Civilization and its Malcontents #10


"But what reason is there for the existence of government? Why give up one's personal liberty and initiative to a few individuals? Why give them this power to take over willy nilly the collective strength to use as they wish? Are they so exceptionally gifted as to be able to demonstrate with some show of reason their ability to replace the mass of the people and to safeguard the interests, all the interests of everybody better than the interested parties themselves? Are they infallible and incorruptible to the point that one could, with some semblance of prudence, entrust the fate of each and all to their knowledge and to their goodness?

"And even if men of infinite goodness and knowledge existed, and even supposing, what has never been observed in history, that governmental power were to rest in the hands of the most able and kindest among us, would government office add anything to their beneficial potential? Or would it instead paralyze and destroy it by reason of the necessity men in government have of dealing with so many matters which they do not understand, and above all of wasting their energy keeping themselves in power, their friends happy, and holding in check the malcontents as well as subduing the rebels?"
-- Errico Malatesta

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