Walden Two | Study Guide

B. F. Skinner

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Walden Two | Chapter 23 | Summary

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Summary

As the group eats dinner at a large table in the dining area, Frazier attempts to clarify, mainly to Castle, how Walden Two is part of the larger world while also not a part of it. He explains how no current form of government is suited to create a community like Walden Two.

Frazier details some key reasons Walden Two is successful. First, he states modern governments are unable to create anything like a utopia since such a society must develop through experimentation, which governments cannot engage in. Next, he states in contemporary politics both liberals and conservatives want power to govern the society from their perspective, but such desire is only based on guesswork the approach will be successful. Further, he says any community based on anarchy places too much faith on human nature. Walden Two does not; it relies on experimentation and psychological observations and modifications. Frazier admits the Walden Two citizenry are expected to vote the so-called Walden Ticket, which selects those local and state candidates who will be most amenable to the community's ideals.

Analysis

Castle feels Walden Two's voting system is a subversion of the democratic principle. He is also disturbed the community's officials show local church authorities Christian-like literature and services at Walden Two, even though the community is atheistic. Castle views this as "fraudulent." Frazier's responses to these concerns imply the community will do anything to survive and does not feel any responsibility for the outside world.

This chapter exemplifies Skinner's personal views of politics. Though he is not an anarchist, his sentiments are more in line with communism since it, unlike capitalism and socialism, is not focused on expansion. However, he knows a move toward communism would not likely happen in America. What Frazier describes is a very controlled voting population that is expected to toe the party line so to speak. The values of the community rise above all other considerations. This portrays the motif of separation that arises often. It is an overt admission Walden Two is a world within a larger world, part of it yet separate.

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