Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on September 10, 2011

in Hubris and humility

… is from Plutarch, quoted on page 95 of the 1998 Liberty Fund re-issue of Trevor Colbourn’s superb 1965 book The Lamp of Experience:

No beast is more savage than man, when possessed of power equal to his passion.

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{ 14 comments }

vikingvista September 10, 2011 at 4:25 pm

The solution is to hand men an even more powerful tool to defend against that passion.

/sarcasm

vidyohs September 10, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Re: Having power equal to passion: Personally I worry not about the savage, but I do worry a lot about the cold, calculating, and ruthless man who has the power to match those character traits.

A Rothschild can do mankind much more damage than even a Pol Pot.

Nature produced a lot of raw savage animals, and ounce for pound none equal the shrew. However.

Mankind learned how to deal with the raw savagery of nature, but we are still very much struggling with the cold, calculating, and ruthless man. Nature produced only one species that has members who can meet that criteria.

vikingvista September 10, 2011 at 5:08 pm

“A Rothschild can do mankind much more damage than even a Pol Pot.”

Uhh…given the choice, I think I’d stake my lot with the Rothschilds.

DG Lesvic September 11, 2011 at 1:43 am

Vid,

Hitler couldn’t have said it better.

vidyohs September 11, 2011 at 10:56 am

DG,
Maybe in Hitler we saw the combination of savagery and passion connected to cold, calculating, and ruthless. It can happen.

I would submit that Hitler exhibited the savage trait to some degree, but it was his cold, calculating, and ruthless planning and execution that proved to be the more deadly.

DG Lesvic September 11, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Viking,

You wrote,

“A Rothschild can do mankind much more damage than even a Pol Pot.”

Hitler couldn’t have said it better.

DG Lesvic September 11, 2011 at 5:01 pm

Sorry, Viking, I meant Vid. Just got my V boys mixed up.

Oh well, one maniac is as good as another.

Ivan Soto September 11, 2011 at 9:02 pm

It’s simply demented to draw any kind of equivalence between the accomplishments of the Rothschild family and the genocidal catastrophe that Pol Pot brought on his own countrymen.

Campbell F September 10, 2011 at 6:54 pm

Happy Birthday, Dr Boudreaux, thank you for teaching me the ways of classical liberalism for only the small price of my time!

muirgeo September 10, 2011 at 8:06 pm

And thus a good reason to avoid plutocracy.

Scott G September 10, 2011 at 11:44 pm

I really like the image that this quotation sketches out. Thank you.

rhhardin September 11, 2011 at 2:47 am

“No beast is more savage than man, when possessed of power equal to his passion.”

Those are gatekeeprs.

Greg Webb September 11, 2011 at 10:37 pm

Excellent quote! And another good reason why governmental power must be limited because some passionate fool will eventually attain that power and use it ruthlessly.

vikingvista September 12, 2011 at 12:13 am

Ah yes. The myth of limited government. What a beautiful fantasy.

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