long have we said to ourselves "intolerance of another's politics is
barbarous and not to be countenanced in a civilized country. Are we not
free? Shall a man be denied his right to speak under the law which
established that right?" I tell you that freedom does not mean the
freedom to exploit law in order to destroy it! It is not freedom which
permits the Trojan Horse to be wheeled within the gates. He who is not
for Rome and Roman Law and Roman liberty is against Rome. He who
espouses tyranny and oppression and the old dead despotisms is against
Rome. He who plots against established authority and incites the
populace to violence is against Rome. He cannot ride two horses at the
same time. We cannot be for lawful ordinances and for an alien
conspiracy at one and the same moment.
Cicero (106–43 BC) Second Oration before the Roman Senate
more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.
the distribution of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong,
let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution
designates. But let there be no change by usurpation: for though this,
in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by
which free governments are destroyed.
will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of
their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so
incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised
before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man,
who knows what the law is today, can guess what it will be tomorrow. Law
is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little
known, and less fixed?
trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's
time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive
laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is
to be stopped at all.