Swift on the Mighty Evading the Law | Harper's Magazine

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Swift on the Mighty Evading the Law

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Some men admire republics, because orators flourish there most, and are the greatest enemies of tyranny; but my opinion is, that one tyrant is better than a hundred. Besides, these orators inflame the people, whose anger is really but a short fit of madness. Ira furor brevis ist. After which laws are like cobwebs which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through.

Jonathan Swift, “A Critical Essay Upon the Faculties of the Mind” (1707), in: The Collected Works of Jonathan Swift, vol. 5, p. 555 (Derby & Jackson ed., 1861).

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