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To sum it all up, if you punish the wrongdoers, your laws will be good and valid; but if you let them go, good laws, indeed, but valid no longer. And I shall not hesitate to speak out and tell you why I say this. I will explain by means of an illustration. Why do you suppose it is, fellow citizens, that the existing laws are good, but that the decrees of the city are inferior to them,1 and that the verdicts rendered in the courts are sometimes open to censure?

1 A law (νόμος) could be enacted or amended only by a special legislative commission, by an elaborate process, under careful precautions, at a fixed time in the civil year. A decree (ψήφισμα) could he passed any day by joint action of senate and assembly, and as easily amended or repealed.

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