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Liberty Quotes

By liberty I mean the assurance that every man shall be protected in doing what he believes is his duty against the influence of authority and majorities, custom and opinion. LORD ACTON (1834-1902), The History ofFreedom in Antiquity. B.C. 

The jaws of power are always open to devour, and herarm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing. JOHN ADAMS (1735-1826), U. S. President, 1765.                                                           

Be not intimidated…nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberties by any pretense of politeness, delicacy, or decency. These, as they are often used, are but three different names for hypocrisy,  chicanery and cowardice. JOHN ADAMS (1732-1826), 1765                            

When a government takes over a people’s economic life it becomes absolute, and when it has become absolute it destroys the arts, the minds, the liberties and the meaning of the people it governs. MAXWELL ANDERSON (1888-1959), The Guaranteed Life. 

Can any of you seriously say the Bill of Rights could get through Congress today? It wouldn’t even get out of committee. F. LEE BAILY, Newsweek, 17 April 1967.

 Thought that is silenced is always rebellious. Majorities, of course, are often mistaken. This is why the silencing of minorities is necessarily dangerous. Criticism and dissent are the indispensable antidote to major delusions. ALAN BARTH, The Loyalty of Free Men, 1951.

 The notion that the church, the press, and the universities should serve the state is essentially a Communist notion. In a free society these institutions must be wholly free – which is to say that their function is to serve as checks upon the state. ALAN BARTH, The Loyalty of Free Men, 1951.

 One of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the great struggle for independence. CHARLES A. BEARD (1874-1948), 1935.

 No great advance has ever been made in science, politics, or religion, without controversy. LYMAN BEECHER (1775-1863), Life Thoughts, 1858.

 Only reason can convince us of those three fundamental truths without a recognition of which therecan be no effective liberty: that what we believe is not necessarily true; that what we like is not necessarily true; that what we like is not necessarily good; and that all questions are open. CLIVE BELL (1881-1964), Civilization, 1928.

Among the several cloudy appellatives which have been commonly employed as cloaks for misgovernment, there is none more conspicuous in this atmosphere of illusion than the word Order. JEREMY BENTHAM (1748-1832), The Book of Fallacies, 1824.

All forms of tampering with human beings, getting at them, shaping them against their will to your own pattern, all thought control and conditioning is, therefore, a denialof that in men which makes them men and their values ultimate. ISIAH BERLIN, Two Concepts of Liberty, 1958.

 Compelling a man by law to pay his money to elect candidates or advocate law or doctrines he is against differs only in degree, if at all, from compelling him by law to speak for a candidate, a party, or a cause he is against.

The very reason for the First Amendment is to make the people of this country free to think, speak, write and worship as they wish, not as the Government commands. HUGO L. BLACK (1886-1971), U. S. Supreme Court  Justice, IAM v. Street, 367 U.S., 1961.

 Those who won our independence believed that the final end of the State was to make men free to develop their faculties… They valued liberty both as an end and as a means. They believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty. LOUIS B. BRANDEIS (1856-1941), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Whitney v. California, 1927.

 Personal liberty is the paramount essential to human dignity and human happiness. EDWARD GEORGE BULWER-LYTTON (1803-1873).               

 Authority intoxicates, And makes mere sots of magistrates; The fumes of it invade the brain, And make men giddy, proud and vain. SAMUEL BUTLER (1835-1902).

 When we regard a man as morally responsible for an act, we regard him as a legitimate object of moral praise or blame in respect of it. But it seems plain that a man cannot be a legitimate object of moral praise or blame for an act unless in willing the act he is in some important sense a ‘free’ agent. Evidently free will in some sense, therefore, is a precondition of moral responsibility. C.  ARTHUR CAMPBELL, In Defense of Free Will, 1967.

 The great ideals of liberty and equality are preserved against the assaults of opportunism, the expediency of the passing hour, the erosion of small encroachments, thescorn and derision of those who have no patience with general principles. BENJAMIN CARDOZO (1870-1938), U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Nature of Judicial Process, 1921.

 Free discussion is the only necessary Constitution –the only necessary Law of the Constitution. RICHARD CARLILE (1790-1843), The Republican, 1823.

 Freedom suppressed and again regained bites with keener fangs than freedom never endangered. MARCUS TULLIUS CICERO (106-43 B.C.).

 The real value of freedom is not to the minority that wants to talk, but to the majority that does not want to listen. ZECHARIAH CHAFFEE, JR. (1865-1957), The Blessings of Liberty.

 Attack another’s rights and you destroy your own. JOHN JAY CHAPMAN (1862-1933), letter, 1897.

 If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all. NOAH CHOMSKY, Guardian, 23 November 1992.

A right is not what someone gives you; it’s what no one can take from you. RAMSEY CLARK, U. S. Attorney General, New York Times, 2 October 1977.

All religions united with government are more or less inimical to liberty. All, separated from government, are compatible with liberty. HENRY CLAY (1777-1852), Speech, 24 March 1818.

The Bill of Rights is a born rebel. It reeks with sedition. In every clause it hakes its fist in the face of constituted authority… It is the one guarantee of human freedom to the American people. FRANK I. COBB (1869-1923), LaFollette’s Magazine, January 1920.

Men in authority will always think that criticism of their policies is dangerous. They will always equate their policies with patriotism, and find criticism subversive. HENRY STEELE COMMAGER (1902-1998), Freedom andOrder, 1966.

Freedom is not a luxury that we can indulge in when at last we have security and prosperity and enlightenment; it is, rather, antecedent to all of these, for without it we can have neither security nor prosperity nor enlightenment. HENRY STEELE COMMAGER (1902-1998), Freedom, Loyalty and Dissent, 1954.

 [When] Men are not allowed to think freely about chemistry and biology, why should they be allowed to think freely about political philosophy? AUGUSTE COMPTE (1798-1957), The Positive Philosophy, 1830-40.

 Liberty is not collective, it is personal. All liberty is individual liberty. CALVIN COOLIDGE (1873-1933), U. S. President, Speech, 1924.

Individuality is the aim of political liberty. By leaving to the citizen as much freedom of action and of being as comports with order and the rights of others, the institutions render him truly a free man. He is left to pursue his means of happiness in his own manner. JAMES FENIMORE COOPER (1789-1851), The American Democrat, 1838.

Liberty is not a matter of words, but a positive and important condition of society. Its greatest safeguard after placing its foundations in a popular base, is in the checks and balances imposed on the public servants. JAMES FENIMORE COOPER (1789-1851), The American Democrat, 1838.

Our ultimate freedom is the right and power to decide how anybody or anything outside of ourselves will effect us. STEVEN R. COVEY.

Morality, and the ideal of freedom which is the political expression of morality, are not the property of a given party or group, but a value that is fundamentally and universally human… No people will be truly free till all arefree. BENEDETTO CROCE (1866-1952), Freedom, 1940.

The objector and the rebel who raises his voice against what he believes to be the injustice of the present and the wrongs of the past is the one who hunches the world along. CLARENCE S. DARROW (1857-1938),Address to the Court, The Communist Trial, 1920.

I hear much of people’s calling out to punish the guilty, but very few are concerned to clear the innocent. DANIEL DEFOE (1660-1731), An Appeal to Honor and Justice, 1715.

Foolish liberals who are trying to read the Second Amendment out of the constitution by claiming it’s not an individual right or that it’s too much of a safety hazard don’t see the danger of the big picture. They’re courting disaster by encouraging others to use this same means to eliminate portions of the Constitution they don’t like. ALAN DERSHOWITZ, in The Conceptual Foundations of Anglo-American Jurisprudence in Religion and Reason, 82 Mich L. Rev., 204 (Dan Gifford), 1995.

Watch out for the follow who talks about pitting things in order! Putting things in order always means getting other people under your control. DENIS DIDEROT (1713-1784), 1796.

Demagogues and agitators are very unpleasant, they are incidental to a free and constitutional country, and you must put up with these inconveniences or do without many important advantages. BENJAMIN DISRAELI (1804-1881), Speech, 1867.

The framers of the constitution knew human nature as well as we do. They to had lived in dangerous days; they too knew the suffocating influence of orthodoxy and standardized thought. They weighted the compulsions for restrained speech and thought against the abuses of liberty. They chose liberty. WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS (1898-1980), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Beauharnais v.Illinois, 342 U.S. 250, 287 (1952).

The right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedoms. WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS (1898-1980), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Public Utilities Commission v Pollack, 1952.

The privacy and dignity of our citizens [are] being whittled away by sometimes imperceptible steps. Taken individually, each step may be of little consequence. But when viewed as a whole, there begins to emerge a society quite unlike any we have seen – a society in which government may intrude into the secret regions of a [person’s] life. WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS (1898-1980), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Osborne v. United States.

A people who extend civil liberties only to preferred groups start down the path either to dictatorship of the right or the left. WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS (1898-1980), Obituary, New York Times, 20 January 1980.

The most may err as grossly as the few. JOHN DRYDEN (1631-1700), Absalom and Achitophel, 1681.

Abuse of power isn’t limited to bad guys in other nations. It happens in our own country if we’re not vigilant. CLINT EASTWOOD, Parade Magazine, 12 January 1997.

Laws alone cannot secure freedom of expression; in order that every man present his views without penalty there must be a spirit of tolerance in the entire population. ALBERT EINSTEIN (1879-1955), Out Of My Later Years, 1950.

 Here in America we are descended in spirit from revolutionaries and rebels – men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine. DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (1890-1969), U. S. President, Speech,Columbia University, 1954.

Man exists for h is own sake and not to add a laborer to the State. RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803-1882), Journal, 1839.

He is free who lives as he wishes to live; who is neither subject to compulsion nor to hindrance, nor to force; whose movements to action are not impeded, whose desires attain their purpose, and who does not fall into that which he would avoid. EPICTETUS (ca 55-135 A.D.), Discourses, ca 100 A.D.

The American feels to rich in his opportunities for free expression that he often no longer knows what he is free from. Neither does he know where he is not free; he does not recognize his native autocrats when he sees them. ERIK H. ERIKSON (1902-1994), Childhood and Society, 1950.

We cannot choose freedom established on a hierarchy of degrees of freedom, on a caste system of equality like military rank. We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it. WILLIAM FAULKNER (1897-1962), Harper’s Magazine, June 1956.

Complete and accurate surveillance as a means of control is probably a practical impossibility. What is much more likely is a loss of privacy and constant inconvenience as the wrong people gain access to information, as one wastes time convincing the inquisitors that one is in fact innocent, or as one struggles to untangle the errors of the errant machine. VICTOR FERKISS, Technological Man: The Myth and the Reality, 1969.

In a civilized society, all crimes are likely to be sins, but most sins are not and ought not to be treated as crimes. GEOFFREY FISHER, Archbishop of Canterbury, Look Magazine, 17 March 1959.

Liberty is always dangerous, but it is the safest thing we have. HARRY EMERSON FOSDICK (1878-1969).

“For your own good” is a persuasive argument that will eventually make a man agree to his own destruction. JANET FRAME, Faces In The Water, 1982.

The law, in its majestic equality, forbids all men to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread – the rich as well as the poor. ANATOLE FRANCE (1844-1924), Crainquebille, 1902.

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN (1706-1790), 1755.

The citizen you criticizes his country is paying it an implied tribute. J. WILLIAM FULBRIGHT (1905-1995), Speech, American Newspaper Publishers Association, 28 April 1966.

The more laws the more offenders. THOMAS FULLER (1608-1661), Gnomologia, 1732.

Freedom is not worth living if it does not connote freedom to err. It passes my comprehension how human beings, be they ever so experienced and able, can delight in depriving other human beings of that previous right. MOHANDAS K. GANDHI (1869-1948).

In the end more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when they freedom they wished for was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free. EDWARD GIBBON (1737-1794), Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 1909.

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free. JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE (1749-1832).

The individual is the true reality of life. A cosmos in himself, he does not exist for the State, nor for that abstraction called “society,” or the “nation,” which is only a collection of individuals. EMMA GOLDMAN (1869-1940), The Place of the Individual in Society.

Political repression consists of government action which grossly discriminates against persons or organizations viewed as presenting a fundamental challenge to existing power relationships or key governmental policies, because of their perceived political beliefs. ROBERT JUSTIN GOLDSTEIN, Political Repression in America, 1968.

The doctrine of blind obedience and unqualified submission to any human power, whether civil or ecclesiastical, is the doctrine of despotism, and ought to have no place among Republicans and Christians. ANGELICA GRIMKE (1805-1879), Anti-Slavery Examiner, September 1836.

The doctrine of blind obedience and unqualified submission to any human power, whether civil or ecclesiastical, is the doctrine of despotism, and ought to have no place among Republicans and Christians. ANGELICA GRIMKE (1805-1879), Anti-Slavery Examiner, September 1836.

Books won’t stay banned. They won’t burn. Ideas won’t go to jail. In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The only sure weapon against bad ideas is better ideas. The source of better

The plea of necessity, that eternal argument of all conspirators. WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON (1757-1804), U. S. President, Letter to Simon Bolivar, 27 September 1829.

Freedom is the fundamental character of the will, as weight is of matter... That which is free is the will. Will without freedom is an empty word. GEORG WILHELM FRIEDRICH HEGEL (1770-1831), Philosophy of Right, 1821.

The history of the world is none other than the progress of the consciousness of freedom. GEORG WILHELM HEGEL (1770-1831), The Philosophy of History, 1832.

Whenever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings. HEINRICH HEINE (1797-1856), Almansor: A Tragedy, 1823.

Laws to suppress tend to strengthen what they would prohibit. This is the fine point on which all legal professions of history have based their job security. FRANK HERBERT (1920-1986), Dune, 1965.

The liberty of the individual is the greatest thing of all, it is on this and this alone that the true will of the people can develop. ALEXANDER IVANOVICH HERZEN (1812- 1870), From the Other Shore, 1849.

The sooner we all learn to make a decision between disapproval and censorship, the better off society will be… Censorship cannot get at the real evil, and it is an evil in itself. GRANVILLE HICKS (1901-1982).

The efficiency of the truly national leader consists primarily in preventing the division of the attention of a people, and always in concentrating it on a single enemy. ADOLPH HITLER (1889-1945), Mein Kampf, 1925-27.

Liberty is often a heavy burden on a man. It involves the necessity for perpetual choice which is the kind of labor men have always dreaded. OLIVER WENDALL HOLMES, SR. (1809-1884), Elsie Venner, 1861.

Honest difference of views and honest debate are not disunity. They are the vital process of policy among free men. HERBERT CLARK HOOVER (1874-1964), U. S. President, Speech, 1950.

Truth, in its struggles for recognition, passes through four distinct stages. First, we say it is damnable, dangerous, disorderly, and will surly disrupt society. Second, we declare it is heretical, infidelic and contrary to the Bible. Third, we say it is really a matter of no importance either one way or the other. Fourth, we aver that we have always upheld it and believed it. ELBERT HUBBARD (1856-1915), Roycroft Dictionary and Book of Epigrams, 1923.

I believe the State exists for the development of individual lives, not individuals for the development of the state. JULIAN HUXLEY (1878-1975).

By physical liberty I mean the right to do anything which does not interfere with the happiness of another. By intellectual liberty I mean the right to think and the right to think wrong. ROBERT G. INGERSOLL (1833-1899).

The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy. One’s right to life, liberty and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly may not be submitted to vote; they depend on no elections. ROBERT H. JACKSON (1892-1954), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, West Virginia Board of Education vs. Barnette, 1943.

To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical. THOMAS JEFFERSON (1743-1826), Virginia Statutes of Religious Freedom, 1779.

A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, and what no just government should to rest on inference. THOMAS JEFFERSON (1743-1826), 1787.

It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself. THOMAS JEFFERSON (1743-1846), U. S. President, Notes on the State of Virginia, 1782.

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. THOMAS JEFFERSON (1743-1826), Declaration of Independence,

The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the atmosphere. THOMAS JEFFERSON (1743-1846), U. S. President, Letter to Abigail Adams, 22 February 1787.

We are reluctant to admit that we owe our liberties to men of a type that today we hate and fear – unruly men, disturbers of the peace, men who resent and denounce what Whitman called “the insolence of elected persons” – in word, free men… GERALD W. JOHNSON (1890-1980), American Freedom and the Press, 1958.

[Censors are] people with secret attractions to various temptations… They are defending themselves under the pretext of defending others, because at heart they fear their own weaknesses. ERNEST JONES (1879-1958).

Resistance to the organized mass can be effected only by the man who is as well organized in his individuality as the mass itself. CARL GUSTAV JUNG (1875-1961).

The function of the true state is to impose the minimum restrictions and safeguard the maximum liberties of the people, and it never regards the person as a thing. EMMANUEL KANT (1724-1804).

Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one’s own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others. JOHN F. KENNEDY (1917-1963), U.S. President, 1960.

We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is afraid of its people. JOHN F. KENNEDY (1917-1963), U. S. President.

The wave of the future is not the conquest of the world by a single dogmatic creed but the liberation of the diverse energies of free nations and free men. JOHN KENNEDY (1917-1963), U. S. President, Speech, University of California, 23 March 1963.

Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth. JOHN F. KENNEDY (1917-1963), U. S. President, Speech, United Nations General Assembly 25 September 1961.

At the heart of western freedom and democracy is the belief that the individual man…is the touchstone of value, and all society, groups, the state, exist for his benefit. Therefore the enlargement of liberty for individual human beings must be the supreme goal and abiding practice of any western society. ROBERT F. KENNEDY (1925-1968), U. S. Senator, Speech, University of Capetown, 6 June 1966.

People hardly ever make use of the freedom they have, for example, freedom of thought; instead they demand freedom of speech as a compensation. SOREN KIERKEGAARD (1813-1855).

Many laws as certainly make bad men, as bad men make many bad laws. WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR (1775-1864), Imaginary Conversations, 1901.

All free constitutions are formed with two views – to deter the governed from crime, and the governors from tyranny. JOHN LANSING, JR (1754-1829), Debate, Constitutional Convention, 1787.

No citizen enjoys genuine freedom of religious conviction until the state is indifferent to every form of religious outlook from Atheism to Zoroastrianism. HAROLD J. LASKI (1893-1950), Grammar of Politics, 1925.

Men fight for liberty and win it with hard knocks. Their children, brought up easy, let it slip away again, poor fools. And their grand-children are once more slaves. D. H. LAWRENCE (1885-1938), 1915.

It must never be forgotten...that the liberties of the people are no so safe under the gracious manner of government as by the limitation of power. RICHARD HENRY LEE (1732-1794).

No truly sophisticated proponent of repression would be stupid enough to shatter the façade of democratic institutions. MURRAY B. LEVIN, Political Hysteria in America, 1971.

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the oppressive…those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. C. S. LEWIS (1898-1963).

If by the mere force of numbers a majority should deprive a minority of any clearly written constitutional right, it might, in a moral point of view, justify revolution. ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1809-1865), First Inaugural Address, 4 March 1861.

In a free society the state does not administer the affairs of men. It administers justice among men who conduct their own affairs. WALTER LIPPMANN (1889-1974), An Inquiry into the Principles of the Good Society, 1937.

Freedom for supporters of the government only, for members of one party only – no matter how big its membership may be – is no freedom at all. Freedom is always freedom for the man who thinks differently. ROSA LUXEMBURG (1880-1919).

To punish a man because we infer from the nature of some doctrine which he holds, or from the conduct of other persons who hold the same doctrines with him, that he will commit a crime, is persecution, and is, in every case, foolish and wicked. THOMAS BABINGTON MACAULAY (1800-1859), Hallam, 1828. 

Bureaucracy, the rule of no one, has become the modern form of despotism. MARY MCCARTHY, The New Yorker, 18 October 1958.

The legal code can never be identified with the code of morals. It is no more the function of government to impose a moral code than to impose a religious code. And for the same reason. ROBERT M. MACIVER, The Web of Government, 1947.

Since the general civilization mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people, by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations. JAMES MADISON (1751-1836), Virginia Convention, 16 June 1788.

I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden ursurpations. JAMES MADISON (1751-1836), U. S. President, Speech, 16 June 1788.

To change masters is not to be free. JOSE MARTI y PEREZ (1853-1895).

Tolerance is a better guarantee of freedom than brotherly love; for a man may love his brother so much that he feels himself thereby appointed his brother’s keeper. EVERETT DEAN MARTIN (1880-1941), Liberty, 1930.

Morality cannot exist one minute without freedom… Only a free man can possibly be moral. Unless a good deed is voluntary, it has no moral significance. EVERETT DEAN MARTIN, Liberty, 1930.

All men are created equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; among which are the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing the obtaining of happiness and safety. GEORGE MASON (1725-1792), First Draft, Virginia Declaration of Rights.

If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that, too. W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM (1874-1965), Strictly Personal, 1941.

There are two good things in life – freedom of thought and freedom of action. W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM (1874-1965), Of Human Bondage, 1915.

Freedom is not a fixed and possessed thing. It is a quality of life. And like action itself, it is something experienced only by individuals. NEIL A. McDONALD, Politics: A Study of Control Behavior, 1965. Whatever the immediate gains and losses, the dangers to our safety arising from political suppression are always greater than the dangers to the safety resulting  from political freedom. Suppression is always foolish.

Freedom is always wise. ALEXANDER MEIKLEJOHN (1872-1964), Testimony, First Session, 84th Congress, 1955.

May God prevent us from becoming “right-thinking men” -- that is to say, men who agree perfectly with their own police. THOMAS MERTON (1915-1968), quoted in obituary, New York Times, 11 December 1968.

There is no crueler tyranny that that which is perpetrated under the shield of law and in the name of justice. CHARLES-LOUIS de SECONDAT, BARON de MONTESQUIEU (1689-1755), The Spirit of the Laws, 1748.

No one can be free unless he is independent… In reality, he who is served is limited in his independence…. MARIA MONTESSORI (1870-1952).

If you think there is freedom of the press in the United States, I tell there is no freedom of the press… They come out with the cheap shot. The press should be ashamed of itself. They should come to both sides of the issue and hear both sides and let the American people make up their minds. BILL MOYERS, Columbia Journalism Review, March/April 1982.

Fascism conceives of the State as an absolute, in comparison with which all individuals or groups are relative, only to be conceived in their relation to the State. BENITO MUSSOLINI (1883-1945), New York Times, 11 January 1935.

Then what is freedom? It is the will to be responsible to ourselves. FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE (1844-1900), Twilight of the Idols, 1888.

The number of laws is constantly growing in all  countries and, owing to this, what is called crime is very often not a crime at all, for it contains no element of violence or harm. P. D. OUSPENSKY (1878-1947), A New Model of the Universe, 1931.

In existing criminology there are concepts: a criminal man, a criminal profession, a criminal society, a criminal sect, and a criminal tribe, but there is no concept of a criminal state, or a criminal government, or criminal legislation. Consequently, the biggest crimes actually escape being called crimes. P. D. OUSPENSKY (1878-1947), A New Model of the Universe, 1931.

The American constitutions were to liberty, what a grammar is to language: they define its parts of speech and practically construct them into syntax. THOMAS PAINE (1737-1809), The Rights of Man, 1791.

Justice without force is impotent, force without justice is tyranny. Unable to make what is just strong, we have made what is strong just. BLAISE PASCAL (1623- 1662), Pensees.

No free people can lose their liberties while they are jealous of liberty. But the liberties of the freest people are in danger when they set up symbols of liberty as fetishes, worshipping the symbol instead of the principle it represents. WENDELL PHILLIPS (1811-1884), in Liberty and the Great Libertarians (C. Spradling).

Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves. WILLIAM PITT (1759-1806), Speech, House of Commons, 18 November 1783.

There is no subjugation so perfect as that which keeps the appearance of freedom for in that way one captures volition itself. JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU (1712-1741), Emile, 1762.

The Americans of 1776 were among the first men in modern society to defend rather than to seek an open society and constitutional liberty.... Perhaps the most remarkable characteristic of this political theory sits in its deep-seated conservatism. However radical the principles of the Revolution may have seemed to the rest of the world, in the minds of the colonists they were thoroughly preservative and respectful of the past. CLINTON ROSSITER, Seedtime of the Republic, 1953.

There can be no truly moral choice unless that choice is made in
freedom; similarly, there can be no really firmly grounded and
consistent defense of freedom unless that defense is rooted in moral
principle. In concentrating on the ends of choice, the conservative,
by neglecting the conditions of choice, loses that very morality of
conduct with which he is so concerned. And the libertarian, by
concentrating only on the means, or conditions, of choice and ignoring
the ends, throws away an essential moral defense of his own position."
--Murray N. Rothbard

One evening, when I was yet in my nurse’s arms, I wanted to touch the tea urn, which was boiling merrily… My nurse would have taken me away from the urn, but my mother said “Let him touch it.” So I touched it – and that was my first lesson in the meaning of liberty. JOHN RUSKIN (1819-1900), The Story of Arachne, 1870.

When the state intervenes to insure the indoctrination of some doctrine, it does so because there is no conclusive evidence in favor of that doctrine. BERTRAND RUSSELL (1872-1970), 1928.

True, it is evil that a single man should crush the herd, but see not there the worse form of slavery, which is when the herd crushes out the man. ANTOINE de SAINTEXUPERY (1900-1944), Citadelle, 1948.

Surely a large part of the zealous repression of radical protest in America has its roots in the fact that millions of men who are apparently “insiders” know how vulnerable the system is because they know how ambiguous their own attachments to it are. The slightest challenge exposes the fragile foundations of legitimacy of the state. JOHN SCHARR, Power and Community, 1970.

Liberalism regards all absolutes with profound skepticism, including both moral imperatives and final solutions... Insistence upon any particular solution is the mark of an ideologue.... ARTHUR M. SCHLESINGER, JR., (1888-1965), The Crisis of Confidence, 1969.

Freedom can’t be kept for nothing. If you set a high value on liberty, must set a low value on everything else. LUCIUS ANANEUS SENECA (4 B.C. - 65 A.D.), Letters to Lucilius, 65 A.D.

Our lack of constant awareness has also permitted us to accept definitions of freedom that are not necessarily consistent with the actuality of being free. Because we have learned to confuse the word with the reality the word seeks to describe, our vocabulary has become riddled with distorted and contradictory meanings smuggled into the language. BUTLER D. SHAFFER, Calculated Chaos, 1985.

It is the deed that teaches, not the name we give it. Murder and capital punishment are not opposites that cancel one another, but similars that breed their own kind.

GEORGE BERNARD SHAW (1856-1950, quoted in Amnesty Update, January/February 1990.

There is no “slippery slope” toward loss of liberty, only a long staircase where each step down must first be tolerated by the American people and their leaders. ALAN K. SIMPSON, U. S. Senator, New York Times, 26 September 1982.

And this I must fight against: any idea, religion or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about. I can understand why a system built on a pattern must try to destroy the free mind, for this is the one thing which can by inspection destroy such a system. JOHN STEINBECK (1902-1968), East of Eden, 1952.

The right to defy an unconstitutional statute is basic in our scheme. Even when an ordinance requires a permit to make a speech, to deliver a sermon, to picket, to parade, or to assemble, it need not be honored when it’s invalid on its face. POTTER STEWART (1915-1985), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Walker v. Birmingham, 1967.

The dichotomy between personal liberties and property rights is a false one. Property does not have rights. People have rights…. In fact, a fundamental interdependence exists between the personal right to liberty and the personal right in property. POTTER STEWART (1915-1985), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Lynch v. Household Finance Corp., 1972.

Laws are like cobwebs which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through. JONATHAN  SWIFT (1667-1745), Gullivers Travels, 1726.

The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws. CORNELIUS TACITUS (55-117 A.D.).

Constitutions are checks upon the hasty action of the majority. They are the self-imposed restraints of a whole people upon a majority of them to secure sober action and a respect for the rights of the minority. WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT (1857-1930), U. S. President, Veto Message, Arizona Enabling Act, 1911.

No doctrine involving more pernicious consequences was ever invented by the wit of man than any [constitutional] provisions can be suspended during any of the great exigencies of government. ROGER B. TANEY (1777-1864), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Ex parte Milligan, 1866.

It is probably that democracy owes more to nonconformity than to any other single movement. R. H. TAWNEY (1880-1962), Religion and the Rise of Capitalism, 1926.

Government cannot make us equal; it can only recognize, respect, and protect us as equal before the law. CLARENCE THOMAS, U. S. Supreme Court Justice.

I don’t believe in quotas. America was founded on a philosophy of individual rights, not group rights. CLARENCE THOMAS, U. S. Supreme Court Justice.

There will never be a free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats them accordingly. HENRY DAVID THOREAU (1817-1862), Civil Disobedience, 1849.

Whenever you have an efficient government you have a dictatorship. HARRY S. TRUMAN (1884-1972), U. S. President, Speech, Columbia University, 28 April 1959.  

We enact many laws that manufacture criminals, and then a few that punish them. BENJAMIN R. TUCKER (1854-1939), Instead of a Book, 1893.

The tyranny of the many would be when one body takes over the rights of others, and then exercises its power to change the laws in its favor. VOLTAIRE (1694-1778), Philosophical Dictionary, 1764.

Given the ambiguity of religious texts and teachings, the mixed historical record, and the empirical evidence, it would be foolhardy to assert that religious faith necessarily upholds democratic values. KENNETH D. WALD, Religion and Politics in the United States, 1986.

From the utopian viewpoint, the United States constitution is a singularly hard-bitten and cautious document, for it breathes the spirit of skepticism about human altruism and incorporates a complex system of checks, balances and restrictions, so that everybody is holding the reins on everybody else. CHAD WALSH, From Utopia to Nightmare, 1962.

Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth. GEORGE WASHINGTON (1732-1799), U. S. President.

But when no risk is taken there is no freedom. It is thus that, in an industrial society, the plethora of laws made for our personal safety convert the land into a nursery, and policemen hired to protect us become selfserving busybodies. ALAN WATTS (1915-1973), Tao: The Watercourse Way, 1975.

Most of the major ills of the world have been caused by well-meaning people who ignored the principle of individual freedom, except as applied to themselves, and who were obsessed with fanatical zeal to improve the lot of mankind. HENRY GRADY WEAVER

Good intentions will always be pleaded for any assumption of power. The Constitution was made to guard people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters. DANIEL WEBSTER (1782-1852).

The shallow consider liberty a release from all law, from every constraint. The wise see in it, on the contrary, the potent Law of Laws. WALT WHITMAN (1819-1892), Notes Left Over, 1881.

Liberty is never out of bounds or off limits; it spreads wherever it can capture the imagination of men. E. B. WHITE (1899-1985), The Points of My Compass, 1960.

To believe is very dull. To doubt is intensely engrossing. To be on the alert is to live, to be lulled into security is to die. OSCAR WILDE (1854-1900), Oscariana, 1911.

The constitution does not provide for first and second class citizens. WENDELL L. WILKIE (1892-1944), An American Program, 1944.

I have always in my own thought summed up individual liberty, and business liberty, and every other kind of liberty, in the phrase that is common in the sporting world, “A free field and no favor.” WOODROW WILSON (1856-1924), U. S. President, Speech, 1915.