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

“Law never made men a whit more just.”

Henry David ThoreauHenry David Thoreau
~ Henry David Thoreau

Ratings and Comments

Anonymous, Reston, VA, US

No one claims that it does, but it does provide a set of expectations for behavior and a framework for applying corrective pressure upon those who would otherwise do harm to society for personal benefit (you know, like the GOP does every day to America).

Mike, Norwalk

The term law here references the body of tyrannous rules, set forth by despots, being erroneously justified by deceived slaves, religionists, etc. (hearts and minds). Compelled compliance, license, victimless crimes, larceny with impunity (funny money, theft of the noble labor's fruit, etc.) and, all else that is contrary to the laws of nature and nature's God are all part of that which is called law that never made men a whit more just.

dick, fort worth

Law may not make humans feel and act more justly in countries where law has at least exercised some measure of control as has the United States and we all benefit greatly from that, but we should be aware that there will always be those who violate the law for personal gain. Sadly, in the U.S., these violators have gained control of the Supreme Court and our laws are being diminished on a regular basis. And now that these people control all three branches of government and the mainstream media we should be cognizant of the danger. We may soon have very unjust laws.

Waffler, Smith

I'll go with Reston and Dick today. The injustice of Murdoch and Fox are legion as far as control and using the media for lying and other unjust purposes.

Eric Russ, Hendersonville, NC

OK - let's go directly to the extreme. Do the laws against murder keep the average person from committing murder? Of course not. Nor do they keep the murderer from it. Whether it is a crime of passion or one that is premeditated and planned far in advance, the law does not even slow them down. The murderer does not stop to think "This is illegal, maybe I shouldn't..." Interesting that the liberal from Reston needs to hide behind "Anonymous." Both parties have inflicted terrible damage on our society - hence this discussion...

J Carlton, Calgary

A killer is a killer, a thief is a thief... neither are deterred by paper and ink. Maybe if we had some sort of "justice system"...we could do something to eliminate them...hmmm...

E Archer, NYC

Eric Russ nails it. The American courts of law are not for enforcing 'laws' (i.e. rules made up by government) -- they are for redress of a violation of one's rights or property. Legislation with the intent of 'social change' is an 'obamanation' of a free republic.

Ronw13, Oregon

Teach your children early, the way of a wholesome life by example, with respect to your neighbors privacy. Morality cannot be legislated , but a child's behavior can be governed. To justify immoral behavior, by attacking moral responsibility, only adds to the corruption of good thoughts, good works and good deeds. By way of natural law all behavior is judged. Even ones own thoughts cannot be hid from God. Some sleep better than others whether you have a little to eat or a feast among fools.

Joe, Glasgow

Fair distribution of justice facilitated by the Law - which is what the "Law" should be! would make men more just.

Felipe, São Paulo

Indeed, David, my friend, indeed!
I would say, today, it seems like laws make us less and less just.


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