Selection from –Political Treatise - Chapter V, of the best state of a dominion (Page 1)

Spinoza's Words – (if a state lacks peace and order it is a failure as a commonwealth)

book coverMan is most independent, when he is most led by reason, and, in consequence, that commonwealth is most powerful and most independent, which is founded and guided by reason.

But, as the best plan of living, so as to assure to the utmost self-preservation, is that which is framed according to the dictate of reason. It is one thing to have dominion and care of affairs of state by right, and another to exercise dominion and direct affairs of state in the best way. And so, as we have treated of the right of every commonwealth in general, it is time to treat of the best state of every dominion.

That dominion is the best, where men pass their lives in unity, and the laws are kept unbroken. For it is certain, that seditions, wars, and contempt or breach of the laws are not so much to be imputed to the wickedness of the subjects, as to the bad state of a dominion.

For men are not born fit for citizenship, but must be made so. Besides, men's natural passions are everywhere the same; and if wickedness more prevails, and more offences are committed in one commonwealth than in another, it is certain that the former has not enough pursued the end of unity, nor framed its laws with sufficient forethought; and that, therefore, it has failed in making quite good its right as a commonwealth. For a civil state, which has not done away with the causes of seditions, where war is a perpetual object of fear, and where, lastly, the laws are often broken, differs but little from the mere state of nature, in which everyone lives after his own mind at the great risk of his life.