A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from July 12, 2012
“The state does nothing, and can give nothing, which it does not take from somebody”

William Graham Sumner (1840-1910), a Yale professor often called the “father of sociology,” wrote in 1887:

“The state, it can not too often be repeated, has nothing, and can give nothing, which it does not take from somebody.”

This line has appeared in many quotation collections incorrectly credited to the economist Henry George (1839-1897). The line has also been credited to presidents Grover Cleveland and Thomas Jefferson.


Wikipedia: William Graham Sumner
William Graham Sumner (October 30, 1840 – April 12, 1910) was an American academic and “held the first professorship in sociology” at Yale College. For many years he had a reputation as one of the most influential teachers there. He was a polymath with numerous books and essays on American history, economic history, political theory, sociology, and anthropology. He is credited with introducing the term “ethnocentrism,” a term intended to identify imperialists’ chief means of justification, in his book Folkways (1906). Sumner is often seen as a proto-libertarian. He was also the first to teach a course entitled “Sociology”.

Google Books
January 1887, The Popular Science Monthly, pg. 290:
WHAT MAKES THE RICH RICHER AND THE POOR POORER.
BY PROFESSOR WILLIAM G. SUMNER.
Pg. 295:
Now, a state which is in any degree socialistic is in that degree on the line of policy whose disastrous effects have here been described. The state, it can not too often be repeated, has nothing, and can give nothing, which it does not take from somebody. Its victims must be those who have earned and saved, and they must be the broad, strong middle classes, from whom alone any important contributions can be drawn. They must be impoverished. Its pets, whoever they may be, must be pauperized and proletarianized. Its agents alone—that is, those who, in the name of the state, perform the operation of taking from some to give to others—can become rich, and if ever such a state should be organized, they may realize wealth beyond the dreams of a proconsul.

16 November 1917, Wall Street Journal, “Insuring the Soldiers”:
It was truly said by Grover Cleveland that the Government of the United States has not a dollar to give anybody which it does not take from somebody else’s pocket.

8 July 1953, Morning Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA), Clayton Rand column, pg. 4A, col. 2:
Professor Summer (sic), the father of sociological teaching in the United States, accepted the chair of Political and Social Science at Yale in 1872 and remained active there until his death in 1910. His ideas, perpetuated for a time by former students, are disappearing. With just a paragraph or so from Summer’s “The Forgotten Man’s Almanac,” let’s see if he has anything to offer in these confusing times.

He said, “The state, it cannot too often be repeated, has nothing, and can give nothing which it does not take from somebody. Its victims must be those who have earned and saved, and they must be the broad, strong middle classes, from whom alone any important contribution can be drawn.”

Google Books
The Harper Book of Quotations (3rd edition)
By Robert I. Fitzhenry
New York, NY: HarperPerennial
1993
Pg. 186:
The state, it cannot too often be repeated, does nothing, and can give nothing, which it does not take from somebody. Henry George

7 January 2007, Buffalo (NY) News, letters:‎
As Thomas Jefferson said, “Government can give us nothing which it does not take from somebody else.”

ObamaWit.com
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
The State, it cannot be too often repeated, does nothing and can give nothing which it does not take from somebody. The Forgotten Man works and votes—generally he prays—but his chief business in life is to pay. - William Sumner - “The Forgotten Man” (1883)
at 4:15 PM Posted by J. Franklin
(This post combines two Sumner lines. The first line is from 1887 and not 1883—ed.)

Famous Quotes & Authors
The state, it cannot too often be repeated, does nothing, and can give nothing, which it does not take from somebody.
- Henry George | Government and Rule Quotes

FancyQuote
Government And Rule Quotes and Sayings
The state, it cannot too often be repeated, does nothing, and can give nothing, which it does not take from somebody -henry george.

Great Thoughts Treasury
Author: Henry George.
Quote: The state, it cannot too often be repeated, does nothing, and can give nothing, which it does not take from somebody.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Thursday, July 12, 2012 • Permalink