The seventeenth century is everywhere a time in which the state's power over everything individual increases, whether that power be in absolutist hands or may be considered the result of a contract, etc. People begin to dispute the sacred right of the individual ruler or authority without being aware that at the same time they are playing into the hands of a colossal state power.
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The biggest mischief in the past century has been perpetrated by Rousseau with his doctrine of the goodness of human nature. The mob and the intellectuals derived from it the vision of a Golden Age which would arrive without fail once the noble human race could act according to its whims.
The more recently power has originated, the less it can remain stationary - first because those who created it have become accustomed to rapid further movement and because they are and will be innovators per se; secondly, because the forces aroused or subdued by them can be employed only through further acts ...
The whole life of Demosthenes... leaves the impression of a melancholy state of things, and of the brazen insolence of wickedness. A particularly striking idea of how things really were in Greece can be obtained from one feature of life - the sons who turned out badly.... the sons of gifted but arrogant fathers turned out merely arrogant, the grandsons hopeless; it is respect alone that sustains families and gives them traditions.
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To each eye, perhaps, the outlines of a great civilization present a different picture. In the wide ocean upon which we venture, the possible ways and directions are many; and the same studies which have served for my work might easily, in other hands, not only receive a wholly different treatment and application, but lead to essentially different conclusions.
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