Robert Nisbet, 1913 - 1996

“The barriers to the kind of power Napoleon wielded as emperor are not individual rights so much as the kinds of rights associated with autonomy of local community, voluntary association, political party. These are the real measure of the degree to which central political power is limited in a society. Neither centralization nor bureaucratized collectivism can thrive as long as there is a substantial body of local authorities to check them.”

Robert A. Nisbet


While the philosopher Robert Nisbet was born in Los Angeles on September 30, 1913, his parents actually lived at the time roughly one hundred miles to the north and east in the tiny desert oil town of Maricopa, California. His mother had gone to Los Angeles to deliver him. By his own account, she had…
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Political Philosopher Robert Nisbet is best-known today for his 1953 book The Quest For Community:  A Study in the Ethics of Order and Freedom.  It was described by New York Times columnist Ross Douthat  as “arguably the 20th century’s most important work of conservative sociology.” Written in the aftermath of the Second World War and the rise…
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Robert Nisbet and the New Totalitarianism.

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