"Gentlemen, the time is coming when there will be two great classes, Socialists, and Anarchists. The Anarchists want the government to be nothing, and the Socialists want government to be everything. There can be no greater contrast. Well, the time will come when there will be only these two great parties, the Anarchists representing the laissez faire doctrine and the Socialists representing the extreme view on the other side, and when that time comes I am an Anarchist."
by:
William Graham Sumner
(1840-1910) American academic and professor at Yale College
Source:
quoted in Mark Thornton, The Economics of Prohibition (University of Utah Press, 1991), p. 17
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 -- Anonymous      
I believe this thinking is totally outdated - if anything, it will be the fascists, representing the far right and the church, against the liberals, representing the people - the Elephant and the Donkey will be replaced by Darth Vader and Yoda
 -- Robert, Sarasota     
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    William was exactly right...and who've thought that it would be a 'conservative' administration what would be Statist - read Socialist? Alas, it most certainly is in its actions if not it's verbiage.
     -- A.Jurgensen, Stuart, FL     
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     -- Anonymous      
    Statists come in many flavors. Socialist is just one of them. Outside of that, Sumner is right. Anarchy is the only possiblility now that the statists have bankrupted government. Like most individuals, they won't or don't know how to manage money. It's not important to them and so they bring on their own destruction, like idiots shooting themselves and everyone else in the foot, looking for Heaven at everyone else's expense. Ma Nature's still a bitch.™ Now if you don't believe government is dead, you haven't been paying attention. http://djomama.blogspot.com
     -- jomama, Planet Earth     
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    Interesting....but I think this may be a false dichotomy. I certainly see his point, but the showdown isn't between government and no government. It is between liberty and slavery. Government just happens to be on the side of slavery in so many cases.
     -- Ben, Orem, UT     
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    Ben, you're absolutely right, this is a false dichotomy. And, jomama is also right about the many flavors. Man will always organize with others for his self preservation and betterment. Even Lysander Spooner called himself a Christian Anarchist - meaning there will always be some sort of government. Only if Anarchy were defined as government limited to absolute narrow segments of secular law could this concept get 5 stars. That which is occurring, and will continue to occure, is the clash between those desiring freedom (life in harmony with natural law) and those power mongers that believe man can make law and can't imagine an existence outside some level of slavery.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Rather the struggle is between globalist slave mongers and people of free will. The globalists greatest tool of the day (and he is a "tool") is the annointed one. The greates tool of the free willed comes in many flavors...Colt, S&W, Remington....
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    The man died 100 years ago and lived to be 70 years old. Assuming he said this even in middle life say age 50 it would have been in 1890, over 120 years ago. If socialism is simply organization and anarchism is disorganization I suggest that they have both come and gone in societies since the dawn of time. When the mechanisms of society no longer function or the underlying principles of the societal fabric are torn asunder by economic forces (drought, or natural disaster or war) anarchy results and then the folk regather and start over building their social systems. So what is new. Summer however forgot the middle way, there is always a middle way. There cannot really be an Anarchist Party, for to be in a party is to be organized with an agenda, the concept of Anarchist Party is an oxymoron.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    I am about to believe the time Sumner speaks of has come. I would join him as an Anarchist. The showdown has started and the elections next year and in 2012 will determine if people are listening!
     -- cal, lewisville, tx     
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    Jim,Sarasota, correction please, the fascists are not of the right, they are of the left.
     -- jim k, austin     
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    Jim K, They are neither of the right nor the left...they control both. Ever notice that no matter who is in power, you get the same things... meaning the system itself is corrupt beyond repair. Time for America to once again reinvent itself.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    Yes, Waffler, you are with the Socialists, we know. The Democrats are the left-wing fascists, and the GOP are the right-wing fascists. Why? Because the form of de facto government we now have is fascism. Wake up, goose-steppers!
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    LOL, and we have people here claiming that facists are leftists... what a riot!!! and the claim that today's Democrats are "left-wing" (to say nothing of "facist") shows a complete lack of understanding of either term or the very fabric of today's society.
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA, US     
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    If the left can be defined as "more government" then the Dems are definately in that category and yes they are completely fascist. But then, any more, so are the Republicans...
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    Jim and J know nothing of political language or history. America thak goodness has not suffered the vagaries of European politics, but anyone who has studied even a little knows that the Communists were the lefties and the Fascists were the righties. As far as Big Brother watching over us I experiened it very blatantly today while driving through Texas. Now Texas and some Texans might make a big thing out of appearing to be virulent individualists and independent swaggering cowboys but their highways are littered with Big Brother signs that read, "Maintain Your Vehicle", "Drive Clean Across Texas", "Don't Mess With Texas" etcetera. People complained about Karl Marx's qutote the other day about "working hard" etcetera as being offensive. Is it not offensive to be told by "the state" to maintian your vehicle, etcetera.? If the wild wild west is now espousing Big Brother comments how far have we really come. (Counter point: neither Marx or Texas are guilty of Big Brother tactics just espousing common sense efforts at helping their fellow man.)
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    It seems there has never been a lack of persons predicting a time of two great classes. The only things that change are the perspective of the speaker and the class labels. However, to say such a time is coming overlooks the fact that humans have been so classified since the advent of civilization. While Professor Sumner's quote is interesting for his choice of labels and his provisional embrace of anarchy it offers little insight to either the subject or his remarkable intelligence.
     -- A.WOODS, Gloucester     
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    Sumner was making an off-the-cuff point in class. This was not part of his deeper sociological work, or his political philosophy as such. He was merely trying to show that socialism invariably leads to totalitarianism - its premises lead there, even when its advocates don't want to go there - and that the idea of laissez faire is closer to anarchism than socialism. Oh, and by the way, fascism was a left-deviationism, part of the leftist movement. Benito Mussolini was a socialist theoretician and then turned nationalist, which put him at odds with international socialism, but kept his anti-individualistic, anti-liberal bent. Fascism meant, after all, a bundling together of activists, a collectivism of supporters of the total state - the "bundling" from the bundle of twigs, a "fasces." And Hitler called his movement "National Socialism." He was of the left. Pretending otherwise is something American liberal-progressives do to lie to themselves about the dangers of their own ideology.
     -- wirkman, Ecotopia     
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    I think jomama, Planet Earth is "right on".
     -- John, Long Island, NY     
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    Someone said that the difference between Republicans and Democrats is this ; Republicans are Socialists and Democrats are Communists. Maybe not the whole truth, but close.
     -- jim k, Austin     
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    You are right Jim K
     -- cal, lewisville, tx     
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    Nice display of the extremes of ideology. Lenin and Hitler were two "flavors" of socialists, one where the State (gov't) owns all and the other where the State is content to own some but control ALL (crony-socialism like US). And then there's the chaos of anarchy-- what happens when the weight of gov't/state becomes too much to bear and it all starts to collapse.

    ...Unless sufficient relief from that crushing burden is given by someone who starts removing unnecessary rules, regs, agencies, entire departments so the people can once again be about their lives.
     -- empty pockets, NO, La     
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    Say that to the fascists fighting the popular front in the Spanish civil war!
     -- Robert, Somewhere in Europe     
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    Revolution, comes by way of Class Consciousness. !!. The Awakening to Revolt !! Judgement does come, The earth WILL NOT BE BOUGHT AND SOLD FOREVER !!. Regardless of Capitalism unchecked, or Socialistic Oppression in any degree !
    The UN, courting the inevitable conclusion of confiscation. And corralling of power into fewer hands for the sake of false equality. This will usher in false peace. The Appearing is Very close, but of heavenly influences, already known to exist ! Th UN following very closely the process of " The Awakening " ! We are in the eleventh house, a GREAT TIME OF CHANGE. Saad Al Melik, Saad Al Sund ! Foreshadowing of things to come ! Sumner leaves out the Divine Government of Nature !
     -- Ronw13, USA     
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