It's an opinion expressed by Thomas Paine in his book 'Rights of Man'.

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    Because that is how human psychology works. Any action that achieves a desired result at low cost tends to be turned into a pattern for future actions. And since breaking laws is often less costly than following them it can become a pattern easily. They call it the path of least resistance.
    – Conifold
    Commented Mar 7 at 0:28
  • Recommend adding some context, i.e, what exactly was Thomas Paine getting at by suggesting that we ought to be cautious when modifying laws, even bad ones.
    – Gerry
    Commented Mar 31 at 1:23

1 Answer 1


Humans have a tendency to assume that if things have certain properties in common they have more properties in common. For example, if you find that one pair of shoes from a particular manufacturer are of poor quality, you are more likely to assume that all shoes made by that manufacturer will be of poor quality. If you find that breaking one law is justified, and that you can get away with it, you are more likely to consider breaking others too. Bad laws thereby undermine the credibility of good ones.

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