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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

Source

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