A massive tome comprising many volumes, the Dictum would require several lifetimes to master. It spells out in fine detail the code of conduct for all respectable citizens of the Draconis Combine, from the Coordinator to his Samurai to the lowest Unproductive. Due to its length and general impenetrability, the Dictum has little actual effect on daily life.
A typical passage appears below:
It is not by his arms alone that man defends himself from his enemies, but by dint of his head and heart as well. The strongest man will fall if his mind fails him, and the smartest man will succumb if his spirit is broken. As man, so the nation. Therefore as we daily prepare the military defense of our nation, let us not neglect her intellectual and spiritual defense as well.
Why do we fight for our own? The answer, largely, is habit. But a nation that fights without knowing why can succumb to exhaustion and despair. Therefore we seek a grander raison d'etre than mere survival. And so, each state creates for itself an identity beyond the accidents of geography. For some, ethnic identity is paramount, and atavistic passions garner loyalty. This approach has obvious drawbacks, chief among them the appeal to man's lowest, not his highest nature. Some states find their identity in a preferred political or economic philosophy. History has been harsh to such states. The Athenian Polis, the Soviet Union, the United States of America--all had a relatively short lifespan when compared even to petty despotisms like the Roman Empire or the Federated Suns. Where these states appeal to the intellect, intellect alone cannot spark passion in the nation at large, but only in a small handful of enthusiasts. (Who can truthfully say that he is inspired by Capitalism, or Democracy, or Communism, or Free Markets? Surely these have passionate defenders, but most of us regard these topics with cool detachment or indifference.)
It has been known since antiquity that man's soul is undying. Injury to the soul takes the form of immorality, but even the most damaged, immoral soul does not perish while the body that houses it survives. Furthermore, even the most beatific soul will not save a wounded body--the body thrives when healthy and dies when injured. Therefore, the life of the soul and the life of the body are independent of each other, and the soul does not die with the body. Also, the soul is not killed by corruption of any kind while the body lives; therefore, the soul survives eternally, since it cannot be destroyed either while the body lives, or after.
The Draconis Combine alone among nations makes the care of the soul paramount. Rather than rely upon the vagaries of individual choice, the Draconian government pervades every aspect of the citizen's life, so that the soul can be nurtured in an environment that encourages purity, morality, and sanity. It is altogether fitting to do so--hedonists and Epicurians, who say that the soul dies with the body, espouse freedom above all else. But they ignore the health of the soul at their peril. The benefits of freedom are benefits to the body, its health and pleasure, and these die with the body; but the benefits of purity are benefits to the soul, and proceed from this life into the next.