"Public Authority and the
State in the Western Tradition:
A Thousand Years of Growth, A.D. 976 - 1976”
by Carroll Quigley Ph.D.
III: “The State of Individuals", A.D. 1776 - 1976
by Carroll Quigley Ph.D.
Thank you Dean Krogh.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
This is the most difficult of the three lectures that I'm giving covering
this thousand years of the growth of public authority. What's happened in
the last two hundred years is fairly clear to me; but it is not easy to
convey it to you, even those of you who have had courses with me and are
familiar with the framework of much of my thinking.
One reason for this difficulty, of course, is the complexity of the subject
itself; but, after all, the preceding eight hundred years were quite complex
as well as the last two hundred that we are going to deal with this evening.
A much more fundamental reason for the difficulty is this; and it is where
we can have difficulties to-night: The reality of the last two hundred
years of the history of Western Civilization, including two hundred years of
the history of our own country, is not reflected in the general brainwashing
which you have received, in the political mythology which you have been
hearing, or in the historiography of the period as it exists to-day.
The period from 1776 to 1976 I will divide into two parts. The first, about
a hundred and twenty, or twenty-five, years, i.e., to about 1890,
which was a period of expansion of industrial society; and then the last
eighty years, approximately, which is an age of profound crisis, not only in
our own country, but in Western Civilization, which is the unit in which I
carry on my thinking on the subject.
In order to deal with this, I have to go back to fundamentals, and
particularly to the fundamentals of human values; and, to do that, we must
have paradigms. The whole thousand years, as I explained in my first
lecture, is a shift from a society made up of communities, in 976, to a
society, to-day, where we have a state of monstrous power and atomized
I will use certain definitions: I am talking about society. And the society
of Western Civilization a thousand years ago, which was made up of
communities. A society is an organization of persons and artifacts --
things made by people -- and it's an organization to satisfy human needs.
It would not exist if it had not come into existence to satisfy human
needs. Notice: I do not say human desires. One of the striking things
about our society to-day is how remote our desires are from our needs. If
you ask anybody what they want, what they desire, they will give you lists
of things which are as remote as can be from human needs. Now, in this
society, the process we have been tracing for the thousand years is the
growth of the state. And as I indicated in the first lecture, a state is
not the same thing as a society, even though the Greeks and Romans thought
so. A state is an organization of power on a territorial basis. The link
between the two, a society (whether it's made up of communities or of
individuals) and a state, is this: Power rests in the ability to satisfy
Now, I put on the board something which former students are familiar with.
I always call it the levels of culture, the aspects of a society: military,
political, economic, social, emotional, religious, intellectual. Those are
your basic human needs. The interesting thing about them is that they are
arranged in evolutionary sequence. Millions of years ago, before men were
even human, they had need for defense of the group, because it is perfectly
obvious that men cannot live outside of groups. They can only satisfy any
needs, or almost any needs, by cooperating within a group. But I'll go
further than that, and return to it again in a moment, that men will not
become men unless they grow up in communities. We will come back to that
because it is the basis of what I am going to talk about to-night.
If you have a group, it must be defended against outsiders. That's
military. Before men came out of the trees they had that.
If you are going to obtain your needs being satisfied in some kind of a
group, you must have ways of settling disputes and arguments and reconciling
individual problems within the group. That's political.
You must have organizational patterns for satisfying material needs: food,
clothing, and shelter. [That's economic.]
And then come two which have been largely destroyed in the last thousand
years of Western Civilization, i.e., men have social needs. They
have needs for other people; they have need to love and to be loved. They
have need to be noticed. Sirhan Sirhan killed Robert Kennedy because nobody
had ever noticed him; and, by God, he was determined that, from now on, he,
someone would know that he existed. In fact, most of these "motive,"
"motiveless" assassinations are of this type. Someone went up to the top of
the University of Texas tower with a high-powered rifle and shot something
like seventeen people before they got him. This was because no one had ever
noticed him. Men need other people. That's the social need. The basis of
social inter-relationships is reciprocity: if you cooperate with others,
others will cooperate with you.
The next is emotional needs. Men must have emotional experience. It's
obtained in two ways, that I can see: moment-to-moment relationships with
other people, moment-to-moment, and moment-to-moment relationships with
nature. Our society to-day has so cluttered up our lives with artifacts --
TV sets, or whatever it is, automobiles -- and organizational structures,
that to have moment-to-moment relationships with nature is almost
impossible. Most people don't have any idea what the weather is out[side].
Someone said recently that until September we had a great draught here.
And four or five people standing there said "That's ridiculous."
We had a shortage, I believe, of about almost eight inches of rain up to the
middle of September of this year in Washington. Nobody notices it. Because
they are in buildings, it doesn't matter to them if it's raining or not.
Religious needs. It became fashionable in Western Civilization,
particularly in the last hundred years, to be scornful of religion. But it
is a fact that human beings have religious needs. They have a need for a
feeling of certitude in their minds about things that they cannot control
and that they do not fully understand, and, with humility, they will admit
they do not understand. What happens, when you destroy people's religious
expression, is that they establish secularized religions, for instance,
Now, on the intellectual level. People have intellectual needs. I used to
say to students that Marilyn Monroe had profound intellectual needs. And
when nobody else would treat her as an intellect or even a potential
intellect, for obvious reasons, she was starved for intellectual experience.
That's why she married a man like Arthur Miller: because she thought he was
an intellectual. All right, those are the human needs.
Power is the ability to satisfy those needs. And for someone to say that
power is organized force, or that power is the outcome of an election, or
that power is the ability to cut off our supply of oil, it is a completely
inadequate way of looking at it. Because my experience and study of the
destruction of civilizations and the collapse of great empires has now
convinced me that empires and civilizations do not collapse because of
deficiencies on the military or the political levels. The Roman army never
met an army that was better than it was. Any time. But the Roman army
could not be sustained when all of these things had collapsed and nobody
cared. Nobody wanted to serve, nobody wanted to pay taxes, nobody cared.
All right. The other part of this, this is going to require that you put
these things together to some extent. Persons, personalities, if you wish,
can be made only in communities. Communities are intimate relationships
between a, diverse types of individuals -- a kinship group, or a local
group, a neighborhood, a village, a large family, possibly, whatever it is.
Without communities, no infant will be sufficiently socialized. He may
grow up and be forty years old, he may have made an extremely good living,
he may have engendered half a dozen children, but he is still an infant
unless he was properly socialized and that occurs in the first four or five
years of life. We have attempted in our society to-day to throw the whole
burden of socializing our population upon the school system, to which the
individual arrives only at the age of four or five. A state of individuals,
such as we have now reached in Western Civilization, will not create
persons; and the atomized individuals who make it up will be motivated by
desires, which do not necessarily reflect needs. Instead of the need for
other people, they need a shot of heroin; instead of some kind of religious
conviction, they have to be with the winning team. In fact, when you come
to a civilization as it turns off the last couple of centuries, and ours
still has a couple of centuries to go, I would guess. Things are moving
faster than they ever did in any civilization I ever knew before this one.
But we still probably have at least a century or two centuries to go.
Now, human needs are the basis of power. The state, I said, is a power
structure on a territorial basis; and the state will survive only if it has
sufficient ability to satisfy enough of these needs. It is not enough that
it has organized force And when a politician says, "Elect me President and
I will establish law and order," and by law and order he means organized
force or even organized power of other kinds (and I won't analyze that.
it's too complex. We don't have time). I will simply say that the object
of the political level is to legitimize power: that is, to get people, in
their minds, to recognize and accept what is the actual power relationship
in their society.
Next Tuesday a decision will be made as to who shall be President of the
United States. That will not reflect necessarily the actual power
relationships of the United States at all. If the people are so frustrated
with intellectual frustration. Many of you come to these lectures because
you have been intellectually frustrated, and you want to be exposed again to
my insistent demands that you think about things. For example, we no longer
have intellectually satisfying arrangements in our educational system, in
our arts, humanities, or anything else; instead we have slogans, ideologies.
An ideology is a religious or emotional expression. So when a society is
reaching its end, in the last couple of centuries, you have what I call
misplacement of satisfactions. You find your emotional satisfaction in
making a lot of money, or being elected in 1972 to the White House, or
something of this kind. Or proving to the poor, half-naked people of
Southeast Asia that you can kill them in large numbers. And out of this you
get the satisfactions which are being frustrated up here.
Now, the state is a good state if it is sovereign and if it is responsible.
The idea that the state has to be any of these other things, such as, for
example, democratic, is more or less incidental. If democracy reflects the
structure of society's power, then the state has to be democratic. But if
the reflection of power, and the pattern of power, in a society is not a
democratic pattern, then you cannot have a democratic state. This is what
happens in Latin America, and Africa, and places like this, where they have
an election and the army doesn't like who's elected, so they move in and
kick him out and put somebody else in. That's because the election did not
reflect the power situation, in which the dominant thing is organized force.
So when I say governments have to be responsible, I'm saying the same thing
as I said when I said that they have to be legitimate, i.e., that
they have to reflect the power structure of the society. Politics is the
area for establishing responsibility by legitimizing power, i.e.,
somehow demonstrating to people that the power structure is this. And it
may take a revolution, such as the French Revolution, or it may take a war,
like the American Civil War. In the American Civil War in 19, 1861 the
structure of power in the United States was such -- perhaps unfortunately,
I don't know -- that the South could not leave unless the North was
willing. It was that simple. But it took a war to prove it.
Now, sovereignty I defined last time; and I want to run through it for the
benefit of those who weren't here. Sovereignty has eight aspects: DEFENSE;
JUDICIAL, [i.e.,] settling disputes; ADMINISTRATIVE POWER, [i.e.,]
discretionary actions for the public need; TAXATION, [i.e.,]
mobilizing resources, this is what the French government didn't have in
1776, one of them; LEGISLATION, [i.e.,] the finding of rules and
[the] establishment of rules through promulgation and statute; the sixth,
EXECUTIVE, i.e., the enforcement of laws and judicial decisions.
Then two which are absolutely of paramount importance to-day: MONETARY, [i.e.,]
the creation and control of money and credit -- if that is not an aspect of
the public sovereignty, then the state is to-day far less than fully
sovereign; and the eighth one, the last, THE INCORPORATING POWER, i.e.,
the right to say that an association of people is a fictitious person with
the right to hold property and sue, and be sued, in the courts. Notice:
the federal government of the United States to-day does not have the
seventh and eighth, but I'll come back to that later.
In the meantime, I'm still on my introduction for this evening, and I want
to speak of what happened in the last thousand years. If we go back before
976, when you had communities, little villages, really, in Europe, the main
core of people's life and experience, which controlled their behavior and
determined their desires -- controls and rewards, I call it -- was in this,
the religious and emotional and social [levels]. In these three. They had
religious beliefs, they had emotional relationships with the people whom
they saw every day, they had social relationships as well with them. That
was the core of it. The significant thing is this: that those controls and
those rewards are internalized; they are inside. They are what was acquired
very largely in the first four or five years of life. When we speak of the
need for socializing infants. When a child is born, he is not a
person[ality]; he is a human being. That is a totally different thing. He
is utterly potential. When somebody becomes a personality, such as you or
myself, then he has traits which were acquired out of his potentialities as
the result of experiences over numerous years.
Now, here you have internalized controls. That's why they could get along
in 976 without a state: because all significant controls were internalized
on these bases. The reason I took the year 976 was that, although Western
Civilization had come into existence about two hundred years before that,
let's say, 876 or even earlier, it began to expand in 976. By expand I mean
they began to produce more goods per person, per day or per year, whatever
you want. And you know what I mean by expansion if you took my freshman
course: increased output per capita, increased knowledge, increased
geographic area for the civilization itself, and increased population. In
976 that began. And we'll put an arrow here indicating that. The chief way
in which that economic expansion was achieved was by specialization and
exchange: that instead of each little group's trying to produce everything
which would satisfy all of these needs, little groups began to concentrate
and say we will produce only wool and exchange wool for other things. And
so forth and so forth. That process of increasing specialization and
exchange, which is the basis of expansion in any civilization, I'll call
commercialization. And as long as the society is expanding, that process of
commercialization will continue, as it has for a thousand years in our
society, so that to-day in our society everything is commercialized,
politics, religion, education, ideology, belief, everything, the armed
services. Everything, practically, is commercialized. Everything has its
All right, when this expansion reaches a crisis, you get increasing
politicalization. That is, instead of... I won't go into the details of
this. It can be explained in detail, as most of you, perhaps, know.
Politicalization is that the expansion is slowing up, and you are no longer
attempting to achieve increased output per capita, or whatever it is, or
increased wealth, or increased satisfactions, or whatever is motivating you,
by expansion; but you are going to do it by mobilizing power. We have seen
this going on in our society now for almost a century. Increased
politicalization of the society.
And then, as the society continues and does not reform, you get increased
militarization of the society. You can see that certainly in Western
Civilization, and in the history of the United States. In the last forty
years, our society has been drastically militarized. It certainly isn't yet
as militarized as other societies and other periods have been. We have a
long way to go in this direction still.
Now, as this process goes on, you get certain other things. I've hinted at
a number of them. Misplacement of satisfactions. You find your
satisfactions -- your emotional satisfaction, your social satisfaction --
not on moment-to-moment relationships with other people and with nature, but
with power, or with wealth, or even with organized force -- sadism, in some
cases. Go out and murder a lot of people, in a war -- a just war,
The second thing that I'd like to point to [in] the period as
this goes on: increasing remoteness of desires from needs. I've mentioned
this. Then the next thing is an increasing confusion between means and
ends. The ends are the human needs, but if I asked most people what are the
needs of these, they could hardly tell me. Instead they would want the
means that they have been brainwashed or accepted, that will give them the
satisfaction that they think of a need. But it's perfectly obvious that the
methods we have been using are not working. Never was any society in human
history as rich and as powerful as the United, as Western Civilization and
the United States, and it is not a happy society. I just looked at a book
this week called The Joyless Economy, by an economist [named Tibor
Scitovsky], in which he diagrammed some of these things.
All of that is establishment of new paradigms.
Now, what happened in the last two hundred years? In 1776, Europe was
approaching, and Western Civilization was approaching, a revolutionary
situation. Why? A revolutionary situation is one in which the structure of
power -- real power -- is not reflected in the structure of law,
institutions, and conventional arrangements. Law and legal arrangements,
including constitutional arrangements, were not legitimate in 1776 in much
of Western Civilization, i.e., they were not responsible because they
did not reflect power. The laws of the polity, whether it is the English
Parliament, which legally had the right to rule America; or with what is the
nightmare constitution of France, which no longer in any way reflected the
structure of power in French society; or whether, east of the Rhine, it was
the enlightened despotisms which existed there, which did not reflect the
power struggle, the structure of Europe at all, as Napoleon showed them very
quickly. This, therefore, is a revolutionary situation.
Let's look a little more closely at these.
In England, the polity established control of the country in an oligarchy of
landowners, the Whig oligarchy. Members of Parliament were sent to
Parliament by pieces of land, and someone, who owned a piece of land which
did have the right to send a member to Parliament, could send a member to
Parliament, whether that piece of land had anyone living on it or not.
Well, that was not a reflection of the power structure of England. That
pieces of land were powerful. And I would, do not have to demonstrate to
you that the legal arrangements by which the British Parliament made the
rules to govern life in the United States was [sic] equally
I'll leave France for a moment and go east of the Rhine. In Central Europe
we had what was called Enlightened Despotism: small principalities ruled by
despots who presumably in law had the right to say, "This will happen.
That will happen. Something else will happen, the show is over ."
What they tried to do in the period from 1776 onward, for about twenty-five
years, was to establish some kind of a more rational life in their
principalities, to create a uniform system of weights and measures. They
couldn't do it. Their systems of weights and measures -- I won't attempt to
describe them to you -- were absolute, unholy chaos. They had a different
weight or measurement for every commodity. Those measurements changed as
you went from village to village or district to district. And they also had
been changing in time for hundreds of years. What had been happening is the
measurements had been getting larger because the power of the creditors was
so great that, if you owned, owed a bushel of wheat to your landlord, all
the landlords together, over generations, could make the bushel a larger
All right, let's continue. In Eastern Europe, I discussed it adequately the
last time. I'll simply point out that, in this period, Poland disappeared.
It disappeared because the landlord class in Poland preferred keeping their
serfs down, as their slaves, to independence. And were unwilling to
organize a modern army, with modern weapons and modern military training, to
defend Poland against outside enemies, such as Prussia, Russia or Austria.
For that reason, those three got together and divided up Poland in 1795, so
Poland did not exist. And did not exist again, you know -- briefly under
Napoleon there was a Grand Duchy of Warsaw -- but it did not exist again
In France, and I described this last week, in 1776 the polity had reached a
condition of total paralysis. They did not have sovereignty. The
government did not have the taxing power; it did not have the legislative
power; it did not have the incorporating power; it did not have the judicial
power. It did not have most of these eight aspects of sovereignty which I
mentioned to you. And in 1776 they discovered that, when the government
tried to abolish the guilds and could not do so, because under the law they
could not abolish them unless it agreed to pay off their debts. And it
could not pay off their debts because the government didn't have the taxing
power. And didn't have the taxing power because it didn't have the judicial
power: if it took someone to court, the judges would say, "No, you have no
right to examine his income. You can ask him only what he has been paying
for the last couple of hundred years on that piece of property," or whatever
The result was the explosion of the French Revolution, in
which you got not only about the most sovereign state in Europe, by the time
of Napoleon, let's say 1805. And notice: Napoleon was an enlightened
despot, the last one in Europe. Anyone who says, as, for instance, Robert
Palmer says, that in 1789 France was leading the parade in terms of
government and public authority, just doesn't know what he's talking about.
France was bringing up the absolute rear in 1789 as far as public authority
and sovereignty is [sic] concerned. And that is why, say, France got
their enlightened despot so late. He wasn't even a Frenchman; he was an
Italian. But what he did was he imposed an Italian government on France.
Provided it was so rational, so powerful, so well-organized, and the fact
that the new sovereignty was embodied in the nation, a new entity, really,
gave it a power which made it possible for him almost to conquer all of
Europe. Although he was ultimately defeated, as most conquerors of all of
Europe have been throughout history. And we have William II in 1918, Hitler
in 1945. There were others: Philip II in the Sixteenth Century, I don't
know, England, perhaps, in the early Fifteenth Century, and so forth.
By 1820, after the Napoleonic system has been replaced, all four of these
areas which I have mentioned were unstable, but they were much more stable
and much more legitimate than they had been in 1776. Now, although I say
that in 1820 they were fundamentally not that stable, we know that there was
political stability in Europe after 1820 for at least three generations, to
at least the 1860's. A brief war in '66, and then so forth. I won't go
into that. But the stability of Europe from 1815 to about 1880, or '85, is
now something we look back on with nostalgia. The reasons for this were,
had nothing to do with the structure of the state, except to the degree that
the structure of the state had become sufficiently rationalized and
sufficiently sovereign through the period of revolution, from 1776 to, let's
say, 1820. Sufficiently stable. So that with the additional events, it
looked like stability. Now, the additional events were a new Age of
The Agricultural Revolution of about 1720 and onward, where more and more
food was being obtained from land with less and less labour, and so forth.
And above all, the Industrial Revolution: the patenting of the steam
engine in 1776. You see 1776 is a very significant year. It is
not just Bicentennial Year. The Wealth of Nations, which advocated
free trade, was 1776; Watt's patenting of the steam engine is 1776; the
failure of the French to reorganize their political system is clearly 1776,
and so forth.
Now, in the Nineteenth Century, expansion, which is the third time in
Western Civilization in which we had expansion, people fell back from
conflict and politicalization and militarization to the level of
commercialization, and industrialization, if you want to add it. But this
process means that certain subversive influences were being accelerated.
One is: externalization of rewards and controls. The disruption of
communities, the destruction of religion, the frustration of emotions, all
of these were greatly intensified by the Industrial Revolution: railroads,
factories, growth of cities, technological revolution in the countryside and
in the manner, growing of food, and so forth. The externalization of
rewards and controls to the point that we are at to-day. A continued
acceleration of the main focus of the activities of the society downward.
Again, i.e., from these areas of internal controls down to these
areas of external controls. If you can be controlled by being bought, like
a higher salary, to go to San Diego, or something, and give up all your
friends and associations, now that's an external control. If you can be
forced to go there by power, if you can be sent there by the draft, or
something, all right, that's militarization.
Another thing which became very obvious in the Nineteenth Century is
increasing role of propaganda to change people's ways of looking at things.
Right at the beginning of the lecture, I offended some of you by saying you
have been brainwashed. That is not an insult. It's a simple statement of
fact. When any infant is born and is socialized in a society, even if he is
socialized to become a very mature individual, he has been brainwashed.
That is, he has been given a structure for categorizing his experience and
a system of values applied to that structuring of categories. But this has
now become, in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries in our society, a
propagandist system, in which increasing emphasis is put on the future.
Think only of the future. This is what the rebellions of the '50's and
'60's were against. Future preference: plan; study hard; save. All of
these things which I used to get from my maiden aunts: "Wise bees save
honey; wise boys save money." And then they'd each secretly give me a
dollar as I was leaving. "A penny saved is a penny earned." "A
stitch in time....." All, everything that's in "Poor Richard's."
The Benjamin Franklin propaganda machine.
Another change in the Nineteenth Century in this propaganda system is the
increasing emphasis upon material desires. If you had the material things
you want -- a nice house in the suburbs, a swimming pool, a couple of big
cars, a place in the country, a motor boat, a trailer to take it back and
forth. And what do you want? Anything else? Material things. Now, a
pocket computer, citizens' band. It's endless. Material desires.
A third thing we were brainwashed: that the only thing that matters is
individualism. They called it freedom. There is no such thing as freedom.
There is a thing called liberty. It's quite different, actually. I'll not
spend much time on this. If you're interested, read Ruggiero's History
of European Liberalism, particularly the, couple of first chapters.
Oxford University Press, 1927. That's the English translation
of an Italian book. Freedom is freedom from restraints. We're always under
restraints. The difference between a stable society and an unstable one is
the restraints are external in an unstable one. In a stable society we
don't even need a government. Ultimately the restraints on your actions are
internal. They're self-disciplined. They are the restraints that you have
accepted because it is the way in which you can satisfy all of your desires
and needs to the degree that's good for you.
And then another thing which they have brainwashed us in the last hundred
years: that quantitative change is superior to any qualitative attributes.
In other words, if we can turn out more automobiles this year than last
year, it doesn't matter whether they're half as good. And the same is true
of everything. We are quantifying every[thing], and this is why we are
trying to put everything now on computers. Governments no longer have to
make decisions; the computers will do it.
Another thing they've tried to do, and have succeeded, is to give us
vicarious satisfactions for many of these frustrations. It is unbelievable
the way American people are hung up on vicarious experiences: I can.... TV,
movies, mass spectator sports. You have no idea what small towns and cities
of America is [sic] like, Friday night like this, when the local high
school football or basketball team is engaged in competition with their
neighbor eighteen miles away. And what a gloomy place the chapel or church
is to-morrow morning, I mean Sunday morning, if they lose -- it won't matter
if it rains. People need exercise; they do not need to watch other people
exercise, particularly people who've already had too much exercise.
Vicarious satisfaction. These sexy magazines. This is vicarious sex. If
anyone rushes up to buy one, I'd like to say to him "The real thing is
The replacement, this is part of what brainwashing has gone on for the last
100 years, the replacement of intellect, intelligence, intellectual and of
religion by ideologies and science. It is hardly possible to-day to discuss
in any sensible way the problems of the historical past without running up
against Marxist interpretations. I have nothing against Marx['s theories],
except the fact they do not explain what happened, which, to me, is a fatal
defect. The very idea that between science and religion there is some kind
of a conflict, when science is a method for investigating experience, and
religion is something quite different. Religion is the fundamental,
necessary internalization of your value system of more permanent values.
Another thing that they've tried to get upon us in the last 100 years -- and
it is now dying in front of us -- is the myth of the nation, as the
repository of sovereignty, can be both a state and a community. This is the
great French revolution thing, you see. Why is it that the nation....? It
can be the repository of sovereignty. But suppose weapons systems in a
society are of such a character that it is possible for a government with
the existing weapon system to impose its will over an area a thousand miles
across. And suppose in that thousand mile area there are a number of
nations, like the Bretons, the Catalonians, the Welsh, the Lithuanians.
These are as much nations as the ones that somehow or other became the
embodiments of sovereignty in the Nineteenth Century. Why did the English,
the French, the Castilians, the Hohenzollerns, and others became [sic]
the repository of sovereignty in nations: (Notice: they missed
out in the whole Balkan and Danube basin.) They did because, at that time,
weapons systems made it possible to compel obedience over areas which were
approximately the same size as these national groups that I have mentioned.
And as a result, they were able to crush out other nationalisms, such as
the Scots, the Irish, the Welsh, the Catalonians -- who had a much longer
and much more cultured history than the Castilians -- the Provençals, and
many others. In other words, nationalism is an episode in history, and it
fitted a certain power struggle and a certain configuration of human life in
our civilization which would allow these groups. Now what's happening?
They all want autonomy. The Scots think that they can get their
independence and control the oil that's being found in the North Sea, and
then England will become a colonial area for Edinburgh. And so forth.
In 1820, thus, the state was essentially unstable. It was not fully
sovereign. For example, it did not have the control of credit and money, in
most places. It did not have the control of corporations, in most places.
It is not stable because the nation was not a satisfactory community. The
very idea that, because everyone who speaks French is in the same nation
and, therefore -- in the Nineteenth Century -- in the same state (what the
French republicans want) they, therefore, is [sic] in the same
community as you, is just not true.
And to attempt to socialize people leaving out the first four or five years
of life, and ignoring what happens in that period. We're doing the same
thing in this country in regard to the Blacks and the Latin Americans and
many others. They're now saying "Oh, yes, we'll have..., we'll push
back..., we'll take them from the homes at age 2." A
few years ago they had a big program: take them for a few hours at age two
and three and four, but this will not socialize them. The first two years
are important. The way a child is treated in the first two days is of vital
importance. He has to be loved. The.... Above all. he has to be talked to.
And so forth.
The nation or the state, as we now have it in terms of the structure of
power, cannot be a community.
Another thing which may, points out the instability of this system, the
power system of the state, you know: the individual cannot be made the
basic unit of society, what we have tried to do, or of the state, since the
internalization of controls must be the preponderant influence in any stable
society. Even in a society where it looks as if all power is in the hands
of the government -- let's say, Soviet Russia -- still eighty percent, at
least, of human behavior in Russia is controlled by internalized controls
which were socialized in them by the way they were treated from the moment
that they were born. And as a result, they have come to accept certain
things which allow the Russian state to act as if it can do anything, when
it obviously can't. It knows it can't. Notice the new Russian budget
announced this week: as a result of our pouring of our food surpluses into
Russia, they are now going to raise the consumption sector of their new
The shift of weapons in our society. This is a profound problem. I've
spent ten years working on this, through all of history, and I hope to
produce a book on it eventually if I can find a publisher. (I have a
publisher, but I don't want go back to him. He lied to me too many times.)
The shift of weapons in any civilization and, above all, in our
civilization, from shock weapons to missile weapons. Notice, that if you go
back several hundred years to the Middle Ages, all weapons were shock, i.e.,
you came at the guy with a spear or a sword. And even as late as 1916, in
the First World War, you came at the Germans with bayonets, after a
preliminary barrage with artillery. But we have now shifted completely,
almost totally, to missile weapons. Missile weapons which you hurl. You
may shoot, you may have bombs dropped from airplanes, take a hand grenade,
and, whatever it is. Missile weapons. This has an absolutely dominant
influence upon the ability to control individuals. And individuals cannot
be controlled by missile weapons. The chief reason for that, and again I
hope when the book comes, if you read the rest you can look it up. There'll
be endless analyses of Chinese history, Byzantine history and Russian
history and everything else, and the book is about nine-tenths written, I'd
say, in the last ten years.
The difference between a shock weapon and a missile weapon is essentially
this: a missile weapon is either fired or it isn't fired. It cannot be
half-way fired. In other words, once you let it go, it's out of your
control. It's gone. It is a killing weapon. But a shock weapon -- a billy
club or a bayonet -- can be used to any degree that you wish. And if you
say to someone who's sitting in a chair, "Get up and out of the room," and
you pull out a machine gun, or you call in a B-52 bomber that, or you pull
the pin in a hand grenade, and say "I'll...." But with a bayonet.....
All right. Individual behavior in our society no longer can be controlled
by any system of weaponry that we are using. In fact, without eighty
percent of [our population's having] internalized controls, we do not have
enough people, even if we equip them with shock weapons, to control the
behavior of the population which does not have internalized controls. We're
already reached that in our society.
One reason, of course, is that the twenty percent that don't have
internalized controls are concentrated into certain areas. I won't go into
the whole business of this, of controls. It opens up the whole field of
guerrilla resistance, terrorism, and everything else. These cannot be
controlled by any system of organized structure of force which exists, at
least on a basis of missile weaponry. And, as I say, it would take too many
people on the basis [of shock weaponry]. We have now done what the Romans
did when they started committing suicide: we have shifted from an army of
citizen soldiers to an army of mercenaries, and those mercenaries are being
recruited, in our society, as they were in Roman society, from the twenty
percent of their population which does not have the internalized controls of
All right. Now. The appearance of stability from 1840 to about 1900 was
superficial, temporary and destructive in the long run, because, I have
said, you must have communities; and communities and societies must rest
upon cooperation and cannot be on competition. Any society who says that
you can run the society on the basis of here's everyone's trying to maximize
his own greed is talking total nonsense. And all the study of human society
shows that it's nonsense. And to teach it in schools, and to go on TV and
call it the “American way of life,” still doesn't make it true. Competition
and envy cannot become the basis of any society or any community.
Now, the ecological, the economic and technological achievements of
industrialization, here, were fundamentally mistaken. This could get quite
technical; I'll try not to. The expansion, the economic expansion of
industrialization has been based on plundering the natural capital of the
globe, such as it was created over millions of years: the plundering of the
soils of their fertility; the plundering of the human communities, whether
they were our own or somebody else's, in Africa or anywhere else; the
plundering of the forest. In 1776 the wealth of forest in North America was
beyond belief; within 200 years, in fact 150 years, it has been destroyed or
more than ninety percent of it wasted. And it had in it three hundred years
of accumulated capital saving and investment of sunlight and the fertility
of the soil. (And now that our bread is going to have five times as much
fiber by making it out of sawdust, we're going to go on plundering the
forests to a larger degree, which, of course, is one of the reasons I am
sure that President Ford two days ago signed the new bill which allowed
clear cutting in the National Forests. Because we need that roughage or
fiber in our bread, having taken all the natural fiber out of the wheat, of
course, and thrown it away.)
The energy which gave us the Industrial Revolution -- coal, oil, natural gas
-- represented the accumulated saving of twel..., three weeks of sunlight
that managed somehow to be saved in the earth out of the three billion years
of sunshine. Because that's what the fossil fuels are. This is not income
to be spent; this is capital to be saved and invested. And we
have now destroyed into what we call entropy -- i.e., into a form of
energy which is no longer possible to be utilized. We have now destroyed
into entropy eleven or twelve days of that accumulated twenty-one days of
And we have wasted it.
For example, we have changed our agricultural system, which
used to be a system in which seed was put into the earth to take sunlight,
rain and the wealth of the soil to create food, and we have replaced it with
an agricultural system which is entirely capital intensive, has eliminated
labor, has eliminated land to a very considerable extent, so that we pour
out what we call food. It's now chemical synthetic. And we have done that
by putting into a smaller and smaller amount of soil a larger and larger
amount of chemicals made out of fossil fuels. Just to give you one figure:
every bushel of corn sent to the Russians represents one gallon of
gasoline. And they say that we are getting by selling our grain to the
Russians, we're getting the foreign exchange that will allow us to pay for
the petroleum, at fourteen dollars a barrel, that we're bringing in. Nobody
ever stops to look at how many gallons of ... did you get to send this to
the Russians. To sell millions of bushels which represent millions of
From 1940 to 1970, and I put this in to indicate to you how our whole
system is destroying communities. Much of the legislation of the last forty
years in this country has been aimed at the destruction of families,
neighborhoods, ghettoes, parishes, or anything else. In
thirty years, from 1940 to 1970, three million American farms were abandoned
because the people who worked on them with their families could not compete
with the corporation farmers using the new chemical methods of producing
crops. Thirty million people left these abandoned farms and the rural areas
and went into the towns and into the cities. Millions of them, millions of
them certainly, to be, get on relief. In 1970, the last year for which I
have any reliable figures, two thousand farms a week are going out of
These are the farms on which we brought up your grandparents, the people who
won the Civil War, indeed, the people who fought in the First [World] War,
and, in many cases, even in the Second War. Will the tractors be able to
fight the next war? When there are no more farm boys to fight.
Well, of course, whether there are farm boys or not, they won't want to
fight. Eight hundred thousand rural people each year, in 1970, were leaving
rural areas and moving into towns and being replaced by corporations.
In the same way, by urban renewal and other things, in the cities we are
The fundamental cause of world instability to-day, and it's all pervasive,
is the destruction of communities by commercialization of all human
relationships with resulting neuroses and psychoses. The technological
increase, and speeding up, of transportation, communication, and weapons
systems is creating power areas to-day wider than existing political
structures. We still have half a dozen at least political structures in
Europe, but the power system of our technology and Western Civilization
to-day, as it exists, is such that most of Europe should be a single power
system. Therefore this is instability.
Medical science and the population explosion have continued to produce
people and people, when the supply of food and the supply of jobs are
increasingly precarious, not just in the United States, but everywhere,
because the whole purpose of using fossil fuels in the corporate structure
is to eliminate jobs. "Labor saving," we call it. As if there
were something wrong with working. Working is one of the joys of life. And
if we are creating a society in which working is a pain in the neck, then we
have created a society which is not fit for human beings. It will be
obvious to you that I have enjoyed my work, and enjoyed it here, although at
the end of my career I have no conviction that I did any good. Fortunately,
I had a marvelous parent, and a marvelous mother [Mary
Frances Carroll, 1878 - 1957, wife of William Francis Quigley, 1880 - 1957] and
we were taught you don't have to win, but you have to give it all you've
got. Then it won't matter.
Now, to get back to the structure of the state and sovereignty. We now
have a society in America, but [too] in Europe and in much of the rest of
the world, which is totally dominated by the two elements of sovereignty
which were not included in the state structure: control of banking and
credit and the corporation. These are free of political controls. They
have now largely monopolized power in Western Civilization and in our
society without social responsibility. And are ruthlessly going forward to
eliminate land, labor, entrepreneurial / managerial skills, and everything
else which the economists once told us were the chief elements of
production. And the only element of production that they are concerned with
is the one they can control: capital. So everything now is capital
intensive, including medicine.
And it hasn't worked. I'll just give you one figure. Nobody has a more
capital intensive medical system than that of the United States, and many of
you may be well satisfied with it. I simply want to point out a couple of
facts. When a boy baby is born in the United States, his expectation of
life is less than that in nineteen other countries in the world. And it's
that good only because, while our infant mortality rate is not good, it is
better than our adult mortality rate. In other words, in infant mortality
we are not the best. We are about ninth or tenth. These figures are about
1972, I think. Let us look at a man, a boy, ten year old in the United
States to-day. His expectation of life is less than that of thirty other
countries, according to the United Nations statistics. I would say more
[here] than anybody in those thirty countries are paying for a capital
intensive medical system devoted to keeping people, who are almost dead,
alive a few more days, instead of making people grow up healthy, by teaching
them that work is fun, by teaching them that they don't have to be gluttons.
That with moderation -- I mean, we all.... In the United States, more than
half of our food is wasted. And that may be because it isn't that good.
Exercise, moderation, and so forth -- it's all the old stuff we used to get
in Sunday school. It just happens to be correct.
Now, I come to a topic of delicacy: the US constitutional crisis. The
three branches of government [system] set up in 1789 does not contain the
eight aspects of sovereignty. It left out completely, for example, the
administrative power. The result is that ever since the three branches of
government have been struggling to decide which of them will control the
administrative power. The growth of political parties was necessary to
establish relationships between the three branches. Changes in the process
of the nomination for election. I used to tell my students it doesn't
matter who votes in an election; the important thing is the nomination.
And, when you come to the election, it doesn't matter who votes. What's
important is who didn't vote. Every election in the United States, and
increasingly so, is determined by the people who didn't vote. And they're
turned off for various reasons.
As a result of the three branches that were set up, they're out, they've all
tried to go outside the sphere in which they should be restrained.
Walking over here with the Dean and Professor Brown, we spoke briefly about
the Latin School that I went to. The oldest school in the United States.
1635. Preparatory school. Harvard was created the next year as a place
for Latin School boys to go to. And in my day, it was the largest single
source of supply. My day would be 1929 - 1930. It was the largest single
source of supply. Although Harvard was doing everything they could to cut
down on them, the Latin School boys. But the chief method that they tried
to cut us down was by raising the requirements for us, and we could handle
that. But to-day that school is controlled by a judge in Boston who has
taken it upon himself to tell the school who will be admitted. And he has
said: you must have so many girls; you must have such a percentage of
blacks; and so forth and so forth and so forth. And if they do
not meet.... And you cannot have entrance exams; and, if people
fail, you can't throw them out. And what was once an absolutely incredible
preparatory school [is now being destroyed]. It had many drawbacks -- it
was murderous. But if it gets any students into any competitive system of
entrance in the country, in numbers of the university in question is wrong.
Now, one of the flaws in our, to me the most ominous one, in our
Constitutional set-up. The fact that the Federal Government does not have
control of money and credit; it does not have control over corporations. It
is therefore not really sovereign. And it is not really responsible.
Because it is now controlled exactly by those two groups: those who
control the flows of the money and corporations. The new public financing
of the Presidency is arranged so they can spend as much as they want,
voluntary contributions, to elect someone that he has not authorized, is
The President of the United States, when I look at him, as he exists, is
what young Schlesinger -- that's Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. -- called the
Imperial Presidency. What I see is Caesar Augustus. He is
commander-in-chief, that's what imperator, emperor, means. He's the head of
the executive branch. He's the head of the state as well as head of the
executive branch and these other things. Head of the state means he is the
representative of the United States government in all foreign affairs and
all ambassadors are accredited to him, and so forth. Thirdly, fourthly,
he's the head of the political party. Fifth, he's head of the
administrative system, which is increasingly making all the decisions. What
will be spent and who will spend it. In the Bureau of Budget and
Management. And the system in England is even worse. The Parliament in
England now no longer has any control at all over expenditures, and yet they
are still teaching in the schools that that is how they got the English
Constitution, by control of grants to the Monarchy. Do you know who is
making the decisions in the Bureau of the Budget and Management as to who
will get how much? And he is also the symbol of national unity,
the focus of our emotional feeling regarding our country. This is why it is
so difficult to get rid of an incumbent President, either by election or
But there are other reasons.
We have a general paralysis of government in the United States to-day,
especially in the administrative power, by the very things that we praise:
the so-called rule of law, which should rather be called the rule of
lawyers. Let me give you one example. It is perfectly clear in the U.S.
Constitution that a President can be impeached by a vote of the Congress:
indictment by the House, conviction by the Senate. It does not require
common law procedures; it does not require judicial process. It is not a
judicial action at all. It is a simple political action. If you have the
votes, he can be removed, simply by counting them. The horrible thing about
the whole Nixon business is that impeachment will never be used again in the
history of the United States, because the lawyers in Congress.... Imagine,
every member of the judiciary Committee has to be a lawyer, and the
Judiciary committee has to recommend that he be impeached. And have to do
all kinds of things that you might do in a court of law if you're accused of
holding up a bank. And the result is that never again will anybody attempt
to impeach a President. It would take years, be indecisive; when you could
simply have had a vote and do the whole thing in one morning. Which is the
way it was intended.
Now, there are a lot of other things in the Constitution which are perfectly
obvious, but I can't get any constitutional lawyer to agree with me. It's
perfectly obvious in the Constitution that if the three branches of
government couldn't agree, don't do it. That was the theory was.... No, we
have somebody supreme: the court will make the ultimate decision, and so
I'll just touch on something else: secrecy in government. Secrecy in
government exists for only one reason: to prevent the American people know,
from knowing what's going on. The idea that anything that is going in our
government is not known to the Russians about the moment it happens is
nonsense. The minute the President leaves the White House he is in
communication. My farm, ninety miles away from here, I can tell
when he has left, because the Federal Communications system begins to
operate. And much of it is buried in the mountains, fifteen miles from me.
And the Russians are listening. Tune on and get their free message.
Now, we're getting... I'll have to forget that. The dominance
of the administrative system and the elections is by private power to-day:
[by] money flows and corporation activities. And I just want to read you a
summary from James Willard Hurst[’s] The Legitimacy of the Business
Corporation in the Law of the United States from 1780 to 1970. He
points out that there was powerful anti-corporation feeling in the United
States in the day. And among other things it was established that no
corporation could exist by prescription: i.e., they had to have a
charter. That they had to have a limited term of life, and not be immortal.
Corporations to-day are immortal: they get a charter, they can live
forever, and bury us all. That they have to have a limited purpose, in
other words, have a XXXX. Who is it giving us this bread that's made
out of sawdust? ITT. International Telegraph and Telephone.
The same corporation that drove Ivar Kreuger to suicide in Paris in April
1931, when it was an international telegraph corporation, controlled by J P.
Morgan at that time.
I won't take time to read these things, but certain things were established
in the United States regarding corporations (of course, it was on the state
level, 'cause they controlled the corporations): restricted purpose and
activities, especially by banks and insurance companies; prohibition on one
corporation to hold the stock of another, without specific statutory grant
(we definitely should have that again); limits on the span of the life of
the corporation itself, reconst---, requiring recurrent legislative
scrutiny; limits on total assets; XXXX use of limits on new issues of
capital, so that the proportion of control of existing stockholders could be
maintained; limits on the vote allowed to any stockholder, regardless of the
size of his holding; and so forth.
By 1890 all of these had been destroyed by judicial interpretation, which
extended to corporations -- fictitious persons -- those constitutional
rights guaranteed, especially [by] the Fifteenth [actually, should be
Fourteenth] Amendment, to living persons. Because Roscoe Conklin, known as
"Turkey Strut Conklin," came to the Supreme Court and he said there were no
records kept of the committee of the Senate which drew up the Fifteenth [actually,
should be Fourteenth] Amendment. But he had kept private notes, which
showed that they intended the word "person" to include corporations. It was
most convenient. The corporation which was hiring him to do this suitably
Now, we come to the last statement. And I regret ending on such a, I
suppose, a pessimistic [note] -- I'm not personally pessimistic. The final
result will be that the American people will prefer, ultimately,
communities. They will cop out, or opt out, of the system. Now, it will be
a long time. The system to-day consists of... Well, I will give
it to you. But. Everything is a bureaucratic structure, and brainwashed
people who are not personalities are trained to fit into this bureaucratic
structure and say: "This was a great life" -- although I would assume that
many on their death beds must feel otherwise. Notice: we are already on a
wholesale basis copping out of military service. We are already on a large
scale basis copping out of voting. An estimate to-night was that
the President will probably be chosen by forty percent of the people
eligible to vote. And it's for the fourth time, over sixteen years, the
percentage of voters, who are registered, who didn't vote, will be higher.
They also are copping out by no longer paying any attention to newspapers
or what's going on, and by increasing emphasis on the growth of localism,
what is happening in your own neighborhood.
In this pathetic election, I am simply amazed that neither of the candidates
has thought about any of the important issues, such as localism, the rights
of areas to make their own decisions about what goes on. Now, I realize
that if there's a sulphur mine or a sulphur factory out, a couple of miles
away, that you can't do much about it with localism. But I think you may
find with this election one rather extraordinary thing: a considerable
number of people who go to the polls and vote for the local candidate, but
do not vote for the President. Which is the reverse of what it used to be
fifty years ago.
Now, I want to say good night. Do not be pessimistic. Life goes on; life
is fun. And if a civilization crashes, it deserves to. When Rome fell,
when Rome fell, the Christian answer was "Create our own communities."
Thank you, Ladies and Gentlemen.
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