Front Page Titles (by Subject) chapter nine: On Tolerance When Government Gets Involved - Principles of Politics Applicable to All Governments
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chapter nine: On Tolerance When Government Gets Involved - Benjamin Constant, Principles of Politics Applicable to All Governments 
Principles of Politics Applicable to a all Governments, trans. Dennis O’Keeffe, ed. Etienne Hofmann, Introduction by Nicholas Capaldi (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2003).
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On Tolerance When Government Gets Involved
Who would believe it? Government acts adversely, even when it wants to submit the principle of tolerance to its jurisdiction. It imposes on tolerance positive and fixed forms, which are contrary to its nature. Tolerance is nothing else than the freedom of all present and future religions. The Emperor Joseph II wished to establish tolerance. Liberal in his views, he began by ordering a vast inventory of all the religious opinions held by his subjects. Some number or other were registered for admission to the benefit of his protection. What happened? A religion which had been forgotten suddenly came to declare itself, and Joseph II, that tolerant prince, told it that it had come too late. The deists of Bohemia were persecuted in view of their lateness, and the philosopher monarch put himself at the same time at loggerheads with Brabant, which demanded the exclusive domination of Catholicism, and with the unfortunate Bohemians who were asking for freedom of opinion. This limited tolerance  embodies a singular error. Only the imagination can satisfy the needs of the imagination. When, in a given polity, you had aimed at tolerating twenty religions, you would still have done nothing for the believers of the twenty-first. Governments which think they are leaving a proper latitude to the governed by allowing them to choose between a fixed number of religious beliefs, are like that Frenchman who, arriving in a village in Germany whose inhabitants wanted to learn Italian, taught them Basque and low Breton.