Montesquieu

The true spi­rit of equa­lity is as far from the spi­rit of extreme equa­lity as hea­ven is from earth. The for­mer does not consist of seeing to it that eve­ryone com­mands, or that no one is com­man­ded ; but in obeying and com­man­ding one’s equals. It does not seek to avoid having mas­ters, but to have only one’s equals as mas­ters.

In the state of nature, men are indeed born into equa­lity, but they can­not pos­si­bly remain that way. Society cau­ses them to lose it, and they become equal again only thanks to laws.

Such is the dif­fe­rence bet­ween demo­cracy that is struc­tu­red and demo­cracy that is not, that in the for­mer there is an equa­lity of citi­zens, and in the lat­ter an addi­tio­nal equa­lity of magis­tra­tes, sena­tors, jud­ges, fathers, hus­bands, and mas­ters.

The natu­ral place of vir­tue is at liberty’s side ; but it is not found more often at the side of extreme liberty than of ser­vi­tude.