Axonas ist ein Zettelkasten, der Notizen, Exzerpte und Zitate aufbewahrt. Weder stellen die Notizen meine abschließenden Gedanken dar noch drücken die gesammelten Exzerpte und Zitate unbedingt meine Meinung aus.

Als öffentlich begehbarer Buchstabengarten ist dieser Zettelkasten zugleich Bestandteil eines Austauschs an Gedanken und Ideen, den ich mit einigen Menschen pflege. Er ist ein Hilfsmittel im Wechselspiel von Rede und Widerrede und den Nutzen und die Grenzen eines solchen Buchstabengartens hat Sokrates in Platons Phaedros treffend beschrieben.

Samstag, 28. Mai 2005

Montesquieu über die notwendige geringe Grösse von Republiken


16. Distinctive Properties of a Republic. It is natural for a republic to have only a small territory; otherwise it cannot long subsist. In an extensive republic there are men of large fortunes, and consequently of less moderation; there are trusts too considerable to be placed in any single subject; he has interests of his own; he soon begins to think that he may be happy and glorious, by oppressing his fellow-citizens; and that he may raise himself to grandeur on the ruins of his country. In an extensive republic the public good is sacrificed to a thousand private views; it is subordinate to exceptions, and depends on accidents. In a small one, the interest of the public is more obvious, better understood, and more within the reach of every citizen; abuses have less extent, and of course are less protected. The long duration of the republic of Sparta was owing to her having continued in the same extent of territory after all her wars. The sole aim of Sparta was liberty; and the sole advantage of her liberty, glory. It was the spirit of the Greek republics to be as contented with their territories as with their laws. Athens was first fired with ambition and gave it to Lacedæmon; ...
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Montesquieu über Reichtum in Republiken


1. Of Luxury. Luxury is ever in proportion to the inequality of fortunes. If the riches of a state are equally divided there will be no luxury; for it is founded merely on the conveniences acquired by the labour of others. In order to have this equal distribution of riches, the law ought to give to each man only what is necessary for nature. If they exceed these bounds, some will spend, and others will acquire, by which means an inequality will be established. (…) Considering the luxury of different nations with respect to one another, it is in each state a compound proportion to the inequality of fortunes among the subjects, and to the inequality of wealth in different states. In Poland, for example, there is an extreme inequality of fortunes, but the poverty of the whole binders them from having so much luxury as in a more opulent government. (…) 2. Of sumptuary Laws in a Democracy. We have observed that in a republic, where riches are equally divided, there can be no such thing as luxury; and as we have shown in the 5th Book (3) that this equal distribution constitutes the excellence of a republican government; hence it follows, that the less luxury there is in a ...
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Montesquieu über Vor- und Nachteile der Wirtschaft


1. Of Commerce. The following subjects deserve to be treated in a more extensive manner than the nature of this work will permit. Fain would I glide down a gentle river, but I am carried away by a torrent. Commerce is a cure for the most destructive prejudices; for it is almost a general rule that wherever we find agreeable manners, there commerce flourishes; and that wherever there is commerce, there we meet with agreeable manners. Let us not be astonished, then, if our manners are now less savage than formerly. Commerce has everywhere diffused a knowledge of the manners of all nations: these are compared one with another, and from this comparison arise the greatest advantages. Commercial laws, it may be said, improve manners tor the same reason that they destroy them. They corrupt the purest morals.(1) This was the subject of Plato's complaints; and we every day see that they polish and refine the most barbarous. 2. Of the Spirit of Commerce. Peace is the natural effect of trade. Two nations who traffic with each other become reciprocally dependent; for if one has an interest in buying, the other has an interest in selling: and thus their union is founded on their mutual necessities. But ...
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Montesquieu über republikanische Tugenden


2. What is meant by Virtue in a political State. Virtue in a republic is a most simple thing: it is a love of the republic; it is a sensation, and not a consequence of acquired knowledge: a sensation that may be felt by the meanest as well as by the highest person in the state. When the common people adopt good maxims, they adhere to them more steadily than those whom we call gentlemen. It is very rarely that corruption commences with the former: nay, they frequently derive from their imperfect light a stronger attachment to the established laws and customs. The love of our country is conducive to a purity of morals, and the latter is again conducive to the former. The less we are able to satisfy our private passions, the more we abandon ourselves to those of a general nature. How comes it that monks are so fond of their order? It is owing to the very cause that renders the order insupportable. Their rule debars them from all those things by which the ordinary passions are fed; there remains therefore only this passion for the very rule that torments them. The more austere it is, that is, the more it curbs their inclinations, the more force it givfes to the only passion left them. 3. ...
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Praxis der Aphrodisia

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