In Memoriam: Harold D. Lasswell, 4 Yale Studies in World Public Order 154 (1978)
In World Politics and Personal Insecurity Harold Lasswell's manifesto for an internationale of scholars he derided the ivory towerists. They were engaged, he said, in "a compulsive neurotic ritual of collecting, ordering, condensing, and expelling data'" and, "aside from modest incomes and great deference from other compulsjve personality types ...[and] ... oral erotics," they were ignoring "the political implications". Harold refused to ignore the power consequences of scholarship: "The 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." And with a characteristic irony, he took responsibility for and gave direction to those political implications: "The 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." The lawyer is a unique blend of scholar and activist, of contemplation and manipulation, to use Harold's words. With Harold's 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.
Date of Authorship for this Version
Reisman, W. Michael, "In Memoriam: Harold D. Lasswell" (1978). Faculty Scholarship Series. Paper 719.