Quotes about punishment

A collection of quotes on the topic of penalty.

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Benedict of Nursia photo
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Huldrych Zwingli photo

„Balthasar of Waldshit has fallen into prison here - a man not merely irreverent and unlearned, but even empty. Learn the sum of the matter. When he came to Zurich our Council fearing lest he should cause a commotion ordered him to be taken into custody. Since, however, he had once in freakishness of disposition and fatuity, lurked out in Waldshut against our Council, of which place he, by the gods, was a guardian [i. e., he has pastor there], until the stupid fellow disunited and destroyed everything, it was determined that I should discuss with him in a friendly manner the baptising of infants and Catabaptists, as he earnestly begged first from prison and afterwards from custody. I met the fellow and rendered him mute as a fish. The next day he recited a recantation in the presence of certain Councillors appointed for the purpose [which recantation when repeated to the Two Hundred it was ordered should be publicly made Therefore having started to write it in the city, he gave it to the Council with his own hand, with all its silliness, as he promised. At length he denied that he had changed his opinion, although he had done so before a Swiss tribunal, which with us is a capital offence, affirming that his signature had been extorted from him by terror, which was most untrue].
The council was so unwilling that force should be used on him that when the Emperor or Ferdinand twice asked that the fellow be given to him it refused the request. Indeed he was not taken prisoner that he might suffer the penalty of his boldness in the baptismal matter, but to prevent his causing in secret some confusion, a thing he delighted to do. Then he angered the Council; for there were present most upright Councillors who had witnessed his most explicit and unconstrained withdrawal, and had refused to hand to him over to the cruelty of the Emperor, helping themselves with my aid. The next day he was thrust back into prison and tortured. It is clear that the man had become a sport for demons, so he recanted not frankly as he had promised, nay he said that he entertained no other opinions than those taught by me, execrated the error and obstinacy of the Catabaptists, repeated this three times when stretched on the racks, and bewailed his misery and the wrath of God which in this affair was so unkind. Behold what wantonness! Than these men there is nothing more foolhardy, deceptive infamous - for I cannot tell you what they devise in Abtzell - and shameless. Tomorrow or next day the case will come up.“

—  Huldrych Zwingli leader of the Protestant Reformation in Switzerland, and founder of the Swiss Reformed Churches 1484 - 1531

Letter to Capito, January 1, 1526 (Staehelin, Briefe ausder Reformationseit, p. 20), ibid, p. 249-250

G. E. M. Anscombe photo
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Martin Luther photo

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Edwin Abbott Abbott photo
Frederick William Robertson photo
Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar photo
Hans Ruesch photo
Clarence Darrow photo

„Wars always bring about a conservative reaction. They overwhelm and destroy patient and careful efforts to improve the condition of man. Nothing can be heard in the cannon's roar but the voice of might. All the safeguards laboriously built to preserve individual freedom and foster man's welfare are blown to pieces with shot and shell. In the presence of the wholesale slaughter of men the value of life is cheapened to the zero point. What is one life compared with the almost daily records of tens of thousands or more mowed down like so many blades of grass in a field? Building up a conception of the importance of life is a matter of slow growth and education; and the work of generations is shattered and laid waste by machine guns and gases on a larger scale than ever before. Great wars have been followed by an unusually large number of killings between private citizens and individuals. These killers have become accustomed to thinking in terms of slaying and death toward all opposition, and these have been followed in turn by the most outrageous legal penalties and a large increase in the number of executions by the state. It is perfectly clear that hate begets hate, force is met with force, and cruelty can become so common that its contemplation brings pleasure, when it should produce pain.“

—  Clarence Darrow American lawyer and leading member of the American Civil Liberties Union 1857 - 1938

Source: The Story of My Life (1932), Ch. 26 "The Aftermath Of The War"

Homér photo

„Behold on wrong
Swift vengeance waits; and art subdues the strong!
Dwells there a god on all the Olympian brow
More swift than Mars, and more than Vulcan slow?
Yet Vulcan conquers, and the god of arms
Must pay the penalty for lawless charms.“

—  Homér, The Odyssey (Cowper)

VIII. 329–331 (tr. Alexander Pope).
Odyssey (c. 725 BC)
Original: (el) Οὐκ ἀρετᾷ κακὰ ἔργα· κιχάνει τοι βραδὺς ὠκύν,
ὡς καὶ νῦν Ἥφαιστος ἐὼν βραδὺς εἷλεν Ἄρηα,
ὠκύτατόν περ ἐόντα θεῶν, οἳ Ὄλυμπον ἔχουσιν.

Bertrand Russell photo

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“