John Dalberg Acton citáty

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John Dalberg Acton

Datum narození: 10. leden 1834
Datum úmrtí: 19. červen 1902

Reklama

John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, 1. Baron Acton, KCVO byl anglický liberální katolík, historik a novinář. V letech 1859-1866 byl poslancem Dolní sněmovny.

Je znám výrokem "Moc korumpuje a absolutní moc korumpuje absolutně."

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Citáty John Dalberg Acton

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„History provides neither compensation for suffering nor penalties for wrong.“

— John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton
Context: ADVICE TO PERSONS ABOUT TO WRITE HISTORY — DON’T In the Moral Sciences Prejudice is Dishonesty. A Historian has to fight against temptations special to his mode of life, temptations from Country, Class, Church, College, Party, Authority of talents, solicitation of friends. The most respectable of these influences are the most dangerous. The historian who neglects to root them out is exactly like a juror who votes according to his personal likes or dislikes. In judging men and things Ethics go before Dogma, Politics or Nationality. The Ethics of History cannot be denominational. Judge not according to the orthodox standard of a system religious, philosophical, political, but according as things promote, or fail to promote the delicacy, integrity, and authority of Conscience. Put conscience above both system and success. History provides neither compensation for suffering nor penalties for wrong. Postscript of letter to Mandell Creighton (5 April 1887), puplished in [http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=2201&chapter=203934&layout=html&Itemid=27 Historical Essays and Studies, by John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton (1907), edited by John Neville Figgis and Reginald Vere Laurence, Appendix, p. 505]

„No obstacle has been so constant, or so difficult to overcome, as uncertainty and confusion touching the nature of true liberty.“

— John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton
Context: No obstacle has been so constant, or so difficult to overcome, as uncertainty and confusion touching the nature of true liberty. If hostile interests have wrought much injury, false ideas have wrought still more; and its advance is recorded in the increase of knowledge, as much as in the improvement of laws.<!--p.2

„The true democratic principle, that none shall have power over the people, is taken to mean that none shall be able to restrain or to elude its power. The true democratic principle, that the people shall not be made to do what it does not like, is taken to mean that it shall never be required to tolerate what it does not like. The true democratic principle, that every man‘s free will shall be as unfettered as possible, is taken to mean that the free will of the collective people shall be fettered in nothing.“

— John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton
Context: The manifest, the avowed difficulty is that democracy, no less than monarchy or aristocracy, sacrifices everything to maintain itself, and strives, with an energy and a plausibility that kings and nobles cannot attain, to override representation, to annul all the forces of resistance and deviation, and to secure, by Plebiscite, Referendum, or Caucus, free play for the will of the majority. The true democratic principle, that none shall have power over the people, is taken to mean that none shall be able to restrain or to elude its power. The true democratic principle, that the people shall not be made to do what it does not like, is taken to mean that it shall never be required to tolerate what it does not like. The true democratic principle, that every man‘s free will shall be as unfettered as possible, is taken to mean that the free will of the collective people shall be fettered in nothing. Religious toleration, judicial independence, dread of centralisation, jealousy of State interference, become obstacles to freedom instead of safeguards, when the centralised force of the State is wielded by the hands of the people. Democracy claims to be not only supreme, without authority above, but absolute, without independence below; to be its own master, not a trustee. The old sovereigns of the world are exchanged for a new one, who may be flattered and deceived, but whom it is impossible to corrupt or to resist, and to whom must be rendered the things that are Caesar's and also the things that are God’s. The enemy to be overcome is no longer the absolutism of the State, but the liberty of the subject. Nothing is more significant than the relish with which Ferrari, the most powerful democratic writer since Rousseau, enumerates the merits of tyrants, and prefers devils to saints in the interest of the community. For the old notions of civil liberty and of social order did not benefit the masses of the people. Wealth increased, without relieving their wants. The progress of knowledge left them in abject ignorance. Religion flourished, but failed to reach them. Society, whose laws were made by the upper class alone, announced that the best thing for the poor is not to be born, and the next best to die in childhood, and suffered them to live in misery and crime and pain. As surely as the long reign of the rich has been employed in promoting the accumulation of wealth, the advent of the poor to power will be followed by schemes for diffusing it. Seeing how little was done by the wisdom of former times for education and public health, for insurance, association, and savings, for the protection of labour against the law of self-interest, and how much has been accomplished in this generation, there is reason in the fixed belief that a great change was needed, and that democracy has not striven in vain. Liberty, for the mass, is not happiness; and institutions are not an end but a means. The thing they seek is a force sufficient to sweep away scruples and the obstacle of rival interests, and, in some degree, to better their condition. They mean that the strong hand that heretofore has formed great States, protected religions, and defended the independence of nations, shall help them by preserving life, and endowing it for them with some, at least, of the things men live for. That is the notorious danger of modern democracy. That is also its purpose and its strength. And against this threatening power the weapons that struck down other despots do not avail. The greatest happiness principle positively confirms it. The principle of equality, besides being as easily applied to property as to power, opposes the existence of persons or groups of persons exempt from the common law, and independent of the common will; and the principle, that authority is a matter of contract, may hold good against kings, but not against the sovereign people, because a contract implies two parties.

„Liberty, next to religion has been the motive of good deeds and the common pretext of crime“

— John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton
Context: Liberty, next to religion has been the motive of good deeds and the common pretext of crime, from the sowing of the seed at Athens, two thousand four hundred and sixty years ago, until the ripened harvest was gathered by men of our race.<!--p. 1 Opening statement.

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„By liberty I mean the assurance that every man shall be protected in doing what he believes his duty against the influence of authority and majorities, custom and opinion.“

— John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton
Context: By liberty I mean the assurance that every man shall be protected in doing what he believes his duty against the influence of authority and majorities, custom and opinion.<!--p.3

„The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities.“

— John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton
Context: The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities. Liberty, by this definition, is the essential condition and guardian of religion...<!--p.4

„That is the notorious danger of modern democracy. That is also its purpose and its strength.“

— John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton
Context: The manifest, the avowed difficulty is that democracy, no less than monarchy or aristocracy, sacrifices everything to maintain itself, and strives, with an energy and a plausibility that kings and nobles cannot attain, to override representation, to annul all the forces of resistance and deviation, and to secure, by Plebiscite, Referendum, or Caucus, free play for the will of the majority. The true democratic principle, that none shall have power over the people, is taken to mean that none shall be able to restrain or to elude its power. The true democratic principle, that the people shall not be made to do what it does not like, is taken to mean that it shall never be required to tolerate what it does not like. The true democratic principle, that every man‘s free will shall be as unfettered as possible, is taken to mean that the free will of the collective people shall be fettered in nothing. Religious toleration, judicial independence, dread of centralisation, jealousy of State interference, become obstacles to freedom instead of safeguards, when the centralised force of the State is wielded by the hands of the people. Democracy claims to be not only supreme, without authority above, but absolute, without independence below; to be its own master, not a trustee. The old sovereigns of the world are exchanged for a new one, who may be flattered and deceived, but whom it is impossible to corrupt or to resist, and to whom must be rendered the things that are Caesar's and also the things that are God’s. The enemy to be overcome is no longer the absolutism of the State, but the liberty of the subject. Nothing is more significant than the relish with which Ferrari, the most powerful democratic writer since Rousseau, enumerates the merits of tyrants, and prefers devils to saints in the interest of the community. For the old notions of civil liberty and of social order did not benefit the masses of the people. Wealth increased, without relieving their wants. The progress of knowledge left them in abject ignorance. Religion flourished, but failed to reach them. Society, whose laws were made by the upper class alone, announced that the best thing for the poor is not to be born, and the next best to die in childhood, and suffered them to live in misery and crime and pain. As surely as the long reign of the rich has been employed in promoting the accumulation of wealth, the advent of the poor to power will be followed by schemes for diffusing it. Seeing how little was done by the wisdom of former times for education and public health, for insurance, association, and savings, for the protection of labour against the law of self-interest, and how much has been accomplished in this generation, there is reason in the fixed belief that a great change was needed, and that democracy has not striven in vain. Liberty, for the mass, is not happiness; and institutions are not an end but a means. The thing they seek is a force sufficient to sweep away scruples and the obstacle of rival interests, and, in some degree, to better their condition. They mean that the strong hand that heretofore has formed great States, protected religions, and defended the independence of nations, shall help them by preserving life, and endowing it for them with some, at least, of the things men live for. That is the notorious danger of modern democracy. That is also its purpose and its strength. And against this threatening power the weapons that struck down other despots do not avail. The greatest happiness principle positively confirms it. The principle of equality, besides being as easily applied to property as to power, opposes the existence of persons or groups of persons exempt from the common law, and independent of the common will; and the principle, that authority is a matter of contract, may hold good against kings, but not against the sovereign people, because a contract implies two parties.

„When the last of the Reformers died, religion, instead of emancipating the nations, had become an excuse for the criminal art of despots. Calvin preached, and Bellarmine lectured; but Machiavelli reigned.“

— John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton
Context: John Knox thought that every Catholic in Scotland ought to be put to death; and no man ever had disciples of a sterner or more relentless temper. But his counsel was not followed. All through the religious conflict, policy kept the upper hand. When the last of the Reformers died, religion, instead of emancipating the nations, had become an excuse for the criminal art of despots. Calvin preached, and Bellarmine lectured; but Machiavelli reigned.

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„The idea that the ends of government justify the means employed, was worked into system by Machiavelli.“

— John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton
Context: The idea that the ends of government justify the means employed, was worked into system by Machiavelli. He was an acute politician, sincerely anxious that the obstacles to the intelligent government of Italy should be swept away. It appeared to him that the most vexatious obstacle to intellect is conscience, and that the vigorous use of statecraft necessary for the success of difficult schemes would never be made if governments allowed themselves to be hampered by the precepts of the copy-book. His audacious doctrine was avowed in the succeeding age, by men whose personal character otherwise stood high. They saw that in critical times good men have seldom strength for their goodness, and yield to those who have grasped the meaning of the maxim that you cannot make an omelette if you are afraid to break the eggs. They saw that public morality differs from private, because no government can turn the other cheek, or can admit that mercy is better than justice. And they could not define the difference, or draw the limits of exception; or tell what other standard for a nation’s acts there is than the judgment which heaven pronounces in this world by success.

„Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.“

— John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton
Context: I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men, with a favorable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption it is the other way against holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it. That is the point at which the negation of Catholicism and the negation of Liberalism meet and keep high festival, and the end learns to justify the means. [http://oll.libertyfund.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1407&Itemid=283 Letter] to Mandell Creighton (5 April 1887), published in Historical Essays and Studies, by John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton (1907), edited by John Neville Figgis and Reginald Vere Laurence, Appendix, p. 504; also in Essays on Freedom and Power (1972) Paraphrased variant: All power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

„The clergy who had in so many ways served the cause of freedom during the prolonged strife against feudalism and slavery, were associated now with the interest of royalty.“

— John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton
Context: The way was paved for absolute monarchy to triumph over the spirit and institutions of a better age, not by isolated acts of wickedness, but by a studied philosophy of crime, and so thorough a perversion of the moral sense that the like of it had not been since the Stoics reformed the morality of paganism. The clergy who had in so many ways served the cause of freedom during the prolonged strife against feudalism and slavery, were associated now with the interest of royalty.

„In gathering the materials of International law, he had to go beyond national treaties and denominational interests, for a principle embracing all mankind. The principles of law must stand, he said, even if we suppose that there is no God.“

— John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton
Context: The French philosopher Charron was one of the men least demoralised by party spirit, and least blinded by zeal for a cause. In a passage almost literally taken from St. Thomas, he describes our subordination under the law of nature, to which all legislation must conform; and he ascertains it not by the light of revealed religion, but by the voice of universal reason, through which God enlightens the consciences of men. Upon this foundation Grotius drew the lines of real political science. In gathering the materials of International law, he had to go beyond national treaties and denominational interests, for a principle embracing all mankind. The principles of law must stand, he said, even if we suppose that there is no God. By these inaccurate terms he meant that they must be found independently of Revelation. From that time it became possible to make politics a matter of principle and of conscience, so that men and nations differing in all other things could live in peace together, under the sanctions of a common law.

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