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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.
Number of people who attended the World Grits Festival, held in St. George, South Carolina, last spring:
The brown bears of Greece continued chewing through telephone poles.
In Peru, a 51-year-old activist became the first former sex worker to run for the national legislature. “I’m going to put order,” she said, “in that big brothel which is Congress.”
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“Civilization masks us with a screen, from ourselves and from one another, with thin depth of unreality. We habitually live — do we not? — in a world self-created, half established, of false values arbitrarily upheld, largely inspired by misconception, misapprehension, wrong perspective, and defective proportion, misapplication.”