— James Burgh, könyv Political Disquisitions
Ch I : Government by Laws and Sanctions, why necessary
Political Disquisitions (1774)
Kontextus: If there be, in any region of the universe, an order of moral agents living in society, whose reason is strong, whose passions and inclinations are moderate, and whose dispositions are turned to virtue, to such an order of happy beings, legislation, administration, and police, with the endlessly various and complicated apparatus of politics, must be in a great measure superfluous. Did reason govern mankind, there would be little occasion for any other government, either monarchical, aristocratical, democratical, or mixed. But man, whom we dignify with the honourable title of Rational, being much more frequently influenced, in his proceedings, by supposed interest, by passion, by sensual appetite, by caprice, by any thing, by nothing, than by reason; it has, in all civilized ages and countries, been found proper to frame laws and statutes fortified by sanctions, and to establish orders of men invested with authority to execute those laws, and inflict the deserved punishments upon the violators of them. By such means only has it been found possible to preserve the general peace and tranquillity. But, such is the perverse disposition of man, the most unruly of all animals, that this most useful institution has been generally debauched into an engine of oppression and tyranny over those, whom it was expresly and solely established to defend. And to such a degree has this evil prevailed, that in almost every age and country, the government has been the principal grievance of the people, as appears too dreadfully manifest, from the bloody and deformed page of history. For what is general history, but a view of the abuses of power committed by those, who have got it into their hands, to the subjugation, and destruction of the human species, to the ruin of the general peace and happiness, and turning the Almighty's fair and good world into a butchery of its inhabitants, for the gratification of the unbounded ambition of a few, who, in overthrowing the felicity of their fellow-creatures, have confounded their own?