more from Baruch de Spinoza

Single Idea 19921

[catalogued under 25. Social Practice / C. Rights / 3. Alienating rights]

Full Idea

If people had wanted to keep any right for themselves, they should have made this provision at the same time as they could have safely defended it.

Gist of Idea

Once you have given up your rights, there is no going back


Baruch de Spinoza (Tractatus Theologico-Politicus [1670], 16.08)

Book Reference

Spinoza,Benedict de: 'Theological-Political Treatise', ed/tr. Israel,Jonathan [CUP 2007], p.200

A Reaction

Spinoza is wonderful for grasping nettles. The other fans of social contracts seem blithely cheerful about how it is going to work out. But forming a society is like marriage - a risky commitment which could go horribly wrong.