Yale political scientist James C. Scott is one of the more interesting scholars in America today (despite being an admitted “crude Marxist”). And I don’t say that just because his book Seeing Like a State appeals to my own philosophical views. His work is rich with insight and evinces a curious mind at work. One cannot fail to learn from Scott’s work, even when in disagreement with some of his conclusions. Indeed, I very much look forward to reading his Two Cheers for Anarchism despite the fact that I’m currently a statist (which Scott is too, really, from what I’ve read of the book [here is one review*]).
This is one of my favorite parts of the recent New York Times profile of Scott:
“The guarantees of equality in the Declaration of the Rights of Man or the Civil Rights Act, he continued, are ‘achievements of the state, but they are the achievements of the state with a pistol at its temple.'”
I also quite like that Scott is also a man in love with the land and rural life.
* What is up with the random shot at the Free State Project (or at least its members) in this review? Any clue Jason? And I’ve probably asked him before, but wonder if Jason studied at all with Scott at Yale.