Radical Sociology

By J. David Colfax; Jack L. Roach | Go to book overview

(1)
The Sunshine Boys: Toward a
Sociology of Happiness *

DUSKY LEE SMITH

SOCIOLOGY in the United States received much of its incentive and impetus from its efforts to salvage capitalism. Its classical heritage partially consists of supplying theoretical schemes to combat the external and internal threats which arose from time to time as capitalism was undergoing dramatic changes. The external threats existed in the form of foreign opposition to United States expansion, in opposition to what Franklin Giddings, one of the founding fathers of sociology, called the "democratic empire." The internal security was threatened by various "deviants" whose behavior and/or ideas were inconsistent with the development of capitalism.1

Sociology has endeavored to bring tranquility and stability to the turbulence and chaos surrounding the development of capitalism. Its own growth has been accelerated by the periodic wars, depressions, panics, inflations, upheavals, and social unrest which have been an integral part of capitalism. Sociology has endeavored to make people happy, to bring about a happy consciousness in the individual. Lester Frank Ward, the father of sociology in the United States and the "Prophet of the New Deal," wrote that his sociology provided the guidelines for the "organization of happiness." 2

Contemporary sociologists are comfortably living in and reaping the harvest of this classical heritage, viewing the ongoing process of capitalism as the basis of happiness, and concerning themselves with the internal and external threats to the Good Society, the Great Society. The focus here is with three Great Society sociologists—Seymour Lipset,

____________________
*
Reprinted from The Activist (Spring 1964), pp. 166-177, by permission of the editors.

-28-

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