Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sampling of Sociologists Discussing Anarchism

The following is a small sampling of a variety of well-known sociologists, speaking their minds on the subject of anarchism. Obviously, sociologists have had very mixed opinions on the subject (some highly favorable, others jaundiced and cynical)--including some very fanciful notions of what anarchism is (not to mention what "human nature" is). These quotes (and many others like them) will be combined with comparable perceptions from anarchists on the subject of Sociology in an upcoming paper. Until then, enjoy...

Charles Horton Cooley:
"Anarchy would benefit no one, unless criminals, and anything resembling a general strike I take to be a childish expedient not likely to be countenanced by the more sober and hardheaded leaders of the labor movement."

Vilfredo Pareto:
"Communism, collectivism, protectionism, state of 'pulpit' socialism, bourgeois socialism, anti-semitism, nihilism, anarchism—all are offshoots of the same stem. They spring directly from an incomplete observation of the laws of social science—and very often from passion serving in the stead of reason..."

Robert Park:
"Black and pestilent as anarchy may seem, it contains within it the germ of an idea that is the salvation of the world—I am certain of it—people die for that idea. Until a man is prepared to die for what he believes, he does not believe."

Talcott Parsons:
"Anarchism would be all very well in the unlimited plenty of the Garden of Eden; in the hard conditions of actual life man should be thankful for the protection of institutional restraints."

Georg Simmel:
"The technique of civilized labor requires for its perfection a hierarchical structure of society, “one mind for a thousand hands”, a system of leaders and executors. The constitution of individuals and the claims of objective achievement, as well as the workers and the realization of their aims—all coincide in the necessity of domination and subordination."

Lester Ward:
"Above all, the working people should realize that the government is their own, and will be just what the make it... If they are to secure from government that protection which forms its only claim to exist, they must throw off all party allegiance. They need no revolutionary schemes of socialism, communism or anarchy. The present machinery of government, especially in this country, is all they could wish. They have only to take possession of it and operate it in their own interest."