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Excerpt from Q. Skinner's Machiavelli: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

Excerpt from Q. Skinner's Machiavelli: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

p.75

As the rival groups jealously scrutinize each other for any signs of a move to take over supreme power, the resolution of the pressures thus engendered will mean that only those ‘laws and institutions’ which are ‘conductive to public liberty’ will actually be passed. Although motivated entirely by their selfish interests, the factions will thus be guided, as if by an invisible hand, to promote the public interest in all their legislative acts: ‘all the laws made in favour of liberty’ will ‘result from their discord’ (203).

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