Hume‘s views on politics follow from his theory of justice. Governments, laws, and institutions are useful to human society. Their justification is in their utility, which depends largely on the habitual trust men have in one another’s allegiance to them. Consequently, an established trusted government should never be overthrown on grounds of religion or hereditary claims to thrones or in order to experiment with utopian theories. Nor does the authority of governments rest on a contract. Rather the authority of both governments and contracts rests on their utility (“of the Original Contract”). Hume was a conservative. Unlike later utilitarians, he hoped to overthrow nothing and would have liked to overthrow nothing except the Church.
(D. G. C. MacNabb, “David Hume,” in The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. Paul Edwards [New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1967], 4:74-90, at 88)
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