Quotes: Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right


Fiction

Hutchinson: Are you mad? You speak treason.
Doctor: Fluently!

Huck: It was a close place. I took [the letter giving Jim away] up, and held it in my hand. I was a trembling, because I'd got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself: "All right, then, I'll go to hell!"—and tore it up.

Screw protocol, Reid's in trouble!
Prentiss, Criminal Minds, "Amplification"

Those who break laws are scum. And those who abandon their friends to follow the law... they're lower than scum!
Kakashi, Naruto

Hermione: After what McGonagall and Snape have said? You'll be expelled!
Harry: SO WHAT?! Don't you understand? If Snape gets the Stone, Voldemort's coming back! Haven't you heard what it was like when he was trying to take over? There won't be any Hogwarts to get expelled from! He'll flatten it, or turn it into a school for the Dark Arts!

Uhura: Captain, I have orders from Starfleet Command. We're to put back to Spacedock immediately to be decommissioned.
Spock: If I were human, I believe my response would be "go to Hell." [beat] If I were human.

Picard: What I am about to do is a direct violation of our orders. If anyone objects, please do so now. It will be noted in my log.
Data: Captain, I believe I speak for everyone here, sir, when I say... "to hell with our orders".

Sisko: Mr Odo, you're not going to take the law into your own hands.
Odo: The "law"? Laws change depending on who's making them. Cardassians one day, Federation the next. But justice is justice.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, "A Man Alone"

Well, there's the law and there's what's right. I'm gonna do what's right.
Sartana, Machete

Troopers! I just received new orders: our superiors say the war is cancelled. We can all go home. Bison is getting paid off for his crimes, and our friends who have died here...will have died for nothing. But, we can all go home. Meanwhile, ideals like peace, freedom, and justice, they get packed up. But, we can all go home. Well, I'm not going home. I'm gonna get on my boat, and I'm going up river, and I'm going to kick that son of a bitch Bison's ass so hard that the next Bison wannabe is gonna feel it! Now, who wants to go home...and WHO WANTS TO GO WITH ME?!
Col. William F. Guile, Street Fighter

I recognize that the council has made a decision. But given that it's a stupid-ass decision, I have elected to ignore it.

Being legal doesn't make it right.

Regardless of the circumstances, we were saved by Ichigo Kurosaki in our time of need. It is now time that we returned the favor. Even if that should require violating our own statutes, to allow such a debt to go unpaid would bring eternal shame upon the entire Gotei.
Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto, Bleach

Magrat: What's she doing?
Nanny Ogg: I reckon she's going to topple Duke Felmet.
Magrat: But what about the rule about not meddling?
Nanny Ogg: Ah well, see, there's another rule. A more important rule. And Esme's followed it all her life.
Magrat: Which is?
Nanny Ogg: When you break the rules, break 'em good and hard!

I used to believe that being a good soldier meant doing everything they told you. That's how they engineered us. But we're not droids. We're not programmed. You have to learn to make your own decisions!
Captain Rex, Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world - No, you move.

If this is justice, I don't want this career.
A.D.A. Casey Novak, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Poison

Master Samurai: Those not specially summoned must remain at the ready in their rooms. That is the rule. Along with you, now.
Jonathan: The rule... Are we to overlook an emergency in a friend's home because of this rule!?

Real Life

Unless I am convinced by Scripture and by plain Reason, and not by Popes and Councils, who have so often contradicted themselves. My conscience is captive to the Word of God. To go against conscience is neither right nor safe. I cannot and I will not recant. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me.
—Reformer Martin Luther in his trial at the Imperial Diet of Worms.

Rules are not necessarily sacred; principles are.

Sinatra had indeed been active in left-wing (by American standards) activities. In 1946 he blasted Franco...In 1948 he supported Henry Wallace against the proto-McCarthyite Harry S Truman. Undeterred by the harm to his career, Sinatra ran a letter to the then liberal New Republic imploring Henry Wallace, as heir to Roosevelt, 'to take up the fight we like to think of as ours—the fight for tolerance, which is the basis of fight for any peace'...three months later he was publicly branded a Communist and sacked from his radio show; by 1949 Columbia Records had broken with him and by 1950 MGM dismissed him from his film contract. A has-been at thirty-four.

He was a lonely and distraught figure. He spent his says in the offices of the Belgrade Circle headquarters, where he drank too much coffee and smoked too many cigarettes. He was a one-man crusade against the nationalist madness. He was pointedly ignored by the Serbian media, who usually only quoted from him after his comments appeared in my articles...The student protestors who mounted demonstrations against the Milošević government never invited him to speak, preferring to listen to rants by Serbian nationalists, who fomented the war in the first place. These speakers condemned Milošević for betraying the nationalist cause. The callous indifference of the university students hurt Zivotic tremendously.

He died of a heart attack in 1997, a year before I left the Balkans. His loss for Serbia was tremendous, for with him went one of the few remaining moral voices in the region.
Chris Hedges on Prof. Miladin Zivotic, Serbian anti-fascist

Reviews

I wanted Frank Black to be heroic in a way that men are not allowed to be heroic. There’s a line in an episode coming up where he says, “Somehow, we can’t do the right thing anymore, because to involve yourself in somebody else’s problems is to needlessly invite them on yourself.” And I think that’s become the world we live in. It’s frightening. You cannot reach out. You can’t do anything truly altruistic anymore without taking into consideration, first of all, the legal consequences. The question is: how can we act heroically? How can you reach out and help someone?
Chris Carter on Millennium

...when Kirk or Picard (or Sisko or Janeway or Archer) is faced with violating the Prime Directive to resolve a crisis, you can usually count on scads of pretentious brooding, circular arguments, and heart-rending shots of suffering natives, culminating in the moment where the Captain defies all logic and everything he stands for by shouting, 'Screw the Prime Directive, I'm going in!'

The Smoking Man doesn’t want Mulder killed because they would risk turning his work into a crusade, but by taking Scully away from him in such a soul crushing way they have sent him a warning to do as he’s told. Unfortunately they don’t understand quite who they are dealing with. Mulder is not the sort of man who is told how to behave and will be off chasing the next X-File as soon as possible. And shagging vampires.