Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Quotes: Lava. Law.

A collection of quotes on various topics. The sentence in bold face is a plain statement of the quote that follows.

Impressions of the remnants of lava.
Lava 255 Lava: All this turbulent panorama, all this stormy, far-stretching waste of blackness, with its thrilling suggestiveness of life, of action, of boiling, surging, furious motion, was petrified!--all stricken dead and cold in the instant of its maddest rioting!--fettered, paralyzed, and left to glower at heaven in impotent rage forevermore! Twain, Innocents Abroad.

I killed someone who would have killed me, so I am innocent.
Law 109 Oedipus: Whom I slew would have slain me, so by law I am innocent—void of all malice. Sophocles. Oedipus at Colonus.

Your edicts nullified the laws of heaven which have been in place since the origin of man.
Law 179 Antigone: I never thought your edicts had such force/ They nullified the laws of heaven, which/ Unwritten, not proclaimed, can boast/ A currency that everlastingly is valid;/ An origin beyond the birth of man. Sophocles. Antigone.

Seeking justice by the letter of the law produces injustice.
Law 313 ...the wisest of Roman lawgivers said that the enforcement of an absolutely just law without any exceptions, irrespective of particular differences, worked absolute injustice.... E. Hamilton. The Greek Way.

Law by itself cannot cause people to accept the right thing to do.
Law 557 JFK: “But law alone cannot make men see right.” Sorenson, Kennedy

Laws and courts are better than settling disputes in the streets.
Law 557 JFK: “It is better to settle these matters in the courts than on the streets….” Sorenson, Kennedy

Blackstone made legal ideas and jargon accessible to people living in the backwoods, preparing them for leadership in the New World.
Law 202 By making legal ideas and legal jargon accessible in the backwoods, Blackstone did much to prepare self-made men for leadership in the New World. Boorstin, The Americans: Colonial Experience

The power of the law to maintain political stability rests largely on custom. [People are in the habit of obeying the law?]
Law 80 The power of the law to secure observance, and therefore to maintain political stability, rests very largely on custom. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Aristotle.

Civil law is so complicated that it conflicts with human nature.
Law 15 As things stand, [civil law] is so complicated…that it is constantly colliding with human nature. Mencken, Minority Report.

Laws cannot keep people from behaving badly.
Law 1039 Bad behavior the laws cannot reach. Emerson, The Conduct of Life: Behavior.

The law is only a memo, a reminder of how to behave.
Law 559 The law is only a memorandum. Emerson, Politics.

We charge actions, not thoughts, as crimes.
Law 469 Jackson: It is not their thoughts, it is their overt actions which we charge to be crimes.

You often suffer less from losing something than from going to court to get it back. Law 202 Often there is less harm in losing your vineyard than in going to law about it. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

A law is only good if it is accepted by the people.
Law 453 Solon was asked whether he had established the best laws he could for the Athenians: “Yes, indeed,” he replied, “the best they would have accepted.” Montaigne, Selected Essays.

Breaking the law gives one a sense of freedom.
Law 999 The foremost result of a broken law is ever an ecstatic sense of freedom. Hawthorne, The Marble Faun.

Having laws leads to injustice.
Law 1148 “Where there’s law there’s injustice.” Tolstoi, War and Peace

Laws can be explained best by those who work to elude them.
Law 14 …laws are best explained, interpreted, and applied by those whose interest and abilities lie in perverting, confounding, and eluding them. Swift, Gulliver’s Travels. Adler and VanDoren, eds. Great Treasury of Western Thought.

To be obeyed, laws must be generally accepted.
Law 317 All such professors of the several branches of jocularity would have been sternly repressed, not only by the rigid discipline of law, but by the general sentiment which gives law its vitality. Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter.

The judge would hang a man for blowing his nose in the street but only if the indictment specified which hand he blew it with.
Law 249 He liked to tell of the strict judge of whom it was said: He would hang a man for blowing his nose in the street, but he would quash the indictment if it failed to specify which hand he blew it with. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years

When asked for mercy, he would reply, “Go cook a stone; it will do you as much good as asking for mercy.”
Law 151 Chorus: Toughest of all he used to be when any for mercy sued./ His head he’d bend and remark with humor:/ Go cook a stone: it’ll do as much good. Aristophanes, Wasps.

The executor of a will that left him 1,000 pounds is in debtor’s prison since the lawyers dealing with the nephews and nieces who contested it long ago took the 1,000 pounds and have since added to his debt.
Law 621 [Cobbler who was left 1,000 pounds of a total of five thousand, and made executor of the will contested by nephews and nieces]: My lawyers have had all my thousand pound long ago; and what between the estate, as they call it, and the costs, I’m here [in debtors’ prison] for ten thousand, and shall stop here, till I die, mending shoes. Dickens, Pickwick.

There is a distinction between dispensing justice and law. [The purpose of some courts is to make law, not to give justice?]
Law and justice 170 What the advocates of world courts…always overlook is the circumstance that the national courts now in existence do not actually dispense justice…but only law…. Mencken, Minority Report.

Laws have not succeeded in forcing humans into a single mold.
Laws 888 But they have not been able to congeal humanity by act of Parliament. Emerson, English Traits.

Today, on behalf of litigants, lawyers fight it out in courts; in King Arthur’s day, champions for each side fought it out.
Lawyers 470 Nowadays, when a point of justice is obscure and difficult, each side hires lawyers to argue it out; in those days [the days of King Arthur] the upper classes hired champions to fight it out—which came to the same thing. T. H. White, The Once and Future King.

The aim of lawyers and laws is to defeat justice.
Lawyers 792 [Capt. Ned Blakely]: …steadfastly believed that the first and last aim and object of the law and lawyers was to defeat justice. Twain, Roughing It

He never feared the effect on jurors of lawyers who were not convinced that their clients were right.
Lawyers 318 I have heard an experienced counselor say, that he never feared the effect upon a jury of a lawyer who does not believe in his heart that his client ought to have a verdict. Emerson, Spiritual Laws.

Lawyers hire out their words and are more or less passionate according to how much they are paid.
Lawyers 64 Martial’s description of the species of lawyers: …men that hire out their words and anger; that are more or less passionate according as they are paid for it…. Addison, 3/24/1711. The Spectator.

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