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Here’s an oldie but goodie (more to come):

On the contrary, I should have desired that, in order to prevent self-interested and ill-conceived projects, and all such dangerous innovations as finally ruined the Athenians, each man should not be at liberty to propose new laws at pleasure; but that this right should belong exclusively to the magistrates; and that even they should use it with so much caution, the people, on its side, be so reserved in giving its consent to such laws, and the promulgation of them be attended with so much solemnity, that before the constitution could be upset by them, there might be time enough for all to be convinced, that it is above all the great antiquity of the laws which makes them sacred and venerable, that men soon learn to despise laws which they see daily altered, and that States, by accustoming themselves to neglect their ancient customs under the pretext of improvement, often introduce greater evils than those they endeavour to remove.

One Response to “Rousseau and the Rule of Law”

  1. Harry says:

    At the risk of neither being a Rousseau scholar nor a French scholar, le plus ca change, le plus ca meme chose. Bet Bastiat read the same passage.

    Progressive philosophers think anything thought of before Bertrand Russell is out of date, modern science having figured out everything about human behavior, surpassing “old” ideas about the way the world works.

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