By the 1940s, the other-directed character was beginning to dominate society. There is constant discussion in bifurcated societies about “a supposed opposition between individualism and collectivism,” he observes, but in fact, such debates are superficial. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, Christ had taught in the Sermon on the Mount; and it must have seemed that Lawrence was trying to ring his own psychodynamic change upon that imperative. D) conformity-minded. The Lonely Crowd is considered by many to be the most influential book of the twentieth century. Society itself, he proclaimed, was a “conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members,” which served to “untune and dissipate the brave aspirant” and shunt him off into the shame of abject conformity. . Gilligan’s work found broad and immediate public resonance when it first appeared in the late 1970s; and its underlying theme—the effort to connect the feminist movement with the search for meaningful ways of recovering social connectedness in an autonomy-obsessed, individualistic American culture—surely had much to do with that success. Tocqueville seemed to think so. There are signals emanating from various quarters, including even feeble and intermittent signals from the “communitarian” elements in the Clinton Administration, that this may have begun to change, at least on a rhetorical level. Like it or not, the Memorial fittingly represents our condition. This defined the middle class that no longer had the material needed to cling to past life standards to form a cohesive society. If nothing else, this formulation shows how the fantasy of devouring social totalism and the fantasy of an unencumbered self arise together and stand in symbiosis. Yet that result seems likely so long as there is no authoritative way left of talking about obligations that transcend the self, and about the prerequisites of moral community. Yet, as MacIntyre shrewdly points out, the modern organizational world is easily able to accommodate such potentially disruptive moral subjectivism. The Vietnam War set off a profound weakening of the idea of national community, and undermined the authority of what Robert Wuthnow has called the “legitimating myths” of American national purpose and destiny; and subsequent events have not entirely restored these articles of national faith. This thought seems to be supported by many of the most distinguished observers of American social character, from Alexis de Tocqueville on, who often take the country to task (or praise it) for diametrically opposite traits—sometimes even in the same work. The crushing anguish so present in our world is usually not apparent in a Sunday-morning or a Wednesday-evening congregation. The best answer would seem to be, Yes, take your pick, for you can find ample support for either assertion. The man of God, though not of this world, must surely be in it. The struggle for political rights often warred with, but never entirely eclipsed, a struggle for distinctiveness, for a respectful recognition of women’s dramatically different perspectives and values; and the view of individualism as a gender-specific phenomenon has descended from this latter imperative. For example, the following one from David Brooks’s Bobos in Paradise (2000): “The general tenor of the social criticism of the 1950s—whether it was The Organization Man or The Lonely Crowd—was that a smothering sprit of deference had settled over the land… These writers drew from a distinction the philosopher John Dewey had laid down—between ‘customary’ and ‘reflective’ morality. But real freedom came not from such chain-rattling opposition but from inner obedience, from belonging to “a living, organic, believing community, active in fulfilling some unfulfilled, perhaps unrealized, purpose.” People are not free, he asserted, “when they are doing just what they like.” Indeed, “if one wants to be free, one has to give up the illusion of doing what one likes, and seek what IT wishes done.” Despite Lawrence’s idiosyncratic paganism—what, after all, did he mean by IT?—and the fact that he was himself really something of a Hipster, the command is also rich with more venerable Christian overtones: who would save his life must lose it; who would be free must first submit. Can it be that both are somehow enduringly true? But their dreams were thwarted, because, as political scientist Michael Sandel argues, the nation-state has simply “proved too vast a scale across which to cultivate the shared self-understandings necessary to community.” Since abandoning the Progressive notion of a common good, Sandel observes, we have limped along in a “procedural republic,” in which the nation-state, after endowing individuals with “rights and entitlements,” relies upon disembodied procedures, rather than on substantive and authoritative policies, to govern. And on the level of domestic national politics, beginning with the administration of Johnson’s successor, Richard Nixon, through the successive administrations of Ford, Carter, Reagan, and Bush, the rhetoric of streamlining, decentralization, and New Federalism regularly took precedence over the appeal to a consolidated national community. Our movement is … MacIntyre’s point bears directly upon the tension between the Hipster and the Organization Man. The latter of these works also affixed a memorable label to the human results of those demands. Inner-directed people live as adults what they learned in childhood, and tend to be confident, sometimes rigid. They perhaps constitute a special case of Tocqueville’s more general observation that Americans have a propensity for forming themselves into voluntary associations, which generally combine a functional purpose with a social one, bringing men and women together for the sake of a self-identified, homogeneous community of interest. One could barely “maintain the courage to be individual,” Mailer lamented, in these “years of conformity and depression,” when “a stench of fear has come out of every pore of American life,” and the only example of courage “has been the isolated courage of isolated people.” Onto this bleak scene, he proclaimed, had come the Hipster, who realizes that, given the poor choice we are offered between “quick death by the State” or “slow death by conformity,” there is only one authentic way left to live: “to divorce oneself from society, to exist without roots, to set out on that uncharted journey into the rebellious imperatives of the self.” The social alternatives Mailer saw could not have been more stark and simple: At stake was nothing less than “the liberation of the self from the Super-Ego of society”; and indeed the “nihilism of Hip proposes as its final tendency that every social restraint and category be removed.” Old Victorian notions of individual agency and responsibility are also removed, for “the results of our actions are unforeseeable, and so we cannot know if we do good or bad.” The Hipster sees “the context as generally dominating the man . But the ascendancy of this outlook proved short-lived. But he also feared that America’s egalitarian dogma would condemn it to a culture of pervasive mediocrity and envious sidelong glances, and would eventually lead it to embrace the secure and paternalistic collectivism of a centralized government—and thereby extinguish the liberty that he prized above all else. Americans are seen to be predisposed to a radical individualism that holds all social obligations and traditional forms of authority of no account, yet they also are seen to be imprisoned within an anxious and timid social conformism that smothers autonomy, expressiveness, and creativity in the name of sociability and order. In that earlier time, “men and women of good will turned aside from the task of shoring up the Roman imperium,” preferring instead to construct “new forms of community within which the moral life could be sustained” despite the surrounding darkness and barbarism. "Organization Man" updates, extends, and challeng Some of it is a bit dated, but the sections on religion and the academy are brilliant, and could have been written last year. [original research?]. Yet the book devoted little space to an explication of those traditions, and was vague as to the authority that these traditions are to possess. It is notable that the symbolism of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington pointedly refuses the allusion to nation, offering instead the engraved names of the thousands of dead or missing individuals. Inner-directed types flourish during periods where society places a good deal of importance on etiquette, while other-directed types rise when the rules of etiquette have waned. But precisely their tameness is an indication of the profound changes that have occurred in the intervening years. The Balkanization of American politics and social life along the lines of highly specific and exclusive identities may represent nothing more than a translation of the energies of radical individualism into group terms—making possible a more effective pursuit of the group’s interests within the context of a pluralistic, bureaucratic, and procedural political order, but leaving the public life of the nation impoverished, and perhaps that much further from the possibility of communities capable of sustaining healthy and enlivening differences. 1962 M oses was a man without a country. David Riesman and The Lonely Crowd David Riesman and The Lonely Crowd McClay, Wilfred 2008-12-09 00:00:00 Soc (2009) 46:21–28 DOI 10.1007/s12115-008-9171-8 SYMPOSIUM: PART I: PUBLIC INTELLECTUALS THEN AND NOW Wilfred M. McClay Published online: 9 December 2008 Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2008 Abstract The reception of David Riesman’s classic socio … To be sure, there is much that is ominous in such developments; but if considered in light of MacIntyre’s and Sandel’s observations, such reorientation may also represent the beginnings of an historically inevitable, and perhaps not entirely unhealthy, reaction against the pathologies of the unencumbered self and the limitations of a centralized and nationalized social order. And if you like, feel free to take one of each. Because large organizations preferred this type of personality, it became indispensable to the institutions that thrived with the growth of industry in America. It is unlikely that individualism will be effectively challenged merely by an earnest effort to invest more moral energy in the massive social entities within which we move. Roy F. Baumeister. 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