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

Will Durant Quote

“Nature smiles at the union of freedom and equality in our utopias. For freedom and equality are sworn and everlasting enemies, and when one prevails the other dies. Leave men free, and their natural inequalities will multiply almost geometrically, as in England and America in the nineteenth century under laissez-faire. To check the growth of inequality, liberty must be sacrificed, as in Russia after 1917. Even when repressed, inequality grows; only the man who is below the average in economic ability desires equality; those who are conscious of superior ability desire freedom, and in the end superior ability has its way.”

Will DurantWill Durant
~ Will Durant

Ratings and Comments

Logan, Memphis, TN

Well said... Equality, joined with freedom, can only be established on an individual basis. Once an individual has his freedom, he can choose to lift those below him to his same level of comfort or not. Only when you start with freedom can you ever have a hope for equality. When equality is sought for first, anarchy and tyranny are soon present.

Robert, Sarasota

This is an excellent definition

don dalgleish, london uk

dangerous rubbish

Mike, Norwalk

In the dimension that the subject quote was given, it is absolutely correct. Liberals / Conservatives, Democrats / Republicans, socialists / fascists, etc. all try to transfer a semblance of this concept to naturally occurring faculties of birth, i.e. the inorganic inalienable rights of man where all are eternally equal. Logan was absolutely right, where equality is sought for, not being understood as fundamental, the results will only be anarchy or tyranny.

Joe, Rochester, MI

Equality forces, such as the ACLU may succeed where Russia failed, in creating a socialist country.

Mike, Norwalk
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Mike, Norwalk Joe, Rochester, MI 11/14/23

It completely depends on what is being measured as equal. At law (a nation of laws), each person is equal before the law  all have the exact same individual sovereignty, inalienable rights, justice and liberty. If equality measures ability, economic accumulation, socialization of the individual(s) or other physicality then, it is a most heinous slavery.

Anonymous, Reston, VA US

Equality is not really desireable, as we are not all equal... Equitable treatment is desireable... thus, we should not tax the poor, and we should tax the rich more than the average... because they are not equal, but this is indeed equitable. All should be able to expect a minimum level of basic humane treatment from our social systems (e.g. health care, etc), but the rich should not be prevented from buying more... same for housing, transport, etc. A mixture of capitalism over a base level of socialism...

E Archer, NYC
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E Archer, NYC Anonymous, Reston, VA US 11/24/23

Reston, your proposal is ungovernable except by centralizing power into hands that will inevitably become corrupt by that power. "Expecting" 'social systems' to serve the people is a dream, not dissimilar from expecting our neighbor to behave a certain way that suits us.

Better to keep the power in our own individual hands, so that each have the opportunity to rise above their circumstances, not 'expect' to be compensated for the efforts of others.  "Do unto others as you would have done unto you."  If that were a key touchstone to the conscience of the people individually, the manifestations would be marvelous without intervention from the state.

Taxes are a scam  if the government can print its own money (it can and does), it has no need of taxes.  Taxes are the way to pass on permanent debt to the masses.  Without taxes, inflation would be the only tax and would effect everyone equally according to their wealth  hence the reason paper money and income taxes, to protect the wealthy, who 9 times out of 10 pay NO taxes, but pass on those burdens to the populace.

The healthcare field has become a protection racket, to keep healthy food and medicines out of the market while cheap processed food and expensive pharmaceuticals are pushed on the populace.  Socialism is the ultimate racketeering dream.  Let it go to hell where it belongs...

E Archer, NYC

Thus we have the world we live in.

David L Rosenthal

Equality is so general a term, as undefined as liberty, that you must place it in a limited context to discuss it rationally. The quote does not succeed in doing that, and so becomes "dangerous rubbish," as Don wrote. The is one type of equality that should be honored and maintained, but another type that never existed and never will. Perhaps the larger context of Durant's writing deals with this, although the quote does not.

Dick, Fort Worth

I would give five-plus stars to A from Reston for his statement is not only true but truly humanitarian. I give five stars to Will Durant, one of the, if not the, finest of historians, because what he says is also true. Durant isn't talking about equity, he's simply stating how humankind thinks and acts. If one is interested in Mr. Durant, and his co-writer, Ariel Durant, you can find these words as well as much great thought in his small book "The Lessons of History."

Logan, Memphis, TN

..laughs.. Thanks Reston for the laugh. "Because they are not equal, but this is indeed equitable"? Are you serious? Where is the "basic humane treatment from our social systems" to the man who has? Should he be inequitably treated because he has more than another? I started out on my own with $20 in my pocket and a car that I couldn't afford to insure or even register... You really think that someone else should have been penalized because of my misfortune? You really think that someone else should have to pay for my own laziness, lack of education, or plain stupidity? I have as many sob stories as the next man, but who cares? It's not my neighbor's fault, why should I make him pay for my own accountability, responsibility, and my own use of agency? How could you EVER consider it equitable, equal, or just to ever do that? Should we start making Ivy League college students serve jail time for the crimes committed by those who grew up in the ghetto and didn't have the ability of going to an Ivy League school? Of course, it's not a crime to be poor; however, it should be a crime to steal from one man who has to pay for another man who doesn't. In reality, the man who has is serving a jail sentence through a portion of everyday-- those minutes in his workday that go to pay for someone else is as good as being in jail. Debt-bondage.

David L Rosenthal

Logan: Which part of the income tax is unfair? Should there be any income tax at all? Should there be any government services or functions at all? If so, who should pay for them, and from what source or type of tax? If not, why not? How much of the tax revenue goes to support people who could support themselves? The theory seems to be that the tax is unfair because it is given to the poor, but that is not what happens to most of it, is it?

Mike, Norwalk
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Mike, Norwalk David L Rosenthal 11/14/23

David, the whole of the 2nd plank of the communist manifesto is unfair. The concept is based on the 'State' being god owns all the slave chattel's beings, doings and labors inclusive of the fruits thereof. At law, there are no government (statist theocracy) services. Only as religion enforces its dogmas are services provided. By example feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, financing the indigent, caring for sick and the elderly are all tenets of religion. Mixing law and religion produces a theocracy. What ever religion you aspire to will determine who pays for what services and functions. Your theoretical word salad is misplaced, off topic, a misdirection delusion and based on a non-sequitur. 

DC, Gaston, SC

The left always gets it wrong. Durant gets it right--equal opportunity is all the government should provide and not try to engineer society to produce equal outcomes.

Thomas Collins, Oakland CA

Equality ONLY in the eyes of the law (or Lord), which is exactly where we DON'T get it. Any law that mentions a group must violate this.

jim k, Austin

Should there be any income tax at all. The answer is NO.

Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown

Have to admit I've been fascinated by much of Mr. Durant's literary efforts, but this is a clear wrong conclusion. Resources superiority has in the past has only been those in possession of the most violent machinery. It is the individual with the clear superior abilities that desires equality. 

Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown
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Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown 11/25/23

Sorry, but freedom and equality are correlated. When equality is reached humankind want only the freedom to be responsible in which equality is indispensable. Equality is a path to freedom. Socialism is the challenge of social abilities to create.


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