Category Archives: Major theories

The concepts and frameworks that I think best explains history, economics and organizations.

The Worthy House: Book Review – “The Managerial Revolution: What is Happening in the World” by James Burnham

Who rules? That’s what we all want to know. The Managerial Revolution, James Burnham’s still-influential 1941 book (the subject, for example, of recent pieces by Aaron Renn and Julius Krein), gave that eternal question a fresh answer. Broadly speaking his was, we can see eighty years later, indisputably the correct analysis. Burnham agreed that capitalism, private enterprise as the engine of the ruling class, was dying, the usual opinion in that tumultuous time, but made the entirely new claim that what would replace it was not, as most assumed, socialism, but a new thing. Namely, the ascent of managers, a new ruling class, who would hugely expand government and use it to mold society into new forms for their own benefit.

The Managerial Revolution is a cousin to Burnham’s 1942 The Machiavellians, in which Burnham more completely laid out his theory of the ruling class, through a Gnostic examination of history. In The Managerial Revolution, he treats as axiomatic that every society must have a ruling class, but this book looks not backward, rather forward, to what our specific new ruling class will be, and how it will rule. Both books suffer somewhat from a belief that human social and political relations can be reduced to an objective science; in 1941, unlike today, an author could still believe the precision of his predictions was only limited because of the “relatively undeveloped stage at which sociological science today rests.” Burnham always aspired to be a pure rationalist, but that made him unable to appreciate that human beings are not machines, and therefore their actions cannot be reduced to the same analysis as physical processes (to be fair, a common error also made by some on today’s postliberal Right). Hence, his claims about the future were wrong in many details, but that does not really detract much from the value of his book.

Source: The Managerial Revolution: What is Happening in the World (James Burnham) • The Worthy House

Straussian Approach

Straussian Approach & Leo Strauss Leo Strauss was born on the 20th of September, 1899 in Kirchhain, Hese-Nassau, Germany and died on the 18th of October, 1973 in the United States. He was a famous political philosopher and had classical political philosophy as his specialty. Although born in Germany, Strauss made his name as a … Continue reading Leo Strauss & Straussian

Source: Leo Strauss [Straussian Approach] Leo Strauss Reading Center [2019]

EXCELLENT: The Scholar’s Stage: Thoughts on “Post Liberalism”

Younger conservatives are three generations removed from an America whose citizens felt like they were masters of their fate. We, our parents, and our parents’ parents, have never lived outside the Kafkaesque. It is not surprising for the young conservative men that fill the post-liberal ranks to feel that this environment is degrading and emasculating. It is! It denies them—and almost all of us—any meaningful role shaping or leading their own communities.

But if we recognizes this as the true sickness that ails us… well, the post liberal narrative rings lackluster. It is not Locke or Jefferson that has robbed our lives of significance. The post liberals could drive the Woke out of public life, annul the words “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” from the public memory, and re-Christianize the entire public sphere, but the essential problem would remain.  As long as America is divided between managers and the managed; as long as her culture honors distinctions between experts and the average; and as long as her citizens’ daily lives are decided by rules and regulations made by bureaucrats living far away, then the malaise, atomization, and enervation that the post liberals mourn will continue apace.

Source: Thoughts on “Post Liberalism” (I) – The Scholar’s Stage