Montesquieu

There are cer­tain notions of uni­for­mity that some­ti­mes take hold of great minds (for they affec­ted Charlemagne) but which infal­li­bly strike petty ones. They find in them a kind of per­fec­tion which they reco­gnize, because it is impos­si­ble not to spot it : the same weights in admi­nis­tra­tion, the same mea­su­res in com­merce, the same laws in the state, the same reli­gion in all its parts. But is that always appro­priate without excep­tion ? Is the harm in chan­ging always less than the harm in suf­fe­ring ? And would the great­ness of genius not consist rather in kno­wing in what ins­tance uni­for­mity is neces­sary, and in what ins­tance dif­fe­ren­ces ? In China, the Chinese are gover­ned by the Chinese cere­mo­nial, and the Tartars by the Tartar cere­mo­nial ; yet they are the one peo­ple on earth which is most devo­ted to tran­qui­lity. When the citi­zens fol­low the laws, does it mat­ter whe­ther they fol­low the same one ?