Front Page Titles (by Subject) Paradigms and Social Change - Literature of Liberty, July/September 1978, vol. 1, No. 3
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Paradigms and Social Change - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, July/September 1978, vol. 1, No. 3 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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Paradigms and Social Change
“How People Change Themselves: The Relationship between Critical Theory and its Audience.” Political Theory and Praxis: New Perspectives. Edited by Terence Hall. Minneapolis: Minnesota, 1977, pp. 200–231.
Can theoretical thinking about man and society guide social action without theorists manipulating persons? Yes, if we reject instrumentalism.
The instrumentalist paradigm assimilates the natural sciences with the social sciences. Social events are thus assumed to be part of a determined lawful process. To achieve social change, external events must be altered. This theory implies that only coercive, manipulative means can create a free society. Endorsers of instrumentalism include Skinner, Keynes, Robert Owen, and August Comte.
An alternative paradigm to the instrumentalist threat of “behavior modification” and social engineering is the educative model, which centers around changing people's self-conceptions. People intensify their social oppression because they perceive themselves and their roles in society in ways that perpetuate the oppressive system. To avoid exchanging one form of oppression for another, the educative paradigm encourages people to voluntarily change their self-conception through a method of rational persuasion and discourse.
People should not be coerced into freedom. But equally fallacious is the idealist view that social structures change simply by a shift of ideas. Structural impediments must be overcome as well as intellectual ones. A middle way would steer between mass coercion and intellectualism. The en masse approach is deficient from the viewpoint of the educative paradigm, which is rooted in a critical theory demanding more than a shift in external conditions. The educative paradigm requires the removal of personal misconceptions. The woman's movement exemplifies how a change in self-conception can generate a massive social change towards freedom.
Consensus, Obedience, and Dissent
As a manifesto of political dissent, the Declaration of Independence voices the “self-evident” truth that government derives its “just powers from the consent of the governed.” Arguing from this consensual basis of political obligation, the Declaration draws the radical conclusion that citizens possess the right of rebellion to throw off political obedience. If government loses popular consent: “it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it.” This revolutionary document weaves together the themes of social consensus, voluntary obedience, and dissent—the unifying conceptual threads that run through the following summaries.
The opening and closing summaries of this section distinguish between the voluntary, consensual, harmonious nature of society and the coercive, dissenting, conflictprone nature of the state as an enforced association. This classic antinomy between the voluntary and coercive principles of human interaction—implicit in the Declaration and expressed in Thomas Paine's opposition of “society” and “government” in Common Sense (1776)—appears in many of these summaries.
What constitutes legitimate political authority, on the one hand, and virtuous civil disobedience on the other? Should a valid consensus be determined by majoritarian decisions or should it require universal, unanimous, individual assent? How do we morally deal with dissent in democracy? Can consensus be achieved only by voluntary “society” rather than by “government?” The following summaries offer dissenting perspectives on all these questions.