This quotation, attributed to Albert Camus, has been going around in various forms:
The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants, and it provides the further advantage of giving the servants of tyranny a good conscience.
What is the original of this passage?
In particular, what word is translated as alibi? Taken literally, that does not make sense here. In English it is now widely used as a synonym for ‘excuse’; had it already acquired that meaning in French in Camus's lifetime?
(alibi is Latin for ‘elsewhere’; its original meaning in English was evidence that someone could not have done that of which he was accused, because he was elsewhere. It has been lamentably extended to mean a reason why someone should not be blamed for what he did do.)