Political Sociology: A Reader

By S. N. Eisenstadt | Go to book overview

constantly bearing down on people in this country and about which people complain so much, are needed because through organizations and through democratic forms of voluntary association those thousand and one problems can begin to be handled. I believe that politicization in the sense of concern with the national political struggle in Japan is partly a danger. An exclusive concentration on national and international issues can hinder the development of a local structure of democratic, voluntary organizations. The real framework of a modern, democratic society is a complex, imbricate structure of voluntary associations and here I think much needs to be done. If the real structural reform at this level were achieved then Diet politics would almost automatically take a healthier form. Here I want to stress again that I think there is a danger in the polarized image of the absolutely good and absolutely bad forces in Japan today. The enemy is at home and within as well as in the "reactionary forces" and this is, of course, as true in America as it is in Japan. There is no democratic society which does not need constantly to be remaking and reforming itself.

And finally I want to suggest two means towards these ends. First of all, social theory. Analytical theory is important because the use of such theory is one of the best means for avoiding the possible danger of mistakes from ideological distortion. Here again much is being done in Japan that is very exciting.

And secondly, I think the essence of modernization from the personal point of view is courage. The courage to oppose the government in mass demonstrations is important, but I think more important and the hardest of all is the courage to stand utterly alone if need be. In this sense, Uchimura Kanzo is the real symbol of what is needed, even though I differ from him on both theological and political grounds. That kind of courage always has a transcendental reference; it can make its affirmation only through what Ienaga calls the logic of denial and not because it attributes ultimate righteousness to any group or system.


∥ b. ELITE FORMATION IN MODERN STATES

64
Social Structure and the Ruling Class1

Raymond Aron

The object of these articles is to try to combine in a synthesis the sociology which is based on Marxist ideas and that which derives from Pareto and, from that starting point, to outline a few general ideas on the evolution of modern societies.

Why, it may be asked, should I choose Marx and Pareto, whose works were, in one case, written nearly a century, and in the other, several decades ago? Does recent literature offer nothing more scien‐

tific? I have no doubt that more accurate empirical studies could be found than those scattered through Marx's books or concentrated in the General Treatise on Sociology, but I do not think that any theory has been elaborated which can take the place of either of those doctrines.

For a Marxist, the determining factor is the opposition between the owners of the means of production and workers who hire out their labour. The "alienation" of the workers is the origin of all social ills, the opposition between the classes the root of all human conflicts. History is a dialectical process by which, from contradiction to contradiction, we

____________________
From Raymond Aron, "Social Structure and the Ruling Class," British Journal of Sociology, I, No. 1 (March 1950), 1-2, 5-11, and I, No. 2 (June 1950), 141-143. Reprinted by permission of the author.

-414-

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