Category Archives: Politics

Playing the Tyrant

“The nobles had played the tyrant often enough in the past; but now the proletariat was on top and showed itself as arrogant as they had been.” Sallust, Chap. 5 in The Jugurthine War, trans. S. A. Handford (London: Penguin, 1963), … Continue reading

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Exchanging Tyrants

“This is clear at once to the dullest-witted man in Rome that, so far from having escaped from tyranny, they had only exchanged one tyrant for another.  As for the elder Marius, he had always had a savage character, and … Continue reading

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Principles over Passions

“To criticize a particular subject…a man must have been trained in that subject: to be a good critic generally, he must have had an all-round education.  Hence the young are not fit to be students of Political Science.  For they … Continue reading

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The Show Must Go On

“Finally, make sure that your entire campaign is full of pomp, glamorous, eye-catching, and popular, that it has the maximum visibility and prestige.  Also, be sure if at all possible that your competitors acquire a bad reputation for vice, or … Continue reading

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Sallust on the Danger of Using Force

“Of these various paths to fame, it seems to me that the holding of civil and military posts, and indeed all political activities, are in these days the least desirable.  For the deserving do not obtain the honours of office; … Continue reading

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The Power to Tax is the Power to Control

“This power, exercised without limitation, will introduce itself into every corner of the city, and country.—It will wait upon the ladies at their toilett [sic], and will not leave them in any of their domestic concerns; it will accompany them … Continue reading

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Erasmus on the Folly of Political Leaders

“Show me a man such as princes commonly are: a man ignorant of the laws: an enemy of the public: intent upon private gain; taken to pleasure; against knowledge, liberty, and truth; never occupied with the safety of the state; … Continue reading

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The Remedy of Human Infirmity

“Although pleasurable in many ways, the pursuit of letters is especially fruitful because it excludes all annoyances stemming from differences of times and place, it draws friends into each other’s presence, and it abolishes the situation in which things worth … Continue reading

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Unlimited Power is Bad

“Unlimited power is in itself a bad and dangerous thing.  Human beings are not competent to exercise it with discretion.  God alone can be omnipotent, because his wisdom and his justice are always equal to his power.  There is no … Continue reading

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What did Thomas Jefferson Read on Government?

http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/presidents/thomas-jefferson/letters-of-thomas-jefferson/jefl179.php  In 1807 President Thomas Jefferson responded to the questions of John Norvell Washington regarding the study of civil government and history.  The letter is dated June 14, 1807.  Jefferson answered plainly: “I think there does not exist a good … Continue reading

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