Jonathan SwiftJonathan Swift, (1667-1745) Irish author

Jonathan Swift Quote

“Laws are like cobwebs which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through.”

Jonathan SwiftJonathan Swift
~ Jonathan Swift

A Critical Essay upon the Faculties of the Mind, 1707, & Gullivers Travels, 1726

Ratings and Comments

Jack, Brussels

Swift is here reformulating a much older quotation from the Greek poet Anacharsis (sixth century BC): "Written laws are like spider's webs; they will catch, it is true, the weak and poor, but would be torn in pieces by the rich and powerful." Swift is certainly not plagiarising or passing off on his own - the Anacharsis quote would have been so familiar in his day that there would have been no question of plagiarism.

Joe, Rochester, MI

Congress and the Senate are hornets, and rich businessmen are wasps. I think the people need some "Raid".

Mike, Norwalk

In governments of men (as are averse to governments at law) carnal man's laws are well recognized by the above quote.

watchman13, USA

He had to be inspired by someone. We see who spread the webs. Joe I'm not sure there is a can big enough. In the old days you might burn them out. But that takes a long stick.

E Archer, NYC

So much for 'justice is blind.' When the law becomes a tool for plundering, there is no justice. 'The big criminals hang the small ones.'

Mike, Norwalk

Of the many philosophies of law, the originating jurisprudence of the de jure States united was to be the scientific "laws of nature and of nature's God" (Declaration of Independence — a {natural law}). Such is a definitive domain of absolutes (i.e., gravity, physics, math, life, liberty, property, etc.). The occupying statist theocracy infesting this land has replaced the substantively based with arbitrary cobwebs that promote wasps and hornets — a "legal positive". “Law is generally divided into ⋯ natural law or immutable and positive law or arbitrary. ⋯ An arbitrary law is one made by the legislator simply because he wills it, and is not founded in the nature of things; This term {positive law} is used in opposition to immutable.” (Bouvier’s Law Dictionary)


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