III.8 That honor is not the principle of despotic states

It is not honor which is the prin­ci­ple of des­po­tic sta­tes, where, all men being equal, one can­not pre­fer one­self to others ; men there all being sla­ves, one can­not pre­fer one­self to any­thing.

Besides, as honor has its laws and its rules, and is una­ble to bend, as it indeed depends on its own whim, and not on anyone else’s, it is only to be found in sta­tes that have fixed cons­ti­tu­tions and laws that are set.

How could it be suf­fe­red by a des­pot ? It glo­ries in its contempt for life, and the des­pot’s only strength is that he can take it away. How could it suf­fer a des­pot ? It has rigid rules and sus­tai­ned impul­ses ; the des­pot knows no rule, and his impul­ses des­troy all the others.

Honor, unk­nown in des­po­tic sta­tes, which often lack even a word for expres­sing it,1 rei­gns in monar­chies, where it gives life to the whole body poli­tic, even the laws and vir­tues.

See [John] Perry, p. 447