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Thursday, April 2, A.D. 2009
Aphorism of Joseph de Maistre

While the Savoyard ambassador to Russia, Joseph de Maistre wrote the following in a letter from Saint Petersburg.

Toute nation a le gouvernement qu’elle mérite. De longues réflexions et une longue expérience, payée bien cher, m’ont convaincu de cette vérité comme d’une proposition de mathématiques. Toute loi est donc inutile et même funeste (quelque excellente qu’elle puisse être en elle-même), si la nation n’est pas digne de la loi et faite pour la loi.

Every nation has the government that it deserves. Much reflection and much experience, dearly bought, have convinced me of this truth as much as a mathematical proposition. Every law, then, is useless and even baneful (however excellent it might be in itself), if the nation is not worthy of the law and made for the law.

It behooves us to reflect upon de Maistre’s words. If they are true of all peoples, they apply much more forcefully to democratic and representative regimes. To whom should we ascribe blame for the fall of the West? Joseph-Marie’s answer is terse enough. Nous-mêmes!

I have long been an admirer of the Comte de Maistre. Though a papist of ultramontane tendecies, I love him. I think that de Maistre articulates much damning criticism of the so called Enlightenment and of its bloody revolutionary spawn.

Posted by Joseph on Thursday, April 2, Anno Domini 2009
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