Saturday 12 January 2019

Every nation has the government it deserves and other remarks of Joseph De Maistre


Every nation has the government it deserves.

The more one examines the apparently most active personages in the Revolution, the more one finds in them something passive and mechanical. We cannot repeat too often, that men do not lead the Revolution; it is the revolution that uses men. They are right when they say it goes all alone. This phrase means that never has the Divinity shown itself so clearly in any human event. If the vilest instruments are employed, punishment is for the sake of regeneration.

No nation can give itself liberty if it is not already free.

The Constitution of 1795, like its predecessors, was made for man. But there is no such thing as man in the world. In my lifetime I have seen Frenchmen, Italians, Russians, etc.; thanks to Montesquieu, I even know that one can be Persian. But as for man, I declare that I have never in my life met him; if he exists, he is unknown to me.. [A] constitution that is made for all nations is made for none; it is a pure abstraction, an academic exercise made according to some hypothetical ideal, which should be addressed to man in his imaginary dwelling place. What is a constitution? Is it not merely the solution of the following problem? Given the population, the mores, the religion, the geographic situation, the political circumstances, the wealth, the good and the bad qualities of a particular nation, to find the laws that suit it.

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