Levy's Nine Laws of the Disillusionment of the True Liberal

By Marion J. Levy, Jr.  Professor of Sociology and International Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University. His books include The Structure of Society and Modernization and the Structure of Societies. His 'Laws' numbered six when first formulated in 1966 and later grew to nine.
  1. Large numbers of things are determined, and therefore not subject to change.
  2. Anticipated events never live up to expectations.
  3. That segment of the community with which one has the greatest sympathy as a liberal inevitably turns out to be one of the most narrow-minded and bigoted segments of the community.  (Marion Stanley Kelley, Jr.'s Reformulation: Last guys don't finish nice.)
  4. Always pray that your opposition be wicked.  In wickedness there is a strong strain toward rationality.  Therefore there is always the possibility, in theory, of handling the wicked by outthinking them.
  5. In unanimity there is cowardice and uncritical thinking.
  6. To have a sense of humor is to be a tragic figure.
  7. To know thyself is the ultimate form of aggression.
  8. No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.
  9. Only God can make a random selection.
© 1966, 1970 by Marion J. Levy Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

Transcribed by Cris W. Barnes, May 2002.