On December 8, 1983, James Burnham was presented with the first Richard M. Weaver Award for Scholarly Letters by The Ingersoll Foundation. Mr. Burnham's address to those assembled at Chicago's Ritz-Carlton hotel follows:
I want to begin with a word of thanks to the sponsors of this award, the trustees of the Ingersoll Foundation. It is an honor to be honored in such a fashion, and in the company of such a distinguished man of letters as Jorge Luis Borges.
As you maybe aware, I have not, in any formal sense, put pen to paper for a period of time. But, clearly, the occasion calls for a few words.
Much writing is an exercise in self education. At any rate, that is a fair way to describe most of my work, especially if one starts with The Managerial Revolution. From 1934 until the winter of 1939-40, I was a member of Trotsky's Fourth International. Like many members of my generation, I had observed that the established capitalist order in nearly every major country had, to a large extent, crumbled, taking with it much of the social and political order. For a number of years I accepted some of the empty ideological mumbo-jumbo that was associated with the Trotskyite movement.
Then, one day, I tried to relate the political formula which I had been manipulating to reality. What, in fact, was the relationship between the Soviet Union and its neighbors? What were the internal dynamics...