First Coast Freethought Society

Monday, January 15, 2018
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

The New Higher Immorality

WHO:  David Simon, Ph.D., Sociology Professor (Ret.)

MEETING DESCRIPTION:  In the 1950s, C. Wright Mills coined a term concerning deviance among elites he called “the higher immorality.” The term represents a set of institutionalized immoral behaviors he described as a moral insensitivity among the most wealthy and powerful members of the US. corporate, political, and military elite (which he termed the power elite). For Mills, the higher immorality translated into a variety of unethical, corrupt, and sometimes illegal practices which were viewed as a systematic, institutionalized feature of contemporary U.S. society.

In business and in government, Mills felt, many transactions are accomplished by interpersonal manipulation. One type of such manipulation by the successful is using a false front: pretending to be interested in what others have to say, attempting to make others feel important, and radiating charm and self-confidence (despite one’s own insecurities). Obviously, if social relations are based on insincere feelings, these activities would be characterized by a good deal of alienation on the part of the participants.

The higher immorality includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  1. Unethical practices relating to executive salaries and expense accounts,
  2. Unfair executive and corporate tax advantages,
  3. The deliberate creation of political and/or economic crises by the power elite,
  4. The manipulation of public opinion,
  5. The violation of antitrust and other laws relating to political corruption.

Today, in the age of Trump, global corporations, and secret wars often originated by the CIA, there is a new higher immorality that is even more dangerous than the original. The original deviant practices are now joined by an entire group of new immoralities that are an outgrowth of the originals. In his talk, Dr. Simon will explore the new higher immoralities and the dangers they pose to the interrelated global society.

MEET THE SPEAKER:  Dr. David Simon holds a Ph.D. from Rutgers University in sociology and was a Postdoctoral Fellow in public health at UC Berkeley. He has recently completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Institute of Public Policy, University of North Florida.

Dr. Simon is the author of nine books, the latest of which is the eleventh edition of Elite Deviance, which is celebrating its 38th anniversary as the oldest white collar crime text in the field. Dr. Simon is also the author of some 58 academic articles, review essays, and book reviews. His current research focuses on societal insanity.

The First Coast Freethought Society meets the third Monday of each month at 6:30pm at BBUUC. Meetings are free and open to the public.

Location: BBUUC