Random Quote #40 topic: voltaire-dict, Philosophical Dictionary by Voltaire, 1694-1778


Banishment for a period or for life, punishment to which one condemns
delinquents, or those one wishes to appear as such.

Not long ago one banished outside the sphere of jurisdiction a petty
thief, a petty forger, a man guilty of an act of violence. The result
was that he became a big robber, a forger on a big scale, and murderer
within the sphere of another jurisdiction. It is as if we threw into our
neighbours' fields the stones which incommode us in our own.

Those who have written on the rights of men, have been much tormented to
know for certain if a man who has been banished from his fatherland
still belongs to his fatherland. It is nearly the same thing as asking
if a gambler who has been driven away from the gaming-table is still one
of the gamblers.

If to every man it is permitted by natural right to choose his
fatherland, he who has lost the right of citizen can, with all the more
reason, choose for himself a new fatherland; but can he bear arms
against his former fellow-citizens? There are a thousand examples of it.
How many French protestants naturalized in Holland, England and Germany
have served against France, and against armies containing their own
kindred and their own brothers! The Greeks who were in the King of
Persia's armies made war on the Greeks, their former compatriots. One
has seen the Swiss in the Dutch service fire on the Swiss in the French
service. It is still worse than to fight against those who have banished
you; for, after all, it seems less dishonest to draw the sword for
vengeance than to draw it for money.


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