To See the World and Man

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...

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