Vilfredo Pareto: A Non-Marxist Sociologist

by The Editor

Sociology has long been dominated by Marxists and is not seen as a fair or objective discipline. However, there have been Conservative sociologists like Albert Hobbs and George Bourne. Hobbs wrote Man is a Moral Choice and Bourne, Change in the Village. The Conservative version of history is in Sir Keith Feiling. Reading the above helps us understand our own views. Apart from these few, academia is dominated by what is known as the Cultural Marxist ideology.

By David Hamilton


Sociology has long been dominated by Marxists and is not seen as a fair or objective discipline. However, there have been Conservative sociologists like Albert Hobbs and George Bourne. Hobbs wrote Man is a Moral Choice and Bourne, Change in the Village. The Conservative version of history is in Sir Keith Feiling. Reading the above helps us understand our own views. Apart from these few, academia is dominated by what is known as the Cultural Marxist ideology.

A sociologist who proposed alternative analyses to Marxism, and who had some very interesting insights into the nature of elites, was Vilfredo Pareto. He was first an economist known known for two economic concepts that were named after him. First, Pareto Optimality. A Pareto-optimal allocation of resources is when it is only possible to make someone better off by making someone else worse off.

Second was Pareto’s law of income distribution derived from British data on income which showed a linear relationship between each income level and the number of people who received more than that income. He found similar results for Prussia, Saxony, Paris, and some Italian cities. Pareto thought his law should be “provisionally accepted as universal,” but realised that exceptions were possible. Since then many exceptions have been found.

He changed to sociology from economics. In later life he involved himself with Mussollini because of the political situation of that time, but in these days of tolerance and open mindedness we can look at different views and make our own minds up.

His work on elites is of great interest and a more concrete view than Marxism as it examines human nature rather than constructing abstract ideology. “The circulation of the elites” examines differences in the temper and style of the rulers. His most profoundest insights are Lions and Foxes which give a better understanding into how we are ruled and misruled. They are grounded in how people behave rather than vague and dated abstractions about class behaviour.

Why do things not stay the same?

Modernist art critic Herbert Read wrote in “Form in Modern Poetry" (1932) that the nature of men had changed from character to personality. Character being permanent, solid traits; personality more fluid and changeable.
Why are we decadent and longer capable of defending ourselves?

Pareto suggests that there is a “Circulation of Elites.” The ruling elites are not a stable ruling class but changing. He thought this circulation occurs because each type has inherent weaknesses. Thus whilst the Lions' act forcefully they lack imagination and cunning; conversely, Foxes possess cunning but fail to act coercively. Examples are the police negotiating for too long instead of shooting the criminals, kidnappers etc. Pareto disputed that democracy was a progressive form of government; it was, he said, another form of elite rule. A topical insight was that foxes often ignore invasions until it is too late. We should know. We are living through one!

Those who come to power promote their own kind and demote those who are different until one type dominates. A professed support for the dominant ideology is necessary to retain one's social position and transgressions are usually rewarded with demotion and infamy. Ideology correctness is crucial to whether individuals have influence or are removed from power and I call this dominant group an “ideological caste”.

Pareto believed that in all societies including Democracies, there is a class that rules and a class that is ruled. On weak rulers he wrote: "Any elite which is not prepared to join in battle to defend its position is in full decadence, and all that is left to it is to give way to another elite having the virile qualities it lacks. It is pure day-dreaming to imagine that the humanitarian principles it may have proclaimed will be applied to it. The knife of the guillotine was being sharpened in the shadows when, at the end of the eighteenth century, the ruling classes in France were engrossed in developing their "sensibility." It is similar now with girly-men running Western countries.

Lions and Foxes

He explicated the two types of ruler - “Lions and Foxes.” This originated in Machiavelli’s “The Prince”. Machiavelli was formulating a rationalist plan of “how to rule” for new rulers who had no tradition to guide them. He advised the new ruler to be half beast and half man: “So, as a Prince is forced to know how to act like a beast, he should learn from the fox and the lion; because the lion is defenceless against traps and a fox is defenceless against wolves. Therefore one must be a fox in order to recognise traps, and a lion to frighten off wolves.”
The Lions have what Pareto termed Class 11 residues of “Group Persistence”. They have a sense of objectivity and permanence and believe in family, property, nation, church, and tradition. They are cautious in economics and value saving and “sound money.” They esteem character and duty over education and wealth and will use force to uphold their values. They rely on their strength, stubbornness.
Foxes, tend to work in the talking professions like journalism or the law, and live by their wits, shrewdness, deceit and fraud.

Pareto's Residues

There are six classes of Residues but the first two are relevant to our time. Class 1 residue is the foxes’ instinct for “combination”. They tend to manipulate words and construct abstruse theories and ideologies. They do not have strong attachment to church, family, nation or tradition but can exploit these loyalties in others. They are creative in economics and politics and promote change and novelty. They do not plan far ahead and do not look to a great future for their people. They rely on their wits to thwart challenges and ad lib answers to questions.

Pareto made a distinction between changing elements accounting for these theories, which he termed derivations, and residual, relatively permanent elements, which he termed residues. The notion of residues is often misunderstood and he meant manifestations of sentiments or as corresponding to them rather than as their equivalents. They are intermediary between the sentiments we cannot know directly and the belief systems and acts that can be known and analysed. They are related to man's instincts but they do not cover all of them, since we can only discover those instincts that give rise to rationalisation in theories - others are hidden.

A feature of Foxes is their distaste for the Martial and a preference for Economics. Our defences are severely cut back and the elites act as if we are in a safe world and have no enemies and think they can buy other countries off with overseas aid and good will!

A Survey of Political Change Over the Last Two Centuries

This clarifies the effect of elites changing from Lions to Foxes has had on our lives and the standing of our nation. The dominant anti-British tendency and favouritism for “the other” can be traced to well-named Charles James Fox and his type down to the present. He exhibited the Fox's tendency for abstractions and high-sounding ideals which is evident from his support for the principles of the French Revolution while ignoring the reality. He regarded our war with France as an attempt to crush a noble experiment in human liberty. In 1786 he said of the Rohilla charge, "by those laws which are to be found in Europe, Africa, and Asia – that are found among all mankind, those principles of Equity and humanity implanted in our hearts which have their existence in the feelings of mankind …"

The radical MP Samuel Whitbread was even more anti-British than Fox and excused the French while denouncing his own people. It was the dawning of our era when abstractions were coming to dominate and practical thinking was losing ground. Heroes like Nelson and Wellington were still at that time “role models” for young men, for their quiet manly courage, selflessness and high sense of duty. On the French Revolution Edmund Burke foresaw the decline of Lions’ values: “It is gone, that sensibility of principle, that charity of honour, which felt stain like a wound…The age of chivalry is gone. The age of sophisters, economists, and calculators has succeeded.”

The Duke of Wellington was a famous lion. Like Churchill, Wellington had been uninterested in education as a schoolboy. Military types are not so interested in ideas and accepting theories. He was at the Congress of Vienna when Napoleon returned from Elba but sent to command the Allied armies in the Netherlands, where he cooperated with the Prussian general, von Blücher. Wellington was surprised by Marshal Ney at Quatre Bras and fell back on Waterloo, where he held on until Blücher came to his aid after the Prussian defeat at Ligny. Wellington won one of the most decisive battles in history at Waterloo. He was respected by his troops, who admired his composure under fire and his successes were due to his study of war, careful planning including supply, and realism.

He was defeated by Foxes Cobden and Bright who promoted free trade to bring about world peace. In 1846, the year the Corn Laws were repealed, Cobden said: "I believe that the physical gain will be the smallest gain to humanity from the success of this principle. I look farther; I see in the Free Trade principle that which shall act on the moral world as the principle of gravitation in the universe – drawing men together, thrusting aside the antagonism of race, and creed, and language, and uniting us in the bonds of eternal peace."

Victorian historian James Anthony Froude lamented that we had chosen economics over duty. Foxes were taking over from lions and this can be traced through the century as economics replaced values like “nobility”, “duty” and “honour”.
It was Disraeli who turned the Conservatives into an opportunistic party from one of tradition. Disraeli was apparently determined to obtain independent means, and speculated on the stock exchange as early as 1824 on various South American mining companies. He was a progressive Tory and sympathetic to some Chartists' demands and argued for an alliance between the landed aristocracy and the working class against the increasing power of the middle class.

He was a founder of the Young England group in 1842 to promote the view that the rich should use their power to protect the poor from exploitation by the middle class. During the twenty years which separated the Corn Laws and the Second Reform Bill, Disraeli sought Tory-Radical alliances - though unsuccessfully.

His rival Gladstone, a Fox, was opposed to General Gordon, and tarried while he was murdered in Khartoum. Gordon expressed the values of Lions in his journal about “honour to his country”. The man who re-took Khartoum, Lord Kitchener, was worshipped by the public but attacked in the Commons as a “butcher” and “Imperialist” by Foxes. He was pushed out of the War Cabinet by Fox Lloyd George who formed the War Committee, which had dictatorial powers and took over the running of the war. A reformer, Lloyd George also out-manoeuvred and replaced General Sir William Robertson, Chief of the Imperial Staff with one of his own kind, Sir Henry Wilson, who wrote more of the balls he attended and the dignitaries he met than anything honourable or noble. Robertson was forced to resign on 11 February 1918, taking the lesser role of Commander-in-Chief of the British Home Forces (replacing Sir John French). Wilson had connived with Lloyd George to create the Supreme War Council which Robertson had vociferously opposed.

Robertson is the only man in history to rise to Field Marshall from private. A staunch supporter of Sir Douglas Haig, Robertson acted to prevent Lloyd George's attempts to divert effort from the Western to the Eastern Front; unlike Lloyd George, Robertson was a keen 'Westerner', believing that the war could only be won on the Western Front.
In his book Soldiers and Statesman 1914 –1916 (1926) Robertson repeatedly stresses “duty”. He highlighted the anti-military bias of Foxes when he wrote of how Lloyd George and his war cabinet took a private house to seclude themselves from the Generals, “where they sit twice a day and occupy their whole time with military policy, which is my job; a little body of politicians quite ignorant of war and all its needs, are trying to run the war themselves.”

Stanley Baldwin turned the Conservative party from imperialism to offering inducements to voters such as “houses” and “prosperity”. A century of disarmament, on both sides of the Commons, when old Tories spent their time preaching appeasement and dozing in London clubs while Socialists had fantasies about internationalism, disarmament, and submitting to the League of Nations when we were the most powerful country – left us weak and nearly defenceless.

Before being removed or neutralised, Lions are first “Stigmatised”. The Lion Churchill spent a decade in slandered obscurity as a “Warmonger” before being needed to fend off Wolves. A Lion called Enoch was sacked from the Shadow Cabinet by arch-Fox Heath, who has since admitted misleading Parliament and thus the people into the federal state of Europe, which he lied to the country and Parliament was merely a trading arrangement. (2)

Fox John Major deceived us when he pretended that we retained control over our borders after his legal advisers had advised him that they had been signed away at Maastricht.
We have constant moral outrages such as Blair’s infamous sending our troops to war on a lie and his habitual lying to the population. Michael Howard campaigned for election on immigration control when he knew that the European Union would not allow him to implement his plans even had he meant to do so. In June 2004 it was revealed he is an investor in communications firm Incepta. A subsidiary company Citigate Lloyd Northover won two Home Office contracts to develop Websites and communications technology to speed up applications from immigrants to enter the UK. The company also gained from the Immigration and Nationality Directorate website for the Government to facilitate admission and settling of asylum seekers.

The Western world has deteriorated even more to our time. Pareto wrote:

"The plutocracy has invented countless makeshift programs, such as generating enormous public debt that plutocrats know they will never be able to repay, levies on capital, taxes which exhaust the incomes of those who do not speculate... The principal goal of each of these measures is to deceive the multitudes."

When a society's system of values deteriorates to the point where hard work is denigrated and "easy money" extolled, where authority gives way to anarchy and justice to legal chicanery, such a society stands face to face with ruin.”

It is a specific trait of weak governments. Among the causes of the weakness two especially are to be noted: humanitarianism and cowardice - the cowardice that comes natural to decadent aristocracies and is in part natural, in part calculated, in "speculator" governments that are primarily concerned with material gain. The humanitarian spirit ... is a malady peculiar to spineless individuals who are richly endowed with certain Class I residues that they have dressed up in sentimental garb."

Cultural Marxists like university educated chief police officers because they are open to Politically Correct ideas and willing to enforce the Cultural Marxist agenda through the police.
The sort of people who should be appointed chief police officers as they understand human nature and how to curb its excesses are former military officers. In his autobiography Cloak Without a Dagger former Sheffield chief constable, Captain Sir Percy Sillitoe, gave this insight into human nature: “There is only one way to deal with the gangster mentality. You must show that you are not afraid. If you stand up to them and they realise you mean business they will knuckle under. The element of beast in man whether it comes from an unhappy and impoverished background, or from his own undisciplined lustful appetites, will respond exactly as a wild beast of the jungle responds – to nothing but greater force and greater firmness of purpose.”

(1) The Triumph of the Political Class. Peter Oborne (Pocket Books) 2008
For corruption and deceit in the global media


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