Three Crucial Developments In Nineteenth-Century America Preconditioned Subsequent Events For The Twentieth Century:

  1. America’s obsession with a monolithic conception of positivist science understood primarily as technology rapidly became identified with the national destiny (innovations like the steam engine, telegraph, and railroads defeated the Confederacy).

2. Quantitative analysis expressed in mathematical equations emerging from the natural sciences of physics and chemistry became the exclusive model of scientific knowledge.

3. Americans abandoned traditional humanistic, religious, and literary models of truth, knowledge, and wisdom in favor of the new scientific model. Convinced that technological innovation would solve all human problems, and blaming politics for the suffering of an apocalyptic Civil War, the nation also jettisoned its Revolutionary heritage of local political action in favor of utilitarian science and technology diverted to serve commercial and capital interests.

Tempered and informed by a romanticizing of nature, which had begun with the Puritan identification of titanic formidable Nature with their all-powerful, inscrutable, unpredictable Calvinist God; a mass movement of evangelical revivalism that persistently convulsed the nation from 1800 to 1860; concentrated wealth in corporations rather than land; and the legal facilitation of corporate industry’s voracious acquisition of wealth and power, these events resulted in America’s peculiarly avaricious ideology of Entrepreneurial Corporate Capitalism (ECC). Uniquely structured, this ideology is more properly described as a fixation on seven (mostly self-explanatory) assumptions: 1) expansive or expanding free will (“What man wills, man can do”), 2) boundless optimism about the future, 3) technological salvation, 4) the absolute necessity of working for money to “earn one’s living,” 5) the intrinsic dignity of working for money to “earn one’s living,” 6) unlimited Progress. The seventh assumption, namely, American exceptionalism, would appear to follow from assumptions 1-6, except for the fact that all seven assumptions are demonstrably false.


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