Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States

Edited by: Lalor, John J.
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First Pub. Date
New York: Maynard, Merrill, and Co.
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Includes articles by Frédéric Bastiat, Gustave de Molinari, Henry George, J. B. Say, Francis A. Walker, and more.
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FAVORITISM. If favor always rewarded merit, the envious alone would complain; morality and the general interest would be satisfied. We know that this is not the case, and it is precisely because favor is so often bestowed on the unworthy that it is generally looked upon with such ill will.


—In our time, favor plays but a small part in political society, and exactly as its excesses disappear efforts are made, not without result, to reduce its influence still further. When the reign of favor, or rather of favorites, was at its height, no one dreamed of struggling against it. This was during the good old time of unlimited power, when the caprice of an absolute sovereign might raise on the shield and clothe with omnipotence the first man who knew how to please him. Need it be said that this was to raise the evils of despotism to a higher degree? The least enlightened despot knows that he should not venture too far; but his favorite will not always be so circumspect, for he does not risk his crown. It is true that he exposes his life, and more than once populations which could not reach the sovereign have taken vengeance on his favorite, who thus expiated the faults of his short-sighted protector.


—The influence of the favorite is distinguished from that of the camarilla in being manifest, while that of the camarilla is secret.


—Parliamentary rule is incompatible with favoritism. A constitutional sovereign has ministers to whom talent is indispensable if they are to maintain themselves. They dispense favors, but as there is an opposition, this opposition brings about the passage of laws which subject officials to conditions of admission and abolish sinecures. To save themselves from public censure, the ministers avoid committing too evident injustice, or dispensing unmerited favors. In politics, Justice is the daughter of Responsibility.

M. B.

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