Front Page Titles (by Subject) XXVI - Politica
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XXVI - Johannes Althusius, Politica 
Politica. An Abridged Translation of Politics Methodically Set Forth and Illustrated with Sacred and Profane Examples, ed. and Trans. Frederick S. Carney. Foreword by Daniel J. Elazar (Indianapolis: 1995 Liberty Fund).
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§ 1So much for doctrine and knowledge of those things that are necessary to the magistrate in the administration of the commonwealth. We have called this doctrine the first part of political understanding. We turn now to the other part, namely, to its practice. This is the experience of things known through one’s own attempts and examples. “My mind has discovered and digested many things.” 61 …
§ 3Practice and experience can teach the magistrate about things to be done and to be omitted by which the position of the commonwealth and its security are conserved.62 He learns that he should not confide too much in a friend or relatives; that he should attempt to meet every evil and problem at the beginning so that evil does not have time to increase and gather strength; that in the greatest extremities and perils he should withdraw for a season, for with time everything changes; that, on the other hand, he should not directly oppose the strength of the multitude, but accommodate his sails to the wind as a skillful sailor does, and permit for a time what he cannot prevent; that he should not neglect small disorders that are likely in time to become greater; that he should not handle at the same time many grave and arduous enterprises that cannot be expedited at the same time; that he should undertake no new enterprises in the first year of his magistracy and imperium, especially unexpected ones; that he should not commit himself to chance and misfortune, but prepare himself for each particular time and occasion;63 that he should prefer the old to the new, peace and tranquillity to war, the certain to the uncertain, the safe to the perilous; that he should apply no force where it is not proper, especially that he should cause no injury to the church; that he should not engage in continuous wars with neighboring countries, nor with subjects, who would thereby become ever more provoked with him and alienated from him; that he should never be militarily unprepared, since an unarmed peace may be precarious and brief; that he should seize the opportunities offered in any enterprise, and not neglect them; and that he should not trust anyone he has injured. § 4Experience of this kind is required in a magistrate.64
§ 5We turn now to choice, the other member of political prudence. This is the right judgment by which the magistrate discerns and separates the upright, useful, and good from the dishonorable, useless, illicit, and harmful, and aptly accommodates the former to the business at hand. … § 6This choice or judgment should be tempered by a certain distrust and concealment. It should be tempered by distrust so that the magistrate may be slow in giving his confidence and approval, may believe nothing easily, and may be on his guard in all matters. … § 8 Concealment pertains to those things we know and learn. It is a reticence practiced in the present place and time by which we hide our feelings and cover our thoughts. And for this reason it is called a distinguished art that eludes the arts of others as if they were not even perceived, as Scipio Ammirato points out with many examples. … 65
[61 ] Ecclesiastes 1:13.
[62 ] [The following discussion of the things that practice teaches is an unacknowledged restatement and abridgment of Giovanni Botero, Practical Politics, II, 6.]
[63 ] “A wise man sees evil and flees from it.” Proverbs 2 [12:26?]
[64 ] This experience was present in Moses, Joshua, David, Samuel, and Jehoshaphat, and others. For they did not come to the principate until after they had been involved in many adversities.
[65 ]Dissertationes, I, disc. 4.