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Bastiat on Despotism

"What is the attitude of the democrat when political rights are under discussion? How does he regard the People when a legislator is to be chosen? Ah, then it is claimed that the People have an instinctive wisdom; they are gifted with the finest perception; their will is always right; the General Will cannot err; voting cannot be too universal. ... See MoreWhen it is time to vote, apparently the voter is not to be asked for any guarantee of his wisdom. ...What! are the people always to be kept on leashes? ...Are they not adults? Are they not capable of judging for themselves? Do they not know what is best for themselves? ...No, no, the people are and should be free. They desire to manage their own affairs, and they shall do so. But when the legislator is finally elected—ah! then indeed does the tone of his speech undergo a radical change. The people are returned to passiveness, inertness, and unconsciousness; the legislator enters into omnipotence. Now it is for him to initiate, to direct, to propel, and to organize. Mankind has only to submit; the hour of despotism has struck."—Frederic Bastiat

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