“The moral behaviour of ruling groups tends to be more criminal and sub-moral than that of the ruled strata of the same society.”

Email Print
FacebookTwitterShare

The above quotation is one of five empirical generalizations from Power and Morality (1959), by Pitirim A. Sorokin and Walter A. Lundgren. They empirically researched the moral behavior and mentality of rulers vs. those they ruled. Their work is a devastating condemnation of states and their governments — of any form. Murray Rothbard’s analysis, libertarian analysis in general, and much analysis that appears on LRC concerning the nature of the ruling class are all highly consistent with the Sorokin-Lundgren findings and theories. Their writing is crystal clear. I strongly recommend reading it to understand why rulers have higher levels of amorality and criminality than the average population of those whom they rule. The proportion of sociopaths and psychopaths among rulers is higher than in the population average. The state is an institution that distills the evil tendencies of human beings into a purer and more potent form by selecting those persons to rule who show greater criminal tendencies and capabilities.

Despite their amorality, rulers frequently show a marked tendency to exploit morality for the sake of their crusades, their immoral behavior and their criminal behavior. In fact, they are at their most dangerous when they embark on moral crusades to change human beings under their rule or to remake the world.

“Reading or listening to the important addresses of monarchs, presidents, and high dignitaries of states or other powerful organizations, one notices glaring contradictions within the same speech or declaration. For instance, many them proudly declare themselves and their policies to be Christian, often quoting the Sermon on The Mount and other precepts of Jesus as the guide to their policies. A few minutes or lines later, without hesitation, they proclaim in effect: therefore, in the name of Jesus, let us crush and exterminate our enemies; let us reduce their cities and countryside to ashes; let our nuclear and bacteriological weapons teach them an unforgettable lesson, and so on.”

3:12 pm on June 8, 2014
  • LRC Blog

  • LRC Podcasts