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Burke on Human History

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History consists, for the greater part, of the miseries brought upon the world by pride, ambition, avarice, revenge, lust, sedition, hypocrisy, ungoverned zeal, and all the train of disorderly appetities which shake the public with the same. . . These vices are the causes of those storms. Religion, morals, laws, prerogatives, privileges, liberties, rights of men, are the pretexts. The pretexts are always found in some specious appearance of a real good. You would not secure men from tyranny and sedition by rooting out of the mind the principles to which these fraudulent pretexts apply? If you did, you would root out everything that is valuable in the human breast.

Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790) in The Works of the Rt. Hon. Edmund Burke, vol. 3, p. 481 (5th ed. 1877).

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