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Walter Bagehot

Editor of the British journal The Economist from 1861 to 1877


Dullness in matters of government is a good sign, and not a bad one -- in particular, dullness in parliamentary government is a test of its excellence, an indication of its success.

A democratic despotism is like a theocracy: it assumes its own correctness.

You may talk of the tyranny of Nero and Tiberius; but the real tyranny is the tyranny of your next-door neighbour.

It is good to be without vices, but it is not good to be without temptations.

1863 - from Biographical Studies
The notion of a farseeing and despotic statesman, who can lay down plans for ages yet unborn, is a fancy generated by the pride of the human intellect to which facts give no support.