I read a Chinese article that quoted a passage purported to be from Lord Acton, describing how "freedom faces four major challenges", using google translation (from Chinese back to English) the quotes are like these,

In each era, freedom faces four major challenges:

The strong man's desire for concentration of power,

The poor's resentment of unequal wealth,

The ignorant's yearning for utopia,

The unbelievers's confusion of freedom and indulgence.

And their common root is radicalism

With the comment from @StuartF and the answer I got at History SE(Edwin Ashworth suggested me to ask the question there). I now believe Lord Acton did not say that. And my question was closed because it was off-topic at this SE. So I am changing it making it appropriate for this site and hope it can be reopened for answer.

I like the googled translated version (even though Lord Action did not say it). I think it speaks about the challenges freedom faces even in present day. But my English is not good enough to make it more natural, more poetic. Can someone help me to do that ?

  • 5
    Nearest I can find, which isn't very near, is "In every age its (i.e. liberty's) progress has been beset by its natural enemies, by ignorance and superstition, by lust of conquest and by love of ease, by the strong man’s craving for power, and the poor man’s craving for food." acton.org/research/history-freedom-antiquity That website has a lot of texts.
    – Stuart F
    Nov 29, 2021 at 9:26
  • 2
    I’m voting to close this question; sourcing lengthy quotes is off-topic. This is perhaps one for History.SE, where there is a 'quotes' tag licensing origin requests. Nov 29, 2021 at 11:46
  • 2
    I am voting to reopen this question because it poses a new and interesting problem: How to identify the original quotation when a text has been translated from English into a language like Chinese, which has a very different grammar, and then been translated programmatically back into English.
    – user205876
    Nov 29, 2021 at 16:26
  • 1
    The solution: Copy the useful/interesting comments over to the other thread, then delete. Nov 30, 2021 at 13:48
  • 2
    @GlobalCharm That might be a topic better suited to Meta ELU.
    – Spencer
    Nov 30, 2021 at 13:57


Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.