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Single Idea 19813

[catalogued under 25. Society / B. The State / 8. Religion in Society]

Full Idea

There has never been a single legislator who, in proposing extraordinary laws, did not have recourse to God, for otherwise they would not be accepted, since many benefits known to a prudent man do not have evident persuasive reasons.

Gist of Idea

All legislators invoke God in support of extraordinary laws, because their justification is not obvious


Niccolo Machiavelli (The Discourses [1520], 1.11), quoted by Jean-Jacques Rousseau - The Social Contract (tr Cress) II.7 n8

A Reaction

It does seem to be an important role for God and state religion, to give support to decisions and laws which might not be intrinsically popular.

Book Reference

Rousseau,Jean-Jacques: 'The Basic Political Writings', ed/tr. Cress,Donald A. [Hackett 1987], p.165