NONTHEMATIC / Vol. 6, No. 4 (Winter 1939)
Ours is a bewildering situation. Whenever any step is taken, or even suggested, to make our democracy more efficient or effective, the chorus of Cassandra’s laments that the logic of this step leads straight to dictatorship. Lest we become confused ourselves we must examine this argument. We must frankly acknowledge that there is an element of truth in it. Is it not true that whatever we do to streamline our democracy will strengthen the executive power, which is all-absorbing in dictatorship? To be more specific, is it not true that genuinely democratic socialists have every reason to feel bewildered by the victory of so many of their ideas appropriated by their enemies? How shall we solve this riddle? What shall we do?
The persecution of the Jews is, in a threefold sense, a universal phenomenon: it is more or less perceptible the world over; it stretches the whole length of human history; and it contains the whole inner development of human society, adapting its forms, from antiquity to the present day, to every social change, and at the same time while assuming new forms, retaining the old ones or returning to them. When we consider the mutations of its motives and methods we distinguish five main periods in the anti-Jewish movement.
As a humble philosopher whose business it is to suspect the basic concepts that the single sciences presuppose, I venture to deal in the following pages with some features of a social phenomenon called 'We.' Sociology must rely on psychology. Traditional psychology starts from an ego-centered individual. Man has instincts, and instincts and conditions form habits. He has sensations and emotions; he has thought, volition, consciousness; he responds to the stimuli of his environment. These terms hardly form a doctrine of man that sociology could feel it safe to accept. They are far from being conceived of in a systematic unity, and each poses most difficult problems.
Xenophon’s treatise Constitution of the Lacedemonians appears to be devoted to praise of the Spartan constitution, or, which amounts to the same thing, of the Spartan mode of life. A superficial reading gives the impression that his admiration of Sparta is unreserved. One is therefore all the more surprised to find him declaring quite abruptly, toward the end of the treatise, that contemporary Sparta suffers from very grace defects. The treatise as a whole hides the censure, inserted toward the end, of contemporary censure. Why does he hide his censure of contemporary Sparta so ineptly?
To think scientifically is to submit implicitly to definite rules. If a scientist intentionally violates these rules in order to advance some extraneous aim, he is lacking in intellectual sincerity; cooperation with scientists of this sort may prove impossible, though this need be no cause for regret. But there are other scholars who violate the rules without knowing it. In this case we can employ a "Socratic method," refined by modern logical technique, to show them that they have not observed the rules of method which they have implicitly adopted.
Despite the recognized importance of propaganda in our modern world, we are generally unaware of the fact that propaganda in the same modern sense has been employed for thousands of years for the same purposes and by means of comparable techniques. It is the purpose of this paper to demonstrate that modern man has taken over bodily, with only a few minor operations, some of the propaganda used two thousand years ago.
Review of book by Marcellus Donald A. R. Von Redlich. Phoenix: World League for Permanent Peace. 1937. 640 pp.
Review of book by I.L. Kandel. New York: Macmillan. 938. 177 pp.
Review of book by Dorothy Fosdick. New York: Harper. 1939. 194 pp.