Must the citizen even for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislation? Why has every man a conscience then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right. Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice.
~ Henry David Thoreau, ‘Civil Disobedience’, 1849
(sent with thanks from Spicegirl)