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Single Idea 19939

[catalogued under 25. Society / D. Social Rights / 2. Social Freedom / b. Freedom of belief]

Full Idea

Government is bound to become extremely oppressive where dissident opinions which are within the domain of each individual, a right which no one can give up, are treated as a crime.

Gist of Idea

Government is oppressive if opinions can be crimes, because people can't give them up


Baruch de Spinoza (Tractatus Theologico-Politicus [1670], 18.06 (2))

A Reaction

One might compare illicit desires, such as those of a paedophile, where it is a crime to act on them, but presumably they cannot be given up, so there is no point in legislating against the mere desires.

Book Reference

Spinoza,Benedict de: 'Theological-Political Treatise', ed/tr. Israel,Jonathan [CUP 2007], p.234