James Burnham, The New Class, And The Nation-State

Although James
Burnham was best known during his life as an
anti-Communist theorist of the Cold War and a founding
editor of National
Review
, his political thought remains important to
those interested in the main theme of VDARE.com, the
"National Question."

Burnham`s
pre-Cold War political theory revolved around the idea
of elites as socially natural and inevitable groups and
reflected the influence on him of the "classical
elitist" school of political sociologists, which he
treated in The Machiavellians (1943).  His
best-known book, The
Managerial Revolution
(1941), analyzed and
prophesied many of the trends in American and other
Western societies toward the emergence into power of a
"new class" (a phrase he repeatedly used) that
has little commitment either to traditional social and
political institutions or to the very existence of the
nation-state.  [VDARE
comment: Click here
for a "conservative" example –
Wall Street
Journal Editor Bob Bartley.]
Although immigration and the
movement toward a globalist "One-World" order
in which the nation-state no longer exists and borders
have vanished were not major issues during
Burnham`s
writing career, much of his work focused on the early
manifestations of such thinking and warned against it,
while explicitly defending the concept of the nation.

"In real
life," Burnham wrote in 1967, "men are joined
on a much less than universal scale into a variety of
groupings — family, community, church, business, club,
party, etc. — which on the political scale reach the
maximum significant limit in the nation. 
Since there is at present time no Humanity or
Mankind (socially and historically speaking), there
cannot be a World Government – though conceivably there
could be a world empire."

Burnham was also
notable for what is often described as his
"cold-blooded" and realistic analysis of power
relations — among nations but also among social
classes, political parties, and individuals. 
Despite the end of the Cold War and the passing
of the anti-communism that Burnham espoused, many
aspects of his thought remain relevant to political and
social affairs of the present day. 
In James
Burnham,
a revised and expanded version of my
earlier treatment of his thought in 
Power
and History
(1984), I have tried to address
these and other themes that readers of VDARE.com will
regard with interest.

(Or directly from

Claridge Press
)

August 23,
2001