[1791]  Wilhelm von Humboldt,  The Limits of State Action, Liberty Fund, Indianapolis, 1993

-  "It may easily be foreseen ... that the important inquiry into the proper limits of State agency must lead to a consideration of greater freedom for human energies, and a richer diversity of circumstances and situations. Now the possibility of any higher degree of freedom presupposes a proportionate advance in cultivation - a decreasing need to act in large, compacted masses - a richer variety of resources in the individual agents. If, then, the present age really possesses this increased culture and this power and diversity of resources, the freedom which it rightly demands should unquestionably be allowed it." (p. 5)

-  "The true end of Man, or that which is prescribed by the eternal and immutable dictates of reason, and not suggested by vague and transient desires, is the highest and most harmonious development of his powers to a complete and consistent whole. Freedom is the first and indispensable condition which the possibility of such a development presupposes; but there is besides another essential - intimately connected with freedom, it is true - a variety of situations." (p. 10)

-  "The very variety arising from the union of numbers of individuals is the highest good which social life can confer, and this variety is undoubtedly lost in proportion to the degree of State interference. Under such a system, we have not so much the individual members of a nation living united in the bonds of a civil compact; but isolated subjects living in a relation to the State, a relation in which the undue preponderance of the State already tends to fetter the free play of individual energies."
"... in proportion as State interference increases, the agents to which it is applied come to resemble each other, as do all the result of their activity. And this is the very design which States have in view. They desire comfort, ease, tranquillity; and these are most readily secured to the extent that there is no clash of individualities. But what man does and must have in view is something quite different - it is variety and activity." (p. 18)


[1840]  Alexis de Tocqueville,  De la Démocratie en Amérique, vol. II, Flammarion, Paris, 1981

-  "On peut dire ... que tout gouvernement central adore l'uniformité; l'uniformité lui épargne l'examen d'une infinité de détails dont il devrait s'occuper s'il faillait faire la règle pour les hommes, au lieu de faire passer indistinctement tous les hommes sous la même règle." (pp. 361-362)


[1912]  Piotr Kropotkin, Fields, Factories and Workshops Tomorrow, introduced and edited by Colin Ward, Harper & Row, New York, 1974

-  "Humanity perceives that there is no advantage for the community in riveting a human being for all his life to a given spot, in a workshop or a mine; no gain in depriving him of such work as would bring him into free intercourse with nature, make of him a conscious part of the grand whole, a partner in the highest enjoyments of science and art, of free work and creation.
  Nations too, refuse to be specialised. Each nation is a compound aggregate of tastes and inclinations, of wants and resources, of capacities and inventive powers. The territory occupied by each nation is in its turn a most varied texture of soils and climates, of hills and valleys, of slopes leading to a still greater variety of territories and races. Variety is the distinctive feature, both of the territory and its inhabitants; and that variety implies a variety of occupations. Agriculture calls manufactures into existence, and manufactures support agriculture. Both are inseparable; and the combination, the integration of both brings about the grandest results." (p. 25)


[1945]  Bertrand De Jouvenel, On Power : its nature and the history of its growth (Du pouvoir : histoire naturelle de sa croissance), Liberty Press, Indianapolis, 1993

-  "A democratic regime ensures, so we are told, that the general interest is exactly represented by Power. From this postulate flows a corollary: that no interest is legitimate which opposes the general interest. For this reason every local or particular interest must bend the knee to Power, for is not the whole naturally to be preferred to the part? Nowadays it is a mere truism that 'particular interests must be sacrificed to the general interest.' It has been said so often that it no longer stays for an answer."
 "This a priori damnation of every particular interest as such is a most surprising phenomenon. The more advanced is a society, the more diversified is its functional and human content and the more numerous the categories which arise in it of their own accord." (p. 290)


[1952]  J. L. Talmon,  The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy, Mercury Books, London, 1961

-  "Men were gripped by the idea that the conditions, a product of faith, time and custom, in which they and their forefathers had been living, were unnatural and had all to be replaced by deliberately planned uniform patterns, which would be natural and rational." (p. 3)

-  "Sieyès's egalitarian conception of a monolithic nation and unlimited popular sovereignty was an argument for the elimination of feudal privilege and regional incongruities. It was, however, calculated to open the way to that democratic centralization, under which the long unhampered arm of the central power resting on the idea of a single national interest, and carried by the energy of popular feeling, sweeps away all intermediate clusters of social activity whether functional, ideological, economic or local." (p. 75)

-  "The Republic envisaged by him [Saint-Just] would 'embrace all relations, all interests, all rights, all duties' and would assure an 'allure commune' to all parts of the State. Liberty, the opposite of independence, becomes now 'l'obéissance de chacun à l'harmonie individuelle et homogène du corps entier.' This conception is translated into a 'République une et indivisible ... avec l'entière abstraction de tout lieu et toutes personnes.' The unity and indivisibility of the Republic is thus transformed into something that is prior even to the Social Contract. It is an essential part of the objective general will and liberty, out of the reach of the transient will of passing mortals. The whole comes before its components." (pp. 108-109)

-  "Nothing was left to stand between man and the State. The power of the State, unchecked by any intermediate agencies, became unlimited. This exclusive relationship between man and State implied conformity. It was opposed to both the diversity which goes with a multiplicity of social groups, and the diversity resulting from human spontaneity and empiricism. It is a vision of a society of equal men re-educated by the State in accordance with an exclusive and universal pattern." (p. 250)


[1980]  Alvin Toffler,  The Third Wave, Pan Books, London, 1981

-  "Second wave ideologues routinely lament the break-up of mass society. Rather than seeing in this enriched diversity an opportunity for human development, they attack it as 'fragmentation' and 'Balkanization' and attribute it to the aroused 'selfishness' of minorities. This trivial explanation substitutes effect for cause. For the rising activism of minorities is not the result of a sudden onset of selfishness; it is, among other things, a reflection of the needs of a new system of production which requires for its very existence a far more varied, colourful, open, and diverse society than any we have ever known." (p. 430)

-  "To reconstitute democracy in Third Wave terms, we need to jettison the frightening, but false, assumption that increased diversity automatically brings increased tension and conflict in society. Indeed the exact reverse can be true. Conflict in society is not only necessary, it is, within limits, desirable. But if one hundred men all desperately want the same brass ring, they may be forced to fight for it. On the other hand, if each of the hundred has a different objective, it is far more rewarding for them to trade, to cooperate, and form symbiotic relationships. Given appropriate social arrangements, diversity can make for a secure and stable civilization." (p. 431)


[1990]  Alvin Toffler,  Powershift. Knowledge, wealth, and violence at the edge of the 21st century, Bantam books, London, 1991

-  "If technology permits the customization of products, if markets are being broken into niches, if the media multiply and serve continually narrowing audiences, if even family structure and culture are becoming increasingly heterogeneous, why should politics still presume the existence of homogeneous masses?" (p. 251)

-  "What is emerging ... is no longer a mass democracy but a highly charged, fast-moving 'mosaic democracy' that corresponds to the rise of mosaics in the economy, and operates according to its own rules." (p. 251)