"The State of Individuals"


Christopher M. Quigley B.Sc., M.A., QFA


Over the past 20 years or so I have been reading, studying, talking and writing about the work of my namesake: Prof. Carroll Quigley. For forty years he lectured, finally obtaining a Professorship at the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, Washington. During his Presidency Bill Clinton, a former student, quoted Quigley extensively on such matters as history, political structure and foreign policy. Prof. Quigley's seminal work "Tragedy and Hope" was a watershed in contemporary understanding of the history of the West, in general, and the United States, in particular. In this book Carroll Quigley explained his understanding of the realpolitik of power structures of the world and many might say this cost him dearly. However, his perspective on life was that you should endeavour to do your best, regardless of consequences. In 1976, one month before he died, he delivered a series of three lectures on one central topic "Public Authority and the State in the Western Tradition: A Thousand Years of Growth 976-1976. Remarkably, 32 years later, this lecture series is timely.
In the latest issue of Foreign Affairs (May-June 2008), the bi-monthly publication of the Council On Foreign Affairs, there is a lead essay: "Why The United States Will Survive The Rise Of The Rest", by Fareed Zakaria. The main thrust of the essay is that the U.S.A is in good shape, unlike the British Empire, which  collapsed due to a limited land army, bad economic policy and an overly-expensive navy.  Mr. Zakaria contends that the U.S will continue to maintain its pole position due to its economic hegemony and solid political framework. Though I greatly admire Mr. Zakaria, I must disagree with him. I believe America is politically, economically and ethically in crisis. To maintain its position as leader of the Western Tradition, its "oligarchs" must reform themselves. The focus must be shifted from big government and big business and be realigned with community. The American leadership must realise the magnitude of the problem that has grown over the last fifty years. If a structure of reform is not agreed upon and brilliantly implemented within the next decade or so, American cities and states could seek to secede from the Union.

 A detailed analysis of the issues motivating this "opting out" was presented by Prof. Quigley in his third "Oscar Iden" lecture at Georgetown University in 1976.  In response to Mr. Zakaria's essay, I respectfully present below the text of this lecture. In addition to presenting an inspiring insight into the history of the development of the State, I believe this essay is a powerful example of Professor Quigley's, courage, honesty, intellectual prowess and deep love and concern for country.




Oscar Iden Lecture Three: "The State of Individuals"
Prof. Carroll Quigley

This is the most difficult of the three lectures I'm giving on the history of the thousand years of the growth of public authority. What 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 as complex as the last two hundred years we will deal with this evening. A much more fundamental reason for the difficulty is this: The reality of the last two hundred years of the history of the history of Western Civilization, including the history of our own country, is not reflected in the general brainwashing you have received, in the political mythology you have been hearing, or in the historiography of the period as it exists today.

I will divide the period from 1776 to 1976 into two parts. The first, to about 1890, was a period of expansion of industrial society; the last eighty years, approximately, have been 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 period, 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 today, where we have states of monstrous power and atomised individuals. I will use certain definitions: A society is an organization of persons and artefacts-- 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 today is the remoteness of our desires from our needs. If you ask anyone what he wants, what he desires, he will give you a list of things which are as remote as can be from human needs. In our society, the process we have been tracing for a thousand years is the growth of the state. As I indicated in the first lecture, a state is not the same thing as a society, although the Greeks and the Romans thought it was.  A state is an organization of power on a territorial basis. The link between a society, whether it be made up of communities or individuals, and a state is this: Power rests on the ability to satisfy human needs.

Now I will put on the board something with which former students are familiar. I always call it the levels of culture, the aspects of a society: military, political, economic, social, emotional, religious, and intellectual. Those are your basic human needs. The interesting thing about them is that they are arranged in evolutionary sequence. Millions of years ago, even before men became human, they had a need for defence of the group, because it is perfectly obvious that men cannot live outside of groups. They can satisfy their needs only by cooperating within a group. But I'll go further than that, and return to it again in a moment: Men will not become men unless they grow up in communities. We will come back to that because it is the basis of my lecture tonight.

If you have a group, it must be defended against outsiders; that's military. Before men came out of the trees they had that need. If your needs are to be satisfied within some kind of 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, shelter: that's economic.

Then came two which have been largely been destroyed or frustrated in the last thousand years of Western Civilization. Men have social needs. They have a need for other people; they have a need to love and be loved. They have a need to be noticed. Sirhan Sirhan killed Robert Kennedy because no one had ever noticed him and he was determined that, from now on, someone would know he existed. In fact, most of these "motiveless" assassinations are of this type. Someone went up to the top of the University of Texas tower and shot something like seventeen people before they caught him. That was because no one had ever noticed him. People need other people. That's the social need. The basis of social relationships is reciprocity: if you cooperate with others, others will cooperate with you.

The next is emotional need. Men must have emotional experiences. This is 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 has so cluttered up our lives with artefacts-- TV sets or automobiles or whatever-- and organizational structures that moment to moment with nature are almost impossible.  Most people don't even know what the weather outside is like. Someone said recently that until September we had a great drought here in Washington, and four or five people standing there said, "That's ridiculous." We had a shortage of about eight inches of rain. Because they're in buildings, it doesn't matter to them whether it's raining or not.


The next is the religious. 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 they cannot control and they do not fully understand, and with humility, they will admit they do not understand them. When you destroy people's religious expression, they will establish secularised religions like Marxism.

Now, on the intellectual level: people have intellectual needs.  I used to tell students that Marilyn Monroe had profound intellectual needs. And when no one would treat her as an intellect or even as a potential intellect, for obvious reasons, she was starved for intellectual experience. That's why she married a man like Arthur Miller: she thought he was an intellectual.

All right, those are human needs. Power is the ability to satisfy those needs. And someone who says that power is organised force, or that power is the outcome of an election, or that power is the ability to cut off our oil supply, has a completely  inadequate way of looking at it. My experience and study of the destruction of civilizations and the collapse of great empires has 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. But the Roman army could not be sustained when all these things had collapsed and no one cared. No one wanted to serve, no one wanted to pay taxes, no one cared.

The other part of this will require you to put these things together to some extent. Persons, personalities if you wish, can be made only in communities. A community is made up of intimate relationships among diverse types of individuals--a kinship group, a local group, a neighbourhood, a village, a large family. Without communities, no infant will be sufficiently socialized. He may grow up to 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 has been properly socialized and that occurs in the first four or five years of life. In our society today, we have attempted to throw the whole burden of socializing out population upon the school system, to which the individual arrives only at the age of four or five. A few years ago they had big programs to take children to school for a few hours at age two and three and four, but that 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, above all he has to be talked to. 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 needing other people they need a shot of heroin; instead of some kind of religious conviction, they have to be with the winning team.

Human needs are the basis of power. The state, as 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 for it to have organized force, and when a politician says, "Elect me President and I will establish law and order," he means organized force or power of other kinds. I won't analyze this level; it's too complex and we don't have time. I will simply say that the object of the political level is to legitimise power: that is, to get people, in their minds, to recognize and accept the actual power relationship in their society.

Next Tuesday a decision will be made as to who will be President of the United States. That will not necessarily reflect the actual power relationships in the United States at all. If all the people who are intellectually frustrated would vote, the result might be quite different. Many of you come to these lectures because you are 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 and ideologies. An ideology is a religious or emotional expression; it is not an intellectual 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 in being elected to the White House in 1972, or in proving to the poor, half-naked people of Southeast Asia that you can kill them in large numbers.

The state is a good state if it is sovereign and if it is responsible. It is more or less incidental whether a state is, for example, democratic. If democracy reflects the structure of power in the society, then the state should be democratic. But if the pattern of power in a society is not democratic, then you cannot have a democratic state. This is what happens in Latin America, Africa and places like that, when you have an election and the army doesn't like the man who is elected, so they move in and throw him out. The outcome of the election does not reflect the power situation, in which the dominant thing is organized force. When I say governments have to be responsible, I'm saying the same thing as when I said they have to be legitimate: they have to reflect the power structure of the society. Politics is the area for establishing responsibility by legitimising power, that is, somehow demonstrating the power structure to people, and it may take a revolution, such as the French Revolution, and it may take a war, like the American Civil War. In the American Civil War, for example, 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.

I defined sovereignty last time, but I want to run through it for the benefit of those who weren't here. Sovereignty has eight aspects: DEFENSE; JUDICIAL, settling disputes; ADMINISTRATIVE, discretionary actions for the public need; TAXATION, mobilizing resources: this is one of the powers the French government didn't have in 1770; LEGISLATION. The finding of rules and the establishment of rules through promulgation and statue; EXECUTIVE, the enforcement of laws and judicial decisions. Then there are two which are of absolute paramount importance today: MONETARY, the creation and control of money and credit--if that is not an aspect of the public sovereignty, then the state is far less than fully sovereign; and the eight one, THE INCORPORATING POWER, the right to say that an association of people is a fictitious person with the right to hold property and to sue in the courts. Notice: the federal government of the United States today does not have the seventh and eight but I'll come back to that later.

In the meantime, I'm still on my introduction for this evening, and I want to discuss what happened in the last thousand years. If we go back before 976, when you had communities, the main core of people's life and experience, which controlled their behaviour and determined their lives--controls and rewards, I call it--was in the religious, emotional and social levels. They had religious beliefs, they social and emotional relationships with the people they saw every day. That was the core of their lives. The significant thing is that those controls and rewards were internalised: they were what was acquired very largely in the first four or five years of life. When a child is born, he is nor a person, he is a human being. He is utterly potential. When someone becomes a personality, such as you or myself, then he has traits, which were acquired out of his potentialities as the result of experience over numerous years.

This is why they could get along without a state in 976: all the significant controls were internalised. I took the year 976 because, although Western Civilization had come into existence about two hundred years before that, it began to expand in 976. By that I mean they began to produce more goods per person per day per year. 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. That began in 976, and we'll put an arrow here at the economic level to indicate it. The economic expansion was achieved chiefly by specialization and exchange: instead of each little group's trying to satisfy all its own needs, groups began to concentrate and, for example, produce wool and exchange it for other things. That process of increasing specialization and exchange, which is the basis of expansion in our civilization, I call
commercialization. As long as the society is expanding, that process of commercialisation will continue as it has for a thousand years in our society, so that today everything is commercialised, politics, religion, education, ideology, belief, the armed services. Practically everything is commercialised; everything has its price.

When this expansion reaches a crisis, you get increasing politicisation. I won't go into the details of this. It can be explained in detail, as most of you, perhaps, know. Politicization means that the expansion is slowing up, and you are no longer attempting to achieve increased output per capita, or increased wealth, or increased satisfactions, or whatever is motivating you, by economic expansion, but you are doing so by mobilizing power. We have seen this going on in our society for almost a century.

And then, as the society continues and does not reform, you get increased militarisation.  You can certainly see that process in Western Civilization and in the history of the United States. In the last forty years our society has been drastically militarized. It isn't yet as militarized as other societies and other periods have been; we still have a long way to go in this direction. Our civilization has a couple of centuries to go, I would guess. Things are moving faster than they did in any civilization I ever knew before this one, but we probably will have another century or two.

As this process goes on, you get certain other things. I've hinted at a number of them. One is misplacement of satisfactions. You find your satisfactions--your emotional satisfaction, your social satisfaction-- not in moment to moment relationships with nature or other people, 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, naturally.

The second thing that occurs as this goes on is increasing remoteness of desires from needs. I've mentioned this. The next thing is an increasing confusion between means and ends. The ends are the human needs, but if I asked people what these needs are, they can hardly tell me. Instead they want the means they have been brainwashed to accept, that they think will satisfy their needs. But it's perfectly obvious that the methods that we have been using are not working. Never was any society in human history as rich and as powerful as Western Civilization and the United States, and it is not a happy society. Just this week, I looked at a book called "The Joyless Economy", by an economist, Tibor Scitovsky, who diagrammed some of these things.

In the final aspect of this process, controls on behaviour shift from the intermediate levels of human experience--social, emotional and religious--to the lower, military and political, or to the upper, ideological. They become the externalized controls of a mature society: weapons, bureaucracies, material rewards, or ideology. Customary conformity is replaced by conscious decision-making, and this usually implies a shift from your own conformity to someone else's decision. In its final stages, the civilization becomes a dualism of almost totalitarian imperial power and an amorphous mass culture of atomized individuals.

All of this is for the sake of establishing a few paradigms.

What happened in the last two hundred years? In 1776, Western Civilization was approaching a revolutionary situation.  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 structures, were not legitimate in much of Western Civilization in 1776. They were not responsible because they did not reflect power. Whether it was the English Parliament, which had a legal right to rule America; or the nightmarish constitution of France, which no longer reflected the structure in French society in any way; or, east of the Rhine, the enlightened despotisms, the laws of the polity did not reflect the power structure of Europe at all, as Napoleon very soon showed them. This, therefore, is a revolutionary situation.

Let's look a little more closely at these.

In England, the laws of the polity established control of the country in an oligarchy of landowners, the Whig oligarchy. Members of the House of Commons were sent to Parliament by pieces of land, and anyone who owned a piece of land with the right to send a member to Parliament, could do so whether anyone lived on the piece of land or not. It was not a reflection of the power structure of England to say that pieces of land were powerful. I do not have to demonstrate to you that the legal arrangements by which the British Parliament made rules to govern life in the United States were equally unrealistic.

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 had a legal right to say, "This will happen; that will happen; something else will happen." In the period from 1776 onward, for about twenty-five years, they tried to establish a more rational life in their principalities, but they couldn't do it. Their system 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 and those measurements changed as you went from village to village or from district to district. They also had been changing in size for hundreds of years, because the power of the creditors was so great that, if you owed a bushel of wheat to your landlord, all the landlords together, over generations, could make the bushel a larger measure.

I discussed Eastern Europe adequately in my last lecture. I'll simply point out that in this period Poland disappeared, because the Polish landlord class would rather keep their serfs than be politically independent. They 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. As a result, those three got together and divided up Poland in 1795, so Poland no longer existed. Under Napoleon there was a Grand Duchy of Warsaw, but Poland did not exist again until 1919.

In France, as I described to you last week, the polity had reached a condition of total paralysis. The government did not have sovereignty. It 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 the eight aspects of sovereignty I've mentioned to you. And in 1776 the government became aware of this, when they tried to abolish the guilds and could not do so, because under the law they could not be abolished unless their debts were paid. The government could not pay their debts because it did not have the taxing power. And it 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 what he has been paying for the last couple of hundred years on that piece of property or whatever it is."

The result was the explosion of the French Revolution, which produced, by the time of Napoleon, let's say 1805, the most sovereign state in Europe. Notice: Napoleon was an enlightened despot, the last one in Europe. Anyone who says, as Robert Palmer, for instance, that France was leading the parade in 1789 in terms of government and public authority, just doesn't know what he's talking about. In 1789 France was bringing up the absolute rear as far as public authority and sovereignty were concerned. That is why France gets its enlightened despot so late. He wasn't
even a Frenchman; he was an Italian; and he imposed an Italian government on France. Because it was so rational, so powerful, so well-organized, and the new sovereignty was embodied in a new entity, the nation, it had a power which made it possible foe Napoleon to conquer almost all of Europe. He was, however, ultimately defeated, as most conquerors of all Europe have been throughout history: William II in 1918, Hitler in 1945, Phillip II in the sixteenth century, Henry V of England the early fifteenth century, and so forth.

By 1820, after the Napoleonic system had been replaced, all four of these geographical zones I have mentioned were unstable, but they were much more stable and much more legitimate then they had been in 1776. Now, although I say that in 1820 they were fundamentally not that stable, we know there was political stability in Europe for at least three generations after that date, until at least the 1860's. There was a brief war in 1866 but I won't go into that. The stability of Europe from 1815 to 1855 is something on which we now look with nostalgia. The reasons for this apparent stability had nothing to do with the structure of the state, except the degree to which
the structure of the state had become sufficiently rationalized and sovereign through the period of revolution from 1776 to about 1820. With additional events, the situation looked like stability, and these additional events produced a new Age of Expansion.

The first of these was the expansion of technology, including the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions. The Agricultural Revolution of about 1720 and onward made it possible to produce more and more food from land with less and less labour. The Industrial Revolution began about 1750 and was the application of inanimate energy to the production on a large scale. (Incidentally, 1776 is a very significant year, and this is not just because the American Revolution began during it. Watt's patent of the steam engine was in 1776; Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations was published in 1776; the failure of the French to reorganise their political system occurred in 1776, and so forth.) The disruption of communities, the destruction of religion and the frustration of emotions were greatly intensified by the Industrial Revolution: railroads, factories, growth of cities, technological revolution in the countryside and in the growing of food, and so forth.

The appearance of stability in the nineteenth century Age of Expansion was also due to the externalisation of rewards and controls. This eventually brought on an acceleration of the main focus of the main focus of the activities of the society downward again to the levels of culture, from the areas of internal controls to the areas of external controls. If you can be bought, with a higher salary, to go to San Diego and give up all your friends and associations, that is an external control. If you can be forced to go there by the draft, that is militarization.

Another thing which became very obvious in the nineteenth century was the increasing role of propaganda for the purpose of changing people's ways of looking at society, and the success of this propaganda helped to create an impression of stability. At the beginning of the lecture, I offended some of you by saying you had been brainwashed. This is not an insult; it's a simple statement of fact. When any infant is born and socialized in a society, even if he is 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 structure of categories. But in our society, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, this has now become a propagandist system in which emphasis is put on the future: Think only of the future. This is the ideology against which the young people of the 1950's and 1960's rebelled. Future preference: plan; study
hard; save. All the things I used to hear from my maiden aunts: "Wise bees save honey; wise boys save money," and they each secretly gave me a dollar as I was leaving. "A penny saved is a penny earned." "A stitch in time....." Everything that's in "Poor Richard", the Benjamin Franklin propaganda machine.

Another aspect of this nineteenth century propaganda system is the increasing emphasis upon material desires. If you had the material things you wanted --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--you should be happy and satisfied. Now it's endless--a pocket computer, citizens' band radio, whatever you want.

A third idea we were brainwashed into believing was that the only important thing was individualism. They called it freedom. There is no such thing as freedom. There is something called liberty; it's quite different. I'll not spend much time on this. If you're interested, read Ruggiero's "History of European Liberalism", Oxford University Press, 1927, particularly the first couple of chapters. 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 that the restraints in an unstable one are external. In a stable society, government ultimately becomes unnecessary ; the restraints on people's actions are internal, there're self disciplined, they are the restraints you have accepted because they make it possible for you to satisfy all your needs to the degree that is good for you.

Another thing that they have brainwashed us into believing in the last 150 years is that quantitative change is superior to any qualitative attributes. In other words, if we can turn out more automobiles this year than last, it doesn't matter if they're half as good. The same is true of everything. We are quantifying everything, and this is why we are trying to put everything on computers. Governments no longer have to make decisions; computers will do it.

Another thing they have succeeded in doing is to give us vicarious satisfactions for many of our frustrations. It is unbelievable to see how the American people are hung up on vicarious experiences: television, movies, mass spectator sports. You have no idea what the small towns of America are like on Friday nights, like this, when the local high school football or basketball team is engaged in competition with their neighbour eighteen miles away. And what a gloomy place the chapel or church is Sunday 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 already had too much exercise. Another vicarious satisfaction is the sexy magazines; this is vicarious sex. To anyone rushing to buy one, I'd like to say, "The real thing is better."

The brainwashing which has been going on for 150 years has also resulted in the replacement of intellectual activities and religion by ideologies and science. It is hardly possible to discuss the problems of the historical past without running up against Marxist interpretations. I have nothing against Marx, except that his theories do not explain what happened, and this, to me, is a fatal defect. The very idea that there is some kind of conflict between science and religion is completely mistaken. Science is a method for investigating experience, and religion is something quite different. Religion is the fundamental, necessary  internalisation of our system of more permanent values.

Another thing they have tried to get us to believe in the last 150 years-- and the idea is now dying in front of us-- is the myth that the nation as the repository of sovereignty can be both a state and a community. This is the great ideological innovation of the French revolution, you see. The nation can be the repository of sovereignty. But suppose weapons in a society are such that it is possible for a government to impose its will over an area a thousand miles across. And suppose that in that thousand mile area there are a number of nations, such as the Bretons, 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 become the repository of sovereignty as nations: (notice: they missed out in the whole Balkan and Danube areas.) They did so because, at that time, weapons made it possible to compel obedience over areas which were approximately the same size as these national groups I have mentioned. As a result, they were able to crush out other nationalisms, such as the Scots, the Welsh, the Irish, the Catalonians-- who had a much longer and more cultured history than the Castilians-- the Provencals, and many others. In other words, nationalism is an episode in history, and it fit a certain power structure and a certain configuration of human life in our civilization. Now what's happening? They all want autonomy. The Scots think they can get their independence and control oil 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, in spite of appearances. It was not fully sovereign. For example, it did not have the control of money and credit in most places; it did not have control of corporations in most places. It was not stable because the nation is not a satisfactory community. The very idea that, because everyone who speaks French is in the same nation and, in the nineteenth century, in the same state, they must therefore be in the same community, is just not true. 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 serve to point out the instability of the power system of the state: the individual cannot be made the basic unit of a society, as we have tried to do, or of the state, since the internalisation of controls must be the preponderant influence in any stable society. Even in a society in which it appears that all power is in the hands of the government --Soviet Russia, let's say-- at least eighty percent of all human behaviour is regulated by internalised controls socialized in the people by the way they were treated from the moment they were born. As a result, they have come to accept certain things that allow the Russian state to act as if it can do anything, when it obviously can't and knows it can't. Notice the new Russian budget announced this week: as a result of our pouring our food surpluses into Russia, they are now going to increase the consumption of their expenditures.

Also related to the problem of internalised controls is the shift of weapons in our society. This is a profound problem. I have spent ten years working on it throughout all of history, and I hope eventually to produce a book if I can find a publisher. There will 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 shift of weapons in any civilization and, above all, in our civilization, from shock weapons to missile weapons has a dominant influence on the ability to control individuals: individuals cannot be controlled by missile weapons. Notice that if you go back several hundred years to the Middle Ages, all weapons were shock, that is, you came at the enemy with a spear or a sword. 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 almost completely to missile weapons. Missile weapons are weapons that you hurl. You may shoot, you may have bombs dropped from an airplane, you may throw a hand grenade: these are missile weapons. The essential difference between a shock weapon and a missile weapon is this: a missile weapon is either fired or it isn't fired. It cannot be half-fired. Once you let it go, it's out of your control. It is a killing weapon. But a shock weapon--a billy club or a bayonet-- can be used to any degree you wish. If you say to someone, "Get up and get out of my room," and you pull out a machines gun, or you call in a B-52 bomber, or you pull the pin in a hand grenade....But with a bayonet you can persuade him.

In our society, individual behaviour can no longer be controlled by any system of weaponry we have. In fact, we do not have enough people, even if we equip them with shock weapons, to control the behaviour of that part of the population which does not have internalised controls. One reason for that, of course, is that the twenty percent who do have internalised controls are concentrated in certain areas. I won't go into the subject of controls. It opens up the whole field of guerrilla resistance, terrorism, and everything else; these cannot be controlled by any system or organized structure or force that exists, at least on the basis of missile weaponry. And, as I said, it would take too many people on the basis of shock weaponry. We have now done what the Romans did when they started to commit suicide: we have  shifted from an army of citizens 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 the population which does not have the internalised controls of the civilization.

The appearance of stability from 1840 to about 1900 was superficial, temporary and destructive in the long run, because, as I have said, you must have communities, and communities and societies must rest upon cooperation and not on competition. Anyone who says that society can be run on the basis of everyone's trying to maximise his own greed is talking total nonsense. All the history of human society shows that it's nonsense. And to teach it in schools, and to go on television 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.

The economic and technological achievements of industrialization in this period were fundamentally mistaken. This could get quite technical; I'll try not to. The economic expansion of industrialization has been based on plundering the natural capital of the globe that 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 someone 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 150 years, it has been destroyed and more than ninety percent of it wasted. And it had in it three hundred years of accumulated capital savings and investment of sunlight and the fertility of the soil. (And now our that our bread is going to have five times as much fiber by being made out of sawdust, we're going to have to go on plundering the forests to an even larger degree; this, I am sure, is one of the reasons why two days ago President Ford signed the new bill allowing clear cutting in the National Forests. We need that roughage or fiber in our bread, we have taken out all the natural fiber of the wheat, of course, and thrown it away.)

The energy which gave us the Industrial Revolution--coal, oil, natural gas--represented the accumulated savings of four weeks of sunlight that managed somehow to be saved in the earth out of the three billion years of sunshine. That is what the fossil fuels are. This is not income to be spent; this is capital to be saved and invested. But we have already destroyed into entropy--a form of energy which is no longer able to be utilized-- eleven or twelve days of that accumulated twenty-eight days of sunlight. And we have wasted it.

The fundamental, all pervasive cause of world instability today is the destruction of communities by the commercialisation of all human relationships and the resulting neuroses and psychoses. The technological acceleration of transportation, communication and weapons systems is now creating power areas wider than existing political structures. We still have at least half a dozen political structures in Europe, but our technology and the power system of Western Civilization today are such that most of Europe should be a single power system. This creates instability.

Medical science and the population explosion have continued to produce more and more people when the supply of food and the supply of jobs are becoming increasingly precarious, not only in the United States, but everywhere, because the whole purpose of using fossil fuels in the corporate structure is to eliminate jobs. "Labour saving," we call it, as if there were something wrong with working. Working is one of the joys of life. And if we created 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, although at the end of my career I have no conviction that I did any good. Fortunately, I had a marvellous father and a marvellous mother, 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.

To get back to sovereignty and the structure of the state, another cause of today's instability is that we now have a society in America, Europe and much of the world which is totally dominated by the two elements of sovereignty that are not included in the state structure: control of credit and banking and the corporation. These are free of political controls and social responsibility, and they have largely monopolized power in Western Civilization and in American society. They are ruthlessly going forward to eliminate land, labour, entrepreneurial-managerial skills, and everything else the economists once told us were the chief elements of production. The only element of production they are concerned with is the one they can control: capital

So now everything is capital intensive, including medicine, and it hasn't worked. I'll give you just one example. No one has a more capital intensive medical system than 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 baby boy is born in the United State, his expectation of life is less than in nineteen other countries in the world. And it's that good only because our infant mortality rate is better than our adult mortality rate. In other words, in infant mortality we are about ninth or tenth; these figures date from about 1972, I think. Now let us look at a ten year old boy in the United States today. His expectation of life is less than that in thirty other countries, according to the United Nations statistics. We pay more than the people in any of those thirty countries 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 then that they don't have to be gluttons--in the United States, more than half of our food is wasted, maybe 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.

Our agricultural system is another cause of instability. It used to be a system in which seed was put into the earth to create food by taking sunlight, rain and the wealth of the soil, but we have replaced it with an agricultural system which is entirely capital intensive. We have eliminated labour and have even eliminated land to a considerable extent, so that we now pour out what we call food, but it's really a chemical synthetic. We have done this by putting a larger and larger amount of chemical fertilizers and pesticides made from fossil fuels into a smaller and smaller amount of soil. To give you one figure: Every bushel of corn we send to the Russians represents one gallon of gasoline, and then they tell us that, by selling our grain to the Russians, we're getting the foreign exchange that will allow us to pay for petroleum at fourteen dollars a barrel. No one has stopped to ask how many gallons were used to grow the grain and send it to the Russians.

In the thirty years from 1940 to 1970, three million American farms were abandoned because the families who worked them could not compete with the corporate 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 cities, millions of them to get on relief. In 1970, the last year for which I have reliable figures, two thousand farms a year were going out of production. These are the farms on which we brought up our 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 farm boys to fight? (Of course, whether there are farm boys or not, they won't want to fight.)

In a similar way, by urban renewal and other things, we are destroying communities in the cities. Much of the legislation of the last forty years in this country has been aimed at the destruction of families, ghettos, parishes and any other communities.

All these processes create frustrations on every level of human experience and result in the instability and disorder we see around every day.

Now I come to a topic of delicacy: the United States constitutional crisis. The three branches of government set up in 1789 do not contain the eight aspects of sovereignty. The Constitution completely ignores, for example, the administrative power. The result is that the three branches of government have been struggling ever since to decide which of them will control the administrative power. The growth of political parties was necessary to establish relationships among the three branches. I used to tell my students that the important thing in any election is the nomination. And when you come to the election, it doesn't matter who votes, what's important is who didn't vote. Elections in the United States are increasingly decided by people who didn't vote because they're turned off for various reasons.

As a result of the way the three branches were set up, each has tried to go outside the sphere in which it should be restrained. For example, walking over here with Dean Krogh and Professor Brown, I spoke briefly about the Boston Latin School I attended. It is the oldest school in the United States, founded in 1635 as a preparatory school. Harvard was created the next year as a place for Latin School boys to go to college, and in my day, 1929-1930, it was the largest single source of supply for Harvard, although Harvard was doing all it could to cut down on the number of Latin School boys. The chief method they used to keep us out was to raise the entrance requirements, but we could handle that. Today that school is controlled by a Boston judge who has taken it upon himself to tell the school who will be admitted. And he has said they must have so many girls, they must have such a percentage of blacks, they cannot have entrance exams, and if people fail they 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 it could get students through any competitive system of entrance exams in the country.

Another aspect of our constitutional crisis can be summed up in what young Schlesinger--that's Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.-- called the Imperial Presidency. When I look at the President of the United States, 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 state, which means he is the representative of the United States government in all foreign affairs and all ambassadors are accredited to him. Fourthly, he's the head of his political party. Fifth, he's head of the administrative system, which is increasingly making all the decisions as to what will be spent and who will spend it. Do you know who is making the decisions in our Bureau of Management and Budget as to who will get how much? And the president 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 impeachment.

We have today a general paralysis of government in the United States, especially in the administrative power, by the very thing we praise most: 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 Constitution that a President can be impeached by a vote of Congress: indictment by the House, conviction by the Senate. This 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 again be used in the history of the United States, because every member of the judiciary Committee has to be a lawyer, and the Judiciary committee has to recommend impeachment. And they require all kinds of procedures you would use in a court of law if you were accused of holding up a bank. The result is that never again will anyone try to impeach a President. It would take years and be indecisive, when you could simply have taken a vote and had the whole thing done in one morning.

There are a lot of other things in the Constitution which are perfectly obvious, but you can't get any constitutional lawyer to agree with one of them. It's perfectly obvious, for example, that if the three branches of government cannot agree to do something, it shouldn't be done. That was the theory behind the Constitution. No--we have someone supreme: the court will make the ultimate decision.

I'll just touch on something else: secrecy in government. Secrecy in government exists for only one reason: to prevent the American people from knowing what's going on. It is nonsense to believe that anything our government does is not known to the Russians at about the moment it happens.

To me, the most ominous flaw in our constitutional set-up is the fact that the federal government does not have control over of money and credit and does not have control of corporations. It is therefore not really sovereign. And it is not really responsible, because it is now controlled by these two groups, corporations, and those who control the flows of money. The new public financing of the Presidential elections is arranged so that they can spend as much as they want: voluntary contributions, not authorized by the candidate, are legal.

The administrative system and elections are dominated today by the private power of money flows and corporation activities. I want to read you a summary from James Willard Hurst, "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 1820's. Therefore, it was established by the states that corporations could not exist by prescription: they had to have charters. They had to have a limited term of life and not be immortal. Corporations today are immortal: if they get charters, they can live forever and bury us all. They had to have a limited purpose. Who is giving us this bread made of sawdust? ITT: International Telephone and Telegraph, the same corporation that drove Ivar Kreuger to suicide in Paris in April 1931, when it actually was an international telegraph corporation, controlled by J P. Morgan.

I won't take time to read all these things, but certain thin regulations were established in the United States regarding corporations: restricted purpose and activities especially by banks and insurance companies; prohibition on one corporation's holding the stock of another without specific statutory grant; limits on the span of the life of the corporation, requiring recurrent legislative scrutiny; limits on total assets; limits on new issues of capital, so that the proportion of control of existing stockholders could be maintained; limits on the votes 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 Amendment, to living persons. This interpretation was made possible by Roscoe Conklin, known as "Turkey Strut Conklin," who told the Supreme Court that there were no records kept by the committee of the Senate that had drawn up the Fifteenth Amendment. But he had kept private notes which showed they had the intended word "person" to include corporations. It was most convenient. The corporation that was hiring him to do this suitably rewarded him.

Now I come to my last statement. I regret ending on what is, I suppose, such a pessimistic note-- I'm not personally pessimistic. The final result will be that the American people will ultimately prefer communities. They will cop out or opt out of the system. Today everything is a bureaucratic structure, and brainwashed people who are not personalities are trained to fit into this bureaucratic structure and say it is a great life--although I would assume that many on their death beds must feel otherwise. The process of coping out will take a long time, but notice: we are already coping out of military service on a wholesale basis; we are already copping out of voting on a large scale basis. I heard an estimate tonight that the President will probably be chosen by forty percent of the people eligible to vote for the forth time in sixteen years. People are also copping out by refusing to pay any attention to newspapers or to what's going on in the world, and by increasing emphasis on the growth of localism, what is happening in their own neighbourhoods.

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 those things affecting them. Now I realise that if there's a sulphur mine or a sulphur factory a few miles away, localism isn't much help. But I think you will find one extraordinary thing in this election: a considerable number of people will go to the polls and vote for the local candidates,
But will not vote for the President. That is a reverse of the situation 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, the Christian answer was, "Create our own communities."

Thank you, Ladies and Gentlemen.



Public Authority and the State in the Western Tradition:
A Thousand Years of Growth 979-1976

Professor Carroll Quigley,
Oscar Iden Lectures,
Georgetown University Libraries, 1978

Lecture 1:            "The State of Communities"

Lecture 2:            "The State of States"

Lecture 3:            "The State of Individuals"


A copyright dispensation to quote from this publication was granted to Christopher M. Quigley
By Georgetown University Library on the Tuesday May 13th. 2008


(Please note in some places the English vernacular is used by me).