Tuesday, January 20, 2009

[Hannah]: On the "vice" of luxury, 1700s

"It is happy for us to have Fear as a Keeper, as long as our Reason is not strong enough to govern our Appetites.... But since I have seen something of the World, the Consequences of Luxury to a Nation seem not so dreadful to me as they did. As long as Men have the same Appetites, the same Vices will remain. In all large Societies, some will love Whoring and others Drinking ... those that cannot purchase Hermitage or Pontack, will be glad of more ordinary French claret. Those that can't reach Wine take up with worse Liquors, and a Foot Soldier or a Beggar may make himself as drunk with Stale-Beer or Malt-spirits, as a Lord with Burgundy, Champaign or Tokay. The cheapest and most slovenly way of indulging our Passions, does as much Mischief to a Man's Constitution, as the most elegant and expensive."

-Bernard Mandeville


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