Pitirim A. Sorokin and Walter A. Lunden

extracts from
Power and Morality




This text, by one of the major figures of sociological analysis, confirms what many suspect, that the ruling élite presents a lower level of morality compared to the ruled population. This is substantiated by the fact that, generally, the ruling groups have committed and still commit, on percentage, more crimes than the rest of the population. Only when strong limits are introduced to their power, the ruling élites reduce their level of criminality.
Sorokin's and Lunden's analysis and data confirm also Lord Acton's conviction that "power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely".



Chapter II


The results of our empirical study of moral behaviour and mentality of rulers and governments may be summed up in five generalizations. None of these pretends to be an exact, universal. or perennial formula applicable to every ruler or to all chiefs of governments. Every student of history knows well that there have been, and are, good and bad rulers, constructive and destructive governments. Our generalizations are but descriptions of five characteristics or uniformities typical of rulers taken as a group or stratum and compared with that of the ruled populations. In this chapter, for the sake of economy and continuity of our argument, only a few of the proofs are mentioned and only a bare minimum of the explanatory comments is given. The body of empirical evidence from which the generalizations are derived is given in the references found in this book.



1. When the morality and mentality of rulers and the ruled are measured by the same moral and mental yardstick then the rulers' morality and minds appear to be marked by a much stronger dualism – by greater mental and moral schizophrenia than the morality and mentality of the members of the ruled population.

2. The ruling ,groups contain a larger proportion of the extreme mental types of the gifted and the mentally sick than the rank and file of the ruled populations. Taken as a whole the ruling groups are more talented intellectually and more deranged mentally than the ruled population. Furthermore the ruling strata have a larger proportion of dominating, aggressive, highly selfish, bold and adventurous persons, men harsh and insensitive to other human beings, hypocrites and liars, and cynical manipulators of human relationships, than the strata of the ruled populations.

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

4. The greater, more absolute, and coercive the power of rulers, political leaders, and big executives of business, labour and other organizations, and the less freely this power is approved by the ruled population, the more corrupt and criminal such ruling groups and executives tend to be.

5. With a progressive limitation of their power, criminality of rulers and executives tends to decrease qualitatively (by becoming less grave and murderous) and quantitatively (by decreasing the rate of criminal actions). If and when the power of ruling bodies is greatly limited (legally and factually). and when the governments function amidst a strongly integrated and unified moral public opinion, their criminality may become equal or even fall below the criminality of their ruled populations.



The nature of the ruling occupation and social selection are probably the main factors of these typical traits of ruling elite. This can be deduced from a careful analysis of the forms of social selection of rulers and the kind of activities contained in the business of ruling, including the focal social position of the magnates of power and the environment in which governing activities are carried on. This means that the five typical features of ruling groups are not so much an expression of rulers' personal wishes and fancies, but that these wishes, fancies, and characteristics are moulded and impressed into their mentality and behaviour by their occupational activities and by the kind of social selection of rulers prevailing in their societies or nations. Of course, the factors of biological heredity and marginal free choice also play some role, but this role finds its actual manifestation exactly through the mechanism of social selection and through their occupational functions. Therefore, these additional factors are taken into consideration and included among the factors responsible for the characteristics discussed. Let us now briefly comment on them.



Viewed from a moral standpoint, ruling functions consist of two profoundly different, even strikingly opposite, activities; some tend to morally ennoble rulers while others stimulate their demoralization and criminality.

Ennobling Activities of Rulers. There is no doubt that the occupational functions of rulers contain several morally ennobling activities such as: the protection of life, security, freedom and other rights of the citizens; defense of the country from foreign enemies, and of innocents from the attacks of aggressors; the discharge of justice and maintenance of law and order; the prevention and suppression of crimes; educational and social service work; the amelioration of economic and cultural conditions of the people; the stimulation of creativity and preservation of vital moral and mental well-being of the population; and the legion of other constructive, charitable and socially beneficial functions performed by executive, legislative, and judicial branches of governments. These and similar activities tend, almost automatically to develop the rulers' moral integrity, sense of justice and social responsibility, compassion, benevolence. and unselfishness. One who daily performs this sort of activity for months, and years can hardly escape some retroactive ennobling influence. For this reason, there almost always are, even in heartless and wicked rulers, a few important moral virtues habitually acquired in the process of their ennobling occupational work.

Long and regular discharge of these altruistic functions develops in the majority of rulers some notable virtues and, now and then, a moral nobility of the highest kind. However, for reasons indicated in the next paragraph, these virtues rarely permeate the whole personality of rulers and rarely manifest themselves in all their activities. As a rule, this moral excellence is confined within a limited portion of rulers' mentality and behaviour, beyond which they may remain immoral, even criminal. Nevertheless, within this ennobled part the "soul" of rulers is indeed pure and sometimes even "holy", and their overt actions represent a true fulfilment of the noblest moral imperatives.

Criminalizing and Demoralizing Activities of Rulers. The discussed moralizing activities of rulers cover only a part of their total occupational functions. The other part of these activities exerts upon the rulers morally deadening and criminalizing effects rather than uplifting arid ennobling ones. Let' us consider some of these criminalizing activities: 

1. A considerable part of the criminalizing functions of rulers is represented by their violent, destructive and murderous activities - activities which characterize much of the total' behaviour of governments. War activity can serve as an example of this kind of occupational function; the planning, preparing for, and carrying on of war has always been practically the main preoccupation of rulers. Stripped of its propaganda, war activity is the most terrible form of organized mass-murder supplemented with other acts of human bestiality, lust, and sadistic-masochistic destructiveness. No war activity can be carried on without throwing to the wind, at least temporarily, all the moral imperatives. No man preoccupied with war activities for years and years, can escape the demoralizing and criminalizing effects of this murderous business.

Other murderous activities of rulers deaden their moral sensitivity, and harden their souls and hearts towards the lives and values of human beings. Directly and retroactively these activities contribute to demoralization and criminalization of rulers. The activities of condemning and executing "criminals", exterminating dangerous "revolutionaries" and "subversives", eliminating possible competitors; suppressing disorders, riots and revolts; punishing the violators of law; sacrificing many an "expendable" human life in training for arid performance of government functions by military, police, and other agencies of the government - these serve as examples of violent and destructive actions. Practically no government of an empire or of other powerful organizations can help becoming a mass executioner and "legalized" murderer. Such an activity is inherent in and inseparable from the business of ruling vast organizations. And all the branches of government participate in this murderous activity - the legislative when it enacts the laws imposing capital and other punishments for violation of its statutes; a judge when he imposes the death sentence or other severe punishment upon the "guilty criminal"; an executive agent (beginning with monarch, president, general, admiral, and ending with a private, policeman, or warden) when he enforces the enacted laws and court-sentences; and all the branches together when they declare a war or other bloody reprisals against their collective enemies, criminals or opponents. This murderous activity comprises a large part of the business of practically all rulers of powerful, coercive organizations.

2. Another governing activity consists of what is called "diplomatic" actions and operations. These activities are sometimes performed for the protection and expansion of selfish interests - of the government and sometimes for the tribal interests of the governed group: sometimes to reconcile conflicting interests and mitigate clashes of various factions and persons or for the realization of other mainly egotistic purposes. Diplomatic operations exhibit a peculiar mixture of honest and dishonest techniques of influence by means of organized spying, skilful lies, hypocritical assurances, false promises, threats and bribes, semi-rational persuasions, limited coercion, cloak and dagger actions, cynical machinations, and other morally doubtful procedures.

By their very nature, the "murderous" and "diplomatic" activities of government are sub-moral and potentially criminal. Committed by a private person, they would be condemned as unlawful and therefore punishable.

3. The third criminalizing ingredient of governing consists in the incessant bombardment of government by a multitude of contradictory interests of various persons and groups. The. government is the focal point of the relentless pressures of clashing interests which the rulers, as legislators, judges, or executives, have incessantly to resolve. These pressures generate inner conflicts in the minds and conduct of the rulers. When one is subjected continuously to the contradictory stimuli of this sort, ones moral integrity and mental sanity tend to become fragmented, confused, and often self-contradictory. Pushed and pulled in opposite directions by these pressures, one's judgement and actions are bound to be more or less inconsistent and unsound, and one's personality increasingly neurotic.

In addition to this, many influential and rich parties reinforce their pressure by bribery of the rulers, offering economic and other advantages, by flattering and catering to their lusts, appetites, ambitions, and fancies: and even threatening them with retaliation (death, overthrow, etc.) if the rulers fail to decide the clash of interests in their favour. When one is continuously subjected to this kind of pressure, one is liable to succumb to some temptations and eventually allow his conduct to become determined mainly by unethical and unlawful motivations. In these two ways, this ingredient leads the rulers to moral and mental aberrations.

4. The fourth "criminalizing component" of governing activity is the enormous power which the rulers of vast organizations hold over millions of the ruled population. It is said that power intoxicates and a great coercive power intoxicates doubly. These. observations were formulated long ago and, as we have seen in the preceding chapter, have been since reiterated by shrewd observers of human affairs and eminent social thinkers. In recent times similar propositions have been set forth by many a scholar and thinker. F. Dostoyevsky’s statement admirably sums up these conclusions:

When a man has unlimited power over the flesh and blood of his fellow men, when a man is in a position to degrade another human being to the limit of degradation, he is unable to resist the temptation to do wrong. Tyranny is a habit. In the end it becomes a disease. The best man in the world becomes so brutalized as to be undistinguishable from a wild beast. Blood intoxicates, the spirit becomes susceptible to the extreme abnormalities and these can turn to be enjoyable as the real joys. The possibility of such license sometimes becomes contagious in a whole people; and yet society which despises the official hangman, does not despise the hangman who is all powerful. (House of the Dead, 1862)

Thus power intoxication marks a large portion of the top rulers of the political empires in Ancient Egypt and Babylon, in Ancient Rome and Greece, Iran and India, China and Japan, Europe, the Americas, and of practically all the states and powerful political organizations. Before achieving supreme power many of these rulers (especially the revolutionary leaders) were normal; later, many of them became abnormal human beasts. Rulers' power generates in them (and in others, too), a belief that they are the chosen and anointed who are far above the ruled population and its common-herd moral and legal precepts of right and wrong, good and evil. Indeed, most of the powerful monarchs, dictators, "protectors of people," presidents of republics, senators, generals, and other political bosses believe themselves to be a superhuman or superior elite whose wishes and decisions create law. In brief, they see themselves as essentially free from the limitations of unpleasant legal obligations and moral imperatives. Such a freedom amounts to a moral and legal nihilism. In this way "power tends to corrupt" and "absolute power corrupts absolutely."

These four components of governing activity generate and develop criminal and unethical tendencies in the rulers' of powerful organizations. Systematic and continuous use of the outlined procedures by the members of ruling groups turn these practices into habits which eventually become part and parcel of their personalities and behaviour. Living in this atmosphere of murderous and "diplomatic" activities, and practising them daily, subjected to incessant temptations and intoxicated with power, the ruling group cannot escape the inevitable contaminating and demoralizing effects. For comprehensible reasons, in their declarations the rulers naturally assert their unlimited devotion to the supreme and sacred value of individuals, but in their overt actions they rarely practise the precepts of their eloquently preached sermonets. They tend to regard their subjects as a mere number-cannon fodder, voting herd, or expendable material - for manipulation and realization of their tasks.

Such are some of the factors of amorality and criminality inherent in the governing activity of monarchs, presidents, dictators and bosses of powerful social organizations.

5. These factors, inherent in the business of ruling, are reinforced by factors of social selection. Not all types of individuals have an equally strong desire to become ruler; nor do all of the types have an equal chance to succeed in this ambition. Some are persons dominated by a lust for power, while others have no such ambition. Other conditions being equal, the non-ambitious type of person is bound to be less frequent among the rulers than the power-hungry type. Furthermore, individuals with high moral sensitivity, compassion, honesty, and altruism have much less chance to climb to the high rungs of the government ladder than those who are callous, unsympathetic, aggressively selfish, hypocritical, dishonest, and cynical manipulators of human relations.

Stern ruling or money making; conquest or dictatorial domination; building political or economic empires; spreading religion or revolution by bombs and murder; discharging acts of merciless justice; maintaining social order by cruel punitive measures; pitiless elimination by dishonest means of competitors for high political or economic position -these and other ruling functions demand for their successful performance the proverbial tiger's ferocity, rhinoceros' insensitivity, and fox's wiliness in handling their subjects and fellowmen. A perfectly sincere man can hardly become a successful diplomat or a compassionate humanitarian a terrible conqueror; an honest person who makes no hyperbolic promises has little chance to be elected for a high political position; a businessman who unfailingly follows the Golden Rule can hardly build an economic empire in a cut-throat competitive business world. Insincerity, insensitivity, and a cynical manipulation of convictions and values seem to be necessary prerequisites for successful social climbing.



The preceding discussion shows that the business of ruling consists largely of two opposing kinds of activities in curious relation to each other. The ruler's noble actions in one area usually occur side-by-side with debasing criminal actions in another. Often these two conflicting elements are fused, as in the case of a ruler employing ignoble means to achieve humanitarian goals, or using noble actions as a facade to mask his baser intentions. These contradictory activities generate conflict in the character of the ruler which when reinforced by the factors of social selection, creates  a split in his personality, making him a sort of Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hyde. This basic dualism manifests itself in most rulers, making them appear at some times generous, altruistic and morally noble, and at others selfish, criminal, and inhuman; their behaviour seems to alternate between intelligence and folly, health and neuroticism. This does not occur in the same proportion among all governments and rulers. In some ruling groups the criminal tendencies prevail, while in others the morally ennobling properties are dominant. Despite this diversity, a moral and mental schizophrenia seems to characterize all forms of government which govern mainly by murderous, “diplomatic" and other compulsory means.

These conclusions seem to be verified by striking contrasts between the behaviour of a ruler in his ruling capacity and his behaviour in private life. Robespierre, as dictator of the Jacobin government in France, showed himself to be a blood-thirsty and merciless tyrant who sent hundreds of victims to the guillotine without compunction. Yet, in his private life, this same man proved to be so tender-hearted that he would weep over the sentimental novels of B. de Saint-Pierre! Lenin, acting as a ruler, unhesitatingly ordered the shooting of thousands of innocent persons, yet in the privacy of his apartment, was deeply concerned over the health of a slightly sick kitten. Similar split personality was shown by Stalin, Hitler, Napoleon, Peter the Great, Cromwell, Charles V and Phillip II of Spain, Louis XIV, Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, Nero, Diocletian, Constantine the Great, Asoka, and by most monarchs, dictators, commanders. inquisitors, etc. In a milder form this moral schizophrenia also marks the high ranks of democratic government personnel: political and military leaders, top executives of big corporations, labour leaders, and even the hierarchy of vast religious and scientific organizations.

In regard to the business executives the dualism is once more confirmed by the recent study of 162 American business executives by E. E. Jennings and associates of Michigan State University's Business Administration College. The study shows that “the typical executive is apt to lead a double life with one set of principles for the office, another for home and church .... A Jekyll-and-Hyde strain runs through their ranks . . . . Ambitious business executives do not regard as success-contributing those practices ordinarily regarded as good human relations . . . . They believed that self-interest was the basis of all human nature, that it was safer to be suspicious of men and assume their nature was more bad than good.”

The executives avoided making close friends in areas crucial to their interests, regarded past promises not binding if they stood in the way of success, kept secret advantageous information, and so on; in brief, in their office they followed Machiavellian ethics while at home they practised the principles of good citizenship. (The Boston Daily Globe, April 10, 1959, A.P.)

This dualism is also demonstrated by the strikingly high percentage of extreme mental and moral types among the rulers. P. Jacoby, F. A Woods, P. A. Sorokin, and other investigators of the mental and moral properties of monarchs unanimously agree that the percentages of geniuses as well as of the feebleminded and insane is much greater among the royal families than among the general population. Also, the frequency distribution among monarchs in the categories of above average, average, and below average differs quite markedly from the frequency distribution of scholastic grades, among the students of our colleges.

This prevalence of extremes among the rulers is at least partly due to the dualistic or schizophrenic nature of the governing activity (and partly to hereditary factors). Other studies have shown that the contradictory situations in daily governing activities tend either to develop inner conflicts and split personality within rulers, or to polarize them into the extreme mental, moral, and social types, or to turn them into confused, hesitating, and self-contradictory individual whose right hand denies what their left affirms.

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. In the first chapter of the same work some of them (like Lenin) pompously declare that their purpose is the elimination of the state and coercive government, and in subsequent chapters they conclude: therefore we must establish the iron dictatorship of the totalitarian regime in which the Communist government regiments the whole life, conduct, and thought, of the ruled population.

In recent decades, practically all governments and the United Nations have repeatedly declared that their main task is the establishment of a lasting peace. Yet at the same moment, these rulers by their acts refute this goal for they limitlessly arm themselves, carry on cold wars, and thus prepare to exterminate hundreds of millions, at the risk of an Apocalyptic war which can terminate the very existence of life on this planet. Such speeches can be heard or read daily. Although their contradictory topics and precepts may vary, they display the peculiar "illogical logic" symptomatic of the split and sick soul.

This schizophrenic dualism can easily be seen in a comparison of the main principles of the rulers' addresses with their overt actions of implementation. Almost invariably an unbridgeable chasm is found to exist between these preachings and their practices. Any sincere believer in God or in the values of Truth, Justice, Beauty, Peace, Equality, Progress of Mankind, Wellbeing of Humanity, Democracy, Freedom. Brotherhood, Socialism, Communism, and so on, cannot help but deplore the utter distortion of these values in the practices of the rulers who preach them. Viewed dispassionately, many of the actions of crusaders of God are more sacrilegious and atheistic than those of the avowed atheists and anti-religionists. Many an action of the ruling propagandists of the Dictatorship of Proletariat, Democracy, Freedom, Brotherhood, etc., are anti-proletarian, anti-democratic, tyrannical and anti-brotherly.

These and other proofs confirm our diagnosis of the mental and moral dualism of governing activities and its effect upon the personality and conduct of rulers and governments.





The outlined moral and mental duality of ruling operations and governments does not necessarily mean that both the benign and the evil characteristics are equally powerful in every ruling individual or that they are distributed in the same proportion among all governments and rulers. There are ruling groups in which criminal tendencies prevail, and there are governments in which the benign nature is dominant. Whether one of the two souls is generally prevalent among all the rulers and governments remains largely unknown and needs to be studied further. A further inquiry is needed also to obtain a more accurate knowledge of what kind of ruler (and in what socio-cultural conditions) tends to be predominantly sunny-souled or dark-souled. Finally, the moral dualism of rulers and ruling activities tells little about the comparative criminality of the rulers and the ruled: which of these classes is the more criminal? The purpose of this chapter is to give a tentative answer to the last question and thereby to elucidate a little the other two.

The generalizations: Nos. 3, 4, 5, formulated at the beginning of chapter II, give tentative answers to these questions. In their essentials these answers contend that when measured by the same stick, the moral behaviour of ruling groups tends to be more criminal than that of the ruled population in the same society; and that with a progressive limitation of the power of rulers and executives their criminality tends to decrease in frequency as well as in gravity of crimes committed. This analysis of criminalizing factors of rulers and bosses of vast organizations gives deductive reasons for these generalizations, derived from the analysis of the nature of the ruling occupation and from the prevalent forms of social selection. Now these deductive conclusions must be tested and confirmed empirically through a study of the factual criminality of the ruling and the ruled strata.



Of all big social organizations the state, as a rule, is the most cynical and most naked power-machinery. With rare exception, this machine of organized coercion is more powerful than that of almost any other organization. The sovereignty claimed by the state as its monopoly is the official term designating its supremacy over other social groups. The chiefs of states, especially when they are autocratic or absolutistic, are the most powerful rulers among the governing heads of other social bodies.
If our generalizations (Nos. 3, 4, 5) regarding the criminality and morality of rulers are correct, they should be confirmed by the actual conduct of the state rulers. This expectation is well supported by the relevant facts.

First of all, despite the lack of precise and systematic statistics, the existing data do not allow any doubt that the powerful and/or autocratic rulers of the states display in general a much higher rate of patricides, matricides, fratricides, uxoricides, and murders of their relatives, than does their ruled population. In regard to this crime, the powerful autocratic ruling groups are possibly the most criminal groups in the total population of most nations or states. We must keep in mind that this particular form of murder is evaluated by practically all criminal codes as the gravest form of murder and is uniformly punished more severely than all other forms (except the murder of the rulers of the states and, other power organizations). Second, the existing body of evidence shows also that with a limitation of the autocratic or absolute power of the rulers, the gravity and the rate of their criminality tends to decline. Murder and other bloody crimes against relatives, friends, and persons generally tend to be increasingly supplanted by the crimes against property, and by the lesser crimes against person. Criminality of these rulers whose power is greatly limited (like most of the recent constitutional monarchs and presidents of republics) tends to approach the criminality of their ruled population, though it still exceeds it.

Actually the criminality of the rulers remains much greater than the percentages show, when we compare the percent-ages of all kinds of murder (and not only the murder of relatives and friends hitherto discussed) committed by the rulers, with those of all kinds of murder perpetrated by the common population. Side by side with legal execution of criminals and war enemies, very few of these rulers did not murder or condemn to death, directly or indirectly, few or many innocent persons of all ages and of both sexes. Sometimes they imposed the death penalty over the victims legally, for “reasons of state” (raison d'etat), though even in such “legal” murders there always is a wide gulf between the merciful and sadistic interpretation of “legality.” More frequently the rulers condemned to death many an innocent person for such selfish reasons as economic advantages, hedonistic pleasure, revenge, hatred, sadistic drive, sexual motives, lust for power, rulers' security, and so on. Perhaps still more frequently they “eliminated” innocent persons because these individuals by their mere existence happened to inhibit the realization of the rulers' egotistic objectives. This sort of motive plays an eminent part in the mass-murders of hundreds and thousands of innocent persons in the massacres, “crusades,” “purges,” “liquidations,” “holy wars,” “restorations of order” always solemnly declared “for the Good of the Country,” “Nationalism,” “Purity of Race,” and all sorts of justifying catchwords and mottoes aimed at screening the ugly selfish interests of the rulers. These mass-murders of thousands of innocent persons depict the heartlessness, moral insensitivity, and cynical disregard of human life and moral values which characterize the rulers. In this regard. their psychology is not very different from that of hardened murderers. Such “murders” are so common that they are often passed over by historians without mention, yet study reveals that the ruling group is indeed the most murderous group among all the groups of the ruled populations of almost all countries or nations.

An additional oblique confirmation of this conclusion is given by the exceptionally high frequency of death by violence among state-rulers. Being little inhibited in their struggles for power from murdering relatives, friends, competitors, and anyone who happens to be hindering satisfaction of their objectives, these rulers are treated to similar "murderous" treatment by their competitors. The ruling group well confirms the truth of the old, statement: "He who takes the sword shall perish by the sword."

Finally, regarding the crimes of aggravated assault, rape and, other sex offences, robbery, burglary, theft, larceny, embezzlement, fraud and forgery, and other lesser crime against person, property, and good mores, the rates of the rulers in these crimes are again much higher than those of the ruled. Ordinarily, when the rulers perpetrate crimes against property, they do not steal or grab or rob or forge or embezzle a few dollars or a small piece of real estate, or a few precious objects. Instead they do these crimes on the largest scale, grabbing by "the right of conquest" vast region territories, and kingdoms; under false pretense, expropriating and appropriating large fortunes and sources of wealth of their adversaries or citizens; by "diplomatic" persuasion and coercion acquiring big estates, fabulous monopolies and most profitable privileges; profiting greatly by debasing the currency; and so on. An old English poem well expresses this large scale of the crimes of rulers:

"The law locks up both man and woman
who steals the goose from off the common,
but lets the greater felon loose,
who steals the common from the goose."

To sum up: in the crimes enumerated the criminality the rulers is many times higher than that of the total ruled population.



For our first evidence of the criminality of rulers, we may compare them to the ruled population in the crime of murder. Since there are only fragmentary data about the rates of murder of relatives for the total or adult (fourteen years old and over) populations, we shall compare the rulers' murder of their relatives with those of all kinds of murder for the total populations (murder of relatives makes up only an insignificant fraction of the larger class of murder generally). Both of these rates are approximate but, despite this, they disclose the difference in criminality to be so great that it remains striking even when the rates of the rulers' criminality are decreased ten or twenty or more times.

Depending upon the period, country, occupation, sex, age, race, etc., the murder rates for the ruled population fluctuate between: 0.0008 and 0.2 per 100 persons of the total or the adult population or of the main occupational populations, or far below one per cent for the ruled population. For the murderers of relatives among rulers the following gives approximate data:

Of 43 English monarchs and the Lord-Protectors beginning with William I and ending with George VI, some twenty rulers, or at least 40 per cent, were guilty of this crime. In other words, the rate of English rulers committing the gravest form of murder is more than a hundred times greater than the rate of the British population in the crime of murder!

This conclusion must be supplemented by the fact that with the legal and factual limitation of the power of English monarchs, they have freed themselves from this crime; none of the kings or queens since William III has been guilty of murdering his or her relatives or close friends and associates.

Similar data for the rates of murder of relatives and close friends for monarchs and rulers of various countries and periods naturally vary greatly, but they invariably remain far above the rates of general murder among their subjects. With various upstart rulers, of past and recent times, such as the Ten and the Thirty Tyrants in Ancient Greece, Marius and Sulla, Caesar and Antony, Crassus and Augustus in Rome, Cromwell and Robespierre, Mussolini and Hitler, Lenin and Stalin, and many of today's dictators or revolutionaries in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and elsewhere, the crime-record is still worse than that of the legitimate, autocratic monarchs.

Of the 34 Turkish sultans, from Osman (1290-1326) up to Mahomet VI (1918-1922), at least 14 sultans or some 41 per cent were guilty of direct or indirect murders of their relatives, close friends, and associates. But here again, with a partly factual and partly lega1 limitation of their power, the last five sultans, beginning with Abdul Mejid (1839-1861) and ending with Mahomet VI (1918-1922) seem to have been free from this form of murder (with a possible exception of Abdul Hamid II).

Similarly, in France, in the earliest Merovingian dynasty, its founder Clovis (481-511), his four sons, including the victorious Lothair (558-561), and Lothair’s four sons, up to Lothair II and his son Dagobert (628-638) were all fratricide or the murderers of their close relatives in their intra-family struggle for power. Not very different was the situation in its declining period when the Merovingian dynasty divided into several branches. All in all, no less than 40 per cent of the Merovingian rulers committed the discussed gravest form of murder.

Perhaps somewhat lower was the per cent of this sort of murderer in the subsequent dynasties of the Carolingians, the Capets, the Valois, the Bourbons. the Orleans, the Bonapartists. Of some 51 rulers, beginning with Charles the Bald (843-877) and ending with Louis Napoleon III (1852-1870), at least 9 rulers or 15 per cent were guilty of this gravest of murders. Except perhaps for Napoleon I, none of the post-revolutionary monarchs whose power was greatly limited, seems to have committed this crime.

Similar is the record of the Russian rulers. As usual, the earliest Kievan (Rurik) dynasty begins its dominion by murders of the related and unrelated competitors for power: Oleg killed Askold and Dir (S82). Then came the dynastic warfare between the sons of Sviatoslav, ending with the victory of Vladimir the Saint (972-978), and followed again by merciless dynastic struggle among the sons of Vladimir in which his eldest son, Svyatopolk, murdered his three brothers (Boris, Gleb, and Sviatoslav). Svyatopolk perished in his turn after being defeated by his brother, Iaroslav the Wise (1019-1054). The fratricidal war was again repeated among the sons of Iaroslav, then among the sons of Vladimir Monomakh, and the subsequent generations of the branches of the Kievan dynasty up to the invasion and subjugation of Russia by the Mongols after the battle of Kalka (1223) and during two centuries of Tartar domination.

All in all the per cent of the murderers of relatives, friends, and associates among the Kievan (Rurik) dynasty with its branched Volyn, Galicia, Susdal, Vladimir, and Novgorod rulers was above rather than below some 25-30 percent.

Among subsequent rulers of Russia, one notable difference in the Moscovy period was the vogue of blinding and physical mutilation of "the dear but dangerous relatives" (with subsequent banishment, imprisonment or monastic isolation for life), or the infliction of slow death instead of a direct and swift murder. Prince Vasiliy the Dark blinded his Cousin, Vasiliy the Squint-eyed (c. 1435); Prince Dimitri blinded his cousin (c. 1437), and so on.

Otherwise, Yuriy Danilovich and Michail Tversky both perished in their warfare with each other; so also did Alexander Tversky and Ivan Danilovitch and other rulers of this period. Later on, the Czars of Muscovy and Russia killed their sons and cousins (like John the Terrible and Peter the Great). gave consent to the murder of their parents (like Alexander I), or of their wives or husbands or relatives (like Catherine the Great, Elizabeth I) and in various ways executed their close friends and counsellors: this is not to mention imprisonment, torture, banishment. and other methods of "purging" of all those whom for some or no reason at all they wanted to eliminate. All in all some 20 to 25 per cent of the rulers of Muscovy and then of Imperial Russia were guilty in the crime discussed. On the other hand, after Alexander I (1801-1825), all subsequent Czars of Russia up to the last Czar, Nicolas II, were free from this crime.

Similar also is the record of other ruling groups of the past. Thus out of 51 rulers of Ancient Rome from 135. B.C. to 285 A.D. (beginning with T. and G. Gracchus and ending with Probus and Carus) 26 or some 50 per cent were guilty of the crime discussed.

In Byzantium, “no sovereign was safe. Of the 107 sovereigns that occupied the throne between 395 and 1453, only 34 died in their beds and 8 in war or by accident. The rest either abdicated - willingly or unwillingly - or died violent deaths by poison, smothering, strangulation, stabbing, or mutilation. In the space of these 1058 years we can count 65 revolutions in palaces, streets or barracks.”
“The Sacred Palace of Byzantium is full of grim stories. There the devout Irene had her son Constantine VI blinded in the very room he was born. There in 820, in St. Stephens chapel, Leo V, the Armenian, was assassinated.... There, Basil the Macedonian and his friends slew Michael III; and there also, one December night, Theophano had her husband, Nichephorus assassinated, and displayed from a window to soldiers of the guard the severed dripping head of their master." (Charles Diehl, Byzantium: Greatness and Decline, 1957)
Hardly less than 50 per cent of the Byzantine rulers were murderers of their relatives, close friends, and associates.

No better is the record of the Arabian dynasties. A fratricidal struggle for power started immediately after the death of the founder of Mohammedanism, and all four of "the Orthodox Caliphs" (632-661) were guilty of the crime discussed. If all the rulers of the subsequent dynasties of the Umayhads (661-750) and of the Abbasids (750-1100), before and after the dismemberment of the Caliphate into several dynasties were not guilty, then at least some 45-50 per cent committed it in various forms.

If from the Arabian rulers we turn to those of Iran or Persia, we find out of nine kings of the earliest Achaemenian dynasty of Persia (550-330 B.C.) from Cyrus the Great to Darius III Codomannus, at least 3 or some 30 per cent were involved or guilty of the crime. Of some 21 shahs of the Neo-Persian Empire of the Sassanians (226-651) at least seven rulers (or some 34 per cent) murdered their relatives, close friends, and associates. Of some 11 Shahs of the Safavid dynasty (1500-1736), at least four or some 36 per cent were guilty of this crime. Other short-lived dynasties of Persia show still higher incidence.

Direct and indirect murder of relatives, closest friends and associates as frequently marks the annals of the Oriental dynasties as the others. Thus, for example, in Japan, at an early period of Japan's history, the chronicle mentions that the rulers of the Soga clan crushed their rivals (c. 587); that Soga Imago (c. 626) murdered his nephew, the Emperor Sushun; that in 643 Soga lruka forced Prince Yamashiro no Oe, heir to the powerful prince Shotoku, to commit suicide. In their turn the chiefs of the Soga were overthrown and suffered penalties. The next Nara period (710-784) is marked again by several "family" murders (of Fujiwara Nakamaro, emperor Junnin, and others); fratricidal civil wars stamp also the Fujiwara and subsequent periods with the accompanying murders of relatives and friends (by Sumitomo, Taira Masakado, Minamoto Yoriyoshi, Shirakawa II, Taira Kiyomori, Yoritomo, Hojo Tokimasa and other rulers of the Hojo period, and by the warring parties during several subsequent fratricidal wars of the emperors, shoguns and other rulers). Perhaps it is typical that out of some 15 Shoguns of the Tokugawa period (1603-1867), at least four or some 26 per cent were guilty of murder of their relatives, close friends and associates. All in all, some 25 to 30 per cent of the rulers of Japan seem to have committed this crime.

Out of twelve Inca kings, (from Manco Capac to Huascar), at least nine, or 75 per cent, are guilty of these crimes.

If in a similar way we study the rates of crimes committed by rulers of other states or empires - China, India, Babylon, Ancient Egypt, and so on - the main results would be similar to the rough percentages given. The percentages for different dynasties and periods may widely fluctuate, but all would be many times greater than the percentages of all sorts of homicide for the respective ruled populations. As mentioned, this conclusion remains valid even if we decrease the above percentage of the rulers' criminality ten, twenty, or fifty times.

The following mass-murders serve as examples of the rulers' massacres of thousands of innocent persons. From 15,000 to 25,000 persons killed in St. Bartholomew Night, in Paris; some 8,000 to 10,000 persons exterminated by the order of Sulla during just one meeting of the Roman Senate; tens of thousands of persons arrested and shot by the order of Lenin after the attempt on his life (the persons who not only did not participate in the attempt, but even did not know anything about it, as Lenin and his associates were well aware). In hundreds of thousands of executions during the years of the Red Terror, they explicitly stated: "Don't look in the records for any crime committed by the executed individuals; they are executed just because they happen to be the members of the bourgeois, or of the kulak-peasant or other potentially anti-Communist classes." A slaughter of 27,000 captives ordered by Richard the Lionhearted after taking Acca was because the captives could not pay the ransom of 200,000 gold pieces demanded by Richard and the Crusaders (this massacre by "Christian Crusaders" stands in a glaring contrast to the generosity of the sultan Salah-al-Din, the Crusaders' main adversary, who in a similar situation spared the lives of and freed about 20,000 Christian captives). These examples give a fair idea of the mass-murders of thousands of innocent persons by rulers.

In brief, when all sorts of murders by the state-rulers are considered, the per cent of the murderers among them becomes still much higher than that shown by the percentages of the murderers of relatives and friends. Viewed from this standpoint, the ruling group is indeed the most criminally murderous group among the populations of almost all countries or nations.



Many a reader of the preceding pages undoubtedly has been asking the question: But how about the constitutional monarchs, presidents, and members of Cabinets, in democracies and republics? About the leaders of Parliament or Congress? The supreme judges, the generals and admirals of the democratic military forces? Governors of democratic states or provinces? Mayors of the big cities and other government leaders and political bosses in democracies? Do the above conclusions apply to them also? Is their rate of criminality higher, too, than that of the ordinary citizens or of the total ruled population? Does not the fact of these rulers being elected make them paragons of virtue and moral leaders rather than a criminal group in comparison with the rank and file population of the democracies?

The general answer to these questions is that the above conclusions apply also to the ruling groups in democracies. All in all, their rate of criminality tends also to be notably higher than that of the total ruled populations.

The main qualification to these statements consists in recalling our second uniformity - that with limitation of the rulers' power, their criminality tends to decrease in gravity as well as frequency of crimes committed. We have seen that even in limited monarchies their, criminality declines, especially in such grave crimes as murder and aggravated assault. Democratic governments are, by law and in fact, greatly limited in their power. For this reason only, their criminality is to be expected to be notably lower than that of the autocratic, powerful governments.

For the same reason, criminality of democratic ruling groups consists mainly in the crimes against property, sex, good mores, and in lighter crimes against person. As a result of this qualitative and quantitative decrease of criminality of the ruling groups in democracies, the contrast between the rates of criminality of the rulers and the ruled (total population) in democracies becomes less great, than the contrast in big autocratic empires and nations. Then, under a system of centralized, autocratic power structure the offences tend to cluster about the highest seats of power in each central government. In democratic and limited power structures, without a centralized type of government, criminality tends to diffuse among several strata of governments and among the powerful economic and political groups, formally outside government, which factually are the informal and unofficial partners of the official government and are often more influential than the official ruling groups. Now for a brief corroboration of these conclusions.

1. That the grave criminality, of constitutionally (and factually) limited governments - monarchical or republican - tends to decline is shown by the fact that, after the limitation of their powers, the constitutional rulers of practically all such countries have become almost entirely free from the commitment of murder, aggravated assault and similar grave crimes against person. This can be said of the governments of Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Holland, Belgium, Great Britain, Austria, Germany (up to Hitler), the United States, France, Italy, Russia (up to the Communist Government, 1918, which is by law and by fact, a dictatorial autocracy), Japan, India, and of the constitutional rulers of a few other nations.

2. Despite this moral improvement of ruling groups limited in power, their total criminality still remains above that of the ruled population. This can be deduced easily from a simple confrontation of the rates of criminality of the total populations, with the relevant fragmentary data concerning the criminality of the members of the ruling groups in democracies.

We have seen that the rates of murder for the total populations fluctuate roughly between 0.0008 to 0.2 per 100 persons; while the rates for other crimes are roughly between 0.008 to 1.2 per 100 persons of the total population. Of these rates, the maximal rate for murder (0.2) and that for larceny (1.2) are abnormally high, exceptional, non-typical rates. This means roughly that we have in the total populations one murderer per some 500 to 125,000 individuals (500 again being the non-typical exceptional figure); and one criminal in each of the other crimes per some 12,500 to 84 individuals (this latter in larceny, for 1956, for 80,986,991 urban population of the United States). More specifically in the United States, in 1956, there was about one murderer per 20,000 and about one manslaughterer per 28,571 urban population.

Though with a decrease in murder-criminality of the constitutionally and factually limited governments the democratic governmental groups may not necessarily be more criminal than the common population, such groups are still as criminal (in these crimes) and possibly even more criminal than the total (ruled) population. The United States gives an example of this situation. As mentioned, in 1956, in our urban population there was about one murderer per 20,000 and one manslaughterer per 28,571 urban population. Now, in order to have 20,000 and 28,571 high governmental persons in the United States we shall take: all the presidents and vice-presidents of the United States and members of their Cabinets; then many (past and present) influential leaders of the Congress; many top generals and admirals; to these we have to add: a number of (past and present) governors of the state; mayors and political bosses of the biggest cities. If we compare 20,000 and 28,571 government personnel of this sort with the same numbers of non-government persons, we find somewhat more murderers and manslaughterers within the ruling population. For example, we find among the twenty leading political bosses in this country, from 1850 to 1925, at least two who were indicted for murder (Martin Lomasey and Richard Crocker). Then, since the mutual killings of gangsters in their wars are considered murders, we have to view similarly the killings of each other by members of the different government factions struggling for existence, domination, and spoils. In this category we note the murders of Hamilton, Lincoln, Garfield, H. Long, and others, and the almost fatal beatings (like that of Massachusetts Senator Sumner by Col. Brooks) by adversaries from different "government gangs."

To victims of the civil war between these gangs, we must add thousands murdered in the violent struggle of pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions (like the victims of the violence at Lawrence, in the John Brown revolt, by the Ku-Klux Klan and the Union League) and in other political "wars" between opposite government factions; many an unnecessary murder committed by generals Sherman and Sheridan, governor Stanton, and their adversaries in the Civil War; the murders of large numbers of Indians, without any guilt on their part, with full approval of government agents. Finally, count all the victims murdered by ordinary gang-murderers acting under the order of many political bosses closely connected with, and now and then controlling, the murderous and other activities of the criminal gangs.

When all these and similar murders, committed directly or indirectly by high, middle, and low government agents are counted, the rate of murderous criminality of the total body of government agents is likely to become higher than that of the ordinary ruled population.

Even if the comparative criminal rates depend upon which of the killing actions of government agents are to be considered murder, there is no doubt that the rates of the ruling groups are higher than those of the total (ruled) population, in regard to crimes against property, sex offences, propriety, and the lesser crimes against person. If for comparison purposes we take the above percentage rates of the specified criminality of the urban population of the United States, then we have one sex-criminal (for all kinds of sex offences, including rape) per about 2085 urban population. Now among the presidents of the United States, at least two were guilty of sex irregularities (which would give one sex-offender per some 17 presidential population). If we take a larger stratum of the high government officials (like Alexander Hamilton, and other governmental leaders among the members of the Cabinet, leading members of the Congress, influential governors of the states and top military ranks), their rate in sex-offences appears to be notably greater than the rate for the total or urban population.

Still more certain is the higher criminality of ruling groups in democracies in the crimes against property. According to the above rates in all kinds of crime against property for the urban population of the United States in 1956, we have one criminal per about 370 population. Now, among the presidents of the United States, at least, two were accused of involvement in crimes against property (called often "corruption" and "graft"), perpetrated by their close associates and appointees (this would give one property-criminal per about 17 presidential population). Otherwise, the Cabinet and personnel of the White House staff of practically every administration have produced one or several corrupted officials. In some administrations, like Grant's or Harding's, the corruption exploded into sensational scandals and prison sentences for the offenders.

Crimes of the government officials against property appeared quite early in our history. The first royal governor of the Virginia Colony, Samuel Argall (d. 1626) was indicted for corruption in office. These corrupted practices were followed by a great many other governors and rulers of colonial America (Governor B. Fletcher of New York, Samuel Chase; one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and a member of the U.S. Supreme Court (1741-1811); Robert Morris (1734-1806), the senator and the financier of the Revolution, and others); and then by the officials of the United States - Federal, State, and Municipal - government. During Jefferson's presidency, 16 out of 29 senators and 29 out of 64 members of the House were unlawful speculators and security holders. A large number of the high-officials, like T. Pickering (1745-1829), general, postmaster General, Secretary of War and State; House Speaker Dayton (1798-1800); DeWitt Clinton (1769-1828), senator, mayor and governor of New York; Lewis Cass (1782-1866), senator, governor, Secretary of War and Minister to France; William T. Barry (1785-1835), senator and postmaster General; Stephen A. Douglas - Lincoln's great opponent; Secretary of War Simon Cameron (1799-1889); in Grant's Cabinet, the Secretaries, G. M. Robeson, W. W. Belnap; Congressman Oakes Ames, Vice-President Colfax; William M. Tweed, “Boss Tweed;” Mayor of New York A. Oakey Hall; Secretary of Commerce and Labour George Cortelyou (1862-1940); Secretary A. B. Fall, and other members of the Harding Cabinet involved in the Teapot Dome scandal; Mayors of New York J. J. Walker and W. O'Dwyer (who was also U.S. Ambassador to Mexico); Mayor of Boston, Governor of Massachusetts and Congressman James Curley; "the Bosses," Thomas Pendergast, Mayor Frank Hague; Tammany Hall bosses Ch. F. Murphy and G. W. Olvany; in recent times Senators J.M. Butler, Newberry, F. L. Smith, Hiram Bingham, Wm. S. Vare, T. G. Bilbo, A. B. Chandler; Congressmen J. M. Coffee, E. Cox, Andrew J. May, J. Parnell Thomas, W. E. Brehm, Orville E. Hodge; the mink coat and refrigerator cases in the Truman White House staff; the Sherman Adams-Goldfine incident; the misdeeds in the Internal Revenue Bureau, in the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, in the Veteran Administration, and other cases in the Eisenhower administration - these are just a few typical examples of hundreds and thousands of property crimes or "improprieties" perpetrated by the members of the high and middle ranks of the Federal, the State, and the City governments. These offences have become so frequent, routine, and expected, that they received even the special terms of "indispensable and licensed delinquency" and "honest graft. "(see David Loth, Public Plunder: A History of graft in America, New York, 1938)

To put the matter in different form, we can say that if we have 370 Presidents of the United States; or 370 Vice-Presidents; or 370 members of the Cabinet; or 370 leading Senators or Congressmen; or 370 generals and admirals; or 370 mayors of big cities; or 370 governors of the states; or 370 other high-ranking officials, we can be reasonably certain that among each of these groups there will be more than one perpetrator of a crime against property. And these ruling perpetrators commit their crimes on a larger scale than the ordinary violators of the property laws and regulations. The same can be said, with slight modifications, about the high government officials of other democratic countries. Though limited in their power, these ruling groups still have much more power than the rank and file of the citizens. According to the hypothesis that power corrupts, this excessive power of democratic rulers tends to lead the government strata to a higher criminality than that of the ruled population.

If and when all the known (confirmed by the court verdict) crimes against property committed by the high-rank officials are roughly counted (without counting a possibly still larger number of the hush-hushed violations), their rates are found to be higher than the rates for the same kind of crime of the total (ruled) populations.



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