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 power on earth so worthy of honor in itself or clothed with rights so sacred that I would admit its uncontrolled and all-predominant authority.  When I see that the right and the means of absolute command are conferred on any power whatever, be it called a people or a king, an aristocracy or a democracy, a monarchy or a republic, I say there is the germ of tyranny, and I seek to live elsewhere, under other laws.” Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Vol. 1. (New York: Knopf, 1945), p. 260 [Emphasis added]

Alexis de Tocqueville published Democracy in America in two volumes (1835 & 1840) after traveling to the United States in the early 1830’s.  Originally in French, it was translated into English quickly and became well known in Europe and America.

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