Will DurantWill Durant, (1885-1981) American psychologist, philosopher

Will Durant Quote

“Forced to choose, the poor, like the rich, love money more than political liberty; and the only political freedom capable of enduring is one that is so pruned as to keep the rich from denuding the poor by ability or subtlety and the poor from robbing the rich by violence or votes.”

Will DurantWill Durant
~ Will Durant

Ratings and Comments

Bob, Reston, VA

The thought of having politicians put this into action makes me sick.

Terry Berg, Occidental, CA

Clearly in step with the lessons underlying the Sherman Antitrust Act and the banking and securities controls instituted after the 1929 market crash. These controls have been eroded beginning with and since the Reagan era to such an extent that Enron and Enron-like events will continue to emerge at an ever increasing rate. We have a short memory.

E Archer, NYC

Durant is defining the classic battle between the classes. The goal of a free society is to be neutral and to provide a fair playing field. But because we love money more than liberty, with time, we ever move closer to socialist principles in order to maintain our dependencies and their benefits -- at the expense of our own freedom.

Edmund Furd, Washington, DC

That is why American law guarantees a republican form of government -- not a democracy, as the mob would simply vote to lay claim to the property of the wealthier minority. As well, the law is supposed to protect the common man from the rich and powerful by holding the rights of the individual above the corporation and the state.

Jack Cohen, Teaneck, NJ

A wonderful insight into the foibles of democratic governance. Our economic condition will generally trump other noble aspirations. It used to cost $5.00 for your vote but the current value is far less. One need only appeal to another's ignorance and put the five-spot in your pocket.

John-Douglas, Nassau

Durant was a great historian and was thus able to place current ideas and events in a logical perspective. What he has to say above appears harsh but is very true and, unfortunately, difficult to put into practice because of political poltroonery.

Waffler, Smith

Thiought provoking. what!

Waffler, Smith

NOTE: To Ken and Mike, I made a rejoinder to your comments of Friday the 13th relating to the Daniel Webster quote and "intellectuals". Please read.

Mike, Norwalk

I'm with Bob from Reston, and the rest of the above comments. Government should be neutral on the subject and, establish its codes, ordinances, regulations, rules, statutes, etc. in harmony with the Laws of Nature and Nature's God and, justice.

L. Hanson, Red Deer, Alberta, CANADA

It's ironic that this site has a .ca(Canada) address. However, we Canadians take our liberty for granted just as we take our land and natural resources (for granted). Therefore we are just as quick,and willing, to give away our freedom for any cause - that continues to undermine our national spirit. I hope after this economic debacle we Canadians wake up and start to realize that our freedom isn't won or lost on some battle field thousands of miles away - it's won and lost right here in our towns, on our streets, in our courtrooms, in our city halls and in our legislatures.

Logan, Memphis, TN

I'm a fan of Will Durant -- I own and read his series "The Story of Civilization".. great read. Good observation, very Aristotelian. The rich seek to get richer at expense of the poor man's rights; the poor man seeks to establish his rights at the expense of the rich man's property. The solution proposed by Aristotle was a productive middle-class that would balance the rich and the poor from basically killing each other. Aristotle went on to define the differentiation of society into selfish models of government: Tyranny (rule of the one), Oligarchy (rule of few), and Democracy (rule of the many). He further established the more equitable or virtuous orders of government: Monarchy (rule of the one), Aristocracy (rule of the few), and Republicanism (rule of the many). This is exceptionally poignant when reading what John Adams said: "Democracy... while it lasts is more bloody than either aristocracy or monarchy. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide." Obviously, Adams was not against self-government or a representative government; he understood the nature of law and the need for the rule of law before the frenzy of the people. This contrasts what Adams further stated: ""All good government is and must be republican. But at the same time, you can or will agree with me, that there is not in lexicography a more fraudulent word... Are we not, my friend, in danger of rendering the word republican unpopular in this country by an indiscreet, indeterminate, and equivocal use of it? [...] Whenever I use the word republic with approbation, I mean a government in which the people have collectively, or by representation, an essential share in the sovereignty... the republican forms in Poland and Venice are much worse, and those of Holland and Bern very little better, than the monarchical form in France before the late revolution." To indiscriminately use the word "Republic" to define whatever it is that want it to be (such as synonymous with "Democracy"), we stand in peril of making fraudulent the word. The Republic stands for shared sovereignty of the people (all people standing sovereign independently thereby elect representatives, and delegate to them certain enumerated duties wherein they may act), but prohibits the masses from encroaching on the individual through majority consent. We have a Constitution that, once drafted, stood to protect the rich man's property while protecting the poor man's rights -- not on the idea of majority rule, but on the knowledge that all people abide by the rule of law as stipulated: The Laws of Nature and of Nature's God, which the Constitutional Law was to be held up against. Truly, such a system and understanding of government does not exist in mass understanding; Joseph Sobran was right: "Can the real Constitution be restored? Probably not. Too many Americans depend on government money under programs the Constitution doesn't authorize, and money talks with an eloquence Shakespeare could only envy. Ignorant people don't understand The Federalist Papers, but they understand government checks with their names on them."

warren, olathe

What into action Bob? The constitution?

Mike, Norwalk

Logan, said extremely well; mingle that with what I said on the next quote and a semblance of what was once possible begins to emerge.

Ken, Allyn, WA

There's certainly not much I can add to this quotation: it is clear, concise, and correct. Thank you for the recommendation, Logan. Durant is now on my reading list.

Waffler, Smith

I like your Aristotelian comments Logan saying "Democracy is rule of the many" and "Republicanism is rule of the many". I have been saying this to you for years and your never seemed to get. A republic and a democracy are both "rules of the many" one and the same thing.

Logan, Memphis, TN

Waffler, you have no idea what you're talking about; you cherry pick your information and disregard history. Your fallacies know no ends. By your logic, all monarchies are then dictatorships, and all aristocracies are oligarchies. They are not synonymous. Even by your own words (over the many years), you have made mention that not all Republics are Democracies. You contradict yourself continually. Yes, Democracies and Republics are "rule of the many", but they differentiate themselves by the premise, foundation, and understanding of law. Go ahead and read Aristotle to see how he differentiates between the two before you comment again. Get an education and knowledge (in the true Greek sense), and then what you say won't be as ignorant as you continually prove yourself to be. Reject the ideas of history, but don't become a liar in rewriting history to fit your own sophistry.

Logan, Memphis, TN

I'm still baffled at the ignorant assumption that merely because two different forms share similar characteristics that Waffler automatically assumes them to be the same thing. Just because the Sears Tower and the Eiffel Tower are both tall and are both "towers", we certainly do not consider them "one and the same thing". Just because Mao and Washington were both men who filled public office and had arms and legs, we can't assume they were "one and the same thing". I could come up with a thousand easy examples showing the same thing, and it wouldn't be enough to convince the ignorant. Just because I say that vehicles and airplanes are "modes of transportation", only the ignorant would claim that they're "one and the same thing". Really, just when I think Waffler couldn't baffle me any more with his ignorant assertions -- he makes another post.

Mike, Norwalk

Waffler, as to the 'rule of the many'. Fundamental differences are, a Democracy does not recognize the rights of the individual or the position of individual sovereign. A Democracy is not the servant of We The People but rather its dictatorial master in union apparel. A Democracy is a rule of men, vs. the rule of law. The Republic chosen by the US's founders made it clear that the 'rule of the many' was to be based on The Laws of Nature and of Natures God. The Constitutional Republic was the limited servant of sovereign's united. The difference between the rule of the many, as defined by Democracy and Republic is protomorphic.

Waffler, Smith

Your a good man Logan I appreciate that you recognize the logic of A=B and C=B then B must also equal A. Since Republic and Democracy both equal "rule of the many" then Republic and Democracy are one and the same thing or equal meanings. Now if you and Mike wish to disemble, vary, and twist miserably in the wind over subtleties that is the chose of small minds in my view. Unlike your learned self Logan I do not profess to be a scholar of those Greek guys though I have dabbled some. If you believe this is a place for know it all types I think you are on the wrong site. As far as all republics not being democracies in the present age that is true. The words as you should very well know have been twisted with the ages. Toady as we have discussed before the word republic only means that a given geographic unit is free and independint within its borders, the form of that government is a matter for it only without outside interference, it may be dictatorship, monarchy, or possibly a democracy.

Logan, Memphis, TN

The logic that A = B and C = B, therefore B must equal A doesn't make logical sense. If all Alligators (A) are animals (B) (A=B), and if all Cats (C) are Animals (B) (A=C) -- it does not follow that all animals are alligators (B=A). If you were trying to establish in logic what is known as a "Barbara", that's certainly not it. If you meant to say that all B = (A and C), then you'd still be wrong (all animals don't equal alligators and cats). If you meant to establish a bi-conditional that A if and only if B, you'd still run into problems. If you were trying to assert a bi-conditional, you'd assume that A -> B, B -> A. If you are trying to assert the bi-conditional statement, then you've still lost your argument, because you've limited your basis of study so far that you've eliminated every other necessary factor in reality (logic sucks when you actually apply it to the real world, no?). You can make a bi-conditional statement of Republic if and only if it's a "rule of the many", and "Democracy" if and only if it's a "rule of the many" -- but no person will take you seriously, because, as stated, you've eliminated and narrowed your ideology and understanding so far as to make anything you say mere drivel. If you're trying to say that all "rule of the many" societies (S) are Republics (R) and Democracies (D), then it would look something like: (R and D) -> S. But then you've run into the problem that you now have two different terms that aren't the same thing (although they share a characteristic). If you say that R only if D, or D only if R, then you've still lost the battle. If you say S if and only if S, then you're giving a tautologous statement, and you've still lost the battle. I don't consider this the place for know-it-all-types, but I choose to speak out in areas where plain history is either purposefully re-written or ignorantly ignored. You don't have to read much to figure out that words, phrases, and ideas change; the current American understanding of government no longer follows that principle established by the founders -- that's just fine to. We can argue ideas; we can argue principles; we can argue what it will take to keep America free and her people strong and prosperous; however, we cannot honestly erase the words, ideas, and concepts of our foundation. Change course from our American roots and put us on a new track, but don't be a coward and hide behind the words of the founders as if where you're taking us is the same place. The simple truth is this: during the time of our founders, Democracy and Republic didn't mean the same thing (although they shared certain characteristics in how the Republic was administered). The founders hated Democracy; they fought diligently to establish a Republic. Instead of banging one's head against the wall to insistently say that these two words have always meant the same thing, why not simply reject the ideology and philosophy of the founders and say, "That was nice for its day, but today we would rather have a Democracy instead of the Republic as they defined it". Obviously there is a difference of opinion as to how society should move and operate -- that is just fine. I may fundamentally disagree with Waffler on a few of his ideologies, as he fundamentally disagrees with mine; however, it is unjust, unwise, and dishonest to rewrite history and purport modern-day sophistry in place of our original American understanding. As I have said ad nauseam: Disagree with the founders and revamp America, but be a man about it and don't try to distort history to justify your actions; be bold, declare yourself a man who can reasonably explain where we have been, why you don't think adhering to the ideas of the past will work, and what you propose to fix the problems in changing from the course of our historic past. If you can magnify the freedom and liberty of all men in the process -- rich and poor alike -- I am all ears. If you can keep vouchsafe the rights of the poor and the property of the rich, while establishing liberty and freedom for all... I'll be right there behind you, and I will fight to the end. Until then, Waffler, we'll continue this dance.

Waffler, Smith

Don't be a fool Logan. The correct middle term is Animals. All cats and all alligators are animals. In my value system I have never equated "liberty and freedom" with economic interest. I may be wrong and out of step with many here but the economic implications of "liberty and freedom" never crossed my mind. To me it was always about freedom of thought, expression, religion etcetera, human rights that is. Being rich or poor, distribution of wealth etcetera is just a practical or pragmatic science. For practical purposes if one man owns everything and controls our every move economically it will probably not be a very pleasant world.

Ben, Orem, UT

Ok...I think my IQ just dropped after reading Waffler's comments...Anyway, this is basically a paraphrase of what Aristotle says about the importance of a Republic vs. a Democracy.

J Carlton, Calgary

Another good reason for private property to be held as sacred and justice system to be clear, comcise and as simple as possible. and Hanson? ..."hear hear" !! Well said.

A.WOODS, Gloucester

Waffler, youre in over your head.

warren, olathe

Nice thought, only problem is that the network of complex laws would result in only exacerbating the problem (Democrats would see to that). This only works when it is a belief of the people at large and is considered immoral to violate, which of course it is. This would not be a problem if we still understood and believed in the original intent of the founders. Waffler’s insistence on the inane Democracy vs Republic crap is because Democracy is but a form of tyranny. The left can only install what they want through tyranny so a Democracy is what they want us to think it is. This way we can have our rights erode and our states rights (view the 17th amendment) erode so as to blame the resulting mess on Democracy instead of Progressivism.

Mike, Norwalk

Simply, democracy is mob rule by the many - the many recognize no law but that which it creates and enforces (legal positivism - might makes right) - a government of men. Republicanism is the many deciding on how best to manage the law that already exists (natural law) - a government of law. The 2 forms of government are diametrically opposed. The fool, anti / almost / no truth Waffler always defended the power of the many (rich, poor, etc.) over the rights of the individual (the individual having no inalienable right). A democracy and democratic process are not necessarily the same. The same as, a republic and a republican form of government are not necessarily the same ! ! !

Mike, Norwalk

Again, a Democracy differs from a democratic process. A Republic differs from a republican form of government.

A Democracy exercises by force, militarily manifest - local police to national armed agents / unequivocal sovereign power from a declared collective many - a perception from the perspective of “forest” with no perception of a “tree” (mob rule / no individual rights or say, the union whole vs. individuals united) Voting in a democracy may influence a direction of the herd (the herd is the only and the all). Durant’s here “forced to choose” further defines a democracy, inclusive of Lysander Spooner’s statement; “A man is no less a slave because he is allowed to choose a new master once in a term of years” In the current occupying statist theocracy infesting this land, those referenced to as “Representatives” do not represent individual’s rights, natural law or “We The People” (individually or in concert) but rather, the master god herdsmen / herdswomen / the oligarchal phantasm. As Benjamin Franklin so vividly stated, “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for supper. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.” Democracy is despotism and tyranny that recognizes no natural law, justice, individual rights, liberty or freedom. A democracy calls its forced edicts law (a perfect antitheses to the laws of nature and of nature’s God = the U.S.’s originating de jure jurisprudence of law and justice) Democracy - the god of the phantasm whole, uniquely recognizes its own edicts as law (codes, regulations, rules, ordinances, statutes, etc. are law).

A democratic process means nothing more than a system where parties vote.

A Republic is primarily a defined land mass signifying a state, independent from the form of government thereon. A Republic also references propitiatory systems implying the many. Politically, the concept of a Republic is broad enough to include systems from despotism and slavery to law and liberty.

A republican form of government recognizes natural law (gravity, physics, economics, personal relationships - life / liberty / property, the sovereign rights of the individual, freedom, justice, etc.) as natural law is eternal and supercedes all edicts of man. In a republican form of government, corporeal man defines the law that already exists with such tools as codes, ordinances, regulations, rules, statutes, etc. knowing that, the closer the tool defines the natural law, the greater the expression of inalienable rights, liberty, freedom and justice. “In free governments the rulers are the servants and the people their superiors and sovereigns.” (Benjamin Franklin) “Governments are the servants, not the masters of the people.” (Thomas Jefferson). In a republican form of government, the body politic (its enforcement officers, henchmen, the people’s representatives, etc.) can do nothing the individual sovereign can not do for himself. Carnal god governments which enforce such despotism and tyranny as religious sacraments and dogmas, compelled compliance, license, victimless crimes, larceny with impunity (2nd plank of the Communist manifesto, confiscations, funny money, etc.) and otherwise alienation of inalienable rights are antithetical to a republican form of government.

Concerning Durant’s here statement; “love money more than political liberty”, Samuel Adams said; “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.” Rich vs. poor, as presented here is an argument outside the scope of individual sovereign rights being represented in a republican form of government. A republican form of government guarantees liberty, freedom and opportunity equal by natural law, not life style or equality of wealth (life style and equality of wealth are issues of religion).


Get a Quote-a-Day!

Liberty Quotes sent to your mail box daily.