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Constant Food for Thought

March 23, 2010

Individual liberty is the true modern liberty. Political liberty is its guarantee, consequently political liberty is indispensable. But to ask the peoples of our day to sacrifice, like those of the past, the whole of their individual liberty to political liberty, is the surest means of detaching them from the former and, once this result has been achieved, it would be only too easy to deprive them of the latter.

The danger of modern liberty is that, absorbed in the enjoyment of our private independence, and in the pursuit of our particular interests, we should surrender our right to share in political power too easily.

It is not to happiness alone, it is to self-development that out destiny calls us; and political liberty is the most powerful, the most effective means of self-development that heaven has given us.

– Benjamin Constant, 1819

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