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When The Wind Blows…

Posted by Rick · September 11th, 2004 · No Comments

Montesquieu has interesting things to say about a republic whose leadership and political processes have become corrupted.

When…virtue ceases, ambition enters those hearts that can admit it, and avarice enters them all. Desires change their objects: that which one used to love, one loves no longer. One was free under the laws, one wants to be free against them. Each citizen is like a slave who has escaped from his master’s house. What was a maxim is now called severity; what was a rule is now called constraint; what was vigilance is now called fear. There, frugality, not the desire to possess, is avarice. Formerly the goods of individuals made up the public treasury; the public treasury has now become the patrimony of individuals. The republic is a cast-off husk, and its strength is no more than the power of a few citizens and the license of all. Charles de Secondat, baron de Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws 23 (Anne Cohler et al, eds., 1989) (1748).

Don’t think “frugality” and “being free against them” applies to objections to tighter restrictions on freedom. It’s just the opposite. Under the laws of our republic, we were already free. We are frugal now in the attendance to freedom. We want to be free from the requirements of tolerance and we want frugality as to unchecked freedom.

Something to ponder while I’m away this weekend. I’ll be attending a regional picnic of the Delta Theta Phi Law Fraternity, International, at Doheny State Beach. For those — you know which one you are, my little math-challenged Floridian — who whine that I’m suppressing their freedom of speech when I don’t sit constantly at my computer to authorize the post of their comments, keep in mind that I’ll be gone. I’ll try to log in from the hotel, if there’s a hookup. Otherwise, you can still comment, but the comments may not show up until Sunday night.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

Categories: Politics-In-General


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