“The Lessons of History” is a distillation of all of their works and lessons learned in one, short 102-page book.
What follows is a thread of some of my favorite takeaways from the book.
Generations of men establish a growing master over the earth, but they are destined to become fossils in its soil.
The influence of geographic factors diminishes as technology grows.
Man, not earth, makes civilization.
The first biological lesson of history is that life is competition.
We cooperate in our group — our family, community, club, church, party, “race,” or nation — in order to strengthen our group in its competition with other groups.
Inequality is not only natural and inborn, it grows with the complexity of civilization.
Freedom and equality are sworn and everlasting enemies, and when one prevails the other dies.
Nature has no use for organisms, variations, or groups that cannot reproduce abundantly.
Medicine, sanitation, and charity nullify selection by keeping the unfit alive to multiple their like.
By and large the poor have the same impulses as the rich, with only less opportunity or skill to implement them.
Intellect is therefore a vital force in history, but it can also be a dissolvent and destructive power.
If we divide economic history into three stages — hunting, agriculture, industry — we may expect that the moral code of one stage will be changed in the next.
Man’s sins may be the relics of his rise rather than the stigmata of his fall.
To the unhappy, the suffering, the bereaved, the old, religion has brought supernatural comforts valued by millions of souls as more precious than any natural aid.
Morality should stand above power.
One lesson of history is that religion has many lives.
There is no significant example in history, before our time, of a society successfully maintaining moral life without the aid of religion.
The Industrial Revolution brought with it democracy, feminism, birth control, socialism, the decline of religion, the loosening of morals.
Men are judged by their ability to produce — except in war, when they are ranked according to their ability to destroy
We conclude that the concentration of wealth is natural and inevitable, and is periodically alleviated by violent of peaceable partial redistribution.
Businessmen left relatively free from transportation trolls and legislative regulation can give the public a greater abundance of food, home’s, comfort, and leisure than has ever come from industries managed by politicians, manned by governmental employees.
Taxation rose to such heights that men lost incentive to work.
What undermined the experiment? High taxes, laid upon all to finance a swelling band of governmental employees.
If we were to judge forms of government from their prevalence and duration in history we should have to give the palm to monarchy; democracies, by contrast, have been hectic interludes.
Most governments have been oligarchies.
The only real revolution is in the enlightenment of the mind.
All deductions having been made, democracy has done less harm, and more good, than any other form of government.
Though men cannot be equal, their access to education and opportunity can be made more nearly equal.
In the last 3,421 years of recorded history only 268 have seen no war.
Peace is an unstable equilibrium, which can be preserved only by acknowledged supremacy or equal power.
The Ten Commandments must be silent when self-preservation is at stake.
In organic periods men are busy building; in critical periods they are busy destroying.
On one point all are agreed: civilizations begin, flourish, decline and disappear — or linger on as stagnant pools left by once life-giving streams.
Death is natural, and if it comes in due time it is forgivable and useful.
Science is neutral.
Our comforts and conveniences may have weakened our physical stamina and our moral fiber.
We should not be greatly disturbed by the probability that our civilization will die like any other.
If education is the transmission of civilization, we are unquestionably progressing.
And to his final breath he will be grateful for this inexhaustible legacy, knowing that it is our nourishing mother and our lasting life.