Quotations about:
    justice


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But justice commands us to have mercy upon all men, to consult the interests of the whole human race, to give to every one his due, and injure no sacred, public, or foreign rights, and to forbear touching what does not belong to us.

[Iustitia autem praecipit parcere omnibus, consulere generi hominum, suum cuique reddere, sacra, publica, aliena non tangere.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Re Publica [On the Republic, On the Commonwealth], Book 3, ch. 15 / sec. 24 (3.24) [Philus] (54-51 BC) [tr. Yonge (1853), ch. 12]
    (Source)

Contrasting the dictates of justice, vs the wisdom/prudence of conquest. Earlier sources arrange the fragments to make this ch. 12, as noted. (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

But justice orders us to spare all, to consult the welfare of mankind, to give to every one his own, and to abstain from every thing that is sacred, every thing that is public, every thing which is not our own.
[tr. Featherstonhaugh (1829), ch. 12]

But justice commands us to have mercy upon all men, to consult the interests of the whole human race, to give to every one his due, and injure no sacred, public, or foreign rights, and to forbear touching what does not belong to us.
[tr. Barham (1841), ch. 12]

Justice, on the other hand, instructs us to spare all men, to consider the interests of the whole human race, to give everyone his due, and not to touch the sacred or public property, or that which belongs to others.
[tr. Keyes (1928)]

Justice, on the other hand, teaches you to spare all men, to consider the interests of the human race, to render to each his own, and not to tamper with that which is sacred, that which is public, and that which belongs to another. [tr. Sabine/Smith (1929)]

Justice, on the other hand, teaches us to spare all men, take thought for the interests of mankind, give everyone his due, and not lay hands on the things belonging to the gods, the state, or somebody else.
[tr. Rudd (1998)]

Justice instructs us to spare everyone, to look after the interests of the human race, to render to each his own, to keep hands off things that are sacred or public or belong to someone else.
[tr. Zetzel (1999), ch. 24b]

But justice instructs [us] to spare everyone, to take care of the human race, to render to each his own, not to touch sacred things, public things, another's things.
[tr. Fott (2014)]

 
Added on 15-Dec-22 | Last updated 19-Jan-23
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Since law constitutes the bond of civil society, and the authority of the law is equal, how can the society of citizens be maintained when their condition is not equal? If it be not pleasing to place their wealth on equal footing, and if everyone is endowed with unequal abilities, certainly all of those who are citizens of the same republic ought to have equal rights. For, what is the state but the shared rights of its citizens?

[Quare cum lex sit civilis societatis vinculum, ius autem legis aequale, quo iure societas civium teneri potest, cum par non sit condicio civium? Si enim pecunias aequari non placet, si ingenia omnium paria esse non possunt, iura certe paria debent esse eorum inter se, qui sunt cives in eadem re publica. Quid est enim civitas nisi iuris societas?]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Re Publica [On the Republic, On the Commonwealth], Book 1, ch. 32 / sec. 49 (1.49) (54-51 BC) [tr. @sentantiq (2017)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Wherefore as the law is the bond of civil society, and equal rights form that of the law, by what power can a community of citizens be maintained, where their condition is not an equal one? If therefore it is not expedient to equalize fortunes; if the powers of mind cannot be equalized in all, certainly then an equality of rights ought to exist, among those who are citizens of the same republic. For what is a state but a community of rights?
[tr. Featherstonhaugh (1829)]

Wherefore, since the law is the bond of civil society, and the justice of the law equal, by what rule can the association of citizens be held together, if the condition of the citizens be not equal? For if the fortunes of men cannot be reduced to this equality—if genius cannot be equally the property of all—rights, at least, should be equal among those who are citizens of the same republic. For what is a republic but an association of rights?
[tr. Barham (1841)]

Wherefore, since the law is the bond of civil society, and the justice of the law equal, by what rule can the association of citizens be held together, if the condition of the citizens be not equal? For if the fortunes of men cannot be reduced to this equality -- if genius cannot be equally the property of all -- rights, at least, should be equal among those who are citizens of the same republic. For what is a republic but an association of rights?
[tr. Yonge (1853)]

Therefore, since law is the bond which unites the civic association, and the justice enforced by law is the same for all, by what justice can an association of citizens be held together when there is no equality among the citizens? For if we cannot agree to equalize men’s wealth, and equality of innate ability is impossible, the legal rights at least of those who are citizens of the same commonwealth ought to be equal. For what is a State except an association or partnership in justice?
[tr. Keyes (1928)]

Since, then, law is the bond that holds political society together, and since equality of rights is a part of law, by what principle of right can an association of citizens be held together, when the status of these citizens is not equal? For, if it is not thought desirable that property should be equally distributed, and if the natural capacities of all men cannot possibly be equal, yet certainly all who are citizens of the same commonwealth ought to enjoy equal rights in their mutual relations. What, indeed, is a state, if it is not an association of citizens united by law?
[tr. Sabine/Smith (1929)]

Since, then, law is the bond which holds together a community of citizens, and the justice embodied in the law is the same for everyone, by what right can a community of citizens be held together when their status is unequal? If the equalization of wealth is rejected, and the equalization of everybody’s abilities is impossible, legal rights at least must be equal among those who live as fellow-citizens in the same state. For what is a state other than an equal partnership in justice?
[tr. Rudd (1998)]

And therefore, since law is the bond of civil society, and rights under law are equal, then by what right can a society of citizens be held together when the status of citizens is not the same? Even if equality of property is not appealing, and if the mental abilities of all cannot be equal, certainly the rights of all who are citizens of the same commonwealth ought to be equal. What is a state if not the association of citizens under the law?
[tr. Zetzel (1999)]

 
Added on 8-Dec-22 | Last updated 19-Jan-23
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Justice they call Time’s Daughter; to the world,
Because at length the wicked she displays.

[τήν τοι Δίκην λέγουσι παῖδ᾽εἶναι Χρόνου,
δείκνυσι δ᾽ἡµῶν ὅστις ἐστὶ µὴ κακός]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Antiope [Αντιοπη], frag. 222 (Kannicht) (c. 410 BC) [tr. Wodhall (1809)]
    (Source)

(Source (Greek)). TGF frag. 223. Barnes frag. 35, Musgrave frag. 3. Alternate translation:

They say that Dike is the child of Cronos
and brings to light whichever of us is not wicked.
[Will (2015)]

 
Added on 8-Nov-22 | Last updated 8-Nov-22
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Tho’ Justice, ere she come, be late,
Conceal’d by the behests of fate,
She menaces each villain’s head
For whom th’ inevitable snare is spread.

[Δίκα τοι Δίκα χρόνιος ἀλλ᾽ὅµως
ἐπιπεσοῦσ᾽ἔλαθεν ἔλαβεν ὅταν ἴ[δ]ῃ
τιν᾽ἀσεβῆ βροτῶν.]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Antiope [Αντιοπη], frag. 223 (Kannicht) [Chorus/ΧΟΡΟΣ] (c. 410 BC) [tr. Wodhall (1809)]
    (Source)

(Source (Greek)). TGF frag. 224, Barnes frag. 31, Musgrave frag. 2. Alternate translation:

Dike, Dike dallies, but still takes and seizes
unawares when she sees him,
any impious mortals.
[tr. Will (2015)]

 
Added on 1-Nov-22 | Last updated 8-Nov-22
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Between justice and respect there is this difference, that it is the part of justice not to injure; of respect, not to offend. In this the force of propriety is extremely clear.

[Est autem, quod differat in hominum ratione habenda inter iustitiam et verecundiam. Iustitiae partes sunt non violare homines, verecundiae non offendere; in quo maxime vis perspicitur decori.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Officiis [On Duties; On Moral Duty; The Offices], Book 1, ch. 28 (1.28) / sec. 99 (44 BC) [tr. McCartney (1798)]
    (Source)

Verecundia is usually translated as "modesty," but Cicero is using a more complex sense here, leading to a variety of translations. Peabody translates it as "courtesy" that is "part of or a consequence of modesty." Edmonds (at length) considers the term untranslatable here, "an inward abhorrence of moral turpitude, through which the conscience is awed, and may be said to blush."

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

But here we must observe, that there is a great deal of difference between that which justice, and that which this modesty, respect, or reverence demands, in relation to other people. It is the duty of justice, not to injure or wrong any man; of respect, or reverence, not to do anything that may offend or displease him; wherein more especially the nature of that decorum we are speaking of consists.
[tr. Cockman (1699)]

But, in our estimate of human life, we are to make a difference between justice and moral susceptibility. The dictate of justice is to do no wrong; that of moral susceptibility is to give no offense to mankind, and in this the force of the graceful is most perceptible.
[tr. Edmonds (1865)]

But in the treatment of men there is a difference between justice and courtesy. It is the part of justice not to injure men; of courtesy, not to give them offence, and it is in this last that the influence of becomingness is most clearly seen.
[tr. Peabody (1883)]

In our social relations there is a difference between justice and sympathy. Not to wrong our fellow-men is the function of justice: that of sympathy is not to wound their feelings; herein the power of decorum is most conspicuous.
[tr. Gardiner (1899)]

There is, too, a difference between justice and considerateness in one's relations to one's fellow-men. It is the function of justice not to do wrong to one's fellow-men; of considerateness, not to wound their feelings; and in this the essence of propriety is best seen.
[tr. Miller (1913)]

Moreover, in maintaining distinctions among men there is a degree of difference between justice and decent respect. The duty of justice is not to do violence to men. The duty of decent respect is not to insult them; this latter especially reveals the essence of decorum.
[tr. Edinger (1974)]

 
Added on 18-Aug-22 | Last updated 18-Aug-22
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If you want Peace, work for Justice.

Pope Paul VI
Paul VI (1897-1978) Italian Catholic Pope (1963-1978) [born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini]
Message for the Day of Peace (8 Dec 1971)
    (Source)

Message for the 5th World Day of Peace (1 Jan 1972), written on the above date.
 
Added on 28-Jul-22 | Last updated 28-Jul-22
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It is compassion rather than the principle of justice which can guard us against being unjust to our fellow men.

Eric Hoffer (1902-1983) American writer, philosopher, longshoreman
The Passionate State of Mind, Aphorism 140 (1955)
    (Source)
 
Added on 30-Jun-22 | Last updated 30-Jun-22
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There can be no equal justice where the kind of trial a man gets depends on the amount of money he has.

Hugo Black (1886-1971) American politician and jurist, US Supreme Court Justice (1937-71)
Griffin v. Illinois, 351 US 12, 19 (1956) [majority opinion]
    (Source)

On the Constitutional requirement for states to ensure not only that trial defense is available to poor defendants, but that appeals costs be addressed as well.
 
Added on 16-Jun-22 | Last updated 2-Feb-23
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For nothing can ever be virtuous or creditable that is not just.

[Nihil enim honestum esse potest, quod iustitia vacat.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Officiis [On Duties; On Moral Duty; The Offices], Book 1, ch. 19 (1.19) / sec. 62 (44 BC) [tr. Cockman (1699)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

No conduct cannot be honorable which departs from justice.
[tr. McCartney (1798)]

For nothing that is devoid of justice can be a virtue.
[tr. Edmonds (1865)]

Nothing that is devoid of justice can be honorable.
[tr. Peabody (1883)]

There can be no honour without justice.
[tr. Gardiner (1899)]

Right cannot be where justice is not.
[ed. Harbottle (1906)]

Nothing that lacks justice can be morally right.
[tr. Miller (1913)]

Nothing can be morally worthy that lacks justice.
[tr. Edinger (1974)]

 
Added on 2-Jun-22 | Last updated 11-Aug-22
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We should take care also that the punishment shall not be out of proportion to the offence, and that some shall not be chastised for the same fault for which others are not even called to account.

[Cavendum est etiam, ne maior poena quam culpa sit, et ne isdem de causis alii plectantur, alii ne appellentur quidem.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Officiis [On Duties; On Moral Duty; The Offices], Book 1, ch. 25 (1.25) / sec. 89 (44 BC) [tr. Miller (1913)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Diligent care should be taken, in the next place, that the penalty be proportioned to the nature of the crime; and that some do not pass without ever being questioned, while others are punished for the same misdemeanours.
[tr. Cockman (1699)]

Great care too must be taken, that the punishment be not greater than the offence; and that some should not be punished for the same offences, for which others are not called to account.
[tr. McCartney (1798)]

We ought, likewise, to take care that the punishment be proportioned to the offence, and that some be not punished for doing things for which others are not so much as called to account.
[tr. Edmonds (1865)]

Care also must be taken lest the punishment be greater than the fault, and lest for the same cause some be made penally responsible, and others not even called to account.
[tr. Peabody (1883)]

Again, we should never impose a penalty disproportioned to the offence or for the same crime punish one and let another go unchallenged.
[tr. Gardiner (1899)]

We must take care that the punishment is not in excess of the crime, and that it is not inflicted on some only while others equally guilty are not even brought to trial.
[ed. Harbottle (1906)]

One should also be careful that the punishment does not surpass the crime and that some people receive beatings while others do not even receive a reprimand.
[tr. Edinger (1974)]

 
Added on 19-May-22 | Last updated 11-Aug-22
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Justice, the touchstone of worth, is rightly esteemed by the world as the noblest of all the virtues. For no one can be just who fears death, pain, exile and want, or who would sacrifice justice to escape these evils.

[Iustitia, ex qua una virtute viri boni appellantur, mirifica quaedam multitudini videtur, nec iniuria; nemo enim iustus esse potest, qui mortem, qui dolorem, qui exsilium, qui egestatem timet, aut qui ea, quae sunt his contraria, aequitati anteponit.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Officiis [On Duties; On Moral Duty; The Offices], Book 2, ch. 11 (2.11) / sec. 38 (44 BC) [tr. Gardiner (1899)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translation:

Justice, which single virtue serves to give men the name and denomination of good, seems much the most admirable to the generality of people; and not without reason, it being impossible for any one to be just who is afraid at the approaches of death, of pain, of banishment, or poverty; or prefers those things which are contrary to these before the great duties of justice and honesty.
[tr. Cockman (1699)]

Justice, from which alone good men receive their appellation, appears the most wonderful to the multitude; and with good reason: For no man can be just, who dreads death, pain, exile, want, or prefers to equity whatsoever is contrary to those.
[tr. McCartney (1798)]

Justice, from which single virtue men are called good, appears to the multitude as something marvellous. And with good reason' for no man can be just if he is afraid of death, pain, exile, or poverty, or prefers their contraries to justice.
[tr. Edmonds (1865)]

Justice, for which one virtue men are called good, seems to the multitude a quality of marvellous excellence, — and not without good reason; for no one can be just, who dreads death, pain, exile, or poverty, or who prefers their opposites to honesty.
[tr. Peabody (1883)]

Justice, the possession of which entitles men to be called good, is looked upon by the masses as something miraculous; and rightly so, for no one can be just who fears death, pain, exile, or poverty, or who ranks the opposites of these above equity.
[ed. Harbottle (1906)]

Justice, above all, on the basis of which alone men are called “good men,” seems to people generally a quite marvellous virtue -- and not without good reason; for no one can be just who fears death or pain or exile or poverty, or who values their opposites above equity.
[tr. Miller (1913)]

And justice in particular seems to the mass of people something amazing, and they are not wrong: good men achieve their reputation for goodness form that one virtue alone, and no man can be just who lives in fear of death, pain, exile, or poverty. If a man shuns fair-dealing in order to avoid these evils, he cannot be considered just.
[tr. Edinger (1974)]

 
Added on 3-Mar-22 | Last updated 11-Aug-22
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Who are those who are really disloyal? Those who inflame racial hatreds, who sow religious and class dissensions. Those who subvert the Constitution by violating the freedom of the ballot box. Those who make a mockery of majority rule by the use of the filibuster. Those who impair democracy by denying equal educational facilities. Those who frustrate justice by lynch law or by making a farce of jury trials. Those who deny freedom of speech and of the press and of assembly. Those who press for special favors against the interest of the commonwealth. Those who regard public office as a source of private gain. Those who would exalt the military over the civil. Those who for selfish and private purposes stir up national antagonisms and expose the world to the ruin of war.

Henry Steele Commager (1902-1998) American historian, writer, activist
“Who Is Loyal to America?” Harper’s Magazine #1168 (Sep 1947)
    (Source)

Reprinted in Freedom, Loyalty, Dissent (1954)
 
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Nothing is worse than to finish a good shit, then reach over and find the toilet paper container empty. Even the most horrible human being on earth deserves to wipe his ass.

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) German-American author, poet
Factotum, ch. 65 (1975)
 
Added on 29-Dec-21 | Last updated 29-Dec-21
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Justice? — You get justice in the next world, in this world you have the law.

William Gaddis
William Gaddis (1922-1998) American novelist
A Frolic of His Own, Opening line (1994)
    (Source)
 
Added on 11-Aug-21 | Last updated 11-Aug-21
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For if justice be a virtue, it must be free from the imputation of crime, and not return evil for evil. For what kind of virtue is it for you to do yourself what you punish in another? This is merely to propagate iniquity, not to punish it; and the character of the person whom you injure, whether he be just or unjust, makes no difference, for you ought not to have done evil.

St. Ambrose (339-397) Roman prelate, Bishop of Milan [Aurelius Ambrosius]
Letter to the Church of Vercellae, para. 83
    (Source)
 
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Violence is often caused by a surfeit of morality and justice, at least as they are conceived in the minds of the perpetrators.

Steven Pinker (b. 1954) Canadian-American cognitive psychologist, linguist, author
The Better Angels of our Nature, ch. 3 (2011)
    (Source)
 
Added on 7-Jul-21 | Last updated 7-Jul-21
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Man the master, ingenious past all measure,
past all dreams the skills within his grasp —
   he forges on, now to destruction,
now again to greatness. When he weaves in
the laws of the land, and the justice of the gods
that bind his oaths together
   he and his city rise high —
      but the city casts out
that man who weds himself to inhumanity
thanks to reckless daring. Never share my hearth,
never think my thoughts, whoever does such things.

[σοφόν τι τὸ μηχανόεν τέχνας ὑπὲρ ἐλπίδ᾽ ἔχων
τοτὲ μὲν κακόν, ἄλλοτ᾽ ἐπ᾽ ἐσθλὸν ἕρπει,
νόμους γεραίρων χθονὸς θεῶν τ᾽ ἔνορκον δίκαν,
370ὑψίπολις: ἄπολις ὅτῳ τὸ μὴ καλὸν
ξύνεστι τόλμας χάριν. μήτ᾽ ἐμοὶ παρέστιος
γένοιτο μήτ᾽ ἴσον φρονῶν ὃς τάδ᾽ ἔρδει.]

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Antigone, l. 365ff, Stasimon 1, Antistrophe 2 [Chorus] (441 BC) [tr. Fagles (1982)]
    (Source)

Original Greek. Alternate translations:

Wise in his craft of art
Beyond the bounds of expectation,
The while to good he goes, the while to evil.
Honouring his country's laws and heaven's oathbound right,
High is he in the state!
But cityless is he with whom inherent baseness dwells;
When boldness dares so much,
No seat by me at festive hearth,
No seat by me in sect or party,
For him that sinneth!
[tr. Donaldson (1848)]

Passing the wildest flight thought are the cunning and skill,
That guide man now to the light, but now to counsels of ill.
If he honors the laws of the land, and reveres the Gods of the State
Proudly his city shall stand; but a cityless outcast I rate
Whoso bold in his pride from the path of right doth depart;
Ne'er may I sit by his side, or share the thoughts of his heart.
[tr. Storr (1859)]

Inventive beyond wildest hope, endowed with boundless skill,
One while he moves toward evil, and one while toward good,
According as he loves his land and fears the Gods above.
Weaving the laws into his life and steadfast oath of Heaven,
High in the State he moves but outcast he,
Who hugs dishonour to his heart and follows paths of crime
Ne'er may he come beneath my roof, nor think like thoughts with me.v [tr. Campbell (1873)]

Possessing resourceful skill, a subtlety beyond expectation he moves now to evil, now to good. When he honors the laws of the land and the justice of the gods to which he is bound by oath, his city prospers. But banned from his city is he who, thanks to his rashness, couples with disgrace. Never may he share my home, never think my thoughts, who does these things!
[tr. Jebb (1891)]

Cunning beyond fancy's dream is the fertile skill which brings him, now to evil, now to good. When he honours the laws of the land, and that justice which he hath sworn by the gods to uphold, proudly stands his city: no city hath he who, for his rashness, dwells with sin. Never may he share my hearth, never think my thoughts, who doth these things!
[tr. Jebb (1917)]

O clear intelligence, force beyond all measure!
O fate of man, working both good and evil!
When the laws are kept, how proudly his city stands!
When the laws are broken, what of his city then?
Never may the anarchic man find rest at my hearth,
Never be it said that my thoughts are his thoughts.
[tr. Fitts/Fitzgerald (1939), l. 285ff]

O wondrous subtlety of man, that draws
To good or evil ways! Great honor is given
And power to him who upholdeth his country’s laws
And the justice of heaven.
But he that, too rashly daring, walks in sin
In solitary pride to his life’s end.
At door of mine shall never enter in
To call me friend.
[tr. Watling (1947)]

Clever beyond all dreams
the inventive crat that he has
which may drive him one time or another to well or ill.
When he honors the laws of the land and the gods' sworn right
high indeed is his city; but stateless is the man
who dares to dwell with dishonor. Not by my fire,
never to share my thoughts, who does these things.
[tr. Wyckoff (1954)]

Surpassing belief, the device and
Cunning that Man has attained,
And it bringeth him now to evil, now to good.
If he observe Law, and tread
The righteous path God ordained,
Honored is he; dishonored, the man whose reckless heart
Shall make him join hands with sin:
May I not think like him,
Nor may such an impious man
Dwell in my house.
[tr. Kitto (1962)]

He has cunning contrivance,
Skill surpassing hope,
And so he slithers into wickedness sometimes,
Other times into doing good.
If he honors the law of the land
And the oath-bound justice of the gods,
Then his city shall stand high.
But no city for him if he turns shameless out of daring.
He will be no guest of mine,
He will never share my thoughts,
If he goes wrong.
[tr. Woodruff (2001)]

Possessing a means of invention, a skillfulness beyond expectation,
now toward evil he moves, now toward good.
By integrating the laws of the earth
and justice under oath sworn to the gods,
he is lofty of city. Citiless is the man with whom ignobility
because of his daring dwells.
May he never reside at my hearth
or think like me,
whoever does such things.
[tr. Tyrell/Bennett (2002)]

And though his wisdom is great in discovery -- wisdom beyond all imaginings!
Yet one minute it turns to ill the next again to good.
But whoever honours the laws of his land and his sworn oaths to the gods, he’ll bring glory to his city.
The arrogant man, on the other hand, the man who strays from the righteous path is lost to his city. Let that man never stay under the same roof as me or even be acquainted by me!
[tr. Theodoridis (2004)]

The qualities of his inventive skills
bring arts beyond his dreams and lead him on,
sometimes to evil and sometimes to good.
If he treats his country’s laws with due respect
and honours justice by swearing on the gods,
he wins high honours in his city.
But when he grows bold and turns to evil,
then he has no city. A man like that --
let him not share my home or know my mind.
[tr. Johnston (2005), l. 415ff]

With clever creativity beyond expectation, he moves now to evil, now to good. The one who observes the laws of the land and justice, our compat with the gods, is honored in the city, but there is no city for one who participates in what is wrong for the sake of daring. Let him not share my hearth, nor let me share his ideas who had done these things.
[tr. Thomas (2005)]

 
Added on 7-May-21 | Last updated 9-May-21
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God befriend us as our cause is just.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Henry IV, Part 1, Act 5, sc. 1, l. 121ff [Henry] (1597)
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“All right,” said Susan. “I’m not stupid. You’re saying humans need … fantasies to make life bearable.”

REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.

“Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little –”

YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.

“So we can believe the big ones?”

YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.

“They’re not the same at all!”

YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET — Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME … SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED.

“Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what’s the point –”

MY POINT EXACTLY.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Hogfather (1996)
 
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Anyway, if you stop tellin’ people it’s all sorted out after they’re dead, they might try sorting it all out while they’re alive.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Good Omens, “Saturday” [Adam] (1990) [with Neil Gaiman]
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Injustice often arises also through chicanery, that is, through an over-subtle and even fraudulent construction of the law. This it is that gave rise to the now familiar saw, “More law, less justice.”

[Existunt etiam saepe iniuriae calumnia quadam et nimis callida sed malitiosa iuris interpretatione. Ex quo illud “summum ius summa iniuria” factum est iam tritum sermone proverbium.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Officiis [On Duties; On Moral Duty; The Offices], Book 1, ch. 10 (1.10) / sec. 33 (44 BC) [tr. Miller (1913)]
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(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:


    But another great spring from which injuries arise, is some quirk or cavil, and an oversubtle and malicious interpretation of the laws; from whence that saying, "The height of justice is the height of roguery," is now become a daily and common proverb among us.
    [tr. Cockman (1699)]

    Injustice is often done by artful evasions, and from a too shrewd, but malicious interpretation of the laws. Hence the proverb, "the strictest justice is the greatest injury," has become quite familiar in conversation.
    [tr. McCartney (1798)]

    Very often wrongs arise through a quirk, and through a too artful but fraudulent construction of the law. Hence, "the rigour of law is the rigour of injustice," is a saying that has now passed into a proverb.
    [tr. Edmonds (1865)]

    There are, also, wrongs committed by a sort of chicanery, which consists in a too subtle, and thus fraudulent, interpretation of the right. Hence comes the saying: The extreme of right is the extreme of wrong.
    [tr. Peabody (1883)]

    A common form of injustice is chicanery, that is, an over-subtle, in fact a fraudulent construction of the law. Hence the hackneyed proverb: "The greatest right is the greatest wrong."
    [tr. Gardiner (1899)]

    A perversion of justice, some extremely clever but harmful interpretation of a statute, also is a frequent cause of wrongdoing. Hence we have the saying, "Extreme legality is the worst law," a proverb become a cliche by daily use.
    [tr. Edinger (1974)]

    See Terence.
 
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Good government makes everything well ordered and fit,
And at the same time it throws shackles on the unjust.
It levels out the rough, stops insolence, and weakens arrogance.
It causes the growing blossoms of blindness to wither.
It straightens crooked judgments and it levels out over-reaching deeds.
It stops the acts of civil conflict and
It stops the anger of grievous strife and because of it
Everything among men is wisely and appropriately done.

[Εὐνομίη δ’ εὔκοσμα καὶ ἄρτια πάντ’ ἀποφαίνει,
καὶ θαμὰ τοῖς ἀδίκοις ἀμφιτίθησι πέδας·
τραχέα λειαίνει, παύει κόρον, ὕβριν ἀμαυροῖ,
αὑαίνει δ’ ἄτης ἄνθεα φυόμενα,
εὐθύνει δὲ δίκας σκολιάς, ὑπερήφανά τ’ ἔργα
πραΰνει· παύει δ’ ἔργα διχοστασίης,
παύει δ’ ἀργαλέης ἔριδος χόλον, ἔστι δ’ ὑπ’ αὐτῆς
πάντα κατ’ ἀνθρώπους ἄρτια καὶ πινυτά.]

Solon (c. 638 BC - 558 BC) Athenian statesman, lawmaker, poet
Fragment 4.32-39 W [tr. @sententiq (2015)]
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Solon's description of eunomiē (lawfulness). Alt. trans.:
Lawfulness, puts all things into good order and makes them sound,
And often places shackles about those who are unjust.
She smooths what is rough, puts an end to excess, enfeebles arrogance;
She withers the flowers of ruin as they spring up;
She straightens crooked judgments, and overbearing acts she turns to gentleness;
She puts an end to acts of dissension,
Puts an end to the bitterness of painful strife:
Beneath her hand all things among mankind are sound and prudent.
[tr. Miller (1996)]

Good Government displays all neatness and order,
And many times she must put shackles on the breakers of laws
She levels rough places, stops Glut and Greed, takes the force from Violence:
She dries up the growing flowers of Despair as they grow;
She straightens out crooked judgments given, gentles the swollen ambitions,
And puts an end to acts of divisional strife;
She stills the gall of wearisome Hate,
And under her influence all life among mankind is harmonious and does well.
[tr. Lattimore]
 
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Truth never damages a cause that is just.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
Non-Violence in Peace and War, Vol. 2 (1949)
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A just cause is not ruined by a few mistakes.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881) Russian novelist
“Critical Articles: Introduction,” Complete Collected Works (1895)
 
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When a just cause reaches its flood-tide … whatever stands in the way must fall before its overwhelming power.

Carrie Chapman Catt (1859-1947) American women's suffrage activist
“Is Woman Suffrage Progressing?” speech, Sixth Convention of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance, Stockholm (13 Jun 1911)
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People don’t ever seem to realize that doing what’s right’s no guarantee against misfortune.

William McFee (1881-1966) English writer
Casuals of the Sea, Book 2, ch 6 (1916)
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Sometimes paraphrased "Doing what's right is no guarantee against misfortune."
 
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Despite what Hollywood would lead you to believe, we criminal defense attorneys do not advocate lenient sentences for all wrongdoers as a matter of policy. […] Our role is to stand beside our clients, no matter who they are or what they did, and be their advocates, the one person required to plead their case and argue their interests. This is the closest our society comes to grace or humility. It’s grace because we give this support to defendants whether they deserve it by any objective measure, and it’s humility because we know the system is so capable of grave error in accusing and punishing.

Ken White (b. c. 1969) American constitutional and criminal attorney, prosecutor, blogger
“Fault Lines” blog, Mimeslaw.com (8 Jun 2016)
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What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or they be black.

Robert Francis Kennedy (1925-1968) American politician
Statement on the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., Indianapolis (4 Apr 1968)
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There is no accepted test of civilization. It is not wealth, or the degree of comfort, or the average duration of life, or the increase of knowledge. All such tests would be disputed. In default of any other measure, may it not be suggested that as good a measure as any is the degree to which justice is carried out, the degree to which men are sensitive as to wrong-doing and desirous to right it? If that be the test, a trial such as that of Servetus is a trial of the people among whom it takes place, and his condemnation is theirs also.

John Macdonell (1846-1921) British jurist
Historical Trials, ch. 7 (1927)
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John Calvin ordered Michael Servetus be imprisoned for heresy in Geneva; he was tried, then burned at the stake in 1553.
 
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Ill doers in the end shall ill receive.

[Chi mal opra, male al fine aspetta.]

Ludovico Ariosto (1474-1533) Italian poet
Orlando Furioso, Canto 37, st. 106, l. 6 (1532) [tr. Rose (1831)]
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That city [is best to live in,] in which those who are not wronged, no less than those who are wronged, exert themselves to punish the wrongdoers.

Solon (c. 638 BC - 558 BC) Athenian statesman, lawmaker, poet
Quoted in Plutarch, Parallel Lives, “The Life of Solon,” sec. 18.5 [tr. Perrin (1914)]
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Alt. trans.:
  • "That [city is best managed] in which those who are not wronged espouse the cause of those who are, and punish their oppressors." [tr. Stewart, Long (1894)]
  • "That [city is best modeled] where those that are not injured try and punish the unjust as much as those that are." [Source]
  • "That [city is best modeled] where those who are not injured, are as ready to prosecute and punish offenders, as those who are." [tr. Langhorne, Langhorne (1819)]
  • "The city [is best governed of all] where those who have not been wronged show themselves just as ready to punish the offender as thouse who have been." [tr. Scott-Kilvert (1960)]
  • Paraphrased as "Justice can be secured in Athens if those who are not injured feel as indignant as those who are," in Earl Warren, "The Law and the Future," Fortune (Nov 1955).
 
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Justice is indiscriminately due to all, without regard to numbers, wealth, or rank.

John Jay (1745-1829) American statesman, diplomat, abolitionist, politician, Chief Justice (1789-1795)
Georgia v. Brailsford, 3 US 1 (1794) [unanimous opinion]
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We need leaders not in love with money but in love with justice. Not in love with publicity but in love with humanity.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, social activist, preacher
“The Birth of a New Age,” speech, Alpha Phi Alpha banquet, Buffalo (11 Aug 1956)
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King used the same phrases, or variations of them, for different speeches and sermons, e.g., in "Desegregation and the Future" (15 Dec 1956), he used "Leaders not in love with publicity, but in love with justice. Leaders not in love with money, but in love with humanity."
 
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Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
Psalm 82:3 [KJV]
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  • [GNT] "Defend the rights of the poor and the orphans; be fair to the needy and the helpless."
  • [NRSV] "Give justice to the weak and the orphan; maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute."
 
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For your reputation, for your religion, for your safety, for every advantage you have, do not acquit this man — no, exact vengeance upon him to make him an example to everyone, to our citizens and to the rest of the world.

[οὔτε γὰρ πρὸς δόξαν οὔτε πρὸς εὐσέβειαν οὔτε πρὸς ἀσφάλειαν οὔτε πρὸς ἄλλ᾿ οὐδὲν ὑμῖν συμφέρει τοῦτον ἀφεῖναι, ἀλλὰ τιμωρησαμένους παράδειγμα ποιῆσαι πᾶσι, καὶ τοῖς πολίταις καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις Ἕλλησιν.]

Demosthenes (384-322 BC) Greek orator and statesman
Oration 19, “On the False Embassy,” sec. 343 (Conclusion)
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Also known as "On the False Legation". Alt. trans.: "For the sake of your honor, of your religion, of your security, of everything you value, you must not acquit this man. Visit him with exemplary punishment, and let his fate be a warning not to our own citizens alone but to every man who lives in the Hellenic world." [tr. Vince, Vince (1926)]
 
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Things seem to tend downward, to justify despondency, to promote rogues, to defeat the just; and by knaves as well as by martyrs the just cause is carried forward. Although knaves win in every political struggle, although society seems to be delivered over from the hands of one set of criminals into the hands of another set of criminals, as fast as the government is changed, and the march of civilization is a train of felonies, yet, general ends are somehow answered.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Montaigne; or, The Skeptic,” Representative Men, Lecture 4 (1850)
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Thus says the Lord: Act with justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor anyone who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the alien, the orphan, and the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place.

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
Jeremiah 22:3 [NRSV]
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Alt. trans.: "Thus saith the Lord; Execute ye judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place." [KJV]

Alt. trans.: "I, the Lord, command you to do what is just and right. Protect the person who is being cheated from the one who is cheating him. Do not mistreat or oppress aliens, orphans, or widows; and do not kill innocent people in this holy place." [GNT]
 
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Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute. Speak out, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
Proverbs 31:8-9 [NRSV]
    (Source)

  • KJV: "Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy."
  • GNT: "Speak up for people who cannot speak for themselves. Protect the rights of all who are helpless. Speak for them and be a righteous judge. Protect the rights of the poor and needy."
 
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The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
The Importance of Being Earnest, act 2 (Miss Prism) [1895]
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I have changed my definition of tragedy. I now think tragedy is not foul deeds done to a person (usually noble in some manner) but rather that tragedy is irresolvable conflict. Both sides/ideas are right.

Rita Mae Brown (b. 1944) American author, playwright
Starting from Scratch, Part 3 “The Work,” “Plot” (1989)
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Many of the ugly pages of American history have been obscured and forgotten. A society is always eager to cover misdeeds with a cloak of forgetfulness, but no society can fully repress an ugly past when the ravages persist into the present. America owes a debt of justice which it has only begun to pay. If it loses the will to finish or slackens in its determination, history will recall its crimes and the country that would be great will lack the most indispensable element of greatness — justice.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, social activist, preacher
Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? (1967)
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A just man is not one who does no ill,
But he, who with the power, has not the will.

Philemon (c. 362 BC – c. 262 BC) Athenian poet and playwright
Sententiæ, II

Attributed in John Booth, Epigrams, Ancient and Modern (1863). .
 
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Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. The old law of an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding; it seeks to annihilate rather than to convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends by defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, social activist, preacher
Stride Toward Freedom, ch. 11 “Where Do We Go from Here?” (1958)
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To no man will we sell, or deny, or delay, right or justice.

[Nulli vendemus, nulli negabimus, aut differimus rectum aut justiciam.]

(Other Authors and Sources)
Magna Carta, Clause 40 (1215)

Alt. trans.:
  • "To no one will we sell, to no one will we refuse or delay, right or justice."
  • "To none will we sell, to none will we deny, to none will we delay right or justice."
 
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KARMA’S A BITCH. No, let me rephrase that: Karma is your vengeful bunny-boiler ex, lurking in your darkened front hallway wearing an ice-hockey mask and carrying a baseball bat inscribed with BET YOU DIDN’T SEE THIS COMING.

Charles "Charlie" Stross (b. 1964) British writer
The Rhesus Chart (2014)
 
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No free man shall be taken or imprisoned or dispossessed, or outlawed or exiled, or in any way destroyed, nor will we go upon him, no will we send against him except by the lawful judgement of his peers or by the law of the land.

(Other Authors and Sources)
Magna Carta, Clause 39 (1215)
 
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I’m no idealist to believe firmly in the integrity of our courts and in the jury system — that is an ideal to me, it is a living, working reality. Gentlemen, a court is no better than each man of you sitting before me on this jury. A court is only as sound as its jury, and a jury is only as sound as the men who make it up.

Harper Lee (1926-2016) American writer [Nellie Harper Lee]
To Kill a Mockingbird, ch. 20 (1960)
 
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But there is one way in this country in which all men are created equal — there is one human institution that makes a pauper the equal of a Rockefeller, the stupid man the equal of an Einstein, and the ignorant man the equal of any college president. That institution, gentlemen, is a court. It can be in the Supreme Court of the United States or the humblest J.P. court in the land, or this honorable court which you serve. Our courts have their faults, as does any human institution, but in this country our courts are the great levelers, and in our courts all men are created equal.

Harper Lee (1926-2016) American writer [Nellie Harper Lee]
To Kill a Mockingbird, ch. 20 (1960)
 
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The splendor of the goal of the French Revolution is simultaneously the source of our strength and of our weakness: our strength, because it gives us an ascendancy of truth over falsehood, and of public rights over private interests; our weakness, because it rallies against us all vicious men, all those who in their hearts seek to despoil the people . … It is necessary to stifle the domestic and foreign enemies of the Republic or perish with them. Now in these circumstances, the first maxim of our politics ought to be to lead the people by means of reason and the enemies of the people by terror. If the basis of popular government in time of peace is virtue, the basis of popular government in time of revolution is both virtue and terror: virtue without which terror is murderous, terror without which virtue is powerless. Terror is nothing else than swift, severe, indomitable justice; it flows, then, from virtue.

Maximilien Robespierre (1758-174) French lawyer, politician, revolutionary leader
Speech, National Convention (7 May 1794)
    (Source)

In a parallel thought, he wrote in On the Principles of Political Morality (1794):

If virtue be the spring of a popular government in times of peace, the spring of that government during a revolution is virtue combined with terror: virtue, without which terror is destructive; terror, without which virtue is impotent. Terror is only justice prompt, severe and inflexible; it is then an emanation of virtue; it is less a distinct principle than a natural consequence of the general principle of democracy, applied to the most pressing wants of the country.
 
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The law, in all vicissitudes of government … will preserve a steady undeviating course; it will not bend to the uncertain wishes, imaginations, and wanton tempers of men. … On the one hand it is inexorable to the cries of the prisoners; on the other it is deaf, deaf as an adder to the clamours of the populace.

John Adams (1735-1826) American lawyer, Founding Father, statesman, US President (1797-1801)
“Argument in Defense of the Soldiers in the Boston Massacre Trials” (4 Dec 1770)
 
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And from your policy do not wholly banish fear,
For what man living, freed from fear, will still be just?

aeschylus-freed-from-fear-will-still-be-just-wist_info-quote

Aeschylus (525-456 BC) Greek dramatist (Æschylus)
The Eumenides
 
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I asked a man in prison once how he happened to be there and he said he had stolen a pair of shoes. I told him if he had stolen a railroad he would be a United States Senator.

jones-stolen-a-railroad-wist_info-quote

Mary Harris "Mother" Jones (1860-1930) American labor leader [a.k.a. Mother Jones]
Speech (1903), in The Autobiography of Mother Jones, ch. 10 (1925)
 
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We know the redemption must come. The time and the manner of its coming we know not: It may come in peace, or it may come in blood; but whether in peace or in blood, LET IT COME.

John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) US President (1825-29)
Speech to “The colored people of Pittsburge, Pennsylvania” (1843)

Representative Dellet of Alabama quoted the speech before the House of Representatives, then asked Adams, "though it cost the blood of thousands of white men?" Adams responded, "Though it cost the blood of millions of white men, let it come. Let justice be done, though the heavens fall."
 
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The law no passion can disturb. ‘Tis void of desire and fear, lust and anger. ‘Tis mens sine affectu, written reason, retaining some measure of the divine perfection. It does not enjoin that which pleases a weak, frail man, but, without any regard to persons, commands that which is good and punishes evil in all, whether rich or poor, high or low.

John Adams (1735-1826) American lawyer, Founding Father, statesman, US President (1797-1801)
“Argument in Defense of the Soldiers in the Boston Massacre Trials” (4 Dec 1770)
 
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“It’s not fair,” Cloud said eventually. “It’s not fair you have to mourn this child.”

Jared gave a small laugh. “We’re in the wrong universe for fair,” he said, simply.

John Scalzi (b. 1969) American writer
The Ghost Brigades (2006)
 
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