Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Reading #27: Cicero: The Law

True law is a harmony of right reasoning and nature. It applies to everyone and all places and times, for it is unchanging and everlasting. It commands each of us to do our duty and prevents us from doing wrong. Its commands and prohibitions guide good and prudent people, but those who are wicked will listen to neither. It is not right to try to alter this law. We cannot repeal any part of it, much less do away with it altogether. No Senate or Assembly of the people can free us from its obligations. We do not need anyone to explain or interpret it for us. There is no such thing as one true law at Rome and another at Athens. There is no change of law over time. It applies to all people everywhere. There is one Divine Master and ruler over all of us who is creator judge and enforcer of this law. Those who disobey him are fleeing from themselves and are rejecting their own humanity. Even if they escape human judgment for their wrongdoing, they will pay a terrible price in the end.  

Cicero. On the state. From "How to run a country." Translated and edited by Philip Freeman