"A principal source of errors and injustice are false ideas of utility. For example: that legislator has false ideas of utility who considers particular more than general conveniencies, who had rather command the sentiments of mankind than excite them, who dares say to reason, 'Be thou a slave;' who would sacrifice a thousand real advantages to the fear of an imaginary or trifling inconvenience; who would deprive men of the use of fire for fear of their being burnt, and of water for fear of their being drowned; and who knows of no means of preventing evil but by destroying it."
Cesare Beccaria
(1735-1794) [Bonesana, Marchese di] Italian nobleman, criminologist, and penal reformer
Dei delitti e delle pene, [On Crimes and Punishments] ch.38 (1764)
Translation is as quoted by Thomas Jefferson in his _Commonplace Book_, 1809 Edition, which was "the source book and repertory of Jefferson's ideas on government."
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Reader comments about this quote:
Welcome to Amerika, where the occupying statist theocracy infesting this land uses anti-logic to perpetrate its theological slavery.
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 4
    Editor, thank you for today's quotes, I am not familiar with the author but, aim to soon remedy that. AND, Thank you for all the years of research !
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 4
    Brilliant! Beccaria highlights the distinctions between a representative legislator and a ruling legislator. A legislator should concern himself with the general welfare, not special interests. A legislator should be trying to inspire the populace not command them. A legislator acting in accordance with reason would not be making laws that declare opposing viewpoints illegal -- they would not enact legislation that loads the populace with obligations that can never be paid in full.

    Our election of representatives is not the transference of personal responsibility to the representatives. Identifying the 'responsible' as anything other than the people will ultimately end in their dependence and servitude.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 4
    So well said Archer and Mike, As with the back sliding of Israel from " Letting their Children go free" After Proclaiming Liberty to their neighbor and children, then enslaved them once again into bondage. Therefore God proclaims a Liberty to destruction and hardship. The City of Jerusalem was Burned to the Ground ! Yes, even the king of Judah feared reprisal from the princes. Jeremiah was thrown into jail, bound with cords in the mire. and the proclamation burned. God The Creator grants Our Liberty so blessed of God. So it is to understand, no less a situation arises in our once land of Freedom to our Republic under siege !
     -- Ronw13, Oregon     
  • 2
    Is he saying, shouldn't we protect the child as opposed to protecting the childishness?
     -- Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown     
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