If men were angels


If men were angels no Government would be necessary. - James Madison

James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, famously described why such a system was not just wise, but necessary.

"It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices (checks and balances) should be necessary to control the abuses of government.
But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?
If men were angels, no government would be necessary.
If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.
In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.
A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.

Bruce Schneier in Liars and Outliers elaborates;
"If men were angels, no security would be necessary. Door locks, razor wire, tall fences, and burglar alarms wouldn't be necessary.
Police forces wouldn't be necessary. Armies? Countries of angels would be able to resolve their differences peacefully, and military expenses would be unnecessary."

However, since men are not angels, we need Trust.

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