Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Quote of the day from the Founders: on the purpose of government

Justice is the end of government. It is the end of civil society. It ever has been and ever will be pursued until it be obtained, or until liberty be lost in the pursuit. In a society under the forms of which the stronger faction can readily unite and oppress the weaker, anarchy may as truly be said to reign as in a state of nature, where the weaker individual is not secured against the violence of the stronger; and as, in the latter state, even the individuals are prompted, by the uncertainty of their condition, to submit to a government which may protect the weak as well as themselves; so, in the former state, will the more powerful factions or parties be gradually induced, by a like motive to wish for a government which will protect all parties, the weaker as well as the more powerful.
- Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804).


James Hanley said...

I'm obviously much too modern. In the first sentence my mind immediately snapped to, "Yeah, if government ever actively sought justice, it would be the end of government."

Tom Van Dyke said...

I do not know what justice is. In Plato's Republic, I think Thrasymachus, not Socrates, got the better of the argument. And still does.

But Thrasymachus, by yielding the floor to Socrates, acknowledges that his own truth is the end of civil society. Word up, Jimmy. GWash said the same. ;-)