And so it was to a large extent across the Atlantic. UCLA and Sociology went together like pork and beans. Except the Americans produced the curiosity that never survived in Britain; a right-wing sociologist. Robert Nisbet was schooled on Edmund Burke and de Tocqueville rather than Max Weber or Karl Marx. And he had the temerity to write
The greatest single revolution of the last century in the political sphere has been the transfer of effective power over human lives from the constitutionally visible offices of government, the nominally sovereign offices, to the vast network that has been brought into being in the name of protection of the people from their exploiters. It is this kind of power that Justice Brandeis warned against in a decision nearly half a century ago: "Experience should teach us to be most on guard to protect liberty when the governments' purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachments by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."In fact, if there's one essay I would urge you to read this year, if you're not already familiar with it, it's Nisbet's 1976 "The New Despotism". Not only does it stand the test of time, but it sets out clearly, succinctly and unambiguously the ideals and the threats that are more significant than ever and that have brought many true Liberals together on 'Orphans of Liberty'.
As for sociology, it is so equated with the evils of Rousseau, Marx, Central Statism and the tyranny of Welfarism backed by the law (see Booker's various columns) that it's out of tune with both Blue Labour and Blond's Red Tories, both of which movements are communitarian rather than Statist, local rather than central, horizontal rather than vertical in approach.