David Croly, Another Intellectual Pillar of Liberalism…

Fred Siegel's The Revolt Against the Masses

Fred Siegel’s The Revolt Against the Masses

“David Croly, a sexual reformer who believed that copulatory repression bred social disorder, was a founding member of the Church of Humanity, an institution dedicated to propagating the ideas of French sociologist Auguste Comte. David Croly’s wife, known professionally as “Jennie June,” was a caustic critic of marriage and a leading feminist writer. Their son was among the first in America to be baptized into the Comtian faith. Comte, a utopian socialist of sorts, attributed the troubles of the modern world to the “spiritual disorganization of society.” He wanted to deploy positivist science to restore the unity lost in the Protestant Reformation, and thus create a modern version of the “moral communism of medieval Christendom.” The Revolt Against the Masses, copyright © 2013 by Fred Siegel, Encounter Books, Page 11.

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“Prussian patriotism grew into a semi-democratic nationalism.” Its great virtue was organization: “In every direction, German activity was organized and placed under skilled professional leadership, while… each of these special lines of work was subordinated to its particular place in a comprehensive scheme of national economy. … The German national organization means increased security, happiness and opportunity of development for the whole German people.” The Revolt Against the Masses, copyright © 2013 by Fred Siegel, Encounter Books, Page 12.

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Liberals came to accept as a given Croly’s insistence that, in America, the German path could be achieved only by using higher education to create [program] the “skilled professional leadership” necessary to run society. Entrusting public affairs to this educated class would, Croly believed, have a “leavening effect on human nature.” Democracy must stand or fall on a platform of possible human perfectibility,” he said. These were the words of a radical, not a reformer a man who, like Marx and Comte, saw himself as leading humanity to a higher and more refined stage of civilization.” The Revolt Against the Masses, copyright © 2013 by Fred Siegel, Encounter Books, Page 12.

About Michael

Retired military officer; retired Air Force civil servant; retired executive, DS Information Systems Corporation; writer; researcher; reader and avid yachtsman.
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