Critical and Miscellaneous Essays, Vol. 2 (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from Critical and Miscellaneous Essays, Vol. 2

Therefore it is right that some person or persons should possess political power. That is to say, some person or persons must have a right to political power.

It is because men are not in the habit of con sidering what the end of government is, that Catholic disabilities and Jewish disabilities have been suffered to exist so long. We hear of essentially Protestant governments and essentially Christian governments, words which mean just as much as essentially Pro testant cookery, or essentially Christian horseman ship. Government exists for the purpose of keeping the peace, for the purpose Of compelling us to settle our disputes by arbitration instead of settling them by blows, for the purpose Of compelling us to supply our wants by industry instead Of supplying them by rapine. This is the only operation for which the machinery of government is peculiarly adapted, the only operation which wise governments ever propose to themselves as their chief object. If there is any class Of people who are not interested, or who do not think themselves interested, in the security Of pro perty and the maintenance of order, that class ought to have no share Of the powers which exist for the purpose Of securing property and maintaining order. But why a man should be less fit to exercise those powers because he wears a beard, because he does not eat ham, because he goes to the synagogue on Saturdays instead Of going to the church on Sun days, 'we cannot conceive.

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