07 March 2014

Thought for the day: nations without justice

I am slowly reading through Augustine’s City of God and have just reached 4.4, which is entitled ‘Kingdoms without justice are like criminal gangs’. Here’s what he has to say. It seems particularly apposite at a time when Western governments are hypocritically complaining about Russia’s egregious violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty.
Remove justice, and what are kingdoms but gangs of criminals on a large scale? What are criminal gangs but petty kingdoms? A gang is a group of men under the command of a leader, bound by a compact of association, in which the plunder is divided according to an agreed convention.
      If this villainy wins so many recruits from the ranks of the demoralized that it acquires territory, establishes a base, captures cities and subdues peoples, it then openly arrogates to itself the title of kingdom, which is conferred on it in the eyes of the world, not by the renouncing of aggression but by the attainment of impunity.

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