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SUPREME COURT HISTORY
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Supreme Inspiration
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Greeks and Romans

Obscenity
"What is honored in a country will be cultivated there."
Plato
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A Book Named
"John Cleland's Memoirs
of a Woman of Pleasure"

v.

Attorney General of Massachusetts
Obscenity

Justice Douglas Concurrence
March 21, 1966
Seal Of The Supreme Court
Excerpt:

Long ago Plato said, "What is honored in a country will be cultivated there." More and more, we reward people for thinking alike and as a result, we become frightened, beyond belief, of those who take exception to the current consensus. If our society collapses, it will not be because people read a book such as FANNY HILL. It will fall because we will have refused to understand it. Decadence, in a nation or an individual, arises not because there is a lack of ability to distinguish between morality and immorality, but because the opportunity for self-expression has been so controlled or strangled that the society or the person becomes a robot.


Text Excerpt:

THE REPUBLIC, Plato

BOOK VIII: FOUR FORMS OF GOVERNMENT

Dialogue with Socrates and Glaucon:

The accumulation of gold in the treasury of private individuals is the ruin of timocracy; they invent illegal modes of expenditure; for what do they or their wives care about the law?

Yes, indeed.

And then one, seeing another grow rich, seeks to rival him, and thus the great mass of the citizens become lovers of money.

Likely enough.

And so they grow richer and richer, and the more they think of making a fortune the less they think of virtue; for when riches and virtue are placed together in the scales of the balance the one always rises as the other falls.

True.

And in proportion as riches and rich men are honored in the State, virtue and the virtuous are dishonored.

Clearly.

And what is honored is cultivated, and that which has no honor is neglected.


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