They have tried to set up the preposterous pretense that those who are rich in a state are rich in their own merit, and that those who are poor in a state are poor by their own fault. Mr. Kipling, in his swan song of suicide in the Morning Post, speaks of the unemployed laborer as the man "whose unthrift has destroyed him." He speaks of the modern landlord as the man who has toiled, who has striven and gathered possession...
It becomes quite a secondary fact that this new Tory theory is opposed to the Christian theory at every point, at every instant of history, from the boils of Job to the leprosy of Father Damien. It does not matter for the moment that the thing is un-Christian. The thing is a lie; everyone knows it to be a lie; the men who speak and write it know it to be a lie. They know as well as I do that the men who climb to the top of the modern ladder are not the best men, nor the cleverest, nor even the most industrious. Nobody who has ever talked to poor men on seats in Battersea Park can conceivably believe that they are the worst men of the community. Nobody who has ever talked to rich men at city dinners can conceivably believe that they are the best men of the community. On this one thesis I will admit no arguments about unconsciousness, self-deception or mere ritual phraseology. I admit all that and more most heartily to the man who says that the aristocracy as a whole is good for England or that poverty as a whole cannot be cured.
But if a man says that in his experience the thrifty thrive and only the unthrifty perish, then (as St. John the Evangelist says) he is a liar. This is the ultimate lie, and all who utter it are liars.
—The London News. quoted in La Follette's Weekly Magazine, Volume 2 (1910)