Regarding Inequality

Sunday, October 30, 2011 – Regarding Inequality

The disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and the powerful, and to despise, or, at least, to neglect persons of poor and mean condition, is the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments. ~ Adam Smith

A common danger tends to concord. Communism is the exploitation of the strong by the weak. In Communism, inequality comes from placing mediocrity on a level with excellence. ~ Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

A permanent division of labor inevitably creates occupational and class inequality and conflict. ~ Robert Shea

A man willing to work, and unable to find work, is perhaps the saddest sight that fortune’s inequality exhibits under this sun. ~ Thomas Carlyle

All that a good government aims at… is to add no unnecessary and artificial aid to the force of its own unavoidable consequences, and to abstain from fortifying and accumulating social inequality as a means of increasing political inequalities. ~ James F. Cooper

And it also became clear that these conditions of inequality and historical injustice have given rise to a feeling of hate in the world – a deeply felt hate that cannot easily be overcome with a few good words. ~ Ulrich Beck

But it is also clear that left entirely untouched by public policy, the capitalist system will produce more inequality than is socially healthy or than is necessary for maximum efficiency. ~ Barney Frank

Everyone has an equal right to inequality. ~ John Ralston Saul

Inequality is as dear to the American heart as liberty itself. ~ William Dean Howells

Inequality makes everyone unhappy, the poor most of all, and that is well within the remit of the state. More money gives less extra happiness the richer we get, yet we are addicted to earning and spending more every year. ~ Polly Toynbee

It is a wise man who said that there is no greater inequality than the equal treatment of unequals. ~ Felix Frankfurter

That’s part of American greatness, is discrimination. Yes, sir. Inequality, I think, breeds freedom and gives a man opportunity. ~ Lester Maddox

The very existence of government at all, infers inequality. The citizen who is preferred to office becomes the superior to those who are not, so long as he is the repository of power, and the child inherits the wealth of the parent as a controlling law of society. ~ James F. Cooper

In the long run men inevitably become the victims of their wealth. They adapt their lives and habits to their money, not their money to their lives. It preoccupies their thoughts, creates artificial needs, and draws a curtain between them and the world. ~ Herbert Croly

No person, I think, ever saw a herd of buffalo, of which a few were fat and the great majority lean. No person ever saw a flock of birds, of which two or three were swimming in grease, and the others all skin and bone. ~ Henry George

The greatest country, the richest country, is not that which has the most capitalists, monopolists, immense grabbings, vast fortunes, with its sad, sad soil of extreme, degrading, damning poverty, but the land in which there are the most homesteads, freeholds – where wealth does not show such contrasts high and low, where all men have enough – a modest living – and no man is made possessor beyond the sane and beautiful necessities. ~ Walt Whitman

Our inequality materializes our upper class, vulgarizes our middle class, brutalizes our lower class. ~ Matthew Arnold

Nature still obstinately refuses to co-operate by making the rich people innately superior to the poor people. ~ Sidney and Beatrice Webb

Superfluous wealth can buy superfluities only. ~ Henry David Thoreau

Poverty is an anomaly to rich people. It is very difficult to make out why people who want dinner do not ring the bell. ~ Walter Bagehot

The man of great wealth owes a peculiar obligation to the state because he derives special advantages from the mere existence of government. ~ Theodore Roosevelt

The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly. The rich have always objected to being governed at all. ~ G. K. Chesterton

We can either have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both. ~ Louis Brandeis

The darkest secret of this country, I am afraid, is that too many of its citizens imagine that they belong to a much higher civilization somewhere else. That higher civilization doesn’t have to be another country. It can be the past instead—the United States as it was before it was spoiled by immigrants and the enfranchisement of the blacks. This state of mind allows too many of us to lie and cheat and steal from the rest of us, to sell us junk and addictive poisons and corrupting entertainments. What are the rest of us, after all, but sub-human aborigines? ~ Kurt Vonnegut, Bluebeard

Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral. ~ Paulo Freire

The first person who, having enclosed a plot of land, took it into his head to say this is mine and found people simple enough to believe him was the true founder of civil society. What crimes, wars, murders, what miseries and horrors would the human race have been spared, had some one pulled up the stakes or filled in the ditch and cried out to his fellow men: “Do not listen to this imposter. You are lost if you forget that the fruits of the earth belong to all and the earth to no one! ~ Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract and The Discourses

It was possible, no doubt, to imagine a society in which wealth, in the sense of personal possessions and luxuries, should be evenly distributed, while power remained in the hands of a small privileged caste. But in practice such a society could not long remain stable. For if leisure and security were enjoyed by all alike, the great mass of human beings who are normally stupefied by poverty would become literate and would learn to think for themselves; and when once they had done this, they would sooner or later realise that the privileged minority had no function, and they would sweep it away. In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on a basis of poverty and ignorance. ~ George Orwell, 1984

There is no good in living in a society where you are merely the equal of everybody else. The true pleasure of life is to live with your inferiors. ~ Thackeray

However energetically society in general may strive to make all the citizens equal and alike, the personal pride of each individual will always make him try to escape from the common level, and he will form some inequality somewhere to his own profit. ~ Alexis De Tocqueville

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