William Graham Sumner Quote

“The great foe of democracy now and in the near future is plutocracy. Every year that passes brings out this antagonism more distinctly. It is to be the social war of the twentieth century. In that war militarism, expansion and imperialism will all favor plutocracy. In the first place, war and expansion will favor jobbery, both in the dependencies and at home. In the second place, they will take away the attention of the people from what the plutocrats are doing. In the third place, they will cause large expenditures of the people’s money, the return for which will not go into the treasury, but into the hands of a few schemers. In the fourth place, they will call for a large public debt and taxes, and these things especially tend to make men unequal, because any social burdens bear more heavily on the weak than on the strong, and so make the weak weaker and the strong stronger. Therefore expansion and imperialism are a grand onslaught on democracy.”

~ William Graham Sumner

W. G. Sumner - The Conquest of the U. S. by Spain

Ratings and Comments

Mike, Norwalk

A few truths mixed in with a lot of gibberish. Democracy has never been at odds with plutocracy. The rich always dummy down the masses and give a few arguments (such as between Democrats and Republicans) so as to keeps the masses distracted. If the collectivists are taught to think that tyranny was their idea (compelled compliance, license, victimless crimes, larceny with impunity for example) and the plutocracy calls it freedom, everybody is happy - not.

jim k, Austin

I suspect that sheep are happy right up to the time they are sheared.

  • Reply
RBESRQ    1/5/10

Wow! this could so easily be written yesterday. The implosion will occur soon and then its either revolution or separation - I would prefer the latter, less painful. Mike, unless democracy is handled with benevolence its self destructs under the weight of a plutocracy.

Mike, Norwalk

Robert thanks, that was kinda-sorta a part of my point. One glaring despotic element of democracy though is that, by its nature, it does not recognize the rights of the individual so, it can never truly be benevolent. Democracy is an in the ethos abstract where natural law (gravity, science, math, fiscal realities, inalienable rights, benevolence, etc.) are not part of the equation of the self proclaimed hegemony's prejudices.

  • Reply
    RBESRQ    1/6/10

    Mike, yes you are right and that is why a benevolence is paramount. Have a great year - I know your heart is in the right place.

    E Archer, NYC

    I'm with Mike on this, but I am a bit more forgiving of the word 'democracy' -- a government without any democracy or completely democratic is tyrannical. The aristocracy eventually wins with no democracy or with complete democracy (run by the plutocrats).


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