Politics has always presented a special problem for sociological theorists. The classical theorists, from Saint-Simon and Comte to Parsons, wanted to create a body of theory, scientific in form, that would transcend the existing tradition of political thought. The desire to establish an autonomous body of sociological theory has taken various forms in its long history. The classical theorists assumed both the existence of and the necessity for a clear demarcation between a progressively scientific sociology and a declining tradition of political thought, and this has been a fundamental theme in modern sociology as well. In its most extreme manifestations the desire to eliminate political controversy both from social life and from theoretical reflection upon social life has taken the form of an argument that a mature social science will eradicate the perpetual disagreements that characterize modern political life.