… is from an e-mail that my dear and wise friend Bob Higgs sent to me yesterday afternoon; I use it here with Bob’s kind permission:
It never stops pissing me off that millions of petty crooks, not to mention genuinely innocent people, are sent to prison while the greatest criminals on the planet not only escape such punishment, but, on the contrary, are hailed as great men and women and loaded down with honors and loot.
UPDATE: Greg Webb reminds us of Lord Acton’s profound observation on this same point – a point made also here:
I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men, with a favourable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption it is the other way against holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it. That is the point at which the negation of Catholicism and the negation of Liberalism meet and keep high festival, and the end learns to justify the means. . . . Here are the greater names coupled with the greater crimes. You would spare these criminals, for some mysterious reason. I would hang them, higher than Haman, for reasons of quite obvious justice; still more, still higher, for the sake of historical science.
(John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton)
Letter to Archbishop Mandell Creighton
(Apr. 5, 1887)