Friedrich Nietzsche, Human All Too Human (Menschliches, Allzumenschliches), subtitled A Book for Free Spirits (Ein Buch für freie Geister).

First published in 1878.   A second part, Assorted Opinions and Maxims (Vermischte Meinungen und Sprüche), was published in 1879, and a third part, The Wanderer and his Shadow (Der Wanderer und sein Schatten), followed in 1880.

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Previous Section   459. ARBITRARY LAW NECESSARY   Next Section

ARBITRARY LAW NECESSARY.  Jurists dispute whether the most perfectly thought out law or that which is most easily understood should prevail in a nation.  The former, the best model of which is Roman Law, seems incomprehensible to the layman, and is therefore not the expression of his sense of justice.  Popular laws, the Germanic, for instance, have been rude, superstitious, illogical, and in part idiotic, but they represented very definite, inherited national morals and sentiments.  But where, as with us, law is no longer custom, it can only command and be compulsion; none of us any longer possesses a traditional sense of justice; we must therefore content ourselves with arbitrary laws, which are the expressions of the necessity that there must be law.  The most logical is then in any case the most acceptable, because it is the most impartial, granting even that in every case the smallest unit of measure in the relation of crime and punishment is arbitrarily fixed.  
 

Friedrich Nietzsche, "Ecce Homo" Ebook

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