Sep 7, 2010

Irving Fisher admits socialist sympathies to Yale Socialist Club, 1941

I believe [William Graham Sumner] was one of the greatest professors we ever had at Yale, but I have drawn far away from his point of view, that of the old laissez faire doctrine.

I remember he said in his classroom: "Gentlemen, the time is coming when there will be two great classes, Socialists, and Anarchists. The Anarchists want the government to be nothing, and the Socialists want government to be everything. There can be no greater contrast. Well, the time will come when there will be only these two great parties, the Anarchists representing the laissez faire doctrine and the Socialists representing the extreme view on the other side, and when that time comes I am an Anarchist."

That amused his class very much, for he was as far from a revolutionary as you could expect. But I would like to say that if that time comes when there are two great parties, Anarchists and Socialists, then I am a Socialist.

~ Irving Fisher, in a speech to the Yale Socialist Club in 1941, as quoted in the biography My Father, Irving Fisher, p. 44

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