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Pascal on the Rapport between Justice and Force



Justice, force.—Il est juste que ce qui est juste soit suivi, il est nécessaire que ce qui est le plus fort soit suivi. La justice sans la force est impuissante; la force sans la justice est tyrannique. La justice sans force est contredite, parce qu’il y a toujours des méchants; la force sans la justice est accusée. Il faut donc mettre ensemble la justice et la force, et, pour cela, faire que ce qui est juste soit fort, ou que ce qui est fort soit juste.

Justice, force.–It is proper that what is just should be obeyed; it is necessary that what is strongest should be obeyed. Justice without force is helpless; whereas the use of force without justice is tyrannical. Justice without force is futile, for there shall always be the wicked; but force without justice is always to be condemned. It follows that we must always combine justice and force and, to this end, what is just must always be made strong, or what is strong just.

Blaise Pascal, Pensées ch. iii, sec. 285 (1660) in: Œuvres complètes p. 1160 (Pléiade ed. 1969)(S.H. transl.)

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