Saturday, June 18, 2011

Also concerning self-defense

From Algernon Sidney, Discourses Concerning Government:

“If a prophet should say that a thief lay in the way to kill me, it might reasonably persuade me not to go, or to go in such a manner as to be able to defend myself; but can no way oblige me to submit to the violence that shall be offer’d, or my friends and children not to avenge my death if I fall; much less can other men be deprived of the natural right of defending themselves by my imprudence or obstinacy in not taking the warning given, whereby I might have preserved my life. For every man has a right of resisting some way or other that which ought not to be done to him; and tho’ human laws do not in all cases make men judges and avengers of the injuries offer’d to them, I think there is none that does not justify the man who kills another that offers violence to him, if it appear that the way prescribed by the law for the preservation of the innocent cannot be taken. This is not only true in the case of outragious attempts to assassinate or rob upon the highway, but in divers others of less moment..”


“Nay, all laws must fall, human societies that subsist by them be dissolved, and all innocent persons be exposed to the violence of the most wicked, if men might not justly defend themselves against injustice by their own natural right, when the ways prescribed by public authority cannot be taken.”

“Is it possible that he who is instituted for the obtaining of justice, should claim the liberty of doing injustice as a privilege?”

No comments:

Post a Comment