EXCERPTS FROM =
Political Power: USA/USSR
Zbigniew Brzezinski and Samuel Huntington
SPONSORED JOINTLY BY
THE RUSSIAN INSTITUTE
THE INSTITUTE OF WAR AND PEACE STUDIES COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
[SAC editor has inserted bold-face to highlight passages that fit our course objectives and hyptertext links to define and augment the text here. Also, certain spellings have been altered to fit contemporary practice, e.g., "czar" becomes "tsar"]
Table of Contents
Contrast and Compare
The Theory of Convergence =
[[ Industrialization and... ]]
[[ W.W. Rostow and... ]]
[[ Soviet theorists and...]]
Ideological Commitment and Political Beliefs
The Traditional [Intellectual] Background [two different mentalités?] =
[[ Impact of industrialization on ... ]]
[[ Role of religion in ... ]]
[[ USA & USSR contrasted with western Europe ]]
Convergence or Evolution =
[[ The role of "freedom" in ... ]]
[[ The role of "technocracy" in ... ]]
THE Soviet and American governments are rivals. Fifteen years of competition [1948:1963] have extended this rivalry from diplomacy to military affairs, economics, science, education, culture. Each side's failures and successes in foreign policy are ponderously weighed by pundits and journalists; the balance of power in military force and technology is probed and analyzed; rates of economic growth are compared and debated; scientific achievements in space and on earth are trumpeted and deprecated; anxious count is kept of the annual crops of grain and of engineers. These subjects are important. But in the last analysis, the performance of each country in each of these areas depends upon the workings of its political system. All the key choices in all areas of competition are made through politics. The strengths and weaknesses of the political system determine the wisdom or folly of its actions in diplomacy, strategy, economics, or science. The fundamental competition is political.
While much has been written about the specialized competitions, the competition between the political systems has been neglected. In the past decade many exciting advances have been made in the study of comparative politics, yet students of Soviet politics and students of American politics have remained largely outside these developments. Each group has tended to study its own system as an end in itself and, implicitly, as a system so sui generis [unique unto itself] as to forbid comparison with others. The esoteric cult of Kremlinology [careful search of limited, highly censored and often flimsy Soviet textual sources -- newspapers, official pronouncements, etc -- for solid information on what is going on in the USSR] on the one hand has been matched by the worship of American "uniqueness" on the other.
The purpose of this book is to compare these two political systems and to answer
three broad questions:
(1) What are the principal similarities and differences between the Soviet and American political systems?
(2) What are the strengths and weaknesses of each system?
(3) Are the two systems becoming more alike or less so? Closely related to these are a host of secondary questions about the salient features of the two systems. Do both systems have
ideologies which guide the leaders in the exercise of power? Does ideology help or hinder the systems in making rational political decisions? How do the two systems educate their citizens for their political roles? In which system do the citizens participate more broadly and effectively in politics? In which system is there more alienation and dissent, and how do the systems handle them? In which are the political leaders more professionally skilled in wielding power? Which has a more effective method of recruiting political leaders and of regularly changing the wielders of power? Through what methods do the political leaders exercise their power? "The power of the President," Harry Truman said, "is the power to persuade." Is this also true of the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union? In formulating policy in each system, what are the roles of professional politicians, civilian bureaucrats, military leaders, industrial managers, intellectuals, public opinion? Which system is more successful in giving coherence and direction to its policies? Which is more successful in innovating major policies and providing for flexibility in policy? These are some of the specific questions with which we will be concerned in comparing the strengths and weaknesses, the similarities and differences of the two systems.
Political systems should not be studied in terms of barren institutional comparisons: it makes little sense to compare Congress to the Supreme Soviet or an American election to a Soviet one. At the other extreme, it also makes little point to formulate abstract categories of comparison so rarefied as to be drained of practical relevance. What really counts in a political system? Systematic political analysis must distinguish the more important from the less important or it fails to be analytical and becomes merely encyclopedic. To make this distinction, the system of analysis must be rooted in values and purposes consciously chosen by the analyst. The purposes of comparison must dictate the method.
We are students of politics; we write this book in that capacity. And here we
are concerned not with vices and virtues but with strengths and weaknesses.
Moral judgments have been passed often enough—and with predictable results—on
both sides of the Iron Curtain. In this volume we aim to keep our analyses
free of our preference for constitutional democracy. Too often in the United
States people have assumed that because the American system provides more liberty and is therefore more desirable it must also be stronger. This is bad logic bred of wishful thinking. Our values are not necessarily history's values. A system devoted to individual liberty and well-being may or may not be more capable of surviving effectively than one based on different principles. The decisive question is which system provides an ordering of power more adequate to cope with the challenges of the age. It is this question which guides our choice of four subjects for comparison.
First, a key factor in the analysis of political systems is the relation between political ideas and politics. The outlook of the political leaders and their followers is conditioned by the cumulative historical experience of their respective countries. This experience creates varying degrees of receptivity to political ideologies. A political system is effective to the extent that the history behind it has brought about an underlying consensus on an ideology or a set of beliefs, to the extent that these beliefs legitimize the system, and to the extent that they furnish the leaders with a hierarchy of goals to guide policy choices and a reasonably effective method of analyzing policy problems. Politics is not only the exercise of power; it is also a matter of will. An outlook which involves unrealistic goals, or no goals at all, or which rests on irrelevant analytical categories, can be a guide to disaster.
Second, each political system shapes and is shaped by the society of which it is a part. The political system imposes demands on the members of society. The extent to which the latter accept and respond to them is determined largely by the processes through which individuals are turned into citizens. In addition, the members of a modern society both participate in the political system and exercise some controls over it. The forms of participation and control and the nature of the balance between them are key elements in the strength of the system. In every society, also, there are varying degrees of dissatisfaction and indifference, with which the political system must have means of coping. AH these questions broadly concern the relation between the political system and the individual.
Third, the strength and effectiveness of a system obviously depend upon the
character of its political leadership. The key questions here concern the
education and training of the leader-
ship, the sources from which it is recruited, the methods of advancement up the political ladder, the organizational framework of leadership, and the regularity of turnover and circulation among leaders. A political system in which leaders are recruited by birth rather than by achievement and from a small number of families rather than from society at large, who are dilettantes rather than professionals in politics, who advance to the top through family connections, and who either grow old and stale in office or circulate through offices in a rapid game of musical chairs, is weaker than one where these conditions do not prevail.
Fourth, political leaders exercise power by applying their values and ideologies to the processes of policy-making. Each system must have ways of recognizing the problems confronting society, of mobilizing support for alternative solutions to them, of formulating the issues for decision, and of implementing the policies once they have been decided upon. To govern is to choose. And the processes of policy-making affect the choices (or the lack of choices) of the political leaders. The same processes determine to what extent policies in one area are coordinated with policies in other areas and the speed and flexibility with which new policies can be introduced.
These four subjects—political ideas, the system and the individual, political leadership, and policy-making processes—in large part determine how well a political system functions. For this reason they are the primary concerns of this book. In the second part of the book, several case studies deal more specifically with the ways in which power is acquired, exercised, and limited in the two systems; with the intractable problems which agriculture poses for the political process; with the assertion of civilian supremacy over the military establishment; and with some specific aspects of alliance relationships and forceful intervention. While each case study focuses on a specific issue, their purpose is to illustrate or develop the generalizations made about the two systems.
CONTRASTS AND COMPARISONS
Although there have been no systematic comparisons of Soviet and American politics, many current ideas have implications
for such a comparison. Some of these are popular and unsophisticated: others reflect an elaborate theory of history. Virtually all
focus upon the similarities and differences believed to exist between the two systems now and in the future. Two of these are sufficiently prevalent or influential to deserve mention here.
One common image assumes a sharp contrast between the two:
The Anglo-American relies upon personal interest to accomplish his ends and gives free scope to the unguided strength and common sense of the people; the Russian centers all the authority of society in a single arm. The principal instrument of the former is freedom; of the latter, servitude. Their starting-point is different and their courses are not the same; yet each of them seems marked out by the will of Heaven to sway the destinies of half the globe.
These words were written by Alexis de Tocqueville in 1834. [Look at Tocqueville's full statement] Today they are repeatedly invoked in discussions of the two systems. We quote them here, however, not to support a point but to illustrate the "black-and-white" image of Russian and American politics. In the years since Democracy in America, this image has been an extremely prevalent one. The Revolution of 1917 gave it a renewed relevance. Slavery and freedom; dictatorship and democracy; communism and capitalism; collectivism and individualism; the totalitarian state and the constitutional one: how easy and appropriate it is to pin one label on the United States and its opposite on the Soviet Union. The human mind craves simple distinctions; and Russians, Americans, and Europeans all have their own motives for embracing the "black-and-white" approach. For the Russian the Soviet Union is the leading socialist state, the spearhead of the worldwide communist revolution. The United States, as the strongest of the capitalist powers, is the center of "reactionary imperialism." The American puts different words on the same differences and reverses the value assigned to them. The European combines the American and Russian formulas in a variety of permutations, in all of which, however, Europe is seen as embodying the virtues of both with the vices of neither: freedom without license; socialism without slavery. In one form or another the "black-and-white" approach seems to meet everyone's need.
We would be the last to deny the obvious differences. Too often, however, in the
Russian, American, and European versions of the "black-and-white" formula, the
distinctions are not analyzed;
they are simply asserted. Political reality, however, cannot be captured in a static dichotomy. It is a commonplace in the West that the Marxist formula that assumes the increasing misery of the proletariat and the increasing intensity of class conflict has little relevance to the American economy. John Kenneth Galbraith once pointed out that the "conventional wisdom" embodied in the commonly expressed axioms concerning the American economic system also failed to describe American economic reality. One main theme of this book is that the "conventional wisdom" of the "black-and-white" approach in its Marxist, American, and European versions furnishes an inadequate guide to the significant similarities and differences. To be specific, the "black-and-white" approach fails on two counts.
First, by starting from two stereotypes, it limits its vision too narrowly. It entirely overlooks the possibility that viewing the Soviet and American systems in a broader compass might reveal significant points which they have in common, and which distinguish them from other political systems. To name only a few key similarities: the governments are on a continental scale; they involve the commingling of a variety of peoples, often with consequent racial (or ethnic) tensions; the societies have experienced rapid technological and economic change and share in some regards a similar respect for material and technical values; historically each society was closely related to but not an integral part of the western European political system; each society sees itself as the particular embodiment of universally true principles; international responsibilities have become increasingly important in shaping their major domestic political dilemmas. When compared to the complex political systems of western Europe, with their intricate class structures and multiplicity of political cultures, the political systems of the United States and the Soviet Union seem to share a homogeneity, a unity, and a simplicity which are missing on the Continent. Confronted today with many of the same challenges—economic, military, and political—the two' systems have not reacted along entirely different lines.
Second, starting from a priori assumptions about the nature of the differences
between the two systems, the "black-and-white" approach tends to neglect other
important differences—ones which may be at least as significant as those which
are summed up in
the stereotypes of "freedom and slavery," "communism and capitalism." These easy contrasts are not entirely divorced from underlying reality. In general, they all have to do with the different relationship between the political system and society. In the Soviet Union, individual liberty is limited by the state, and economic activity is directed by the state. In the United States, the state is responsible to society and it is limited by the economic and social functions performed by autonomous institutions. These are crucial differences but they are not the only important ones. Two others not usually covered in the common formulas concern the role of ideology and the selection and character of the political elites in the two systems.
THE THEORY OF CONVERGENCE
The "black-and-white" image predominated during the early years of the Cold War. It was a static
conception. In the late 1950s it began to be replaced by the more dynamic theory of convergence
of American and Soviet societies. This idea exists in a variety of forms and varying degrees of
refinement. The basic theme is that the Soviet Union and the United States are becoming more alike. In
its most widely held forms almost all the change is seen as occurring within the Soviet Union. Implicit
in the theory is the image of a static America and a dynamic Soviet Union. The United States is seen as
affluent and free; the Soviet Union is gradually moving in this direction. On the other hand, the
United States is also viewed as comfortable and inflexible, while the Soviet Union is viewed as
flexible, developing, responsive to new needs. If Khrushchev has accomplished nothing else, he has
popularized that image of the Soviet Union as a highly dynamic, pragmatic society.
[Khrushchev LOOP] And many intellectuals and politicians in
Asia attach higher value to the society which is changing than to the society which serves as the standard for
change. ["Third World" concept] They are
more impressed with the rapid Soviet industrialization than with the fact that the total economic product
of the United States is still about twice that of its rival. Similarly, they are more impressed with first
steps toward liberalization in the Soviet political system than with free speech and popular elections in
the United States. The wider acceptance of the convergence theory was stimulated by the events in the Soviet
Union in the decade following the
death of Stalin. The end of the atmosphere of terror; the closing of labor camps; the subordination of the secret police; the denunciation of the "crimes of the Stalinist era"; the absence of an all-powerful tyrant, and the collective exercise of power between 1953 and 1957 and in more restricted form after 1959; the greater freedom for a while permitted writers, artists, and scientists; the encouragement of criticism and discussion on specific limited issues; the greater sensitivity of the regime to public opinion; and, above all, the pragmatic, free-wheeling, open political style of Khrushchev: all these are facts. [The foregoing summarizes the Khrushchev LOOP] The believers in convergence argue that these developments are only the first steps to more fundamental changes in the Soviet political and social systems. "Liberalization" is not just a restricted phenomenon, nor simply one phase in a cycle which will eventually produce renewed terror and coercion. They say that it is a secular process which will develop and spread and which is the inevitable concomitant of the industrialization of the Soviet Union and its new role in international politics.
The argument that industrialization will produce increasing liberalization and therefore convergence is not always explicitly formulated. It appears, however, that industrialization has three consequences which are held, in varying ways, to stimulate tendencies toward convergence.
First, industrialization and urbanization, it is said, give rise to a common culture found in all modern societies. The industrial process imposes uniformities in equipment, skills, technique, and organization. Managers and workers in the two societies perform similar tasks and hence develop similar outlooks and similar ways of life. Industrial culture is the same in Sverdlovsk and Detroit. Eventually this culture will produce similar political institutions. As the industrial process gives rise to certain common forms of factory organization which most efficiently serve the requirements of that process, so also certain common forms of political organization will be developed which are most appropriate to the needs of that society. [Compare with Granick; compare with Merkle.] This is, in effect, anti-Soviet Marxism: the forces of production will shape the social context of production, which in turn will determine the political superstructure.
Second, industrialization produces increasing diversity and complexity in
society. More and more technical specialties develop;
interest groups multiply; more intricate forms of social organization: arise. An industrial society is necessarily pluralistic. If it is to function efficiently, the specialized interests within it must, first of all, be given autonomy to apply their specialized knowledge. Physical scientists, medical experts, pedagogues, military strategists, engineers, even economic planners, must be free to use their skills and expertise. The laws of physics, of strategy, of engineering, and even of industrial management and economics are universally true and eventually must be respected as such by all modern societies. Hence ideological and political claims must be limited. Industrialization increases the number of interest groups which make positive demands on the political process. In the early stages of industrialization the Communist Party could preempt the scene: it articulated and imposed the demands for industrialization on an agricultural society. [Stalinist industrialization] Relatively few other industrial interest groups existed. As a result of its success in industrializing the country, however, the previous vacuum has been filled. Large numbers of established groups are now said to exist: they make claims for resources on the political system. The function of the Party will no longer be to impose new demands on the system itself but to play a mediating, brokerage role, comparable to that of governments and political parties in Western democracies.
Third, industrialization creates affluence. Affluence undermines political disciplines and ideological orthodoxy. The historical function of the Communist Party was to industrialize the Soviet Union. It could justify its monopoly of power only so long as sacrifice was required to achieve this end. Now, sacrifice is no longer economically necessary, and hence the Communist Party is no longer politically necessary. The balance of production will increasingly shift from producer goods to consumer goods. What place is there for revolutionary elan in a high-mass-consumption society? Ideological fervor is characteristic of only the early phases of the industrialization process. The age of ideology has already come to an end in western Europe, the United States, and Japan. It will soon come to an end in the Soviet Union. With rare exceptions, affluent countries are also democratic ones. If Khrushchev does succeed in raising the Soviet standard of living above that of the United States, he will not achieve communism; he will bury it. [JUMP TO SUBSEQUENT DISCUSSION OF INDUSTRIALIZATION]
These arguments for convergence as a result of industrialization
are often supplemented by the argument for convergence as a result of mutual influence and contact between nations. The Soviet Union and the United States, it is said, will enter into a phase of "mutual discovery," in which they will learn from each other. Modern technology and communication make it impossible for any nation to be an island. One important aspect of the 1950s was the increased contacts between people in the Soviet Union and foreigners. [Cultural exchange] With improved travel and communication, these contacts will multiply in the future. A machine, a technique, or even a form of social organization which works in one society will be imported into the other. Since the Soviet Union has been more of a closed society than Western countries, it will inevitably experience the greatest immediate changes resulting from this increased contact.
Probably the most sophisticated theory supporting convergence is that developed by W. W. Rostow in The Stages of Economic Growth. He argues that a society is ripe for Marxism only in the early stages of the industrialization process. Marx himself developed his theory from observing those stages in England in the middle of the nineteenth century [ID]. The dislocation of Russian society in World War 1 came just at the moment in Russia's "take-off" into sustained economic growth when Russian society was peculiarly susceptible to the appeals of Marxism and peculiarly vulnerable to lake-over by Marxist groups. Marxism generally has an appeal in the developing areas of the world and relatively little appeal in the highly developed industrial societies of western Europe, North America, and the British dominions.
According to Rostow, the latest stage in the industrialization process is that
of high mass consumption. The United States has reached this stage. Western
Europe is entering it. Eventually the other industrializing societies will
approach it or reach it. In such a society, a high-powered political
dictatorship cannot survive. Communism, as Rostow puts it, is a "disease of the
transition." Societies outgrow it as they move into the more advanced phases of
economic growth; "Communism is likely to wither in the age of high
mass-consumption. . . ." [...] The leaders of the Soviet Union, Rostow argues,
"almost certainly" understand this problem. They will do their best to postpone
a high-mass-consumption economy
or to alter it to make it compatible with continued dominance of the Communist Party. But, in the end, the probabilities are that sustained economic growth will undermine communism.
The convergence thesis shapes the images of the Soviet and American systems in the minds of public officials, intellectuals, and scholars in Japan, in India, elsewhere in Asia, and in the Middle East. It is also prevalent in the United States. In different form it is espoused by the Titoist communist movement [ID] and is, indeed, implicit in much of the Titoist criticism of Soviet communism. And from the opposite corner of the communist world, "convergence" is, in effect, one of the charges which the Chinese Communists level at their former Soviet comrades [EG].
Convergence serves many needs. To Americans and western Europeans it offers what appears to be the only way out of a hopeless and endless conflict. To neutralists it provides the historical sanction for their position. To the Titoists it justifies their isolation from the rest of the communist community. To the Chinese it explains why they, in contrast to the Soviets, remain uncorrupted orthodox Marxist-Leninists. The theory of convergence is not only an abstract intellectual position but also a source of optimism for many and of justification for all. The only apparent dissenters from the theory are the Soviet leaders themselves, who resolutely adhere to their own version of the "black-and-white" concept. In June 1963, indeed, L. F. Ilyichev, Secretary for Ideological Affairs of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), in listing several "pernicious" clichés, noted:
Some time ago there appeared a theory, according to which socialism and capitalism, in spite of their fundamental difference, are allegedly developing in the same direction—that the compulsory economic imperatives of total industrial development will gradually lead to a hybridization of the two systems, to their synthesis, to the formation of a single mixed society by means of the internal change of socialism and some modernization of capitalism. This is frank social demagogy. The imperialist ideologists speculate on socialist terminology. They are not beyond adopting a few ideas of socialism in order to deceive the working people, to delude them with socialist slogans, since they have in their hearts no positive ideals which could promise the people any prospects of hope for the future. Like any reactionary concepts, the latest fancies of anticommunism have no future at all.
And yet even the Soviets themselves have their own long-run convergence thesis that the entire world will eventually be communist: "Your grandchildren," as Khrushchev said, "will play under red flags." In one form or another, the convergence idea appears to be a pervasive belief throughout the world.
A closer look at the similarities and differences between the two political systems will help to determine whether this idea is justified.
The Political System
Political Ideas and Politics
IDEOLOGICAL COMMITMENT AND POLITICAL BELIEFS
THE TERM "ideology" does not have the same meaning for an American as for a Russian. On the whole, Americans avoid using it when referring to their own political preferences or individual political beliefs. Similarly, the two major American political parties never refer to their programs as ideological declarations. The President never speaks of the ideology of his Administration. In the discussions concerning the need for a more conscious sense of national purpose, the dominant viewpoint by far was that there is no American ideology and that it would be harmful to try to invent one.
At the same time, Americans are inclined to describe the views held by the
Soviet leaders or by Communists in general as "ideological." Communists are
often said to be blinded by their ideological prejudices. Implicit in this is
the notion that ideology and reality are two entirely different things. It is
assumed that to be ideologically motivated is to be unrealistic, irrational,
dogmatic, and fanatical. However, since the communist leaders seem to act
intelligently and efficiently and in recent years have demonstrated impressive
technical skills, there is also a growing tendency to assume that the Soviet
leaders are really quite cynical in their use of ideological slogans, that they
do not believe in their ideology but merely use it to mislead their opponents
and to mobilize their supporters. In either case the term "ideology" has a
pejorative meaning in the prevalent American usage. A sensible, rational person
can be idealistic but should not be ideological. Implicit in this viewpoint is
the belief that all intelligent and realistic people think alike, that there is
an objective reality which anyone can perceive. Those who think the Russians are
fanatical often tend to be convinced that a total showdown between America and
Russia is inevitable; those who think the Russians are cynical tend to believe
that it is only a matter of time before all Soviet-American differences are
resolved in a quiet "businesslike" way.
To a Soviet Communist, on the other hand, to be ideological is to be historically conscious, to be purposeful, and to be idealistic in a practical sense. Idealism without ideology is at best sentimentality, at worst cynicism. To be truly idealistic, one must be conscious of one's purposes, of one's place in history, of one's relationship to the continually changing social-economic reality. The Soviets are proud to describe themselves as ideologically motivated. Their ideology is said to express the interests of the masses and is therefore allegedly the truly humanistic and democratic one. The Soviet leadership often boasts about the superiority of its ideological program and proclaims the continual necessity to imbue every Soviet citizen with a profound dedication to the Marxist-Leninist ideology. It also makes real understanding with others conditional on the sharing of a common outlook. Nikita Khrushchev expressed the basic communist commitment when he said, "Friendship is real and strong when people share the same views about events, about history, about life. If you do not share the philosophy of the Communist Party because you have your own principles and your own views, then it is possible to maintain good relations with Communists, but it is difficult to achieve a deep friendship as we understand it."
The Russians, furthermore, discriminate between "good" and "bad" ideologies, and
between the "conscious," "rational" communist ideology, which is said to dissect
and analyze reality scientifically and develop a program expressing the interest
of "the masses," and those ideologies which merely express the interests, often
not even in a fully conscious manner, of narrow, exploitative classes. They are
thus quite willing to use the term "ideology" while speaking of the views and
attitudes of their opponents, including the Americans. Since to them an ideology
is the expression of the interests of a particular class, and since monopoly
capitalism is said to dominate America, the prevalent American ideology is a
capitalistic, bourgeois one, articulated by the various leading spokesmen of the
dominant interests. The Russians often cite the lack of ideological differences
between the two major American political parties as proof of this. They readily
admit that conflicting utterances are quite frequent in America, but this to
them is not necessarily an expression of democracy. Rather, this is said to
reflect either the clash of conflicting monopoly interests or merely the fact
that many Americans are politically not fully conscious and hence have not articulated systematically the ideology of their class. Thus, unlike Americans, the Soviets view ideology as a general social-political phenomenon, present in all societies.
The difference is significant, for it reflects quite distinctive conceptions of the relationship between politics and ideas. These conceptions in turn are themselves important, for they reveal the underlying attitudes, beliefs, and doctrines that shape the political style of the respective countries. The very attitude of a Russian or an American to the term "ideology" is in itself indicative of his "ideological" inclinations. Basically, the difference involves one outlook which consciously stresses purpose in all social-political activity and relates it to a scheme of history, and another which tends to be more spontaneous and focuses primarily on specific situations. Thus, if "ideology" means a set of political ideas that are overt, systematic, dogmatic, and embodied in a set of institutions, the Soviet world outlook can justifiably qualify for the label. The Soviet political ideas are overt in the sense that there are certain officially proclaimed "texts" which contain the basic doctrines and guides to action. They are systematized in the sense that these texts are regularly revised and brought up to date in the light of both experience and the needs of the ruling elite. They are institutionalized in the sense that they have been proclaimed to be the official ideology of the Soviet state, binding upon every citizen, embodied in the ruling Communist Party, and articulated by appointed "ideologues." They are dogmatized in the sense that, until any of its tenets have been officially revised or repudiated, the ideology is to be accepted without reservation by anyone who wishes to describe himself as a Communist.
Communist ideology has developed through the progressive redefinition of
orthodoxy. Deviations are either suppressed or extirpated. American political
ideas, on the other hand, are more complex but less explicit; they have grown
through accretion. Over the course of centuries new ideas and concepts are added
to but not necessarily integrated into older ones. In the broadest terms, the
results of this process can be thought of as three strata: an inherited
tradition of law and constitutionalism, to which ideas of natural rights and
liberalism were added in the eighteenth century, and on which were superimposed
concepts of democracy and
majority rule in the nineteenth. The resulting amalgam lacks the coherence and the concreteness to qualify as an ideology. Only the constitutional strand furnishes a close parallel to the Soviets'. Here there are overt texts in the form of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and authoritative interpretations such as The Federalist. These texts are reasonably systematic and are regularly annotated, revised, reinterpreted, and brought up to date in the light of new circumstances. The Presidium of the Communist Party redefines the meaning of class struggle for a thermonuclear world; so also the Supreme Court redefines the meaning of "due process of law" for the welfare state. The constitutional tradition is thus institutionalized in the sense that it has a "carrier" in the Supreme Court and the judicial system. It is dogmatized in that the constitutional interpretations of these bodies are binding upon officials and citizens until subsequently changed by the Court.
The actual process of constitutional revision, moreover, has its parallels with ideological revision in the Soviet Union. Changes in the meaning of the American Constitution or the Soviet ideology usually occur at times of acute controversy or crisis. The changes are then justified through written statements (judicial opinions, Party resolutions) in which previous interpretations are denounced or reversed and a new "true" interpretation of the doctrine or Constitution is justified through logic, textual analysis, appeals to history and the intentions of Lenin or the Founding Fathers, and the "felt needs" of current conditions. And just as there are conflicts between dogmatists and revisionists in the interpretation of communist doctrine, so also are there conflicts between narrow constructionists and broad constructionists in the interpretation of the American Constitution.
The Constitution and constitutionalism, however, make up only part of the American political tradition. The other
elements lack most of the characteristics of an ideology. The "overt texts" of liberalism and democracy are too scattered and disputed to
be recognized as such. The position of Locke [ID] in the history of liberalism is hardly comparable to
the position of Marx in the history of Marxism. Similarly, few Americans could agree on a "systematized" current elaboration of liberal and
democratic ideas binding on the present reality. Who is the genuine interpreter of the American values and tradition: Barry Goldwater or Arthur Schlesinger?
Both are rooted in the common past, but they disagree sharply on its current meaning. This is as if the Soviet system could tolerate at one time Soviet equivalents to Gomulka [ID] and Mao Tse-tung [ID]. And certainly, with the exception of certain fringe groups which see themselves as the singular standard bearers of the true tradition, there is no comparable current institutionalization of the original doctrines as there is in the Soviet Union. American political institutions have been shaped by constitutional, liberal, and democratic ideas, but the doctrines have not been institutionalized in a living carrier ("a living church"), such as the Communist Party is in the Soviet Union. Because of this it has been more difficult—outside the realm of constitutional doctrine—to dogmatize the original principles, even though some of them (for example, the sanctity of private property or the automatic social good of private initiative) occasionally have been elevated into the realm of the absolute. Nonetheless, the absence of official arbiters and the plurality of current meanings attached to liberalism and democracy effectively exclude over-all dogmatization.
The Soviet ideological commitment is based on a series of basic and absolute assumptions concerning reality: they are alleged to provide all-embracing answers to such key philosophical and social questions as what is the nature of man, what is his relationship to his environment, what forces cause historical change, and what are the ultimate purposes of social organization. This part of the ideological commitment can be described as its doctrinal component; it is unchanging (or static) and is based primarily on the historical and philosophical writings of Marx and Engels. Ideology also involves an action program, designed to implement most effectively through political and social action Us basic doctrinal assumptions. This action program is very specifically related to the conditions and opportunities prevailing in any particular phase of history and in any particular geographical and social-economic context. While based on the doctrine and reflecting its philosophical principles and biases, the action program is subject to revision by the leaders in the light of experiences and necessity. Thus it is dynamic.
Much effort, however, is expended to demonstrate that such revisions do not
involve any basic departure from the doctrinal part of the ideology but are
merely "creative" adaptations of it. The conscious and subjective identification
of the communist leaders
with the ideology produces an ideological commitment, even if these leaders are primarily preoccupied with specific political activity. Lenin's contribution, for instance, has been primarily in the realm of the action program, although he occasionally dabbled in doctrinal matters. Khrushchev's much more limited contribution to Marxism and Leninism has been entirely in the realm of the action program.
The Soviets attempt to link doctrines and programs together through logic and analysis sanctioned by power. They are obsessed with "the unity of theory and practice." The more amorphous American values and doctrines are seldom directly related to political action. Americans see a natural gap between principles and expediency. The requirements of the two are assumed to conflict, and a politician is usually thought to act according to one or the other. To the communist politician, on the other hand, the correct line is always both principled and expedient. Expediential actions must be formulated and expressed in terms of basic doctrine; basic doctrine must be applied expedientially. Since politics is necessarily the art of the possible, Americans often view politics and politicians as unprincipled and even corrupt. The general principles of the American political beliefs are usually thought to be inoperative in day-to-day political action. Indeed, statements of general principles (for example, in a presidential inaugural address) often derive their appeal and authority precisely from their failure to imply a particular course of political action. Contrast, for instance, outstanding presidential addresses with the reports of Soviet leaders to Party congresses. The latter are typically elaborate and lengthy efforts to relate fundamental Party doctrine to the concrete program which the leaders see as immediately necessary. The presidential address which makes a mark on history,* on the other hand, is not devoted to specific legislative proposals but rather restates in eloquent and memorable language the fundamental beliefs of the American creed. If the President goes on to trace out the implications of his generalities for specific programs, his speech ceases to
* Washington's Farewell Address, Jefferson's First Inaugural Address, Lincoln's Gettysburg and Second Inaugural Addresses, Franklin D. Roosevelt's First Inaugural Address and "Four Freedoms" speech, Kennedy's Inaugural Address.
be a sermon accepted by all and becomes a partisan plea debated by many.
With respect to political issues, the Soviets ask, "What is the correct line?" Americans ask, "What is the correct position?" The difference in terminology reflects differences in political thinking. The communist "line" is the link between fundamental doctrines and stands on particular issues: it defines the meaning of the doctrines in a particular historical context and the relation between a stand on one issue and stands on other issues. The American, however, docs not have a line; he only has ad-hoc "positions." The position which he takes on one issue may be quite discrete and unrelated to positions on other issues and to his general political beliefs. Soviet political action is justified by the line which links it to general doctrine. American political action is justified by an immediate consensus quite distinct from the consensuses which may be developed on other issues and from the over-all agreement on the key elements of the American political beliefs.
The foregoing discussion points to the advisability of avoiding the term
"ideology" when speaking of the looser, vague, less formal, and unstructured
American counterpart. Sociologists have sometimes described the American as
being a "value system"—that is to say, a generalized over-all outlook shared by
most Americans, involving certain fundamental preferences, prejudices, and often
unverified and unarticulated assumptions, without any formal structure and
official interpreters. This value system lacks a formal specific doctrinal
component, although its philosophical roots can be traced to some common
sources, for example, Locke and the so-called "liberal consensus." However, the
recognition of a common source has not much current political relevance, since a
great many Americans act in keeping with these basic assumptions without
necessarily accepting them philosophically. (This is particularly true of
American Catholics, who naturally see themselves as part of another philosophic
tradition.) Similarly, it would be difficult to speak of any specific, conscious
action program insofar as the American value system is concerned. Rather, there
are certain generally accepted methods for handling problems as they arise, and
there is a reasonably widespread consensus as to which methods are not in
keeping with "the American way of life." The common assumptions concerning
acceptable means of political action add up to a set of
American political beliefs, a term we prefer to the more obscure and pedantic "value system." While in some respects they perform the same political function, we will henceforth refer to the Soviet ideology and to the American political beliefs.
THE TRADITIONAL BACKGROUND
The Soviet ideology and the American political beliefs are the products of the accumulated social experience of the two societies, which sets their respective political styles. A brief glance into the more recent past might thus set the stage for a discussion of their current functions.
Most of Russian history has involved a combination of political autocracy and doctrinal absolutism. Pre-Soviet Russian political history, in the period paralleling American growth, was characterized by an increasing gap between social development and the prevailing political institutions. Russia by the nineteenth century had expanded geographically into Asia, reached the Pacific, and planted its flag on the frontiers of British India, while in the West the partition of Poland [ID] made Russia, for the first time in its history, into a central European power. The Russian empire became a major factor in the European international system, with the concomitant exposure of Russia to European influence. This influence was at first limited to the upper reaches of Russian society, to the younger officers and intellectuals and, later in the nineteenth century, to the gradually emerging merchant, industrial, and professional middle class. The bulk of Russian society—the peasantry—remained relatively immune, and the autocratic tsarist system was not endangered as long as the disaffected elements lacked the political basis of mass social unrest. The political system, proudly describing itself as autocratic and fiercely resisting any diminution in its power, was bolstered by an official state ideology with strong religious overtones and messianic aspirations [ID]. The notion of a "third Rome" [ID]" was useful to the autocracy, since it combined the appeal of state nationalism, which was attractive to the more politically conscious, with the appeal of Russian Orthodox religious sentiment, which turned the people against alien national and religious forces.*
* "He who deserts the Orthodox belief ceases to be a Russian not only in his thoughts and acts but also in his way of living and in his dress," declared Konstantin Pobedonostsev [ID], the reactionary Over Procurator of the Holy Synod and the tsar's chief political ideologue at the end of the nineteenth century, urging the authorities to restrict mass education primarily to the inculcation of loyally and to the acquisition of skills in basic trades and arts. Pobedonostsev's image of the ideal society — with state religion, family training, and indoctrination of the intellectuals all within a rigid legal framework — bears a striking resemblance to the rigid social order advocated by Plato in his Laws. Indeed, one is tempted to compare Russia to a tough urchin sporadically exposed to very strict re-education programs often under strong but conflicting doctrinal guidance (the tsar's or Stalin's). By way of analogy, America matured under circumstances similar to some contemporary "progressive" educational programs: it could do much as it pleased in the context of relative material plenty and physical security.
The traditional autocracy, however, rooted as it was in the background of centuries-long Mongol oppression[ID] and repeated foreign invasions, was gradually undermined by the increasingly restless and radical intelligentsia [ID] and later by the social-economic changes wrought by the impact of the first phases of the industrialization in Russia [ID]. The Russian intelligentsia, made conscious of Russia's social-economic backwardness by greater contacts with the West, and oppressed by the political tyranny of the autocratic order, responded in a variety of ways, ranging from utmost pessimism to naive utopianism. Some, like Petr Chaadaev [ID], saw no salvation for Russia since it had been nurtured in a climate devoid of legality or moral sense of justice. Others, like Konstantin Aksakov [ID], veered to the belief that there was a long-range advantage in this historical circumstance:
A Russian, whatever his calling, evades the law whenever he can do so with impunity, and the government does exactly the same. All this is distressing and hard to bear at present, but so far as the future is concerned it is an enormous advantage. It proves that in Russia, there is no ideal, invisible government lurking behind the visible government as some sort of apotheosis of the existing order of things.
But, whatever their image of the future and their analysis of the past, most
agreed that, to correct the present, several basic social ills had to be
eliminated. Serfdom was seen as perhaps the most burning social problem and its
abolition the point of departure for subsequent reforms. But concerning the
latter there was no con-
sensus. Some (as the Populists [ID] did) saw salvation in the traditional peasant commune, an institution said to incarnate all the special virtues of the Russian soul. Others wanted to encourage the development of a free-holders class of independent farmers. Some pleaded, "God save Russia from the bourgeoisie!" while others incanted, "God give Russia a bourgeoisie!" Some cursed and rejected the West; others preached the advantages of learning and imitating its experience.
In going to the peasant—as the Populists attempted to do in the second half of
the nineteenth century—or in trying to stir up the small but disaffected new proletariat—a vocation increasingly popular among the intelligentsia toward the
end of the century—the alienated Russian intellectual was seeking the social base for his political action. Often not finding it, he turned to direct
political action which, because of the intolerance and the overwhelming preponderance of autocracy, frequently meant isolated acts of political
terrorism [ID]. Thus developed the tradition of conspiratorial activity, based on faith, fanaticism, and fratricide, and
imbued with a strong dose of romanticism.
Just as the Civil War in America is a watershed in American economic history, so in Russia the emancipation of the serfs in 1861 can be seen as creating the conditions for the subsequent rapid industrial development, encouraged in a large part by the government's realization that without it the national security of the country would be threatened. In the second half of the nineteenth century Russia, while still lagging economically in comparison to western Europe, began to develop rapidly its railroad networks and its industrial sector. Favorable conditions in the world grain market in the 1890s encouraged extensive investments in the railroad network, with consequent demands for heavy industry. Russia's industrial growth during the decade spurted ahead at an average annual rate of approximately 8 per cent. By 1914, the economy was producing annually 5 million tons of pig iron, 4 million of iron and steel, and 40 million of coal. This economic development was accompanied by a major population explosion; in 1861 the tsarist empire numbered approximately 74 million inhabitants, and by 1917 the number had grown to 170 million. Considering the impact of economics on ideology, even more significant is the fact that in the territory which remained Soviet after the Revolution the number of urban inhabitants had increased from about 7 million in
1861 to 20 million in 1917, thus involving the appearance of first-generation proletarians, divorced from their traditional environment and, as studies elsewhere show, highly susceptible to radical appeals.
The paradox of Russia's economic development is that in large part it was stimulated by the security interests of an autocratic state which required a traditional social order for its stability. Yet the very process of industrialization and modernization disrupted the traditional society, while the awareness of more developed societies elsewhere encouraged the appearance of political and social ideologies which tried to simplify complex social processes, gave all-embracing explanations for the existing inadequacies, and offered guides to action. An advanced society such as America or England experienced its growth without the image of a more developed economy to serve as a beacon and a goal. But in Russia the very awareness of backwardness made the social development dependent on political action, especially since the society was already guided by a political autocracy. In that sense, the Russian experience has certain parallels with the existing tendencies in some of the underdeveloped nations. [CF="Third World"]
The initial impact of economic development was thus a stimulus to intense ideological preoccupation; Marxism made its first
appearance in this context and was subsequently adapted by Lenin to the specific Russian conditions [ID].
American political experience lacks the tension, the anguish, and the drama of Russian political development. Ideology and revolution are the key words for Russia; consensus and evolution describe America. The colonists of the seventeenth century brought with them English law and constitutionalism and the English class structure. The former flourished across the Atlantic, but the latter withered and died. Social and economic inequalities persisted in the New World, but they were supplemented by opportunities which Europe lacked. It was impossible to maintain a landed, European-style aristocracy, and the upper classes which did exist could not keep their monopoly of political power long. In the northern colonies political dominance easily passed to the coastal merchants and yeomen farmers. Eighteenth-century ideas of liberty and natural rights found a congenial home in that middle-class atmosphere, the introduction of liberalism occurring without the revolutionary struggles which accompanied it in the British Isles. The Americans, as Tocqueville said, were "born equal." This happy circumstance colored the rest of American history. Unchallenged by an aristocracy, the middle class adjusted more easily to the introduction of democracy in the first half of the nineteenth century. By the
1840s constitutionalism, liberalism, and democracy had become firmly lodged in the main current of American thought.
In other countries similar ideas had been employed for conflicting purposes. In America they joined in the service of a middle-class society. The moral absolutes of liberalism theoretically could, and at times did, conflict with the demands of the masses. Similarly, ideas of popular government were logically incompatible with a constitutional heritage of checks and balances and judicial review. At other times, constitutional requirements and legalistic procedures seemed to put fetters on liberty. In general, however, ideas which were logically contradictory nonetheless lived together more or less in political harmony. The cement in the American amalgam was the ambiguity and fuzziness of the ideas which composed it. The only major ideological controversy grew out of the struggle between North and South over slavery. Social, economic, and geographical factors gave the South a distinct outlook and interest which seemed increasingly threatened by the growth of industry and population in the North and the expansion of the nation westward. In the conflict that followed, the South rejected the democratic strand in the American tradition and combined selected elements of the liberal and constitutional strands with the familiar conservative ideas in defense of the status quo. The result was a distinct, although ephemeral, outbreak of political and social thought dissenting vigorously from the emerging American consensus. Appomattox, however, re-established that consensus by force of arms. This consensus furnished the framework for the rapid economic development that followed the Civil War, giving rise to vigorous clashes between laissez-faire liberals and reform liberals at the end of the nineteenth century and in the first decades of the twentieth. These debates occurred, however, within a heritage of shared values accumulated during the course of two and a half centuries.
Russian politics in the nineteenth century was marked by the weakness of the
doctrines of constitutionalism, liberalism, and democracy which were the very
heart of American politics. By the turn of the century, moreover, American
thought was shifting from moral absolutism to modern relativism. In both
countries the dominant trends for the twentieth century were set by the reform
movements at the end of the nineteenth. But in Russia the reform
movements were conspiratorial and revolutionary: they opposed the official orthodoxy of the regime with an equally intense, absolutist political orthodoxy of their own. In America the dominant orthodoxy of free enterprise was opposed in the 1880s and 1890s by Populist doctrines [ID] equally moralistic and absolute. About the turn of the century, however, reform liberalism began to change. It was increasingly shaped by social Darwinism [ID], pragmatism [ID], economic determinism [ID], and Freudianism [ID]. The intellectual weapons of the reformers against the stand-patters were such as to undermine faith in all absolute values, not just conservative ones.* In Russia the relatively simple doctrinal absolutism of Pobedonostsev was displaced by the relatively more sophisticated ideological absolutism of Lenin. In the United States, the stern but simple moralism of McKinley was eventually replaced by the relatively carefree pragmatism of Franklin D. Roosevelt [ID].
* "The apostle of relativity," Charles A. Beard subsequently observed, "is destined to be destroyed by the child of his own brain. ... I wish we could find some way of getting rid of conservative morality without having these youngsters drop all morality." Quoted in Eric F. Goldman, Rendezvous with Destiny (New York, 1952), pp. 200, 361.
This contrasting ideological evolution reflects original differences in society
and the consequent differences in social development. Russia's intellectual
reformers lacked a sufficiently strong middle class or a sufficiently
politically conscious peasantry with which to identify themselves. Necessarily,
the reformers were driven to conspiratorial actions and messianic hopes. In the
United States, on the other hand, the struggle between reform and laissez-faire
liberalism occurred within a framework of shared middle-class values. In
addition, the reformers were linked to definite social groupings—Southern
and Western farmers, middle-class professionals, small businessmen,
labor—and could advance the claims of these groups in an atmosphere of relative
freedom and political opportunity. To achieve their goals, the reformers did not
need new doctrinal absolutes. If they could undermine the old absolutes, the
natural workings of the pluralistic political order would accomplish the rest.
The reformers could safely resort to skepticism and relativism to attack the
values of their opponents because there were so many values which they and their
opponents shared and which were
beyond question by either. Appropriately enough, pragmatism or instrumentalism, as Dewey [ID] called it, was the distinctively American contribution to twentieth-century philosophy. The test of truth lies in its practical consequences: such a doctrine could flourish only in a society where there was little disagreement on underlying values. Pragmatism was the natural child of the liberal consensus. When fundamental values were challenged, however, the pragmatic test was no longer sufficient. Dewey himself shifted toward a natural-rights philosophy when confronted with the rise of Nazism in the 1930s.
Political consensus also gave political debate in America an empirical cast. Consensus implied that political controversies could be resolved largely through analytic means. Extensive investigation of the facts was the proper way to approach any political issue. Policy could be the child of study and research. These expectations were frequently unwarranted. Nonetheless, they gave a distinctive tone to political controversy. American reformers typically were concerned with exposing the extent to which actual conditions deviated from accepted middle-class values. They could think in terms of muckraking rather than assassination because of the general agreement on what was muck and what was not. Thus reform took a practical, empirical course devoted to exposing facts rather than asserting values. The difference in the two environments is reflected in the differences between Lenin and Steffens and between the contents of Iskra and those of McClure's. The Bolshevik attacked with the revolutionary manifesto, the American reformer with the Brandeis brief.
The deeply ingrained American fear of "established religion" also contributed to
the widespread suspicion of any dogmatic ideological outlook. The early colonists' intense desire to avoid the religious persecution and dogma
associated with the established state church of England was later translated into the doctrine of official state neutrality toward religion and the peaceful
coexistence of a variety of religions. Although these conditions were often violated in practice, they were an integral part of the prevailing
constitutional myth, and eventually set the religious pattern for the country. In turn, this tradition created a mental outlook which favored ideological
relativism rather than dogmatic commitment. The Russian Orthodox Church, on the other hand, combined
dogmatic belief with political subservience. The church was a state institution and taught obedience to the state. Orthodoxy in dogma and compliance in politics made for an entirely different tradition, much more compatible with subsequent ideological orthodoxy, albeit an atheistic one. The Bolshevik revolution first brought to power an essentially internationalist and intellectual communist leadership—one in which a significant role was played by Poles, Jews, Letts, and others, none of whom had been shaped by the Russian Orthodox tradition. In the thirties, however, Stalin's massacre of those elements brought into the Party a whole new generation, composed essentially of peasant bureaucrats who, although rejecting their peasant fathers' religiosity, were nonetheless predisposed toward a compliant acceptance of dogma. Furthermore, their traditions, unlike those of their internationalist Bolshevik predecessors, were "nativist," and they accepted the new orthodoxy with a typically peasant devotion to the "Holy Motherland." This new generation, combining communist orthodoxy with orthodox patriotism, set the style for Soviet "national communism," which was at the core of the later Soviet inability to adjust to the new reality of communist internationalism and contributed to the splits with the Yugoslavs, the Poles, the Albanians, and, finally, the Chinese.
Despite their differences in political heritage, the United States and the
Soviet Union have certain similarities in contrast to western Europe. Both Russia and America in the nineteenth century lacked the intense and widespread
ideological pluralism which in Europe was not restricted to narrow groups of intellectuals but actually was capable of activating the masses. The
"spring of nations" of 1848 [ID] was an expression of the conflicting appeals of romantic
nationalism, liberalism, and even incipient proletarian self-consciousness. It had no echo among the American or Russian masses. By the end of the century,
when the social base for ideological pluralism began to emerge in Russia, there was still no political room for it. In America, there was political room but no
social need. The ideological homogeneity of the United States was thus natural and spontaneous. In Russia, it was artificial and forced. The tsarist
government, however, proved incapable of maintaining it. The Bolsheviks substituted a new, virile, messianic ideology with more popular appeal than tsarism
and buttressed with the ruthless
suppression of all bourgeois and Marxist opposition. By the 1930s they had effectively achieved the ideological uniformity which the traditionally minded tsars with their more restricted range of techniques had never been able to accomplish. Thus, ideological homogeneity in the Soviet Union is the product of revolution; in the United States it is the result of the absence of revolution. [Consider this demurrer in the Kimball essay on James Madison.]
In both countries the dominant political ideas have been closely linked with nationalism. The United States and the Soviet Union are the first two major countries to define themselves purely in political terms. Even their formal designations illustrate this: they are not primarily geographical designations (such as England, France, America, or Russia) such as have traditionally served to identify nations. "To be an American," C. J. Friedrich has said, "is an ideal; while to be a Frenchman is a fact." The same could be said of the Soviet Union: to be a Soviet citizen is an ideal. It means identification with and acceptance of definite political concepts. A Soviet or American citizen is loyal not only to a national community (as is an Englishman or Frenchman) but also to a "way of life" defined largely, although not exclusively, in terms of distinctive political and economic beliefs. Hence, too, each society harbors a pervasive fear of offbeat or subversive ideas: a fear consciously embodied in Soviet governmental policies directed at "bourgeois influences" and unconsciously embedded in American popular attitudes on subversion.* Historically, however, the political definition of nationalism helped both societies to integrate potentially disruptive ethnic and regional loyalties. Ukrainians and Uzbeks can never be Russians, but they can be Soviet citizens. In the 1790s the Constitution and the principles it reflected gave Americanism a political definition acceptable to both Virginians and New Yorkers.
CONVERGENCE OR EVOLUTION
The Communists believe that the world will converge, but into an essentially communist form of government. In the West, on the other hand, the widespread theory of convergence assumes that the fundamentally important aspects of the democratic system will be retained after America and Russia "converge" at some future, indeterminate historical juncture. Although probably there will be more economic planning and social ownership in the West, the theory sees the Communist Party and its monopoly of power as the real victims of the historical process: both will fade away. Thus on closer examination it is striking to discover that most theories of the so-called convergence in reality posit not convergence but submergence of the opposite system. Hence the Western and the communist theories of convergence are basically revolutionary: both predict a revolutionary change in the character of one [?or both?] of the present systems. The Communists openly state it. In the West, it is implicit in the prevalent convergence argument.
Leaving aside for the moment the further implications of this parallel, it is important to examine the assumptions on which this view of the future rests. The argument, as noted in the Introduction, rests on the assumption of a cumulative impact on the political system, particularly the Soviet, of four factors: the industrial culture, the organizational and operational implications of the industrial system, affluence, and international involvement.
Undoubtedly certain universal traits inherent in the modern industrial and urban order affect the style and the values of contemporary mass culture and leisure. The Soviet leaders today are far more similar in clothing, in social behavior, even in some of their private aspirations, to their Western counterparts than was the
case twenty-five years ago . The same is true of an average Soviet citizen. In that sense there has been, and there will be, a steady convergence of the West and the East, including China. Every factory built in some isolated Chinese town reduces the time, the cultural, the economic, and the social gap between, let us say, Chikurting and Chicago. But the question is, does it reduce the political difference? Is the form of leisure, mass culture, and working habits a determinant for political organization? [The authors insist that we guard the distinction between economic forms and practices, on the one hand, and political forms and practices, on the other. Check these few lines in the essay on James Madison and Russia.]
The archaic society was characterized by the economic similarity and the political diversity of its institutions. A common economic "base" and a pastoral culture thus did not dictate the character of the political "superstructure." Today both China and India are at similar levels of development—yet no one would seriously argue that their political systems are becoming more alike. Nonetheless, at the heart of the widely held view that modern industrialization imposes certain common social and political consequences is the assumption that there is a direct causal relationship between the stage of economic development and politics. It is this view that leads to the generalization that Russia and America are becoming basically alike. The example of the archaic society indicates at the very least that not every common economic pattern dictates a common political structure. Perhaps the more complex, technological, and more socially impinging industrial economy does, but this proposition of causality remains to be proven.
Here, too, one can point to many examples which suggest that industrial complexity and maturity do not necessarily cause political uniformity and moderation. Essen under the Nazis was similar to Detroit in an economic and technological, as well as cultural, sense, yet the similarity did not preclude the Nazis from imposing on the society a relationship of mobilization and control quite unlike the one prevailing in Detroit. Similarly, Poland and Hungary today are in the critical and disruptive "stage of transition" from agrarian to industrial societies and so, according to the theory, should be radical and totalitarian. Yet they are both more moderate and less doctrinaire, more politically "mature," than the much more developed and economically advanced East Germany and Czechoslovakia, both of which "took off" in industrial development many years ago and should, therefore, according to the theory, be politically more moderate.
The objection may be made that the cases of India and China, Essen and Detroit, Poland and East Germany do not invalidate the general theory because in all the above situations specific historical factors were decisive. But if that is so, these specific "historical" reasons become much more important and decisive than an over-all theory. Should they not also be given their due in the case of America and Russia? In effect, no one-to-one correlation exists between economic and political change. A political system is influenced and shaped by continuing cultural, social, historical, and traditional forces. Even more important, a political system has its own staying power and helps shape the course of economic and social development.
Any consideration of the influence on politics of social-economic modernization must take into account the means used in the past to modernize the antecedent society, since the means tend to affect the very character of the development. The methods used and the political institutions developed in the course of the industrialization and modernization themselves establish between the political system and society a specific pattern of relations, with its own vested interests and inherent developmental pressures. The democratization and liberalization of Western societies, and even their adoption of many socialist measures, was achieved because social and political pluralism preceded and accompanied these economic processes, and many pluralist groups, some possessing economic power (the new middle class), some political power (the liberal aristocracy), allied themselves with and provided the leadership for the masses craving social and/or political reform. Political pressure from below and pluralist social-political leadership from above was—and usually is—the basic prerequisite for wrenching domestic concessions from the established political system.
In analyzing the relationship between politics and economics in America and Russia it is, therefore, very important to look closely at both the character of the political system and the character of economic growth. If, in the Soviet and American cases, both the political systems and the character of economic growth are different, it is reasonable to conclude that the influence of economics on politics, and vice versa, is also likely to be quite different in the two societies. In the Soviet Union, a relatively backward society was to a degree industrialized and modernized (it is sometimes forgotten
that the Soviet Union is still only a quasi-developed society) through total social mobilization effected by terroristic means wielded by a highly disciplined and motivated political elite. The very nature of this process is inimical to the emergence of political pluralism, while the liquidation of the private economic sector and of all informal leadership groups creates a social vacuum that must be filled through political integration on a national scale. In very broad terms, it would seem that in the Soviet case we are dealing with a process of very rapid industrialization which was politically directed and involved purposeful social "homogenizing." In the American case it was far more spontaneous, with national political coordination gradually emerging when social, economic, and political pluralism had already taken firm root.
These patterns of development have resulted in a strikingly different relationship between society and politics in each country. The American Revolution freed a society from the bonds of an irrelevant and restraining aristocratic order and made possible its subsequent, largely spontaneous, organic growth. The diversity, the pluralism, the fear of central control which characterized the early [US] settlers, living in isolation not only from the world but also from one another, expressed itself in a political and social system designed to protect that diversity. One sees it in the segmented school system, in all the efforts to preserve regional and group autonomy, in the assertion of local community identity. The purposes of the political system were conservative insofar as society itself was concerned. This in turn inhibited the development of a political elite with a defined political outlook, since neither the social basis nor the consciousness of political purpose was present to sustain and justify the existence of such an elite. Today , in some respects, a modern American society, characterized by industrial dynamism and corporate efficiency, is governed by an anachronistic political system designed for the unique conditions of early-nineteenth-century America. [True in 1964? True 40+ years later?] This accounts for the weaknesses already noted.
In Russia, on the other hand, the Soviet political system came into being before the emergence of the Soviet society. [Compare this formula with Russian historian Pavel Miliukov's words in 1905.] Indeed, the political system was set up and organized for the specific purpose of creating a Soviet society. A power-motivated political elite was the sine qua non [indispensable element] of the system, while the stupendous task of de-
stroying the old social order and then of constructing a new one meant that power had to be centralized, wielded by professional political leaders, and exercised with sustained ruthlessness, skill, and ideological commitment. Governing a continental society, changing the way of life of 200 million people, consciously shaping the future of an entire social order is no mean task, and for this reason the emphasis of the leadership inevitably has been on the development of novel techniques of governing commensurate with this undertaking. Thus if it can be said that American politics can best be understood in terms of American society, Soviet society can best be understood in terms of Soviet politics. In the latter, political power preceded economic power; in the former, economic power preceded political. And it would be ironic indeed if a fading Marxism's last intellectual victory were to convince the West that economics shaped politics in the Soviet Union. Marxism cannot explain a communist state.
Accordingly, factors such as ideology or professional political bureaucracy play a less important role in determining the future in the United States than in the Soviet Union; and, conversely, factors such as economic change and the activities of interest groups play a greater role in the United States than in the Soviet Union. (It is this difference which also establishes a greater affinity between the Soviet experience and the current problems of the new, developing nations.) Thus, changes in Soviet economic management and methods of planning and allocation need not challenge the ideological and power monopoly of the ruling Party.
It is here that the role and character of affluence come in. First of all, it is again essential to bear in mind the nature of the efforts used to attain that affluence. Affluence achieved by a mixed economic process, involving both the political system and independent individual and group activity, consolidates social diversity and creates new loci of social and political power. The economic and
political power of the trade unions in the Western democracies is a case in point. Furthermore, the American pioneers were first both free and poor, so subsequent affluence could at worst diminish their freedom and at best consolidate it, but not bring it about. Indeed, the case could be made that contemporary affluence has produced far more conformity, interdependence, and social malleability in America than heretofore. In the Soviet Union, affluence is being brought about by means of political control, wielded by a political elite which already has acquired the characteristics of the entrenched "New Class" attacked by Milovan Djilas in his well-known book. When affluence comes to the Soviet Union—that is, when in several decades from now the Soviet standard of living approximates the American of 1960—it will have come to a society which was always both poor and unfree. It will also come to a society that still will be less affluent than many others, given present western European and American trends. Thus the feeling of "relative non-affluence" will still be there, and the pressures for political moderation inherent in general well-being may be weaker than is the case with the "absolute affluence" of the American variety—no country is richer and hence there is no one to envy. Furthermore, if affluence (of either kind) does create greater conformity and interdependence, [...] it could even reinforce social control.*
* A suggestive parallel involves the Teamsters' Union in the United States. In many respects its members have more benefits than other unionists. Yet in part the success of the union leadership in achieving this has helped to consolidate the rigid hierarchy and authoritarianism. It is also worth noting that in such matters as controls, access to foreign press, travel abroad, or even travel inside, the Soviet Union is still more coercive than Nazi Germany of 1938-1939. [NB! remarkable comparison of US labor unions and the USSR, but not comparison of statist economic enterprise and vast corporate and managerial economic enterprise.]
In any case,
affluence is likely to diminish the tension-producing tendency of the Soviet
political system to make demands on its society which are almost impossible to
meet. Greater resources and higher awards will make less necessary the
"storming," the crash campaigns, and the often unattainable goals which the
Soviet political leadership has often felt compelled to impose on either the
agricultural sector or industry. These demands in turn usually resulted
ultimately in counterclaims on the regime for greater allocation of resources
by the groups directly involved, with conse-
quent new tensions, or in disillusionment with the ideology. To a democracy, affluence is a vital accessory (but not an indispensable one, as India or Ireland show) since it minimizes social conflict. To a political system which is purposeful and inclined toward action, it will make possible greater rationality in planning and social mobilization.
The last consideration to be weighed in this connection involves the specific character of social affluence. American affluence is largely a matter of the interaction between segmented corporate productive wealth and individual purchasing power, with demand in part stimulated by competitive advertising. Thus the character of the consumption patterns, and their social ramifications, are not determined by political considerations. Indeed, the absence of a political perspective has led some social observers to criticize severely the character of the "American affluence" and to plead for a greater sense of the common welfare in enjoying that affluence. They hope that individual consumption will not remain an end in itself, but that a more extensive social effort to eliminate poverty and discrimination, to broaden the educational program, with the resulting increased social and political importance of intermediary groups, and the further differentiation of functions, may bring about more socially conscious discussion between society and the political system.
available hints strongly suggest that the Soviet political leadership is
concerned lest affluence take on an excessively individualistic character.
To avoid that, cars will be pooled; so will the rest homes; people will live in
"communal palaces," each housing about two thousand; they will eat together,
enjoy almost full-time education in the boarding schools starting shortly after
birth, and will be provided by the state with free social facilities, such as
transportation, housing, meals, social services, and even clothing. Affluent
collectivism—this is to be the character of Soviet affluence. These projections
are seriously meant; the Soviet experts estimate that many aspects will be
implemented roughly by 1975-2000. Should this come to pass, it is unlikely that
such forms of affluence will impede the relationship of control and mobilization
between the political system and the society. The political system will be
characterized by greater rationality, less coercion, increased reliance on
social self-control. The society will suffer less from the tensions
originating in the lack of resources and, initially, from the absence of social consent for the new political-social system. A system combining self-sustaining popular control over social behavior, based on a highly collectivist affluence, with centralized managerial direction from above, will differ profoundly from the earlier Stalinist model but also from the existing Western affluent societies.
The current argument that communism cannot survive industrialization and affluence parallels eighteenth-century arguments about democracy. Democracy, it was assumed, could survive only in a poor, egalitarian, rural environment. It would be corrupted and undermined by affluence, urbanization, and industrialization. [Consider this SAC entry.] The "less luxury there is in a republic," Montesquieu argued, "the more it is perfect. . . . Republics end with luxury; monarchies with poverty." In a similar vein, Rousseau held that: "Monarchy . . . suits only wealthy nations; aristocracy, states of middling size and wealth; and democracy, states that are small and poor." So also it was argued that democracy required an agrarian society. This was, indeed, an old belief, dating back at least to Aristotle.* Eighteenth-century democrats believed that the yeoman farmer was the backbone of democracy. Cities, said Jefferson, were "pestilential to the morals, the health, and the liberties of man." Governments in America will remain "virtuous ... as long as they are chiefly agricultural. . . . When they get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, they will become corrupt as in Europe." Jefferson's linking of farming and democracy became a dominant strain in American thinking. A century after Jefferson, the same argument reappeared in Turner's "frontier thesis" and the claim that American democracy came not from Europe but "out of the American forest. . . ." Despite these beliefs, however, affluence made democracy richer but not weaker, and industrialization strengthened democracy instead of corrupting it. They are having similar effects on communism. In all likelihood, the hopes of the contemporary advocates of convergence will be as unwarranted as the fears of the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century advocates of democracy.
* "For the
best material of democracy is an agricultural population; there is no difficulty
in forming a democracy where the mass of the people live by agriculture or the
tending of cattle." Politics, Book VI, par. 4.
A special factor influencing the development of political systems in our age is the unprecedented impact of international affairs and new, rapid means of communications. This is true particularly in the cases of the United States and the Soviet Union; both are most heavily involved in and committed to the present international rivalry. In assessing the impact of international affairs one must take note of several conflicting tendencies. The direct competition with the United States, especially the technical-economic one, has encouraged in the Soviet Union a tendency toward a more instrumental approach, highlighted by Professor Kapitsa's well-known statement to the effect that many of the Soviet space successes would have been impossible if the views of the "philosophers" (read: ideologues) had fully prevailed. In that, the leadership increasingly concurs. This has led it to accept scientific and scholarly exchanges with the West in the expectation that Soviet technical progress will gain by them. At the same time, the exchanges have aroused the fears of some Party leaders, especially those charged with ideological matters, that Western humanists and philosophers, admitted in part as the necessary price for the scientific exchanges, will undermine the official ideology. It seems that by 1963 Soviet leaders had not resolved this issue and that there was an internal debate on the advantages and risks of the enterprise.
Similarly, the expansion of communism on the one hand has provided apparent proof for the correctness of the communist prophecy, but on the other hand has generated inter-Communist debates, thereby undermining somewhat the image of the doctrine as a universal creed. The expansion of communism from the Soviet Union into adjoining countries, furthermore, has meant that the Soviet Union is now exposed to the flow of competitive ideas from other communist states, more culturally akin to the West, which act as "transmission belts" for novel ideas, garbed in the common doctrine but reflecting a more European outlook. This, too, helps to weaken the control which the political system has maintained over the individual's exposure to ideologically undesirable views. Finally, the competition for the underdeveloped nations has involved a commitment of badly needed resources and the tacit acceptance of various regimes' claims to socialism, an acceptance that could eventually threaten domestic orthodoxy.
On the other
hand, the very fact of the competition justifies the
internal mobilization of resources, not to speak of armaments, and the related attempts to generate popular hostility to the United States. The new sense of Soviet nationalism is merged with the ideological interests of the ruling bureaucracy, and the competition with America is their natural expression. It is also important to bear in mind that the communist system was created as an institution of revolution and conflict and hence in some ways is less threatened by international tensions than by protracted international harmony. To be sure, both America and Russia may learn from each other ("co-discovery"), while the mutual balance of terror forces them to coexist. But this is not tantamount to becoming more alike, nor indeed is there much reassurance that their becoming more alike would necessarily diminish tensions between them. A common communist system has not prevented bitter hostility between China and Russia, and most European wars were fought by countries with very similar social and political structures. This last point is particularly important because much of the emotional commitment to the convergence theory rests on the belief that it represents the only hope for peace. History shows that social-political uniformity and peace need not go hand in hand. In fact, the latter may be a more comforting conclusion than the proposition—shared by both the Marxists and the "convergists" —that peace depends on uniformity. Such a premise is both curiously escapist and Utopian. By now, the Communists particularly should realize that a communist America and a communist Russia would be likely to engage in a competition more intense than the relatively unequal struggle between Russia and China. Noncommunist believers in convergence also have no reason to assume that a noncommunist Russia, with its nationalist ambitions, would be less likely to strive to dominate the Eurasian continent than a communist Russia.
The theory of convergence thus minimizes or ignores the totality of the Russian and the American historical experience—political, social, and economic—and exaggerates the importance of one factor alone. It minimizes also the uniqueness of the historical process and forces it into a common pattern with fundamentally the same outcome for all. It asserts the repetitiveness of the historically familiar and ignores the probability that the future will see in both the United States and in the Soviet Union novel forms of government which will evolve out of the present on the basis of the uneven importance of political and social-economic determinants in the two countries.
In the Soviet Union the sense of purpose and commitment of the ruling professional Party bureaucracy; its organizational efficiency and its ability to recruit the ablest citizens; its capacity to continue directing the socialization and politization of the people; the availability of new means of social and economic control, designed to integrate and develop the society; finally, but very important, the personal character of the leader and the duration and methods of the struggle for succession—all these factors are likely to be more important than the intrusion of experts, of common patterns of industrial culture and leisure, of affluence, and of limited contacts with other countries. Barring some unforeseeable paralysis of the system during a struggle for succession, the Soviet trend involves a continuity in the pattern of political control and indoctrination on the basis of growing collectivist consensus. In the United States there is no convincing evidence for the argument that change either in the character of the leadership, including its increased professionalization, or in the social-economic aspects, particularly the new self-assertiveness of groups demanding a more equitable distribution of national wealth, points in the direction of the Soviet model. The broad trend, including the impact of the Cold War, seems to be toward a system involving a more politically conscious elite, more politically distributed social welfare, but within the framework of continued political and social pluralism. Thus the structure of power, the access to leadership, the role of ideology, and the relationship of the political system to the individual are not likely to undergo a radical change in either system.
in mood and style, or reductions in terror and fear, are not enough to advance
the process of Soviet political democratization. Positive political reforms are
also needed. These reforms would have to go beyond the introduction in the
Soviet political system of more formal and regular procedures which in
themselves would not undermine one-Party rule or challenge the Soviet
social-economic system. To be sure, any formalization in the long run would
result in some democratization, but it is possible to consider reforms which
would not involve direct revolu-
tionary consequences. For example, the following minimum of five reforms primarily affecting the ruling Party would be an important step toward more regularity and order without disastrous consequences for the present rulers:
(1) Adopting regular periods of incumbency for the First Secretary and for the Chairman of the Party Presidium in order to rest that office on regularity and legitimacy rather than on sheer political power, which inevitably introduces the dynamic of conflict into the leadership.
(2) Making the Prime Minister's incumbency correspond to that of the Party leader, in order to prevent the post of Prime Minister from becoming an alternative seat of power.
(3) Adopting regularized, formal procedures for replacing the leader at the end of his term, perhaps by a vote of the Central Committee or the Party Congress, out of several candidates, each of whom would be allowed to solicit support openly.
(4) Allowing open discussion and voting within the Central Committee, with the acceptance of majority versus minority votes instead of the present practice of requiring unanimity, which inhibits debate, encourages conformity, and abets dictatorial rule.
(5) Giving Party members the right to criticize specific Party policies, thereby making it possible to generate support for alternative programs even while restraining tendencies toward splits by the practice of "democratic centralism."
Such reforms would introduce elements of regularity, orderly procedure, and limited dissent into the top bodies of the ruling bureaucracy. This would be a step forward. However, political struggles would still involve a relatively small number of people in the higher echelons of the Party, controlling bureaucratically the levers of power. Political change would become more institutionalized but not yet necessarily more democratic. The political system would remain a bureaucratic oligarchy.*
It is also not certain that most people desire freedom and democracy. As Carl J. Friedrich observed: ". . . past as well as contemporary experience provided by history, sociology and psychology suggests that human beings desire a minimum of freedom, rather than a maximum. All human beings enjoy making some free choices, but not many, let alone all. It is only an unusual man who desires to be as fully autonomous as possible. . . . When tested in a democratic context, where an opportunity for maximizing freedom is provided, most or at any rate many men exhibit a decided preference for values other than freedom, such as justice and security, and a consequent willingness to be content with something decidedly less than the maximum possible. When opportunity for participation is provided, they do not participate, and when opportunity is provided for private activity, they do not engage in it. Many men seem to prefer having most decisions made for them, and practically all men prefer to have some decisions made for them. What holds for decisions, holds equally for actions, opinions, and the rest." Man and His Government (New York, 1963), p. 362.
Turning to America, one sees portents of the future in the new type of political leadership that is now emerging in both the Democratic and Republican parties. The common emphasis on a "public image," even on youthful energy, obscures the more basic and more important development of a new generation of much more politically professional leaders, surrounded by "brain trusts" and eagerly devouring policy papers on international and domestic problems. This reflects what seems to be a general trend toward more craft and less art in policy-making. It is likely that this trend, combined with the inescapably persisting pressures of international politics, will push the national government, irrespective of which party is in power, toward broader national management, gradually altering the present relationship between the political system and the individual. Inevitably, the government will be forced more and more to disseminate its own interpretation of reality (that is, "manage the news") in order not only to shape public opinion but perhaps occasionally to mislead foreign opponents and influence foreign friends. Eventually the American government may begin to approach in that respect the practices and skills that have been applied already for many years in England and France. [?... and in the USSR?] Similarly, the socialization of the citizen is likely to acquire more direct political overtones, as, for instance, in the spreading courses on communism. The present efforts to protect civil rights of Negroes also give the central government a new role in social affairs. The future may see the central government intervening more actively in arbitrating labor-management disputes, and the strike leader may increasingly give way to the arbitrator-bureaucrat.
But all that will still be balanced by the pluralism of the political and economic structure of the country and by the traditional pragmatism of the social and political elites. This pragmatism inhibits
the emergence of a political orthodoxy, which usually in turn generates even further pressures toward a power monopoly. The pluralism—weakening in certain areas—is being reinvigorated by the emergence of new groups clamoring for their rights and asserting their political claims. The Negroes are but one such constituency. Others include the educational and urban spheres, and the scientific-technological community. The influence of some of these groups may not rest primarily on economic resources but may be derived from an increasing social perception of the importance of these groups to the general national welfare and to American power in the context of the Cold War. The continuing importance of the Congress will also tend to offset the expansion of administrative power, even though Congress may act not as an arena for the varied interests of the country but primarily as a forum for the conservative interests, especially rural and regional. The new claimants, lacking the territorial basis and the economic wealth to acquire effective congressional representation, may therefore seek more direct access to the administrative branch.
In the Soviet Union, the increasing technical and scientific competence of the communist bureaucracy means that the modernization of society will continue apace and, as the French experience under de Gaulle [ID] suggests, modernization, economic rationalization, and further industrialization need not bring liberalization in their wake—but rather may bring the opposite. The complexities of central control, of long-range planning, of advance and often irrevocable commitment of large resources, and of scientific know-how are pushing the modern world into a greater concentration of decision-making in fewer hands. In that respect, America is still far behind even such countries as Britain or Germany, not to speak of France [EG].
France particularly has taken giant steps in the direction of what the French
technocrats, drawn mainly from the poly-technical circles, call democratic planification. It involves a concerted effort to wed technocratic rationality,
on the basis of modern computing devices applied to economic planning, to
democracy on the societal level. The political-economic decision-making thus
tends to be concentrated within a relatively narrow circle of experts, but the
plans allow for contingency revisions on an annual basis in response to popular
reactions and the operations of the market. This is both
a more advanced and a more rational model of command structure than the Soviet pattern, with its dogmatic aberrations, and than the American system, with its interlocking, segmented decision centers. Its roots must be sought in the strong French tradition of poly-technical education, emphasis on rationality and logic brought to the surface by the combined impact of external and domestic crises. This is a major development in the French political system, and, while de Gaulle helped to crystallize it, it is likely to outlast him. It is noteworthy that this experiment might be very appealing to young Soviet technocrats, who sense that their own Soviet attempt, pioneering though it was, has gone sour because of the bureaucratization of dogma and because of the traditional tension in Russia between anarchism and the resultant need for organizational discipline. To them, the French planning system might also be more appealing than the revisionism of either communist Poland or Yugoslavia, which essentially harks back to the old traditional notions of democracy and is based on the failure of centralized planning, not on its modernization. Precisely because the French system leaves little room for traditional democratic parties, and for the time being relies on the personal role of de Gaulle for the link between the society and the state, it could be all the more appealing to the younger Soviet technocrat.
However, what distinguishes this general trend from the Soviet version is that in the
advanced countries it is accompanied by the maintenance of civil liberties and
individual rights and above all by the political system's acceptance of
pluralism in popular outlook and expression. Perhaps the modern world, with its
new complexities and need for professional technically skilled leadership, is
seeing a new divorce between the political decision-makers and the masses—a gap
traditional to the aristocratic order and only recently closed by the liberal
democracy—but, at least for the foreseeable future, the society in countries
such as France remains democratic, and this inevitably influences and restrains
the state. In the Soviet Union, however, the society is subject to control and mobilization by
the state, and the superiority of the Party-state is paramount. Furthermore,
since the Party-state fears any challenge to its doctrinal primacy, it will not
tolerate anything which approaches "ideological coexistence" even within the
society. Thus the further modernization of the Soviet Union
is likely to be ac-
companied by efforts to maintain both the political and the ideological monopoly of the Party bureaucracy and the interdiction of any politically significant social or ideological pluralism. To that end, the unity of the ruling bureaucracy is the basic requirement. Although the late 1962 division of the CPSU into an industrial and an agricultural hierarchy could strain this unity, the Party has nurtured the tradition of discipline and unity, and the fear of factionalism is deeply ingrained. Furthermore, the inherent thrust of a modern bureaucracy is usually in a centralizing direction. Even so, one can still anticipate new clashes between the ruling bureaucracy, protecting both its power and hence its ideology, and the aspirations of various groups, particularly under the influence of external contacts that might be difficult and harmful for the leadership to cut off entirely. These clashes will probably be the dominant dilemmas of the Soviet political scene, but with the bureaucracy likely to prevail in its orthodox approach.
This suggests that the frequent talk of "democratization" in relation to the Soviet
political bureaucracy is as irrelevant as it would be to the evolution of
American industrial bureaucracy. The real question is one of orderly procedures,
flexibility, and bureaucratic rationality. The Ford Motor Company in this sense
has changed very significantly from the time when it was a personal autocracy of
Henry Ford. But it would be misleading to describe the process as one of
"democratization." To be sure, the recent experience of France
or Mexico suggests that modernization on the basis of essentially one-party
rule, with relatively centralized controls monopolized by a state bureaucracy,
does not require as extensive social mobilization as is practiced in the Soviet
Union. In that sense, it can be argued that the scale of controls insisted upon
by the CPSU is counter to its own ends, consumes much of its energy, and creates
needless discontent. Here, however, it is important again to remember that the
legacy of the past has its own momentum; in that respect the behavior and the
demands of the Soviet political bureaucracy reflect the specifics of the Russian
history, of the Leninist Revolution, and of the Stalinist transformation of
Soviet society. Even a limited democratization of the Soviet society— that is,
freedom of expression and of travel—would threaten the present political
leadership, whereas in both Mexico and France, for equally good
historical reasons, politics can remain the domain
of a limited elite without seriously impinging on individual freedom. Similarly, in America, the growing role of the political system is not likely to affect drastically the character of American democracy, although increasingly the political system and society will be struggling with the problem of how to keep a free society in close touch with the policy-making process without paralyzing the exercise of effective leadership. Yet this is quite a different dilemma from the one, mentioned earlier, that is likely to dominate the Soviet scene.
The Soviet and the American political systems, each in its own way, have been highly successful. Because they have been successful, they are not likely to change drastically. Yet for the two systems to converge there would have to be a drastic alteration of course—in a historical sense, a revolutionary change of direction —in the path of development of one of them. Every healthy political system changes, but if the change is gradual it tends to be shaped by the present and the past. Unless it is possible to prove that there has been or will be a major shift in the development of either the American or the Soviet system's relationship with society, or unless it is possible to prove that the past models of development of the two societies are fundamentally alike, then the very fact of evolution makes convergence unlikely. It is too simple to assume that the complexity of the human condition is reducible to a single social-economic or political mold. The evolution of the two systems, but not their convergence, seems to be the undramatic pattern for the future.