It is with government, as with medicine. They have both but a choice of evils. Every law is an evil, for every law is an infraction of liberty: And I repeat that government has but a choice of evils: In making this choice, what ought to be the object of the legislator? He ought to assure himself of two things; 1st, that in every case, the incidents which he tries to prevent are really evils; and 2ndly, that if evils, they are greater than those which he employs to prevent them.

Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) English jurist and philosopher
Principles of Legislation, ch. 10 “Analysis of Political Good and Evil” (1830)
Added on 3-Nov-11 | Last updated 3-Nov-11
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