In a virtuous community men of sense and principle will always be placed at the head of affairs. In a declining state of public morals men will be so blinded to their true interests as to put the incapable and unworthy at the helm. It is therefore vain to complain of the follies or crimes of a government. We must lay the hands on our own hearts and say, Here is the sin that makes the public sin.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“The Individual and the State,” sermon, Second Church of Boston (8 Apr 1830)
Added on 13-Jul-12 | Last updated 3-Feb-16
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