The ability of modern social science to describe the quantitative rather than the qualitative may be compared to the ability to describe the methodology of a serial killer without understanding their pathology. It is, as we noted in an earlier post, the difference between instructive and sapiential knowledge but it has larger consequences than are commonly understood. Modern social science has a basis – as does a good deal of what passes for science in the modern world – in skepticism. Skepticism is a system that denies the possibility of absolute knowledge based on objectively knowable facts – it is absolutely sure that there are no absolutes. It causes us to peer into the void and see nothing – Weber’s Disenchantment which leads to the idea that the state is an entity which successfully claims a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence.
Sadly, rather than returning to a natural law tradition – which provided a basis for rational law making from Aristotle through our own founding, we have intellectually bifurcated ourselves consigning enchantment to an unintelligible new age babbling that is equal parts of pagan ritual and debauchery and consigning the regulation of society to social engineering. If the majority wants something it must be right so long as what they want is consistent with what the ruling elites need. This book explains the problem without ever remotely approaching an understanding of it which makes it useful as a description of the symptoms of a disease without ever describing the causes or the cure.
Modernization and its political consequences: Weber, Mannheim, and Schumpeter New Haven: Yale University Press, c 2006 Hans Blokland; translated by Nancy Smyth Van Weesep Political science Philosophy Hardcover. 1st. ed. and printing. xv, 261 p.; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 241-250) and indexes. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG
People’s capacity to give meaning and direction to social life is an essential dimension of political freedom. Yet many citizens of Western democracies believe that this freedom has become quite restricted. They feel they are at the mercy of anonymous structures and processes over which they have little control, structures and processes that present them with options and realities they might not have chosen if they had any real choice. As a result, political interest declines and political cynicism flourishes.
The underlying cause of the powerlessness pervading the current political system could be modernization. Taking the work of Max Weber, Karl Mannheim, and Joseph Schumpeter as a point of departure, Hans Blokland here examines this process. The topics covered are, among others, the meaning of modernization, the forces that drive it, and, especially, the consequences of modernization for the political freedom of citizens to influence the course of their society via democratic politics.