Power Trip

Guizot reaching for his revolver

Guizot reaching for his revolver

The following passage from the end of Guizot’s General History of Civilization in Europe reminds me of both Proudhon and Foucault:

It is the duty, and will be, I believe, the peculiar event of our time, to acknowledge that all power, whether intellectual or temporal, whether belonging to governments or peoples, to philosophers or ministers, in whatever cause it may be exercised – that all human power, I say, bears within itself a natural vice, a principle of feebleness and abuse, which renders it necessary that it should be limited. Now, there is nothing but the general freedom of every right, interest, and opinion, the free manifestation and legal existence of all these forces – there is nothing, I say, but a system which insures all this, can restrain every particular force or power within its legitimate bounds, and prevent it from encroaching on the others, so as to produce the real and beneficial subsistence of free inquiry.

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