Document status: March 24, 2004

This is an article by Max Weber that I found on the internet at Sociology of Charisma; related links are at Max Weber's Texts I have edited the work and presented it in a format that is convenient for me

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1           The Sociological Nature of Charismatic Authority  1

2           Foundations and Instability of Charismatic Authority  3

3           The Revolutionary Nature of Charisma  4

4           Range of Effectiveness  5

5           The Communist Want Satisfaction of the Charismatic Community  7


6           The Routinization of Charisma  8

7           The Selection of Leaders and the Designation of Successors  9

8           Charismatic Acclamation  10

9           The Transition to Democratic Suffrage  12

10         The Meaning of Election and Representation  12

11         Excursus on Party Control by Charismatic Leaders’ Notables and Bureaucrats  14

12         Charisma and the Persistent Forms of Domination  16

13         The Depersonalization of Charisma: Lineage Charisma, “Clan State” and Primogeniture  17

14         Office Charisma  19

15         Charismatic Kingship  21

16         Charismatic Education  22

17         The Plutocratic Acquisition of Charisma  24

18         The Charismatic Legitimation of the Existing Order 24


19         The Meaning of Discipline  26

20         The Origins of Discipline in War 27

21         The Discipline of Large-Scale Economic Organizations  30


1           The Sociological Nature of Charismatic Authority

Bureaucracy and patriarchalism are antagonistic in many respects, but they share continuity as one of their most important characteristics. In this sense both are structures of everyday life. Patriarchalism, in particular, is rooted in the need to meet ongoing, routine demands, and hence has its first locus in the economy’ to be precise, in those of its branches which are concerned with normal want satisfaction. The patriarch is the natural leader in matters of everyday life. In this respect, bureaucracy is merely the rational counterpart of patriarchalism. Bureaucracy, too, is a permanent structure and, with its system of rational rules, oriented toward the satisfaction of calculable needs with ordinary, everyday means

All extraordinary needs, i.e., those which transcend the sphere of everyday economic routines, have always been satisfied in an entirely heterogeneous manner: on a charismatic basis. The further we go back into history, the more strongly does this statement hold. It means the following that the “natural” leaders in moments of distress--whether psychic, physical, economic, ethical, religious, or political--were neither appointed officeholders nor “professionals” in the present day sense [i.e., persons performing against compensation a “profession” based on training and special expertise], but rather the bearers of specific gifts of body and mind that were considered “supernatural” [in the sense that not everybody could have access to them]

The term “charisma” in this context must be used in a completely value-free sense. The heroic ecstasy of the Nordic berserk, the legendary Irish folk hero Cuchulain or the Homeric Achilles was a manic seizure. The berserk, for example, bit into his shield and all about himself, like a mad dog, before rushing off in bloodthirsty frenzy; for a long time his seizure was said to have been artificially induced through drugs. In Byzantium, a number of such “blond beasts” were kept just like war elephants in ancient times. The ecstasis of the Shamans is linked to constitutional epilepsy, the possession and testing of which proves the charismatic qualification. For us, both forms of ecstasy are not edifying; neither is the kind of revelation found in the Holy Book of the Mormons; if we were to evaluate this revelation, we would perhaps be forced to call it a rank swindle. However, sociology is not concerned with such value judgments. Important is that the head of the Mormons and those “heroes” and “magicians” proved their charisma in the eves of their adherents. They practiced their arts, and they exercised their authority, by virtue of this gift [“charisma”] and, where the idea of God had already been clearly established, by virtue of the Divine mission inherent in their ability. This was true of doctors and prophets just as much as of judges, military leaders, or the leaders of great hunting expeditions

It is to Rudolf Sohm’s credit that he worked out the sociological character of this kind of domination [Gewaltstruktur]; however, since he developed this category with regard to one historically important case --the rise of the ecclesiastic authority of the early Christian church--, his treatment was bound to be one-sided from the viewpoint of historical diversity. In principle, these phenomena are universal, even though they are often most evident in the religious realm

In radical contrast to bureaucratic organization, charisma knows no formal and regulated appointment or dismissal, no career, advancement or salary, no supervisory or appeals body, no local or purely technical jurisdiction, and no permanent institutions in the manner of bureaucratic agencies, which are independent of the incumbents and their personal charisma. Charisma is self-determined and sets its own limits. Its bearer seizes the task for which he is destined and demands that others obey and follow him by virtue of his mission. If those to whom he feels sent do not recognize him, his claim collapses; if they recognize it, he is their master as long as he “proves” himself. However, he does not derive his claims from the will of his followers, in the manner of an election; rather, it is their duty to recognize his charisma. Chinese theory makes the emperor’s right to govern dependent upon popular consent, but this is just as little an instance of popular sovereignty as is the necessity of the prophet’s “recognition” by the believers in the early Christian congregation. In the Chinese case this is simply the recognition of the charismatic character of the royal office, which requires his personal qualification and effectiveness. As a rule, charisma is a highly individual quality. This implies that the mission and the power of its bearer is qualitatively delimited from within, not by an external order. Normally, the mission is directed to a local, ethnic, social, political, vocational or some other group, and that means that it also finds its limits at the edges of these groups

As in all other respects, charismatic domination is also the opposite of bureaucracy in regard to its economic substructure. Bureaucracy depends on continuous income, at least a potiori on a money economy and tax money, but charisma lives in, not off, this world. This must be understood properly. Frequently charisma abhors the owning and making of money--witness Saint Francis and many of his kind. But this is not the rule. In our value-free sense of the term, an ingenious pirate may be a charismatic ruler, and the charismatic political heroes are out for booty especially, money. The point is that charisma rejects as undignified all methodical rational acquisition, in fact, all rational economic conduct. This accounts also for its radical difference from the patriarchal structure, which rests upon an orderly household. In its pure form charisma is never a source of private income; it is neither utilized for the exchange of services nor is it exercised for pay, and it does not know orderly taxation to meet the material demands of its mission; rather, if it has a peaceful purpose, it receives the requisite means through sponsors or through honorific gifts, dues and other voluntary contributions of its own following. In the case of charismatic warriors the booty is both means and end of the mission. In contrast to all patriarchal forms of domination, pure charisma is opposed to all systematic economic activities; in fact, it is the strongest anti-economic force, even when it is after material possessions, as in the case of the charismatic warrior. For charisma is by nature not a continuous institution, but in its pure type the very opposite. In order to live up to their mission the master as well as his disciples and immediate following must be free of the ordinary worldly attachments and duties of occupational and family life. Those who have a share [klhros] in charisma must inevitably turn away from the world: witness the statute of the Jesuit order forbidding members to hold ecclesiastic offices; the prohibitions for members of other orders to own property, or for the order itself, as in the original rule of Saint Francis; the celibacy of priests and knights of an order; the actual adherence to the rule of celibacy on the part of numerous holders of prophetic or artistic charisma. According to the type of charisma and the conduct corresponding to it, the economic conditions of participation may contrast with one another. It is just as consistent for modern charismatic movements of artistic origin to consider “men of independent means”--in plain words, rentiers--the most qualified followers of the charismatic leader, as it was for the medieval monasteries to demand the economic opposite, the friar’s vow of poverty

2           Foundations and Instability of Charismatic Authority

Charismatic authority is naturally unstable. The holder may lose his charisma, he may feel “forsaken by his God,” as Jesus did on the cross [cf. Psalm 22:1, Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34]; it may appear to his followers that “his powers have left him.” Then his mission comes to an end, and hope expects and searches for a new bearer; his followers abandon him, for pure charisma does not recognize any legitimacy other than one which flows from personal strength proven time and again. The charismatic hero derives his authority not from an established order and enactments, as if it were an official competence, and not from custom or feudal fealty, as under patrimonialism. He gains and retains it solely by proving his powers in practice. He must work miracles, if he wants to be a prophet. He must perform heroic deeds, if he wants to be a warlord. Most of all, his divine mission must prove itself by bringing well-being to his faithful followers; if they do not fare well, he obviously is not the god-sent master. It is clear that this very serious meaning of genuine charisma is radically different from the convenient pretensions of the present “divine right of kings,” which harks back to the “inscrutable” will of the Lord, “to whom alone the monarch is responsible.” The very opposite is true of the genuinely charismatic ruler, who is responsible to the ruled--responsible, that is, to prove that he himself is indeed the master willed by God

For this reason a ruler such as the Chinese emperor, whose power still contains--in theory--important charismatic vestiges, may publicly accuse himself of his sins and insufficiencies, if his administration fails to banish the distress of the ruled, whether it is caused by floods or unsuccessful wars; we have witnessed this in China even during the last decades. If this penitence does not propitiate the gods, the ruler faces deposition and death, often enough as an expiatory sacrifice. This is the concrete meaning of Meng-tse’s [Mencius’] statement that the people’s voice is God’s voice [according to him, the only way in which God speaks]: If the people withdraw their recognition, the master becomes a mere private person--this is explicitly stated--, and if he claims to be more, a usurper deserving of punishment. This state of affairs is also found under primitive conditions, without the pathos of these highly revolutionary phrases. Since all primitive authorities have inherent charismatic qualities, with the exception of patriarchalism in the strictest sense, the chief is often simply deserted if success is unfaithful to him

3           The Revolutionary Nature of Charisma

The mere fact of recognizing the personal mission of a charismatic master establishes his power. Whether it is more active or passive, this recognition derives from the surrender of the faithful to the extraordinary and unheard-of, to what is alien to all regulation and tradition and therefore is viewed as divine--surrender which arises from distress or enthusiasm. Because of this mode of legitimation genuine charismatic domination knows no abstract laws and regulations and no formal adjudication. Its “objective” law flows from the highly personal experience of divine grace and god-like heroic strength and rejects all external order solely for the sake of glorifying genuine prophetic and heroic ethos. Hence, in a revolutionary and sovereign manner, charismatic domination transforms all values and breaks all traditional and rational norms: “It has been written ..., but I say unto you....”

The specific form of charismatic adjudication is prophetic revelation, the oracle, or the Solomonic award of a charismatic sage, an award based on concrete and individual considerations which yet demand absolute validity. This is the realm proper of “kadi-justice” in the proverbial, not the historical sense. For the adjudication of the [historical] Islamic kadi is determined by sacred tradition and its interpretation, which frequently is extremely formalistic; rules are disregarded only when those other means of adjudication fail. Genuine charismatic justice does not refer to rules; in its pure type it is the most extreme contrast to formal and traditional prescription and maintains its autonomy toward the sacredness of tradition as much as toward rationalist deductions from abstract norms. We cannot compare here the recourse to the principle aequum et bonum in Roman law and the original meaning of “equity” in English law to charismatic justice in general and the theocratic kadi-justice of the Islam in particular. Both are products partly of a law that is already strongly rationalized and partly of abstract natural law; at any rate, the principle ex fide bona refers to standards of fairness in business relations and thus is just as little truly irrational justice as our own principle of “judicial discretion.” By contrast, all adjudication which uses ordeals as evidence derives from charismatic justice. However, because such adjudication replaces personal charismatic authority by a regular procedure which formally determines the will of God, it belongs already to the realm of that depersonalization of charisma with which we will deal soon

As we have seen, bureaucratic rationalization, too, often has been a major revolutionary force with regard to tradition. But it revolutionizes with technical means, in principle, as does every economic reorganization, “from without”: It first changes the material and social orders, and through them the people, by changing the conditions of adaptation, and perhaps the opportunities for adaptation, through a rational determination of means and ends. By contrast, the power of charisma rests upon the belief in revelation and heroes, upon the conviction that certain manifestations--whether they be of a religious, ethical, artistic, scientific, political or other kind--are important and valuable; it rests upon “heroism” of an ascetic, military, judicial, magical or whichever kind. Charismatic belief revolutionizes men “from within” and shapes material and social conditions according to its revolutionary will. Of course, this contrast must be correctly understood. In spite of vast differences, “ideas” have essentially the same psychological roots whether they are religious, artistic, ethical, scientific or whatever else; this also applies to ideas about political and social organization. It is a time-bound, subjective value-judgment which would like to attribute some of these ideas to “reason” and others to “intuition” [or whatever other distinctions may be used]. The mathematical imagination of a Weyerstrass, for instance, is “intuition” in exactly the same sense as is that of any artist, prophet--or demagogue. But not here lies the difference. [Parenthetically, in the value sphere, which does not concern us here, all these kinds of ideas--including artistic intuition--have in common that to objectivate themselves, to prove their reality, they must signify a grasp on demands of the “work” or, if you prefer, a being seized by them; they are not merely a subjective feeling or experience.] The decisive difference--and this is important for understanding the meaning of “rationalism”--is not inherent in the creator of ideas or of “works,” or in his inner experience; rather, the difference is rooted in the manner in which the ruled and led experience and internalize these ideas. As we have shown earlier,; rationalization proceeds in such a fashion that the broad masses of the led merely accept or adapt themselves to the external, technical resultants which are of practical significance for their interests [as we “learn” the multiplication table and as too many jurists “learn” the techniques of law], whereas the substance of the creator’s ideas remain irrelevant to them. This is meant when we say that rationalization and rational organization revolutionize “from the outside,” whereas charisma, if it has any specific effects at all, manifests its revolutionary power from within, from a central metanoia [change] of the followers’ attitudes. The bureaucratic order merely replaces the belief in the sanctity of traditional norms by compliance with rationally determined rules and by the knowledge that these rules can be superseded by others, if one has the necessary power, and hence are not sacred. But charisma, in its most potent forms, disrupts rational rule as well as tradition altogether and overturns all notions of sanctity. Instead of reverence for customs that are ancient and hence sacred, it enforces the inner subjection to the unprecedented and absolutely unique and therefore Divine. In this purely empirical and value-free sense charisma is indeed the specifically creative revolutionary force of history

4           Range of Effectiveness

Both charismatic and patriarchal power rest on personal devotion to, and personal authority of, “natural” leaders, in contrast to the appointed leaders of the bureaucratic order, yet this basis is very different in the two cases. Just like the official, the patriarch benefits from devotion and authority as a bearer of norms, with the difference that these norms are not purposively established as are the laws and regulations of bureaucracy, but have been inviolable from times out of mind. The bearer of charisma enjoys loyalty and authority by virtue of a mission believed to be embodied in him; this mission has not necessarily and not always been revolutionary, but in its most charismatic forms it has inverted all value hierarchies and overthrown custom, law and tradition. In contrast to the charismatic structure that arises out of the anxiety and enthusiasm of an extraordinary situation, patriarchal power serves the demands of everyday life and persists in its function, as everyday life itself, in spite of all changes of its concrete holder and its environment. Both structures are found in all areas of life. Many of the old Teutonic armies fought in a patriarchal manner, each lineage group led by its head; the armies of colon] of ancient Oriental monarchs and the contingents of Frankish retainers’ who took the field under their seniores, were patrimonial. The patriarch’s religious function and domestic worship persist side by side with the official community cult, on the one hand, and the great movements of charismatic prophecy, which are almost always revolutionary, on the other. Whether we look at Teutonic or American Indian tribes, the charismatic hero, who marches out with a voluntary following, appears next to the chieftain of peace, who is responsible for the routine economic affairs of the community, and next to the popular levy, which is mobilized in the case of tribal warfare. In an official war of the whole tribe, too, the normal peace-time authorities are often replaced by a warlord who is proclaimed ad hoc the “leader of the army” [Herzog], since he proved himself a hero in military exploits

In contrast to the revolutionary role of charisma, the traditional everyday needs in politics and religion are met by the patriarchal structure, which is based upon habituation, respect for tradition, piety toward parents and ancestors, and the servant’s personal faithfulness. The same is true in the economic field. As an orderly round of activities which procures the material means of want satisfaction, the economy is the specific locus of patriarchal rulership and, with the rise of the enterprise in the course of rationalization, also of bureaucratic domination. However, charisma is by no means alien to the economy. Under primitive conditions charismatic features are frequently found in one economic branch, the relevance of which declined with the advance of material culture: hunting, which was organized like a military operation, even at a later stage, as can be seen from the Assyrian royal inscriptions. However, the antagonism between charisma and everyday life arises also in the capitalist economy, with the difference that charisma does not confront the household but the enterprise. An instance of grandiose robber capitalism and of a spoils-oriented following is provided by Henry Villard’s exploits. [In 1889] he organized the famous “blind pool” in order to stage a stock exchange raid on the shares of the Northern Pacific Railroad; he asked the public for a loan of fifty million pounds without revealing his goal, and received it without security by virtue of his reputation. The structure and spirit of this robber capitalism differs radically from the rational management of an ordinary capitalist large-scale enterprise and is most similar to some age-old phenomena: the huge rapacious enterprises in the financial and colonial sphere, and “occasional trade” with its mixture of piracy and slave hunting. The double nature of what may be called the “capitalist spirit,” and the specific character of modern routinized capitalism with its professional bureaucracy, can be understood only if these two structural elements, which are ultimately different but everywhere intertwined, are conceptually distinguished. The Social Structure of Charismatic Domination

It is true that the “purer” charismatic authority in our sense is, the less can it be understood as an organization in the usual sense: as an order of persons and things that function according to the means-ends scheme. However, charismatic authority does not imply an amorphous condition; it indicates rather a definite social structure with a staff and an apparatus of services and material means that is adapted to the mission of the leader. The personal staff constitutes a charismatic aristocracy composed of a select group of adherents who are united by discipleship and loyalty and chosen according to personal charismatic qualification. For the charismatic subject adequate material contributions are considered a dictate of conscience, although they are formally voluntary, unregulated and irregular; they are offered according to need and economic capacity. The more typical the charismatic structure, the less do followers or disciples obtain their material sustenance and social position in the form of benefices, salaries or other kinds of orderly compensation, titles or ranks. Instead, insofar as the individual’s maintenance is not already assured, the followers share in the use of those goods which the authoritarian leader receives as donation, booty or endowment and which he distributes among them without accounting or contractual fixation. Thus the followers may have a claim to be fed at the common table, to be clothed and to receive honorific gifts from the leader, and to share in the social, political or religious esteem and honor in which he himself is held. Any deviation from this pattern affects the “purity” of the charismatic structure and modifies it in the direction of other structures

5           The Communist Want Satisfaction of the Charismatic Community

Next to the household, charisma is thus the second important historical representative of communism, defined here as the absence of formal accountability in the consumption sphere, not as the rational organization of production, for a common account [as under socialism]. Every historical instance of communism in this sense has either a traditional, that means, patriarchal basis or the extraordinary foundation of charismatic belief; in the former case it is household communism, and only in this form has it been an everyday phenomenon; in the latter case it was if fully developed, either the spoils communism of the camp or the monastery’s communism of love with its variations and its degeneration into caritas and alms-giving. In various degrees of purity the spoils communism of the camp is found in all charismatic warriors’ organizations from the pirate state of the Ligurian islands to the Islamic state of the caliph Omar and the military orders of Christianity and of Japanese Buddhism. In one form or another, the communism of love was paramount in all religions. It persists among the professional followers of the Divine: the monks. We also find it in numerous Pietist organizations, for example, among Labadie’s followers--and in other high-strung religious groups of an exclusive character. The preservation of authentic heroism and saintliness appears to the adherents dependent upon the retention of a communist basis and the absence of the striving for individual property. And correctly so, since charisma is basically an extraordinary and hence necessarily non-economic power, and its vitality is immediately endangered when everyday economic interests become predominant, as it threatens to happen everywhere. The first step in this direction is the prebend--an allowance replacing the old communist maintenance out of common provisions--, which has here its real origin. With all available means the charismatic leaders attempt to limit this disintegration. All warrior states retained remnants of charismatic communism--Sparta is a typical example--and tried to protect the heroic individual against the “temptation” posed by responsibility for property rational acquisition and a family, just like the religious orders did. The adjustment between these charismatic remnants and the individual’s economic interests, which arise with prebendalization and persist ever after, may take the most diverse forms. Invariably, however, the reign of genuine charisma comes to an end when it can no longer withhold the unqualified permission to found families and to engage in economic pursuits. Only the common danger of military life or the love ethos of an unworldly discipleship can preserve such communism, which in turn is the only guarantor of the purity of charisma vis-a-vis everyday interests

Every charisma is on the road from a turbulently emotional life that knows no economic rationality to a slow death by suffocation under the weight of material interests: every hour of its existence brings it nearer to this end


6           The Routinization of Charisma

Charismatic rulership in the typical sense described above always results from unusual, especially political or economic situations, or from extraordinary psychic, particularly religious states, or from both together. It arises from collective excitement produced by extraordinary events and from surrender to heroism of any kind. This alone is sufficient to warrant the conclusion that the faith of the leader himself and of his disciples in his charisma--be it of a prophetic or any other kind--is undiminished, consistent and effective only in statu nascendi, just as is true of the faithful devotion to him and his mission on the part of those to whom he considers himself sent. When the tide that lifted a charismatically led group out of everyday life flows back into the channels of workaday routines, at least the “pure” form of charismatic domination will wane and turn into an “institution”; it is then either mechanized, as it were, or imperceptibly displaced by other structures, or fused with them in the most diverse forms, so that it becomes a mere component of a concrete historical structure. In this case it is often transformed beyond recognition, and identifiable only on an analytical level

Thus the pure type of charismatic rulership is in a very specific sense unstable, and all its modifications have basically one and the same cause: The desire to transform charisma and charismatic blessing from a unique, transitory gift of grace of extraordinary times and persons into a permanent possession of everyday life. This is desired usually by the master, always by his disciples, and most of all by his charismatic subjects. Inevitably, however, this changes the nature of the charismatic structure. The charismatic following of a war leader may be transformed into a state, the charismatic community of a prophet, artist, philosopher, ethical or scientific innovator may become a church, sect, academy or school, and the charismatic group which espouses certain cultural ideals may develop into a party or merely the staff of newspapers and periodicals. In every case charisma is henceforth exposed to the conditions of everyday life and to the powers dominating it, especially to the economic interests. The turning point is always reached when charismatic followers and disciples become privileged table companions, as did the trustis of the Frankish king, and subsequently fief-holders, priests, state officials, party officials, officers, secretaries, editors and publishers, all of whom want to live off the charismatic movement, or when they become employees, teachers and others with a vested occupational interest, or holders of benefices and of patrimonial offices. The charismatically dominated masses, in turn, become tax-paying subjects, dues-paying members of a church, sect, party or club [Verein], soldiers who are systematically impressed, drilled and disciplined, or law-abiding “citizens.” Even though the apostle admonishes the followers to maintain the purity of the spirit, the charismatic message inevitably becomes dogma, doctrine, theory, reglement, law or petrified tradition

In this process the two basically antagonistic forces of charisma and tradition regularly merge with one another. This stands to reason, for their power does not derive from purposive-rational regulations and their observance, but from the belief in the sanctity of an individual’s authority, which is unquestionably valid for the ruled [children, disciples, retainers or vassals], whether or not it really claims to be absolute. Both charisma and tradition rest on a sense of loyalty and obligation which always has a religious aura

The external forms of the two structures of domination are also often similar to the point of being identical. It is not directly visible whether the companionage of a war leader with his followers has a patrimonial or a charismatic character; this depends upon the spirit which imbues the community, and that means upon the basis of the ruler’s claim to legitimacy: authority sanctified by tradition, or faith in the person of the hero. The transition is fluid. As soon as charismatic domination loses its personal foundation and the acutely emotional faith which distinguishes it from the traditional mold of everyday life, its alliance with tradition is the most obvious and often the only alternative, especially in periods in which the rationalization of organizational techniques [Lebenstechnik] is still incipient. In such an alliance the essence of charisma appears to be definitely abandoned, and this is indeed true insofar as its eminently revolutionary character is concerned. It is the basic feature of this ever recurring development that charisma is captured by the interest of all economic and social power holders in the legitimation of their possessions by a charismatic, and thus sacred, source of authority. Instead of upsetting everything that is traditional or based on legal acquisition [in the modern sense], as it does in statu nascendi, charisma becomes a legitimation for “acquired rights.” In this function, which is alien to its essence, charisma becomes a part of everyday life; for the needs which it satisfies in this way are universal, especially for one general reason [namely, the legitimation of leadership and succession]

7           The Selection of Leaders and the Designation of Successors

Our earlier analysis of bureaucratic, patriarchal and feudal domination dealt only with the manner in which these everyday powers functioned. It did not explore the criteria for the selection of the highest ranking bureaucratic or patriarchal holder of power. Even the head of a bureaucracy might conceivably be a high official who moves into his position according to general rules. However, it is no accident that this is usually not the case; at the least he is not selected according to the same norms as the officials in the hierarchy below him. Exactly the pure type of bureaucracy, a hierarchy of appointed officials, requires an authority [Instanz] which has not been appointed in the same fashion as the other officials. The holder of patriarchal power is naturally given in the nuclear family of parents and children, and in the extended family he is established through unambiguous traditional prescription. This is not equally true of the head of a patriarchal state or a feudal hierarchy

For charismatic leadership, too, if it wants to transform itself into a perennial institution, the first basic problem is that of finding a successor to the prophet, hero, teacher or party leader. This problem inescapably channels charisma into the direction of legal regulation and tradition

Given the nature of charisma, a free election of a successor is originally not possible, only the acknowledgment that the pretender actually has charisma. Hence the followers may have to wait for the epiphany of a personally qualified successor, temporal representative or prophet. Specific examples are the incarnations of Buddha and the Mahdis. Frequently, however, there is no such incarnation, or it may even be ruled out by dogmatic considerations, as in the case of Christ and originally of Buddha. Only genuine [Southern] Buddhism drew radical conclusions from this conception: After his death Buddha’s followers continued to be a community of mendicant monks which maintained a minimal organization and consociation and, so far as possible, remained amorphous and intermittent. Wherever the old prescriptions of the Pali texts were followed, as was often the case in India and Ceylon, there is neither a patriarch nor is the individual firmly attached to a monastic consociation. The “dioceses” are only convenient geographical demarcations of areas within which the monks gather for the few communal ceremonies, which are free of any elaborate ritual. The “officialdom” is limited to the caretakers of clothes and a few similar functionaries. The renunciation of property on the part of the individual and the community and want satisfaction through the maecenatic system [gifts and alms] are carried as far as this is possible under the conditions of everyday life. Precedence in the order of seating or speaking at meetings is conferred only by seniority and by the relationship of the teacher to the novice who serves as his attendant [famulus]. Resignation is possible at any time, and admission requirements are very low [including an apprenticeship, a recommendation and release by the teacher, and a minimum of ceremonies]. There is neither dogma nor professional instruction and preaching. The two half-legendary concilia of the first centuries were not repeated

It is certain that this highly amorphous character of the monastic community contributed heavily to the disappearance of Buddhism in India. It was, at any rate, possible only in a purely monastic community in which individual salvation was exclusively a personal matter. For in any other group such behavior, and a merely passive waiting for a new epiphany, will endanger the cohesion of the charismatic community which yearns for the physical presence of the lord and master. If this strong desire to have a charismatic leader present all the time is accommodated, an important step in the direction of routinization has been made. Recurrent incarnation depersonalizes charisma. Its chosen holder must be sought either on the basis of some revealing characteristics and thus at least of some “rules”--like the new Dalai Lama, whose selection does not differ in principle from that of the Apis bull--; or some other definite and regular means must be available. In the latter category we find the belief, which easily emerges, that the holder of charisma himself is qualified to designate his successor or, if he is considered a unique incarnation such as Christ, his temporal representative. In all originally charismatic organizations, whether prophetic or warlike, the designation of a successor or representative has been a typical means of assuring the continuity of domination. But this indicates, of course, a step from autonomous leadership based on the power of personal charisma toward legitimacy derived from the authority of a “source.” Pertinent religious examples are well-known. Instead we refer to the Roman magistrates, who designated their successors from among qualified persons before they were acclaimed by the assembled army. The charismatic features of this mode of selection were preserved on a ceremonial level even after tenure in the office had been limited and formal prior consent [“election”] by the citizens’ army had been introduced in an effort to curb the powers of the office. The designation of a dictator in the field, during military exigencies that called for an extraordinary man, remained for a long time a characteristic remnant of the old pure type of charismatic selection. The princeps emerged from the army’s acclamation of the victorious hero as imperator; the lex de imperio did not make him the ruler, rather it acknowledged him as the rightful pretender. Hence, during the most typical period of the Principate, the only “legitimate” means of succession to the throne was the designation of a colleague and successor. This designation was regularly clothed in the form of an adoption. These customs, in turn, undoubtedly had a strong influence upon the Roman family, which came to accept the completely free designation of a heres to take the place of the late pater familial with respect to the gods and familia pecuniaque [family and property]. Even though the notion of the heritability of charisma was used in the case of succession by adoption--by the way, without ever being accepted as an explicit principle in the period of military emperorship--, the principate itself always remained an office and the princeps continued to be an official with specified bureaucratic jurisdiction as long as the military emperorship retained its Roman character. To have established the principate as an office was the achievement of Augustus, whose reform appeared to contemporaries as the preservation and restoration of Roman tradition and liberty, in contrast to the notion of a Hellenistic monarchy that was probably on Caesar’s mind

8           Charismatic Acclamation

If the charismatic leader has not designated a successor and if there are no obvious external characteristics, like those that usually facilitate identification in the case of incarnation, it may easily occur to the ruled that the participants [cleric] in his exercise of authority, the disciples and followers, are best suited to recognize the qualified successor. At any rate, since the disciples have in fact complete control over the instruments of power, they do not find it difficult to appropriate this role as a “right.” However, since the effectiveness of charisma rests on the faith of the ruled, their approval of the designated successor is indispensable. In fact, acknowledgment by the ruled was originally decisive. For example, even after membership in the [medieval German] college of Electors as a screening committee had become firmly circumscribed, it remained a question of practical significance who of the Electors was to present the proposal to the assembled army, for in principle he was able to procure the acclamation for his personal candidate irrespective of the wishes of his colleagues

Thus designation by the closest and most powerful vassals and acclamation by the ruled is normally the end product of this mode of choosing a successor. In the “routine” patrimonial and feudal state we find this charismatically derived right of designation as the right of nomination [Vorwahlrecht] of the most important patrimonial officials or vassals. In this respect the election of the German king was patterned after the election of a bishop. The “election” of a new king, pope, bishop or priest through [1] designation by the disciples and followers [Electors, cardinals, diocesan priests, chapter, elders] and [2] subsequent popular acclamation was therefore not an “election” in the modern sense of a presidential or parliamentary election. In its essence it was something completely different, namely, the recognition or acknowledgment of a qualification older than the election, hence of a charisma, acceptance of which its bearer was in fact entitled to demand. In principle, therefore, a majority decision was at first not possible, for a minority, no matter how small, might be right in its recognition of genuine charisma, just as the largest majority might be in error. Only one person can be the genuine bearer of charisma; the dissenting voters thus commit a sacrilege. All rules of the papal election aim at unanimity, and the election of an anti-king is the same thing as a church schism: It obscures the correct identification of the “chosen” ruler. In principle, such a situation can be corrected only by Divine judgment as revealed in the outcome of a physical or magical combat, an institution found among pretenders to the throne, especially brothers, in certain African tribes and also elsewhere

Once the majority principle has come to prevail, it is considered the moral duty of the minority to yield to the right cause proven by the election and to join the majority after the event. Yet charismatic domination begins to yield to a genuine electoral system once succession is determined by the majority principle. However, charisma is not alien to all modern, including all democratic, forms of election. Certainly the democratic system of so-called plebiscitarian rulership--the official theory of French caesarism--has essentially charismatic features, and the arguments of its proponents all emphasize this very quality. The plebiscite is not an “election,” but the first or the renewed recognition of a pretender as a personally qualified, charismatic ruler; an example of the latter case is the French plebiscite of 1870. Periclean democracy, too, which according to the intent of its creator was the domination of the demagogos by means of a charisma of the spirit and the tongue, received its characteristic charismatic trait by virtue of the election of one of the strategoi [the others being determined by lot, if Eduard Meyer’s hypothesis is correct]. Wherever originally charismatic communities enter on the path of electing their rulers, the electoral procedures will in the long run be tied to norms. This happens above all because with the vanishing of the genuine roots of charisma the everyday power of tradition and the belief in its sanctity regain their preponderance, so that only the observance of tradition can henceforth guarantee the right choice. Acclamation by the ruled recedes increasingly behind the charismatically determined right of prior election [Vorwahlrecht] by clerics, court officials or great vassals, and ultimately an exclusive oligarchic electoral agency comes into being, as in the Catholic church and the Holy Roman empire. Indeed this is bound to happen wherever a group with procedural experience has the right of nomination or of prior selection. Throughout the history of the city, this prerogative everywhere turned into a right of cooptation on the part of ruling families, who in this fashion reduced the lord to the position of a primus inter pares [archon, consul, doge] and the electoral participation of the community to insignificance. In our own days we find a parallel, for example, in the development of the senatorial election in Hamburg. From a formal viewpoint this transformation is by far the most frequent “legal” road to oligarchy

9           The Transition to Democratic Suffrage

However, the reverse may also happen: Acclamation by the ruled may develop into a regular electoral system, with standardized suffrage, direct or indirect election, majority or proportional method, electoral classes and districts. It is a long way to such a system. As far as the election of the supreme ruler is concerned, only the United States went all the way--and there, of course, the nominating campaign within each of the two parties is one of the most important parts of the election business. Elsewhere at most the parliamentary representatives are elected, who in turn determine the choice of the prime minister and his colleagues. The development from acclamation of the charismatic leader to popular election occurred at the most diverse cultural stages, and every advance toward a rational, emotionally detached consideration of the process could not help but to facilitate this transformation. However, only in the Occident did the election of the ruler gradually develop into the representative system. In Antiquity the boiotarchai represented [in the Boeotian League] their communities [as originally also the members of the House of Commons], not the voters as such, and wherever, as in the case of Attic Democracy, the officials were really popular mandataries and representatives and the demos was subdivided into sections, the principle of rotation rather than of representation prevailed [and gave each section a turn]. However, if this principle is radically applied, the elected person is formally the agent and hence the servant of his voters, not their chosen master, just like in a system of direct democracy. This means that structurally the charismatic basis has been completely abandoned. But in countries with large administrative bodies such a radical application of the principles of direct democracy has very narrow limits

10       The Meaning of Election and Representation

For purely technical reasons, it is not feasible to tie the mandate of the representative completely to the voters’ will since situations are always unstable and unanticipated problems always arise. The recall of the representative through a vote of no confidence has been rarely tried, and the approval of parliamentary decisions through a referendum results primarily in a considerable strengthening of all irrational powers of inertia, since as a rule the referendum precludes horse-trading and compromises between the interested parties. Finally, increasing costs make frequent elections impossible. All attempts at subordinating the representative to the will of the voters have in the long run only one effect

They reinforce the ascendancy of the party organization over him, which alone can mobilize the people. Both the pragmatic interest in the flexibility of the parliamentary apparatus and the power interest of the representatives and the party functionaries converge on one point: They tend to treat the representative not as the servant but as the chosen “master” of his voters. Most constitutions express this in the formula that the representative--like the monarch--is free to decide as he sees fit and that he “represents the interests of all the people.” His actual power may vary considerably. In France the individual deputy normally controls not only the patronage of all offices, but he is in the proper sense of the word the “master” of his electoral district--this explains the resistance to the proportional system and the absence of party centralization; in the United States this is precluded by the predominance of the Senate, whose members occupy a similar position; in England and even more so in Germany the individual deputy, for very different reasons, is less the master than the agent of the economic interests in his electoral district, and patronage is controlled by the influential party chiefs. Here we cannot deal further with the manner in which the electoral system distributes power; this depends upon the historically given mode of domination, and largely upon autonomous, that is, technically determined factors. We have been concerned only with the principles. Any election may be purely formal without having any real significance. This happened in the comitia of early Imperial Rome and in many Hellenic and medieval cities, as soon as an oligarchic club or a despot managed to seize political power and in fact designated the candidates to be elected into office. Even where this is not formally the case, the observer is well advised, whenever historical sources speak in general terms of an “election” of the prince or any other power-holder by the community--as in the case of the Germanic tribes--, to understand the expression not in the modern sense but to interpret it as a mere acclamation of a candidate who was designated by some other authority and also elected from only one or a few qualified families. We are not at all dealing with an election, of course, when voting for a political ruler has a plebiscitary and hence charismatic character: when instead of a real choice between candidates only the power claims of a pretender are being acknowledged

Normal “elections,” too, can only be a decision between several candidates who have been screened before being offered to the voters. This decision is brought about in the arena of electoral agitation through personal influence and appeal to material or ideal interests. The electoral provisions constitute, as it were, the rules of the game for this “peaceful” contest. The designation of these candidates takes place within the parties, for it stands to reason that party leaders and their followers, not the amorphous activities of voters, organize the contest for votes and thus for office patronage. Quadrennial campaign costs in the United States already amount to about as much as a colonial war, and in Germany too election costs are increasing for all parties which cannot draw upon the cheap manpower provided by Catholic auxiliary clergymen, noble or office-holding notables, or salaried trade union and other secretaries

In addition to the power of money, the “charisma of rhetoric” gains great influence under these conditions. Its impact is not necessarily dependent upon any particular cultural level; it is also known to the assemblies of Indian chiefs and to the African palavers. Under Hellenic democracy it experienced its first great qualitative efflorescence, with immense consequences for the development of language and thought However, from a purely quantitative viewpoint modern democratic electioneering with its “stump speeches” surpasses anything seen previously. The more mass effects are intended and the tighter the bureaucratic organization of the parties becomes, the less significant is the content of the rhetoric. For its effect is purely emotional, insofar as simple class situations and other economic interests do not prevail which must be rationally calculated and manipulated. The rhetoric has the same meaning as the street parades and festivals: to imbue the masses with the notion of the party’s power and confidence in victory and, above all, to convince them of the leader’s charismatic qualification

Since all emotional mass appeals have certain charismatic features, the bureaucratization of the parties and of electioneering may at its very height suddenly be forced into the service of charismatic hero worship. In this case a conflict arises between the charismatic hero principle and the mundane power of the party organization, as Roosevelt’s [1912] campaign demonstrated

11       Excursus on Party Control by Charismatic Leaders’ Notables and Bureaucrats

Almost all parties originate as a charismatic following of legitimate or caesarist pretenders, of demagogues in the style of Pericles, Cleon or Lassalle. If parties develop at all into routinized permanent organizations, they generally are transformed into structures controlled by honoratiores. Until the end of the 18th century this almost always meant a federation of nobles. In the Italian cities of the Middle Ages a person could be elevated into the ranks of the nobili as a political punishment [since the great urban vassals were almost always Ghibelline]; this was tantamount to disqualification from office and political disfranchisement. However, it was very rare, even under the popolani, for a commoner to hold leading offices, even though here as always the bourgeois strata had to finance the parties. The decisive element was that the military power of the parties, which often resorted to direct force, was provided by the nobility, in case of the Guelphs, for example, according to fixed contributions. Huguenots and Catholic League, the English parties, including the Roundheads, indeed al] parties before the French Revolution typically developed into associations of notables, mostly led by nobles, after they had passed through a period of charismatic excitement that broke down class and status barriers in favor of one or several heroes. The same was true of the so-called “bourgeois” parties in the Igth century, even the most radical ones: all of them fell under the control of honoratiores, for only they could govern a party or the state without compensation, and they had of course the advantage of status or economic influence. Whenever the owner of a landed estate changed his party affiliation, it was more or less taken for granted in England, and in East Prussia until the eighteen-seventies, that not only his patrimonial subjects but also the peasants would follow him--except in times of revolutionary excitement. At least in the smaller towns, a somewhat similar role was played by the mayors, judges, notaries, lawyers, ministers and teachers, and often also by the manufacturers until the workers organized themselves as a class. We will discuss in a different context why the manufacturers, even apart from their class situation, were generally not suited for this role. In Germany the teachers constitute a stratum that--for reasons inherent in its particular status position--provides unpaid electoral agents to the so called “bourgeois” parties, just as the clergy normally does for the authoritarian parties. In France the lawyers have always been available to the bourgeois parties, partly because of their technical qualifications and partly-- during and after the Revolution--because of their status position

During the French Revolution some party organizations began to evolve in a bureaucratic manner, but they were too short-lived to develop a definite structure; only in the last decades of the 19th century did bureaucratic organization gain the upper hand everywhere. The oscillation between subordination to charisma and obedience to honoratiores was succeeded by the struggle of the bureaucratic organization with charismatic leadership. The more bureaucratization advances and the more substantial the interests in benefices and other opportunities become, the more surely does the party organization fall into the hands of experts, whether these appear immediately as party officials or at first as independent entrepreneurs--witness the American boss. These experts systematically maintain personal relations with the ward leaders, agitators, controllers and other indispensable personnel, and keep the voters, lists, files and all other materials required for running the party machine Henceforth only the control of such an apparatus makes possible an effective influence on the party’s policies and, if need be, a successful secession. The [1880] Sezession [in the German National Liberal Party] became possible because the Reichstag deputy Rickert had the lists of the ward leaders; from the beginning the subsequent breakup of the Freisinnige Partei appeared likely since Eugen Richter and Rickert each retained his own apparatus; and the fact that the former Secessionists managed to seize control of the party’s executive board was a more serious symptom of the forthcoming split than all the preceding rhetoric. Conversely, the impossibility of merging the personnel of two rival organizations has been much more important than any substantive disagreement for the failure of attempts at party mergers; this is again illustrated by German experiences. In normal times such a bureaucratic apparatus, more or less consistently developed, controls the party’s course, including the vitally important nomination of candidates. However, in times of great public excitement, charismatic leaders may emerge even in solidly bureaucratized parties, as was demonstrated by Roosevelt’s campaign in 1912. If there is a “hero,” he will endeavor to break the technician’s hold over the party by imposing plebiscitary designation and possibly by changing the whole machinery of nomination. Such an eruption of charisma, of course, always faces the resistance of the normally predominant pros, especially of the bosses who control and finance the party and maintain its routine operations, whose tools the candidates usually are. For not only the material interests of the job hunters depend upon the selection of the party candidates, but very much also those of the party sponsors--banks, contractors and trusts. Since the times of Crassus, a typical figure has been the great sponsor who at times finances a charismatic leader and who expects from the latter’s electoral victory government contracts, tax-farming opportunities, monopolies or other privileges, and especially the repayment with interest of his advances. But the regular party organization also lives off party sponsors. Rarely sufficient are the ordinary revenues, such as dues and possibly kickbacks from the salaries of officials who got their government job through the party [as in the United States]. The direct exploitation of the party’s power position enriches the participants, but does not necessarily fill the party coffers. For propagandistic reasons dues are frequently abolished or depend upon the member’s self-assessment; this puts the control over the party’s finances even formally into the hands of the big sponsors. The regular manager and political professional, the boss or the party secretary, can expect their financial support only if he firmly controls the party machine. Hence every irruption of charisma is also a financial threat to the regular organization. It happens quite frequently that the warring bosses or other managers of the competing parties combine in defense of their common economic interests to prevent the rise of charismatic leaders, who would be independent of the regular party apparatus. As a rule, the party organization easily succeeds in this castration of charisma. This will also remain true of the United States, even in the face of the plebiscitary presidential primaries, since in the long run the continuity of professional operations is tactically superior to emotional worship. Only extraordinary conditions can bring about the triumph of charisma over the organization. The peculiar relationship between charisma and bureaucracy that split the English Liberal party over the issue of the first home rule bill is well known: Gladstone’s very personal charisma, which was irresistible to Puritan rationalism, forced the caucus bureaucracy to make an about-face and to stand with him despite the most serious objections and the prognosis of an unfavorable outcome of the elections; this resulted in the split of the apparatus that Chamberlain had created and in the loss of the electoral battle. A similar thing happened in the United States last year [1912]

It stands to reason that a party’s general character is significant for the chances that charisma has in its struggle with the party bureaucracy. These chances vary greatly with the character of the party, which may be a pragmatic group of patronage seekers with an ad hoc program for a given campaign, or primarily a party of notables or of a class, or again predominantly an ideological party with a Weltanschanung. These distinctions are, of course, always relative. In certain respects the chances of charisma are greatest in the first case. A patronage party makes it much easier, ceteris paribus, for impressive personalities to win the necessary following than do the petty-bourgeois organizations of notables of the German parties, particularly of the liberal ones, with their programs and Weltanschauungen which are forever the same; any attempt to adapt the latter to the momentary demagogic opportunities easily precipitates a catastrophe. However, it is probably not possible to generalize on this score. The internal dynamics of party organization and the social and economic conditions of each concrete case are all too intimately interwoven in any given situation

12       Charisma and the Persistent Forms of Domination

As these examples show, charismatic domination is by no means limited to primitive stages of development, and the three basic types of domination cannot be placed into a simple evolutionary line: they in fact appear together in the most diverse combinations. It is the fate of charisma, however, to recede with the development of permanent institutional structures. As far as we know the early stages of social life, every concerted action that transcends the traditional mode of satisfying economic needs in the household has a charismatic structure. Primitive man perceives all external influences that shape his life as the actions of specific forces which are inherent in things and men, living and dead, and give them the power to do good as well as harm. The entire Conceptual apparatus of primitive tribes, including their nature- and animal-fables, proceeds from such assumptions. Concepts like mana, orenda and similar ones, the meaning of which ethnography explains to us, denote such specific forces whose supernatural character is ex- elusively due to the fact that they are not accessible to everybody but linked to some definite carrier--person or object. Magic and heroic qualities are nothing but particularly important instances of such specific powers. Every event transcending the routines of everyday life releases charismatic forces, and every extraordinary ability creates charismatic beliefs, which are subsequently weakened again by everyday life. In normal times the powers of the village chief are very limited, amounting to little more than arbitration and representation. In general, the members of the community do not claim the right to depose him, for his power is charismatic and not elective; however, if need be they desert him without hesitation and settle elsewhere. Among the Germanic tribes a king could still be rejected in this manner because of inadequate charismatic qualification. We might almost say that the normal condition of primitive communities was anarchy moderated by compliance with customs, which was either unreflecting or motivated by apprehension toward the uncertain consequences of innovation. The magician’s social influence is similarly weak in everyday life

However, the charisma of the hero or the magician is immediately activated whenever an extraordinary event occurs: a major hunting expedition, a drought or some other danger precipitated by the wrath of the demons, and especially a military threat. The charismatic hunting or war leader is often not identical with the peacetime chief who has primarily economic and also mediating functions. When the manipulation of deities and demons becomes an object of a permanent cult, the charismatic prophet and magician turns into a priest. When wars become chronic and technological development necessitates the systematic training and recruitment of all able-bodied men, the charismatic war leader becomes a king. The Frankish royal officials, count and sakebaro, were originally military and financial officials, all other tasks are of a later date, especially the judicial functions, which at first remained in the hands of the ancient charismatic communal arbitrators. The entrenchment of a war leader with a permanent staff is the decisive step to be linked with the notions of “kingship” and “state,” as compared to the peacetime chief whose primary functions are sometimes more economic [regulating common economic concerns of the village or market community], sometimes more magic [religious or medical], sometimes more judicial [originally limited to arbitration]. It is arbitrary to derive kingship and state, in adaptation of Nietzschean concepts, from the subjection of one tribe by another, which thereupon creates a permanent apparatus in order to maintain its ascendancy and to exact tribute. For the same differentiation between arms-bearing and tax-exempt warriors and unarmed, service-rendering non-combat/ants can easily develop within any tribe that is chronically threatened with war incidentally, the dependence of the non-combat/ants is frequently not patrimonial. The chief’s following may form a military brotherhood and exercise political rights, so that a feudal aristocracy emerges. Alternatively, the chief may increasingly resort to hiring his following, first in order to launch marauding expeditions and later to dominate his own people; for this case, too, there are examples. [The conquest theory] is correct only to the extent that kingship is normally charismatic war leadership that has become permanent and has developed a repressive apparatus for the domestication of the unarmed subjects. This apparatus naturally became strongest in conquered territories, because of the continuous threat to the ruling stratum. It is no accident that the Norman states, especially England, were the only feudal states in the Occident with a really centralized and highly developed administration; the same was true of the Arabic, Sassanid and Turkish warrior states, which were most highly organized in conquered areas. The development of hierocratic power followed the same pattern. The strict centralization of the Catholic church originated in the Occidental mission territory and was completed in the wake of the [French] Revolution which destroyed the power of the local clergy as ecclesia militans the church created its technical apparatus. However, kingship and high-priesthood exist also without conquest and missionary activities, if we consider as the decisive feature the persistence of a bureaucratic, patrimonial or feudal structure of domination

13       The Depersonalization of Charisma: Lineage Charisma, “Clan State” and Primogeniture

Whatever we have said until now about the possible consequences of the routinization of charisma has not affected its strictly personal quality. However, we will now turn to phenomena whose common feature is a peculiar depersonalization of charisma. From a unique gift of grace charisma may be transformed into a quality that is either [a] transferable or [b] personally acquirable or [c] attached to the incumbent of an office or to an institutional structure regardless of the persons involved. We are justified in still speaking of charisma in this impersonal sense only because there always remains an extraordinary quality which is not accessible to everyone and which typically overshadows the charismatic subjects. It is for this very reason that charisma can fulfill its social function. However, since in this manner charisma becomes a component of everyday life and changes into a permanent structure, its essence and mode of operation are significantly transformed

The most frequent case of a depersonalization of charisma is the belief in its transferability through blood ties. Thus the desires of the disciples or followers and of the charismatic subjects for the perpetuation of charisma are fulfilled in a most simple fashion. However, the notion of a truly individual inheritance was as alien here as it was originally to tile household. Instead of individual inheritance we find the immortal household as property-holder vis-a-vis the succeeding generations. In the beginning, charisma too is hereditary only in the sense that house hold and lineage group are considered magically blessed, so that they alone can provide the bearers of charisma. This notion lies so close at hand that its genesis scarcely needs an explanation. Because of its supernatural endowment a house is elevated above all others; in fact, the belief in such a qualification, which is unattainable by natural means and hence charismatic, has everywhere been the basis for tile development of royal and aristocratic power. For just as the charisma of the ruler attaches itself to his house, so does that of his disciples and followers to their houses. The kobetsu, the families who [allegedly] descended from the house [uji] of the Japanese charismatic ruler Jimmu Tenno, are considered to be permanently blessed and retain this preeminence over the other uji, among whom the shinbetsu constitute the charismatic aristocracy; the latter comprise the clans of followers which [allegedly] immigrated with Jimmu Tenno as well as those native ones that he incorporated into his following. This aristocracy assigns the administrative positions to its members. The two clans of the Muraji and the Omi occupied the highest charismatic rank. In these as in all the other clans, the same phenomenon occurred when the joint household disintegrated: one house is considered the Great House [o = oho]. The houses O Muraji and O Omi are the bearers of the specific charisma of their clans, and their heads therefore claim the right of occupying the corresponding positions at court and in the political community. Wherever the principle of charismatic blood relationship has been fully applied, all occupational status, down to the lowest craft, rests, at least theoretically, upon the tie between a specific charisma and a specific lineage group and between the prerogative of leadership within such a group and its charismatically qualified Great House. The political organization of the state depends upon lineage groups, their retainers and territorial holdings. As a type such a “clan state” [Geschlechterstaat: should be clearly distinguished from any type of feudal or patrimonial state or state with hereditary offices [Amtsstaat], regardless of the fluid historical transitions. For the rights of the individual lineage groups to their functions are legitimated by the charisma inherent in their houses, not by any personal fealty that derives from a grant of property or office As previously mentioned, the transition from this condition to the feudal state is regularly motivated by the ruler’s interest in destroying the autonomous legitimacy of these lineage groups and in replacing it with a feudal legitimacy derived from his own person

We are not interested here in the degree of correspondence between historical reality and the pure type of charismatic blood relationship; for our purposes it is sufficient that the principle existed in more or less developed form among the most diverse peoples. Remnants of it can be found in the historical period of Germanic as well as Greek Antiquity [witness the preeminence, by virtue of their blood line, of the Eteobutadai in Athens and, conversely, the disqualification of the Alkmaionidai by virtue of their blood guilt]

In historical times, however, the principle of dynastic and lineage charisma has generally been adhered to far less consistently. As a rule, the most primitive and the highest stages of culture only know the charismatic privilege of the ruling dynasty and possibly of a very limited number of other powerful families. Under primitive conditions the charisma of the magician, rainmaker, medicine-man and priest, as long as it is not fused with political authority, is much less frequently tied to the charisma of a house; only the development of a regular cult gives rise to those charismatic blood ties between certain priestly positions and aristocratic lineage groups that occur often and in turn affect the hereditability of other types of charisma. As physiological blood ties gain increasing importance, deification sets in, at first of the ancestors and eventually also of the incumbent ruler, if the process is not interrupted; we shall return to some of its consequences

Lineage charisma, however, does not assure the unambiguous identification of the successor. This requires a definite rule of succession; hence the belief in the charismatic importance of blood relationship must be implemented by the belief in the charisma of primogeniture. For all other systems, including the system of “seniority” frequently applied in the Orient, lead to wild palace intrigues and revolts, particularly when polygamy is practiced and the wives’ struggle for the succession rights of their children is added to the ruler’s interest in eliminating potential pretenders in favor of his own offspring. In a feudal state the principle of primogeniture is usually established first for fief-holders because the division of hereditary fiefs must be limited in the interest of their service capacities. Subsequently, the principle is, so to speak, projected back to the apex of the feudal pyramid, as it happened in the course of Occidental feudalization. In a patrimonial state, whether of the Oriental or Merovingian variety, the validity of the principle of primogeniture is much less certain. In its absence the alternative is either to divide the political powers just like any other patrimonial possession or to select the successor according to some regular procedure: Divine judgment [duelling among the sons, often practiced in primitive tribes], the oracular drawing of lots [which in reality means selection by the priests, as among the Jews since Joshua], or finally the normal form of charismatic selection through nomination and popular acclamation; this case, even more than the others, is fraught with the danger of double elections and of succession fights. At any rate, dominance of monogamy as the sole legitimate form of marriage has been one of the most important reasons for continuity of monarchic power; it benefited the Occidental monarchies, but under the Oriental conditions the mere thought of an impending or possible succession haunted the whole administration, and the actual succession always threatened to be catastrophic for the state

On the whole, the belief in the hereditariness of charisma belongs to those conditions which account for the greatest historical “accidents” with regard to the structure and persistence of polities, especially since the principle of heredity may have to compete with other forms of designating a successor. The structure of Islam has been affected decisively by the fact that Mohammed died without male heirs and that his followers did not found the Caliphate on hereditary charisma, and indeed during the Omayyad period developed it in an outright anti-theocratic manner. It is largely owing to such differences about the ruler’s qualification that Shiism, which recognizes the hereditary charisma of Ali’s family and hence accepts the infallible doctrinal authority of an imdm, is so antagonistic to orthodox Sunna, which is based on tradition and idshma [consensus ecclesiae]. Apparently it was easier to displace Jesus’ family from its originally important position in the community. The fact that the German Carolingians and the subsequent royal dynasties died out just when hereditary charisma might have become strong enough to prevail over the electoral claims of the princes, has been highly significant for the decline of royal power in Germany, while in France and England, by contrast, the rise of kingship was strengthened by hereditary charisma. This has had probably even more far-reaching consequences than the fate of Alexander’s family. In contrast to this role of heredity, almost all capable Roman emperors of the first three centuries ascended the throne by virtue of designation through adoption, not by virtue of blood relationship; and most of those who became emperors in the latter way weakened the office. The reasons for these divergent consequences are apparently connected with the difference between the political structure of a feudal state and that of an increasingly bureaucratized state that is dependent upon a standing army and its officers. We will not pursue this difference at this point

14       Office Charisma

Once the belief is established that charisma is bound to blood relationship, its meaning is altogether reversed. If originally a man was ennobled by virtue of his own actions, now only the deeds of his forefathers could legitimate him. Hence one became a member of the Roman nobility not by holding a nobilitating office, but because one’s own ancestors had done so, and the office aristocracy delimited in this way endeavored to monopolize the offices. This reversal of genuine charisma into its exact opposite occurred everywhere according to the same pattern. The genuinely American [Puritan] mentality glorified the self-made man as the bearer of charisma and counted the heir for nothing, but this attitude is being reversed before our own eyes; now only descent--from the Pilgrim Fathers, Pocahontas and the Knickerbockers--or membership in the accepted families of “old” wealth is valued. The closing of the rolls of nobility, the tests of ancestry, the admission of the newly rich only as gentes ininores, and similar phenomena are all equally an expression of the attempt to increase status by making it scarce. Economic motives are not only behind the monopolization of remunerative offices or of other connections with the state, but also behind the monopolization of the connubium; noble rank provides an advantage in the quest for the hands of rich heiresses and also increases the demand for one’s own daughters

In addition to the depersonalization of charisma in the form of inheritance’ there are other historically important forms. First of all, charisma may be transferred through artificial, magical means instead of through blood relationship: The apostolic succession secured through episcopal ordination, the indelible charismatic qualification acquired through the priest’s ordination, the king’s coronation and anointment, and innumerable similar practices among primitive and civilized peoples all derive from this mode of transmission. Most of the time the symbol has become something merely formal, and in practice is less important than the conception often related to it--the linkage of charisma with the holding of an office, which itself is acquired by the laying on of hands, anointment, etc. Here we find that peculiar transformation of charisma into an institution: as permanent structures and traditions replace the belief in the revelation and heroism of charismatic personalities, charisma becomes part of an established social structure. In the early Christian church the Bishop of Rome occupied an essentially charismatic position [originally together with the Roman ecclesia]: The church of Rome acquired very early a specific authority and asserted it time and again against the intellectual superiority of the Hellenistic Orient, which produced almost all great church fathers, established the dogmas and held all ecumenical councils; this predominance lasted as long as the unity of the church was maintained on the basis of the firm belief that God would not permit the church of the world capital to err despite its much smaller intellectual endowment. This authority was nothing but charismatic; it was by no means a primacy in the modern sense of a definitive doctrinal authority [Lehramt], nor did it resemble universal jurisdictional powers in the sense of an appellate function or even an episcopal jurisdiction in competition with the local powers. Such notions had not yet been developed. Moreover just like any other charisma, this one too was at first considered a precarious gift of grace; at least one Bishop of Rome was anathematized by a Council. But on the whole this charisma was believed to be a Divine promise to the church. Even Innocent III at the height of his power did not invoke more than the rather general and vague belief in this promise; only the bureaucratized and intellectualized church of modern history turned it into a charisma of office and differentiated, as does every bureaucracy, between the office [ex cathedra] and the incumbent

The charisma of office--the belief in the specific state of grace of a social institution--is by no means limited to the churches and even less to primitive conditions. Under modern conditions, too, it finds politically relevant expression in the attitudes of the subjects to the state. For these attitudes may vary considerably according to whether they are friendly or hostile to the charisma of office. The specific lack of respect of Puritanism for mundane affairs, its rejection of all idolization, eradicated all charismatic respect towards the powers-that-be in the areas of Puritan predominance. The conduct of an office appeared as a business like all others, the ruler and his officials as sinners like everyone else --strongly emphasized by Kuyper--and as no wiser than anyone else. Through God’s inscrutable will they chanced upon their position and thus gained the power to fabricate laws, statutes, judgments and ordinances. Whoever shows the marks of damnation must of course be removed from a church office, but this principle is inapplicable and also dispensable with regard to state offices. As long as the secular power-holders do not directly violate conscience and God’s honor, they are tolerated, for any change would merely replace them with others just as sinful and probably just as foolish. But they do not have any inwardly binding authority since they are merely parts of an order made by and for man. The office is functionally necessary, but it does not transcend its incumbent and cannot reflect upon him any dignity, such as is possessed, for example, by the lowest royal court [konigliches Amtsgericht] according to normal German sentiment. This naturalistic and rational attitude toward the state, which has had very conservative or very revolutionary effects depending on the given conditions, has been basic to numerous important features of countries under Puritan influence. The fundamentally different attitude of the average German toward the Amt, toward the “supra-personal” authorities and their “nimbus” is of course conditioned in part by the peculiarities of Lutheranism, but also corresponds to a very general type the endowment of power-holders with the office charisma of “God-given authority.” The purely emotive state metaphysics, flourishing on this ground, has had far-reaching political consequences

The Catholic theory of the priest’s character indelebilis with its strict distinction between the charisma of office and the worthiness of the person constitutes the polar opposite of the Puritan rejection of office charisma. Here we encounter the most radical form of depersonalization of charisma and of its transformation into a qualification that is inherent in everybody who has become a member of the office hierarchy through a magic act, and that sanctifies official acts. This depersonalization was the means whereby an hierocratic organization was grafted upon a world which perceived magic qualifications everywhere. The bureaucratization of the church was possible only if tile priest could be absolutely depraved without endangering thereby his charismatic qualification; only then could the institutional charisma of the church be protected against all personnel contingencies. Since pre-bourgeois man is still disinclined to moralize about the natural and the supernatural world, since he perceives the gods not as good but merely as strong, and believes that all kinds of animal, human and superhuman creatures have magic capacities, this differentiation between person and function conforms to widely accepted beliefs; the church only put them deliberately into the service of a great organizational idea: that of bureaucratization

15       Charismatic Kingship

A particularly important case of the charismatic legitimation of institutions is that of political charisma, as it appears with the rise of kingship

Everywhere the king is primarily a warlord. Kingship originates in charismatic heroism. In the history of civilized peoples, kingship is not the oldest form of political domination, that is, a power transcending patriarchal authority and differing from it because it does not primarily direct the peaceful struggle of man with nature but the violent struggle of one community against another. Kingship is preceded by all those charismatic forms which assure relief in the face of extraordinary external or internal distress or which promise success in risky undertakings. In early history, the precursor of the king, the chieftain, often has a double function: He is the patriarch of the family or sib, but also the charismatic leader in hunt and war, the magician, rainmaker, medicine man--hence priest and doctor--, and finally, the arbiter. Frequently each of these kinds of charisma has a special bearer. Next to the peacetime chieftain [the head of the sib], whose power originates in the household and who has mainly economic functions, stands the hunting and war leader, who proves his heroism in successful raids undertaken for the sake of victory and booty. [Even in historical times in Assyrian royal inscriptions, hunting booty and cedars from the Lebanon--dragged along for construction purposes--are enumerated alongside the number of slain enemies and the size of walls of conquered cities which were covered with their skins.] In such cases charisma is acquired irrespective of its bearer’s position in the sib or household, indeed, of any rules. This dualism between charisma and everyday life is often found among the American Indians, for instance the Confederacy of the Iroquois, as well as in Africa and elsewhere

Wherever war and big game hunt do not occur, we do not find the charismatic chieftain either: the “warlord,” as we want to call him in order to avoid the usual confusion with the peacetime chieftain. In this case, especially when natural calamities--drought or epidemics--are frequent, a charismatic sorcerer may have an essentially similar power and become a “priestly ruler.” The charisma of the warlord rises and falls with its efficacy and also with the demand for it; the warlord becomes a permanent figure when there is a chronic state of war. It is mainly a terminological question whether kingship and the state are said to begin with the annexation and incorporation of alien subjects into the community [cf. above, sec. 7]. For our purposes it remains expedient to use the term “state” in a much narrower way

As a rule, the phenomenon of the warlord is not linked to tribal domination over another tribe and to the existence of individual slaves, but only to a chronic state of war and a comprehensive military organization. However, it is true that kingship develops frequently into a regular royal administration only when the military following controls the working or paying masses. But the subjection of alien tribes is not a necessary intermediate step. The internal stratification resulting from the development of charismatic warriors into a ruling caste may have the same differentiating effect. At any rate, as soon as their domination has been stabilized, the royal power and those with vested interests in it, the royal following, search for legitimacy, that is, for the mark of the charismatically qualified ruler

16       Charismatic Education

Once charismatic qualification has become an impersonal quality, which can be transmitted through various and at first purely magic means, it has begun its transformation from a personal gift that can be tested and proven but not transmitted and acquired, into a capacity that, in principle, can be taught and learned. Thus charismatic qualification can become an object of education, even though at first not in the form of rational or empirical instruction, since heroic and magical capacities are regarded as inborn; only if they are latent can they be activated through a regeneration of the whole personality. Therefore, the real purpose of charismatic education is regeneration, hence the development of the charismatic quality, and the testing, confirmation and selection of the qualified person. [The elements of charismatic education are:] Isolation from the familiar environment and from all family ties [among primitive tribes the novices -epheboi-- move into the forests]; invariably entrance into an exclusive educational community; complete transformation of personal conduct; asceticism; physical and psychic exercises of the most diverse forms to awaken the capacity for ecstasy and regeneration; continuous testing of the level of charismatic perfection through shock, torture and mutilation [circumcision may have originated primarily as a part of such ascetic practices]; finally, graduated ceremonious reception into the circle of those who have proven their charisma

Within certain limits the transition between charismatic and rational specialized training is of course fluid. Every charismatic education includes some specialized training, depending on whether the novices are trained to be warriors, medicine men, rainmakers, exorcisers, priests or legal sages. This empirical and professional component, which is often treated as secret know-how for the sake of prestige and monopolization’ increases quantitatively and in rational quality with professional differentiation and the accumulation of specialized knowledge; finally, in a world of predominantly specialized training and drill only the familiar juvenile phenomena of barrack and student life remain as residues of the ancient ascetic means for awakening and testing charismatic capacities. However, genuine charismatic education is the radical opposite of specialized professional training as it is espoused by bureaucracy. Between these two forms of education we find all those kinds that are concerned with “cultivation” [in the meaning defined above: the change of basic attitudes and of personal conduct] and retain only remnants of the original irrational means of charismatic education. The most important instance has been the training of warriors and priests, which once was primarily a selection of the charismatically qualified. He who does not pass the heroic trials of the warrior’s training remains a “woman,” just as he who cannot be awakened to the supernatural remains a “layman.” In the familiar pattern, the standards of qualification are energetically defended and raised because of the material interests of the following, which forces the master to share the prestige and material opportunities of his rulership only with those who have passed the same trials

In the course of these transformations charismatic education may become a state or ecclesiastic institution, or it may be left to the formally free initiative of organized interest groups. The actual developments depend upon the most diverse circumstances, in particular upon the distribution of power between the various competing kinds of charisma. This is especially true of the extent to which either military-knightly training or ecclesiastic instruction predominates in a community. In contrast to knightly training, the very spiritualism of ecclesiastic education facilitates its development toward rational instruction. The training of the priest, rainmaker, medicine man, shaman, dervish, monk, sacred singer and dancer, scribe and jurist as well as the training of the knight and warrior assumes many forms, but remains ultimately similar. Different is merely the relative impact of the various educational groups. This depends not only upon the power distribution between imperium and sacerdotium [which will be discussed again below], but first of all upon the extent to which military service is a matter of social honor, the duty of a stratum that is thereby specifically qualified. Only where such a duty exists does militarism establish its own educational system; conversely, the development of ecclesiastic education is usually a function of the bureaucratization of rulership, at first of sacred domination

The basic Hellenic institution of the epheboi, a component of the individual’s athletic-artistic perfection, is only a special case of a universal kind of military training, which includes in particular the preparations for the initiation rites, that is, for the rebirth as a hero, and the reception into the male fraternity [Männerbund] and the communal house of the warriors, which is a kind of primitive barracks. [This is the origin of the “men’s house” which Schurtz traced everywhere with such loving care.] These are instances of lay education: the warrior clans dominate education. The institution disintegrates whenever the member of the political community is no longer primarily a warrior and war is no longer chronic. An example for the far-reaching “clericalization” of education is provided by the control of the Egyptian priests over the training of officials and scribes in this typically bureaucratic state. In numerous other Oriental cases, too, the priesthood controlled the training of officials, and that means education in general, because it alone developed a rational educational system and provided the state with scribes and officials trained in rational thinking. In the Occidental Middle Ages the education offered by the church and the monasteries --as the agents of every kind of rational instruction--was also of paramount importance. There clerical-rational and knightly education coexisted, competed and cooperated with one another, owing to the feudal and status character of the ruling stratum, and imparted to Occidental medieval man and the Occidental universities their specific character. In contrast, there was no counterweight to the clericalization of education in the purely bureaucratic Egyptian state; the other patrimonial states of the Orient also failed to develop a specifically knightly education, since they lacked the requisite Estate structure; and finally, the completely depoliticized Jews, whose cohesion depended upon the synagogue and the rabbinate, developed a major type of strictly clerical education

In the Hellenic polls and in Rome there was no state bureaucracy or priestly bureaucracy that might have created a clerical educational system. It was only in part a fateful historical accident that Homer, the literary product of a secular aristocracy which was most irreverent toward the gods, remained the major vehicle of literary education-- which explains Plato’s deep hatred against him--and prevented any theological rationalization of the religious powers. The decisive fact was the complete absence of a clerical system of education

In China, finally, the character of Confucian rationalism, its conventionalism and its reception as the basis of education was conditioned by the bureaucratic rationalization of the secular patrimonial officialdom and the absence of feudal powers

17       The Plutocratic Acquisition of Charisma

Every kind of training, whether for magical charisma or for heroism, may become the concern of a small circle of professional associates out of which may develop secret priestly fraternities or exclusive aristocratic clubs The number of variations is great, ranging from systematic domination to occasional plundering by the political or magic brotherhood, which especially in West Africa was often a secret society. All those groups that developed into clubs and brotherhoods, whether they originated in a voluntary military following or in the levy of all able-bodied men, share the tendency to replace charismatic capacities increasingly with purely economic qualifications. A young man had to be dispensable in the household before he could subject himself to charismatic training, which was time-consuming and economically not immediately profitable; however, such dispensability was the less frequent, the more the intensity of economic work increased. The result was a monopolization of charismatic education by the well-to-do, who purposively reinforced this trend. As the original magic or military functions lost importance, economic aspects came to predominate ever more

At the end of this development, a person can simply buy his position in the various levels of political “clubs,” as in Indonesia; under primitive conditions it may suffice to organize a rich feast. The transformation of the charismatic ruling stratum into a purely plutocratic one is typical of otherwise primitive peoples, whenever the practical importance of military and magic charisma declines. It is then not necessarily property itself that ennobles a person, but rather the style of life that is possible only on the basis of property. In the Middle Ages, a knightly style of life implied, among other things, above all the keeping of an open house. Among many tribes it is possible to secure the title of a chief simply by offering banquets, and to retain it in the same manner; this is a kind of noblesse oblige that has always easily impoverished the notables who taxed themselves in this fashion

18       The Charismatic Legitimation of the Existing Order

As domination congeals into a permanent structure, charisma recedes as a creative force and erupts only in short-lived mass emotions with unpredictable effect, during elections and similar occasions. However, charisma remains a very important element of the social structure, even though it is much transformed. We must now go back to those economic motives mentioned above [ii:I] that largely account for the routinization of charisma: the needs of privileged strata to legitimize their social and economic conditions, that is, to transform them from mere resultants of power relationships into acquired rights, and hence to sanctify them. These interests are by far the strongest motive for the preservation of charismatic elements in depersonalized form. Since genuine charisma is based neither on enacted or traditional order nor on acquired rights, but on legitimation through heroism and revelation, it is radically opposed to this motive. But after its routinization its very quality as an extraordinary, supernatural and divine force makes it a suitable source of legitimate authority for the successors of the charismatic hero; moreover, in this form it is advantageous to all those whose power and property are guaranteed by this authority, that is, dependent upon its perpetuation. However, the forms of charismatic legitimation vary according to the relationship to the supernatural forces which establish it

If the legitimacy of the ruler is not clearly identifiable through hereditary charisma, another charismatic power is needed; normally this can only be hierocracy. This is true even of a ruler who is a divine incarnation and hence possesses the highest degree of personal charisma. Insofar as he does not prove himself through his own deeds, his very claim must be confirmed by the experts in matters divine. Hence divine rulers are peculiarly subject to confinement by the groups which have the greatest material and ideal stakes in their legitimacy, the court officials and the priests; this confinement may result in permanent palace arrest and even in the killing of the God-King when he comes of age, so that he cannot compromise his divinity or emancipate himself from tutelage. In general, the very fact that the charismatic ruler carries such a heavy burden of responsibility in relation to the ruled tends to create an urgent need for some form of control over him

Because of his exalted charismatic qualities such a ruler needs a person who can take over responsibility for the acts of government, especially for failures and unpopular measures; this is still true of the Oriental caliph, sultan and shah: They need the traditional figure of the Grand Vizier. In Persia, the attempt failed only a generation ago to abolish the position of the Grand Vizier in favor of bureaucratic ministries under the Shah’s personal supervision, because this would have made him personally responsible for all the troubles of the people and for all administrative abuses; it also would have endangered, not only the ruler himself, but also his charismatic legitimacy. Therefore, the position of the Grand Vizier had to be restored so that it could protect the Shah and his charisma

This is the Oriental counterpart to the responsible chef du cabinet in the Occident, especially in the parliamentary state. There we find the formula le roi regne, mais il ne gouverne pas, and the theory that for his dignity’s sake the king should “not appear in public without his ministerial trappings” or, even more so, that for the same reason he should completely abstain from interfering with the regular bureaucratic administration and instead defer to the leaders of the political parties who hold the cabinet posts. This corresponds to the insulation of the deified patrimonial ruler by the specialists in tradition and ceremony: the priests, court officials and high dignitaries. In all these cases the sociological nature of charisma accounts for these limitations as much as do the interests of the court officials or party leaders and their following. The parliamentary monarch is retained in spite of his powerlessness, because, by his very existence and by virtue of the fact that power is exercised “in his name,” he guarantees the legitimacy of the existing social and property order through his charisma; all those interested in this order must fear the subversion of the belief in its legitimacy if the king is removed. The function of legitimizing the governmental decisions of the victorious party as lawful acts can also be fulfilled by a president elected according to fixed rules. However, the parliamentary monarch fulfills another function which an elected president cannot fulfill: He formally limits the power struggle of the politicians by definitively occupying the highest position in the state. From a purely political viewpoint, this essentially negative function, which depends on the mere existence of a legitimate king, is perhaps in practice the most important one. In more positive terms, this function indicates in the most typical case that the king can take an active part in government only by virtue of his personal capacities or his social influence [Kingdom of Influence], not simply by virtue of his rights [Kingdom of Prerogative]; recent events and personalities have shown that a king can exercise such an influence in spite of the parliamentary system. The “parliamentary” monarchy in England makes it possible to limit access to real power to politically qualified monarchs. For the king can lose his crown by a false move in foreign and domestic politics or by raising claims which do not accord with his personal gifts or his prestige. To that extent the English parliamentary monarchy is more genuinely charismatic than the Continental monarchy, which encourages the ruler to exercise power merely because of his birth right, whether he is a simpleton or a political genius


19       The Meaning of Discipline

It is the fate of charisma to recede before the powers of tradition or of rational association after it has entered the permanent structures of social action. This waning of charisma generally indicates the diminishing importance of individual action. In this respect, the most irresistible force is rational discipline, which eradicates not only personal charisma but also stratification by status groups, or at least transforms them in a rationalizing direction

The content of discipline is nothing but the consistently rationalized, methodically prepared and exact execution of the received order, in which all personal criticism is unconditionally suspended and the actor is unswervingly and exclusively set for carrying out the command. In addition, this conduct under orders is uniform. The effects of this uniformity derive from its quality as social action within a mass structure. Those who obey are not necessarily a simultaneously obedient or an especially large mass, nor are they necessarily united in a specific locality. What is decisive for discipline is that the obedience of a plurality of men is rationally uniform

Discipline as such is not hostile to charisma or to status honor. On the contrary, status groups that are attempting to rule over large territories or large organizations--the Venetian aristocracy of the Gouncil, the Spartans, the Jesuits in Paraguay or a modern officer corps with a prince at its head--can maintain effective superiority over their subjects only by means of a very strict internal discipline. The blind obedience of subjects, too, can be secured only by training them exclusively for submission under the disciplinary code. If a status group maintains a stereotyped prestige and style of life only for reasons of discipline, this deliberate and rational component will always become prominent and in turn affect all of the culture influenced by such a group; we shall not discuss these effects here. A charismatic hero may make use of discipline in the same way; indeed, he must do so if he wishes to expand his sphere of domination. Thus Napoleon created a strict disciplinary organization for France, which is still effective today

Discipline in general, like its most rational offspring, bureaucracy, is impersonal Unfailingly neutral, it places itself at the disposal of every power that claims its service and knows how to promote it. This does not prevent it from being intrinsically alien to charisma as well status honor, especially of a feudal sort. The berserk with manic seizures of frenzy and the feudal knight who measures swords with an equal adversary in order to gain personal honor are equally alien to discipline, the former because of the irrationality of his action, the latter because his attitude lacks matter-of factness. Discipline puts the drill for the sake of habitual routinized skill in place of heroic ecstasy, loyalty, spirited enthusiasm for a leader and personal devotion to him, the cult of honor, or the cultivation of personal fitness as an art. Insofar as discipline appeals to firm ethical motives, it presupposes a sense of duty and conscientiousness -- “men of conscience” versus “men of honor” in Cromwell’s terms. All of this serves the rationally calculated optimum of the physical and psychic preparedness of the uniformly conditioned masses. Enthusiasm and unreserved devotion may, of course, have a place in discipline; every modern conduct of war weighs, frequently above everything else, precisely the morale factor in troop effectiveness. Military leadership uses emotional means of all sorts--just as the most sophisticated techniques of religious discipline, the exercitia spiritualia of Ignatius of Loyala, do in their way. It seeks to influence combat by “inspiring” the soldiers and, even more, by developing their empathy for the leaders’ will. The sociologically decisive points, however, are, first, that everything is rationally calculated, especially those seemingly imponderable and irrational emotional factors--in principle, at least, calculable in the same manner as the yields of coal and iron deposits. Secondly, devotion is normally impersonal, oriented toward a purpose, a common cause, a rationally intended goal, not a person as such, however personally tinged devotion may be in the case of a fascinating leader

The case is different only when the prerogatives of a slave-holder create a situation of discipline: On a plantation or in a slave army of the ancient Orient, on galleys manned by slaves or by prisoners in Antiquity and the Middle Ages. In these cases the only effective element is indeed the mechanized drill and the individual’s integration into an inescapable, inexorable mechanism, which forces the team member to go along. However, this form of compulsory integration remains a strong element of all discipline, especially in a systematically conducted war, and it emerges as an irreducible residue in all situations in which the ethical qualities of duty and conscientiousness have failed

20       The Origins of Discipline in War

The conflict between discipline and individual charisma has been full of vicissitudes. It has its classic seat in the development of the structure of warfare, in which sphere the conflict is to some extent purely determined by technology. However, the kind of weapons--pike, sword, bow--is not necessarily decisive, for all of them allow disciplined as well as individual combat; still, at the beginning of the known history of the Near East and of the Occident, the importation of the horse and, to some uncertain degree, the rise of the epoch-making iron tool have played decisive roles. The horse brought the war chariot and with it the hero driving into combat and possibly fighting from his chariot; this was the dominant figure in the warfare of the Oriental, Indian, and ancient Chinese kings, as well as throughout the Occident, including the Celtic areas and Ireland until late times. Cavalry came after the war chariot, but lasted longer; from it the knight emerged--the Persian, Thessalian, Athenian, Roman, Celtic, and Germanic. The foot-soldiers, who certainly played some part earlier in the development of discipline, receded in importance for quite some time. The replacement of the bronze javelin by iron arms for close combat was probably among the factors that again pushed development in the opposite direction. Yet, just as in the Middle Ages gun powder can scarcely be said to have brought about the transition from undisciplined to disciplined fighting, so iron as such did not bring about the change; after all, long-range and knightly weapons were also made of iron. It was the discipline of the heavily armed Hellenic and Roman foot-soldiers [hoplites] which brought about the change. An oft-quoted passage shows that even Homer knew of the beginnings of discipline with its prohibition of fighting out of line. For Rome, the turning-point is symbolized by the legend of the execution of the consul’s son who, in accordance with the ancient heroic fashion, had slain the opposing commander in individual combat. One after the other, we encounter the well-trained army of the Spartan professional soldier, the holy lochos of the Boeotians, the well-trained phalanx of the Macedonians equipped with long pikes [sarissae], and the more mobile but equally well-trained maniple of the Roman legions. These troops gained supremacy, in turn, over the Persian knight, the militias of the Hellenic and Italic citizenry, and the general levies of the Barbarians. In the early period of the Hellenic hoplites, attempts were made to exclude long-range weapons by “international law” as unchivalrous, just as during the Middle Ages there were attempts to forbid the cross-bow

It is evident that the kind of weapon has been the result and not the cause of discipline. Exclusive use of the infantry tactic of close combat during Antiquity brought about the decay of cavalry, and in Rome the status of a knight became practically equivalent to exemption from military service. At the close of the Middle Ages it was the massed force of the Swiss, with its parallel and ensuing developments, which first broke the monopoly of knighthood to wage war. And even then the Swiss still allowed the Halberdiers to come forward for hero combat, after the main force had advanced in closed formation, with the pikemen occupying the outside positions. At first this resulted only in the lesser frequency of individual knightly combat. And in the battles of the sixteenth and seventeenth century, cavalry, as an increasingly disciplined force, still played a decisive role. Without cavalry it was impossible to wage offensive wars and actually to overpower the enemy, as the course of the English Civil War demonstrated

It was discipline and not gun powder which initiated the transformation of warfare. The Dutch army under Maurice of the House of Orange was one of the first modern disciplined armies. It was shorn of all status privileges; the mercenaries, for examples, could no longer refuse rampart work as something beneath their dignity [opera servilia]. The sober and rational Puritan discipline made Cromwell’s victories possible, despite the fierce bravery of the Cavaliers. His Ironsides--the “men of conscience”--trotted fonvard in closed formation, aiming calmly and firing simultaneously before drawing their satires. After the attack they remained in closed formation or immediately realigned themselves. This discipline was technically superior to the Cavaliers’ e’larv. For it was the habit of the Cavaliers to gallop enthusiastically into the attack and then to disperse, either to plunder the enemy camp or prematurely to pursue single opponents in order to capture them for ransom. All successes were forfeited by such habits, as was typically and often the case in Antiquity and the Middle Ages--for example, at Tagliacozzo [where Charles of Anjou defeated Konradin, the last of the Hohenstaufen, in 1268]. Gun powder and all the war techniques associated with it became significant only with the existence of discipline--and to the full extent only with the use of war machinery, which presupposes discipline

The economic bases upon which army organizations have been founded are not the only agent determining the development of discipline, yet they have been of considerable importance. In turn, however, the varying impact of discipline on the conduct of war has had even greater effects upon the political and social order, even though this influence has been ambiguous. Discipline, as the basis of warfare, gave birth to patriarchal kingship among the Zulus, where the monarch, however, was constitutionally limited by the power of the army commanders--similar to the [manner in which the] Spartan [kings were checked by the] ephors. Similarly, discipline gave birth to the Hellenic polls with its gymnasia. When infantry drill was perfected to the point of virtuosity [as in Sparta], the polls had inevitably an aristocratic structure; when cities resorted to naval discipline, they had a democratic structure [Athens]. Military discipline was also the basis of Swiss democracy, which in the heyday of the Swiss mercenaries was very different from the Athenian but controlled--in Greek terms--territories with inhabitants of limited rights [perioeci] or with no rights [helots]. Military discipline was also instrumental in establishing the rule of the Roman patriciate and, finally, the bureaucratic states of Egypt, Assyria and modern Europe These examples show that war discipline may go hand in hand with totally different economic conditions. But it has always in some way affected the structure of the state, the economy, and possibly the family. For in the past a fully disciplined army has necessarily been a professional army, and therefore the basic problem has always been how to provide for the sustenance of the warriors. The original way of creating trained troops ready to strike was warrior communism, which we have already mentioned. It may take the form of the men’s house, as a kind of barracks or casino of the professional warriors; in this form it is spread over the largest part of the earth; warrior communism may also follow the pattern of the communist community of the Ligurian pirates, the Spartan mess-hall [syssitia] principle, or the organization of Caliph Omar, or of the religious knightly orders of the Middle Ages. As we have noticed above, the warrior community may constitute either a completely autonomous, closed association or, as is the rule, it may be incorporated into a territorial political association. Thus, its recruitment may be determined by the larger order, but it may, of course, in turn exert decisive influence upon this order. Most of the time the linkage is relative. Even the Spartans, for example, did not insist upon “purity of blood,” since military education was decisive for membership

The communist warrior is the perfect counterpart to the monk, whose garrisoned and communistic life in the monastery serves the purpose of disciplining him in the service of his other-worldly master [and, resulting therefrom, perhaps also his this-worldly master]. With consistent development of the warriors’ community, the dissociation from the family and all private economic interests is found also outside the celibate knightly orders which were created in direct analogy to the monastic orders. The inmates of the men’s house purchase or capture girls, or they claim that the girls of the subject community be at their disposal as long as they have not been sold in marriage. The children of the Areoi--the dominant status group in Polynesia--are killed. Men can join enduring sexual unions with a separate economy only after completing their service in the men’s house--often only at an advanced age. The communist military organization, which is widely spread under conditions of chronic warfare and which requires warriors without home and family, may be reflected residually in several phenomena: differentiation according to age groups, which is sometimes also important for the regulation of sexual relationships; survivals of an allegedly primitive “endogamous promiscuity” or of a “primeval right” of all male warriors to all unappropriated women; likewise, abduction as the allegedly earliest form of marriage, and above all the “matrilineal family” [Mutterrecht]. It is likely that the communist warrior community is everywhere a remnant of the following of charismatic warlords. These leaders decline when the following establishes a permanent association which endures in peacetimes. But under favorable conditions, the warrior chief may well gain complete control over the disciplined warrior formations. Accordingly, the military organization based on the “oikos” offers an extreme contrast to this communism of warriors who live on booty and from the contributions of women, those unfit to bear arms, and possibly serfs: The patrimonial army was sustained and equipped from the stores of its master, as we know it especially from Egypt, but its features were very often also components of other military organizations and hence provided the root of princely despotism. The reverse phenomenon, the emancipation of the warrior community from the unlimited power of the lord--as evidenced in Sparta through the institution of the ephors --proceeds only so far as the interest of discipline permits. In the polls, therefore, the weakening of the king’s power--which meant the weakening of discipline--prevailed only in peacetime and in the homeland [domi in contrast to militiae, according to the technical terms of Roman administrative law]. The Spartan king’s prerogatives approached the zero point only in peacetime; in the interest of discipline, the king was omnipotent in the field

An all-round weakening of discipline--but varying greatly in degree --usually accompanies any kind of decentralized military establishment, whether it is prebendal or feudal. The well-trained Spartan army, the klhroi of the other Hellenic and Macedonian and of several Oriental military establishments, the Turkish quasi-prebendal fiefs, and finally the feudal fiefs of the Japanese and Occidental Middle Ages--all of these were stages of the economic decentralization which usually goes hand in hand with the weakening of discipline and the rise of individual heroism. From the disciplinary aspect, just as from the economic, the seigneurial vassal represents an extreme contrast to the patrimonial or bureaucratic soldier. And the disciplinary aspect is a consequence of the economic aspect. The feudal vassal not only cares for his own equipment and provisions and directs his own baggage-train, but he summons and leads sub-vassals who, in turn, also equip themselves. Both the late medieval and early modern semi-capitalist recruiting of mercenary armies by condottieri and the raising and equipping of standing armies by means of public finance signify an intensification of discipline on the basis of an increasing concentration of the means of warfare in the hands of the warlord. We shall not describe here in detail the increasing rationalization of procurement for the armies, it began with Maurice of Orange, proceeded to the armies of Wallenstein, Gustavus Adolphus, Cromwell, the armies of the French, of Frederick the Great and of Maria Theresia. We also cannot deal in detail with the transition from the professional army to the people’s army of the French Revolution, its reorganization by Napoleon into a partly professional army, and the general introduction of universal conscription during the Igth century. This development indicated in effect, the increasing importance of discipline as well as the parallel advance from private capitalism to public finance as the basis of military organization

Whether the exclusive dominance of universal conscription will be the last word in the age of machine warfare remains to be seen. The shooting records of the British navy, for instance, seem to be determined by the continuity of professional teams through the years. The belief in the technical superiority of the professional soldier for certain categories of troops is almost sure to gain influence, especially if the process of shortening the term of service--stagnating in Europe at the moment --should continue. Esoterically, this view is already held in some officers’ circles. The introduction of a three-year period of compulsory service by the French army in 1913 was motivated here and there by the slogan of a “professional army,” but this was somewhat inappropriate since no distinction was made between the various categories of troops. These still ambiguous possibilities, and also their possible political consequences, are not to be discussed here. In any case, none of them will alter the extreme importance of mass discipline. We wanted to show here that the separation of the warrior from the means of warfare, and the concentration of the means of warfare in the hands of the warlord have everywhere been basic to this mass discipline, whether the process occurred in a patrimonial, capitalist or bureaucratic context

21       The Discipline of Large-Scale Economic Organizations

Military discipline gives birth to all discipline. The large-scale economic organization is the second great agency which trains men for discipline. No direct historical transitions link the Pharaonic workshops and construction projects [however little detail about their organization is known] with the Carthaginian-Roman plantation, the mines of the late Middle Ages, the slave plantation of colonial economies, and finally the modern factory. However, all of these have in common the one element of discipline

The slaves of the ancient plantations slept in barracks, living without family and without property. Only the managers--especially the villicus --had individual domiciles, somewhat comparable to the noncoms’ [private] quarters or the housing provided the salaried supervisors on modern landed estates. Usually, the villicus alone had quasi-property [peculium’ i.e., originally property in cattle] and quasi-marriage [contubernium]. In the morning the slaves lined up in “squads” [decuriae] and were led to work by “whips” [monitores]; their supplies were stored in a depot [to use a barrack term] and handed out according to need. Infirmary and stockade were not absent. The discipline of the manor of the Middle Ages and the modern era was considerably less strict because it was traditionally stereotyped, and therefore it somewhat limited the lord’s power

No special proof is necessary to show that military discipline is the ideal model for the modern capitalist factory, as it was for the ancient plantation. However, organizational discipline in the factory has a completely rational basis. With the help of suitable methods of measurement, the optimum profitability of the individual worker is calculated like that of any material means of production. On this basis, the American system of “scientific management” triumphantly proceeds with its rational conditioning and training of work performances, thus drawing the ultimate conclusions from the mechanization and discipline of the plant. The psycho-physical apparatus of man is completely adjusted to the demands of the outer world, the tools, the machines--in short, it is functionalized, and the individual is shorn of his natural rhythm as determined by his organism; in line with the demands of the work procedure, he is attuned to a new rhythm through the functional specialization of muscles and through the creation of an optimal economy of physical effort. This whole process of rationalization, in the factory as elsewhere, and especially in the bureaucratic state machine, parallels the centralization of the material implements of organization in the hands of the master. Thus, discipline inexorably takes over ever larger areas as the satisfaction of political and economic needs is increasingly rationalized. This universal phenomenon more and more restricts the importance of charisma and of individually differentiated conduct