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Single Idea 21091

[catalogued under 25. Society / B. The State / 3. Constitutions]

Full Idea

A republican and free form of government would be an obvious absurdity, if the particular checks and controls, provided by the constitution, had really no influence, and made it not the interest, even of bad men, to act for the public good.

Gist of Idea

It would be absurd if even a free constitution did not impose restraints, for the public good

Source

David Hume (That Politics may be reduced to a Science [1750], p.14)

A Reaction

Presumably if you attain absolute power you can write any old constitution you like (Clause 1: the presidency is for life). But there does seem much point in doing it - unless it is to facilitate the use of the law for persecutions.

Book Reference

Hume,David: 'Selected Essays' [OUP 1996], p.14