Voltaire: Philosophical Dictionary

(1764)

Document Text

Democracy

Ordinarily there is no comparison between the crimes of the great who are always ambitious, and the crimes of the people who always want, and can want only liberty and equality. These two sentiments, Liberty and Equality, do not lead direct to calumny, rapine, assassination, poisoning, the devastation of one's neighbours' lands, etc.; but ambitious might and the mania for power plunge into all these crimes whatever be the time, whatever be the place.

Popular government is in itself, therefore, less iniquitous, less abominable than despotic power.

The great vice of...


Source: Voltaire. Philosophical Dictionary. Translated by H. I. Woolf. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1929.

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