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A Disease of Public Spirit

Despotism, and attempts at despotism, are a kind of disease of public spirit—they represent, as it were, the drunkenness of responsibility. It is when men begin to grow desperate in their love for the people, when they are overwhelmed with the difficulties and blunders of humanity, that they fall back upon the wild desire to manage everything themselves. This belief that all would go right if we could only get the strings into our own hands is a fallacy, almost without exception. But nobody can say it is not public-spirited. The sin and sorrow of despotism is not that it does not love men, but that it loves them too much, and trusts them too little. - G.K. Chesterton

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