The first principle of every wise government is to tend towards the substantial good and not to waste its power in collecting the accidents and thus diminishing it. Thus for example, a commander who should prefer collecting the spoils left upon the battle-field, to pursuing the enemy and completing his rout, would manifestly lose precious time; his tactics would be quite opposed to the principle of the greatest celerity.[Rosmini, Theodicy, volume 2, 363-364.]
With this established, we can immediately determine the first of all rules of good government, that is, the first criterion for evaluating the means for governing any society whatever. This first rule and criterion is indubitably the following: That which constitutes the existence or substance of a society is to be preserved and strengthened, even at the cost of having to neglect that which forms its accidental refinement.[Rosmini, Philosophy of Politics, Volume 1, Chapter 1]
When this self-evident rule is applied to civil society, it becomes the first norm of sound politics.
In the same way we can also deduce the greatest errors in government. They are those by which the government of a society loses sight of all that constitutes the subsistence of the society because of its excessive concern for the society’s progress towards accidental perfection.