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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:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
From the June 2014 issue
Acres of hemp grown by “patriotic‚” U.S. farmers in 1942 at the behest of the U.S. government:
A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.
Greenpeace apologized after activists accidentally defaced the site of Peru’s 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines when they unfurled cloth letters reading “time for change” near the ancient sand drawings. “We fully understand,” the group wrote in a statement, “that this looks bad.”
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”