Charisma, or personal magnetism, may have accounted for the first medicine men, as Osborn 54 states, but the costumes, training, and learned tricks of later medicine men gave them similar charismatic qualities. Jesus may have possessed great power to impress others, but great religious power over others is now institutionalized, in part, in the Pope, whoever he may be. Such is also the nature of the personal qualities which make for social status; in one case they enable a man to rise high -- in hundreds of cases they enable those who attain these qualities through training to use them to retain status. Most of the people who were born to higher class develop, among others, many of the same personal qualities which "self-made men" possess. If one were to catalog the rules Dale Carnegie lays down for the achievement of higher status, one would find that they are, in large part, the very rules under which upper class children are nurtured.Next Page
Spencer recognized this fact and stated it clearly in these words:
The ideas, and sentiments and modes of behavior, perpetually repeated, generate on the one side an inherited fitness for command, and on the other side an inherited fitness for obedience; with the result that in the course of time there arises on both sides the belief that the established relations of classes are the natural ones.
Charisma and other personal qualities, then, are not instruments for facilitating social mobility, by and large; their chief contribution is to maintain status and to perpetuate it.
Summary. The foregoing discussion was planned to give the factors which enter into the bracing and cross-bracing of the social class structure.
Factors making for social class stability not discussed in this chapter include (1) publicity or the lack of it, especially on the occasion of visits, trips, parties, weddings, births, and deaths; (2) ostentation, a topic treated extensively by Veblen; (3) moral habits, so important to the middle class; (4) types and kinds of recreational and social clubs; (5) establishment of levels of nobility, etc. (Many of the factors affecting ancient and modern classes will receive more ample treatment in the remaining chapters of this dissertation.)
In any society, the customs and folkways of which have led to the development of snobbishness, * different accents or usages of language, * social restrictions on aliens or newcomers, * peonage * or serfdom, concentration of population, * heredity of office, differences in education and apprenticeship among the different classes, * exploitation of human labor, * high regard for ancient callings, * laws or social codes to discourage or prevent the division and distribution of property, * wars and conquest, * regard for family background, * class specialization in etiquette and fashion, * political favoritism, * emphasis upon class endogamy, * wealth and property rights, * conventions of the clean versus the unclean, interests, * insignia, * religion, * racketeering, * social and recreational clubs, * and diverse moral standards -- any society which practices any considerable number of these folkways will nurture its social classes, maintain them, perpetuate them.
54. Henry Fairfield Osborn, Men of the Old Stone Age (New York, 1936) p. 358.
* Factors still in operation in American society [in 1941].