Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on December 15, 2014

in Complexity & Emergence, Law

… is from Lord Acton’s 1862 essay “Nationality“:

Liberty provokes diversity, and diversity preserves liberty by supplying the means of organisation.  All those portions of law which govern the relations of men with each other, and regulate social life, are the varying result of national custom and the creation of private society.  In these things, therefore, the several nations will differ from each other; for they themselves have produced them, and they do not owe them to the State which rules them all.

Note here that by “nation” Acton does not mean ‘the government of a society’; rather, he means a group of people connected to each other by a shared history, culture, and norms.  The nation is emphatically not synonymous with the state(s) that rule(s) it.


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