Barrington Moore: Violence, morality and political change by Dennis Smith (auth.)

By Dennis Smith (auth.)

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Twenty-five years later Moore is still engaged in the same mission. The first chapter of Injustice begins as follows: Once upon a time in those happy days when students of human affairs were sure of their ground, it was possible to draw a sharp distinction between a political and social system based upon force and fraud and one based upon rational authority and justice. Even if it might be rather difficult to find a convincing empirical example of a just society, this distinction appeared to be an elementary and obvious one.

Twenty-five years later Moore is still engaged in the same mission. The first chapter of Injustice begins as follows: Once upon a time in those happy days when students of human affairs were sure of their ground, it was possible to draw a sharp distinction between a political and social system based upon force and fraud and one based upon rational authority and justice. Even if it might be rather difficult to find a convincing empirical example of a just society, this distinction appeared to be an elementary and obvious one.

Newton's inverse square law of universal gravitation was a Certainty and Choice 41 sword which could be wielded against Leibniz's defence of God's role within the universe, even if Newton himself refused to wield it. 7 However, at some point between the eighteenth century and the mid-twentieth century the strategic position of Science changed radically. It became yoked to government, the principal source of its patronage. As a consequence, by the 1950s men and women engaged in the natural and social sciences had ceased to regard criticism of the established order as part of their function.

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