Arnold J. ToynbeeArnold J. Toynbee, (1889-1975) British historian

Arnold J. Toynbee Quote

“The last stage but one of every civilisation, is characterised by the forced political unification of its constituent parts, into a single greater whole.”

Arnold J. ToynbeeArnold J. Toynbee
~ Arnold J. Toynbee

'The Study of History'

Ratings and Comments

DA Reid, Hull

I have just joined this list, and think it is potentially very stimulating. However, it is rather frustrating not to be given volume and chapter, preferably page, references to the quotations, so that interesting arguments might be followed up.

KS., Queensbury,NY.

When I read this quote, one phrase came to mind. "New World Order". When you change the way you look @ things, the things you look @ change.

Bob, Reston, Virginia, USA

Wow! It has been a slow progression, but in the USA, we are getting there...and that worries me! The phrase "follow the money" plays a role here - everyone should examine how their taxes are being spent at the Federal and state level. Example: For every man or woman over the age of 18 in the US, the Federal government distributes about $1300 in grants. That is, money is collected from individuals by the Federal government, then redistributed to the states, for redistribution back to individuals in the form of money or services. The only thing added by the Fed in this loop are conditions on how the money will be spent (e.g. must set maximum speed limit at 55 mph in congested areas to get highest percentage of highway money). Every dollar spent comes with a compliance price tag - even for emergency assistance! That's over $350 bn collected and redistributed, with conditions of uniformity....

Editor, Liberty Quotes

[Note from the Editor] We endeavor to provide as much information as we can about each quote. With the help of our readers, we often get more info. Please feel free to join us in researching the authenticity and accuracy of our quotes. Never-the-less, we publish quotes that we like -- it often does not matter who said them -- what matters is what is said.

Editor, Liberty Quotes

[Note from the Editor} We endeavor to provide as much information as we can about each quote. With the help of our readers, we often get more info. Please feel free to join us in researching the authenticity and accuracy of our quotes. Never-the-less, we publish quotes that we like -- it often does not matter who said them -- what matters is what is said.

Logan, Memphis, TN

Sorry, I'm not a socialist, thumbs down for directional content. I'm not a part of the greater whole - I supposedly live under the protection of a Republic (At least that's what my Constitution says)!! That means "to hell with you!" I'll do want, when I want, for whom I want... So long as I don't infringe upon your rights, I'm good to go. I'm not a conglomerate ball of goo floating within the sphere of "the greater good". For myself, I'm the greatest good I'll ever know, and I would hope every person in the America would be able to say the same thing. I provide for myself and my family and I'll decide where my charity goes (if I decide to give it), thank you very much. I have no obligation to save the whales, protect the baby-seals, feed the starving Ethiopians or the Jones' who live down street, or hire anyone who is not qualified because of the color of their skin. A single greater whole? I live in a Republic! I am not a Socialist! I live for myself!

  • Reply
    Anonymous    3/29/06

    Editor, is this quote for or against? or just an observation

    David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood

    Ultimately there will be consensus that mankind cannot govern itself.

    Joe, Rochester, MI

    Having a 2 party system, republicans and democrats, is forced political unification, and against other parties. I will never vote republican nor democrat again, because they both drive our country to destruction. The UN trying to unify the world scares me terribly. We must get the US out of the UN. Just for starters, it wastes billions of dollars, and they want to take our guns.

    Terry Berg, Occidental, CA

    Five stars for observational acumen. I take this extract ("The last stage but one ...") to refer to civilizations such as the Roman Empire and the like. I may be wrong on that count but, if that's the reference, then I'll assume it to be an observation as to the looming downfall of the nation we cherish, our failure to see such a downfall coming, and our failure to act accordingly.

    Editor, Liberty Quotes

    Anon, I suppose Toynbee was 'against,' but as an historian here, he is simply stating his 'observations.' Feel free to rate the quote based on your agreement with it or not, or rate it based on whether you think it is true or not. As you like...

    Ken, WA
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    • Reply
    Ken, WA    3/30/06

    I read Toynbee's "A Study of History" a few years back. It is very insightful and after I read it, it was like watching history repeat itself around me. You can actually identify the classification of civilization we're living in and the current stage we are in. It is very disconcerting to see that we are on a highway to hell and there are no exits.

    Terry Berg, Occidental, CA

    Ken, thanks for the rosy prognosis. I agree. I remember watching Federico Fellini's Satyricon (See - for some insight) and recall walking out of the theater saying to myself "I've just seen the definitive metaphor of our society!" We're not in a 'political condition'. We're in a 'human condition' and history CAN be a teacher - of how to survive the inevitable and the unthinkable.

    Gunnar Sivertsen, Folkestone, Kent, England

    Without having a clue about the context of Toynbee's quote, he may simply means that the supply lines became too long and that, therefore, the borders could not be effectively defended militarily. - And this is an almost trivial observation, nothing deep and meaningful about 'civilisations' and their rise and fall.

    Gunnar Sivertsen, Folkestone, Kent, England

    Logan, Memphis, TN - Being a European by birth and upbringing, I find you remark interesting. You talk about your rights but seem to dislike having obligations in exchange. And yet, you list a number of things - charities, perhaps - that you have obviously thought of, even though you feel no 'obligation' to give to them. When you "provide for myself and my family" - isn't that an obligation? I appreciate that it's your decision, out of a free choice, but why provide for your family unless you feel somehow 'obliged' to do so - by your conscience? - Maybe, if so many Americans think like you, your (and many of your compatriots') individualism is the reason that your infrastructure is such a poor shape - what Galbraith described as "private wealth and public squalor". Maybe this is the reason why so many people working for the service industries in Florida are paid so little, so late. No trade union - because that would be 'collectivism' and 'socialism'. It seems to me, again as a European, that American individualism serves oligarchs rather than poorly off people. Oligarchs don't have to become 'collectivised' because they have financial and political power; it is poor who may have to organise and cooperate in order to survive. No?

    Ronw13, 0regon

    Toynbee, being the socialist nationalist communist sympathizer, carried about by every " wind of doctrine " unstable and totally alien to " Individual sovereignty. " and of the Sound doctrines of Liberty and Freedom founded upon the Rock upon which Our Republic Rest. Logan, Memphis TN, well said and to the Point of Free Will Association. Kent, England, hows that UK working for you now ? Seeing the riots, looting, and destruction of your once beautiful London. The flooding of contrary enemy hostiles within Christian nations for the purpose of globalized elitist agendas. Mob rule, ( democ ) is and will always be held in Greatest disdain within the hearts and minds of Americas True Patriots, as with All nations who rise up and come together for the fight for our Sacred Chophshiy Liberty and the Freedom to pursue our Individual happiness. America does have king James to thank for his stance as a Freed Monarch, exposing that which was hidden from the children of men by designing corrupt leadership within church and state. Of course the name of said denomination need not be mention ? Indoctrination of socialism and the mystery of iniquity, exposing and defining the corrupt " ancient " welfare state." " So are the ways of everyone that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof." " In the have they taken gifts to shed blood; thou has taken usury and increase, and thou has greedily gained of thy neighbors by extortion, and hast forgotten me, saith the Lord God." KJB Pro 1:19, Eze 22:12. Now consider the 7th bk, NT, 7th ch, 21st, 23nd verse " Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made Free, use it rather. Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men." Semper FI
    By the way, Deregulation, infrastructure, border walls, returning and acknowledgement of State and Individual sovereignty. Rule of Natural law and Order in one accord with our Creator who has endowed the individual sovereign Patriot of the United States of America, with Liberty and Freedom Well Defined.

    Ronw13, 0regon

    There is a New Sheriff in Town, President Donald J.Trump, who has the support, backing and defense of our said Liberty And Freedom. Give me Liberty or give me death, Almighty God. for we stand before your throne of Grace.

    Mike, Norwalk

    Gunnar, NO ! I don't think your outlook will be addressed adequately here in this single blog, you need to stick around and keep participating. Logan was making a distinction between mandatory and voluntary. Duties or obligations (obliged to do a thing) fall within a category of voluntary - even if the moral or intellect make it seem like a compelled compliance. A possible example is John Locke was the most quoted individual outside the bible by the founders of the States united; but, they and the Constitution totally rejected/rejects Locke's concept of social contract. There is also a huge difference between collectivist efforts and individuals united for a single cause or reason. Historically, oligarchs perceive(d) the need for collectivism (forced political unification) for control and maintenance of personal wealth. The helots, serfs and slaves of the collectivist concept/religion become the ends to their own destruction. The realization of such unionization (as recognized by the quote) without exception has ultimately failed - destroying personal freedom that gave the prosperity, charity and illuminated the individual sovereign's noble recognition.

    E Archer, NYC

    Gunnar, I think the word you are looking for is 'responsibility.' Liberty requires taking responsibility. There are two modes of living in this life, as a passenger or as a driver. Do I expect to drive or to be driven? Duties and obligations are imposed from without, responsibilities are imposed through my declaration of who I am and why I am here. I stand, I choose, I direct, I listen, I express. ALL within a context of taking responsibility and respecting the rights and responsibilities of others in their sovereign capacity. Does this mindset exist in a monarchy? Gunnar, who is responsible for the condition and quality of your life?


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