"Laws do not persuade
just because they threaten."
by:
Lucius Annaeus Seneca
(4 B.C.-A.D. 65) Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, dramatist, "Seneca the Younger"
Date:
A.D. 65
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- Sarah, Detroit      
Exactly...that is why placing so much emphasis on the Supreme Court is a waste of time. Justices are pols and as pols they pay attention to what the people are doing and saying. Roe v Wade hasn't stopped women from having late-term abortions...and gun laws haven't stopped the proliferation of the weapons. And on and on.
 -- A.Jurgensen, Stuart, FL     
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    The sad truth is that many laws and many parts of the legal systems of the world have been infiltrated and perverted from the fundamental basis of law , to serve selected vested interest groups. By this means violence is implemented against innocent peoples. The hallmark of the belief that "Man is an animal" which is pushed by the socialist, Marxist, Maoist communists is exactly the covert use of law and perversions of law to implement the violence of their ideas to encourage people to place CHAINS on their own wrists, while they are enroute to the slaughter pens. When it comes to Judges, Magistrates and courts, it is easy to malign them, but the real treasures are when one is found who cannot be bought, even at risk to his or her life. The real enemy is the psychopolitical operator and his use of Psychiatry and their masters in eliminating freedom and justice.
     -- Edward Ross-Adams     
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    A Jurgensen, and Edward, said well. I know I've said this over and over again but it so apply applies here. Man can not make law. Law existed long before man's sojourn on this orb. God's endowment of inalienable rights is but another recognition that law exists outside man's control. Man can only use administrative tools, such as codes, ordinances, regulations, rules, statutes, etc. to define the law. The closer man's tools are to the law, the greater the freedom, liberty, prosperity, happiness, etc. The more man's tools are at odds with law, the greater the despotism, tyranny, pain, destruction, poverty, despair, etc. To threaten for not obeying man's administrative tools or otherwise usurpations, is not much of a deterrent.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    “If you have ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law.” ~ Winston Churchill
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    As the Apostle Paul expressed it:

    "The keeping of the whole law is briefly comprehended in this saying: Thou shalt love thy neighbor, as thyself."

    The presence or absence of virtue makes the defining difference.

    Virtue supercedes the law.
     -- Patrick Henry, Red Hill     
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     -- jim k, Austin      
    Patrick Henry, well said. A little extra clarification may assist in a greater understanding. It is helpful to know the classification or philosophy of law in which we speak. Your spin followed a philosophical line of a Greek version of natural law (law is based on virtue, morals, etc. - man can create law). A Hebrew or biblical classification of natural law is different (virtue, morals, etc. are based on law - only God can endow law). A third understanding / application of that which is called law is 'legal positivism' (whatever man says is law, is enforceable law) You mixed the virtue of Greek natural law with carnal man's 'legal positivism'. Much of what is attributed to the law of Moses was in fact, a mere legal positivism. Certain items, such as faith, love, etc. were considered nouns (a thing, whether tangible, intangible or what ever) with an exhibiting verb. (by way of example: "faith is the substance" Heb 11:1; "small as a mustard seed" Luke 17:6; "faith without works is dead" James 2:20 - the thing with out its action is dead; "God is love" 1 John 4:16; etc.) Eternal law is absolute (gravity, physics, murder, theft, etc.) while virtue derives from being the thing and doing the action - - which is obedience to God's endowed law - even in an atmosphere of carnal man's legal positivism. AND, for the individual that does not believe in the source (God), virtue remains an expression of eternal law - even in an atmosphere of carnal man's legal positivism (love thy neighbor as thyself, etc.).
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Thank you, Mike, for your insightful, scholarly, commentary.

    Perhaps, the questions to be posed are:

    What is the nature of virtue?

    How does the presence of virtue animate the ability of those in whom it inheres to act in a manner that is in accord with the requirements of the law, apart from their being constrained by the fear of their prospectively becoming subject to its sanctions?

    From the Christian perspective, grace is virtue, the very substance of the Creator, the availability and presence of which enable the believer to surmount his or her accountability to the law and subjectivity to its sanctions.

    As Paul expressed it:

    " For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is a gift of God: Not of works (endeavoring to keep the Law, in the absence of the ennobling presence of grace/virtue ), lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2: 8-9
     -- Patrick Henry, Red Hill     
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    The only 'laws' man can make are 'rules.' The rules become 'law' either by consent or by threat. A human law IS a threat. Natural laws are automatically enforced -- the dangers in life are to be avoided because of the natural consequences -- breaking them will punish without judgement. Human laws often start as agreed upon terms of voluntary association, then with time, the people often forget that these 'rules' are by agreement and cannot be forced upon those who have not agreed to them. Most of us are governed by conscience and social custom and quite frankly are ignorant of 99% of all the 'laws' we are supposed to 'obey.'
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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