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
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.
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
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
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.
Personal liberty is
the paramount essential to human dignity and human happiness. EDWARD
GEORGE BULWER-LYTTON (1803-1873).
intoxicates, And makes mere sots of magistrates; The fumes of it
invade the brain, And make men giddy, proud and vain. SAMUEL BUTLER
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.
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
Free discussion is
the only necessary Constitution –the only necessary Law of the
Constitution. RICHARD CARLILE (1790-1843), The Republican,
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
rights and you destroy your own. JOHN JAY CHAPMAN (1862-1933),
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
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
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
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,
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
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.
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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,
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.
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
“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
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
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
The Place of the
Individual in Society.
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
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,
The history of the
world is none other than the progress of the consciousness of
freedom. GEORG WILHELM HEGEL (1770-1831), The Philosophy of
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,
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
(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
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
Statutes of Religious Freedom,
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),
President, Notes on the State of
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
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
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.
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
Many laws as
certainly make bad men, as bad men make many bad laws. WALTER SAVAGE
LANDOR (1775-1864), Imaginary Conversations, 1901.
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,
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).
sophisticated proponent of repression would be stupid enough to
shatter the façade of democratic institutions.
MURRAY B. LEVIN, Political Hysteria in
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,
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.
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),
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,
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),
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,
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
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
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
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,
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
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
of the Universe,
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.
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.
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
and the Great Libertarians
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
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
the ends, throws away an essential moral defense of his own
--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.
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.
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
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
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
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,
The more corrupt the
state, the more numerous the laws. CORNELIUS TACITUS (55-117 A.D.).
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,
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,
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
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
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
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,
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
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
Notes Left Over,
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
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),
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.