Henry David ThoreauHenry David Thoreau, (1817-1862) American author, poet, philosopher, polymath, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, and transcendentalist

Henry David Thoreau Quote

“Somehow strangely the vice of men gets well represented and protected but their virtue has none to plead its cause -- nor any charter of immunities and rights.”

Henry David ThoreauHenry David Thoreau
~ Henry David Thoreau

Ratings and Comments

Jack, Green, OH

If true, it could be there is no reason to plead the cause of virtue. Only wrongdoings create any stir as examples of what not to do. It is not literally true, however and is obviously a tongue-in-cheek bit of irony, and hardly worthy of Thoreau. Not very good semantically either

Joe, Rochester, MI

Wrong according to whom? Semantics? You're sounding like Clinton and what the definition of "is" is.

Mike, Norwalk

well said and very true

E Archer, NYC


Me Again
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Me Again    1/19/07

Sadly true.

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EGL, LA    1/19/07

There is something with the human psyche that gravitates to the negative. Consider anything critical anyone has ever said to you as compared to praise, from childhood on--we remember the slgihts forever, the compliments fade.

Jack, Green, OH

Semantics? I don't get Thoreau's point of vices being well protected, or virtue having no one to plead its case (does it need one? ..after all, virtue is its own reward) or having no charter of immunity(what does that mean?). If there is a message there it escapes me. Words are meant to clarify, not obfuscate. I lower my rating to 0 as I reconsider it.

Ken, Allyn, WA

Well, Jack, you can see ACLU lawyers falling all over themselves to represent a hardcore pornographer on freedom of speech issues, but only crickets chirp in defense of some student who is not allowed to read a Bible in school. You may believe the Bible is nothing more than a dusty, old book of superstitions, but it is certainly the student's right to possess and read it. Thoreau is a bit cynical here, but correct.

Jack, Green, OH

You are right, Ken. Cynical is what I meant by; If true, and tongue-in-cheek,. I don't think Thoreau literally meant that vice is protected but virtue is ignored,. It might seem that way to some when the ACLU (of which I happen to be a proud member) defends someone's freedom of expression, in its place, at the expense of someone else's sensitivities. The Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, not freedom from vexation. That is not the same as protecting vice, however.

Mike, Norwalk
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Mike, Norwalk Jack, Green, OH 12/16/20

Jack, obviously you would use ACLU rhetoric to defend ACLU actions. A real world example that would relate to the ACLU and the quote might be; why is the macabre death cult’s human sacrifice to gods of pleasure and life style so arduously defended while the occupying statist theocracy infesting this land’s assault on other religion’s freedoms goes unmentioned. By way of illustration but not by way of limitation; during a pandemic, congregating in houses of human sacrifice is allowed while singing in praise in non-such affiliated religions is forbidden. OR, where is the outrage when making religious sacraments like marriage illegal. A license is: “A right given by some competent authority to do an act, which without such authority would be illegal” (Bouvier’s Law Dictionary) “A personal privilege to do some particular act or series of acts ⋯ The permission by competent authority to do an act which, without such permission would be illegal, a trespass, a tort, or otherwise not allowable.” (Black’s Law Dictionary, 6th Edition) “The permission, by competent authority to do an act which without permission, would be illegal, a trespass, or a tort.” (People vs. Henderson, 218 NW.2d 2, 4). A marriage license is a purchased non-prosecution privilege for living within an illegal activity. The right, virtue and act itself of the religious sacrament has been criminally made illegal. Strangely, who is representing, protecting and pleading the virtue, rights, and liberty of the individual sovereign’s religious sacrament – marriage?

Ken, Allyn, WA

Jack, I certainly can't read anyone's thoughts, but I have often noticed a certain sense of glee when an ACLU lawyer comes to the defense of someone whose "speech" is demonstrably damaging to others, yet they seldom seem to have the time of day for "speech" with which they don't agree. But, maybe I'm just a bit cynical myself.

Mike, Norwalk

Jack, you make me smile. Your religion's in the box platitudes, cliches, and new interpretive definitions are at least, if not more, predictable than mine. Semantically speaking, one man's vexation is another man's sensitivity. Thanks for the continuity in support of the individual sovereign's demise. ;-) (this way, we know what those against the Constitution are thinking and saying)

Jack, Green, OH

Why do people approve Voltaire saying; “I disagree with what you say, but will defend to death your right to say it”, but condemn anyone who actually does it? The ACLU does not condone Nazis, or pornography, or other unpopular things, but they will stand up for the right of those who do, as their freedom of expression. Like an attorney, defending a criminal, he is performing his duty to give the accused the best mitigating case he can, and the defendant is innocent until proven guilty. Why don’t they do that for Christians, then, they ask? Because Christians want to do it from the courthouse walls, or public classrooms, or government documents, etc. which are expressly forbidden by the Constitution. I still say Thoreau was making a joke or a satire on the appearance of vice getting protected and virtue being ignored. He did a poor job of it, in my opinion

Tom, Dayton
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Tom, Dayton Jack, Green, OH 9/18/21

they OUGHT to condone Nazis to maintain diversity. diversity includes perversity. People don't really want diversity, and in the US we aren't 50% Black nor 50% Asian, by a long shot. Advertising would have you think otherwise.

Editor, Liberty Quotes

Jack, Please rate the quotes only once. Thanks.

Felipe, São Paulo

As always, Thoreau is right to the point. Sad some people don't see it.


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