"The world's peasant majority lived at the whim of psychopathic killers and thieves. These unpleasant gangsters went by different names in different cultures: kings, princes, dukes, emperors, conquerors, caliphs, sultans, chiefs. Among them, there was Tamerlane in central Asia who loved to pile up the severed heads of his victims. There were the Aztec rulers who, on one particular day, cut out the hearts of 20,000 captives. And there was Mensa Musa, the African king, who executed anyone who dared to sneeze in his presence."