Political thinking, like merchandising, has its fashions. As Detroit car producers feel that to sell cars new models must be introduced each year, so political theorists have lately felt that to understand the world and sell one’s ideas there must be a regular renewal of theoretical equipment. What retooling is to Detroit, the clamor for “new ideas” is to the higher political thinkers though in both cases there is generally a change in the trimmings, not the chassis.
It is indeed impossible to understand genuinely new problems with antiquated theoretical equipment. The sad fact is, however, that many of the old problems still remain with us. If only we could get rid of them, how happy one would be to discard the theoretical categories pertinent to their analysis....
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