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In Memoriam: Harold D. Lasswell

By W. Michael Reisman

Abstract

In World Politics and Personal Insecurity Harold Lasswell\u27s manifesto for an internationale of scholars he derided the ivory towerists. They were engaged, he said, in \u22a compulsive neurotic ritual of collecting, ordering, condensing, and expelling data\u27\u22 and, \u22aside from modest incomes and great deference from other compulsjve personality types ...[and] ... oral erotics,\u22 they were ignoring \u22the political implications\u22. Harold refused to ignore the power consequences of scholarship: \u22The act of emitting vocabulary in public places, like a university, creates a pattern which diffuses with greater or lesser rapidity along the channels of communication.\u22 And with a characteristic irony, he took responsibility for and gave direction to those political implications: \u22The hope of the professors of social science, if not of the world, lies in the competitive strength of an elite based on vocabulary, footnotes, questionnaires, and conditioned responses, against an elite based on vocabulary, poison gas, . property, and family prestige.\u22 The lawyer is a unique blend of scholar and activist, of contemplation and manipulation, to use Harold\u27s words. With Harold\u27s program, it was hardly surprising that he saw in law and lawyers a subject for inquiry and for education, and that he chose to settle at the Yale Law School to pursue his study of authority

Publisher: Yale Law School Legal Scholarship Repository
Year: 1978
OAI identifier: oai:digitalcommons.law.yale.edu:fss_papers-1713
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