restricted access Chapter 2.a That the Ideas of Democratic Peoples in Matters of Government Naturally Favor the Concentration of Powersb
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1194 s4s4s4s4s4 c h a p t e r 2a That the Ideas of Democratic Peoples in Matters of Government Naturally Favor the Concentration of Powers b a. Order of this section. The theoretical and philosophical idea of government among democratic peoples is uniformity and centralization. [To the side: That democratic peoples imagine liberty only in the form of a great assembly of representatives with strong and regulative executive power.] Diverse instincts which lead democratic peoples to love centralization of power. 1. Difficulty of knowing to whom to deliver provincial administration. 2. The noble having disappeared, incapacity of local [v: new] men, ignorance, above all at the beginning. 3. Envy of the neighbor. Sentiments above all visible when aristocracy has long reigned in a country 4. That a despot in embryo must loudly profess these doctrines, favor and approve interests. ⫽5. Establish only a sole representative assembly, a strong and regulative executive power.⫽ 5. Establish only national representation, next to it an executive power which would be more or less subject to it, but which would be strong,inquisitorial,regulative. [To the side: Among democratic peoples, it is not impossible that a government is centralizing and popular at the same time, and it can go so far as calling itself centralizing and liberal, and it is not impossible that it is believed.] 6. Individualism, material enjoyments (YTC, CVd, pp. 31–32). b. Titles on the jacket that contains themanuscript:“what ideas men naturally conceive in the matter of government in centuries of equality./ “how the ideas that naturally present themselves to men in centuries of equality lead them to concentrate all powers.” concentration of powers 1195 [The principal notions that men form in the matter of government are not entirely arbitrary. They are born in each period out of the social state, and the mind receives them rather than creating them.]c The idea of secondary powers, placed between the sovereign and the subjects, presented itself naturally to the imagination of aristocratic peoples , because these powersincludedwithinthemindividualsorfamiliesthat birth, enlightenment, wealth kept unrivaled and that seemed destined to command. This same idea is naturally absent from the minds of men in centuries of equality because of opposite reasons; you can only introduce it to their minds artificially, and you can only maintain it there with difficulty ; while without thinking about it, so to speak, they conceive the idea of a unique and central power that by itself leads all citizens. In politics, moreover, as in philosophy and in religion, the minds of democratic peoples receive simple and general ideas with delight. They are repulsed by complicated systems, and they are pleased to imagine a great nation all of whose citizens resemble a single model and are directed by a single power. After the idea of a unique and central power, the one that presents itself most spontaneously to the minds of men in centuries of equality is theidea of a uniform legislation. As each one of them sees himself as little different from his neighbors, he understands poorly why the rule that is applicable to one man would not be equally applicable to all the others. The least privileges are therefore repugnant to his reason. The slightestdissimilarities in the political institutions of the same people wound him, and legislative uniformity seems to him to be the first condition of good government. I find, on the contrary, that the same notion of a uniform rule, imposed equally on all the members of the social body, is as if foreign to the human mind in aristocratic centuries. It does not accept it, or it rejects it. These opposite tendencies of the mind end up, on both sides, by becoming such blind instincts and such invincible habits, that they stilldirect actions, in spite of particular facts. Sometimes, despitetheimmensevariety c. To the side: “Be careful that this does not too much resemblethe openingregarding honor. ” 1196 concentration of powers of the Middle Ages, perfectly similar individuals were found; this did not prevent the legislator from assigning to each one of them diversedutiesand different rights. And, on the contrary, in our times, governments wear themselves out in order to impose the same customs and the same laws on populations that are not yet similar. As conditions become equal among a people, individuals appear smaller and society seems larger; or rather, each citizen, having become similar to all the others, is lost in the crowd, and you no longer notice anythingexcept the vast and magnificent image of the people...


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