more from David Hume

Single Idea 21092

[catalogued under 25. Society / B. The State / 5. Leaders / d. Elites]

Full Idea

A nobility may possess power in two different ways. Either every nobleman shares the power as part of the whole body, or the whole body enjoys the power as composed of parts, which each have a distinct power and authority.

Gist of Idea

Nobility either share in the power of the whole, or they compose the power of the whole


David Hume (That Politics may be reduced to a Science [1750], p.15)

Book Reference

Hume,David: 'Selected Essays' [OUP 1996], p.15

A Reaction

He says the first type is found in Venice, and is preferable to the second type, which is found in Poland. Presumably in the shared version there is some restraint on depraved nobles. The danger is each noble being an autocrat.