"The Society of Man"
A review by Carroll Quigley in The Washington Sunday Star,
of a book.
THE SOCIETY OF MAN,
by Louis J. Halle.
New York: Harper & Row, 1966
"The Society of Man"
From The Bookshelf
THE SOCIETY OF MAN.
By Louis J. Halle,
Harper & Row. 203 pp. $4.95.
As Prof. Halle says, in the Preface to
this book, everyone who talks about international relations has a basic
philosophy, whether he is aware of it or not.
Halle's own, which was explicitly formulated in "Men And Nations'
his earlier book, "is a simple dualism, based on the elementary
distinction between the tangible world and the conceptual world." To
this Halle has added a few equally simple corollaries: (1) that the
external existential world in which men act is constantly changing,
while men allow their internal conceptual world to change only
reluctantly and intermittently; and (2) that men act upon their internal
conceptual picture and not upon the actual conditions in which events
On this basic outlook, without much philosophic sophistication, but
with extensive knowledge, native shrewdness, historical perspective, and
sociological awareness, Halle has reared a brief, but revealing book. It
is in three parts: (1) an outline of "the philosophy;" (2) an
application of these ideas to the history of Marxism; and (3) a brief
examination of the working of this same confusion in the history of our
Halle's literary style is personal and informal, and his message is
important. But is it not a shame that the deficiencies of contemporary
philosophy and of our educational systems make it necessary for a
non-philosopher like Hale to point out the need and the value to be
derived from such a simple effort to apply our own traditions to the
most acute political problems of our day?
This is the second volume of a series which Prof. Halle is writing
on man and politics, especially international politics. Few authors are
better qualified for their task. He spent 13 years in the State
Department on policy-making levels and has been, since 1956, professor
in Geneva. Switzerland, at the Institute Universitaire des Hautes Etudes
But the value of this book does not depend on its author's broad
experience, obvious ability, and deep erudition. It rests, instead, an
his discovery of a philosophy which seems to him to provide a remarkable
key to knowledge and action in international affairs. This philosophy
has nothing new about it, since it is little more than a relatively
unsophisticated recognition of the nature of epistemology, the very
problem which first, set men on the path of analytical thinking in
ancient Greece 2400 years ago, and which dominated the whole history of
philosophy until our twentieth century.
By the simple process of rediscovering this ancient problem and
having the courage (or naivete) to return to the belief that it is a
real problem, Halle has provided himself with an apparently novel,
interesting, and helpful tool for analysing international affairs.
Professor of history at Georgetown University's School of Foreign
Service, Carroll Quigley's most recent book is "Tragedy and Hope."
By CARROLL QUIGLEY