quinta-feira, 4 de janeiro de 2007

Edmund Burke IV - O Estado Aristocrático

"But it is now found by abundant experience, that an aristocracy, and a despotism, differ but in name; and that a people who are in general excluded from any share of the legislative, are, to all intents and purposes, as much slaves, when twenty, independent of them, govern, as when but one domineers. The tyranny is even more felt, as every individual of the nobles has the haughtiness of a sultan; the people are more miserable, as they seem on the verge of liberty, from which they are forever debarred; this fallacious idea of liberty, whilst it presents a vain shadow of happiness to the subject, binds faster the chains of his subjection. (...)

In one respect the aristocracy is worse than the despotism. A body politic, whilst it retains its authority, never changes its maxims; a despotism, which is this day horrible to a supreme degree, by the caprice natural to the heart of man, may, by the same caprice otherwise exerted, be as lovely the next; in a succession, it is possible to meet with some good princes. If there have been Tiberiuses, Caligulas, Neros, there have been likewise the serener days of Vespasians, Tituses, Trajans, and Antonines; but a body politic is not influenced by caprice or whim, it proceeds in a regular manner, its succession is insensible; and every man as he enters it, either has, or soon attains, the spirit of the whole body. Never was it known that an aristocracy, which was haughty and tyrannical in one century, became easy and mild in the next. In effect, the yoke of this species of government is so galling, that whenever the people have got the least power, they have shaken it off with the utmost indignation, and established a popular form. And when they have not had strength enough to support themselves, they have thrown themselves into the arms of despotism, as the more eligible of the two evils"

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