Delightfully Ambiguous Quotation By Roderick on April 23, 2009 8 Justice is the end of government. James Madison Anarchy, Left-Libertarian
That’s excellent. I can’t believe no one noticed that before.
That reminds me: Telos has the same ambiguity in Greek that “end” has in English. In the Physics Aristotle says something like “The poet was being unintentionally humorous when he wrote [of a dead man], ‘He has now reached the telos for which he was born,’ for it is not just any final stage that counts as a telos [i.e., in this context, i.e. a telos-FOR-WHICH], but only the best.”
Isn’t that sentence a direct quote from the Politeia? I seem to remember reading something equally ambiguous there.
In 1978, at the first Cato Summer Seminar, I scrawled on the blackboard, “The end of politics is the end of politics.” Of course, by one notion of politics, this isn’t true.
Yeah, and “end” in the goal-oriented sense is likewise ambiguous between goals actually pursued and goals that should be pursued.
“Liberty ought to be the direct end of your government.”—Patrick Henry
I remember reading this quote to a friend from here: http://blog.mises.org/archives/006628.asp And my friend was puzzled until I explained the ambiguity away.
Thomas Paine’s use of the phrase from Common Sense is a bit more involved but works just as well: Wherefore security being the true design and end of government, it unanswerably follows , that whatever form it thereof appears most likely to ensure it to us with the least expense and greatest benefit, is preferable to all others.
A true end of government will be security.