you have interesting way to think of it.Always wondered about that axiom. Never knew the original quote referred to only ten, though. I would think it becomes less valid the higher you go, and infinitely invalid for an infinite number. Let's go big and say we're talking about murderers, with execution as the "suffering". You execute the one innocent along with the ten guilty. If the ten would have been set free instead, and each killed afterward, you save ten lives while allowing the innocent one to die. Good trade? Does that mean Blackstone was wrong? Or do you give greater weight to the potential good to society the innocent person would provide if he and the guilty ones stay free - does that save more lives than the ten others who will be killed by the unpunished guilty ones?