Re: power <debate>

Kathy Heldenbrand (heldenbk@GROVE.UFL.EDU)
Sun, 10 Mar 1996 23:13:47 -0500

Gentlemen, some quick observations;

>Thomas W Kavanagh wrote:
>>On Sun, 10 Mar 1996, Michael Cahill wrote:
>>Who was it that said, "the rich are different from you and me: they have
>>more money."
>F. Scott Fitzgerald made the first statement; Hemmingway replied with the
>>While it may well be true that there are personality differences between
>>the powerful and the powerless, there is more to the success of the
>>powerful and the lack of success by the powerless than personality (if
>>there wasn't, historians would all be psychologists).

If I may be so bold as to paraphrase Hemmingway "(...because there is,
historians should all be anthropologists)"

>Michael Cahill wrote:
>>> I am increasingly inclined toward the view that the powerful are
>>>significantly different from other people on the inside.
Martin Cohen wrote:
>We Americans love to ignore social class and economic advantage as major
>conditions concerning power in the U.S. How else can one explain a Dan
>Quale being a heart beat away from the presidency for four years? For that
>matter, how else can you explain his acceptance into law school and seat in

The broader issue then, is the socialization of the individuals within the
(co)(sub)culture of the upper and economically advantaged social class
which exists in the US. Socialization can account for the apparent
"personality differences between the powerful and the powerless" as well as
the success of those ranking alongside Dan Quail. Additionally, we cannot
confuse competency with the socialization of 'entitlement' those within
that (co)(sub)culture are imbued. It is a far different world from the one
into which I've been socialized.

>Martin Cohen wrote:
>On the other hand, there are those who rise to posisitions of leadership on
>their own merits. But if they are born to an inner-city slum, perhaps they
>are more likely to become a gang leader than a political or business
>leader? <snip>

The construct of the "American Dream" cannot work unless a few of the
masses 'break through'. These few successes allows the remaining to aspire
rather than revolt. The thinking is, "if one fails, it is ones own fault"
which detracts from questioning the ideology.

> The point is that personal qualities are probably more widely
>distributed than are social opportunities. I have known too many
>underemployed women, African-Americans, and yes, even white males (usually
>of lower middle-class origins; and too many imcompitants in positions of
>responsibility to believe it is all or even mainly a matter of personal
>Martin Cohen

Concluding, I agree with all of you. It is, however, socialization that
gives the privileged individual her/his apparently unique personal(ality)

Kathy Heldenbrand
University of Florida