Can anyone please shed some light on the following quotes of Edmund Burke?

Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free.

The part I fail to apprehend is bold-faced. I guess "it" in that part refers to the "controlling power". But then what does "there is within" mean? Also "there must be without" what?

Thanks in advance for any help!


1 Answer 1


The less we are able to control ourselves (within us), the more external power should there be (without=outside us) to control ourselves.

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