"Liberty consists in the power of doing
that which is permitted by the law."
Marcus Tullius Cicero
(106-43 B.C.) Roman Statesman, Philosopher and Orator
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Reader comments about this quote:
Cicero's quotation does not apply to America today: the Supreme Court just gave the government the right to seize private property for projects it wants to take place. Sandra Day O'Connor was livid in her dissent and justly so.
 -- A.Jurgensen, Stuart, FL     
    What a pile of crap this is! All it takes is ANY kind of government to limit your liberty? REALLY bad government -- no liberty! And of course, the law is made by lawyers...('nuff said)
     -- Senor Reek, Corozal, Belize, Central America     
    On the contrary, Liberty consists in the power of doing that which is unrestricted by the law. Laws restrict liberties, and those found guilty of breaking laws are punished. Each law passed further restricts our liberty, not frees us. So which do you want ... laws that "permit" you to do something, or liberty?
     -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
    it's cool
     -- Anonymous     
    I think the comments provided so far give neither proper context or philosophical reference for Cicero's quotation. Considering all of the other works and writings of this greatest of Statesmen, I believe this quote is intended to suggest that liberty is only restrained by the law and that any rational society requires a framework to ensure that liberty does not give way to anarchy. Another way to present this is: The law should ensure the exercise of liberty; otherwise, disperate factions who yield to no authority may arbitrarily infringe one's liberty without recourse. The Law should provide the resourse.
     -- K. A. Harvey, Nashville, TN     
    Liberty is the power and inclination to only act justly, to do what is necessary. To act otherwise is not liberty, it is tyranny or libertinism. What is the fundamental Law? It is the Platinum Rule: "Knowingly or unknowingly, do no harm. And if you must do harm, do as little as necessary." Philosophy, ethics, morality, religion, relationship behavior, all wrestle with what is harm, neccessity, and how to know and do what is right. Our understandings and misunderstandings are what makes us humane and inhumane. What makes us human is beyond reason and belief.
     -- FamouslyUnknown, Hackensack NJ     
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