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Regardless of whether a social scientist's value-orientation stems from cultural norms, nationality, or a worldview, what remains certain for Weber is that the value is neither intrinsic to the subject matter nor specific to its context -- a view that categorically separates value from facts. Weber takes care to refute such views in his discussion of the methodology of political economy in "The Nation State and Economic Policy." First, Weber assails those economists who maintain that political economy can derive its own ideals from the subject matter. The notion that there are independent or socio-political ideals shows itself to be a delusion as soon as one delves into the literature in an attempt to identify the basis for its evaluation, Weber says. "The truth is that the ideals we introduce into the subject matter of our science are not peculiar to it, nor are they produced by this science itself." Rather, the values stand above the subject matter; they are of a higher order. For Weber, it is less important what another analyst's core values are than whether he clarifies them for the benefit of both himself and his audience.
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This interpretation of Weber's position derives additional support from other comments Weber made regarding objectivity. Example: One of the "deadly sins in the area of politics" is, Weber says, "a lack of objectivity." The objectivity, however, can engage only after a value has been established; otherwise, this remark is logically inconsistent with Weber's statement that "the nature of the cause the politician seeks to serve by striving for and using power is a question of faith." The two statements, taken together, imply that once a political position -- a value or perspective -- has been established, the politician must hold to the ideal of objectivity. Furthermore, without resorting to the two-tiered interpretation of Weber's view of value-free social science, it would be difficult to reconcile Weber's comment that a lack of objectivity is a sin with the comment that there is no objective analysis independent of special viewpoints.
Beard exerted a powerful influence on the discipline over the next two decades, partly by authoring the first introductory textbook on American Government and Politics (1910), which became a standard text in political science for nearly four decades. In 1926, Beard’s soaring reputation secured his election as president of the American Political Science Association (APSA). By the mid-1930s, his economic interpretation of the American state had achieved orthodox status among scholars as the Great Depression forced economic considerations to the forefront of government and political science.
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The answer, as will be shown, is both yes and no -- because, this essay will argue, Weber maintained a two-tiered approach to value-free social science. On the one hand, he believed that ultimate values could not be justified "scientifically," that is, through value-free analysis. Thus, in comparing different religious, political or social systems, one system could not be chosen over another without taking a value or end into consideration; the choice would necessarily be dictated by the analyst's values. On the other hand, Weber believed that once a value, end, purpose, or perspective had been established, then a social scientist could conduct a value-free investigation into the most effective means within a system of bringing about the established end. Similarly, Weber believed that objective comparisons among systems could also be made once a particular end had been established, acknowledged, and agreed upon, a position that allowed Weber to make what he considered objective comparisons among such economic systems as and socialism. Thus, even though Weber maintained that ultimate values could not be evaluated objectively, this belief did not keep him from believing that social problems could be scientifically resolved -- once a particular end or value had been established.
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Max Weber thought that "statements of fact are one thing, statements of value another, and any confusing of the two is impermissible," Ralf Dahrendorf writes in his essay "Max Weber and Modern Social Science," acknowledging that Weber clarified the difference between pronouncements of fact and of value. Although Dahrendorf goes on to note the ambiguities in Weber's writings between factual analysis and value-influenced pronouncements, he stops short of offering an explanation for them other than to say that Weber, being human, could not always live with his own demands for objectivity. Indeed, Dahrendorf leaves unclear exactly what Weber's view of objectivity was. More specifically, Dahrendorf does not venture to lay out a detailed explanation of whether Weber believed that the social scientist could eliminate the influence of values from the analysis of facts.
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But first, just what is Weber's own standpoint, as determined by his ultimate values? It is, no doubt, influenced by one of his key concerns: "the quality of human being in any given economic and social order." Sometimes, however, his standpoint is nationalistic. And in yet other essays, it champions individual liberty. Indeed, Weber's perspective changes, and it is likely to be driven not by one value but by levels of them, ranging from humanism to a concrete objective. But the fact that Weber had a perspective lends little support to the two-tiered interpretation, other than to show that he believed it was permissible for a social scientist to possess a value-determined standpoint. His treatment of perspective is another matter, however.