Saturday, December 4, 2021

Reason and Purpose

“XXXIX.  As to the second question: Are politics susceptible of being treated in an ethic point of view? the answer is simply this: Either the state, and all the institutions and laws which have emanated from it, exist for the satisfaction of an ambitious and interested or privileged few, or the state is an institution for a distinct moral end, or politics are the effect of mere chance.  One of the three must necessarily be the case.  The first is so repugnant to every man’s feeling as well as to common sense, that none have ever dared publicly to acknowledge it, however they may have been inclined to act on some such view.  If man is a rational being, the state must have a rational end, i. e. it must be founded in reason, which would not be the case, were it a mere contrivance for the benefit, or rather the satisfaction of the desires and appetites of a few.  For science would then have to single out the few, and establish scientifically their claims.  None can possibly be above reason.”

-Francis Lieber, Manual of Political Ethics

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