"Thus arbitrary power will have divided men
of superior intelligence into two groups:
the former will be seditious, the latter corrupt..."
Benjamin Constant
[Henri-Benjamin Constant de Rebecque] (1767-1830) Swiss-born thinker, writer and French politician.
The Spirit of Conquest and Usurpation (1814), reprinted in Political Writings, translated and edited by Bancamaria Fontana (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), p. 126. Later editions than the 1814 one had "despotism" instead of "abitrary power."
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Reader comments about this quote:
Superior intelligence is not a prereqisite of either corruption or sedition.
 -- David L Rosenthal     
  • 3
    Our government is corrupt and could use a little rebellion.
     -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
  • 4
    Absolute power corrupts absolutely...it is irrelevant who or how it corrupts. Our Founders recognized this and did their best to give us a Constitution that would not allow absolute power. Sadly, very low information voters and voter fraud have now given us a regime hell bent on destroying the last vestiges of that Constitution. The King is busy signing executive orders that allow for the government to kidnap and murder and somehow we've failed to recognize this want to be dictator for what he really is..."A Clear and Present Danger" to the security of the nation. But there's hope! People are waking up in droves...
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
  • 4
    "The latter corrupt" part describes most of the U.S. Congress but not the "superior itelligence" part. Maxine Waters alone would drop the average intelligence of any group at least 50 points.
     -- jim k, Austin, Tx     
  • 3
    kinda funny, as observed, too true, too often.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 2
    Anyone who doesn't follow the establishment party line is now considered mentally incompetent -- it's easier to put intelligent dissenters into straight-jackets that way.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 3
    The more arbitrarily the power is used, the more likely "sedition" will be merely disagreement with the corruption.
     -- empty pockets, Mandeville     
  • 2
    in evidence...

     -- abby     
    Good men have the ambitious nature to unite all under the same creative educational influential forces of the arts and sciences.
     -- Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown     
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