What Germans Thought of American Football Coaches 100 Years Ago

la casaWhat Germans Thought of American Football Coaches 100 Years Ago:
(At Least According to Max Weber):

Written in about 1917:

The American boy learns unspeakably less than the German boy.

In spite of an incredible number of examinations, his school life has not had the significance of turning him into an absolute creature of examinations, such as the German.

For in America, bureaucracy, which presupposes the examination diploma as a ticket of admission to the realm of office prebends, is only in its beginnings.

The young American has no respect for anything or anybody, for tradition or for public office—unless it is for the personal achievement of individual men.

This is what the American calls “democracy.” This is the meaning of democracy, however distorted its intent may in reality be, and this intent is what matters here.

The American’s conception of the teacher who faces him is: he sells me his knowledge and his methods for my father’s money, just as the greengrocer sells my mother cabbage. And that is all.

To be sure, if the teacher happens to be a football coach, then, in this field, he is a leader. But if he is not this (or something similar in a different field of sports), he is simply a teacher and nothing more. And no young American would think of having the teacher sell him a Weltanschauung or a code of conduct.

Now, when formulated in this manner, we should reject this. But the question is whether there is not a grain of salt contained in this feeling, which I have deliberately stated in extreme with some exaggeration. ––Max Weber (1864–1920)[1]



[1] Max Weber, “Science and Politics,” From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, translated by H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills, (New York, NY: Oxford UP, 1958) 149–50.

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