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  An American Manifesto
Friday November 21, 2014 
by Christopher Chantrill Follow chrischantrill on Twitter

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CHAPTERS

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

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 BLOG

Georg Simmel: Social Humans at Play

IF we think of humans as social animals, then our social actions can be considered as a deadly serious part of being human.


But Georg Simmel in a chapter on "Sociability" in The Sociology of Georg Simmel looks at social relations without a purpose, occasions when humans gather in social gatherings that have no purpose other than sociability. Simmel analyzes this sort of social interaction as "sociability as the play-form of sociation." You can think of the relation of sociability to sociation as "similar to that of the work of art to reality."

When people are engaged in the serious business of social cooperation with an objective purpose they restrain their personalities in the cause of furthering their interests, and so in business and commerce, rules of amiability, refinement, and cordiality apply.

But where no interest in involved, similar restraint or "tact" is still needed to regulate interpersonal relations. At a social gathering one is expected to leave behind "the purely and deeply personal traits of one's life" and things like "[w]eatlh, position, erudition, fame, exceptional capabilities and merits" are expected to be de-emphasized as a part of good manners.

Sociable man is a curious phenomenon. On the one hand he presents himself "only with the capacities, attractions, and interests with which is pure human-ness provides him. On the other hand, however, sociability also shies away from the entirely subjective and purely inwardly spheres of his personality." Displays of extremes of character are not appropriate. So pure sociability enacts "sociability thresholds," the one where individuals start to interact from objective motives and the other where "their entirely personal and subjective aspects make themselves felt."

There is, thus, an aspect of sociability that makes it a democracy of equals, and something that is played in a game where "the pleasure of the individual is closely tied up with the pleasure of others." It is a game where people act as if all were equal, and each honored in particular.

Simmel reviews specific examples of pure sociability, starting with "coquetry... the play form of eroticism", in which people play at eroticism without ever quite reaching an erotic acceptance or refusal. There is "conversation" where people "talk for the sake of talking" but without an object in view. There is the rehearsal of ethical questions, experiencing the friction between the individual and the collective and also the formation and splitting up of groupings, which can all be done in pure sociability without consequence.

Many social groupings start out with objective purposes and then relax into pure sociability, such as the brotherhoods of knights in the early German Middle Ages, that eventually relaxed into  "purely sociable aristocratic associations." And there was the courtly society of the French ancien régime where the once-powerful French aristocracy was reduced at the court of Versailles to enacting a work of art: "imitating the reality of the models, of things outside of art itself."

Pure sociability, or "society," has a reputation of superficiality. 
Yet it is precisely the more serious person who derives from sociability a feeling of liberation and relief. He can do so because he enjoys here, as if in an art play, a concentration and exchange of effects that present all the tasks and all the seriousness of life in a sublimation[.]
No doubt that is why women have in recent centuries organized salons where serious people can go to enjoy sociable interactions without risking the dread consequence of real life. 


perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 11/20/14 11:29 am ET


Georg Simmel: Individual and Mass

WHEN we talk about human individuals, it is easy to think that we are talking about isolated humans in their non-social activities. We think that, of course, because a century and a half of left-wing thought is founded on that assumption, that individuals acting as individuals are not really social. But Georg Simmel in The Sociology of Georg Simmel, discussing "The Social and the Individual ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 11/19/14 10:31 am ET


Georg Simmel, the Unknown Sociologist

I first encountered the name Georg Simmel in Jerry Muller's The Mind and the Market. I wrote about him in 2008 here. Simmel recognized that 19th century technologies "made for less labor in the household." This caused unease among middle-class women, who now sought activity outside the home. Obviously, Simmel wrote, the public sphere, the world outside the home, in the short term would still ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 11/18/14 9:07 am ET


What About the White Working Class?

THE liberals first turned against the white working class in the 1970s with Noman Lear's All in the Family. It featured, if you remember, a racist, bigoted, patriarchal white working class man who worked on a loading dock in the New York borough of Queens. His name was Archie Bunker. Interesting thing about Archie. You'd think that he ought to have been an ethnic, Italian or Irish, given the ...

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perm | comment | Follow chrischantrill on Twitter | 11/17/14 8:57 am ET


|  November blogs  |  October blogs  |

 OPED


Ferguson: Life in the Promised Land

THE FINAL PROBLEM for all political and religious movements is what to do after you get to the Promised Land. You’ve defeated the enemy, you’ve conquered the land flowing with milk and honey. What next?

What’s next is that the soldiers of the revolution should get a job, get married, and start a family. And forget all about millennial hope.

But usually they don’t. Instead they get angry.

That’s why blacks rioted in the aftermath of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of ...

more | 08/25/14


Let's Fight for the Nation State

Everyone that has half a brain understands that the foundations are shaking. ...

more | 08/18/14


"As President, I Will Defend Americans Against the Moral Bullies"

Aunt Peggy Frowns at the Obama Boys

Do Corporations Rule America?

Opeds


 RMC CHAPTER-A-DAY


RMC Contents
Chapter 1: After the Welfare State
Chapter 2: Down in South Carolina and Out in Brooklyn

THE CONVENTIONAL WISDOM among western cultural elites is that God is dead and we are well rid of him.... more


Chapter 3: Awakenings of Monotheism
Chapter 4: The Nineteenth Century From the Top Down
Chapter 5: The Nineteenth Century From the Bottom Up
Chapter 6: Popular Religion in the Nineteenth Century

 RMC BOOKS


RMC Book of the Day

Lane, Frederick C., Venice A Maritime Republic


RMC Books on Education

Andrew Coulson, Market Education
How universal literacy was achieved before government education

Carl Kaestle, Pillars of the Republic
How we got our education system

James Tooley, Reclaiming Education
How only a market in education will provide opportunity for the poor

James Tooley, The Miseducation of Women
How the feminists wrecked education for boys and for girls

E.G. West, Education and the State
How education was doing fine before the government muscled in


RMC Books on Law

Hernando De Soto, The Mystery of Capital
How ordinary people in the United States wrote the law during the 19th century

F. A. Hayek, Law Legislation and Liberty, Vol 1
How to build a society based upon law

Henry Maine, Ancient Law
How the movement of progressive peoples is from status to contract

John Zane, The Story of Law
How law developed from early times down to the present


RMC Books on Mutual Aid

James Bartholomew, The Welfare State We're In
How the welfare state makes crime, education, families, and health care worse.

David Beito, From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State
How ordinary people built a sturdy social safety net in the 19th century

David Green, Before Beveridge: Welfare Before the Welfare State
How ordinary people built themselves a sturdy safety net before the welfare state

Theda Skocpol, Diminished Democracy
How the US used to thrive under membership associations and could do again

David Stevenson, The Origins of Freemasonry
How modern freemasonry got started in Scotland


RMC Books on Religion

David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing
How Christianity is booming in China

Finke & Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990
How the United States grew into a religious nation

Robert William Fogel, The Fourth Great Awakening and the Future of Egalitarianism
How progressives must act fast if they want to save the welfare state

David Martin, Pentecostalism: The World Their Parish
How Pentecostalism is spreading across the world


 READINGS:

Ten Reasons Why I Am No Longer a Leftist
We rushed to cast everyone in one of three roles: victim, victimizer, or champion of the oppressed.

The DC Dem leaders hate Obama
Now they tell us.

Energy Boom Can Withstand Steeper Oil-Price Drop
names of smaller oil companies in shale plays.

The highly sophisticated hacking of Sharyl Attkisson's computers | Fox News
Sharyl Attkisson on agenda-driven journalism.

The Green Blob Unveiled
How UK Energy Policy is Bought With American Billionaire Foundation Cash: Packard, Duke, Joyce, Hewlett foundations etc.

> archive

 CCWUD PROJECT

cruel . corrupt . wasteful
unjust . deluded


 


Take the Test!

 THE PROJECT

Work to restore the Road to the Middle Class. Here’s how. Ground it in faith. Grade it with education. Protect it with mutual aid. Defend it with the law. more>>

 THE ARGUMENT

The Road to the Middle Class is a journey from a world of power to a world of trust and love. In religion, it is a journey from power gods that respond to sacrifice and augury to the God who makes a covenant with mankind. In education, it is a journey from the world of the spoken word to the world of the written word. In community, it is the journey from dependence on blood kin and upon clientage under a great lord to the mutual aid and the rules of the self-governing fraternal association. In law it is the journey from the violence of force and feud to the kingŽs peace, the law of contract, and private property.


 TAGS


Responsible Self

[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.


Taking Responsibility

[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050


Civil Society

“Civil Society”—a complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churches—builds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust


What Liberals Think About Conservatives

[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. “Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists,” she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican


Liberal Coercion

[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State


Moral Imperatives of Modern Culture

These emerge out of long-standing moral notions of freedom, benevolence, and the affirmation of ordinary life... I have been sketching a schematic map... [of] the moral sources [of these notions]... the original theistic grounding for these standards... a naturalism of disengaged reason, which in our day takes scientistic forms, and a third family of views which finds its sources in Romantic expressivism, or in one of the modernist successor visions.
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self


US Life in 1842

Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism


 

©2014 Christopher Chantrill

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