Laws bind us. But it is important to remember the law is only what is popular. Not what’s right or wrong.
The law embodies the story of a nation’s development through many centuries, and it cannot be dealt with as if it contained only the axioms and corollaries of a book of mathematics.
The most absurd apology for authority and law is that they serve to diminish crime. Aside from the fact that the State is itself the greatest criminal, breaking every written and natural law, stealing in the form of taxes, killing in the form of war and capital punishment, it has come to an absolute standstill in coping with crime.
The vices of the rich and great are mistaken for error; and those of the poor and lowly, for crimes.
Every crime is born of necessity. If you want less crime, you must change the conditions. Poverty makes crime. Want, rags, crusts, failure, misfortune — all these awake the wild beast in man, and finally he takes, and takes contrary to law, and becomes a criminal. And what do you do with him? You punish him. Why not punish a man for having consumption? The time will come when you will see that that is just as logical.
No man suffers injustice without learning, vaguely but surely, what justice is.
If I did half of the things this sorry President [Nixon] did, they would put me under the jail and send every key to the moon. They have the little punishments for the big men and the heavy chastisement for the poor.
Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through.
Justice is open to all — like the Ritz Hotel.
The trouble is that rich people, well-to-do people, very often don’t really know who the poor are; and that is why we can forgive them, for knowledge can only lead to love, and love to service. And so, if they are not touched by the poor, it’s because they do not know them.
Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping them up.
Do justice to your brother (you can do that, whether you love him or not), and you will come to love him. But do injustice to him because you don’t love him, and you will come to hate him.
Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards.
If you see a white man running, you think, He must be late for a meeting. When you see a black man running, you think, I’m calling the cops. Hey, somebody stop his black ass!
Question: How can justice be secured in Athens?
Solon: If those who are not injured feel as indignant as those who are.
The real existence of an enemy upon whom one can foist off everything evil is an enormous relief to one’s conscience. You can then at least say, without hesitation, who the devil is; you are quite certain that the cause of your misfortune is outside, and not in your own attitude.
Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. . . . All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of men who have doubted the current moral values, not of men who have whooped them up and tried to enforce them.
Justice is like the kingdom of God — it is not without us as a fact; it is within us as a great yearning.