The Disappointed Liberal: A recent volume of essays seeks to reconsider, and reclaim, Vilfredo Pareto’s intellectual legacy. : a review of Vilfredo Pareto’s Contributions to Modern Social Theory: A Centennial Appraisal, Christopher Adair-Toteff, ed. (Alberto Mingardi, 3/04/24, City Journal)

Arendt writes of Pareto’s “despair of the working classes,” perhaps not realizing that Pareto sided with them in the struggle against “bourgeois socialism,” which today we might call “crony capitalism.” In fact, in the passage above, Pareto was revealing the disappointment of a true liberal, who understood that liberty was too precious to be entrusted to “liberals,” many of whom pursued their own interests more energetically than the cause of liberty itself. Such people criticize power when it is held by others but deem it perfectly benevolent when they hold it themselves.

In our era of obsessive partisanship, such political skepticism is perhaps hard to understand. Adair-Toteff reminds us that Pareto was “anti-socialist, anti-state intervention, anti-colonialism, anti-militarism, anti-racism, and anti-anti-Semitism.” This series of “antis” may define the man more than any single political label.

…you aren’t paying attention. Likewise, if you don’t forgive us.