The Behavior Analyst

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 147–160 | Cite as

Walden Two: The Morality of Anarchy

  • Evalyn F. Segal


The utopian label is often pinned on calls for comprehensive change as a means of dismissing them from serious consideration.… [S]ocial orders come and go, and those who indulge in Utopian thinking may be more prepared for … the inevitability of widespread societal transformation.… Keeping utopia in mind can prevent our settling for minor reforms when more significant change might be possible. (Fox, 1985, p. 55)

When … I called myself a benign anarchist … someone said that that was not like the dictatorship of Walden Two. But Walden Two was anarchistic.…The functions delegated to [authority figures] in the world at large were performed by the people themselves through face-to-face commendation and censure. (Skinner, 1983, p. 426, emphasis his)

The issue for anarchists is not whether there should be structure or order, but what kind there should be and what its sources ought to be. The individual or group which has sufficient liberty to be self-regulating will have the highest degree of order; the imposition of order from above and outside induces resentment and rebellion where it does not encourage childlike dependence and impotence, and so becomes a force for disorder. (Barclay, 1982, p. 17)

Key words

Walden Two utopias communitarian movement social engineering 


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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Evalyn F. Segal
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentSan Diego State UniversitySan DiegoUSA

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