A Quote from St. Augustine on “The State”

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.

For it was a witty and truthful rejoinder which was given by a captured pirate to Alexander the Great.  The king asked the fellow, “What is your idea, in infesting the sea?”  And the pirate answered, with uninhibited insolence, “The same as yours, in infesting the earth!  But because I do it with a tiny craft, I’m called a pirate; because you have a mighty navy, you’re called an emperor.”

-St. Augustine, The City of God

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4 thoughts on “A Quote from St. Augustine on “The State”

  1. Pingback: Mental Enslavement and Sins Syndrome (MESS) | Stepping Toes

  2. Pingback: Luther on Being a Theologian: Oratio, Meditatio and Tentatio | Stepping Toes

  3. Pingback: Why Do We Even Need “The State”? | unpropaganda

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