“Lessons of History” by Will & Ariel Durant

Key Excerpts from Will & Ariel Durant's "Lessons of History."

Their perspective is a unique version of Darwinism that embraces religion, hope and freedom of choice.

'The first biological lesson of history is that life is competition. Competition is not only the life of trade, it is the trade of life...’

‘The second biological lesson of history is that life is selection...Nature loves difference as the necessary material of selection and evolution...inequality is not only natural and inborn, it grows with the complexity of civilisation.’

‘...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.’

‘Utopias of equality are biologically doomed, and the best that the amiable philosopher can hope for is an approximate equality of legal justice and educational opportunity.’

‘So the conservative who resists change is as valuable as the radical who proposes it...It is good that new ideas should be heard, for the sake of the few that can be used; but it is also good that new ideas should be compelled to go through the mill of objection...’

‘A little knowledge of history stresses the variability of moral codes, and concludes that they are negligible because they differ in time and place, and sometimes contradict each other. A larger knowledge stresses the universality of moral codes and concludes to their necessity.’

‘For since the natural inequality of men dooms many of us to poverty or defeat, some supernatural hope may be the sole alternative to despair. Destroy that hope, and class war is intensified...when religion declines Communism grows.’

"Profit motive is required to stir groups to productivity. Other means like slavery, police supervision, or ideological enthusiasm prove unproductive, expensive, or transient."

"History is a cycle of wealth accumulation by the strong/smart and eventual concentration to the few where a tipping point ends in either revolution or redistribution"

“Men who can manage men manage the men who can manage only things, and the men who can manage money manage all.”

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