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Esse non disarmano che i non inclinati né determinati ai delitti, mentre coloro che hanno il coraggio di poter violare le leggi piú sacre della umanità e le piú importanti del codice, come rispetteranno le minori e le puramente arbitrarie, e delle quali tanto facili ed impuni debbon essere le contravenzioni, e l’esecuzione esatta delle quali toglie la libertà personale, carissima all’uomo, carissima all’illuminato legislatore?
Can it be supposed that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity, the most important of the code, will respect the less important and arbitrary ones, which can be violated with ease and impunity, and which, if strictly obeyed, would put an end to personal liberty so dear to mankind and the wise legislator?
–Cesare Beccaria, Dei delitti e delle pene, cap. xl (1764)(A. Caso transl. 1770)
More from Scott Horton:
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
From the June 2014 issue
No Comment — March 28, 2014, 12:32 pm
On CIA secrecy, torture, and war-making powers
Amount by which the total wealth of all American households declined last year:
A study concluded that commercial fish stocks may be gone by 2050 as a result of overfishing, pollution, and global climate change.
“All I saw,” said a 12-year-old neighbor of visits to the man’s house, “was just cats in little diapers.”
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”