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Political liberty of the individual citizen is that tranquility of spirit which possesses its own assurance; and to secure that liberty, it is essential that the government permit no citizen to fear another citizen. But when the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or in the same political group, there can be no liberty; because then the tendency will be for this group to inflate its powers through the enactment of tyrannical laws, which it will then execute in a tyrannical manner.
–Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, De l’esprit des lois, bk. xi, ch. vi (1748), in Œuvres complètes de Montesquieu, vol. 2, p. 397 (Pléiade ed. 1951) (S.H. transl.)
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — August 5, 2016, 12:08 pm
Sidney Blumenthal on the origins of the Republican Party, the fallout from Clinton’s emails, and his new biography of Abraham Lincoln
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Chances that an American knows the position of his or her senators on health-care reform:
Climate experts proposed creating a fleet of cloud-seeding yachts that will pump water vapor into the atmosphere to thicken global cloud cover, thereby reflecting more sunlight, in order to counteract the effects of global warming.
In San Antonio, a 150-pound pet tortoise knocked over a lamp, igniting a mattress fire that spread to a neighbor’s home.
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"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times—in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."