Sunday, May 19, 2013

"Whoever refuses to "stand fast in the liberty"

"But if government is to be self government; if the people as a verity are to possess and exercise the sovereignty, and are to make the laws and cause them to be executed; if they would have a wise government or a pure government--it is not less essential that they should sometimes act in their capacity of private citizens in cases not prescribed by law, but which nevertheless have a direct and necessary bearing upon good government, than it is that they should cast their ballots for suitable persons in elections, or that they should perform jury duty, or bear arms when summoned to the defence of the State. If the citizen fails to recognize this obligation, and contents himself with the suffrage, and with the performance of such acts as the law commands, and suffers wrong, oppression, fraud, and dishonesty to possess the government or any of its departments or agencies, when his influence or efforts, legitimately directed and employed, might prevent it, he should neither be tolerated in complaining of the consequent injury and wrong to himself, nor be countenanced in any assumption that he is a worthy member of a self-governing commonwealth, and is himself one of its rulers. Whoever refuses to "stand fast in the liberty" to which he is called, by performing courageously its obligations and duties, must be content to be "entangled again with the yoke of bondage."--Thomas M. Cooley, [The Abnegation of Self-Government, The Princeton Rev., July-Dec. 1883, at 209, 213-14, [Levinson, supra note 15, at 649 n.64.]. Mr. Cooley, (Jan. 6, 1824–Sept.12, 1898), was the 25th Justice, and Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court.]

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