Sunday, June 7, 2009

Robespierre on Progressivism and the Living Constitution

"what do we care for devices devised to balance the authority of tyrants? It is tyranny that must be extirpated: the aim of the people should be, not to find in the quarrels of their masters short breathing spaces for themselves, but to make their own right arms the guarantee of their rights."*

De Jouvenal adds:

"In other words, when the Power was held by others, we favoured limiting it; now that we hold it ourselves, it cannot be too big."

*Robespierre's speech at the sitting of May 10, 1793. Quoted in de Jouvenal, On Power, p. 250.

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