"We are in bondage to the law in order that we may be free."
Marcus Tullius Cicero
(106-43 B.C.) Roman Statesman, Philosopher and Orator
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"A lie told often enough becomes the truth" (Lenin) If those in bondage, suffering from despotism, or are enduring tyranny are told often enough they are free they begin to believe it. The order created by bondage includes compelled compliance, victimless crimes, license, involuntary servitude through mandated theft of the labor's fruits, mandatory IDs and is in all ways contrary to the God of Nature's law(s) and is not freedom.
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 2
    II do not believe Cicero is referring to the bondage you are talking about - it's more to do with self-discipline; without self-discipline there is no freedom. I believe Cicero is referring to this ancient verse when he talks of bondage. We the people create the laws by allowing those in power to be in power. If we disagree there is a democratic system in place to voice your concerns; if there is not a democratic system in place then the people must rise up and take charge of their destiny.
     -- Robert, Sarasota     
    Whenever the words "bondage" and "free" appear in the same sentence,the comments are bound to be interesting.I see what Cicero was trying to say but some things that have been passed as "law",do not promote freedom so,in my opinion,this is a false statement.
     -- Me Again     
    The quote can be used by the rulers or the subjects. Mike and Robert both have points.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    Simply the recipe for order as opposed to chaos. We live by laws so we can enjoy our freedom
     -- Jack, Green, OH     
    Archer, your right. Cicero probably didn't mean it in the reference I responded to but, as translated into our society, I thought my stated interpretation was the most appropriate.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 1
    If by freedom you mean freedom from all restraint then you espouse law-lessness. Freedom from law is not liberty but anarchy. Nor is it approved by "the God of Nature's law," Who is Himself the Great Lawgiver. What Cicero intended was along the lines of saying we are a nation of laws. Not to say we are bound by myriad regulation (though we may be) nor yet that we should be self-disciplined (though truly we ought to be) but that our liberty is guaranteed by a just system of laws that apply equally to all. All are bound to obey, regardless of race, birth, or title. Cicero was protesting the ascension to power of the triumvirate, Julius Caesar, Crassus, and Pompey. Cicero sought power of his own, but had been hampered by a pedestrian pedigree. This may have been somewhat of a "sour grapes" quote from one left out of the center of power.
     -- John Anderson, Tacoma     
  • 1
    Actually Cicero has a different view on liberty: for the Romans lberty was not being dominated: put simplisticly be a free man rather then a slave. They thought that being under the rule of law would prevent domination and thus serfdom and make one free
     -- Anonymous     
    "Me Again" said, "some things that have been passed as "law",do not promote freedom so,in my opinion,this is a false statement." Yet Cicero's statement was not that ALL law is conducive to freedom, but rather that without SOME law there is no freedom. Indeed, in my opinion, that is the fundamental purpose of law, that is, to ensure the greatest possible freedom for the individual. Cicero is merely pointing out that the kind of "freedom" without law is not freedom at all, but anarchy. As a classical liberal, this may be one of my favourite quotes by an ancient author.
     -- Anonymous     
    If one can mitigate the negative impact of other's actions through laws, the potential for that individual's growth and enlightenment is bolstered. Collectively, encouraging the development of the individual enhances the common quality of a civilization in what I suspect to be geometric relationship. The single freedom that is most important in our times is probably more similar to that of the archaic philosopher's than we would like to imagine: the freedom from ignorance and all the repeated mistakes that come with it.
     -- patrick, pensacola     
    Cicero is referring to the fact that law brings peace and order which is necessary because otherwise we would descend into chaos. Therefore, when we as a society agree to follow the laws created by governments we are receiving the freedom that comes with the protection they offer. Rousseau called this the social contract.
     -- Nimesha, Mississauga     
    Cicero, the Roman philosopher meant that we agree to be bound to the law and give up certain rights to be free and to be protected. The same concept was also presented by Jean Jacques Rousseau in The Social Contract. I agree with Nimesha
     -- Anonymous, Zakiyyah, MIssissauga     
    We are in bondage to those laws that protect the weak from the powerful and do not bring harm to oneto benefit another.
     -- R. Martin, Carmel     
    A community or a society in general is composed of individuals with divergent interests, concerns and desires. These divergences will necessarily result in conflicts or even chaos or anarchy if not regulated. Such regulation is the function of law.

    Freedom in essence is the "right to do the right thing without interfering with the rights of others". In order that one may not interfere with the rights of others, he has to submit himself to the limitations set forth by law in the exercise of his rights. Such act of submission is metaphorically an act of rendering one's self as a slave of the law and, at the same time, truly free to do his bidding provided he acts within the bounds of the limitations provided for by law.
    I believe Cicero had disdain for the lacking order of the roman empire.The "Bondage" referring to being slaves to law in order to sustain the Roman empire. Then to be "Free" was so that the citizens for live free of the scorn of those that walked on the side of lawfulness.
     -- Michael Dj, Azusa     
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