“Organization Man”

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I have just finished skimming through a book I bought some 30 years ago. It is called “Tragedy and Hope” by Carroll Quigley. This book is a tome, and at times it’s hard to read.

On page 1220, he makes an interesting point. I want to get your take on these comments.

The social costs of the contemporary economic system are staggering….The self-reliant individual has gradually changed into the conformist ‘organization man.’ Routine has displaced risk, and subordination to abstractions has replaced the struggle with diverse concrete problems. The constantly narrowing range of possibilities for self-expression has given rise to deep frustrations with their concomitant growth of irrational compensating customs, such as the obsession with speed; vicarious combativeness, especially in sports; the use of alcohol, tobacco, narcotics, and sex as stimulants, diversions, and sedatives; and the rapid appearance and disappearance of fads in dress, social customs, and leisure activities.

What about it folks?

10 thoughts on ““Organization Man”

  1. Interesting. When one considers how many people have an actual hobby, it isn’t surprising. I suppose someone needs to find some way to be creative, even if it is developed by someone else or if it means being like others.

  2. Is this sweeping statement actually made without any evidence at all to back it up? What kind of “economic system” is he proposing, and why is he so sure that it would be better? What possible evidence does he have that the “range of possibilities for self-expression” is somehow narrowing? Compared to what? Do the trends he points out really even exist? Who knows?

    Statements like this seem staggeringly arrogant to me.

  3. Ed,

    Great reaction. However, if you realize this book was written in 1966, and look at what has happened in our society, is he all that wrong.
    Most people form their opinions on political matters based on what they hear on the news or what they read in the papers.
    We are so complacent, now, that even when we have the most corrupt government in Canadian history, and when they (the gov’t.) can thumb their noses at us, and score so high in the polls, can his assessment really be that far off?

  4. “we have the most corrupt government in Canadian history”

    I don’t know about that. The federal government (all official parties) has been corrupt for a very long time.

  5. Of all the corrupt govt’s then,this is the most corrupt.
    Since the Liberals have been in power for the majority of the 20th Century, it is most deeply imbedded in their psyche.
    They literally believe that they are the only party fit to rule in Canada, and, therefore, anything they do, legal or illegal, is justified. Consequently, there is no remorse on their part when they waste billions of our tax dollars. They have no shame.

    But the problem is really ours as Canadians. We are so out of touch with reality that we don’t care anymore. The moral fibre of our country is so low that it is beginning to rival Belgium, Denmark and Holland.

    There is very little being done to correct the problem either. Rather than acknowledge the corruption, the Liberal gov’t now wants to give the finance minister a carte blanche fund that is beyond the scope of the federal auditor. If that isn’t blatant arrogance, I don’t know what is.
    I may blog on this issue, in concert with other examples in the near future.

  6. I just want to clarify that our current government is more than just the Liberal party. Our current government consists of all of th MPs.

    To say that this government is the most corrupt is to say that all of the current MPs are corrupt.

    I’m not sure that is what you were trying to say.

    Anyhow, I am taking this off course.

  7. Let me clarify. The ruling Liberal Party (but not all Liberal MP’s)are the most corrupt. And those who aren’t, if they fail to speak up, by default are approving of what the party does.
    Don’t worry about taking this thread off track, because anything that speaks to behaviour today is on track.

    The fact that Canadians are not rioting in the streets to get rid of this corruption, speaks to to the apathy that Quigley alludes to. We will riot if our hockey team loses the Stanley Cup, or whatever, but let the gov’t take us for billions of our money, and we lie down and say “do it some more.”

  8. But what guarantee do we have that the Conservatives wouldn’t do the same thing? Actually, their waffling in the past and overriding what their members wanted (combining PC and Alliance for one)and Harper’s past reputation for being non committal about certain issues leaves me very wary of what sort of job they would do. And when we had Mulroney in, he handed us over the the US on a silver platter (and see what Free Trade has done for us. Hmph). Frankly I don’t think there is any party that would be good for Canada at this point. We need a party that actually has Canada’s best interests at heart and I don’t see much of that, in the past, the present or the future (with what we have). I have to agree that this current ruling party isn’t more corrupt in comparison to what we have had in the past, or what is likely in the future. There isn’t jsut one issue that is at stake either, and I really feel that Canada, the media and the government as a whole are losing sight of what this country needs in actuality.

  9. What’s interesting from my perspective is not what Quigley said in your quote, but that this book and Quigley in general was said to be one of Bill Clinton’s “idols”, so to speak. I’ve never read this book, but someone whom I trusted once told me that Quigley was actually a “conspiracy theorist” who believed in the Trilateral Commission kind of world conspiracy, and in “Tragedy and Hope” the hope part was Quigley’s hope that they would actually eventually take over — and they should stop hiding it because it was a good thing they were planning to do. I.e. Save the human race from itself.

  10. You are not totally wrong in your assumption.
    The bigger picture was established by the Brandt Commission in 1979, when they published North- South, a Program for Survival.

    It was adopted by the Canadian gov’t in early 1980, and formed the basis for the 1980 and 1981 budgets, which were notorious. Almost every budget since then has followed its course.
    Trudeau set up the North South Institute, in Ottawa to make recommendations on Canadian policy in a wide variety of areas.

    It is clearly a left wing organization with ties to the Trilateralists and the Roundtable groups.
    They do wield incredible influence in the policy making area for Canada.

    I was aware of Quigley’s approbation of their efforts. I just found some of his analysis to be interesting and accurate, not necessarily his conclusions. That is why I posted his comments. On this issue he was dead on in terms of where we had digressed to by 1966, and it’s even worse today, although there is a swing in the pendulum among young people that may move it in the opposite direction for a time.
    With sports being too expensive to watch, kids are getting more involved in activities that they enjoy. So in that sense there is hope.

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