods”, Hitler once said, “he takes away from human effort and intelligence those elastic attitudes which make it possible to operate with different means at different situations in order to master them.”
The idea of “social development as a permanent revolution” — the motif in Dennis’s writings — can by itself suit fascism only in its struggle for power. In a modified form, it may even serve as a part of the war ideology justifying imperialistic aspirations. But fascism wants to rule for “a thousand years”. It comes with true intention of staying and all talk of a “Second Revolution”, let alone a permanent one, is answered with exile and murder. Even if Dennis is far from “defending all revolutions and everything done in each of them”, he still holds revolutions to be inevitable and thinks “that any revolution that is big enough will end stagnation”. But it is the self-appointed job of fascism to prevent a revolution that is big enough to end stagnation. It is fascism’s attempt to reform not to revolutionize, the capitalistic system of production and distribution which exclude adherence to any social theory that sees all development in terms of revolution. Continue reading →
The study to be reported here is unusual in various ways. It was not planned as an ordinary research; it was not a social venture but a private one, motivated by my own curiosity and pointed toward the solution of various personal moral, ethical, and scientific problems. I sought only to convince and to teach myself (as is quite proper in a personal quest) rather than to prove or to demonstrate to others. For this reason, it has no “design.”
Quite unexpectedly, however, these studies have proved to be so enlightening, and even startling to me (and a few others), that it seems fair that some sort of report should be made to others in spite of this and other shortcomings.
At first I had thought that I could present the lessons I had learned, without reference to their technically questionable source, simply by a series of discrete and independent “theoretical” papers. Some of these have appeared and more will in the future. But even these papers suggested that it would be more honest to indicate the “data” from which they sprang, for in actuality I considered them empirical reports rather than theoretical constructions.
Finally, I consider the problem of psychological health to be so pressing, that any leads, any suggestions, any bits of data, however moot, are endowed with a certain temporary value. This kind of research is in principle so difficult — involving as it does a kind of lifting oneself by one’s axiological bootstraps — that if we were to wait for conventionally reliable data we should have to wait forever. It seems that the only manly thing to do is not to fear mistakes, to plunge in, to do the best that one can, hoping to learn enough from blunders to correct them eventually. At present the only alternative is simply to refuse to work with the problem. Accordingly, for whatever use can be made of it, the following report is presented with due apologies to those who insist upon conventional reliability, validity, sampling, etc. Continue reading →
I believe I am indebted for the privilege of addressing you to-day to the impression produced on the minds of some of your leaders by a discourse which I delivered at a recent meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. What I proposed to myself in that discourse was to show that certain prevailing ideas as to the constitution and method of Economic science required revision and amendment. Whilst recognizing the valuable work done by economists, and notably by Adam Smith, I endeavoured to show that many of them, by taking abstractions for realities, by drawing unverified deductions from a priori assumptions, and by giving to their conclusions, even when in a certain sense just, too absolute a character, missed the truth, and set up figments of their own imagination for laws of social life.
But the most important proposition I sought to establish was this—that the Economic phenomena of society cannot, in our researches, be isolated, except provisionally, from the rest, —its material aspect from its intellectual, moral, and political aspects, —without our being thus led into grave error. Or, to state the same thing in other words, I asserted that in the study of society, regarded as a subject of theoretic contemplation, the attempt to constitute the investigation of its Economic laws into a separate science is a philosophically vicious procedure, and that such inquiries must be regarded as forming one branch, to be kept in constant and close relation with the others, of the general Science of Sociology. Continue reading →
After ages of conflict with each other, the Nations of the world are now almost entirely occupied with internal struggles. Politicians and statesmen have ceased to regard the foreign relations of a State as the primary object of consideration, and have united with the philosopher in examining the foundations and structure of Society itself. Conquest and Dominion no longer engross attention, but the various portions of society have turned upon each other to scrutinize their respective claims to power and property, and to insist upon new principles of adjustment and distribution. In Europe, on the one hand the Socialists of France leagued with their allies, the Chartists, of England, and the Neologists, of Germany, assail existing institutions, and contend for a vague principle of absolute equality; while on the other, are found the combined forces of all who would preserve existing orders and relations.
The upheavings of this mighty conflict have reached our own country, and are indicated by the convulsions which are still agitating our peace. Following the example of the crafty and far sighted men, who have shaped the policy of England, the leading minds of the North have sought to turn the current which was bearing down upon themselves, into a more distant channel, which might give vent to its fury without injury to themselves. Seeing successfully the people of England had been amused with the notion of human progress, by emancipating the slaves in the West Indies, these votaries of a charity which begins and ends at home, have followed in the same track in our country, and, with equal success, have diverted the attention of the whole band of Social Reformers from themselves, and turned them upon us of the South and our Institutions. We are set down among the enemies of human rights, (as they call them,) and to reform us is the first great duty with which they have charged themselves. Such a scheme, unhappily for us, falls in with the views of both the contending parties in Europe. The Socialists rejoice at the prospect of another advance of their system; while the Aristocrat and Monarchist, add to the hope of overturning the only sanctuary of Constitutional Liberty, the certainty of diverting the attention of their own turbulent multitudes. ” Continue reading →
William F. Buckley’s CIA background influenced his writing and publishing career. Buckley’s National Review served as a CIA front and according to E. Howard Hunt Regnery Publishing, which published Buckley’s God and Man at Yale, was subsidized by the CIA. The covert political warfare techniques that became a staple of the right seem to have been adopted from the CIA of this period.
William F. Buckley had very close ties with Liebman and when he started YAF in 1960, the organization was represented by Liebman’s public relations firm and made use of Liebman’s office space. Liebman’s PR work for YAF probably created the pattern of direct-mail fundraising which was subsequently adapted by Richard Viguerie. Viguerie was at the centre of the development and funding of various conservative organizations e.g. the National Conservative Political Action Committee, the Conservative Caucus, the Christian Crusade, Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s Korean Cultural Freedom Foundation, and Gun Owners of America, and many election campaigns. Viguerie methods were followed by younger YAF members like Lee Edwards and Bruce Eberle. Continue reading →
III. The Business as Accounting Entity: The ratio (account)
1. The historical development of accounting. — The introduction of accounting was of the greatest significance for the full development of the capitalistic enterprise.
We know that the artisanal organization of medieval trade (and anything like bookkeeping was unthinkable for other branches of business life) found its expression in an incomplete and highly personalized bookkeeping. The sparse and confused collection of notes which characterizes the German trade books of the 14th and 15th centuries had, as sole object, to recall to the memory of the business manager particular events and conditions in his business. The books were memoranda in the most primitive sense of the word.
The public household was the place where an organized or “objective” bookkeeping, comprehensible to third parties took root.
Naturally, the Italian city communities took the first steps. From the 13th century on, perhaps even earlier, orderly business management starts to appear. Inventories of movable and real property are taken, the tavole delle possessioni in Florence, in two copies; special officials (notai) are appointed to provide annual reports on the public debt (Milan, Pisa, Florence) . Strict supervision of communal receipts and payraents is introduced. In 1225 the Milanese Podesta orders a monthly check on the government cash and requires officials to submit monthly accounts. All statutes contain bookkeeping regulations: the Breve pisano of 1286, for example, requires two separate books, one for receipts and one for payments; in Venice monthly audits and surprise cash checks shall take place. Balance sheets were constructed for the Italian states in the 14th century: we have them for Florence from the years 1336-38, for Treviso from 1341, for Rome from 1358, for Milan from 1463. Continue reading →
The appearance of Mein Kampf in unexpurgated translation has called forth far too many vandalistic comments. There are other ways of burning books than on the pyre — and the favorite method of the hasty reviewer is to deprive himself and his readers by inattention. I maintain that it is thoroughly vandalistic for the reviewer to content himself with the mere inflicting of a few symbolic wounds upon this book and its author, of an intensity varying with the resources of the reviewer and the time at his disposal. Hitler’s “Battle” is exasperating, even nauseating; yet the fact remains: If the reviewer but knocks off a few adverse attitudinizings and calls it a day, with a guaranty in advance that his article will have a favorable reception among the decent members of our population, he is contributing more to our gratification than to our enlightenment.
Here is the testament of a man who swung a great people into his wake. Let us watch it carefully; and let us watch it, not merely to discover some grounds for prophesying what political move is to follow Munich, and what move to follow that move, etc.; let us try also to discover what kind of “medicine” this medicine-man has concocted, that we may know, with greater accuracy, exactly what to guard against, if we are to forestall the concocting of similar medicine in America.
Already, in many quarters of our country, we are “beyond” the stage where we are being saved from Nazism by our virtues. And fascist integration is being staved off, rather, by the conflicts among our vices. Our vices cannot get together in a grand united front of prejudices; and the result of this frustration, if or until they succeed in surmounting it, speaks, as the Bible might say, “in the name of” democracy. Hitler found a panacea, a “cure for what ails you,” a “snakeoil,” that made such sinister unifying possible within his own nation. And he was helpful enough to put his cards face up on the table, that we might examine his hands. Let us, then, for God’s sake, examine them. This book is the well of Nazi magic; crude magic, but effective. A people trained in pragmatism should want to inspect this magic. Continue reading →