chapter  23
A Sociologist for All Seasons *
WithJackson Toby
Pages 7

This chapter provides examples from several of Nathan Glazer's books and articles to illustrate his rejection of extremism. He persistently invoked the law of unintended consequences. Like his Harvard colleague and friend, Daniel Bell, the author of The End of Ideology, Glazer welcomed the possibility that true believers of the ideological left (Marxists) and ideological right (fascists) might lose their fervor and become less fanatical. Glazer and Bell both hoped that sociology and the other social sciences would become more objective observers of social policy. They were correct to expect the nineteenth- and twentieth-century ideological fanaticisms of the left and the right to lose much of their appeal. The pragmatic rationality that Glazer sought to give to social policy seems tepid to many twenty-first-century sociologists, preoccupied as they are about doing something quickly to alleviate poverty, racism, war, and climate change.