Sociology as Religion, Part 2

The author returns to the Project’s origins in Chapter Four, and here is where I diverge from Smith’s analysis. As mentioned in discussing Chapter One, the author sees the Project as perhaps the ultimate stretch of Western liberalism and individualism. I see the Project more as a discontinuity, not only from Western tradition generally, but specifically from the men who established sociology as an academic discipline in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

First, consider that liberalism, and the Enlightenment were products of the minds of Western White men; while the Project is explicitly anti-Western, anti-White, and anti-male. Second, though the Enlightenment celebrated the individual, it did so in a restrained way. Here it is useful to look at the political and social applications of Enlightenment thought, rather than the Enlightenment as a purely philosophical movement. In Western Europe and North America the Enlightenment can be represented by the republicanism of the Founding Fathers and their antecedents. These men often wrote and spoke of the need for virtue and self-control, and the requirements of the common weal, the common good. In Central and Eastern Europe the Enlightenment was embodied by the Enlightened Despot, the absolute monarch who would reform his society from the top down. Both variants were far removed, if not the antithesis of the snowflake, “do your own thing” individualism of the Project.  A third factor – the Enlightenment developed in tandem with the Scientific Revolution. One of Smith’s motifs is the loss of scientific objectivity in sociology. The Project is faith based, a secular religion. It is not scientifically based. It indulges in a sophisticated manipulation of the social and life sciences to serve its agenda.  The Dissident Right is more firmly based on science then the contemporary Left.

The author briefly discusses Lester Ward, Edward Ross, and other “early American sociologist pioneers and textbook authors” (122). What Smith chooses to ignore is the profound influence that evolutionary theory, racialism, and eugenics had on the nascent social sciences of the period.[5] Take Lester Ward, the first name on Smith’s list. Ward established the sociology department at Brown University, and served as the first president of the ASA. Born in Illinois from New England stock, he saw heavy combat with the Union army during the Civil War. Yet Ward had a well-developed racial conscious. He “drew a distinction between ‘historic’ or ‘favored’ races which originated in Europe, and other great groups of black, red, and yellow races. . . . He spoke frankly of ‘superior,’ ‘inferior,’ and ‘decadent’ races.”[6] And despite his background Ward appeared to have a sincere concern for the safety of Southern White women.

The lower races, Ward maintained, experienced an unusual amount of sexual desire for members of the higher races because they dimly and instinctively realize that improvement of their own race is involved. A Negro who rapes a white woman, Ward declared, is impelled by something more than mere lust. ‘This is the same unheard but imperious voice of nature commanding him at the risk of lynch law,’ said Ward, ‘to raise his race to a little higher level.’ On the other hand, the fury of the white community in which such an act takes place is equally natural.[7]

Sentiments of the first president of the American Sociological Association.

In the past when the establishment was confronted with the racialism of foundational figures such as Ward they often tried to minimize or dismiss such beliefs as simply outdates prejudges of an earlier age that society has discarded along with erroneous views on medicine or astronomy. In today’s more polarized environment such beliefs are seen as proof of pervasive individual and institutional racism, past and present, that must be extricated root and branch. White racial consciousness and preference was, of course, taken for granted in the past.  His experiences fighting for the Union did not lessen Ward’s concerned for the welfare of White women in the South. Blood is thicker than regional differences. It is obvious that he thought deeply about the issue and analyzed it from an evolutionary perspective.

Another name on Smith’s list, Edward A. Ross, was even more explicated in his racial views. A strapping six foot six advocate of the strenuous life and a friend of Teddy Roosevelt, Ross coined the term “race suicide” later used by Roosevelt and Madison Grant. Ross received a PhD from Johns Hopkins and went on to help establish the sociology department at the University of Wisconsin where he taught for 31 years. He also served as the third president of the ASA. Ross was skeptical about giving Blacks the franchise: “One man one vote does not make Sambo equal to Socrates.”[8] He also vigorously pushed for limiting immigration. He believed “Hebrew money . . . was financing the anti-restriction campaign, which pretended to benefit all immigrants, but was, in fact, ‘waged by and for one race.’ According to Ross, the Jews had repaid the gift of American asylum by undermining America’s capacity to control its own racial destiny.”[9] Ross also authored one of the early introduction to sociology textbooks, Foundations of Sociology (1905). Sections of this book could have been written by Madison Grant. It needs to be repeated that men such as Ward, Ross, and even Grant were progressives who fought corporate interests and went to bat for the working man. They were true progressives whose study of social science led them to race realism. I cannot understand why today’s writers on the Right refer to their opponents as progressives.

It would appear from the evidence presented above that there has been a sharp discontinuity in sociology during the twentieth century. The Project is indeed revolutionary. There has been a 180 degree turn on social issues, especially involving race and sex. While Smith concedes the influence of Marxism and feminism on contemporary sociology I do not believe he fully appreciates, or at least does not acknowledge, the profound changes that have occurred. The Project has adopted elements of Trotsky’s permanent revolution of social transformation along with the continuous Cultural Revolution of Mao, with no end in sight.

Smith ends Chapter four by stating that sociology’s embrace of the Project was not inevitable. Again, the evidence above would definitively support that conclusion. The social sciences as a whole could have continued with their naturalist approach, one informed by the life sciences, especially evolutionary biology, throughout the twentieth century. There is a natural tendency to read history backwards, to see events or developments that occurred decades or centuries earlier as inescapably leading to present conditions. A more balanced view of the past sees numerous turning points when alternative paths could have been taken.

Chapter five is entitled, “Consequences,” but in keeping with Smith’s religious motif I think a better title would have been, “The Seven Deadly Sins of Sociology.” The sins are: Dishonesty – “the discipline is being dishonest with itself, its students, their parents, college and university administrators and donors, and American taxpayers” (134).  Sociology is too often propaganda disguised as social science. Hypocrisy – “For a discipline that is obsessed with social inequality as a moral wrong American sociology turns out to be just as structured and driven by status hierarchy, rankings, elitism, excluding social processes, and protection of privilege as just about any other institution in society” (136).

The next four sins are closely related: “Standardized Thinking” – excludes dissenting ideas; “Myopic Socio-logic” – the inability to think outside the box; “Corruption of the Peer-review Process” – the Weitzman scandal is an example; “Alienated Sociologists” – the alienating and purging of dissident students and scholars from the discipline. The seventh deadly sin is “Self as Blind Spot.” The Project’s “very obvious righteousness in the eyes of those committed to it tends to make it invisible to its disciplines. For them it is just self-evident reality” (176).

Chapter seven’s title asks: “What Is Sociology Good For?” Smith has trouble answering this question. At times the author thinks “that sociology as an enterprise should simply be shut down,” or perhaps just “downsized” (184).  Sociology can be very good at describing social characteristics, problems can come with the interjection of ideology and politics, “under the guise of theory and interpretation,” that distort sociological research. The obvious solution is to replace the perverse and destructive ideology of the Project with a healthier, more objective orientation that serve the needs of society.

Chapter eight “Conclusions,” is largely a summarized restatement of Smith’s main points. There is then an appendix where the author briefly describes his personal beliefs. Earlier in the book Smith states that while he opposes the sacred project, which I clearly identify with the Left, he is no conservative, and he is definitively not man of the authentic Right. His own ideology – Critical Realist Personalism – emphasizes “the person over the individual and community solidarity over atomization” (200). It is unclear from this short description how the author defines community.  Critical Realist Personalism is described in more detail in Smith’s To Flourish or Destruct: A Personalist Theory of Human Goods, Motivations, and Evil (2015).

So what can we take away from this book? First, if you are teaching or studying sociology, or plan to, you should read this book. Obviously a short review cannot fully develop Smith’s thesis, nor discuss all of his evidence. Plus, my interpretation of this work any not be the same as yours.

For the layman the main points are: (1) The contemporary Left is a secular religion. This is clearly the book’s main message, and it is really nothing new. Commentators a hundred years ago were comparing the Bolshevik party to a religious order. Religions, secular or sectarian, are largely based on faith, so reason or empirical evidence will not dissuade true believers. They do not want dialog or debate. The social justice warriors of today are as fanatical as any religious zealots of the past.

(2) The book points out that those opposed to the Project’s takeover of sociology have largely acquiesced, offering passive resistance at best. This has also been true in the larger political/social arena. Science and reason are not enough. Something spiritual is required. The Right needs the “intense emotional commitment” to a common cause, and the “subordination to a higher collective purpose” that Smith notes on the Left. Conservatives do not have this spirit and never will.  It is obvious that unless the Left can be confronted by a greater counter force it will prevail.

(3) Academic departments are closed systems that medieval guilds could not match. Especially in the liberal arts and social sciences grad students are often recruited and faculty are hired and promoted on ideological grounds.  These departments are subject to little or no oversight or accountability.

One last note, the increasing number of books such as this one, critical of the academy, may indicate that more people are finally taking notice of the Left’s corrosive effect on Western scholarship. However, of all the institutions in society, higher education may prove to be, for some of the reasons cited above, the most difficult to restructure.

[5] See: Thomas C. Leonard, Illiberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics, and American Economics in the Progressive Era (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2016). Reviewed in: The Occidental Quarterly 16 no.2 (Fall 2016) 105-113.

[6] Thomas F. Gossett, Race: The History of an Idea in America (Dallas TX: Southern Methodist University Press, 1963). 164.

[7] Ibid, 166.

[8] Ross quoted in Leonard, Illiberal Reformers, 50.

[9] Ibid. 158.

21 replies
  1. Eric
    Eric says:

    It is hard to comment intelligently here because there is no link to Part 1, but here are some thoughts: 1) the whole idea of “social science” is bogus. The very social questions that one chooses to address, and the exclusion of other questions or topics, automatically imports ideology and value judgments into the discipline, which means that it is no longer scientific at all. 2) the logical place for the study of society (no longer viewed as a science) is in the history department. History, after all, is already the study of different societies in different time periods. Putting most of the social “sciences” into the history curriculum would help to solve another problem with those “sciences” — that they are a-historical in nature. At most, they address the present and recent past, and therefore fail to learn from and incorporate the more distant past. 3) The social “sciences” should also be moved into the philosophy department when it comes to their more theoretical aspects. This would be beneficial both to social studies and philosophy, introducing logical rigor and high-level counter-arguments into social studies while grounding philosophy in the real world. 4) Of course, the study of society should also be a part of other disciplines from the arts to the life sciences. When appropriate, interdisciplinary curricula might be developed to explore topics that cross disciplines. Evolutionary Psychology is a good example of an interdisciplinary enterprise that has both given insight into society while being empirically based; a true science with significant social and political implications.

    All of the above strikes me as common sense. As someone interested in the social sciences, I was disappointed when I began college. I found the overspecialized curriculum in universities to be both less interesting and less intellectually challenging than what I had already encountered in elementary and high school and in my own reading. Perhaps this helps to explain why so many professionals and people with college degrees fail to impress. They are glib know-it-alls without knowing much of anything unless they have taken STEM subjects or demonstrated an unusual talent that would have grown anyway whether or not they went to college.

    The unjustified independence of the social sciences from other disciplines predictably led to fraud, insane delusions, and politicizing the entire university.

    • David Ashton
      David Ashton says:

      As a study, as scientific as possible, of how societies work, in principle sociology is a legitimate study. We can all respect, and still learn from, its pioneers, including e.g. Spencer, Sumner, Galton, Weber, Karl Pearson, Wm McDougall, Werner Sombart, George Chatterton-Hill, Corrado Gini, Hans Freyer, Arnold Gehlen, Pitirim Sorokin, Garrett Hardin, J. M. Cuddihy, Stanislav Andreski, E. O. Wilson & J. P. Rushton, plus recent minor contributors as different as Edward Dutton and Kevin Beaver.

      Some readers might benefit also from a perusal of Nordau’s “Degeneration” and Gumplowicz’s “Rassenkampf”.

      The chief problem with “social studies” especially in Anglo-American “academia” is its incremental take-over from the mid-1960s onwards by the New Left/Critical Studies/Western Marxist “race, gender, class” agitprop, which frameworks college and school exam textbooks, and in the UK has been established as the official state ideology of “equality, diversity, inclusion”, enforced on society top-down by the so-called “Equality Act”.

      One recalls Spengler’s prophetic warning 86 years ago that one day race war could join class war to finish off the white world, with Negro dancing as the funeral march of a Great Culture.

      • Eric
        Eric says:

        David Ashton: Fair enough. The sociology I was exposed to in college was Marxist (of course, they didn’t say that) — but, thankfully, the “race-gender-class” template was not yet in vogue.

        I remember one of the professors at my school being Harry Edwards, whose claim to fame was raising his fist when he won a medal at the Mexico City Olympics.

        I few years ago I was intrigued by a book about the HIV-AIDS controversy (of which most people are unaware) concerning the pressure put on scientists by activist groups. The book’s author specialized in the “sociology of knowledge.” That struck me as a promising branch of the discipline.

        I like Edward Dutton and would like to know more about Rushton, but I don’t think either one is considered a sociologist.

        As for the older “classical” sociology, I respect Werner Sombart. His “Jews and Modern Capitalism” is worth reading.

        Still, I think the social “sciences” should tone down the “science” claim.

        If you’re being scientific in the way physical scientists are, you can’t say much that is interesting about society.

        Who can “prove” scientifically that capitalism is “better” than socialism or vice versa? You could try to reduce them to numbers and statistics, but that would leave out the human element. It’s like Bentham thinking he could quantify and then prescribe human happiness.

  2. Seraphim
    Seraphim says:

    Ward said that a Negro who rapes a White woman acts moved by something more than mere lust: “an imperious voice of nature commanding him at the risk of lynch law, ‘to raise his race to a little higher level'”. It might be so, but what moves a White woman to desire to sleep with a Negro?

    • James Bowery
      James Bowery says:

      “… moves a White woman to desire to sleep with a Negro?”

      1) Whites, as the most individualistic, (therefore the most sexually selected) race, restricted gene flow as do virtually all sexual species: male intrasexual selection.
      2) White women perceive the presence of foreign males in their environment as evidence those individual males have overcome a series of challenges to male intrasexual selection (ie: natural duel).
      3) Foreign males may bring with them pathogens as well as genes adapted to those pathogens.

      White women therefore perceive mating with the negro as a win on at least 2 fronts: A superior male rendering her sons superior to white males and a source of immunity to diseases the negro brings with him.

        • Seraphim
          Seraphim says:

          Seraphim is a common name (both family and personal) popular with Italians, Greeks, French, Russians, Germans. Less with Jews.

      • lou
        lou says:

        Nature and Nurture.

        Nature = DNA, testosterone. [and conversely, white men w yellow low T women]

        Nurture- the ‘media’ portraying WM as weak and BM as strong, wise, trustworthy.

      • Seraphim
        Seraphim says:

        Can you be sure that is not simply lust? Not all white women are frigid. Many are pleasure seeking and the Negros have always been reputed as possessing better tools to offer it.

        • James Bowery
          James Bowery says:

          I can be sure you and I are speaking to different strata of explanation. I am speaking of the evolutionary psychology underlying “pleasure seeking”. You are proffering a phenomenological perspective regarding the manifestation of that “pleasure seeking”. But I can also be sure you are hostile to whites since you state that white women are: 1) in general, frigid (“not all”) thus pathologizing whites, 2) the exceptional, healthy, white women will seek sex with Negros and 3) speak in vague terms that “Negros have always been reputed as possessing better tools for” delivering sexual pleasure to the few white women who are sexually healthy enough to seek said tools. 4) preface the entire psychological assault on whites with “Can you be sure…” which is a classic “culture of critique” attack.

          • James Bowery
            James Bowery says:

            There is a higher order of sex that whites are exceptionally adapted to experience, and that is the teleology of sexual selection arising from their heritable individualism. This is sometimes derisively called “eugenics” — implying some group decision is doing the selection when, in the case of fair evolution — the evolution of whites — it is exercised by individual moral agency, fully cognizant of the direction of evolution their sexual selective judgments favor. One might even call this “Playing God” and, compared to the unfair cultures of the rest of humanity (engaging in projemption — projective preemption by accusing whites of that which they, themselves, are doing and are therefore due punishment by whites both for slander and for violating that which created them) such a characterization is at least as accurate as characterizing Negro men as having better “tools” and therefore being selected by fair evolution as the future of masculinity.

    • JRM
      JRM says:

      Seraphim said: “…but what moves a White woman to desire to sleep with a Negro?”

      Mere proximity is sufficient. Sad truth about women: they need supervision. Note that as far back as the 1700’s, White female servants were having sexual relations with black male slaves. Colonial era history reveals this, if you look into it. The aggressive sex-seeking nature of the black male, and the receptiveness to it on the part of White females, can even make cohabitation with the lowest possible status male occur.

      Now, as the Negro has risen in the collective imagination in the West to role of oppressed but defiant hero, the likelihood of miscegenation has increased geometrically. But, again, the only baseline requirement that ever existed was proximity and opportunity.

      Women appear to be “programmed” by nature to be amenable to forming alliances with invading armies and rival tribes. It is part of their gender’s “genius” for species propagation.

      Women require a strong guiding hand- best given by a strong Father, right up until he gives her to an approved and equally strong male mate/husband.

      • Eric
        Eric says:

        Three dialogues in three different time periods.


        Black male to a white woman: Hey, you want to go out?
        WW: No thank you.
        BM: Why not? You’re not racist are you?
        WW: No. There are plenty of white men I wouldn’t go out with.
        BM: I think you are racist.
        WW: I’m sorry you think that.
        BM: Racist $@*!&#! (storms off)


        BM: Hey, you want to go out?
        WW: Are you kidding? Get lost. I don’t go out with Negroes.
        BM: Aw shucks. Well, I tried.


        BM: Hey, you want to go out?
        White male: Hey, what are you doing, talking to a white woman?
        BM: Nothing boss.
        White male: Yeah? I don’t believe you. Sam, Frank, come over here. I think we need to have a little talk with this guy.
        BM: (gulp)

        Moral of story: White men have not protected their women.

        • James Bowery
          James Bowery says:

          Moral of story: White men have not protected their women.

          Moral of the story: White men did not tear civilization down to its foundation, which they laid — not out of cowardice, but of compassion for those whose very life had become dependent on civilization.

          Be careful when you dishonor white men — you may find yourself feeding the maggots.

          • Eric
            Eric says:

            I stated a fact. You can take that as an attack on white men if you want. I don’t care how you take it.

            If white men haven’t been protecting their women, they bear responsibility for that failure whether you like it or not.

            It is not possible for me to dishonor people who have already dishonored themselves.

            I guess you consider impotent threats — “you may find yourself feeding the maggots” — a substitute for white men meeting their most fundamental moral obligation, which is to protect their women and their children. No excuses will work. Not the Jews. Not anything.

          • James Bowery
            James Bowery says:

            I guess you consider impotent threats — “you may find yourself feeding the maggots”

            That was no threat and it certainly wasn’t “impotent”, whoever you are. It is a stone cold truth that the most economical way white men can protect “their women and children” to simultaneously disable the urban life support infrastructure of the West. If your “critique” had any depth at all, you’d see that. Moreover, the collateral damage would most likely include purveyors of mere critique – particularly facile critique. Nothing personal — it’s just that the culture of critique tends to be biologically dependent on centralized systems. For obvious reasons, those are the systems that you’re essentially demanding be taken out.

      • David Ashton
        David Ashton says:

        This proximity is aggravated by mixed-race schooling, mixed-race clubbing, mixed-race “education”, mixed-race media propaganda, and mixed-race legislation I.e. prohibition segregation and anti-miscegenation “hate” speech).

        The black male can paradoxically present both child-like character (drawing on the underlying maternal instinct) and exaggerated masculinity in physical strength, genital size and sexual assertion (drawing on the underlying female need for a protective figure). This symbiosis fails in areas where black gangs have a reputation for violence, though you still get female hangers-on. The preference of the ugliest blacks for white or light-skinned girls is well illustrated by their “music” videos.

        Whereas in the past black x white sexual relations were socially disapproved, the reverse is now the case. As I write during an evening of British television, without the slightest exaggeration there has been one advertisement after another exclusively featuring a black male with a white female, in some cases with mixed-race offspring.

        • JRM
          JRM says:

          Yes, David, you are entirely correct. It is with little exaggeration that one can say that the primary goal of mass-media (in the U.S. at least) since around the middle of the last century has been to first defend, then normalize, and finally simply promote miscegenation between White women and black men.

          It certainly adds another layer to the simple picture I painted in my earlier post. Someone else made the excellent point that White men stopped enforcing the taboo and stopped protecting their women (in fairness to White men, the strident voices of Feminists did tend to disincline one to offer them much in the way of cover for their bad decisions).

          Your point re: social approbation is another piece of the puzzle. Women are very peer-influenced, wildly more so than men. And right up until, let’s say, the late-1960’s, White women would shun their teammates who went over to the black side.

          Now, it’s almost a necessary badge of enlightenment for White women to couple with black and brown men. And White women love to coo over their friend’s mulatto offspring.

          So we have three layers of this thorny problem revealed to us in this comments section alone: my point about the lustful nature of women, and their primal openness to heterogeneous DNA being the first problem; social changes that have cowed most White men into self-censorship about their own feelings about mixed-race couples; and the constant cheerleading of the (((media))) to add a larger positive social sanction and inducement to our frail sisters to engage in race-destroying behavior.

  3. James Bowery
    James Bowery says:

    Please read A Protestant Instauration. The religious dimension of life is inescapable:

    The sin qua non of religion is faith. Ignorance (incomplete knowledge) informs every decision. Therefore every decision implies an act, if not leap of faith. This includes official acts of government. The conceit that some actions are more rational than others is neither here nor there when it comes to deciding the boundary between secular and religious authority.

    So-called “enlightenment science” posits: “Give me one miracle and I can explain the rest.” Before we can embark on the Enlightenment Project with its Cartesian Dualism, we must pay homage to that miracle.

    I’ve been able to reach young men who otherwise would be lost in the nihilism that is consuming white men in despair and leading to an increasing rate of suicide.


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