"As there is a degree of depravity in mankind which requires a certain degree of circumspection and distrust: So there are other qualities in human nature, which justify a certain portion of esteem and confidence. Republican government presupposes the existence of these qualities in a higher degree than any other form. Were the pictures which have been drawn by the political jealousy of some among us, faithful likenesses of the human character, the inference would be that there is not sufficient virtue among men for self-government; and that nothing less than the chains of despotism can restrain them from destroying and devouring one another."
James Madison
(1751-1836), Father of the Constitution for the USA, 4th US President
Federalist No. 55, February 15, 1788
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Reader comments about this quote:
Ahhh yes, welcome to Amerika, where the chains of despotism are recognized in forms of compelled compliance, license, victimless crimes, larceny with impunity (life, property, 2nd plank of the communist manifesto taxes, funny money, etc.) disposal of inalienable rights, police state brutality, poverty, an economic caste society(s) and all other forms of legal positivism's maladies.
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Well, the American government and its master, the corporate oligarchy, is surely in contempt of this statement.
     -- Robert, St. Emilion, France     
    I think the Government requires a great deal more circumspection than the rest of mankind.
     -- Robert, St. Emilion, France     
    Maybe he was trying to say "Speak kindly."
    Surely we disregard that advice even more now than then.
     -- Bob, Charlotte, VT     
     -- Rosie, Yorktown      
     -- Matthew, Amherst      
    It seems we have in this era been bestowed with a full blown despot in the White House who seems to narcissistically believe that he is superior to his sacred oath of office.
     -- Mary - MI     
     -- Mary Grimes, Flint      
    Madison draws the line in the sand very clearly. Either the General Welfare is Liberty for all, or Dependence for all. Both political ends of the spectrum justify their force upon others based on the opinion that the others are somehow in need of 'saving' from themselves. We see it from the religious right and the socialist left. I do believe the collective consciousness is rising, and as we as individuals acquire more knowledge and thus more power will ever want to explore and act freely, even against long-held beliefs. The issue is what it has always been -- POWER. Who gets it, who doesn't, and what are you gonna do about it. ;-)
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 1
     -- jim k, Austin      
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