C. Wright Mills’ Program: Two Views

C. Wright Mills’ Program: Two Views

Let me begin by placing on the record my opinion that Mills has written a sound, brilliant and most timely political tract. In using the latter term I do not mean to put it into a minor category but to praise it as being in a great tradition of books which are of high intellectual quality but which also propose a program and sound a call for action. That an American sociologist of Mills’ standing who is also an unusually well informed and sophisticated analyst of political events should publish such a book is an event in the world struggle against war. If the book meets with the response from Mills’ fellow-intellectuals and from the physical scientists which I think it merits, it may prove a major turning point in that struggle.

Incidentally, one speculates on the implications of the fact that the essential contents of this book were first given a year ago in the national capital as Sidney Hillman Award Lectures. If by any chance this means that there are people in the top echelons of one or more big U.S. trade unions who are dubious about the tie-in of the labor movement with the Eisenhower-Dulles-Truman-Acheson foreign policy and the U.S. war machine and are actually willing to sponsor such startingly unorthodox views as Mills here put forth, this would really be something. It would tempt me in my declining years to exclaim: “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace.”

It is Mills’ thesis, based on his earlier studies, especially The Power Elite, that power-decision making is centralized in contemporary society. It is possible to put the finger on the men who do in fact make decisions and therefore presumably determine whether World War III will or will not come.