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This, the fiftieth annual meeting of our Association, has more than ordinary significance. Certainly it can be said that the Association has attained middle-age and the intellectual as well as the physical maturity to do proper credit to our years. We may, on this special occasion at least, regard with pardonable pride our record of growth, the recognition and development of our discipline in both teaching and research, the public service it has rendered, and its contribution to the forward progress of American political democracy. American political scientists, practitioners of what Aristotle rightly or wrongly described as the “master science,” have recognized, as did Plato and Aristotle, the surpassing importance of political problems in society and have experienced the difficulties which they foresaw in the effort to employ scientific methods and procedures in the solution of such problems. Beyond doubt, however, we move steadily forward. Our scientific and professional standards show constant improvement. Our store of knowledge is immense. Our almost feverish search for new data is incessant. We know almost all there is to know about the political infirmities of our patients except how to cure them. The state of domestic and world affairs keeps us humble.
The first territory to be returned to Japan by the United States since the 1945 surrender is a group of the Ryukyu Islands. This fact focuses attention on this strategically important archipelago extending from southernmost Japan to Formosa, although the Ryukyus have been at least on the periphery of Western attention for two centuries. The chief compulsions for American popular interest in the islands have been the Battle of Okinawa of World War II and, more recently, the best selling novel and Broadway hit, The Teahouse of the August Moon.
This transitory and popular interest will undoubtedly give way to wider international attention in the next few years as the Japanese become more articulate in their criticism of the questionable grounds on which these islands were stripped from Japan Proper at the end of the war. Of further significance to political science is the fact that Okinawa, major island of the group, is (excepting only the Bonins) the last area of the world to remain under complete American military government control. The character of this nearly ten-year rule by the United States and its impact on a million people who have continually demanded “reversion” to Japan must inevitably be the subject of study of those interested in the confluence of cultures under conditions of sustained military government.
Although David Hume's stature as a philosopher has rarely been questioned, his claims as a political theorist have fared less well. Jefferson showed deep hostility towards Hume's ideas, while John Adams could find agreement with only a few points. Later opinion has been less vehement but still reserved. Thomas Huxley thought Hume's political writings suggestive, but on the whole marred by an unabashed desire for literary success. In Sir Leslie Stephen's judgment Hume was guilty of a “cynical conservatism” that was at once superficial and unhistorical.
More recent studies, such as those of Sabine and Halévy, have established more securely Hume's place in political thought but have left certain ambiguities. Sabine has coupled Hume with Burke as an opponent of eighteenth-century rationalism, while Halévy viewed him as a forerunner of the “philosophical radicalism” of Bentham, Adam Smith, James Mill, and Ricardo. To have fathered squabbling children is always something of an embarrassment, but particularly so when one is, like Hume, temperamentally averse to taking sides. It is true, nonetheless, that if a temporary distinction is made between Hume's doctrine and his influence, it is possible to maintain that his influence worked in two quite different directions. His inquires into causation, the role of reason, and the nature of moral judgments helped eventually to undermine the natural law structure of eighteenth-century liberalism, while his emphasis on utility as the test of institutions contributed an important ingredient to Benthamite liberalism.
The conservative in a revolutionary period always represents somewhat of an anomaly. Were society still cohesive, it would occur to no one to be a conservative for a serious alternative to the existing structure would be inconceivable. But a revolutionary period is a symptom precisely of the fact that the self-evidence of the goals of the social effort has disintegrated, that a significant segment of society holds values which either cannot or will not be assimilated. What had been taken for granted must now be defended and the act of defense introduces rigidity. The deeper the fissure, the more inflexible the contending positions and the greater the temptation to dogmatism. Were the “legitimate” structure still universally accepted, it would not be necessary to demonstrate its validity; but the act of defense exhibits the possibility of an alternative.
Once the existing legitimacy has been challenged, no real discourse between the contenders is possible any longer, for they cease to speak the same language. It is not the adjustment of differences within a political system which is now at issue, but the political system itself.
“The problem of the ‘dying away’ of the state,” observed A. Y. Vyshinsky rather sarcastically in a recent monograph, “is a purely theoretical problem.” Within the context of contemporary Soviet political theory, the accuracy of this observation is beyond question, although Vyshinsky would have been the first to admit that a “theoretical problem,” no matter how pristine, always reflects a practical quandary within the methodological precepts of Marxist-Leninist ideology. This particular theoretical problem conceals an important chapter in the profound transmutation of Marxist political theory and its philosophical substructure in the Soviet Union, for it was the failure to cope adequately with this utopian legacy which led to the abandonment of the eschatological categories of the Marxist doctrine and the erection of a totally new theoretical edifice supported by new philosophical foundations.
Contrary to widespread impression, the theoretical problem of the Soviet state was not satisfactorily resolved at the 18th Party Congress in 1939, although the view is prevalent that Stalin was able to provide an adequate rationalization for the existence of the state in Soviet society. It was on this occasion that the late Soviet leader explained that the state was a necessary institution because of “capitalist encirclement” and that it would persist in socialist and communist society until this encirclement was finally liquidated.
An immediate and important insight into the significance of Greek political philosophy may be gained by examining an observation made upon it by Karl Marx. The fact that Marx's observation is fundamentally erroneous does not prevent it from being profoundly suggestive. Marx observed, in the course of his doctoral dissertation, On the Differences between the Natural Philosophy of Democritus and Epicurus, that the character of the philosophical world after the death of Aristotle in the Fourth Century B.C. was similar to that of the philosophical world after the death of Hegel in the Nineteenth Century. What was this similarity of which Marx speaks? We may best understand it if we know that Marx had considered that his own achievement had been to break through the “completed, total world” of Hegel's “pure theory, theology, philosophy, ethics etc.,” and to have resolved the “absolute metaphysical spirit into the real man standing on the foundation of nature.”
The question has been answered and discussed in terms of the Executive and the Congress in several recent books. We shall attempt here to answer the question in terms of the people who occupy the higher, or policy-making, positions in the Department of State and Foreign Service. Biographical data is published for individuals in this group in the Biographic Register of the Department of State and its supplements.
This type of “Who's Who” sketch is limited, of course, to the bare skeletons of men's lives and is worthless as a test of faith and gumption. One of the tragedies, indeed, in the public service since the loyalty program began in 1947 is the fact that loyalty and security risk cannot be proved by social analysis in a time when loyalty and safeness in matters of security are the great questions that overshadow other concerns in any consideration of public personnel. Of the main reasons for finding an employee a poor security risk—wrong political association, bad character, sexual deviation, excessive drinking, or talking too much—none can be measured by any objective standard. Guilt is a matter of degree, and the degree is a matter of opinion among security officers and others who are urged by their climate to be as suspicious as possible.
The term charisma—miraculously-given power—was transferred by Max Weber from its original religious meaning to politics. He described it as “the absolutely personal devotion and personal confidence in revelation, heroism, or other qualities of individual leadership.” He contrasts charisma with leadership based on custom and tradition or on competence related to “rationally created rules” of law. The charismatic leader is thus the one whose claim to rule is neither as a perpetuator of traditional values nor as one who resolves conflicting interests by reasonable and just means but as one endowed with superhuman powers to solve political problems. In the abstract, pure case he is seen by his followers as being all-powerful, all-wise, and morally perfect.
There are two aspects of the relation between government and interest groups which are of primary significance for the political scientist. One is the realistic approach to the study of interest groups, which gives attention to the demands of groups, their pressure on government, and the ways government yields to or tries to accommodate their conflicting demands. The other is the idealist tradition that the purpose of the state is the common weal, which has been expressed diversely, as for example, in the concepts of salus populi suprema lex and “public office is a public trust.” If these two were necessarily in conflict, we should have to choose between ethical nihilism and utopianism. This paper moves from the assumptions that realism and idealism both have a place in the study of political science, today as in ancient tradition, and that in the study of the particular problem of government control of the economy, analysis of the upward impact of interest pressures and their accommodation through government policies should be supplemented by a search for the best means of strengthening the impact of the concept of the common weal in the decision-making process.
When the Labour Government began to nationalize industries in Great Britain, swarms of social scientists descended upon that island. They wanted to study this “great experiment,” which many of them viewed as the trail-blazer for an inevitable trend in all modern industrial societies. That was nine years ago. Now it seems that the nationalization dogma has lost most of its force even in Labour circles. But another great experiment has been in progress on the Continent, in West Germany: Mitbestimmung, the scheme under which labor participates in the management of private industrial corporations. In part it was born out of British disillusionment with socialism's erstwhile cure-all. Because of its novelty and uniqueness, it is attracting increasing attention from social scientists. But this time, the different disciplines are unevenly represented. Economists, and especially experts in labor relations, have shown the most interest. When they run across a student of politics in pursuit of the same quarry, they often express surprise. And the Germans, who are being visited, interviewed, questioned, polled, and subjected to every conceivable form of social scientific scrutiny, react even more strongly. They are positively puzzled: “You are not a Nationaloekonom? But then surely an Industrie- or Betriebssoziologe, or perhaps a Jurist ….” The political scientist is an animal of which few of them have heard. And fewer still can imagine off-hand why he would want to concern himself with co-determination.
Conditions for the successful operation of the democratic form of government have not been present in the Orient. Democracy requires a people who have confidence in themselves, in their leaders, and in the democratic processes, and who have the means for operating democratic institutions. Included in the tools that make democracy work are literacy, a willingness to abide by the rules of the game, and a rapid means of communication and transportation. In the Orient a fatalistic view regarding government is widespread. People in the lower income groups feel that government is an institution of the few, by the few, and for the few. Vote buying, spoils politics, favoritism, nepotism, grafting, the squeeze, the hold up, the percentage are all taken for granted. As one Filipino senator put it, “Graft and corruption are inherent in human nature.” The Orient also suffers from the primitive character of means of transportation and communications. Roads are bad, newspapers have limited circulations, telephones and telegraph stations are few, radios are scarce, and travel is often complicated by hazards of water, mountainous terrain, bandits, and wild animals.
The Philippine elections of November 10, 1953 show that the difficulties that have hindered the growth of democracy in the Orient can be overcome. Before the elections apprehension was widespread that extensive use might be made of fraud and terror to defeat the free expression of the popular will.