Ett av de skäl som fick mig att börja läsa Ibn Khaldun var en passage i Ernest Gellners Plough, Sword and Book, där Gellner beskriver Khalduns definition av staten som “an institution which prevents injustice other than such as it commits itself” (1989, s. 239).
Här den relevanta passagen som jag hittat hos Khaldun:
Evil qualities in man are injustice and mutual aggression. He who casts his eye upon the property of his brother will lay his hand upon it to take it, unless there is a restraining influence to hold him back. The poet thus says:
Injustice is a human trait. If you find
A moral man, there is some reason why he is not unjust
Mutual aggression of people in towns and cities is averted by the authorities and the government, which hold back the masses under their control from attacks and aggression upon each other. They are thus prevented by the influence of force and governmental authority from mutual injustice, save such injustice as comes from the ruler himself (1967, s. 97).
Gellner, E. (1989) Plough, Sword and Book. The Structure of Human History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Khaldun, I. (1967) The Muqaddimah. An Introduction to History. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.