Pareto on the circulation of the elites

"Except during short intervals of time, people are always governed by an elite. I use the word elite (It. aristocrazia) in its etymological sense, meaning the strongest, the most energetic, and most capable--for good as well as evil. However, due to an important physiological law, elites do not last. Hence--the history of man is the history of the continuous replacement of certain elites: as one ascends, another declines...

"The new elite which six to supersede the old one, or merely to share its power and honors, does not admit to such an intention frankly and openly. Instead it assumes the leadership of all the oppressed, declares that it will pursue not its own good but the good of the many; and it goes to battle, not for the rights of restricted class, but for the rights of almost the entire citizenry. Of course, once victory is won, it subjugates the erstwhile allies..." -- The rise and fall of the elites, p. 36


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