"That is the key to history.
Terrific energy is expended --
civilizations are built up --
excellent institutions devised;
but each time something goes wrong.
Some fatal flaw always brings
the selfish and cruel people to the top,
and then it all slides back into misery and ruin.
In fact, the machine conks.
It seems to start up all right and runs a few yards,
and then it breaks down."
C. S. Lewis
(1898-1963), British novelist
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Reader comments about this quote:
They say that the cream rises to the top. If you look in the bucket of fresh milk from a cow you will see that there is always a layer of crud on top of the cream.
 -- warren, olathe     
  • 1
    What he said seems absolutely right on. I think maybe this is because most people want to be left alone and good people don't want to run everybody else's lives. What we have to do is to get rid of this idea of anybody being at the top, and anybody who attempts to get there just gets utterly ignored, as if they were madmen ranting on the street corner (which, in a way, they really are). The point is to NOT be afraid of them, and to not give anything over to them. Can we do it?
     -- Tom Osborne, Tarzana     
  • 1
    warren and Tom good comments; history has shown this to be accurate.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    The ruthless get to the top with money and manipulation...that, and a false smile and promises...
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
  • 1
    You are all on the wrong tree. The crud is fast becoming Americans - who are the real terrorists - you judge for yourself after seeing this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rXPrfnU3G0&aia=true
     -- RBESRQ     
    We should learn fro history what selfish and cruel people do.
     -- Wayne, Naples     
     -- Ginny Saville, america!      
    I will only give it a two. While it has much truth it is based on some idealistic notion of homo sapiens that just is not true. He fails in my opinion to recognize that homo sapiens are a biological organism, not a machine and thus it also cannot create a perfect logical machine. Although we must continue to try to do so, these are the cards we have been dealt. I am not complaining about this hand, face your hand with courage.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
    Two stars drop and fall onto the fact that many get to the top filled with good intentions to help the poor, but fail because of wrong approaches, not because of selfishness or cruelty.
     -- Elisabeth, Astoria, NY     
    If all is running well, one might not remember to change the oil, and put on the new brake pads, and in so doing the car can be greatly damaged, maybe even require an engine overhaul. I think we need an overhaul or replacement as this one is certainly broken.
     -- aa, hb     
  • 1
    Because the greedy and selfish are diligent while good people do nothing so while the good do nothing the greedy are busy appealing to the little bit of greediness we all have and thus the begining of the insidious greasy little network of evil that has grown into much much much more than the small web that once existed in the land.
     -- Anon     
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