Lord ActonLord Acton, [John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton] (1834-1902), First Baron Acton of Aldenham

Lord Acton Quote

“Government by idea tends to take in everything, to make the whole of society obedient to the idea. Spaces not so governed are unconquered, beyond the border, unconverted, a future danger.”

Lord ActonLord Acton
~ Lord Acton

Ratings and Comments

Mike, Norwalk

This, among other things, describes a government of men as is contrary to a government of laws. Democracy and other collectivist concepts fulfill the despotism of this quote.

J Carlton, Calgary

We are now given the choice of "voting" for Democratic Communists or Republican Communists...not much of a choice is it?

Me Again
  • Reply
    Me Again    6/24/08

    I wouldn't add "a future danger" to this quote.It doesn't have to be that way.WHEN YOU CHANGE THE WAY YOU LOOK AT THINGS,THE THINGS YOU LOOK AT CHANGE.

    Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

    It has been human nature since time immemorial to control ones environment, homeland,etcetera in ever widening arcs. Tamerland and Ghengis Khan, Alexander etc. All have tried to expand their hegemony into the unknown. They did it by terror. Humans are a bit ego centric. We see it everywhere. Cities compete against each other for factories, jobs, the arts and culture. The fact is that the unknown barely exists anymore. The world is one, like it or not. The live and let live and leave them alone stance of Brazil towards their "lost tribes" is refreshing but I wander how long it will last.

    E Archer, NYC

    Those "spaces not so governed" are now the individual people. It is believed that 'freedom' is a danger because we cannot control what people will do with it. That is why now that all the land in the world is 'known' and under the control of some body, We the People are now the last 'territory' to conquer. The battle is for the same thing it has always been for: the hearts and minds of the people.

    Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

    Archer I have my secret places but I intend to keep them that way!

    Amanda Brown, Maryland Heights

    is this a pro or a con of national security??

    Mike, Norwalk

    Waffler, the term "government" was used by the founders of the de jure States united because there was no other term in any language that described an organized body of servants that would / could do nothing but represent the unconquered individual sovereign's inalienable rights (i.e., Article IV, Section 4 U.S. Constitution - being obedient to the laws of nature and of nature's God; not man's laws). Archer's here comment is spot on. After being proselytized by force, the once free 'We The People' are now considered a conquered societal heard placed in danger by current and future tyrannous and despotic ideas. Tyrannous terrorists (the armed and dangerous local jack booted army / police) despise liberty, justice, natural law and any idea of freedom that might not support obedience to their immediate threat. The occupying statist theocracy infesting this land / government (allowing the helots, serfs and slaves to choose new masters and jailers once in a period of time) are at war with the idea and substance of liberty and the sovereign's that would participate therein.

    jim k, Austin

    "Government is a disease masquerading as its own cure". L.Neal Smith.

    Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown

    The true meaning of Government allows individuals to realize their actual social strength capabilities and appreciate the relational connection of being part of something substantial, fulfilling, meaningful, liberating, and beautiful, because see, we are not here to fight City Hall, but to change it.  Socialism, after all, is the challenge of social abilities to create.

    Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown
    • Reply
    Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown 2/2/24

    The new frontiers should be looked at with excitement, for chances for positive diversified changes, and hope.

    memarlisa, East Canton, OH

    Lord Acton's quote sheds light on the potential pitfalls of government by idea, emphasizing the need for balance between governance and individual freedom. It serves as a thought-provoking insight into the dynamics of power and control within society, urging us to consider the implications of all-encompassing governance on societal well-being.

    missblake, ohio

    Yes! It's important to strike a balance between governance by idea and allowing for the organic growth and evolution of society. Spaces that are not governed by a singular idea may indeed pose challenges, but they also offer opportunities for creativity, diversity, and resilience. These spaces can be seen as sources of potential growth and innovation, rather than simply future threats.


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    Avery Dei, Ohio

    Lord Acton knew that ideas can be the ultimate rulers—watch out for those uncharted spaces! 🌌🚀 Car Window Replacement

    Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown

    Don't really realize a governmental body in my day to day relationships. I live with individuals who are mentally ill. They never really talk to you unless you initiate a conversation. And they really won't let you say to much, and at the same time say you're holding out valuable knowledge that I'm not supposed to have the least semblance of ability to possess. But, alas my mental health grows.


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