"A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves” is often credited to American broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow (1909-1965). The saying means that the electorate cannot be “sheep” or they will be taken over by “wolves” (such as a totalitarian dictatorship).
“A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves” has been credited to French philosopher Bertrand de Jouvenel (1903-1987) since at least 1949. It is probable that de Jouvenel originated the saying.
Wikipedia: Bertrand de Jouvenel
Bertrand de Jouvenel des Ursins, usually known only as Bertrand de Jouvenel October 1903 – 1 March 1987) was a French philosopher, political economist, and futurist.
A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves.
Bertrand de Jouvenal
A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.
3 July 1943, Burlington (NC) Daily Times-News, “To Thomas Jefferson: A Tribute,” pg. 4, col. 2:
ON TYRANNICAL GOVERNMENT
We affirm, in the face of unparalleled examples, our agreement with your abhorrence of government by tyranny: “To have an idea of the curse of existence under (governments of force), they must be seen. It is a government of wolves over sheep.”—Letter to James Madison, 1787.
The Reader’s Digest
v. 54 - 1949
Bertrand de Jouvenel: A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves.
14 June 1950, New Orleans (LA) Times-Picayune, “‘Longism’ Scored in Lafargue Talk” by george jackson, pg. 7, col. 1:
Lafargue admitted that Huey Long gave the state “many improvements.” But he added that “we are still paying the cost on public debt and high taxes.”
“Government of Wolves”
“His political philosophy left a society of sheep and a government of wolves,” Lafargue said.
A commonsense survey
By William A Paton
New York, NY: Appleton-Century-Crofts
The need for eternal vigilance on the part of the citizenry to keep government within bounds is implied in Bertrand de Jouvenel’s famous remark: “A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves.”
Second encyclopedia of stories, quotations, and anecdotes
Edited by Jacob Morton Braude
Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall
A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves. — BERTRAND DE JOUVENEL
20 March 1958, Richardson (TX) Echo, pg. 7, col. 6:
A society of sheep must, in time, beget a government of wolves.—Bertrand DeJouvenel.
23 February 1977, Trenton (NJ) Evening Times, pg. A11, col. 2:
“A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves.”
-- Bertrand de Jouvenal.
The Ramblings Of A Realist
By Charlie Walker
Biggleswade, Beds: Watkiss Studios Ltd.
A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves and it is useless for the sheep to pass resolutions in favour of vegetarianism whilst the wolf remains of a different opinion.
Dean William. R Inge.
New York City • Government/Law/Politics • (2) Comments • Monday, May 17, 2010 • Permalink
Thomas Jefferson;-"The people will get the government they deserve."A society[nation]of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves"Bertrand de Jouvenal.It has already happened,American"Sheeple"
I don’t think Edward R. Murrow actually said this. http://wp.me/pemu3-oC