"Among a people generally corrupt liberty cannot long exist."
Edmund Burke
(1729-1797) Irish-born British statesman, parliamentary orator, and political thinker
Letter to the Sheriffs of Bristol, 3 April 1777
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Reader comments about this quote:
very true - will people, wherever they may be ever change their ways?the fact remains that' the few have always dominated over the many' in this world under whatever system of government.
 -- chandru, chennai / india     
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN      
    A generally corrupt people accept compelled compliance, license, larceny with impunity, victimless crimes, suspension of habeas corpus, suspension of religious freedoms, a dept system for economic security, torture for information, a theocratic collective / oligarchy of despots at the death of liberty's representative republic, etc., etc., etc. Liberty's existence, reduced under absolute despotism's long train of abuses and usurpations is crying out, with a last desperate breath, to a deaf and generally corrupt people.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    As usual, Mike nailed it. For a maximum corruption example, look to Washington,DC. Most of the members of congress are lawyers, is there a connection here ?
     -- jim k, austin, tx     
    Bring on the Patriot Act and Homeland Security - O those devilish politicians...
     -- RobertSRQ     
    We nee Robin Hood and his Merry men back - does anyone have their address?
     -- RobertSRQ     
    I don't believe the American people are generally corrupt. I do believe the ones who aren't outright apathetic are too disgusted to perticipate in the system though. I wonder how far the Government will go with its agenda of control and fascism "lite" before the regular Joe starts to fight back? Its an eventuality for sure.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
     -- Rick, Oakfield      
    The natural human condition is corruption. Human beings, however, have the ability to rise above their nature. That is what separates us from the animals (if we choose to to be separate). It is easy to be corrupt. It takes constant work to choose a nobler path. The reward for that work is liberty.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
    We see the nobler path at work all the time Ken if we will but open our eyes. We use to see littered highways, a sure sign of a corrupt people, then Lady Bird started her "Miles of trash from little eyesores grow" campaign and local groups took up the idea of highway clean up. A simple account but I think a demonstrative of what can happen when people stand up for the right course of action. I agree Ken that there was probably someone on the take (a contractor) when the first pyramid was built so society, taxpayers, businesses always need checks and balances and auditors insure correctness. We will always here stories of corruption and of courruption caught and corrected. Let it not discourage the majority of us to do right so that we can keep and attain an even greater republic of liberty.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
    Honesty and fair dealing are the foundations of trade and governance. Cultures throughout time have embodied these tenets as foundations to their civilization. I believe that humanind is 'good' to start with, that we are 'real' and thus 'of the truth' if that makes any sense. Greed and corruption are a function of desire and hunger. The lust for power is based on a false premise that we are lacking, that we are not whole and complete. Hence spiritual thought has always been the counterweight to the drive for power. Can a person change his/her ways? Happens all the time, and indeed can be very liberating.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    Archer it seems we are if not in sync here at least walking parallel paths. The cops tell mucltiple traffic violators that the reason for them being in court is that "you think you are doing what every body else is doing" stop doing what you think every body else is doing and start doing what you are suppose to being doing. Same with corruption.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
    I am so glad that the liter on the highways that was corupting us is a thing of the past.
     -- warren, olathe     
    Yes, it is all true, especially to the Philippine governance, husband of Pres. Arroyo is legally corrupt but she sent his husband to U.S.A with millions....Big shame on you Pres. Arroyo!!!
     -- Crying For Fairness, Quezon City     
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