November 29, 2008

"Ordained in the eternal constitution of things..."

...Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites; in proportion as their love of justice is above their rapacity - in proportion as their soundness and sobriety of understanding is above their vanity and presumption; in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves.

Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters...

      -- Edmund Burke, A Letter From Mr. Burke To A Member Of The National Assembly, 1791
Posted by John Weidner at November 29, 2008 12:07 PM
Weblog by John Weidner