"It is needless to observe, I presume, that both rebels and heretics are those unlucky persons, who, when things have come to a certain degree of violence, have the misfortune to be of the weaker party. In a nation distracted by faction, there are, no doubt, always a few, though commonly but a very few, who preserve their judgment untainted by the general contagion. They seldom amount to more than, here and there, a solitary individual, without any influence, excluded, by his own candour, from the confidence of either party, and who, though he may be one of the wisest, is necessarily, upon that very account, one of the most insignificant men in the society. All such people are held in contempt and derision, frequently in detestation, by the furious zealots of both parties. A true party-man hates and despises candour; and, in reality, there is no vice which could so effectually disqualify him for the trade of a party-man as that single virtue."
Wednesday, 20 May 2015
Is from Adam Smith's 'Theory of Moral Sentiments', Part III, Chapter 3: Of the Influence and Authority of Conscience:
Wednesday, 6 May 2015
Something to keep in mind if you're heading to the polls tomorrow:
"For between the state, which is hugely generous with impossible promises, and the general public, which has conceived unattainable hopes, have come two classes of men, those with ambition and those with utopian dreams. Their role is clearly laid out by the situation. It is enough for these courtiers of popularity to shout into the people’s ears: “The authorities are misleading you; if we were in their place, we would shower you with benefits and relieve you of taxes.”
And the people believe this, and the people hope…."
That is from page 100 of of Volume 2 (“The Law,” “The State,” and Other Political Writings, 2012) of Liberty Fund’s The Collected Works of Frederic Bastiat; specifically, it’s a passage from Bastiat’s September 1848 essay “The State”.
Hat tip to Don Boudreaux.