All this suggests some reflection on the performance of societies. According to the Second Basic Law, the fraction of stupid people is a constant σ which is not affected by time, space, race, class or any other sociocultural or historical variable. It would be a profound mistake to believe the number of stupid people in a declining society is greater than in a developing society. Both such societies are plagued by the same percentage of stupid people. The difference between the two societies is that in the society which performs poorly:
But suppose, that it is no longer in my power to promote the interest of society the public originally 'society'; written change in Hume's hand : Suppose, that I am a burthen to it: Suppose, that my life hinders some person from being much more useful to society the public originally 'society'; written change in Hume's hand . In such cases my resignation of life must not only be innocent but laudable. And most people, who lie under any temptation to abandon existence, are in some such situation. Those, who have health, or power, or authority, have commonly better reason to be in humour with the world.