Blogs > Liberty and Power > Constant on Blowback

Feb 25, 2004 7:21 pm


Constant on Blowback



[cross-posted on Praxeology.net]

Nearly two centuries before the September 11th attacks, French liberal author Benjamin Constant issued the following prophetic warning:

The force that a people needs to keep all others in subjection is today, more than ever, a privilege that cannot last. The nation that aimed at such an empire would place itself in a more dangerous position than the weakest of tribes. It would become the object of universal horror. Every opinion, every desire, every hatred, would threaten it, and sooner or later those hatreds, those opinions, and those desires would explode and engulf it.

There would certainly be something unjust in turning such fury against an entire people. An entire country is never guilty of the excesses that its leader makes it commit. ... But the nations that are the victims of its deplorable obedience, will not be prepared to acknowledge its secret feelings, feelings that its conduct belies. They will reproach the instruments for the crimes of the hand that directs them.

-- The Spirit of Conquest and Usurpation (1813)

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