"From the utopian viewpoint, the United States constitution is a singularly hard-bitten and cautious document, for it breathes the spirit of skepticism about human altruism and incorporates a complex system of checks, balances and restrictions, so that everybody is holding the reins on everybody else."
From Utopia to Nightmare, 1962
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Reader comments about this quote:
ahhh, that the document was still in use.
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 4
     -- warren, olathe      
    At least that was the intent...
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 2
    We don't seem to be holding each others' reins anymore. It's hard to hold the reins when you've got your hands in someone else's pockets.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
  • 3
     -- What Sit Tooya, Brookline      
    Liberty never dies, but our Republic is under siege. Light the fires !!
     -- Ronw13, Oregon     
  • 1
    The American model of government is distributed power, founded upon the personal responsibility of the citizen to take care of himself/herself according to conscience and mutual respect. Collectivism is a model in which groups of power are consolidated into bigger and bigger blocs with centralized control. Sovereign states will need to exercise their sovereignty, to reclaim control over themselves, to be independent from subsidy from Washington DC. Brexit is a sign, Trump is a sign. The urbanization of the nation is not wanted outside the cities. Federal regulation of personal lives and business is way out of hand, and the State governments need to protect their citizens from federal overreach. 'Jobs' may be needed, but not government jobs that live off of the backs of the people.

    Prosperity is not measured by how powerful the government is or how much is collected in taxes. It is the People living in their sovereign capacity, innovating, producing, trading, and prospering -- the Earth provides all that is needed, our cups DO runneth over. Yes, there is corruption in some people, which is why none are granted arbitrary power over another. But REFORM of the laws (i.e. rules) must happen once the laws themselves have created a system of plunder. Without that reform, the leviathan continues its rampage.

    Never have so many eyes around the world witnessed the underbelly of the beast as they do today. Something has got to give...
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 1
    Yes E Archer NYC our cup runneth over and the earth provides enough for all. What is missing is the political will and redistributive mechanisms to ensure that all people have enough and only a few too much. The quote quite rightly references scepticism regarding human altruism which is witnessed by the ever increasing gap between the super rich 0.5% and the rest. The rich and powerful cannot be trusted to do 'the right thing' even when we are all looking. Brexit and Trump are signs of a dummed down political debate, nationalism and media promoted single issue, sound bite politics focused on immigration rather than a mass protest vote against collectivism. Brexit was also the result of a massive miscalculated political gamble gone wrong but that's another debate.
    We may live in fear of a different beast but I share your concern that something has to give.

    Trump paying his taxes may be a start.

    P.S. I live in Scotland and voted Yes for Independence from the UK for a variety of reasons but (collectively) you all have my sympathy regarding your options for President.
     -- Joe, Glasgow     
  • 1
     -- jim k, Austin      

    Sadly, the restrictive checks and balances reins have been all too often terribly loosened.

     -- Mary, MI     
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