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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sociocracy, A New Religion

“Sociocracy” was a technocratic form of theocracy promoted by August Comte, the founding father of sociology. Sociocracy’s governing precepts were premised upon the religion of scientism and its priesthood was composed of social scientists. In Technocracy and the Politics of Expertise, Frank Fischer explains the concept of “sociocracy” as follows:
. . . Comte advanced the concept of a “sociocracy,” defined as a new “religion of humanity.” Sociologists were to identify the principles of this new faith and to implement them through a “sociolatry.” The sociolatry was to entail a system of festivals, devotional practices, and rites designed to fix the new social ethics in the minds of the people. In the process, men and women would devote themselves not to God (deemed an outmoded concept) but to “Humanity” as symbolized in the “Grand Being” and rendered incarnate in the great men of history. (71)
In this scientistic theocracy, questions of man’s purpose and his relationship with God would become the intellectual property of social scientists. Such a societal configuration is purely technocratic in character. It enthrones “policy professionals” as the sole arbiters of truth. Bainbridge’s proposal for social scientists to become religious engineers merely reiterates the technocratic concept of a sociocracy. Historically, the social sciences find their proximate origins with technocratic theoreticians and sociopolitical Utopians. These thinkers would develop several of the theoretical concepts upon which modern socialist totalitarian machinations are premised. Sociology was predisposed to such authoritarian applications from the very beginning. Ever-present throughout sociological theory is the theme of a scientifically managed society.
August Comte was the “principal disciple” of Henri de Saint-Simon (Fischer 70). E.H. Carr characterizes Saint-Simon as “the precursor of socialism, the precursor of the technocrats, and the precursor of totalitarianism” (2). Saint-Simon’s philosophy was pure scientism and his vision for a Utopian society was premised entirely upon scientistic precepts. Fischer describes Saint-Simon’s vision:
In his [Saint-Simon's] view, a new unity based upon an all-encompassing ideology had to be forged. Only a belief in science and technology could replace the divisive ideologies prevalent at the time, particularly those of the church. In short, priests and politicians–the older rulers of Europe–had to be supplanted by scientists and technicians. (69)
Saint-Simon’s vision for a technocratic society actually hearkens back to an older esoteric tradition. Sir Francis Bacon was one of the first theoreticians to formulate the concept of a scientifically managed society. Fischer states: “. . .Saint-Simon’s work can be interpreted as a prescription for Bacon’s prophecy” (69).
Allegedly, Bacon was the Grand Master of the secret Rosicrucian Order (Howard 74). In turn, this organization was closely aligned with the Masonic Lodge (50). This organizational association is made evident by Bacon’s own literature. In 1627, he published The New Atlantis, which was replete with Freemasonic symbols (Howard 74). Author Frank Fischer provides a most elucidating description of the Utopian concepts presented in Bacon’s New Atlantis:
For Bacon, the defining feature of history was rapidly becoming the rise and growth of science and technology. Where Plato had envisioned a society governed by “philosopher kings,” men who could perceive the “forms” of social justice, Bacon sought a technical elite who would rule in the name of efficiency and technical order. Indeed, Bacon’s purpose in The New Atlantis was to replace the philosopher with the research scientist as the ruler of the utopian future, New Atlantis was a pure technocratic society. (66-67)
There is a conspicuous continuity of Masonic thought running from Bacon to Saint-Simon to Comte. This becomes evident in the Comtean contention that “Humanity” was symbolized in the “Grand Being,” which incarnated itself through a myriad of historical figures. Automatically, astute readers will identify parallels between the Comtean concept of the “Grand Being” and the Masonic concept of the “Great Architect.” Malachi Martin provides further explication of the Masonic “Great Architect”:
From the writings and records of speculative Masonry, it is clear that the central religious tenet became a belief in the Great Architect of the Universe–a figure familiar by now from the influence of Italian humanists…The Great Architect was immanent to and essentially a part of the material cosmos, a product of the “enlightened” mind. (521-22)
Like Comte’s “Grand Being,” the Masonic “Great Architect” was an immanent force firmly anchored to the ontological plane of the physical universe. Essentially, this immanent force constituted an emergent deity, which found incarnation through humanity. Comte also dubbed it theHumanite (Wagar 106-07). Ultimately, this was the patron deity of sociocracy and the social scientist was its divinely ordained expositor of truth. A religio-political milieu governed by Bainbridge’s religious engineers would represent precisely the same state of affairs. It is also a state of affairs that the MJ-12 documents were possibly designed to promote. The “revelation” of these documents has effectively conditioned the public mind to accept a technocratic form of governance.
Lester Ward, who is considered the founder of American sociology, believed that the social sciences were far more than a “fact-gathering” enterprise (Bannister 13). He contended that “its goal is a radical ‘sociocracy,’ not the palliatives that pass for social reform” (13). Ward’s “radical ‘sociocracy’” began to take shape shortly after World War II. Many American social scientists were also alumni of the Office of Strategic Services, which plagiarized and refined Nazi psychological warfare techniques. William “Wild Bill” Donovan, who was the director of the Office of Strategic Services in 1941, believed that the Nazis’ psychological warfare methods could act as models for “Americanized” stratagems (Simpson 24). Psychological warfare swiftly became part of the U.S. intelligence community’s operational lexicon (24). Donovan believed the concept to be so significant that it would inevitably become “a full arm of the U.S. military, equal in status to the army, navy, and air force” (24). Six organizations constituted the nucleus of U.S. psychological warfare research (26). These were:
(1)Samuel Stouffer’s Research Branch of the U.S. Army’s Division of Morale; (2)the Office of War Information (OWI) led by Elmer Davis and its surveys division under Elmo Wilson; (3) the Psychological Warfare Division (PWD) of the U.S. Army, commanded by Brigadier General Robert McClure; (4) the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) led by William Donovan; (5) Rensis Likert’s Division of Program Surveys at the Department of Agriculture, which provided field research personnel in the United States for the army, OWI, Treasury Department, and other government agencies; and (6) Harold Lasswell’s War Communication Division at the Library of Congress. (26)
Of course, this wartime network was peopled heavily by “prominent social scientists” (26). In some instances, the same social engineers participated in two or more organizations (26). Christopher Simpson enumerates the various social scientists involved:
The OWI, for example, employed Elmo Roper (of the Roper survey organization), Leonard Doob (Yale), Wilbur Schramm (University of Illinois and Stanford), Alexander Leighton (Cornell), Leo Lowenthal (Institut fur Sozialforschung and University of California), Hans Speier (RAND Corp.), Nathan Leites (RAND), Edward Barrett (Columbia), and Clyde Kluckhohn (Harvard), among others. (26)
The Army’s Psychological Warfare Division was also largely staffed by social scientists, some of which being OSS officers as well (27). The OSS assigned Morris Janowitz (University of Michigan and Institut fur Sozialforschung), Murray Gurfein, Saul Padover (New School for Social Research), and W. Phillips Davison (Columbia and Rand) to the Psychological Warfare Division to employ their proficiency in “communication and German social psychology” (27). According to Art Kleiner, this wartime network:
was generally an immense catalyst for social science in America (and England), because it pulled university researchers from their isolated posts. They worked together on real-world problems such as keeping up military morale, developing psychological warfare techniques, and studying foreign cultures. (33)
Indeed, the ascendance of the social sciences had begun. The OSS contributed substantially to this rise. Howard Becker (University of Wisconsin), Douglas Cater (Aspen Institute), Walter Langer (University of Wisconsin), Alex Inkeles (Harvard), and Herbert Marcuse (Institut fur Sozialforschung and New School for Social Research) were all “prominent OSS officers who later contributed to the social sciences” (Simpson 27). However, OSS support extended beyond governmental channels. Simpson explains:
OSS wartime contracting outside the government included arrangements for paid social science research by Stanford, the University of California at Berkley, Columbia, Princeton, Yale’s Institute of Human Relations, and the National Opinion Research Center, which was then at the University of Denver. Roughly similar lists of social scientists and scholarly contractors can be discovered at each of the government’s centers of wartime communications and public opinion research. (27)
During Senate hearings in early November 1945, OSS officer Brigadier General John Magruder adamantly maintained that:
the government of the United States would be well advised to do all in its power to promote the development of knowledge in the field of social sciences. . .Were we to develop a dearth of social scientists, all national intelligence agencies servicing policy makers in peace or war would be directly handicapped. . .[R]esearch of social scientists [is] indispensable to the sound development of national intelligence in peace and war. (Qutd. in Simpson 32)
The consensus among those involved in psychological warfare was that the social sciences, which had been successfully tested during an exceptionally violent conflict, possessed equally promising potentials in times of peace. The weapon had become the surgical knife. Now, the incisions were to be made to the postwar psyche of the public mind. With their Nazi counterparts vanquished, OSS social scientists diffused themselves throughout civilian institutions and commandeered several strategically sensitive positions. These included positions in the mass media and tax-exempt foundations. With social engineers firmly entrenched within America’s informational infrastructure, a “radical ‘sociocracy’” began to ascend in the West. The paranoia of the Cold War contributed to this ascendance. Ostensibly, the stratagems of Nazi social sciences were adopted by OSS sociologists to counter the psychological warfare stratagems of the Soviet Union. However, the tactics developed by America’s social scientists were predominantly employed against United States citizens, specifically through the mass media. Evidently, the threat of communism proved most expedient to the would-be rulers of the Western sociocracy.
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1 comment:

Joshua Scott Hotchkin said...

Interesting take on scientism and socialism. I linked to it at my website, Scientism Central. Hope you don't mind.