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Morality and Method in the Work of Barrington Moore Author(s): Dennis Smith Source: Theory and Society, Vol.

13, No. 2 (Mar., 1984), pp. 151-176 Published by: Springer Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/657360 . Accessed: 23/08/2013 18:28
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151

MORALITY AND METHOD IN THE WORK OF BARRINGTON MOORE

DENNIS SMITH

Barrington Moore's Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy was published in the United States in 1966, eight years after his collection of . Eight years represents, essays entitled Political Power and Social TheorY for Moore, a relatively long gap between major publications.2 During the period since the end of the Second World War, books by Moore have generally appeared at intervals of four to six years. The considerable attention which has been devoted to Social Originshas tended to hide from view the range of the corpus of scholarship to which that particularbook belongs. Although Moore's contribution to historical sociology is still very much "work in progress"it may not be prematureto look for some unifying themes in the enterpriseas a whole. These themes may also be located with referenceto a wider intellectualdebate in progress.This article is an attempt to begin that task of assessment. Moore's work fascinatespartlybecause of the range of intellectualinfluences it expresses:for example, the anthropological work of Sumner, Kroeberand Keller, the philosophical writings of Morris Cohen and George Santayana and, not least, the variants of criticaltheory representedby Franz Neumann and Otto Kirchheimer.Furthermore,during much of Moore's career, his friend Herbert Marcuse has evidently provided a fertile source of creative disagreement.3The excitement engendered by Moore's work owes a great deal to the fact that while being an authentic product of Americanacademic culture, rooted in the practicaland moral preoccupationsof that society, he has remained open to the influence of the critical tradition in twentiethcentury European thought. In this article, Moore's work will be contrasted with that of E. P. Thompson and Jiirgen Habermasin orderto demonstrate some of its similarities to, and differences from, certain aspects of recent work in Europe.

Management Centre, UniversitY of Aston, United Kingdom.

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152 Before I develop the line of inquiry mentioned above, it will be useful to present a brief summary of some central features of Moore's principal publications. In their subjectmatterthe main works complement each other in ways that are not evident at first sight. For example, whereas Social Origins is mainly concerned with the effects on the rural order of the modernization of various commercializedagrariansocieties, Injusticedeals with a similar theme from the point of view of the (German) industrial proletariat.The latter book pays great attention to forms of consciousness among the lower orders. By contrast, Moore'searliestworks, Soviet Politics and Terrorand Progress USSR, examine the content and consequences of the ways of thinking of the Soviet modernizing elite. The works just mentioned dealing with Germany and Russia help to make up for the exclusion of two chapters on those societies which Moore had intended to include in Social Origins.4 In much of his work Moore focuses upon various modalities of the processes whereby peasants or other kinds of workers become citizens. He is very interested in the conditions under which they acquire an investment in the social orderthroughtheirconnection with the modernizingstate. In his view, in the modern world, the "existingstate has become the main agency, indeed the only agency for the achievement of all purposes by all sections of the population."5The processesjust mentionedare looked at from a numberof angles but especially with referenceto changes in relationsbetweenthe rural and social orders and between the masses and the elite. The three major empirical studies considered in this article - the inquiries into Soviet Russia, Social Originsand Injustice- were punctuated by two collections of essays, respectively Political Power and Social Theory and Reflections on the Causes of Human Misery. A brief programmaticreview of these books may be helpful.6The questions underlyingthe Soviet studies are, respectively,how has the Soviet elite managed to cope with the conflict between the goals of its ideology and the means it has used in order to exercise power in an industrializingsociety?(Soviet Politics) and how is this regime likely to change following the death of Stalin?(Terrorand Progress USSR). In Soviet Politics, Moore studies the tactics used by Lenin and the Bolsheviksto establishcontrol over the Russian state, the dilemmasfaced by the political elite during the 1920s and early 1930s, and the contradictions inherent in Stalinist rule. Specifically, in a book appropriately sub-titled "The role of ideas in social change," he argues that Marxist-Leninistideas have imposed important constraints on the practical options open to the leadership, for example during the period of the NEP. Moore pays most attention to the difficulties encountered by the Stalinist bureaucracy in

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153 maintaininga stable polity and productiveeconomy but emphasizesthat, in spite of these problems, the regime has been able to manage an industrializing society over several decades. More briefly, in Terrorand Progress Moore pays particularattention to the threatto the totalitarianbureaucracy of tendencies towards more developed social stratification(as an aspect of and a more prominentrole for apolitical "experts" (as an aspect "tradition") of "rationality"). Political Power and Social Theorycontains a series of essays on topics such as modes of acquiring political power, totalitarianism in pre-industrial societies, the family, conformity in industrialsocieties and the methodology of the social sciences, in which Moore deals with aspects of the question: which elements of the social order in contemporary industrial societies are both unique and necessary to those societies? The issue implicit in his next work, Social Origins, is: what forms of modernizing transformation in commercialized agrarian societies are favorable to democratic outcomes? Although this is the most familiar of the major texts, it may be worth recalling that Moore is especially interested in two sets of relationships among landlords, urban bourgeois interestsand state officials and between the peasantry and their masters - and that he distinguishes between democratic (England, France, United States), authoritarian-fascist (Japan, Germany)and peasant revolutionary(Russia, China) routes to the modern world. Reflections on the Causes of Human Misery is largely concerned with the problem: which aspects of human misery are, in principle, unnecessaryand what prospects, in fact, are there for eliminating them? The analysis contained in those essays leads to the development of a model of "rational political authority"whose implications are explored further in Injustice. In this latter work Moore examines the development of the Germanindustrial work force from an age when guild organizationwas predominant,through the 1848 crisis, the rise of the Social Democratic Party, the First World War and the unrestof 1918-20, to the emergenceof the Nazi Party.This historical analysis is accompanied by a discussion of the thesis that a social contract specifying norms of reciprocity and the principles of justice is practically universalwithin human societies. Moore also examines the circumstancesin which apparently unjustified oppression acquires moral authority and speculates as to what conditions are likely to encourage moral outrage and active rebellionto take place. It should be evident from the above summaries that moral concerns have become increasinglyprominent in Moore's work. The implications of this fact will shortly be explored.

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154
Democracy is in our American mores. It is a product of our physical and economic conditions. It is impossible to discuss or criticise it. It is rhetoric. No one treats it with complete candor and sincerity. No one dares to analyse it as he would aristocracy or autocracy. He would get no hearingand would only incurabuse.... The mores contain the norm by which, if we should discuss the mores, we should have tojudge the mores. We learn the mores as unconsciouslyas we learn to walk and eat and breathe.... Thejustification of them is that when we wake to consciousness of life we find them facts which already hold us in the bonds of tradition,custom, and habit. The mores contain embodied in them notions, doctrines and maxims, but they are facts.7

Who now reads William Graham Sumner?We can be sure that Barrington Moore has done so.8 The latter received his "originaltraining in the social sciences" from Albert Keller, "Sumner'sgreatest pupil and scholar."9In Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy, Moore has attempted to conduct the kind of analysis impliedby Sumner'sremarksat the beginningof the above quotation, in other words, a criticaldiscussion of the development of democratic and non-democratic societies, including the United States. This analysis was one product of the pursuit of an ambition which has informedmuch of Moore'swork. Crudelystated, Moore'sobjectivehas been to develop a strategy of social analysis which will enable value judgements about how men and women should behave towards one another, especially in the political sphere, to be derived from the application of reason to discoverablefacts about the empirical world. Moore has tended to treat mores or moral codes as lodes of ore which might eventually yield the treasure he seeks. Sumner adopted a more pessimistic approach. In Folkways, he concluded that "anymoralityis betterthan moral anarchy." Mores, he observed, vary widely "according to the stage of civilisation and the fashions of reflection and generalization."They "can make anything right." However, despite their considerable variation in content, mores always contain philosophical and ethical judgments as to societal welfare that derive from the habitual or customary responses of human beings to needs defined by the strugglefor existence. Moral rules,the product of human experience of the world as it is, become part of that unquestionedexisting world:"Themorescontain embodied in them notions, doctrines and maxims, but they are facts."10 Moore is unsatisfiedby Sumner'smoral relativismwhich asserts the impossibility (and sometimes the irrelevance)of attempts to make ethical judgments between moral codes arising in different social conditions. It was under the guidance of Sumner'sold pupil, Keller,that Moore encountered, in the context of his interest in Russian affairs, an alternativeapproach to moral codes which he finds not only unsatisfactorybut also abhorrent.This is "moralchauvinism,"an approach which predicatesthe ethical superiority

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155 of a particularmoral code while treating all previous moral codes as being "both historicallynecessaryfor and historicallysupercededby"that code. In Moore's view the Soviet version of moral chauvinism illegitimatelyasserts the mandate of historical necessity as a justification for immoral acts."1 One object of this article is to consider Moore's attempts to establish a position with respect to the analysis of human behavior which avoids both moral relativism and moral chauvinism. A second object is to examine the consequences of Moore's efforts in the above respect for his practice as a historian and a sociologist. Following a brief comparison of his intellectual enterprise with those espoused by E. P. Thompson and Jurgen Habermas respectively, I will suggest that Moore has drawn upon both the Hegelian and the Utilitariantraditionsin Westernthought in his attempt to bridgethe gap between the "is"of the social scientistand the "ought"of the political or moral philosopher. His three major enterprises - the Soviet studies (published during the 1950s), Social Origins (which appeared in 1966) and Injustice (published in 1978) - are progressively more ambitious in this regard. In his Soviet studies Moore identifies the structural limits and potentialities(including ideological constraintsand imperatives)which conditioned the attempts of the Bolshevik regime to shape social reality. In Social Originshe not only conducts a broadly similaranalysis of the development of contrasting Western and Asian societies but also attempts to evaluate in moral terms the political outcomes whose origins he has explained. In InjusticeMoore once again conducts analyses of the kind indicated above. However, he also seeks to achieve two much more ambitious objectives.First, he attemptsto derivefrom the empiricalanalysis of past and present moral codes a model of "rationalpolitical authority"which "ought" to govern present and future political behavior. Second, he tries to demonstrate that the historical development of the German working class was in fact profoundlyinfluencedby its members'adherenceto the moralcode from which his model of political authority is derived. In this latest work is revealed a strong hankering for the marriagebetween moral certainty and scientific objectivity which was an ambition dear to the hearts of the philosophes of the Enlightenment. The reference to the Enlightenment is worth developing briefly. Moore's writings express a determined adherence to American aspirations which were fought for in the late eighteenth century and in the mid-twentieth century. Ironically,although both the American Revolution and the Second World War are neglected topics in his work, these conflicts have been perceived by many of Moore's compatriots as successful assertions of the right to pursue happiness in a just and free society. The Christian and

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156 classical traditions- reshapedby the Enlightenment,assertedin the Revolution, molded by the experience of American development in the nineteenth and twentieth centuriesand defended in the 1940s- furnish cultural resources upon which Moore draws deeply. The Spencerianism of Sumner and Keller provides a sardonic commentary upon many of the deep-ingrained Americanaspirationsembedded in this culture. However, certainaspects of Moore's early career suggest some possible reasons why he has been very reluctant to accept that any one moral code is as good (or as bad) as any other.12 Moore'sinitialacademictrainingat universitylevel was in Greekand the Latin, staple diet of the philosophes. He has had ready access to the intellectualuniverseof men such as Adam Smith, to whom, incidentally,he makes quite frequent reference in his work.13 Furthermore, during the Second World War Moore served as a political analyst in the Office of Strategic Studies and in the Department of Justice. The war was generally believed to be a militaryconfrontation between"thedictatorships" and "the democracies."It is significantthat this terminology appearsin the title of his most well-known book and that most of the chaptersare concerned with the major participantsin that conflict. Moore has been concerned with the interplay between the occurrence of majorstructuralchanges in societies and the global orderand the exercise of human influence within these processes. He has been in quest of two prizes. First, by acquiring an accurate understanding of the world he wishes to maximize the degree to which human beings may be made aware of their capacity to influence the way in which it develops. Second, and more ambitiously still, he wishes to establish with as much certaintyas is humanly possible the moral criteria with reference to which human beings should exercise their capacity for choice. Underlying all of Moore's work is the following question: how may historical and sociological knowledge be acquiredby men and women and used in orderto comprehendand mastertheir destiny, within the limits of their moral and rational development and the stage of evolution reachedby the societies and the global orderto which they belong? In order to emphasize the distinctivestrategywhich Moore has employed it will be useful to summarize briefly the approaches to this same issue which have been taken by Jurgen Habermasand E. P. Thompson. In much of his work Habermas is seeking to find ways of promoting the liberation of men and women from ideological mystificationsso that they may confront what he regardsas a primaryproblem in social theory:

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How is knowledge of the social interrelationships of life with a view to political action possible? How, within a political situation, can we obtain clarificationof what is practically necessaryand at the same time objectively possible?'4

Habermas argues that "the social sciences have been separated completely from the'normative elements that were the heritage of classical politics." Citing in particular the work of Aristotle, he asks:
How can the promise of practicalpolitics - namely, of providingpracticalorientationabout what is right and just in a given situation - be redeemed without relinquishing,on the one hand, the rigour of scientific knowledge, which modern social philosophy demands in contrast to the practicalphilosophy of classicism?And on the other, how can the promise of social philosophy, to furnish an analysis of the interrelationships of social life, be redeemed without relinquishingthe practical orientation of classical politics?'5

E. P. Thompson has his own answer to the question of how objective analysis of the interrelationships of social life may be reconciled with a practical orientation to political action. In his "Open letter to Leslek Kolakowski" he argues that an historian may achieve objective knowledge about historical processes, i.e., "practices ordered and structured in rational ways" and also about what he calls "historically emergent potentia," i.e., the limits upon human possibilities that are simultaneously disclosed and imposed in given societies with given technological levels and given social systems. Beyond this, however, Thompson enters a realm of faith. He has, he writes, "a faith in the ultimate capacity of men to manifest themselves as rational and moral agents."'6 He believes, on this basis, that within limits imposed by given technological levels, it is possible to control nature and achieve human emancipation. In Thompson's opinion, value judgments have no objective basis. His position is that in evaluating the consequences of particular historical processes the historian is at liberty to "identify" with one or other of the potential outcomes which the occurrence of those historical processes has made possible or, perhaps, foreclosed. Objective knowledge and faith are combined in this act of choice. He writes:
I may say as a matterof "faith"that I choose to identify with one potentia and not the others, and I may say as a historical investigatorthat the chosen potentia is one of the historicallyobservable possibilities of choice, and I may add that I am, in my choosing and valuing nature, an outcome of this potentia.l7

Immediately following this passage Thompson acknowledges that he is "a philosophical neophyte" who is fumbling "within the portico of one of the most exacting of philosophical problems - the segregated domains of the 'is'

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158 and the 'ought."' Although he speculates that "with the advance of an infinitely-subtle, empirically-foundedsocial psychology" it might become possible "to translate certain notions of value, of good and evil behaviour, into diagnostic notions of psychic health and neurosis,"Thompson does not pursue this "hazardousapproach." He accepts that the evaluation of history is an "inevitableactivity"for the historian. However,this processis no more - and no less - than an act of faith that is made against the background of achieved objective knowledge. Thompson's more recent involvement in public campaigns against the nuclear arms race may be understood as an extension of this logic. In 1973 he wrote: "we have seen the capacity to control nature as, simultaneously,the capacity to lay nature waste, bringingwith it simultaneousopportunitiesfor He clearlyidentifieshimselfwith human emancipationand self-destruction." the former ratherthan the latterpotentia. He evidentlyhopes that others will join him in this act of faith when in possession of the relevant objective knowledge.18 Habermas, who is certainly no fumbling philosophical neophyte, also encounters the problem of the relationship between the "is"and the "ought." However, he deals with it in a differentway as will be seen shortly. Habermas is centrally concerned with the process of self-reflection. In the course of self-reflection men and women, the subjects of history, reconstruct their understanding of their past and present. Self-reflection is the tool of the emancipatorycognitive interest. In other words, it helps towards realization of the demand for material and intellectual conditions that will permit Thisdemandstemsfroma recognition workandfreeinteraction. non-alienating that certain forms of social communication are necessary for the effective pursuit of humankind's technical and practical interests. The activity of reasoningand the pursuitof knowledgeimply a will to actualizeas completely as possible the conditions underwhich reason may be most fully manifest: that is, an open, inquiring and self-criticalcommunity. One aspect of the process of self-reflection is the critical examination of assumptions embedded in those historically-produced disciplines,such as economics, sociology and political science, which purport to explain the social order. An important issue guiding this examination is the following: to what extent must the pursuit of the emancipatorycognitive interestbe contained within limits imposed by genuinely irremovable social constraints and what are those limits? Habermas believes - as does Barrington Moore - that many constraints imagined to be inevitable are in fact removable. In Habermas's opinion, a major concern of critical social science is "to determine when theoreticalstatementsgrasp invariantregularitiesof social action and when

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159 they express ideologically frozen relations of dependence that can in principle be transformed."'9 Unlike Thompson, Habermasdoes not appear to believe that the criteriaof valuejudgments have no objectivebasis. In the latter'sview, the actualization of reason - and, with it, the manifestationof truth, freedom and justice - can only occur among the emancipated community of free inquirersmentioned above. However, Habermasbelieves that even the distorted communication which we have already achieved in a society, many of whose members are unfree,deceived and unjustlytreated,does in fact contain implicitlywithin it the normative foundation which at some future time may become explicit with the actualization of "idealspeech,"i.e., a form of discoursedriven solely by the compulsion of argument itself.20 In other words, values may be discovered through the analysis of past and existing social forms. They are not simply imposed by the analyst as an act of faith. This position is very similar to that proposed by Moore in Injustice. Habermas bridges the gap between the "is"and the "ought"to some extent through his suggestion that human aspirations necessarilytend towards an ideal that is, in principle,discoverableby empirical investigation. However, he does not argue that values which have an objective basis may be adduced as a means of legitimizingor prescribingany specificset of politicalactions.2' As will be noticed shortly, BarringtonMoore pays considerableattention to developing a form of moral calculus which may be used to evaluate the comparative worth of alternativepolitical strategies.In this regardhe differs from both Thompson and Habermas. However, in his methodology as a historian Moore has many resemblancesto Thompson. In his orientation to normative isses he moves closer in several respects to Habermas. Moore's approach will now be discussed directly. Running through Moore's work is a strong Aristotelian tendency to regard the polity as the major domain of moral action. At one point he comments that although "some portion of personal unhappinessis probablyan inevitable part of human fate," a very large portion stems from institutionalcauses which are, to a degree, subjectto influenceby human action.22Such action in the political sphere derives, in Moore's view, from moral understandings which ultimately determinethe kinds of social compromise that are acceptable within the range of possibilities offered by any given level of technological and intellectualdevelopment. He is especially concerned with the consequences for human misery and happiness of relations between the political rulerand his (or her) subordinates.This focus is evident in his earliest books on Soviet Russia and in reflected in the title of the second - Terror and

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160 Progress USSR. "How much authoritarian terror is justified in pursuit of human progress?" is an implicit question runningthrough much of Moore's work. On the question of whetherhuman beingscan in fact successfullymanagethe moral arena of the polity through the application of reason, Moore veers between, on the one hand, the resignedattitude of Aristotle and the ancients who, in Peter Gay's words, were always aware of "the ubiquitous threat of tyranny or the savage power of the passions" and, on the other hand, the optimism of the Enlightenment, particularly in its earlier phase.23Very crudelystated, this optimism consisted in the expectation that the practiceof Science, that is, the rational examination of data derived from the natural and social worlds, would facilitate discovery of universallaws expressed in these spheres.Accordingto this view, moral rulesabout interpersonalbehavior and the regulation of society are grounded in the nature of humankind. Thephilosophes combined a passion to discover what these moral ruleswere with a conviction that existing social arrangementswere neither moral nor
- and this would be to say the same thing - rational.

By the mid-nineteenthcentury (if not before) Science, the supposed handmaiden of the philosophes, had helped to undermine the optimism of the Enlightenment in three ways. First, as evidence accrued about different societies it became apparentthat their institutionalarrangementsand moral understandingsdid not yield clear evidence of universalmaxims but in fact varied considerably through time and space. Second, the practitioners of science increasinglydefined their task as the discovery of the "is"as opposed to the "ought."Third, they performedthis function to an increasingextent underthe patronageof governmentswhich continued to display many of the characteristicswhich the philosophes had considered to be immoral. Moore has shrunkfrom a view of the world whichcombines moral relativism and scientificpositivism. Two philosophical traditions,both emergingin the wake of the Enlightenment, have offered him the bases for a strategy for reconciling the "is"and the "ought."They are Hegelianismand Utilitarianism. The former approach contains an assumption that although ways of thinking and behaving differ between historical epochs, the moral order appropriate to any particularsociety has a necessary connection with the institutional forms within which thought and practice are expressed, for example, the division of labor and forms of domination. The latter, Utilitarian, approach derives from the psychological proposition that men and women are self-seeking. In the well-known words of Bentham:

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161
Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do. On the one hand the standard of right and wrong, on the other hand the chain of causes and effects, are fastened to their throne.24

It is intriguingto notice that Sumner'swritingcombines elements of both the above approaches. For example, he writes:
The folkways are attended by pleasure or pain according as they are well fitted for the purpose [of satisfying human interests]. Pain forces reflection and observation of some relation betweenacts and welfare.At this point the prevailingworld philosophy ... suggests explanations and inferences,which become entangled withjudgments of expediency. However, the folkways take on a philosophy of right livingand a life policy for welfare.Then they become mores, and they may be developed by inferencesfrom the philosophy or the rulesin the endeavour to satisfy needs without pain. Hence they undergo improvement and are made consistent with each other.25

Moore has not adopted either approach uncritically. For example, on the one hand he accepts the Hegelian assumption that the impulse towards freedom in any particularsociety is related to its members'rational analysis of the obstacles that existing social forms present to the realization of the values and goals (such as justice) possessed by members of that society. On the other hand, he does not believe that succeeding epochs necessarily manifest a progressiveunfolding of reason and its concrete manifestationin institutionsexpressingever-higherprinciplesof freedom.26 Moore'sviews on this matter are consistent with his perceptionthat social development is to a significant extent affected by human choice. Turningto Utilitarianism,Moore adapts its centralpropositionto arguethat human beings pursue happiness (rather than pleasure) and abhor misery (ratherthan pain). He also assertsthat although definitions of happinessvary almost infinitely there is a broad, perhaps universal, consensus about the undesirabilityof specific forms of misery such as war, hunger, cruelty and intolerance. Moore's modified Hegelianismis orientedto the historicalanalysis of whole societies, identifying the institutional and normative constraintsand potentialities in terms of which choice has been exercised by individuals and groups in the past. Moore has sometimes stressed transformationsin structural constraints at the societal level and sometimes the processes of human responseto such transformations.Moore's modified Utilitarianismis oriented to the ahistorical analysis of the costs and benefits of particularstructural changes and specification of the goals that men and women should strive to realize through social and political organization. The quasi-Hegelian ap-

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162 proach predominatesin Moore'searlierwritings,leadingup to and including


Social Origins.27 Utilitarian formulations, already implicit in this early work,

begin to surface in Social Originsand are made explicit in Reflections. His latest work, Injustice, is in part an attempt to reconcile aspects of the two approaches. These shifts of emphasis will be traced while pursuing the further objective of exploring the impact of Moore's moral concerns,upon his practiceas a sociologist and a historian. It should be stated immediately that Moore does not perceive sociological facts as having an ontological status which is differentfrom that of historical facts. Facts about the characteristicsof types of social structure(including forms of thought) and their modes of variation over time have the same status as facts about the characteristicsof specific individuals and groups (including their beliefs and motivations). A factual statementconveys information whose accuracy can be tested without referenceto the existence or desires of the person making the statement. Facts have to be discovered that are relevantto whateverquestion is being investigated. Various means may be used. For example, comparative analysis of social arrangements is an indispensable procedure when seeking to establish factual generalizations about the characteristics of types of social structure and social process. Furthermore,painstakingresearchis indispensablein the search, one which is rarelysuccessful,for all the facts which are relevantin any instance. However, factual statements are not the only kind of statement that is relevant to the questions which Moore asks. In his opinion, human choices and changes in social structureshould be evaluatedin termsof theirtendency to produce or alleviate human misery,especiallyin so far as these tendencies The precise are expressed in relations between rulers and subordinates.28 formulation of this issue varies in different parts of Moore's work. In his earlier work, leading up to and including Social Origins,he tends to frame the question as: what forms and what degree of violence and repressionare necessaryin orderto produce or maintaina given degreeof humanfreedom? In Reflections and Injustice he tends to reformulate the issue as: what combination of freedom and repression is necessary in order to reduce human misery? Apart from factual statements and statements about the criteria of moral evaluation, a third kind of statement is, in Moore's view, relevant when analyzing human choices and transformationin social structurein the past and present.These are statementsabout what "islikely to have happened"in the past if certain antecedentconditions or specific human choices had been different; and statements about what is "likely to happen" in the future

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163 depending upon whether choice A or choice B is actually made or whether structuraloutcome X or structuraloutcome Y actually occurs. This kind of statement is neitherfactual nor does it involve a moral evaluation. However, Moore argues that rational and objective procedures exist on the basis of which such statements may be made and criticized. Indeed, such statements are a necessary component of the process of morally evaluating social processes and human choices with referenceto their costs and benefits.29 In all his work Moore has been concerned with the relationshipbetween the three kinds of statement indicated above. It is convenient to begin the more detailed analysis by examining some of his earliest attempts at establishing empirical generalizationsabout social structuresand social processes. During the 1940s, Moore tried and quickly turned away from the statistical procedures of a positivist version of social science.30He also resisted the claims of normative functionalism. In 1953 Moore's article entitled "The new scholasticism and the study of politics" appeared.31It anticipated C. Wright Mills's later and more well-known critique of Parsonianismand statisticalempiricism.32 These views weredeveloped in the essays collected in Political Power and Social Theory.In this volume Moore displays considerable virtuosityin applying the strategiesof comparativeanalysis, functionalism and evolutionary theory. For example, in his "Notes on the process of and totalacquiringpower"he distinguishesfeudalism, rational bureaucracy itarianismas modes of control and coordination, each with its own structural dilemmas. The paper exemplifies the significance that Moore attaches to recurringcycles of similarstructurewithin a broad evolutionary scheme and also his sensitivity to the invariant characteristicsof the range of organizational forms which may be used to coordinate the behavior of large numbers of human beings. In another paper, on the basis of a comparative analysis of "Totalitarian elements in pre-industrialsocieties," Moore argues that repressionwith the objective of maintaining "irrational standards of behaviour" is a typical responseto problemsfor which a culturehas no solution. Totalitarianism,he concludes, is not confined to industrial societies and has no necessary connection with the mode of production. Having made the case that totalitarianism is a phenomenon recurringthrough time and space and not confined to industrialsocieties, he goes on in his "Thoughtson the future of the family" to make a contrasting argument. According to Moore, the family, which is widely considered to be universal, is threatened with extinction becauseit is losing its traditionalfunctions in the course of evolution. Finally, in his "Reflectionson conformity in industrialsociety," Moore identifiesfive forms of conformity which are inescapably necessaryin such a society. They

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164 include:conformity to the logical principlesof the world around us; conformity to some form of managerialdecision-making concerning the production and allocation of resources;conformity to a degree of social control to cope with "basically selfish, aggressive and evil tendencies in biological human nature";conformity to some set of "non-empiricalbeliefs"since this has empiricallybeen "one of the main bases of social cohesion";and conformity to the basic culturalruleswhich make social communication possible.33 In these papers Moore's underlying strategy, which is implicit rather than explicit, is to employ conventional techniques of evolutionary,functionalist and comparative analysis in order to obtain provisional answers to three questions. They are: Which elements of the social order in contemporary industrial societies are unique and necessary to those societies? Which elements are sharedwith other types of society, possibly because they belong to a limited range of workable solutions to problems encountered in similar forms in many kinds of society? And, finally, are there any elements of industrial society commonly assumed to be necessarywhich are in fact not necessary and which could disappear without the disintegration of that society following as a necessaryconsequence? Moore's unidentified adversaryin this book is, one may surmise, his friend and former colleague, Herbert Marcuse, whose book Eros and Civilization had appeared three years previously.34Marcuse argues that the formal freedoms of bourgeois society disguise an apparatusof repressionwhich has in-built tendencies towards totalitarianism. Repression was, in Marcuse's opinion, requiredin less-developedsocieties since enforcedconformity was a necessary aspect of the mode of production. However, in advanced bourgeois society the demand for conformity extends far beyond the limits necessaryto produce the materialbases of civilization. In such a society, he believes, the possibility of happiness is denied to its membersby the use of oppressive techniquesfor producing conformity. Moore regards the position to which Marcuse'swork leads as being one of "mere peevishness about the present," which is perceived as being totally repressive,and "sheer optimism about the future"which is seen as being a realm of complete freedom whose achievement depends upon the supercession of capitalism.35In response Moore attempts to determine, through functionalistanalysis, the minimumdegreeof conformity that is necessaryin industrialsocieties. He also, throughcomparativeanalysis,arguesthat many institutionalarrangementsand political cycles, such as those associated with totalitarianism, thought to be peculiar to industrial societies are in fact shared by others. Finally, through an exploration of evolutionary ideas, he

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165 infers that the limits within which change may be possible within a society depend upon the consequences of its prior historicaldevelopment in closing off certain options and opening up others. Although he rejects Marcuse'sdevelopment of Hegel, Moore presents his own position on values in the late 1950s as being "basicallythe conclusion that Hegel offers us at the end of his contradictions,when they are strippedof their mystical and quasi-mystical overtones." He argues that the rational framework underlyingthe external world may be discoveredby "disciplined and rational thinking." His hope is that "the concept of a perfect society" might be reached, "taking off from real societies, to reach a critical standard."36 He adds:
Perhapsthe best we can do at any given moment in history is to draw out the potentialitiesof the social forms that exist before us in such a way as to set up a critical standard for evaluating the status quo.37

Unfortunately, although Moore is able to imagine such a procedure in principle he does not find a way of applying it in 1958. The prospect he is forced to envisage is of the intellectualhaving"to go down with his ship, with all bannersflying and steam hissing from the boilers, on behalf of principles At this point Moore's apabout which absolute certainty is impossible."38 proach to values is very similarto Thompson'sposition as describedearlierin this paper. Moore's books on the Soviet Union writtenat about this time are not unduly inhibited by what he clearly recognizes as a lacuna in his methodological armory because in these studies he is concerned not to specify how that society should develop but ratherto identify, first, the causes of its political development up until 1950 and, second, the most likely (as opposed to the most desirable)future developments in its political structureafter the death of Stalin. The values relevant to these tasks were not his own but those embedded in the "chartermyth"of Soviet communism.39 Moore mobilizes a great deal of historical and contemporarydata to which he applies many of the analyticaltechniquessubsequentlyoutlined in Political Powerand Social Theory. In Soviet Politics Moore emphasizes three aspects of post-revolutionary Russia: first, the restrictions that the functional requirements of industrial society and the pressuresof external relations imposed upon the attempted realization of an utopian ideology; second, the functions that an ambiguous ideology could performfor a totalitarianregimein an industrializing society; and third, the dilemmas and costs unavoidably imposed upon such a regime and members of the society in which it holds power. The

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166 achievement of this book is to have cut through the distorted perceptions produced in the United States by fear of the Soviet Union and to have produced a rational and empirically-basedanalysis of the structuralconstraints and opportunities in terms of which the Soviet leadership had to make its political choices.40 In Terror and Progress USSR Moore applies a similar strategy in his assessment of the likely costs and benefits to the Soviet regime of possible changes in ideological emphasis and forms of social control tending away from totalitarian terror and towards either greater bureaucraticrationality or a greateremphasis upon tradition. Moore arguesthat the relevantconsiderations include not only the continuing functional requirements of an industrialsociety but also the implicationsof these possibletendencies- both of which have been to some extent realized- for the power and legitimacyof the political elite.41 In passing from his Soviet studies to the analysis contained in Social Origins Moore makes two important transitions. First, he shifts from the relatively familiar company - familiar to a Harvard intellectual - of urban political elites to the much less familiarruralenvironmentof the peasant community and its aristocratic overlords. Second, he directs his attention away from Soviet Russia, which he had been able to analyze as a knowledgeable and insightful outsider, and towards the Westerndemocratic societies of which he is so clearlya product. It must be acknowledged straightawaythat Moore manages the first transition with far greater success than he manages the second. In Social Origins he tries to introduce the process of systematic moral evaluation into his analysis to a degree which he does not attempt in his Soviet studies. It is a disappointment that in his specification of the characteristics of democratic polities which are worthy of our approval Moore should limit himself to itemizing the familiarlist of formal legislative and judicial institutions, apparentlyassuming almost without question that In other words, they realizein practicetheir claim to guarantee"freedom."42 the claims of democratic ideology are denied the clear-sightedscrutiny to which Soviet communism is subjected.Instead, Moore begins his book with a short chapter on England whose development after about 1830, when democracyestablisheditself peacefullyand broadeneddown "parliamentary from precedentto precedent,"is presented,implicitlyat least, as a hallowed example by which other societies should be judged.43 I have deliberately begun with the most serious of my criticisms because I think that, despite this weakness, Social Originsis a considerableintellectual achievement whose flaws are a consequence of its Herculean ambition,

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167 In this book the results of prolonged and detailed historical research are presentedthrougha subtle interweavingof narrativeand comparativeanalysis. Moore explores two modalities of the ruralorder'sresponse to commercialization and bureaucratization. These are: first, its confrontation with modernizing urban society; and, second, the transformation of forms of domination in the countryside. In respect of both Moore is concerned with the costs and benefits of particular sequences of modernization and their implications for the development of repressionand freedom. The heart of the book consists of a comparative analysis of the moral and material conditions of existence of groups belonging to the configurations binding together peasants, landlords, merchants,rulersand public officials. On the basis of a masterlyexposition, deployed over severalchapters,Moore sets out to build two complementary intellectual structures. The first is a series of causal explanations of a number of rapid and dramatic structural transformations, entailing considerable violence and suffering, such as the French and Chinese Revolutions. The second is a series of analyses of the morally-relevantconsequences of the processeswherebymodernizingurban society has impinged upon the ruralorder. The analytical strategiesare very different in the two cases. In constructing his causal explanations Moore typically presentshis empirical findings with respect to the following: 1) the potentialities for and limits upon structural variations in the society concerned at its specific stage of development; 2) the tendencies towards cohesion and disintegration which are actually presentin that society, with particularreferenceto the division of labor and forms of domination; 3) the perceptions of their material and moral interests manifested by specific groups within the society; 4)the occurrence of specific events or tendencies which present a threat to those perceived interests sufficiently sudden or drastic to stimulate people into action; 5) the identityof the potentialallies, opponents and victimsof specific groups whose perceivedinterestsare threatened;and 6) the options in historical development which have been closed off in that society as a result of precedingsequences of historical change. Data is also presentedwith respectto how people actually behaved after the threat had occurred and with respect to the structural outcomes to which their behavior contributed. These two final categoriesof data are interpreted with reference to the findings listed above. In other words, the responses (active or passive) of threatenedgroups are interpretedwith referenceto their perceptions,includingtheir perceptionsof the penaltiesof failing to respond. The structural outcomes of the interplay between the processes that were

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168 perceived as threateningand the responses of threatened groups are interpreted in terms of the following factors:the society's potential for structural variation, the strength and character of tendencies towards cohesion and disintegrationwithin the society, and the options for structuraldevelopment that are available in the society in the light of its previous historicaldevelopment.44 This strategyof causal explanation is broadly the same as that employed by E. P. Thompson in his work on eighteenth-and nineteenth-century England. In Social Origins,as in The Making of the English WorkingClass,explanations depend upon detailed knowledge about particular groups or even individuals. In both works specifichistoricaloutcomes such as the American Civil War and the Reform Act of 1832 are accounted for with referenceto structuralconditions and human motivations interactingwith each other.45 Moore'sanalyses of causation are complementedby an assessmentof morally-relevant political outcomes of modernizing processes. His overarching is based upon the latterand not the former. typology of modernizing"routes" A brief consideration of the very different causal processes responsible for the American Civil War and the French Revolution, both of which had "democratic"outcomes, makes this point immediatelyobvious. Indeed, the lack of symmetrybetween Moore'streatmentof causes and his treatmentof outcomes may be responsible in large measure for the deeply ambiguous critical response which Social Originscalled forth.46In this respect, Theda Skocpol's States and Social Revolutions has done more to satisfy conventional expectations while being less ambitious in its objectives.47 Although Moore suggeststhat events such as the French Revolution and the American Civil War "cleared the way" for democratic outcomes in those societies, he should not be understood to mean that violence as such caused those outcomes.48His procedureof moralassessmentis to set these costs on a balance sheet alongside the benefits, if any, obtained in terms of human freedom. Also relevant are the costs and benefits (in terms of misery and freedom) which have not been incurredas a resultof a failureto develop in an alternative way which was genuinely "in the cards." In other words, an element of "opportunitycost" enters into moral assessment. The above procedure,which is fundamentalto Moore's orientationto social analysis, is disabled in Social Originsin a numberof ways. First, Moore fails to distinguish his proceduresof moral assessment from his causal explanations with sufficientclarity.The distinctionand its significanceonly become evident when Moore'swritingsare consideredas a whole. Second, as argued

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169 previously, he fails to define democracy or specify its morally-approved characteristicsexcept in a mannerthat leaves him open to a charge of naivety which neither his previous nor his subsequent work would support. Third, Moore tends, especially in the chapter entitled "The democratic route to modern society,"to reifychanges in the credit balance of his moral ledger so that they appear as the index of a benevolent force located in the historical process, expressing itself in successive societies. He writes that "it makes sense... to regard the English Civil War, the French Revolution and the AmericanCivil Waras stagesin the developmentof the bourgeois-democratic revolution."49 On reading this one has a sense that Hegelian tendencies are momentarily surfacing in Moore's mind in resistanceto the ahistorical bias of a quasi-Utilitarianmoral calculus. In Reflections and Injustice Barrington Moore finally conducts a series of frontal attacks upon the problem of deriving the criteriaof valuejudgments from objective knowledge about human societies. In the former book he develops a moral calculus on the basis that "Theevidence is reasonablyclear that human beings do not want a life of suffering, at least not for its own sake."50 He confronts a number of difficultiesin applying a calculus of costs and benefits,difficultieswhich would have been far less acute if they had been encountered within a Hegelian framework. Three examples may be given. First, Moore asks how long one would have to wait afteran event such as the French Revolution before drawingup the moral ledger of costs and benefits. A Hegelian would surely just keep his ears open for the beating wings of Minerva'sowl, in the meantime repeating the reputed answer of a Chinese communist leader to this very question that "it is too early to tell." Second, Moore asks how one assesses, in moral terms, human actions such as those carriedout by the Inquisition. Its torturesand punishmentsare indefensible in the light of Moore's own values but they were inflicted in the sincere hope of deflectingvictimsand potentialvictimsfrom beliefsand practiceswhich, it was widely assumed, would damn them to an eternity of misery. Again, a Hegelianwould presumablyhave little difficultyin locating the Inquisitionat a relativelyearly stage within the dialectical process of reasons'unfolding.51 Third, Moore is forced to acknowledge a contradiction between two principles: on the one hand, intellectual speculation and innovation should be controlled in order to protect the stability of a society's moral order and to avoid the diversion of resourcesfrom the task of reducingthe level of misery within the limits of existing knowledge; on the other hand, he insists, it is impossible to relinquishthe principlethat "the disinterestedpursuit of truth and beauty" should continue even though new knowledge might be produced which underminesbeliefs which support the moral intention of reducOur Hegeliantheoristwould, however,be ing miseryin a particularsociety.52

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170 well aware that the dialectical contradictions expressed in part through the aspirationstowards freedom and justice would tend to underminethe existing order in preparationfor the higher synthesis of a succeeding epoch. In fact, Moore takes some cold comfort from his perception, as a "critical rationalist,"that in any case the most likely outcome of existing trendswithin and betweensocieties is the collapse of politicalauthorityand acceptedcodes of behavior.53 Moore snatches four sets of positive conclusions from his rather gloomy analysis in Reflections. First, in his two essays on "predatorydemocracy"in the contemporary United States, he effectively disposes of the charge of naivety by subjecting liberalism, the current ideology of capitalist demoMoore argues that both the supportersand the cracy, to critical scrutiny.54 opponents of liberalideology tend to assume, quite mistakenly,that many of the featuresof Americansociety which producehuman miseryare inevitable aspects of capitalism. Instead, Moore suggests, men and women may choose to reform aspects of this society, without altering its capitalistic nature, in such a way as to reduce the misery which is a consequence of war, poverty, hunger, injustice, oppression and intolerance. Adopting a strategy reminiscent of his analysis in Terrorand Progress USSR, he itemizes the costs and benefits of various potential means of pursuingthis desirablegoal. Second, Moore sets out the conditions which, in his view, are necessaryfor a society "to permit full and free discussion of any and all sorts of viewpoints on all subjects."55 These conditions, which may be recognized as a comproof Habermas's "idealspeechcommunity"and mise betweenthe requirements Moore's perceptionsof the minimumrequirementsfor social stability,are as follows: a rational consensus should exist on the need to forbid the use of destructivepurposes"and also on the need to technical means for "primarily control the rate of intellectual innovation and the direction of research investment;the society should be made safe from foreign threats;its inhabitants should be emotionally secure,rationaland in possession of the technical and intellectualcompetence providedby a broad and coherent liberaleducation; and a rough socio-economic equality should exist to inhibit the appearance of a powerful establishmentcontrolling thought.56 Third, Moore identifies two serious obstacles to the establishmentnot only of the intellectuallyfree society describedabove but also of a society dedicated to minimizing human misery. These obstacles are: the irreducibleuncertainty and insecurity stemming from competition between individuals, groups and states; and the constant temptation facing individuals to avoid the sanctions and commands of moral rules for their own advantage and to

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171 the detriment of others.57 This conclusion is positive insofar as by acknowledging the inevitability of the above factors efforts may be concentrated upon pursuing the implications of his final conclusion. This is that a major source of social conflict is moral disagreement about the principles that should be expressed within political orders. This conclusion leads him to devote his attention to establishing, through a combination of reason and empiricalevidence, the bases of a legitimateform of politicalauthoritywhich may, he hopes, be acknowledged as an appropriate replacement for the defunct modes of liberalismand communism.58 The task of specifying the principles of what Moore calls "rationalpolitical authority,"which was begun in Reflections, is carriedfurtherin Injustice.In the former work he deduces from the application of his quasi-Utilitarian moral calculus that rulers should govern in such a way as to minimize suffering within their societies insofar as this is humanly possible.59 In Injustice he attempts to demonstrate that his view of the "ought" in this matterexpresses a consensus about the natureof political rightsand obligations which is universally assumed in fact. Furthermore, he argues that failure to enact these principlesproduces"moraloutrage."The experienceof misery,he suggests, only fails to elicit such "outrage"when it is thought to be "inevitable,"beyond human control.60 The main development in Moore's intellectualposition in Injusticeis his new emphasis upon the redefinitionof"inevitability"which occurs in succeeding epochs. An importantconsequence of this process of redefinitionis that the potential scope of human control and hence human choice is perceived as This new intellectual emphasis permits Moore to cope becoming greater.61 with evidence that the actual expectations of subordinates about rulers' behavior have differedin detail betweensocietiesand epochs. Indeed, Moore mobilizes an impressivenumber of data on the development of the German working class which tends to show that although the aspiration for "decent human treatment"remainedconstant, changing perceptionsof the extent to which the society's rulers could provide it gradually led to an increase in expectations.62 By stressing,on the one hand, the constancy of humanaspirationsand, on the other hand, the transformability of human perceptions of the scope for effective action, Moore producesa reconciliationbetween his quasi-Utilitarianism, which assumes a universal psychology, and his quasi-Hegelianism, which assumes that political ideologies undergo change over time. On this basis he reachesfor the prizewhich Sumner had been able to describebut not achieve:

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172
A reallygreatand intelligentgroup purposefounded on correct knowledgeand reallysound judgment, can infuse into the mores a vigor and consistent characterwhich will reachevery individual with educative effort. The essential condition is that the group purpose shall be "foundedon correct knowledgeand really sound judgment."The interestsmust be real and they must be the interestsof the whole, and thejudgmentas to means of satisfyingthem must be correct.63

The big question raisedby Injusticeis whetherin fact Moore has successfully anchored his moral calculus and his model of rational political authority in anthropological evidence that demonstratestheir imperativecharacterand universal applicability. The reader certainly closes the book feeling well travelled. For example, visits are made to the Trobriand Islands, classical Greece, the Semai of Malaya, eighteenth-centuryEngland, the Barotse, the Kapauku Papuans, the Ming Empire, the Lovedu people and the North
Alaskan Eskimos - all before page 37.64 This inductivist approach, which

brackets or sets aside considerations of historical development in order to discover constants that transcend geography and history, has recurredin In this case, does his evidence prove his Moore's work from the beginning.65 point? It must first be recognizedthat it is not surprisingthat an American scholar should find congenial resonances in a German culture which has played a large part in gestating the values to which he is committed. However, the intellectualgroundworkfor concludingthat similarmeaningsabout political obligation may be inferredfrom societies much more estrangedin time and place does not appear in Injustice. Indeed, one may readily conclude from the arguments of, for example, Quentin Skinner, that the intended illocutionary force of statementsderivingfrom such culturescannot be identified without considerableinvestigationof contemporarydebates, includingtheir repeated emphases and significant silences.66Moore does not attempt this exercise - apart from his discussion of Germanmaterials.In view of this the case must remain, at best, "non-proven." However, Injustice may usefully be considered as being composed of two books, one a speculative essay in philosophical anthropology, the other a highly skilled and successfulenterprisein historicalsociology. In his study of "the making of the German working class," Moore explicitly acknowledges the influence of Thompson, whose work was discussedearlier. He attributes to the English scholar the perception that workers in an industrializing society "werecapable of developing throughtheir own experiencestheir own diagnoses and remedies for the ills which afflicted them."67In his own attempts to draw out the social ideals implicit in the German workers' consciousness, Moore is also engagingin an enterpriseclose to the intellectual

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173 concerns of Jurgen Habermas. However, Moore goes beyond both writers by carefullyanalyzing the interplaybetween human agency and the structural constraints deriving from, for example, the mode of production. In this way he not only explores more thoroughly than does Thompson the "objective coordinates"within which working-classconsciousness takes shape but also pays more attention than does Habermasto the "concretedynamics"of the process of striving towards "an ideal community life."68 Finally, the historical methodology adopted in Injustice may be briefly contrasted with Moore's approach in his own earlier work. In his Soviet studies he gives equal emphasis in his analytical narrative to structural constraints and human choice; in Social Origins he tends to place more emphasis upon the structural constraints that made revolutions and civil wars possible; in Injusticehe draws special attention to the scope for human choice which attended the behavior of Ebertand the SPD in Germanyafter the First World War.69Moore's particular interest in this last issue stems from an observationhe made in Soviet Politics nearlythirtyyearspreviously. If the revolutionaryuprising in the Ruhr had produced a left-wing government in Germany, would Stalin have risen to power in the Soviet Union? Would the Third Reich have come into existence? Would the Second World War have occurred?70 Once again we are reminded of the unity of Moore's work over more than three decades and of the moral concern which has been its driving force. In drawing the argument to a close, three conclusions may be offered about the relationship between morality and method in the work of Barrington Moore. First, he does not finally persuadeus that the moral criteriawhich he applies have an imperative character deriving from the very nature of humankind and social relationships. Despite his reluctance to retreat to Thompson's position that a commitment to specific values involves an act of faith, Moore is unable to derive the "ought" from the "is." Second, even though we may readily subscribe, as an act of faith, to the assumptions expressed in his moral calculus and the model of rational authority which derives from it, the latter model is very difficult to apply to modern Western societies. It assumes the existence of a unitary rulingelite with responsibility for the welfare of all citizens. Neither Britain nor the United States in the early 1980s - to take two relevant examples - appear to meet these conditions. Furthermore, how can this model cope with multinational corporations and tradeunions (for example) whichhavesuccessfullyclaimedauthority over the welfare of constituencies which rarely coincide with that of the nation-state?The model may well work better when applied to the classical Greek polis or even the Soviet Union but outside such spheres it is a very impractical moral blueprint.

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174 However, a third - and much more positive - conclusion is that Moore has demonstrated that it is possible systematically to incorporate a consideration of human motivations, perceptions and choices at the very heart of our attempted explanations. Furthermore, he has persuasively insisted that the social processes most worth examining are those which have not only deeply affected the values and aspirations which we hold but have also circumscribed the means and opportunities that we have to pursue them. By placing the "ought" at the center of his concerns he has maintained a consistent objective in his work which has minimized the need or inclination to seek security in a single sociological scheme or tradition. In his borrowing from functionalism Moore has not lost his concern for social change; he has employed the idea of evolution without neglecting the importance of persisting characteristics of organizational forms: he analyzes structural constraints in the same breath as he insists upon the part played by human motivations; in his concern with structures he recognizes the mutual interplay between material and normative conditions; his narratives are interwoven with subtle comparisons which help to generate rather than simply to illustrate his arguments; and his causal explanations are closely interlocked with carefully argued moral evaluations. This article has been largely concerned with the difficulties which Moore has encountered in establishing an intellectually satisfying basis for his moral evaluations. However, through his dogged pursuit of the "ought" Moore has told us a great deal that we did not realize before about the "is." It would, finally, be misleading to attempt to assimilate Moore to any single disciplinary school or academic tradition. Not the least of the merits of his books and essays is that they spring from the heart of American culture. His work expresses the aspirations and ambiguities of a society whose members obstinately seek moral significance in human experience and the realization of ideals in human action.

NOTES
1. An earlier version of this paper was delivered to the History and Sociology seminar at Oxford University organized by Frank Parkinand R. W. Johnson of Magdalen College. I am grateful for the comments of both the above-named and also for the useful observations of Val Riddell. 2. The works by Moore to which referencewill be made are as follows: Soviet Politics - The Dilemma of Power: The Role of Ideas in Social Change (Cambridge:Harvard University Press, 1950; hereafter Soviet Politics); Terror and Progress USSR: Some Sources of Stability and Change in the Soviet Dictatorship (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1954; hereafter Terror and Progress); Political Power and Social Theory (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1958;hereafter Political Power); Social Originsof Dictatorship and Democracy: Lordand Peasant in the Making of the Modern World(London:Penguin, 1969; hereafter Social Origins); Reflections on the Causes of Human Misery and upon Certain Proposals to Eliminate Them (London: Penguin, 1972; hereafter Reflections); Injustice:The Social Bases of Obedienceand Revolt (London: Macmillian, 1978;hereafter Injustice). Unfortunately, this article was written before the publication of Moore's most recent work on privacy.

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175
3. See D. Smith, Barrington Moore Jr: A Critical Appraisal (White Plains: M. E. Sharpe, 1983; published in Britain by Macmillan with the title Barrington Moore: Violence, Moralityand Political Change;hereafterBarringtonMoore), 7,43,47,53-4,58-61,87, 109, 115, 132, 145, 154, 162, 164, 172, 177. 4. Social Origins, viii-ix. 5. Reflections, 35. 6. More detailed accounts may be found in Smith, BarringtonMoore. 7. The quotation is from W. G. Sumner, Folkways (New York: Mentor, 1960, with an introduction by W. L. Phelps; originally published in 1906), 81. 8. References to Sumner are scattered throughout Moore's work, e.g., Reflections, 55; Injustice, 12, 85,435. 9. Phelps, introduction to Folkwals, xi; Soviet Politics, xiii. 10. Folkways, 539, 49, 438ff, 81. 11. Soviet Politics, xiii; Injustice,434-5. 12. Cf. Injustice,3; M. Harris, The Rise of Anthropological Theory(London: Routledge, 1968), 608-11. 13. E.g., Soviet Politics, 298; Social Origins,8; Injustice,85, 128, 135. 14. J. Habermas, Theoryand Practice(London: Heinemann, 1974),44. 15. Ibid. 16. E. P. Thompson, "An open letterto Leslek Kolakowski"in The Povertyof Theory(London: Merlin Press, 1980), 232, 156. 17. Poverty., 148. 18. Poverty., 148, 150, 156. 19. Habermas, Knowledge and Human Interests(Boston: Beacon Press, 1971), 310. 20. Cf. T. A. McCarthy, "A theory of communicative competence," Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 3 (1973), 135-56. 21. Habermas, Theoryand Practice,32-37. 22. Reflections, xvi. 23. P. Gay, The Enlightenment:An Interpretation. Vol. II - The Science of Freedom (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1969), 84. 24. J. Bentham, The Principlesof Morals and Legislation(West Drayton: Hafner, 1965), 1. 25. Sumner, Folkwa s, 45. 26. Political Power, 39, 188. 27. Political Power, 146ff;Social Origins,521. 28. Reflections, 1-13. 29. Injustice, 376-81; Social Origins, 103-4. It is worth noting that E. P. Thompson is also preparedto engage in the "history-gamein which we suppose that A did not happen and B (which did not happen) did." He also occasionally explores alternative possible futures in terms of a similar logic. Poverty,46, 71-2. 30. See, for example, B. Moore, "The relation between social stratificationand social control," Sociometrv, 5 (1942), 230-50. 31. B. Moore, "The new scholasticism and the study of politics," World Politics, 1 (1953), 122-38. 32. C. W. Mills, The Sociological Imagination(London: Oxford University Press, 1959). 33. Political Power, 186-8. 34. H. Marcuse, Eros and Civilization(London: Sphere Books, 1969). 35. Political Power, 180. It is fascinating to contrast Moore's approach in these essays with the critical remarks on Marcuse's work made by Habermas. See, especially, J. Habermas, Towardsa Rational Society (London: Heinemann, 1971), 81-90. 36. Political Power, 107-8. 37. Political Power, 108. 38. Political Power, 196. 39. On "chartermyths"see "Notes on the process of acquiring power"in Political Power, 2ff. See also B. Moore, "The influence of ideas on policies as shown in the collectivization of agriculturein Russia," American Political Science Review, 41 (1947), 733-43. 40. In some of his recent work, John Dunn is attempting to apply a corrective to distorted perceptions of communist regimes in the early 1980s. Discussing the "range of political possibilities"which make up the Marxist tradition, he sees "the process of determinationof which possibilitiesare in fact actualised in the future (and which possibilities have already been actualised in the past) as historicaland mediatedby the beliefsandjudgments of human agents, severally and in groups, and not as theoretically pre-guaranteedand controlled by either purely materialfactors or the strict logical or political implicationsof a system of false belief."This approach coincides in some respects with that adopted by Moore in the 1950s with respect to the Soviet Union. J. Dunn, "Totalitarian democracy and the legacy of modern revolution: explanation or indictment?,"paper delivered to the Fifth Annual Millenium Conference, London School of Economics, November 1982, 7-8. 41. On tendencies towards bureaucracyand tradition in the Soviet Union, see D. Lane, Politics and Society in the USSR, revisededition (Oxford: Martin Robertson, 1978),275, 279, 370, 422, 507; C. Lane, The Rites of Rulers (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), passim. 42. Social Origins,429. 43. Social Origins,29. 44. The precedingparagraphcontains a highlycondensedversion of a discussion which is set out at greater length in D. Smith, "The historical sociology of Barrington Moore: discovering facts and values"in T. Skocpol, ed., Visionand Method in HistoricalSociology (New York: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).

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45. The similaritiesjust noted must not disguise two differences between the two books being discussed. Moore makes much more creative use of the comparative method than does Thompson. Furthermore, whereas Thompson tends to pay more attention to human motivations than structuralconstraints Moore tends to have the opposite bias. Both writers have "compensated"for these biases in other works. E. P. Thompson, The Making of the English WorkingClass (Harmondsworth:Penguin, 1963). 46. On the criticalresponseto Social Origins,see Smith, BarringtonMoore, 25-9; J. M. Wiener, "Review of reviews,"History and Theory, 15 (1976), 146-75. 47. T. Skocpol, States and Social Revolutions:A ComparativeAnalysis of France, Russia and China(New York:CambridgeUniversityPress, 1979).For a critiqueof Skocpol, see Smith, BarringtonMoore, 158-63. 48. Social Origins, 102-5, 149-54. 49. Social Origins,427. 50. Reflections, 5. 51. Reflections, 26-7, 29. 52. Reflections, 79-83, 93. 53. Reflections, 103, 151, 172. 54. The essays are entitled "Of predatory democracy: the USA" and "Some prospects for predatorydemocracy." 55. Reflections, 84. 56. Reflections, 84-7. These remarks introduce a discussion by Moore of the part which universitiesmay play in developing rationalcriticism.This discussion may be comparedwith Habermas'scomments on the role of the university in a democracy. Reflections, 91-103; in Towardsa Habermas,"Theuniversityin a democracy:democratizationof the university," Rational Society (London: Heinemann, 1971), 1-12. 57. Reflections, 32-9, 47. 58. Reflections, 22; see also B. Moore, "Thesociety nobody wants:a look beyond Marxismand Liberalism,"in B. Moore and K. H. Wolff, eds., The CriticalSpirit: EssaYsin Honour of Herbert Marcuse(Boston: Beacon Press, 1967). 59. Reflections, 52-6. 60. Injustice,especially 15, 461-2, 506-10. 61. Injustice,458-505. 62. Injustice, 166, 190, 205, 208, 216, 224, 253, 269, 273, 285, 298, 351. See also J. M. Wiener, "Working-classconsciousness in Germany, 1848-1933," Marxist Perspectives, 5 (1979), 156-69. 63. Sumner, Folkways, 70. 64. Injustice, 11, 12, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 35-6. 65. It may be found, for example, in Moore's doctoral thesis which juxtaposed facts about thirty-six societies, ranging from the Aztecs to "Yankee City," in order to discover the statisticalrelationshipbetweenaspects of social stratificationand social control. Moore later recognisedthe inadequacy of this application of statisticalmaterials.Indeed, in Injusticehe displays considerable virtuousity in integrating statistical data with data on forms of consciousness. See Smith, Barrington Moore, 44-6; Injustice, 173ff, 212ff, 227ff, 257ff, 276ff, 328ff, 400ff. 66. See, for example, Q. Skinner, "Meaningand understandingin the history of ideas,"History and Theory,8 (1969), 3-53. 67. Injustice,474. 68. P. Anderson, Arguments within English Marxism (London: New Left Books, 1980), 33; R. J. Bernstein,The Restructuring of Social and Political Theory(London: Methuen, 1979), 224. 69. Injustice,376-97. 70. Soviet Politics, 196-7; Injustice,397.

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