"All history is one long story to this effect:
men have struggled for power over their fellow men
in order that they might win the joys
of earth at the expense of others,
might shift the burdens of life
from their own shoulders upon those of others."
William Graham Sumner
(1840-1910) American classical liberal (now a branch of "libertarianism" in political philosophy), social scientist, professor of sociology, polymath
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Reader comments about this quote:
Perhaps it is inherent in the quote, but I believe there is a "subtle" third aim or motive. It is the aspiring leader who "has seen the light" and wishes to lead us all to the promised land. A recent Kool-aid incident demonstrates the idea gone bad.
 -- J. B. Wulff, Bristol, CT     
    Mostly true but not all. The US founders established a jurisprudence where each individual sovereign was equal before the law with no one individual or concert of individuals being able to counter demand the law. Of course history once again shows that man's inhumanity to man pattern has shown that once again a ruling elite subjects the masses with the unlawful burdens. The pendulum will once again swing to set men free.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    And while they're living at the expense of others, the elite today, through international finance structuring, have almost the entire world under its ruling thumb. Welcome to the new world of international corporate government where YOUR money is god and slavery is the way to get the most of it and the mass of the people blindly believe that if we keep feeding the monster we have created they will eventually get it right and solve all our problems. When will people realize that when money is put into circulation it is borrowed from the Fed by local banks and the loaned into circulation in the form of coin and paper and digital transactions. The interest on the loan is never put into circulation. The loan can never be paid off and the interest grows and grows until we have a national debt that can never be paid off no matter how many future generations of our children are chained into the system by signing their natural rights away through government enforced contracts they all think they must enter into to be a part of a 'civilized' society. From birth to death we are fast becoming perpetual slaves forever in debt to the government who decide who lives and who dies for the benefit of its system and the elite who 'operate' it.
     -- Anonymous     
    The smartest thing I have read Sumner write. While true mans better angels try to mollify this tendency he describes. We want to be free to sturggle, succeed, be the top dog, hell this isn't much different than what Ayn Rand glorifies so much but yes we need a SYSTEM of fairness rather than ruthlessness. Anonymous are debt is not so much to the Government as it is to the soldiers who have died in a war WE have not paid for. It is time for the American people to grow up and pay for not only their personal debt but for the debts we have incurred together.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
    In many respects Sumner understood the things that motivated people to do well based on their ability, creativity, and willingness to work. Sadly, too much of America today is focused on the rights and entitlements that politicians use as bait to lure in the voters. I fear for the future of our great land. I may have to open a Kool-aid stand.
     -- J. B. Wulff, Bristol, CT     
    He was a Liberal, against socialism, and supported laissez-faire economics - not someone I would fully support. This statement reflects his own agenda and not the facts based on world history.
     -- RBESRQ     
    All too true. Describes politics to a tee.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    All history is His story and the product of his will and the story of whether man will accept things in life as they are meant to be or accept life as an elite minority think it is meant to be for you. Anything less than the first is mass suicide.
     -- Anon     
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