The Writer’s Rights

Selected Quotations on Freedom of Expression, Censorship, Civil Liberties, and Individual Rights for Writers, Journalists, Researchers, Scholars, Booksellers, and Librarians

Compiled by Laird Wilcox, Editorial Research Service, KS 66051

Third Edition — 2002 ISBN 0-933592-97-3


“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; of abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Constitution of the United States, Bill of Rights, First Amendment, 1791.

One would think that given the rather explicit language of the First Amendment there wouldn’t be much ambiguity about what it intends. However, two centuries of various forms of legislation, litigation and eventual Supreme Court Decisions suggest that this is not the case. While Americans have retained a large degree of expressive freedom relative to other places in the world, there will always be repressive forces in our society — political, religious, gender or racial interest groups — ready and willing to restrict these liberties in order to advance their own particular agenda, usually in the form of restricting or prohibiting criticism, discussion and debate on particular issues.

These restrictions are often quite subtle, as in the emergence of various forms of “political correctness,” which has both left and right-wing varieties, or quite explicit, as in the case of speech codes on college and university campuses. What is disarming about these forces is their frequent alliance with “humanitarian” concerns, such as movements for equality and elimination of discrimination, which frames concern for freedom of expression as opposition to otherwise legitimate grievances. Nevertheless, no interest group should be allowed to impose their own exceptions to the First Amendment on other Americans.

Another threat to freedom of expression has re-emerged with renewed vigor following the 11 September 2002 World Trade Center tragedy, and that is from an understandable but often overzealous desire to deal with the threat of terrorism. There’s little doubt that this horrible crime was totally indefensible and while there are reasonable and even necessary safety measures that might be considered, the “War on Terrorism” is bringing with it the draconian laws threatening basic freedoms Americans have taken for granted since the founding of the Republic. In addition to a dramatically expanded definition of “terrorism” to take in more and more behaviors and events, new threats to freedom of association, assembly and speech are emerging from the rush of legislation on all levels of government. Moreover, opposition to these measures is sometimes taken to imply a lack of patriotism or even disloyalty, although it can easily be argued that precisely the opposite is the case. This is a truly frightening development, and especially so given the rationalizations of “wartime” and national security.

This collection contains quotations from a wide variety of political perspectives, from liberal and socialist to libertarian and conservative. What they all have in common is some degree of relevance to human freedom and individual rights, with an emphasis on freedom of expression. What I have tended to avoid is quotations pertaining specifically to class, ethnicity, religion or gender and instead I have favored quotations pertaining to everyone, inasmuch as I believe human freedom and individual rights should apply to all human beings.

These quotations come from a wide variety of sources, the principle ones being previous collections I have authored or coauthored, most particularly, Be Reasonable: Selected Quotations for Inquiring Minds, by Laird Wilcox and John George (Prometheus: 1994), and Selected Quotations for the Ideological Skeptic, by Laird Wilcox (Editorial Research Service, 1992). Other sources include my own notes, quotations sent to me by friends, extensive internet searching and a very large number of books.

It’s important to bear in mind that quotations are, almost by definition, statements removed from their original context. It isn’t difficult to find contradictory statements in the writings of many individuals, and some writers may be surprisingly ambivalent about an issue, at times taking a stand diametrically opposed to an earlier statement. Many of our nation’s founders, for example, had both a liberal and tolerant side, and a conservative and authoritarian side — a trait that attests to their essentially fallible human nature and persists in human beings to the present day. It is, of course, not possible to know exactly what someone was thinking or referring to when they made a statement that is subsequently quoted, so we tend to interpret the quotation in terms of current meanings and current issues. In most cases what they had in mind was religious and political freedom in the form of the written and spoken word. To imagine that John Stuart Mill or Thomas Jefferson would feel comfortable defending the rights of pornographic film producers is almost certainly quite a stretch. On the other hand, most late 20th century writers quoted here have an awareness of censorship pertaining to erotic and sexual words and images and their quotations would likely include those forms of expression as well, although even that would have to be taken on a case by case basis unless otherwise indicated.

Freedom of expression and civil liberties can never be taken for granted, and especially so for writers, journalists, researchers, scholars and librarians. These professions are among the first to feel the chill of repression and experience its personal, professional and legal consequences. If in some small way this collection of quotations is useful to raise awareness of this issue, it has been worth the effort to publish it.

I would be especially grateful to anyone sending me corrections or additions to this compilation.

No copyright is claimed or implied and this document may be copied, added to any website, printed, and distributed as you please.

For further information on my publications please check my website at LairdWilcox.Com.

Laird Wilcox
March 2002


The key to wisdom is this — constant and frequent questioning … for by doubting we are led to question and by questioning we arrive at the truth. PETER ABELARD (1099-1142), Sic et non, c. 1120.

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 of Freedom in Antiquity, 1877.

Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end. LORD ACTON (1834-1902), Lectures on Modern History.

Government by idea tends to take in everything, to make the whole of society obedient to the idea. Spaces not so governed are unconquered, beyond the border, unconverted, a future danger. LORD ACTON (1834-1902).

Everything secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity. LORD ACTON (1834-1902), Letter, 23 January 1861.

The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities. LORD ACTON (1834-1902), The History of Freedom in Antiquity, 1877.

I would rather starve and rot and keep the privilege of speaking the truth as I see it, than of holding all the offices that capital has to give from the presidency down. HENRY BROOKS ADAMS (1848-1927), The Degradation of the Democratic Dogma, 1919.

The jaws of power are always open to devour, and her arm 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), U. S. President, 1765.

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence. JOHN ADAMS (1732-1826), U. S. President, December 1770.

Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people. JOHN ADAMS (1732-1826), U. S. President.

Civil liberty can be established on no foundation of human reason which will not at the same time demonstrate the right of religious freedom. JOHN QUINCY ADAMS (1767-1848), U. S. President, Letter, 1823.

Individual liberty is individual power, and as the power of a community is a mass compounded of individual powers, the nation which enjoys the most freedom must necessarily be in proportion to its numbers the most powerful nation. JOHN QUINCY ADAMS (1767-1848), Letter to James Lloyd, 1 October 1822.

Driven from every other corner of the earth, freedom of thought and the right of private judgment in matters of conscience, direct their course to this happy country as their last asylum. SAM ADAMS (1722-1803), Speech, 1 August 1776.

Dogma is the convictions of one man imposed authoritatively upon others. FELIX ADLER (1851-1933).

Freedom is the emancipation from the arbitrary rule of other men. MORTIMER ADLER (1902-2001).

The truth that makes men free is for the most part the truth which men prefer not to hear. HERBERT SEBASTIEN AGAR (1897-1980), The Time for Greatness, 1942.

Every time I criticize what I consider to be excesses or faults in the news business, I am accused of repression, and the leaders of various media professional groups wave the First Amendment as they denounce me. That happens to be my amendment, too. It guarantees my free speech as it does their freedom of the press … There is room for all of us — and for our divergent views — under the First Amendment. SPIRO AGNEW, U. S. Vice-President, 1972.

The American people should be made aware of the trend toward monopolization of the great public information vehicles and the concentration of more and more power over public opinion in fewer and fewer hands. SPIRO AGNEW, U. S. Vice-President, 13 November 1969.

From a “pragmatic” point of view, political philosophy is a monster and whenever it has been taken seriously, the consequence, almost invariably, has been revolution, war, and eventually, the police state. HENRY DAVID AIKEN, Commentary, April 1964.

The possession of unlimited power will make a despot of almost any man. There is a possible Nero in the gentlest human creature that walks. THOMAS BAILEY ALDRICH (1836-1907), Ponkapog Papers, 1903.

Mankind is at its best when it is most free. This will be clear if we grasp the principle of liberty. We must recall that the basic principle is freedom of choice, which saying many have on their lips but few in their minds. DANTE ALIGHIERI (1265-1321), Letters.

A free and open society is an ongoing conflict, interrupted periodically by compromises. SAUL ALINSKY (1909-1972), Rules for Radicals, 1971.

The burning of an author’s books, imprisonment for opinion’s sake, has always been the tribute that an ignorant age pays to the genius of its time. JOSEPH ALLEN (1749-1827), Delegate, Massachusetts Constitutional Convention, 1788.

The artist, viewing his fellows through his personal vision, has through the ages attempted to portray what he sees and to present his understanding of it. Censorship in his case has perpetrated heavy and sometimes reprehensible blunders. HOLLIS ALPERT, Censorship: For And Against, 1971.

Freedom of thought and freedom of speech in our great institutions are absolutely necessary for the preservation of our country. The moment either is restricted, liberty begins to wither and die … JOHN PETER ALTGELD (1847-1902), 1897.

I’ve always felt that a person’s intelligence is directly reflected by the number of conflicting points of view he can entertain simultaneously on the same topic. LISA ALTHER.

It is the duty of the officials to prevent or suppress the threatened disorder with a firm hand instead of timidly yielding to threats … Surely a speaker ought not to be suppressed because his opponents propose to use violence. It is they who should suffer from their lawlessness, not he. AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION, Bill of Rights Committee, Amicus Brief for the CIO, 1939.

I shall not counsel or maintain any suit or proceeding which shall appear to me to be unjust, nor any defense except such as I believe to be honestly debatable under the law of the land. AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION, Oath for Candidates Seeking Admission to the Bar, 1925.

The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack … These actions apparently arise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, The Freedom to Read Statement, 2000.

We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, The Freedom to Read Statement, 2000.

We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, The Freedom to Read Association, 2000.

Intellectual freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access of all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, Office of Intellectual Freedom, 2002.

Why is Intellectual Freedom Important? Intellectual freedom is the basis of our democratic system. We expect our people to be self-governors. But to do so responsibly, our citizenry must be well informed. Libraries provide the ideas and information, in a variety of formats, to allow people to inform themselves. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, Office of Intellectual Freedom, 2002.

The test of every religious, political, or educational system, is the man which it forms. If a system injures the intelligence it is bad. If it injures the character it is vicious. If it injures the conscience it is criminal. HENRI FREDERIC AMIEL (1821-1881), Journal, 17 June 1852.

Philosophy means the complete liberty of the mind, and therefore independence of all social, political or religious prejudice … It loves on thing only … truth. HENRI FREDERIC AMIEL (1821-1881), Journal, 1873-84.

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.

The intellectually stifling results of censorship — while deplorable in any setting — would be all the more abominable if allowed to exist within the college environment. WILLIAM M. ANDERSON, JR., President of Mary Washington College, Letter, 7 December 1983.

No cause is left but the most ancient of all, the one, in fact, that from the beginning of our history has determined the very existence of politics, the cause of freedom versus tyranny. HANNAH ARENDT (1906-1975), The New Yorker, 12 September 1970.

If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share … in the government to the utmost. ARISTOTLE (384-322 B.C.) Politics, 343 B.C.

A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider godfearing and pious. ARISTOTLE (384-322 B.C.), Politics, 343 B.C.

It is the mark of an educated man to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. ARISTOTLE (384-322 B.C.).

It makes no difference whether a good man has defrauded a bad man, or a bad man defrauded a good man, or whether a good or bad man has committed adultery: the law can look only to the amount of damage done. ARISTOTLE (384-322 B.C.), Nicomachean Ethics, 340 B.C.

Men regard it as their right to return evil for evil — and if they cannot, feel they have lost their liberty. ARISTOTLE (384-322 B.C.), Nicomachean Ethics, 340 B.C.

The freethinking of one age is the common sense of the next. MATTHEW ARNOLD (1822-1887), 1875.

It is a part of the function of “law” to give recognition to ideas representing the exact opposite of established conduct. Most of the complications arise from the necessity of pretending to do one thing, while actually doing another. THURMAN ARNOLD (1891-1969), The Symbols of Government, 1935.

The spectacle of a judge pouring over the picture of some nude, trying to ascertain the extent to which she arouses prurient interests, and then attempting to write an opinion which explains the difference between that nude and some other nude has elements of low comedy. THURMAN ARNOLD (1891-1969), Fair Fights and Foul: Dissenting Lawyer’s Life, 1965.


Liberty of speech invites and provokes liberty to be used again, and so bringeth much to a man’s knowledge. SIR FRANCIS BACON (1561-1626), The Advancement of Learning, 1605.

For whatever deserves to exist deserves also to be known, for knowledge is the image of existence, and things mean and splendid exist alike. SIR FRANCIS BACON (1561-1626), The Advancement of Learning, 1605.

One of the Seven [wise men of Greece] was wont to say: That laws were like cobwebs, where the small flies are caught and the great break through. SIR FRANCIS BACON (1561-1626), 1625.

A forbidden writing is thought to be a certain spark of truth, that flies up in the face of them who seek to tread it out. SIR FRANCIS BACON (1561-1626), The Advancement of Learning, 1605.

There are in fact four very significant stumbling-blocks in the way of grasping the truth, which hinder every man however learned, and scarcely allow anyone to win a clear title to wisdom, namely, the example of weak and unworthy authority, longstanding custom, the feeling of the ignorant crowd, and the hiding of our own ignorance while making a display of our apparent knowledge. ROGER BACON (1220-1292), Opus Majus, 1266-67.

Letting a maximum number of views be heard regularly is not just a nice philosophical notion. It is the best way any society has yet discovered to detect maladjustments quickly, to correct injustices, and to discover new ways to meet our continuing stream of novel problems that rise in a changing environment, BEN BAGDIKIAN.

Persecution in intellectual countries produces a superficial conformity, but also underneath an intense, incessant, implacable doubt. WALTER BAGEHOT (1826-1877), Contemporary Review, April 1874.

A democratic despotism is like a theocracy: it assumes its own correctness. WALTER BAGEHOT (1826-1877).

So long as there are earnest believers in the world, they will always wish to punish opinions, even if their judgment tells them it is unwise and their conscience tells them it is wrong. WALTER BAGEHOT ((1826-1877), Literary Studies.

The freedom to share one’s insights and judgments verbally or in writing is, just like the freedom to think, a holy and inalienable right of humanity that, as a universal human right, is above all the rights of princes. CARL FRIEDRICH BAHRDT (1740-1792), On Freedom of The Press and Its Limits, 1787.

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.

The freedom allowed in the United States to all sorts of inquiry and discussion necessarily leads to a diversity of opinion, which is seen not only in there being different denominations, but different opinions also in the same denomination. ROBERT BAIRD, Religion in America, 1856.

The right to unite freely and to separate freely is the first and most important of all political rights. MIKHAIL A. BAKUNIN (1814-1876), Proposition Motivee, 1868.

Liberty means that a man is recognized as free and treated as free by those who surround him. MIKHAIL A. BAKUNIN (1814-1876), God and the State, 1871.

Intellectual slavery, of whatever nature it may be, will always have as a natural result both political and social slavery. MIKHAIL A. BAKUNIN (1814-1876), Federalism, Socialism and Anti-Theologism, 1868.

Freedom, morality, and the human dignity of the individual consists precisely in this; that he does good not because he is forced to do so, but because he freely conceives it, wants it, and loves it. MIKHAIL BUKUNIN (1814-1876), God and The State, 1871.

Persecution in intellectual countries produces a superficial conformity, but also underneath an intense, incessant, implacable doubt. WALTER BAGEHOT (1826-1877), Contemporary Review, April 1874.

The power of authority is never more subtle and effective than when it produces a psychological “atmosphere” or “climate” favorable to the life of certain modes of belief, unfavorable, and even fatal, to the life of others. ARTHUR BALFOUR (1848-1930), The Foundations of Belief, 1895.

The oppression of any people for opinion’s sake has rarely had any other effect than to fix those opinions deeper, and render them more important. HOSEA BALLOU (1771-1852).

Weary the path that does not challenge. Doubt is an incentive to truth and patient inquiry leadeth the way. HOSEA BALLOU (1771-1852).

In terms of altering sociological patterns, free speech, rather than being the enemy, is a long-tested and worthy ally. To deny free speech in order to engineer social changes in the name of accomplishing a greater good for one sector of our society erodes the freedoms of all. SARAH EVANS BARKER, Judge, U. S. District Court, Decision overturning Indianapolis Pornography Ordinance, 19 November 1984.

To permit every interest group, especially those who claim to be victimized by unfair expression, their own legislative exceptions to the First Amendment so long as they succeed in obtaining a majority of legislative votes in their favor demonstrates the potentially predatory nature of what defendants seek through this Ordinance. SARAH EVANS BARKER, Judge, U. S. District Court, Decision overturning Indianapolis Pornography Ordi-nance, 19 November, 1984.

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.

Character assassination is at once easier and surer than physical assault; and it involves far less risk for the assassin. It leaves him free to commit the same deed over and over again, and may, indeed, win him the honors of a hero in the country of his victims. ALAN BARTH, The Loyalty of Free Men, 1951.

There is in all of a strong disposition to believe that anything lawful is also legitimate. This belief is so widespread that many persons have erroneously held that things are “just” because the law makes them so. CLAUDE-FREDRIC BASTIAT (1801-1850), The Law, 1850.

[Natural rights are] moral claims to those spheres of action which are necessary for the welfare of the individual and the development of his personality. M. SEARLE BATES (1897-1978), Religious Liberty: An Inquiry, 1945.

Religious liberty is the chief cornerstone of the American system of government, and provisions for its security are embedded in the written charter and interwoven in the moral fabric of its laws. THOMAS Y. BAYARD.

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.

As long and I don’t write about the government, religion, politics, and other institutions, I am free to print anything. PIERRE-AUGUSTIN BEAUMARCHAIS (1732-1799).

The punishment of death is the war of a nation against a citizen whose destruction it judges to be necessary or useful. CESARE BECCARIA (1738-1794), On Crimes and Punishments, 1764.

For a punishment to be just it should consist of only such gradations of intensity as suffice to deter men from committing crimes. CESARE BECCARIA (1738-1794), On Crimes and Punishments, 1764.

We are more especially called upon to maintain the principles of free discussion in case of unpopular sentiments or persons, as in no other case will any effort to maintain them be needed. EDWARD BEECHER (1803-1895).

Make men large and strong and tyranny will bankrupt itself in making shackles for them. HENRY WARD BEECHER (1813-1887), Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit, 1887.

There is tonic in the things that men do not love to hear. Free speech is to a great people what the winds are to oceans … and where free speech is stopped miasma is bred, and death comes fast. HENRY WARD BEECHER (1813-1887), Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit, 1887.

Liberty is the soul’s right to breathe and, when it cannot take a long breath, laws are girdled too tight. HENRY WARD BEECHER (1813-1887), Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit, 1887.

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 there can 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.

[Heresy is] the dislocation of a complete and self-supporting scheme by the introduction of a novel denial of some essential part therein. HILAIRE BELLOC (1870-1950), The Great Heresies, 1938

Perhaps the most obvious political effect of controlled news is the advantage it gives powerful people in getting their issues on the political agenda and defining those issues in ways likely to influence their resolution. W. LANCE BENNETT, News: The Politics of Illusion, 1983.

As to the evil which results from censorship, it is impossible to measure it, because it is impossible to tell where it ends. JEREMY BENTHAM (1748-1832), On Liberty of the Press and Public Discussion.

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.

No power of government ought to be employed in the endeavor to establish any system or article of belief on the subject of religion. JEREMY BENTHAM (1748-1832), Constitutional Code.

I thank God, we have not free schools nor printing; and I hope we shall not have these hundred years. For learning has brought disobedience, and heresy and sects into the world; and printing has divulged them and libels against the government. God keep us from both! SIR WILLIAM BERKELEY (1606-1677), Royal Governor of Virginia, 1642.

Purveyors of political correctness will, in the final analysis, not even allow others their judgments … They celebrate “difference,” but they will not allow people truly to be different — to think differently, and to say what they think. MARK BERLEY, Argos, Spring 1998.

Political correctness is really a subjective list put together by the few to rule the many — a list of things one must think, say, or do. It affronts the right of the individual to establish his or her own beliefs. MARK BERLEY, Argos, Spring 1998.

But to manipulate men, to propel them toward goals which you — the social reformers — see, but they may not, is to deny their human essence, to treat them as objects without wills of their own, and therefore to degrade them. ISIAH BERLIN (1909-1997), Two Concepts of Liberty, 1958.

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 denial of that in men which makes them men and their values ultimate. ISIAH BERLIN (1909-1997), Two Concepts of Liberty, 1958.

Conformities are call for much more eagerly today than yesterday … skeptics, liberals, individuals with a taste for private life and their own inner standards of behavior, are objects of fear and derision and targets of persecution for either side … in the great ideological wars of our time. ISIAH BERLIN (1909-1997), Political Ideas in the Twentieth Century, 1950.

Civilization exists precisely so that there may be no masses but rather men alert enough never to constitute masses. GEORGES BERNANOS (1888-1948), Last Essays of Georges Bernanos, 1955.

The first sign of corruption in a society that is still alive is that the end justifies the means. GEORGES BERNANOS (1888-1949), The Last Essays of Georges Bernanos, 1955.

Justice in the hands of the powerful is merely a governing system like any other. Why call it justice? Let us rather call it injustice, but of a sly effective order, based entirely on cruel knowledge of the resistance of the weak, their capacity for pain, humiliation and misery. GEORGES BERNANOS (1888-1948), in Diary of a Country Priest (M. Oliver), 1936.

In order to get the truth, conflicting arguments and expression must be allowed. There can be no freedom without choice, no sound choice without knowledge. DAVID K. BERNINGHAUSEN, Arrogance of the Censor, 1982.

If your library is not ‘unsafe’, it probably isn’t doing its job. JOHN BERRY, III, Library Journal, October 1999.

Opposition, n. In politics the party that prevents the government from running amuck by hamstringing it. AMBROSE BIERCE (1842-1914), The Devil’s Dictionary, 1911.

Intellectual and cultural freedom is the most important single precondition for the breakdown of the kinds of tyrannical and totalitarian systems that periodically threaten us. JAMES BILLINGTON (1885-1981).

A good writer of history is a guy who is suspicious. Suspicion marks the real difference between the man who wants to write honest history and the one who’d rather write a good story. JIM BISHOP (1907-1987), New York Times, 5 February 1955.

Anonymous pamphlets, leaflets, brochures and even books have played an important role in the progress of mankind. Persecuted groups and sects from time to time throughout history have been able to criticize the oppressive practices and laws either anonymously or not at all … It is play that anonymity has sometimes been assumed for the most constructive purposes. HUGO L. BLACK (1886-1971), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Tally v. California, 1960.

Without deviation, without exception, without any ifs, buts, or whereases, freedom of speech means that you shall not do something to people either for the views they express, or the words they speak or write. U. S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE HUGO L. BLACK (1886-1971), One Man’s Stand For Freedom, 1963.

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.

Freedom to publish means freedom for all and not for some. Freedom to publish is guaranteed by the constitution but freedom to continue to prevent others from publishing is not. HUGO L. BLACK (1886-1971), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, One Man’s Stand For Freedom, 1963.

Criticism of government finds sanctuary in several portions of the First Amendment. It is part of the right of free speech. It embraces freedom of the press. HUGO L. BLACK (1886-1971), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, 1961.

The interest of the people lies in being able to join organizations, advocate causes, and make political “mistakes” without being subjected to governmental penalties. HUGH L. BLACK (1886-1971), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, 1959.

An unconditional right to say what one pleases about public affairs is what I consider to be the minimum guarantee of the First Amendment. HUGO L. BLACK (1886-1971), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, New York Times Company vs. Sullivan, 1964.

What finally emerges from the ‘clear and present danger’ cases is a working principle that the substantive evil must be extremely serious and the degree of imminence extremely high before utterances can be punished … It must be taken as a command of the broadest scope that explicit language, read in the context of a liberty-loving society, will allow. HUGO L. BLACK (1886-1971), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Bridges v. California.

It is my belief that there are “absolutes” in our Bill of Rights, and that they were put there on purpose by men who knew what the words meant and meant their prohibitions to be “absolutes.” HUGO L. BLACK (1886-1971), U. S Supreme Court Justice, 1962.

The public welfare demands that constitutional cases must be decided according to the terms of the Constitution itself, and not according to judges’ views of fairness, reasonableness, or justice. HUGO L. BLACK (1886-1971), Lecture, Columbia University, 1968.

Freedom of speech means that you shall not do something to people either for the views they have, or the views they express, or the words they speak or write. HUGO L. BLACK (1886-1971), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, One Man’s Stand For Freedom, 1963.

The layman’s constitutional view is that what he likes is constitutional and that which he doesn’t like is unconstitutional. HUGO L. BLACK (1886-1971), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, New York Times, 26 February 1971.

Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to present any part of the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and foreign shot and shell. HUGO L. BLACK (1886-1971), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Pentagon Papers Case, 1971.

By placing discretion in the hands of an official to grant or deny a license, such a statute creates a threat of censorship that by its very existence chills free speech. HARRY A. BLACKMUN (1908-1999), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Roe v. Wade, 1973.

It is better ten guilty persons escape than one innocent suffer. SIR WILLIAM BLACKSTONE (1723-1780), Commentaries on the Laws of England, 1765-69.

The public good is nothing more essentially interested, than in the protection of every individual’s private rights. SIR WILLIAM BLACKSTONE (1723-1780), Commentaries on the Laws of England, 1765-69.

Freedom of religion means the right of the individual to choose and to adhere to whichever religious beliefs he may prefer, to join with others in religious associations to express these beliefs, and to incur no civil disabilities because of his choice … JOSEPH L. BLAU, Cornerstones of Religious Freedom in America, 1949.

Freedom of the mind requires not only, or not even especially, the absence of legal constraints but the presence of alternative thoughts. The most successful tyranny is not the one that uses force to assure uniformity, but the one that removes awareness of other possibilities. ALAN BLOOM (1930-1992), The Closing of the American Mind, 1987.

The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. The opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth. NIELS BOHR (1885-1962), Danish Physicist.

The best weapon of a dictatorship is secrecy, but the best weapon of a democracy should be the weapon of openness. NIELS BOHR (1885-1962), Danish Physicist.

In the whole history of law and order, the biggest step was taken by primitive man when … the tribe sat in a circle and allowed only one man to speak at a time. An accused who is shouted down has no rights whatever. CURTIS BOK, Saturday Review, 13 February 1954.

This kind of rhetoric should be familiar to any who lived through the McCarthy era of the 1950s. It allows for no differences, not agreement to disagree, among adults or children. DAVID BOOTH, Censorship Goes To School, 1992.

No more fatuous chimera every infested the brain that that you can control opinions by law or direct belief by statute, and no more pernicious sentiment ever tormented the heart than the barbarous desire to do so. The field of inquiry should remain open , and the right of debate must be regarded as a sacred right. WILLIAM E. BORAH (1865-1940), U. S. Senator, 1917.

Without an unfettered press, without liberty of speech, all of the outward forms and structures of free institutions are a sham, a pretense — the sheerest mockery. If the press is not free; if speech is not independent and untrammeled; if the mind is shackled or made impotent through fear, it makes no difference under what form of government you live, you are a subject and not a citizen. WILLIAM E. BORAH (1865-1940), U. S. Senator, Remarks to the Senate, 19 April 1917.

I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library. JORGE LUIS BORGES (1899-1986), Argentine Poet.

Censorship is the mother of metaphor. JORGE LUIS BORGES (1899-1986), Argentine Poet.

The first step in saving our liberty is to realize how much we have already lost, how we lost it, and how we will continue to lose unless fundamental political changes occur. JAMES BOVARD, Lost Rights, 1994.

Absolutism in morals is a guarantee of objectionable morals in the same way as absolutism in government is a guarantee of objectionable government. ROBERT BRIFFAULT (1876-1948), 1931.

Only the suppressed word is dangerous. KARL LUDWIG BORNE (1786-1837), German journalist.

War is the health of the State. It automatically sets in motion throughout society these irresistible forces for uniformity, for passionate cooperation with the government in coercing into obedience the minority groups and individuals which lack the larger herd sense. RANDOLPH BOURNE (1886-1918), in War and the Intellectuals, 1964.

Without free speech no search for truth is possible … no discovery of truth is useful. Better a thousand fold abuse of free speech than denial of free speech. The abuse dies in a day, but they delay slays the life of the people. CHARLES BRADLAUGH (1833-1891), Speech, 1890.

If special honor is claimed for any, then heresy should have it as the truest servitor of human kind. CHARLES BRADLAUGH (1833-1891), Speech, 1881.

Fear of serious injury cannot alone justify suppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burnt women. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears. LOUIS B. BRANDEIS (1856-1941), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Whitney v. California, 1927.

No danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is an opportunity for full discussion. Only an emergency can justify repression. LOUIS B. BRANDEIS (1856-1941), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Whitney v. California, 1927.

If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the process of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence. LOUIS B. BRANDEIS (1856-1941), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Whitney v. California, 1927.

The constitutional right of free speech has been declared to be the same in peace and war. In peace, too, men may differ widely as to what loyalty to our country demands, and an intolerant majority, swayed by passion or by fear, may be prone in the future, as it has been in the past, to stamp as disloyal opinions with which it disagrees. LOUIS B. BRANDEIS (1856-1941), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Schaefer v. U. S., 1920.

The makers of our constitution undertook to secure conditions favorable to the pursuit of happiness … They sought to protect Americans in their beliefs, their thoughts, their emotions and their sensations. They conferred, as against the government, the right to be let alone — the most comprehensive of the rights and the right most valued by civilized men. LOUIS B. BRANDEIS (1856-1941), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Olmstead v. United States, 1928.

Decency, security, and liberty alike demand that government officials shall be subjected to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen … If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. LOUIS B. BRANDEIS (1856-1941), Olmstead v. United States, 1928.

At the foundation of our civil liberties lies the principle that denies to government officials an exceptional position before the law and which subjects them to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen. LOUIS B. BRANDEIS (1856-1941), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Burdeau v. McDowell, 1921.

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.

To declare that in the administration of criminal law the end justifies the means — to declare that the Government may commit crimes in order to secure conviction of a private criminal — would bring terrible retribution. LOUIS B. BRANDEIS (1856-1941), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, 1912.

All ideas having even the slightest redeeming social importance — unorthodox ideas, controversial ideas, even ideas hateful to the prevailing climate of opinion, have the full protection of the guarantees [of the First Amendment]. WILLIAM J. BRENNAN (1906-1997), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Roth v. United States, 1957.

The door of the Free Exercise Clause stands tightly closed against any government regulation of religious beliefs as such. Government may neither compel affirmation of a repugnant belief, nor penalize or discriminate against individuals or groups because they hold views abhorrent to the authorities. WILLIAM J. BRENNAN (1906-1997), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Sherbert v. Verner, 1963.

The Framers of the Bill of Rights did not purport to “create” rights. Rather they designed the Bill of Rights to prohibit our Government from infringing rights and liberties presumed to be preexisting. WILLIAM J. BRENNAN (1906-1997), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, 1982.

If there is a bedrock principle of the First Amendment, is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable. WILLIAM J. BRENNAN (1906-1997), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Texas vs. Johnson, 1989.

Universities should be safe havens where ruthless examination of realities will not be distorted by the aim to please or inhibited by the risk of displeasure. KINGMAN BREWSTER (1919-1988), President, Yale University, Speech, 11 April 1964.

Absolutism is a guarantee of objectionable morals in the same way that absolutism in government is a guarantee of objectionable government. ROBERT BRIFFAULT (1876-1940), English Writer, 1931.

There is no absolute knowledge. And those who claim it, whether they are scientists or dogmatists, open the door to tragedy. All information is imperfect. We have to treat it with humility. J. BRONOWSKI (1908-1974), The Ascent of Man, 1973.

Free speech is about as good a cause as the world has ever known. But it … gets shoved aside in favor of things which at a given moment more vital … everybody favors free speech in the slack moments when no axes are being ground. HEYWOOD BROUN (1888-1939), New York World, 23 October 1926.

The censor believes that he can hold back the mighty traffic of life with a tin whistle and a raised right hand. For after all, it is life with which he quarrels. HEYWOOD BROUN (1888-1939), in The Fifty Year Decline of Hollywood (E. Goodman), 1961.

Communism and fascism or nazism, although poles apart in their intellectual content, are similar in this, that both have emotional appeal to the type of personality that takes pleasure in being submerged in a mass movement and submitting to superior authority. JAMES A. C. BROWN (1911-1964), Techniques of Persuasion, 1963.

There exists a “fear of freedom” of selfhood, which makes people want to submerge themselves in the mass and confession is one of the obvious means by which they can do so, for thereby they lose those traits which cause them to feel separate. JAMES A. C. BROWN (1911-1964), Techniques of Persuasion, 1963.

Freedom is poetry, taking liberties with words, breaking the rules of normal speech, violating common sense. NORMAN O. BROWN, Love’s Body, 1966.

The mortalist enemy unto knowledge, and that which hath done the greatest execution unto truth, has been a preemptory adhesion unto authority. SIR THOMAS BROWNE (1605-1682), Religio Medici, 1642.

It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people. GIORDANO BRUNO (1548-1699), On Shadows of Ideas.

The right to discuss freely and openly, by speech, by the pen, by the press, all political questions, and to examine the animadvert upon all political institutions is a right so clear and certain, so interwoven with our other liberties, so necessary, in fact, to their existence, that without it we must fall into despotism and anarchy. WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT (1794-1878), New York Evening Post, 18 November 1837.

I have often asked Americans wherein they consider their freedom superior to that of the English, but have never found them able to indicate a single point in which the individual is worse off in England as regards his private civil rights or his general liberty of doing and thinking as he pleases. They generally turn the discussion to social equality, the existence of a monarchy and hereditary titles and so forth — matters which are, of course, quite different from freedom in its proper sense. JAMES BRYCE (1849-1926), The American Commonwealth, 1888.

Individualism, the love of enterprise, and the pride in personal freedom, have been deemed by Americans not only as their choicest, but their peculiar and exclusive possessions. JAMES BRYCE (1838-1922), The American Commonwealth, 1888.

None who have always been free can understand the terrible fascinating power of the hope of freedom to those who are not free. PEARL S. BUCK (1892-1973), What America Means To Me, 1943.

Delivering facts as they come related without inclining to one side or the other … And thus having fairly related what is done, when, where, by which reported, and by what hands transmitted hither … SAMUEL BUCKLEY, The Courant, 30 April 1702.

We are so concerned to flatter the majority that we lose sight of how every so often it is necessary in order to preserve freedom for the minority, let alone for the individual, to face that majority down. WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY, The Jeweler’s Eye, 1968.

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

Judges … rule on the basis of law, not public opinion, and they should be totally indifferent to the pressures of the times. WARREN E. BURGER, Chief Justice, U. S. Supreme Court, Christian Science Monitor, 11 February 1987.

There can be no assumption that today’s majority is “right” and the Amish or others like them are “wrong.” A way of life that is odd or even erratic but interferes with no right or interests of others is not to be condemned because it is difference. WARREN E. BURGER, Chief Justice, U. S. Supreme Court, Wisconsin v. Yoder, 15 May 1972.

Without bigots, eccentrics, cranks and heretics the world would not progress. FRANK GELETT BURGESS (1866-1951).

People crushed by law have no hope but from power. If laws are their enemies, they will be enemies to laws; and those who have much to hope and nothing to lose will always be dangerous … EDMUND BURKE (1729-1797), Letter to the Hon. C. J. Fox, October 8, 1777.

The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedients, and by parts. EDMUND BURKE (1729-1797), Letter to the Sheriffs of Bristol, 3 April 1777.

Among a people generally corrupt, liberty cannot long exist. EDMUND BURKE (1729-1797), Letter to the Sheriffs of Bristol, 3 April 1777.

Toleration is good for all, or it is good for none. EDMUND BURKE (1729-1797), Speech, House of Commons, 1773.

A functioning police state needs no police. WILLIAM BORROUGHS, The Naked Lunch, 1959.

The dearest ambition of a salve is not liberty, but to have a salve of his own. SIR RICHARD BURTON (1821-1890).

As compared with impulsive commitment to the first idea which dawns, that is, with intuitive action, reasoning is patient, exploratory of other possibilities, and deliberative. EDWIN ARTHUR BURTT, Right Thinking, 1946.

The more unpopular an opinion is, the more necessary it is that the holder should be somewhat punctilious in his observance of conventionalities generally. SAMUEL BUTLER (1835-1902), Notebooks, 1912.

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).

He that complies against his will, Is of his own opinion still. SAMUEL BUTLER (1835-1902).


The people’s right to obtain information does not, of course, depend on any assured ability to understand its significance or use it wisely. Facts belong to the people simply because they relate to interests that are theirs, government that is theirs, and votes that they may desire to case, for they are entitled to an active role in shaping every fundamental decision of state. EDMOND CAHN, The Predicament of Democratic Man, 1961.

“Due process,” a standard that arose in our system of law and stemmed from the desire to provide rational procedure and fair play, is equally indispensable in every other kind of social or political enterprise. EDMOND CAHN, The Predicament of Democratic Man, 1961.

Nobody these days holds the written word in such high esteem as police states do … ITALO CALVINO (1923-1985), Italian writer.

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.

Today the grand jury is the total captive of the prosecutor who, if he is candid, will concede that he can indict anybody, at any time, for almost anything, before any grand jury. WILLIAM J. CAMPBELL, Judge, U. S. District Court, Newsweek, 22 August 1977.

Absolute justice is achieved by the suppression of all contradiction, therefore it destroys freedom. ALBERT CAMUS (1913-1960), The Rebel, 1951.

Freedom of the press is perhaps the freedom that has suffered the most from the gradual degradation of the idea of liberty. ALBERT CAMUS (1913-1960), Resistance, Rebellion and Death, 1961.

Freedom is not a gift received from the State or leader, but a possession to be won every day by the effort of each and the union of all. ALBERT CAMUS, Resistance, Rebellion and Death, 1961.

How many crimes are permitted simply because their authors could not endure being wrong. ALBERT CAMUS (1913-1960), The Fall, 1956.

You cannot become a truly effective advocate unless you know all sides of your subject thoroughly, opposing arguments as well as your own. G. R. CAPP and T. R. CAPP, Principles of Argumentation and Debate, 1965.

Reasonable argument is impossible when authority becomes the arbiter. ORSON SCOTT CARD, American Writer.

Of … freedom [of thought and speech] one may say that it is the matrix, the indispensable condition, of nearly every other form of freedom. BENJAMIN CARDOZO (1870-1938), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Palko v. Connecticut, 1937.

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, the scorn 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.

It is for ordinary minds, not for psychoanalysts, that our rules of evidence are framed. They have their source very often in considerations of administrative convenience, or practical expediency, and not in rules of logic. BENJAMIN N. CARDOZO (1870-1938), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Shepard v. United States, 1933.

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

Every human being has a right to hear what other wise human beings have spoken to him. It is one of the Rights of Men; a very cruel injustice if you deny it to a man. THOMAS CARLYLE (1795-1881).

There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration. ANDREW CARNEGIE (1837-1919).

We are of course a nation of differences. Those differences don’t make us weak. They’re the source of our strength. JAMES EARL CARTER, U. S. President, Speech, 21 October 1976.

The law is not the private property of lawyers, nor is justice the exclusive province of judges and juries. In the final analysis, true justice is not a matter of courts and law books, but of a commitment in each of us to liberty and mutual respect. JAMES EARL CARTER, U. S. President, Dallas Times-Herald, 26 April 1978.

In the life of the human spirit, words are action, much more so than many of us realize who live in countries where freedom of expression is taken for granted. The leaders of totalitarian nations understand this very well. The proof is that words are precisely the action for which dissidents in those countries are being persecuted. JAMES EARL CARTER, U. S. President. Address, Notre Dame University, 22 May 1977.

It is sometimes said that toleration should be refused to the intolerant. In practice this would destroy it … The only remedy for dogmatism and lies is toleration and the greatest possible liberty of expression. JOYCE CARY (1888-1957), Power in Men, 1939.

For good or evil, man is a free creative spirit. This produces the very queer world we live in, a word in continuous creation and therefore continuous change and insecurity. JOYCE CARY (1888-1957), Interview in Writers at Work (Malcolm Cowley), 1958.

The freedom to express varying and often opposing ideas is essential to a variety of conceptions of democracy. If democracy is viewed as essentially a process — a way in which collective decisions for a society are made — free expression is crucial to the openness of the process and to such characteristics as elections, representation of interests, and the like. JONATHAN D. CASPER, The Politics of Civil Liberties, 1972.

The revolt against individualism naturally calls artists severely to account, because the artist is of all men the most individual; those who were not have been long forgotten. WILLA CATHER (1873-1947), On Writing.

Whoever would overthrow the Liberty of a Nation, must begin by subduing Freedom of Speech … Without Freedom of Thought, there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such Thing as publick Liberty, without Freedom of Speech … CATO, Letters, 1720.

Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty, without freedom of speech. CATO, Letters, 1720.

There are two kinds of restrictions on human liberty — the restraint of law and that of custom. No written law has ever been more binding than unwritten custom supported by popular opinion. CARRIE CHAPMAN CATT (1859-1947), Speech, 8 February 1900.

There’s so much comedy on television. Does that cause comedy in the streets? DICK CAVETT, Comedian.

I call the mind free which jealously guards its intellectual rights and powers, which calls no man master, which does not content itself with a passive or hereditary faith … WILLIAM ELLERY CHANNING (1780-1842), Spiritual Freedom, 1830.

The worst tyrants are those which establish themselves in our own breasts. WILLIAM ELLERY CHANNING (1780-1842), Spiritual Freedom, 1830.

The majority of us are for free speech when it deals with subjects concerning which we have no intense feelings. EDMUND B. CHAFFEE (1887-1936).

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.

Freedom from something is not enough. It should also be freedom for something. Freedom is not safety but opportunity. Freedom ought to be a means to enable the press to serve the proper functions of communication in a free society. ZECHARIAH CHAFFEE, JR. (1865-1957), Nieman Reports, April 1948.

You make men love their government and their country by giving them the kind of government and the kind of country that inspire respect and love; a country that if free and unafraid, that lets the discontented talk in order to learn the causes of their discontent and end those causes, that refuses to impel men to spy on their neighbors, that protects its citizens vigorously from harmful acts while it leaves the remedies for objectionable ideas to counter-argument and time. ZECHARIAN CHAFEE, JR. (1865-1957), Free Speech in the United States, 1942.

Only the history of free peoples is worth our attention; the history of men under a despotism is merely a collection of anecdotes. NICOLAS-SEBASSTIEN CHAMFORT (1741-1824).

Once we start worry too often and too deeply about what certain individuals and what certain groups think about us, then we might start selling our souls for the sake of expediency. OTIS CHANDLER, Publisher of the Los Angeles Times, 1969.

The cry has been that when war is declared, all opposition should therefore be hushed. A sentiment more unworthy of a free country could hardly be pro-pagated. If the doctrine be admitted, rulers have only to declare war and they are screened at once from scrutiny. WILLIAM ELLERY CHANNING (1780-1842), Life, 1848.

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

The peak of tolerance is most readily achieved by those who are not burdened by convictions. ALEXANDER CHASE, Perspectives, 1966.

Arbitrary power has seldom … been introduced in any country at once. It must be introduced by slow degrees, and as it were step by step. LORD CHESTERFIELD (1694-1773).

Forms of expression always appear turgid to those who do not share the emotions they represent. GILBERT KEITH CHESTERTON (1874-1936), A Handful of Authors.

The theory of free speech, that truth is so much larger and stranger and more many-sided that we know of, that it is very much better at all costs to hear everyone’s account of it, is a theory which has been justified on the whole by experiment, but which remains a very daring and even a very surprising theory. It is really one of the great discoveries of the modern time. GILBERT KEITH CHESTERTON (1874-1936), Robert Browning, 1914.

Any one of the strange laws we suffer is a compromise between a fad and a vested interest. GILBERT KEITH CHESTERTON (1874-1936), Saint Thomas Acquinas, 1933.

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names. CHINESE PROVERB.

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

From a comparative perspective, the United States is unusual if not unique in the lack of restraints on freedom of expression. It is also unusual in the range and effectiveness of methods employed to restrain freedom of thought … Where the voice of the people is heard, elite groups must insure their voice says the right things. NOAM CHOMSKY, Index on Censorship, July/August 1986.

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.

Censorship is never over for those who have experienced it. It is a brand on the imagination that affects the individual who has suffered it, forever. NOAM CHOMSKY, American Linguist.

Everybody is in favor of free speech. Hardly a day passes without its being extolled, but some people’s idea of it is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone says anything back, that is an outrage. WINSTON CHURCHILL (1874-1965), Speech, House of Commons, 1943.

You see these dictators on their pedestals, surrounded by the bayonets of their soldiers and the truncheons of their police. Yet in their hearts there is unspoken — unspeakable! — fear. They are afraid of words and thoughts! Words spoken abroad, thoughts stirring at home, all the more powerful because they are forbidden. These terrify them. A little mouse — a little tiny mouse! — of thought appears in the room, and even the mightiest potentates are thrown into panic. WINSTON CHURCHILL (1874-1966).

The public library is the most dangerous place in town. JOHN CIARDI (1916-1986), American Poet.

Freedom suppressed and again regained bites with keener fangs than freedom never endangered. MARCUS TULLIUS CICERO (106-3 B.C.).

Our major mistakes have not been the result of democracy, but of the erosion of democracy made possible by the mass media’s manipulation of public opinion. ROBERT CIRINO, Don’t Blame The People, 1971.

There is nothing that can help you understand your beliefs more than trying to explain them to an inquisitor. FRANK CLARK, Reader’s Digest, July 1978.

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.

From the standpoint of freedom of speech and the press, it is enough to point out that the state has no legitimate interest in protecting any or all religions from views distasteful to them … It is not the business of government to suppress real of imagined attacks upon a particular religious doctrine. TOM C. CLARK (1899-1977), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Burstyn v. Wilson, 1952.

The last damn thing blacks should do is get into the vanguard of banning books. The next step is banning blacks … DR. KENNETH CLARK, 1982, quoted in Free Speech for Me but Not for Thee (Nat Hentoff), 1992.

It is not uncommon for ignorant and corrupt men to falsely charge others with doing what they imagine they themselves, in their narrow minds and experience, would have done under the circumstances. JOHN H. CLARKE (1857-1995), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Valdez v. United States, 1917.

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.

An oppressed people are authorized, whenever they can, to rise and break their fetters. HENRY CLAY (1777-1852), Speech, 24 March 1818.

Make no laws whatever concerning speech, and speech will be free; so soon as you make a declaration on paper that speech shall be free, you will have a hundred lawyers proving that “freedom does not mean abuse, nor liberty license,” and they will define and define freedom out of existence. VOLTARINE de CLEYRE (1866-1912), in The Cry for Justice (Upton Sinclair).

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.

These is revolution in reaction, as well as in radicalism, and Toryism speaking a jargon of law and order may often be a graver menace to liberty than radicalism bellowing the empty phrases of the soapbox demagogue. FRANK I. COBB (1869-1923), LaFollette’s Magazine, January 1920.

If the author of the Declaration of Independence were to utter such a sentiment today, the Post Office Department could exclude him from the mail, grand juries could indict him for sedition and criminal syndicalism, legislative committees could seize his private papers … and United States Senators would be clamoring for his deportation that he … should be sent back to live with the rest of the terrorists. FRANK I. COBB (1868-1923), New York World.

Tolerance implies a respect for another person, not because he is wrong or even because he is right, but because he is human. JOHN COGLEY, Commonweal, 24 April 1959.

Small groups or communities may be far more oppressive to the individual than larger ones. Men are in many ways freer in large cities than in small villages. MORRIS R. COHEN (1880-1947), Reason and Nature, 1931.

The business of the philosopher is well done if he succeeds in raising genuine doubt. MORRIS. R. COHEN (1880-1947), A Dreamer’s Journey, 1949.

I have seen gross intolerance show in support of tolerance. SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE (1772-1834), Biographia Literaria, 1817.

A people are free in proportion as they form their own opinions. SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE (1820-1884), The Watchman, 1796.

By free-thinking I mean the use of the understanding in endeavoring to find out the meaning of any proposition whatsoever, in considering the nature of the evidence for or against, and in judging of it according to the seeming force or weakness of the evidence. ANTHONY COLLINS (1676-1729), A Discourse of Freethinking, 1713.

The victim to too severe a law is considered as a martyr rather than a criminal. CHARLES CALEB COLTON (1780-1832), Lacon, 1825.

Precisely in proportion to our own intellectual weakness will be our credulity as to those mysterious powers assumed by others. CHARLES CALEB COLTON (1780-1832), Lacon, 1825.

A free society cherishes nonconformity. It knows from the non-conformist, from the eccentric, have come many of the great ideas. HENRY STEELE COMMAGER (1902-1998), Freedom, Loyalty and Dissent, 1954.

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 and Order, 1966.

The justification and the purpose of freedom of speech is not to indulge those who want to speak their minds. It is to prevent error and discover truth. There may be other ways of detecting error and discovering truth that that of free discussion, but so far we have not found them. HENRY STEELE COMMAGER (1902-1998), Freedom and Order, 1966.

Our tradition is one of protest and revolt, and it is stultifying to celebrate the rebels of the past while we silence the rebels of the present. HENRY STEELE COMMAGER (1902-1998), Freedom Loyalty and Dissent, 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.

Censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates, in the end, the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion … In the long run it will create a generation incapable of appreciating the difference between independence of thought and subservience. HENRY STEELE COMMAGER (1902-1998), Freedom, Loyalty and Dissent, 1954.

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 and Order, 1966.

Protection against government is now not enough to guarantee that a man who has something to say shall have a chance to say it. The owners and managers of the press determine which person, which facts, which version of the facts, and which ideas shall reach the public. COMMISSION ON FREEDOM OF THE PRESS, A Free and Responsible Press, 1947.

The modern press itself is a new phenomenon. Its typical unit is the great agency of mass communication. These agencies fan facilitate thought and discussion. They can stifle it … They can play up or down the news and its significance, foster and feed emotions, create complacent fictions and blind spots, misuse the great words and uphold empty slogans. COMMISSION ON FREEDOM OF THE PRESS, A Free and Responsible Press, 1947.

[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.

Diversity of opinion within the framework of loyalty to our free society is not only basic to a university but to the entire nation. JAMES BRYANT CONANT (1893-1978), Education in a Divided World, 1948.

of all the inanimate objects, of all men’s creations, books are the nearest to us, for they contain our very thoughts, our ambitions, our indignations, our illusions, our fidelity to truth, and our persistent leaning toward error. JOSEPH CONRAD (1857-1924), Notes on Life and Letters.

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury … nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb, nor shall be compelled in any Criminal Case to be a witness against himself, not be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. CONSTITUTION of the UNITED STATES, Bill of Rights, Fifth Amendment, 1791.

So far as discipline is concerned, freedom means not its absence but the use of higher and more rational forms as contrasted with those that are lower or less rational. CHARLES HORTON COOLEY (1864-1929), Human Nature and the Social Order, 1902.

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.

The disposition of all power is to abuses, nor does it at all mend the matter that its possessors area majority. Unrestrained political authority, though it be confided to masses, cannot be trusted without positive limitations, men in bodies being but an aggregation of the passions, weaknesses and interests of men as individuals. JAMES FENIMORE COOPER (1789-1851), The American Democrat, 1838.

Every politician, every member of the clerical profession, ought to incur the reasonable suspicion of being an interested supporter of false doctrines, who becomes angry at opposition, and endeavors to cast an odium on free inquiry. Fraud and falsehood only dread examination. Truth invites it. THOMAS COOPER (1759-1839), Liberty of the Press, 1830.

The law, unfortunately, has always been retained on the side of power; laws have uniformly been enacted for the protection and perpetuation of power. THOMAS COOPER (1759-1839), Liberty of the Press, 1830.

Censorship is contagious, and experience with this culture of regulation teaches us that regulatory enthusiasts herald each new medium of communications as another opportunity to spread the disease. ROBERT CORN-REVERE, Rationales and Rationalizations: Regulating the Electronic Media, 1997.

A library, to modify the famous metaphor of Socrates, should be the delivery room for the birth of ideas — a place where history comes to life. NORMAN COUSINS (1915-1990).

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

It is always the task of the intellectual to “think otherwise.” This is not just a perverse idiosyncrasy. It is an absolutely essential feature of a society. HARVEY COX, The Secular City, 1966.

Democracy needs more free speech for even the speech of foolish people is valuable if it serves to guarantee the right of the wise to talk. DAVID CUSHMAN COYLE.

Things in law tend to be black and white. But we all know that some people are a little bit guilty, while other people are guilty as hell. DONALD R. CRESSEY, Professor of Law, Center Magazine, May-June 1978.

What censorship accomplishes, creating an unreal and hypocritical mythology, fomenting an attraction for forbidden fruit, inhibiting the creative minds among us and fostering an illicit trade. Above all, it curtails the right of the individual, be he creator or consumer, to satisfy his intellect and his interest without harm. In our law-rooted society, we are not the keeper of our brother’s morals — only of his rights. JUDITH CRIST, Censorship: For And Against, 1971.

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 are free. BENEDETTO CROCE (1866-1952), Freedom, 1940.

It will be found an unjust and unwise jealousy to deprive a man of his natural liberty upon a supposition that he may abuse it. OLIVER CROMWELL (1599-1658), Address, First Protectorate Parliament, 1654.

When law enforcers are shown to have such unswerving integrity, only the most churlish among us would question the methods they use to “get their man.” Constitutional guarantees are regarded as bothersome “technicalities” that impede honest law enforcers in the performance of their duties. DONNAL WOOLFOLK CROSS, Media-Speak: How Television Makes Up Your Mind, 1983.


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, People v. Lloyd, 1920.

You can only protect your liberties in this world by protecting the other mans freedom. You can only be free if I am free. CLARENCE S. DARROW (1857-1938), Address to the Court, The Communist Trial, 1920.

The Constitution is a delusion and a snare if the weakest and humblest man in the land cannot be defended in his right to speak and his right to think as much as the strongest in the land. CLARENCE S. DARROW (1857-1938), The Communist Trial, 1920.

False facts are highly injurious to the progress of science, for they often endure long; but false views, if supported by some evidence, do little harm, for everyone takes a salutary pleasure in proving their falseness; and when this is done, one path towards error is closed and the road to truth is often at the same time opened. CHARLES DARWIN (1809-1982).

This nation was conceived in liberty and dedicated to the principle — among others — that honest men may honestly disagree; that if they all say what they think, a majority of the people will be able to distinguish truth from error; that in the competition of the marketplace of ideas, the sounder ideas will in the long run win out. ELMER DAVIS (1890-1958), But We Were Born Free, 1954.

If librarianship is the connecting of people to ideas — and I believe that is the truest definition of what we do — it is crucial to remember that we must keep and make available, not just good ideas and noble ideas, but bad ideas, silly ideas, and yes, even dangerous or wicked ideas. GRACEANNE A. DECANDIDO, American Librarian.

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.

A democratic society must afford opportunities for the expression of a wide variety of political, religious, and social values. The Bill of Rights exists because its authors were determined to prevent the government from regulating the expression of American citizens. DONNA A. DEMAC, Liberty Denied: The Current Rise of Censorship in America, 1990.

What the advocates of conformity and carefully regulated dissident opinion forget is that a free society cannot be a heavily controlled society. In their zeal to suppress the real and imagined enemies of the status quo, the intelligence agencies and their private allies tend to leave democracy behind and move in the direction of the totalitarian societies they abhor. DONNA A. DEMAC, Liberty Denied: The Current Rise of Censorship in America, 1990.

There are all kinds of devices invented for the protection and preservation of countries: defensive barriers, forts, trenches, and the like … But prudent minds have as a natural gift one safeguard which is the common possession of all, and this applies especially to the dealings of democracies. What is this safeguard? Skepticism. This you must preserve. This you must retain. If you can keep this, you need fear no harm. DEMOSTHENES (385-322 B.C.), Oration.

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.

As students throughout the totalitarian world risk life and limb for freedom of expression, many American college students are demanding that big brother restrict their freedom of speech on campus. This demand for enhanced censorship is not emanating only from the usual corner — the know-nothing fundamentalist right — it is coming from the radical, and increasingly not-so-radical left as well. ALAN DERSHOWITZ, Shouting Fire: Civil Liberties in a Turbulent Age, 2002.

Our First Amendment expresses a far different calculus for regulating speech than for regulating non-expressive conduct and that is as it should be. The right to swing your fist should end at the tip of my nose, but your right to express your ideas should not necessarily end at the lobes of my ears. ALAN DERSHOWITZ, Shouting Fire: Civil Liberties in a Turbulent Age, 2002.

If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things. RENE DESCARTES (1596-1650), Principles of Philosophy, 1644.

The skeptic does not mean him who doubts, but him who investigates or researches, as opposed to him who asserts and thinks he has found. MIGUEL DeUNAMUNO y JUGO (1864-1936), Essays and Soliloquies, 1924.

Democracy means freeing intelligence for independent effectiveness — the emancipation of mind as an individual organ to do its work. We naturally associate democracy, to be sure, with freedom of action, but freedom of action without freed capacity of thought behind it is only chaos. JOHN DEWEY (1859-1952), The Elementary School Teacher, December 1903.

Liberty is not just an idea, an abstract principle. It is power, effective power to do specific things. There is no such thing as liberty in general; liberty, so to speak, at large. JOHN DEWEY (1859-1952), The Social Frontier, November 1935.

We naturally associate democracy, to be sure, with freedom of action, but freedom of action without freed capacity of thought behind it is only chaos. JOHN DEWEY (1859-1952), The Elementary School Teacher, December 1903.

Mankind likes to think in terms of extreme opposites. It is given to formulating its beliefs in terms of Either/Ors, between which it recognizes no intermediate possibilities. JOHN DEWEY (1859-1952), Experience and Education, 1938.

Who are a free people? Not those over whom government is exercised, but those who live under a government so constitutionally checked and controlled that proper provision is made against its being otherwise exercised. JOHN DICKENSON (1732-1808), Farmer’s Letters, 1767.

If you say to people that they, as a matter of fact, can’t protect their conversations, in particular their political conversations, I think you take a long step toward making a transition from a free society to a totalitarian society. WHITFIELD DIFFIE, Sun Micro-systems official, MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour, 7 April 1994.

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.

Freedom includes the right to say what others may object to and resent … The essence of citizenship is to be tolerant of strong and provocative words. JOHN G. DIEFENBAKER (1895-1979), Canadian Premier, Hansard, 9 April 1970.

It has been discovered that the best way to insure implicit obedience is to commence tyranny in the nursery. BENJAMIN DISRAELI (1804-1881).

[Tyranny is] to compel men not to think as they do, to compel men to express thoughts that are not their own. MILOVAN DJILAS, The New Class, 1957.

Free speech is essential to education, especially to a liberal education, which encourages the search for truths in art and science. If expression is restricted, the range of inquiry is also curtailed … The beneficiaries of a free society have a duty to pursue the truth and to protect the freedom of expression that makes possible the search for a new enlightenment. NORMAN DORSEN, Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression.

It would be interesting to know what it is men are most afraid of. Taking a new step, uttering a new word. FYODOR DOSTOEVSKY (1821-1881), Notes From The Underground.

Every member of the society spies on the rest, and it is his duty to inform against them. All are slaves and equal in their slavery … The great thing about it is equality … Slaves are bound to be equal. FOYDOR DOSTOEVSKY (1821-1881), The Possessed.

Liberty is meaningless where the right to utter one’s thoughts and opinions has ceased to exist. That, of all rights, is the dread of tyrants. It is the right which they first of all strike down. FREDERICK DOUGLASS (1817-1895), Speech, Boston, 1860.

To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker. FREDERICK DOUGLASS (1819-1895), Speech, Boston, 1860.

Ideas are indeed the most dangerous weapons in the world. Our ideas of freedom are the most powerful political weapons man has ever forged. WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS (1898-1980), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, An Almanac of Liberty, 1954.

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 struggle is always between the individual and his sacred right to express himself and … the power structure that seeks conformity, suppression and obedience. WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS (1898-1980), U. S. Supreme Court Justice.

Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us. WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS (1898-1980), U. S. Supreme Court Justice.

The great and invigorating influences in American life have been the unorthodox: the people who challenge an existing institution or way of life, or say and do things that make people think. WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS (1898-1980), Interview, 1958.

Where suspicion fills the air and holds scholars in line for fear of their jobs, there can be no exercise of the free intellect. Supineness and dogmatism take the place of inquiry. A problem can no longer be pursued to its edges … discussion often leaves off where it should begin. WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS (1898-1980), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, 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.

Among the liberties of citizens that are guaranteed are … the right to believe what one chooses, the right to differ from his neighbor, the right to pick and choose the political philosophy he likes best, the right to associate with whomever he chooses, the right to join groups he prefers … WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS (1898-1980), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, 1958.

[A] function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger. Speech is often provocative and challenging. It may strike at prejudices and preconceptions and have profound unsettling effects as it passes for acceptance of an idea. WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS (1898-1980), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Terminello v. Chicago, 1949.

The Fifth Amendment is an old friend and a good friend. It is one of the great landmarks in men’s struggle to be free of tyranny, to be decent and civilized. WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS (1898-1980), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, An Almanac of Liberty, 1954.

The Constitution is not neutral. It was designed to take the government off the backs of the people. WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS (1898-1980), The Court Years, 1939-1975, 1980.

Those in power need checks and restraints lest they come to identify the common good for their own tastes and desires, and their continuation in office as essential to the preservation of the nation. WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS (1898-1980), We, The Judges, 1956.

The right to revolt has sources deep in our history. WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS (1898-1980), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, An Almanac of Liberty, 1954.

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.

I think that the influence towards suppression of minority views — towards orthodoxy in thinking about public issues — has been more subconscious than unconscious, stemming to a very great extent from the tendency of Americans to conform … not to deviate or depart from an orthodox point of view. WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS (1898-1980), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, 1952.

It is our attitude toward free thought and free expression that will determine our fate. There must be no limit on the range of temperate discussion, no limits on thought. No subject must be taboo. No censor must preside at our assemblies. WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS (1898-1980), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Address, Author’s Guild, 1952.

The great and invigorating influences in American life have been the unorthodox: the people who challenge an existing institution or way of life, or say and do things that make people think. WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS (1898-1980), Interview,1958.

The First and Fourteenth Amendments say that Congress and the States shall make “no law” which abridges freedom of speech or of the press. In order to sanction a system of censorship I would have to say that “no law” does not mean what it says, that “no law” is qualified to mean “some” laws. I cannot take this step. WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS (1898-1980), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Superior Films v. Department of Education of the State of Ohio, 1954.

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), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, New York Times, 20 January 1980.

It is better, so the Fourth Amendment teaches us, that the guilty sometimes go free than the citizens be subject to easy arrest. WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS (1898-1980), Henry v. United States, 1959.

Heresy trials are foreign to our Constitution. Men may believe what they cannot prove. They may not be put to the proof of their of their religious doctrines or beliefs. Religious experiences which are as real as life to some may be incomprehensible to others. WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS (1898-1980), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, United States v. Ballard, 1963.

Big Brother in the form of an increasingly powerful government and in an increasingly powerful private sector will pile the records high with reasons why privacy should give way to national security, to law and order, to efficiency of operation, to scientific advancement and the like. WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS (1898-1980), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Points of Rebellion, 1969.

When books are challenged, restricted, removed, or banned, an atmosphere of suppression exists … The fear of the consequences of censorship is as damaging as, or perhaps more damaging than, the actual censorship attempt. After all, when a published work is banned, it can usually be found elsewhere. Unexpressed ideas, unpublished works, unpurchased books are lost forever. ROBERT P. DOYLE, Banned Books 1998 Resource Guide, 1998.

Of all the tyrannies on human kind / the worst is that which persecutes the mind. JOHN DRYDEN (1631-1700), The Hind and the Panther, 1687.

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

In my youth I stressed freedom, and in my old age I stress order, I have made the great discovery that liberty is the product or order. WILL DURANT (1885-1981), Time Magazine, 13 August 1965.

The freedom of each individual can only be the freedom of all. FRIEDRICH DURRENMATT (1921-1990), About Tolerance, 1977.

“Balanced” is a code for “denied”: a right to free speech that must be “balanced” against so exhaustive a list of other supposed values means a right that can be exercised only when those in power judge that the speech in question is innocuous to them. RONALD DWORKIN, Index on Censorship, March 1997.


The real guarantee of freedom is an equilibrium of social forces in conflict, not the triumph of any one force. MAX EASTMAN (1883-1969), Reflections on the Failure of Socialism, 1955.

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.

This article will probably photocopied and passed around the offices of exactly the same organizations that queue up to denounce copyright theft. THE ECONOMIST, editorial on The Property of Mind, 27 July 1996.

Restless is discontent and discontent is the first necessity of progress. THOMAS A. EDISON (1847-1931), American Inventor.

The modern susceptibility to conformity and obedience to authority indicates that the truth endorsed by authority is likely to be accepted as such by a majority of the people. DAVID EDWARDS, Burning All Illusions, 1996.

We who officially value freedom of speech above life itself seem to have nothing to talk about but the weather. BARBARA EHRENREICH, American writer.

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.

Any power must be an enemy of mankind which enslaves the individual by power and by force, whether it arises under the Fascist or the Communist flag. All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded to the individual. ALBERT EINSTEIN (1879-1955), 15 September 1933.

The restriction of knowledge to an elite group destroys the spirit of the society and leads to its intellectual impoverishment. ALBERT EINSTEIN (1879-1955).

By academic freedom I understand the right to search for truth and to publish and teach what one holds to be true. This right implies also a duty; one must not conceal any part of what one has recognized to be true. ALBERT EINSTEIN (1879-1955), Letter on his seventy-fifth birthday, 1954.

It gives me great pleasure indeed to see the stubbornness of in incorrigible nonconformist warmly acclaimed. ALBERT EINSTEIN (1879-1955).

Any time we deny any citizen the full exercise of his constitutional rights, we are weakening our own claim to them. DWIGHT DAVID EISENHOWER (1890-1969), U. S. President, Reader’s Digest, December 1963.

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.

It is an ancient truth that freedom cannot be legislated into existence, so it is no less obvious that freedom cannot be censored into existence. And any who act as if freedom’s defenses are found in suppression and suspicion and fear confess a doctrine that is alien to America. DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (1890-1969), U. S. President, Letter, 24 June 1953.

Don’t join the book burners. Don’t think you are going to conceal faults by concealing evidence that they ever existed. DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (1890-1969), Speech, Dartmouth College, 14 June 1953.

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

Persecution readily knits friendship between its victims. RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803-1882), Speech, 12 September 1835.

Who shall forbid a wise skepticism, seeing that there is no practical question on which anything more than an approximate solution can be had? RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803-1882), Representative Men, 1850.

Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing. RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803-1882), Essays, 1841.

Thehistoryofpersecutionisahistoryofendeavorsto cheat nature, to make water run up hill, to twist a rope of sand. RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803-1882), Essays, 1841.

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803-1882).

Oppression of expression conceals the real problems confronting a society and diverts public attention from the critical issues. It is likely to result in neglect of the grievances which are the actual basis of the unrest, and thus prevent their correction. THOMAS I. EMERSON, Yale Law Journal, 1963.

The function of the censor is to censor. He has a professional interest in finding things to suppress. THOMAS I. EMERSON, Law and Contemporary Problems (1955).

It is frequently said that speech that is intentionally provocative and therefore invites physical retaliation can be punished or suppressed. Yet, plainly no such general proposition can be sustained. Quite the contrary … The provocative nature of the communication does not make it any the less expression. Indeed, the whole theory of free expression contemplates that expression will in many circumstances be provocative and arouse hostility. The audience, just as the speaker, has an obligation to maintain physical restraint. THOMAS I. EMERSON, The System of Freedom of Expression, 1970.

The right to freedom of expression is justified first of all as the right of an individual purely in his capacity as an individual. It derives from the widely accepted pre-mise of Western thought that the proper end of man is the realization of his character and potentialities as a human being. THOMAS I. EMERSON, Yale Law Journal, 1963.

Suppression of expression conceals the real problems confronting a society and diverts public attention from the critical issues. It is likely to result in neglect of the grievances which are the actual basis of the unrest, and this prevent their correction. THOMAS I. EMERSON, Yale Law Journal, 1963.

The Right of all members of society to form their own beliefs and communicate them freely to others must be regarded as an essential principle of a democratically organized society. THOMAS I. EMERSON, Toward A General Theory of the First Amendment, 1966.

Every man — in the development of his own personality — has the right to form his own beliefs and opinions. Hence, suppression of belief, opinion and expression is an affront to the dignity of man, a negation of man’s essential nature. THOMAS I. EMERSON, Toward A General Theory of the First Amendment, 1966.

The freedom of speech, and debates or proceedings in Parliament, ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament. THE ENGLISH BILL OF RIGHTS, December 1689.

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 beginning of philosophy is the recognition of the conflict between opinions. EPICTETUS (ca. 55-135 A.D.), Discourses, ca. 110 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.

What is the fairest fruit of the English Tree of Liberty? The security of our rights and of the law, and that no man shall be brought to trial where there is a prejudice against him. THOMAS ERSKINE (1750-1823), Defense of Thomas Paine, 20 December 1792.

When men can freely communicate their thoughts and their sufferings, real or imagined, their passions spend themselves in air, like gunpowder scattered upon the surface — but pent up by terrors, they work unseen, burst forth in a moment, and destroy everything in its course. Let reason be opposed to reason, and argument to argument, and every good government will be safe. THOMAS ERSKINE (1750-1823), Lord Chancellor of England.

The liberty of the press would be an empty sound, and no man would venture to write on any subject, however, pure his purpose, without an attorney at one elbow and a counsel at the other. From minds thus subdued by the fear of punishment, there could issue no works of genius to expand the empire of human reason. THOMAS ERSKINE (1750-1823), Lord Chancellor of England, Trial of John Stockdale, 9 December 1789.

But this is slavery, not to speak one’s thought. EURIPIDES (480-406 B.C.), The Phoenician Women, 411-409 B.C.

Freedom of speech and freedom of action [is meaningless] without freedom to think. And there is no freedom of thought without doubt. BERGAN EVANS (1904-1978), The Natural History of Nonsense, 1946.

The civilized man has a moral obligation to be skeptical, to demand the credentials of all statements that claim to be facts. BERGAN EVANS (1904-1978), The Natural History of Nonsense, 1946.

Propaganda is persuading people to make up their minds while withholding some of the facts from them. HAROLD EVANS.

If you admit that to silence your opponent by force is to win an intellectual argument, then you admit the right to silence people by force. HANS EYSENCK (1916-1997).


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.

Censorship is advertising paid by the government. FEDERICO FELLINI (1920-1993).

Censorship is a dangerous tool that is primarily used to suppress from those who would challenge oppression by the society and that state, and particularly victimizes minorities. [It] can never eliminate evil ideas, and so the best answer to bad speech is more speech. FEMINISTS AGAINST CENSORSHIP, About FAC, 2002.

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.

Governments have even been known to hold a high hand over the education of the people. They know, better than anyone else, that their power is based almost entirely on the school. Hence, they monopolize it more and more. FRANCISCO FERRER (1857-1909), The Modern School.

Freedom of the press and also of speech, assembly, and worship can persist as social forms and legal guarantees, while at the same time their functional realities can be gradually slipping away. MARSHALL FIELD (1835-1906), Freedom Is More Than A Word, 1945.

If a blending of individualism and of cooperative participation is a prerequisite to a democratic solution of the problems of a society of free men, it must also be noted that an atmosphere of freedom is required if these problems are to be met constructively and as they arise. MARSHALL FIELD (1835-1906), Freedom Is More Than A Word, 1945.

There is no zeal blinder than that which inspired with a love of justice against offenders. HENRY FIELDING, (1707-1754).

Let us remember that revolutions do not always establish freedom. Our own free institutions were not the offspring of our revolution. They existed before. MILLARD FILLMORE (1800-1874), U. S. President, Annual message to Congress, 5 December 1852.

A criminal trial is not a search for truth. It is much too circumscribed for that. Rather, a trial is a formalized contest for the hearts and minds of a panel of twelve. It is a quest for a verdict in which information is selected and screened (we can almost say “processed”) before it is allowed to reach jurors. PHILLIP FINCH, Fatal Flaw, 1992.

Despite the apparent absoluteness of the First Amendment, there are any number of ways of getting around it, ways that are known to any student of law. In general, the strategy is to manipulate the distinction between speech and action which is at bottom a distinction between inconsequential and consequential behavior. STANLEY FISH, There’s No Such Thing as Free Speech and It’s a Good Thing, Too, 1994.

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.

The idea of neutrality in the speech context not only requires that the state refrain from choosing among viewpoints, but also that it not structure public debate in such a way as to favor one viewpoint over another. The state must act as a high-minded parliamentarian, making certain that all viewpoints are fully and fairly heard. OWEN FISS, “State Activism and State Censorship,” Yale Law Journal, 1991.

Either you think — or else others have to think for you and take power from you, pervert and discipline your natural tastes, civilize and sterilize you. F. SCOTT FITZGERALD (1896-1940), Tender is the Night, 1934.

Censorship in any form, represents a lack of trust in the judgment of the individual. The passage of time provides the best perspective for sorting the wheat from the chaff. BRUCE E. FLEURY, 1982.

We must not overlook the role that extremists play. They are the gadflies that keep society from being too complacent. ABRAHAM FLEXNER (1866-1959), Universities, 1930.

We are willing enough to praise freedom when it is safely tucked away in the past and cannot be a nuisance. In the present, admidst dangers whose outcome we cannot foresee, we get nervous about her, and admit censorship. E. M. FORSTER (1879-1970), Two Cheers for Democracy, 1951.

Two cheers for democracy; one because it admits variety and two because it permits criticism. E. M. FORSTER (1879-1970), Two Cheers For Democracy, 1951.

Dissent and dissenters have no monopoly on freedom. They must tolerate opposition. They must accept dissent from their dissent. And they must give it the respect and the latitude which their claim for themselves. ABE FORTAS (1910-1982), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, New York Times Magazine, 12 May 1968.

Government … may not be hostile to any religion or to the advocacy of no-religion; and it may not aid, foster, or promote one religion or religious theory against another … The First Amendment mandates governmental neutrality … ABE FORTAS (1910-1982), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, 1968.

We are willing enough to praise freedom when she is safely tucked away in the past and cannot be a nuisance. In the present, amidst dangers whose outcome we cannot foresee, we get nervous about her, and admit censorship. E. M. FORSTER (1879-1970), Two Cheers For Democracy.

Procedure is the bone structure of a democratic society. Our scheme of law affords great latitude for dissent and opposition. It compels wide tolerance not only for their expression but also for the organization of people and forces to bring about the acceptance of the dissenter’s claim … We have alternatives to violence. ABE FORTAS, U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Concerning Dissent and Civil Disobedience, 1968.

I should, indeed, prefer twenty men to escape death through mercy, than one innocent to be condemned unjustly. SIR JOHN FORTESCUE, English Jurist, De Landibus Legum Angliae, 1740.

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

Opinions become dangerous to a state only when persecution makes it necessary for the people to communicate their ideas under the bond of secrecy. CHARLES JAMES FOX (1749-1806), Speech, House of Commons, 1797.

No human government has a right to enquire into private opinions, to presume that it knows them, or to act on that presumption. Men are the best judges of the consequences of their own opinions, and how far they are likely to influence their actions; and it is most unnatural and tyrannical to say, “as you think, so must you act. I will collect the evidence of your future conduct from what I know to be your opinions.” CHARLES JAMES FOX (1749-1806), Speech, House of Commons, 8 May 1789.

Every attempt to gag the free expression of thought is an unsocial act against society. That is why judges and juries who try to enforce such laws make themselves ridiculous. JAY FOX, in Liberty and the Great Libertarians (Charles Spradling).

“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.

Increasingly constructive doubt is the sign of advancing civilization. JEROME D. FRANK (1889-1957), Law and the Modern Man, 1930.

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.

If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing. ANATOLE FRANCE (1844-1924).

To vest a few fallible men — prosecutors, judges, jurors — with vast powers of literary or artistic censorship, to convert them into what J. S. Mill has called the “Moral Police,” it is to make them despotic arbiters of literary products. JEROME FRANK (1889-1957), Judge, U. S. Court of Appeals, 1956.

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms — to chose one’s attitudes in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. VIKTOR FRANKL (1905-1997), Man’s Search for Meaning.

Being tolerant does not mean that I share another one’s belief. But it does mean that I acknowledge another one’s right to believe, and obey, his own con-science. VICTOR FRANKL (1905-1997), The Will to Meaning.

Ours is an accusatorial and not an inquisitorial system — a system in which the state must establish guilt by evidence independently and freely secured and may not by coercion prove its charge against an accused out of his own mouth. FELIX FRANKFURTER (1882-1965), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, 1961.

Liberty of thought soon shrivels without freedom of expression. Nor can truth be pursued in an atmosphere hostile to the endeavor or under dangers which are hazarded only by heroes. FELIX FRANKFURTER (1882-1965), Dennis et al v. United States, 1951.

Freedom of expression is the wellspring of our civilization … Therefore the liberty of man to search for truth ought to be fettered, no matter what orthodoxies he may challenge. FELIX FRANKFURTER (1882-1965), U. S. Supreme Court Justice.

The mark of a truly civilized man is confidence in the strength and security derived from the inquiring mind. FELIX FRANKFURTER (1882-1965), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Dennis v. United States, 1950.

It is easy to make light of insistence on scrupulous regard for the safeguards of civil liberties when invoked on behalf of the unworthy. History bears testimony that by such disregard are the rights of liberty extinguished, heedlessly at first, then stealthily, and brazenly in the end. FELIX FRANKFURTER (1882-1965), David v. United States, 1946.

The history of liberty has largely been the history of the observance of procedural safeguards. FELIX FRANKFURTER (1882-1965), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, McNabb v. United States, 1943.

A court which yields to the popular will thereby licenses itself to practices despotism, for there can be no assurance that it will not on another occasion indulge its own will. FELIX FRANKFURTER (1882-1965), A.F.L v. American Sash & Door, 1949.

The requirement of “due process” is not a fair weather or timid assurance. It must be respected in periods of calm and in times of trouble; it protects aliens as well as citizens. FELIX FRANKFURTER (1882-1965), Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee v. McGrath, 1951.

Being tolerant does not mean that I share another one’s belief. But it does mean that I acknowledge another one’s right to believe, and obey, his own conscience. VICTOR FRANKL (1905-1997), The Will To Meaning.

In those wretched countries where a man cannot call his tongue his own, he can scarce call anything his own. Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN (1706-1790), Dogwood Papers.

Without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN (1706-1790), The New England Courant, 9 July 1722.

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

Printers are educated in the Belief, that when Men differ in Opinion, both sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Public; and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter: Hence [printers] cheerfully serve all contending Writers that pay them well, without regarding on which side they are of the Question in Dispute. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN (1706-1790), “An Apology for Printers,” Pennsylvania Gazette, 10 June 1731.

Ask the American public if they want an FBI wiretap and they’ll say, “no.” If you ask them do they want a feature on their phone that helps the FBI find their missing child they’ll say, “Yes.” LOUIS FREEH, FBI Director, Testimony on the Digital Telephony bill, 13 September 1994.

To protest free speech in the name of protecting women is dangerous and wrong. BETTY FRIEDAN, Feminist leader.

The heart of the liberal philosophy is a belief in the dignity of the individual, in his freedom to make the most of his capacities and opportunities according to his own lights … This implies a belief in the equality of man in one sense; in their inequality in another. MILTON FRIEDMAN, Capitalism and Freedom, 1962.

The most unresolved problem of the day is precisely the problem that concerned the founders of this nation: how to limit the scope and power of government. Tyranny, restrictions on human freedom, come primarily from governmental restrictions that we ourselves have set up. MILTON FRIEDMAN, The Region, June 1992.

The history of totalitarian regimes is reflected in the evolution and perfection of the instruments of terror and more especially the police. CARL J. FRIEDRICH, The Pathology of Politics, 1972.

No mighty king, no ambitious emperor, no pope, or prophet ever dreamt of such an awesome pulpit, so potent a magic wand [television]. FRED W. FRIENDLY, Foreword: Presidential Television, 1973.

The member of a primitive clan might express his identity in the formula “I am we”; he cannot yet conceive of himself as an “individual,” existing apart from his group. ERICH FROMM (1900-1980).

Most of the change we think we see in life is due to truths being in and out of favor. ROBERT FROST (1874-1963), The Black Cottage, 1914.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. ROBERT FROST (1874-1963), The Road Not Taken.

To deny freedom of the will is to make morality impossible. J. A. FROUDE (1818-1894), Calvinism.

We must dare to think “unthinkable” thoughts … We must learn to welcome and not to fear the voices of dissent … Because when things become unthinkable, thinking stops and actions becomes mindless. J. WILLIAM FULBRIGHT (1905-1995), Speech, U. S. Senate, 27 March 1964.

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

In a democracy dissent is an act of faith, like medicine, the test of its value is not in its taste, but in its effects. J. WILLIAM FULBRIGHT (1905-1995), Speech, 21 April 1966.

When public men indulge themselves in abuse, when they deny others a fair trial, when they resort to innuendo and insinuation, to libel, scandal, and suspicion, then our democratic society is outraged, and democracy is baffled. J. WILLIAM FULBRIGHT (1905-1995), Speech, 2 February 1954.

I know of no inquiry which the impulses of man suggests that is forbidden to the resolution of man to pursue. MARGARET FULLER (1810-1950), Summer on the Lakes, 1844.

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


Under the privilege of the First Amendment many, many ridiculous things are said. JOHN KENNETH GALBRAITH, PBS Firing Line, 9 December 1989.

These are the days when men of all social disciplines and all political faiths seek and comfortable and the accepted; when the man of controversy is looked upon as a disturbing influence; when originality is taken to be a mark of instability; and when, in minor modification of the original parable, the bland lead the bland. JOHN KENNETH GALBRAITH, The Affluent Society, 1976.

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), quoted in Pearls of Wisdom (Glanze & Agel), 1987.

Truth never damages a cause that is just. MOHANDAS K. GANDHI (1869-1948).

The most fatal blow to progress is slavery of the intellect. The most sacred right of humanity is the right to think, and next to the right to think is the right to express that thought without fear. HELEN H. GARDNER, Men, Women and Gods, 1885.

No man shall rule over me with my consent. I will rule over no man. WILLIAM LLOYD GARRISON (1805-1879).

This is the gravest danger that today threatens civilization: State intervention, the absorption of all spontaneous social effort by the State. JOSE ORTEGA y GASSET (1883-1955), Espana Invertebrada, 1922.

Describing an action or an event as the “consequence” of speech presupposes that there is some causal connection between them. A central issue in any debate about the limits of free speech is the nature and the imminence of the causal connection between speech and its alleged consequences … In actual social situations it is impossible to isolate factors and determine their contribution to effects. Such control is extremely complicated even in a scientific laboratory. RUTH GAVISON, “Incitement and the Limits of the Law,” in Censorship and Silencing (Robert C. Post, ed), 1998.

He who sees the truth, let him proclaim it, without asking who is for it or who is against it. HENRY GEORGE (1839-1897), The Land Question, 1881.

All violations of essential privacy are brutalizing. KATHERINE FULLERTON GEROOULD (1879-1944), Modes and Morals, 1920

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 respon-sibility, then Athens ceased to be free. EDWARD GIBBON (1737-1794), Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

If it’s a despot you would dethrone, see first that his throne erected within you is destroyed. KAHLIL GIBRAN (1883-1931), 1923.

Some who are too scrupulous to steal your possessions nevertheless see no wrong in tampering with your thoughts. KAHLIL GIBRAN, Spiritual Sayings of Kahlil Gibran (Anthony R. Ferris), 1962.

You can muffle the drum, and you can loosen the strings of the lyre, but who shall command the skylark not to sing? KAHLIL GIBRAN (1883-1931).

He who does not prefer exile to slavery is not free by any measure of freedom, truth or duty. KAHLIL GIBRAN (1883-1931).

As some day it may happen that a victim must be found, I’ve got a little list — I’ve got a little list, Of society offenders who might well be underground, And who never would be missed, who never would be missed. WILLIAM S. GILBERT (1836-1911), The Mikado, 1885.

Liberty is worth whatever the country is worth. It is by liberty that man has a country; it is by liberty he has rights. HENRY GILES (1809-1882), The Worth of Liberty, 1847.

The First Amendment is important not only to guarantee the rights of alternative religions and of non-religious persons in society; it is also important in setting the only possible legal and social condition for the creative health of serious religion itself. LANGDON GILKEY, Creationism on Trial, 1985.

Humanity’s most valuable assets have been the non-conformists. Were it not for the non-conformists, he who refuses to be satisfied to go along with the continuance of things as they are, and insists upon attempting to find new ways of bettering things, the world would have know little progress, indeed. JOSIAH WILLIAM GITT (1884-1973), Gazette and Daily, 2 February 1957.

A truly great library contains something in it to offend everyone. JO GODWIN.

Whenever government assumes to deliver us from the trouble of thinking for ourselves, the only consequences it produces are those of torpor and imbecility. WILLIAM GODWIN (1756-1836), An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, 1793.

Not every item of news should be published. Rather must those who control news policies endeavor to make every item of news serve a certain purpose. JOSEPH PAUL GOEBBELS (1897-1945), Nazi Propaganda Minister, Diary, 14 March 1943.

During a war, news should be given out for instruction rather than information. JOSEPH PAUL GOEBBELS (1897-1945), Nazi Propaganda Minister.

It is the absolute right of the state to supervise the formation of public opinion. JOSEPH PAUL GOEBBELS (1897-1945), Nazi Propaganda Minister, Speech, October 1933.

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

Some books seem to have been written not to teach us anything, but to let us know that the author has known something. JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE (1749-1832), Poetry and Truth.

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.

There is no greater fallacy than the belief that aims and purposes are one thing, while methods and tactics are another … All human experience teaches that methods and means cannot be separated from the ultimate aim. EMMA GOLDMAN (1869-1940), My Disillusionment in Russia, 1923.

To subject an artist’s work to a litmus test of political probity — and to punish institutions that will not carry out the mandate of the state — is too traffic in the thought control that gave us Stalinism and Nazism … RICHARD GOLDSTEIN, “Editorial: Mr. Frohnmayer’s Wall,” Village Voice, 21 November 1989.

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 freedom of speech and the freedom of the press have not been granted to the people in order that they may say things which please, and which are based upon accepted thought, but the right to say things which please, and which are based upon accepted thought, but the right to say the things which displease, the right to say the things which convey the new and yet unexpected thoughts, the right to say things, even though they do a wrong. SAMUEL GOMPERS (1850-1924), Seventy Years of Life and Labor, 1925.

Freedom of conscience is a natural right, both antecedent and superior to all human laws and institutions whatever; a right which laws never gave and a right which laws can never take away. JOHN GOODWIN (1594-1664), Might and Right Well Met, 1648.

When there is official censorship it is a sign that speech is serious. Where there is none, it is pretty certain that the official spokesmen have all the loud-speakers. PAUL GOODMAN, Growing Up Absurd, 1960.

I know of no method to secure the repeal of bad or obnoxious laws so effective as their stringent execution. ULYSSES S. GRANT (1822-1885), U. S. President, Inaugural Address, 4 March 1869.

The right of revolution is an inherent one. When people are oppressed by their government, it is a natural right they enjoy to relieve themselves of the oppression, if they are strong enough, either by withdrawal from it, or by overthrowing it and substituting a government more acceptable. ULYSSES S. GRANT (1822-1885), U. S. President, Personal Memoirs, 1885.

I am the inferior of any man whose rights I trample underfoot. HORACE GREELEY (1811-1872), American Newspaperman.

Heresy is only another word for freedom of thought. GRAHAM GREENE (1904-1991).

Freedom is fragile and must be protected. To sacrifice, even as a temporary measure, is to betray it. GERMAINE GREER, American feminist.

Security is when everything is settled. When nothing can happen to you. Security is the denial of life. GERMAIN GREER, American feminist.

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 ideas is wisdom. A. WHITNEY GRISWOLD (1909-1963), New York Times, 24 February 1959.

Certain things we cannot accomplish … by any process of government. We cannot legislate intelligence. We cannot legislate morality. No, and we cannot legislate loyalty, for loyalty is a kind of morality. A. WHITNEY GRISWOLD (1909-1963), Essays on Education, 1954.

The freedom of thought and speech arising from and privileged by our constitution gives force and poignancy to the expressions of our common people. FRANCIS GROSE (1731-1791), Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, 1785.

The tolerance of the skeptic … accepts the most diverse and indeed the most contradictory opinions, and keeps all his suspicions for the “dogmatist.” JEAN GUITTON, Difficulties of Believing, 1948.

The spirit of revolution, the spirit of insurrection, is a spirit radically opposed to liberty. FRANCOIS PIERRE GUIZOT (1787-1874), Premier of France, Speech, 29 December 1930.


You never hear about constitutional rights, free speech, and the free press. Every time I hear those words I say to myself, “That man is a Red, that man is a communist.” You never hear a real American talk like that. FRANK HAGUE (1876-1956), New York World Telegram, 2 August 1938.

In the history of censorship, the oldest and most frequently recurring controls have been those designed to prevent unorthodox and unpopular expressions of political or religions opinions. ANN LYON HAIGHT, Banned Books, 1970.

Political liberty is nothing else but the diffusion of power. LORD HAILSHAM, The Case for Conservatism, 1947.

Advances are made by answering questions. Discoveries are made by questioning answers. BERNHARD HAISCH.

To render the magistrate a judge of truth, and engage his authority in the suppression of opinions, shews an inattention to the nature and designs of political liberty. ROBERT HALL (1764-1831), An Apology for the Liberty of the Press, 1793.

The revolt against freedom, which can be traced back so far, is associated with a revolt against reason that [gives] sentiment primacy to evaluate actions and experiences according to the subjective emotions with which they are associated. LOUIS J. HALLE, The Ideological Imagination, 1972.

If what is best in mankind, and what its progress depends on, manifests itself primarily in the individual and only secondarily in the mass, then our objectives should be to maintain such freedom as allows the individual to think and speak for himself. LOUIS J. HALLE, The Ideological Imagination, 1972.

Every individual of the community at large has an equal right to the protection of government. ALEXANDER HAMILTON (1757-1805), U. S. President, Speech, Constitutional Convention, 29 June 1787.

In a free government, the security for civil rights must be the same as that for religious rights. It consists in the one case in the multiplicity of interests, and in the other in the multiplicity of sects. ALEXANDER HAMILTON (1757-1805), The Federalist, 1788.

In politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution. ALEXANDER HAMILTON (1757-1804), The Federalist, 1788.

There is no fury like that against one who, we fear, may succeed in making us disloyal to beliefs we hold with passion, but have not really won. LEARNED HAND (1872-1961), Judge, U. S. Court of Appeals, 1932.

All discussion, all debate, all dissidence tends to question and in consequence, to upset existing convictions; that is precisely its purpose and its justification. LEARNED HAND (1872-1961), Judge, U. S. Court of Appeals.

I believe that the community is already in process of dissolution where each man begins to eye his neighbor as a possible enemy, where non-conformity with the accepted creed, political as well as religious, is a mark of disaffection; where denunciation, without specification or backing, takes the place of evidence, where orthodoxy chokes freedom of dissent; where faith in the eventual supremacy of reason has become so timid that we dare not enter our convictions in the open lists, to win or lose. LEARNED HAND (1872-1961), Judge, U. S. Court of Appeals, Speech, New York University, 24 October 1952.

What seems fair enough against a squalid huckster of bad liquor may take on a different face, if used by a government determined to suppress political opposition under the guise of sedition. LEARNED HAND (1872-1961), Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals, United States v. Kirschenblatt, 1926.

Political agitation, by the passions it arouses or the convictions it engenders, may in fact stimulate men to the violation of the law. Detestation of existing politics is easily transformed into forcible resistance of the authority which puts them in execution … LEARNED HAND (1872-1961), Judge, U. S. Court of Appeals, Masses Pub Co. v. Patten, 1917.

In the end it is worse to suppress dissent than to run the risk of heresy. LEARNED HAND (1872-1961), Judge, U. S. Court of Appeals, Speech, Harvard University, 1958.

Heretics have been hated from the beginning of recorded time; they have been ostracized, exiled, tortured, maimed and butchered; but it has generally proved impossible to smother them; and when it has not, the society that has succeeded has always declined. LEARNED HAND (1872-1961), Judge, U. S. Court of Appeals, Speech, 1955.

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which seeks to understands the minds of other men and women … LEARNED HAND (1872-1961), Judge, U. S. Court of Appeals, Speech, 21 May 1944.

Privacy in one’s associations … may in many circumstances be indispensable to freedom of association, particularly where a group espouses dissident beliefs. JOHN MARSHALL HARLAN (1899-1971), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, NAACP v. Alabama (1958).

I cannot assent to the view, if it be meant that the legislature may impair or abridge the rights of a free press and of free speech whenever it thinks that the public welfare requires that it be done. The public welfare cannot override constitutional privilege. JOHN MARSHALL HARLAN (1899-1971), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Patterson v. Chicago.

In view of the Constitution, in the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. There is no caste here. Our Con-stitution is colorblind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. JOHN MARSHALL HARLAN (1833-1911), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896.

The constitutional right of free expression … is designed and intended to remove governmental restraints from the arena of public discussion, putting the decision as to what views shall be voiced in the hands of each of us, in the hope that the use of such freedom will ultimately produce a more capable citizenry and more perfect polity and in the belief that no other approach would comport with the premise of individual dignity and choice upon which our political systems rests. JOHN MARSHALL HARLAN (1899-1971), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Cohen v. California, 1971.

We cannot sanction the view that the Constitution, while solicitous of the cognitive content of individual speech, has little or no regard for that emotive function which, practically speaking, may often be the more important element of the overall message sought to be communicated. JOHN MARSHALL HARLAN (1899-1971), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Cohen v. California, 1971.

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.

A society committed to the search for truth must give protection to, and set a high value upon, the independent and original mind, however angular, however rasping, however, socially unpleasant it may be; for it is upon such minds in large measure, that the effective search for truth depends. CARYL HASKINS, New York Times, 9 December 1963.

I really do inhabit a system in which words are capable of shaking the entire structure of government, where words can probe mightier than ten military divisions. VACLAV HAVEL, Czech writer, political leader.

This freedom, this liberty, this beautiful and terrible thing, needful to man as air, usable as earth. ROBERT EARL HAYDEN (1913-1980), Collected Poems, 1985.

The argument for liberty is not an argument against organization, which is one of the most powerful tools human reason can employ, but an argument against all exclusive, privileged, monopolistic organization, against the use of coercion to prevent others from doing better. FRIEDRICH A. HAYEK (1899-1992).

The greatest danger to liberty today comes from the men who are most needed and most powerful in modern government, namely, the efficient expert administrators exclusively concerned with what they regard as the public good. FRIEDRICH A. HAYEK (1899-1992), The Constitution of Liberty, 1960.

There have existed, in every age and every country, two distinct orders of men — the lovers of freedom and the devoted advocates of power. ROBERT Y. HAYNES, United States Senator, Speech, 21 January 1830.

When free discussion is denied, hardening of the arteries of democracy has set in, free institutions are but a lifeless form, and the death of the republic is at hand. WILLIAM RANDOLPH HEARST (1863-1951), 13 June 1941.

We hold that the greatest right in the world is the right to be wrong, that in the exercise thereof people have an inviolable right to express their unbridled thoughts on all topics and personalities, being liable only for the use of that right. WILLIAM RANDOLPH HEARST (1863-1951), Independence League Platform, New York Journal, 1 February 1924.

We hold that no person or set of persons can properly establish a standard of expression for others. WILLIAM RALDOLPH HEARST (1863-1951), Independence League Platform, New York Journal, 1 February 1924.

Fraud may consist as well in the suppression of what is true as in the representation of what is false. JUSTICE HEATH, English Jurist, Tapp v. Lee, 1803.

When individuals and nations have once got in their heads the abstract concept of full-blown liberty, there is nothing like it in its uncontrollable strength. GEORG WILHELM FRIEDRICH HEGEL (1770-1831), Philosophy of Mind.

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.

Limiting the freedom of news ‘just a little bit’ is in the same category within the classic example ‘a little bit pregnant’. ROBERT HEINLEIN (1907-1988), A Rabble in Arms.

Of all the so-called natural human rights that have ever been invented, liberty is least likely to be cheap and is never free of cost. ROBERT HEINLEIN (1907-1988), Starship Troopers, 1959.

The whole principle is wrong. It’s like demanding that grown men live on milk because the baby can’t eat steak. ROBERT HEINLEIN (1907-1988).

Secrecy is the beginning of tyranny. ROBERT HEINLEIN (1907-1988).

In a society in which it is a moral offense to be different from your neighbor your only escape is to never let them find out. ROBERT HEINLEIN (1807-1988).

To limit the press is to insult a nation; to prohibit reading of certain books is to declare the inhabitants to be either fools or knaves. CLAUDE-ADRIEN HELVETIUS (1715-1771), On The Mind.

Satire dramatizes better than any other use of it, the inherent contradiction of free speech — that it functions best when what is being said is at its most outrageous. TONY HENDRA, Going Too Far, 1986.

Those who created this country chose freedom. With all of its dangers. And do you know the riskiest part of that choice they made? They actually believed that we could be trusted to make up our own minds in the whirl of differing ideas. That we could be trusted to remain free, even when there were very, very seductive voices — taking advantage of our freedom of speech — who were trying to turn this country into the kind of place where the government could tell you what you can and cannot do. NAT HENTOFF, The Day They Came To Arrest The Book, 1982.

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.

Radicals are only to be feared when you try to suppress them. You must demonstrate that you will use the best of what they offer. FRANK HERBERT (1920-1986), Dune, 1965.

The convoluted wording of legalisms grew up around the necessity to hide from ourselves the violence we intend toward each other. Between depriving a man of one hour from his life and depriving him of his life there exists only a difference of degree. You have done violence to him, consumed his energy. FRANK HERBERT (1920-1986), Dune, 1965.

The possession of power over others in inherently destructive both to the possessor of the power and to those over whom it is exercised. GEORGE D. HERRON (1862-1925), in The Cry For Justice (Upton Sinclair), 1920.

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.

Any attempt to replace a personal conscience by a collective conscience does violence to the individual and is the first step toward totalitarianism. HERMAN HESSE (1877-1962), Reflections.

A censor is a man who knows more than he thinks you ought to. GRANVILLE HICKS (1901-1982).

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).

What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow; that is the whole Law: all the rest is interpretation. HILLEL (30 B.C. - 10 A.D.), Talmud.

Thee is a utilitarian case for free expression. It recognizes that the freedom to speak must also be insisted on for the person who thinks differently, because it is pointless to support only free speech for people who agree with you. It is not only unprincipled to want that, but also self-defeating. For your own sake, you need to know how other people think. CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, “Forbidden Thoughts,” American Enterprise, January 1995.

The National Socialist Party will prevent in the future, by force if necessary, all meetings and lectures which are likely to exercise a depressing influence on the German state. ADOLPH HITLER (1889-1945), Speech, 4 January 1921.

In relation to the political decontamination of our public life, the government will embark upon a systematic campaign to restore the nation’s moral and material health. The whole educational system, theater, film, literature, the press and broadcasting — all these will be used as a means to this end. ADOLPH HITLER (1889-1945), Volkischer Beobachter, 23 March 1933.

It is thus necessary that the individual should finally come to realize that his own ego is of no importance in comparison with the existence of the nation, that the position of the individual is conditioned solely by the interests of the nation as a whole. ADOLPH HITLER (1889-1945).

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.

A free man is he that, in those things which by his strength and wit he is able to do, is not hindered to do what he has a will to. THOMAS HOBBS (1588-1679), Leviathan, 1651.

They that approve a private opinion, call it an opinion; but they that mislike it, heresy: and yet heresy signifies no more than private opinion. THOMAS HOBBS (1588-1679), Leviathan, 1651.

The tendency of all strong governments has always been to suppress liberty, partly in order to ease the processes of rule, partly from sheer disbelief in innovation. JOHN A. HOBSON (1858-1940), Free Thought in the Social Sciences, 1926.

Where men cannot freely convey their thoughts to one another, no other liberty is secure. WILLIAM E. HOCKING (1873-1966), Freedom of the Press, 1947.

I doubt if the oppressed ever fight for freedom. They fight for pride and for power — power to oppress others. The oppressed want above all to imitate their oppressors; they want to retaliate. ERIC HOFFER (1902-1983), quoted in Eric Hoffer: An American Odyssey (Calvin Tompkins), 1968.

Those who see their lives as spoiled and wasted crave equality and fraternity more than they do freedom. If they clamor for freedom, it is but freedom to establish equality and uniformity. ERIC HOFFER (1902-1993), The True Believer, 1951.

There can be no freedom without freedom to fail. ERIC HOFFER (1902-1983), The Ordeal of Change, 1964.

Totalitarianism spells simplification: an enormous reduction in the variety of aims, motives, interests, human types, and, above all, in the categories and units of power. ERIC HOFFER (1902-1983), The Ordeal of Change, 1964.

A university’s essential character is that of being a center of free inquiry and criticism — a thing not to be sacrificed for anything else. RICHARD HOFSTADTER (1916-1970), Commencement Address, Columbia University, 1968.

To prevent inquiry is among the worst of evils. THOMAS HOLCROFT (1745-1816), The Adventures of Hugh Trevor, 1794.

Another perceived attribute of intellectuals that needs rethinking and revision: the assumption that they are deeply and unequivocally committed to personal, political and intellectual freedom and especially free expression … many Western intellectuals’ commitment to intellectual freedom is selective at best. PAUL HOLLANDER, Society, July-August 1983.

I think that we should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe and believe to be fraught with death, unless they are so imminently threaten immediate interference with the lawful and pressing purposes of the law that an immediate check is required to save the country … Only the emergency that makes it immediately dangerous to leave the correction of evil counsels to time warrants making any exception to the sweeping command, “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech.” OLIVER WENDALL HOLMES, JR (1841-1935), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Abrams et al v. United States, 1919.

If there is any principle of the constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought — not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate. OLIVER WENDALL HOLMES, JR. (1841-1935), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, United States v. Schwimmer, 1928.

For my part I think it is a less evil that some criminals should escape, than that the government should play an ignoble part. OLIVER WENDALL HOLMES, JR. (1841-1935), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Olmstead v. United States, 1928.

Every idea is an incitement. It offers itself for belief, and if believed it is acted on unless some other belief outweighs it or some failure of energy stifles the movement at its birth. The only difference between the expression of an opinion and an incitement is the speaker’s enthusiasm for the result. OLIVER WENDALL HOLMES, JR. (1841-1935), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Gitlow v United States, 1922.

Whatever disagreement there may be as to the scope of the phrase “due process of law” there can be no doubt that it embraces the fundamental conception of a fair trial, with opportunity to be heard. OLIVER WENDALL HOLMES, JR. (1841-1935), Frank v. Magnum, 1915.

But when men have realized that time has upset many fighting faiths, they may come to believe … that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market … That at any rate is the theory of our constitution. OLIVER WENDALL HOLMES, JR. (1841-1935), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Abrams et. al v United States, 1919.

The Fourteenth Amendment was adopted with a view to the protection of the colored race, but has been found to be equally important in its application to the rights of all. OLIVER WENDALL HOLMES, JR. (1841-1935), United States v. Olmstead, 1928.

There never was an idea stated that woke men out of their stupid indifference but its originator was spoken of as a crank. OLIVER WENDALL HOLMES, SR. (1809-1884), Over the Teacups, 1891.

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.

The very aim and end of our institutions is just this: that we may think what we like and say what we think. OLIVER WENDALL HOLMES, SR. (1809-1894), The Professor at the Breakfast Table, 1860.

To speak his thoughts is every freeman’s right, in peace and war, in council and in fight. HOMER, The Iliad.

To silence criticism is to silence freedom. SIDNEY HOOK, New York Times Magazine, 30 September 1951.

One of the central assumptions of the concept of democracy, perhaps its most central assumption, is that by and large human beings are better judges of their own interests … The operating maxim of the democratic ideology is, “Whoever wears the shoe knows best where it pinches.” SIDNEY HOOK (1902-1989), Political Power and Personal Freedom, 1959.

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.

It [freedom] is a thing of the spirit. Men must be free to worship, to think, to hold opinions, to speak without fear. They must be free to challenge wrong and oppression with the surety of justice. HERBERT CLARK HOOVER (1874-1964), U. S. President, Addresses on the American Road.

Freedom conceives that the mind and spirit of man can be free only if he is free to pattern his own life, to develop his own talents, free to earn, to spend, to save, to acquire property as the security of his old age and his family. HERBERT CLARK HOOVER (1874-1964), U. S. President, Addresses on the American Road.

“Painters and poets,” you say, “have always had an equal license in bold invention.” We know; we claim the liberty for ourselves and in turn we give it to others. HORACE (65-8 B.C.).

The freedom of the press is one of the great bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotic government. EDGAR WATSON HOWE (1853-1937), Country Town Sayings, 1911.

I express many absurd opinions. But I am not the first man to do it; American freedom consists largely in talking nonsense. EDGAR WATSON HOWE (1853-1937), Preaching from the Audience, 1926.

The liberty of the press is most generally approved when it takes liberties with the other fellow, and leaves us alone. EDGAR WATSON HOWE (1853-1937), Country Town Sayings, 1911.

There is no freedom on earth or in any star for those who deny freedom to others. ELBERT HUBBARD (1856-1915), Roycroft Dictionary and Book of Epigrams, 1923.

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.

Our institutions were not devised to bring about uniformity of opinion; if they had we might well abandon hope. It is important to remember, as has well been said, “the essential characteristic of true liberty is that under its shelter many different types of life and character and opinion and belief can develop unmolested and unobstructed.” CHARLES EVANS HUGHES (1862-1948), Chief Justice, U. S. Supreme Court, Forbes Magazine, 1 November 1957.

Emergency does not create power. Emergency does not increase granted power or remove or diminish the restrictions imposed upon power granted or reserved. The Constitution was adopted in a period of grave emergency. Its grants of power to the federal government and its limitations of the power of the States were determined in the light of emergency, and they are not altered by emergency. CHARLES EVANS HUGHES (1862-1948), Chief Justice, U. S. Supreme Court, Home Building & Loan Assn v. Blairsdell, 1934.

The greater the importance to safeguarding the community from incitements to the overthrow of our institutions by force and violence, the more imperative is the need to preserve the constitutional rights of free speech, free press and free assembly in order to maintain the opportunity for free political discussion. CHARLES EVANS HUGHES (1862-1948), Chief Justice, U. S. Supreme Court, DeJonge v. Oregon, 1937.

The liberty of the press is not confined to newspapers and periodicals. It necessarily embraces pamphlets and leaflets. These indeed have been historic weapons in the defense of liberty, as the pamphlets of Thomas Paine and others in our history abundantly attest. CHARLES EVANS HUGHES (1862-1948), Chief Justice, U. S. Supreme Court, Lovell v. City of Griffin, 1938.

It is the essence of the institutions of liberty that it be recognized that guilt is personal and cannot be attributed to the holding of opinions or to mere intent in the absence of overt acts. CHARLES EVANS HUGHES (1862-1948), Chief Justice, U. S. Supreme Court, Harvard Law Review, April 1948.

When we lose the right to be different, we lose the privilege to be free. CHARLES EVANS HUGHES (1862-1948), Chief Justice, U. S. Supreme Court.

The right to comment freely and criticize the action, opinions, and judgment of courts is of primary importance to the public generally. Not only is it good for the public; bit it has a salutary effect on courts and judges as well. JAMES P. HUGHES, U. S. Supreme Court Justice, 1935.

We have entered a period of intolerance which combines, as it sometimes does in America, with a sugary taste for euphemism. ROBERT HUGHES, The Culture of Complaint, 1993.

Freedom in art, freedom in society, this is the double goal towards which all consistent and logical minds must strive. VICTOR HUGO (1802-1885).

Nothing appears more surprising to those who consider human affairs with a philosophical eye, than the ease with which the many are governed by the few. DAVID HUME (1711-1766), First Principles of Government, 1742.

Freedom is hammered out on the anvil of discussion, dissent and debate. HUBERT H. HUMPHREY (1911-1978), U. S. Vice-President, Speech, Syracuse University, 6 June 1965.

There are incalculable resources in the human spirit, once it has been set free. HUBERT H. HUMPHREY (1911-1978), Speech, 10 December 1966.

The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously. HUBERT H. HUMPHREY (911-1978), U.S. Vice-President, Speech, Madison, WI, 23 August 1965.

Freedom is the most contagious virus known to man. HUBERT H. HUMPHREY (1911-1978), U. S. Vice-President, Speech, New York City, 29 October 1964.

None of us would trade freedom of expression for the narrowness of the public censor. America is a free market for people who have something to say, and need not fear to say it. HUBERT H. HUMPHREY (1911-1978), U. S. Vice-President, New York Times, 9 March 1967.

The believer is happy, the doubter is wise. HUNGARIAN PROVERB.

The policy of the repression of ideas cannot work and never has worked. The alternative to it is the long difficult road of education. To this the American people have committed. ROBERT M. HUTCHINS (1899-1977), 1949.

A civilization in which there is not a continuous controversy about important issues … is on the way to totalitarianism and death. ROBERT M. HUTCHINS (1899-1977), The University of Utopia, 1953.

The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment. ROBERT M. HUTCHINS (1899-1977), Great Books, 1954.

Education is a kind of continuing dialogue, and a dialogue assumes different points of view. ROBERT M. HUTCHINS (1899-1977), Time magazine, 8 December 1952.

The end cannot justify the means for the simple and obvious reason that the means employed determine the nature of the ends produced. ALDOUS HUXLEY (1894-1963), Ends and Means, 1937.

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

What are the moral convictions most fondly held by barbarous and semi-barbarous people? They are the convictions that authority is the soundest basis of belief; that merit attaches to readiness to believe; that the doubting disposition is a bad one, and skepticism is a sin. THOMAS HENRY HUXLEY (1825-1895), On The Advisableness of Improving Natural Knowledge, 1866.

Free speech is meaningless unless it tolerates the speech that we hate. HENRY J. HYDE, U. S. Congressman, Speech, 3 May 1991.


The spirit of truth and the spirit of freedom — they are the pillars of society. HENRIK IBSEN (1828-1906), Pillars of Society, 1877.

One of the qualities of liberty is that, as long as it is being striven after, it goes on expanding. Therefore, the man who stands in the midst of the struggle and says, ‘I have it”, merely shows by doing so that he has just lost it. HENRIK IBSEN (1828-1906), 1971.

The strongest man in the world is he who stands alone. HENRIK IBSEN (1828-1906).

At least one way of measuring the freedom of any society is the amount of comedy that is permitted, and clearly a healthy society permits more satirical comment than a repressive … If anything can survive the probe of humour it is clearly of value, and conversely all groups who claim immunity from laughter are claiming special privileges which should not be granted. ERIC IDLE, British Comedian.

Doubt is the beginning, not the end, of wisdom. GEORGE ILES (1852-1942), Jottings.

It is precisely for the protection of the minority that constitutional limitations exist. Majorities need no such protection. They can take care of themselves. ILLINOIS SUPREME COURT, Ring v. Board of Education (1910).

The enemies of freedom do not argue; they shout and they shoot. WILLIAM RALPH INGE (1860-1954), The End of an Age.

Tolerance is giving to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself. ROBERT G. INGERSOLL (1833-1899).

What light is to the eyes — what air is to the lungs — what love is to the heart, liberty is to the soul of man. Without liberty, the brain is a dungeon, where the chained thoughts die with their pinions pressed against the hingeless doors. ROBERT G. INGERSOLL (1833-1899), Lecture, 14 May 1866.

Intellectual liberty is the air of the soul, the sunshine of the mind, and without it, the world is a prison, the universe is a dungeon. ROBERT G. INGERSOLL (1833-1899), Some Reasons Why.

Mental slavery is mental death, and every man who has given up his intellectual freedom is the living coffin of his dead soul. ROBERT G. INGERSOLL (1833-1899).

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 man who does not do his own thinking is a slave, and is a traitor to himself and his fellow men. ROBERT G. INGERSOL (1833-1899).

Heresy is what the minority believe; it is the name given by the powerful to the doctrines of the weak. ROBERT G. INGERSOLL (1833-1899), Heretics and Heresies.

It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question. EUGENE IONESCO (1909-1994), Decouvertes, 1969.


As long as our government is administered for the good of the people, and is regulated by their will; as long as it secures to us the rights of persons and of property, liberty of conscience and of the press, it will be worth defending. ANDREW JACKSON (1767-1845), U. S. President.

Did you ever hear anyone say, “That work had better be banned because I might read it and it might be very damaging to me.” JOSEPH HENRY JACKSON (1894-1955).

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. ROBERT H. JACKSON (1892-1954), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Minersville School District v. Gobitis, 1940.

Freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much. That would be a mere shadow of freedom. The test of its substance is the right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order. ROBERT H. JACKSON (1892-1954), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 1943.

The priceless heritage of our society is the unrestricted constitutional right of each member to think as he will. Thought control is a copyright of totalitarianism, and we have no claim to it. It is not the function of our Government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error. ROBERT H. JACKSON (1892-1954), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, American Communications Assn v. Douds, 1950.

Our forefathers found the evils of free thinking more to be endured than the evils of inquest or suppression. This is because thoughtful, bold and independent minds are essential to the wise and considered self-government. ROBERT H. JACKSON (1892-1954), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Atlantic Monthly, January 1955.

I cannot say that our country could have no secret police without becoming totalitarian, but I can say with great conviction that it cannot become totalitarian without a centralized national police. ROBERT H. JACKSON (1892-1954), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, The Supreme Court in the American System of Government, 1955.

The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities, and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. 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.

Those who begin coercive elimination of dissent soon find themselves exterminating dissenters. Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only a unanimity at the graveyard. ROBERT H. JACKSON (1892-1954), U. S. Supreme Court Justice.

There is no such thing as an achieved liberty: like electricity, there can be no substantial storage and it must be generated as it is enjoyed, or the lights to out. ROBERT H. JACKSON (1892-1954), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, American Bar Association Journal, 1953.

The price of freedom of religion, or of speech, or of the press, is that we must put up with, and even pay for, a good deal of rubbish. ROBERT H. JACKSON (1892-1954), U. S. Supreme Court Justice.

The radicals … want speech regulated by codes that proscribe certain language. They see free speech as at best a delusion, at worst a threat to the welfare of minorities and women … The most obvious (and cynical) explanation for the switched positions is the switched situations. Protesting students became established professors and administrators. For outsiders, free speech is bread and butter; for insiders, indigestion. To the new academics, unregulated free speech spells trouble. RUSSELL JACOBY, Dogmatic Wisdom, 1994.

I tolerate with utmost latitude the right of others to differ with me in opinion without imputing to them criminality. I know too well all the weaknesses and uncertainty of human reason to wonder at its different results. THOMAS JEFFERSON (1743-1826), U. S. President, Letter to Mrs. Adams, 1804.

I am for freedom of religion, and against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another. THOMAS JEFFERSON (1743-1826), U. S. President, Letter, 1799.

The sword of the law should never fall but on those whose guilt is so apparent as to be pronounced by their friends as well as foes. THOMAS JEFFERSON (1743-1826), U. S. President, Letter, 1801.

It is not only vain, but wicked, in a legislature to frame laws in opposition to the laws of nature, and to arm them with the terrors of death. This is truly creating crimes in order to punish them. THOMAS JEFFERSON (1743-1826), U. S. President, Note on the Crimes Bill, 1779.

What country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. THOMAS JEFFERSON (1743-1826), U. S. President, Letter, 13 November 1787.

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), U. S. President, 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), U. S. President, 1787.

And, finally, that truth is great and will prevail if left to herself; that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate; errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them. THOMAS JEFFERSON (1743-1826), U. S. President, Virginia Act for Religious Freedom, 1786.

I discharge every person under punishment or prosecution under the Sedition Law, because I considered, and now consider, that law to be a nullity as absolute and palpable as if Congress had ordered us to fall down and worship a golden image. THOMAS JEFFERSON (1743-1826), U. S. President, Letter to Abigail Adams, 22 July 1804.

It is more dangerous that even a guilty person should be punished without the forms of law than that he should escape. THOMAS JEFFERSON (1743-1826), U. S. President, Letter to William Carmichael, 27 May 1788.

All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, most be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws much protect, and to violate which would be oppression. THOMAS JEFFERSON (1743-1826), U. S. President, First Inaugural Address, 4 March 1801.

Freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of person under the protection of habeas corpus; and trial by juries impartially selected — these principles form the bright constellation which has gone before us. THOMAS JEFFERSON (1743-1801), U. S. President, First Inaugural Address, 4 March 1801.

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, 1776.

I am really mortified to be told that, in the United States of America, a fact like this can become a subject of inquiry, and of criminal inquiry, too, as an offense against religion; that a question about the sale of a book can be carried before the civil magistrate. THOMAS JEFFERSON (1743-1826), U. S. President, Letter, 19 April 1814.

It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others. THOMAS JEFFERSON (1743-1826), U. S. President, Notes on the State of Virginia, 1784.

The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object. THOMAS JEFFERSON (1743-1826), U. S. President, First Inaugural Address, 4 March 1801.

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it. THOMAS JEFFERSON (1743-1826), U. S. President, Letter, 23 December 1791.

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.

Error of opinion may be tolerated when reason is left free to combat it. THOMAS JEFFERSON (1743-1846), U. S. President, First Inaugural Address, 4 March 1801.

One has to multiply thoughts to the point where there aren’t enough policemen to control them. STANLSLAW JERZEY (1909-1966), Polish writer.

In the most civilized and progressive countries freedom of discussion is recognized as a fundamental principle. C. E. M. JOAD (1891-1953), The Recovery of Belief, 1952.

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.

Every man should know that his conversations, his correspondence, and his personal life are private. LYNDON B. JOHNSON (1908-1973), Remarks, 10 March 1967.

Free speech, free press, free religion, the right of free assembly, yes, the right of petition … well, they are still radical ideas. LYNDON B. JOHNSON (1908-1973), U. S. President, Speech, 3 August 1865.

Books and ideas are the most effective weapons against intolerance and ignorance. LYNDON B. JOHNSON (1908-1973), U. S. President, Speech, 11 February 1964.

Every good historian is almost by definition a revisionist. He looks at the accepted view of a particular historic episode or period with a very critical eye. PAUL JOHNSON, Insight, 5 May 1986.

Throughout history, the attachment of even the humblest people to their freedom … has come as an unpleasant shock to condescending ideologues. PAUL JOHNSON, Enemies of Society, 1977.

In questions of law or of fact conscience is very often confounded with opinion. No man’s conscience can tell him the rights of another man; they must be known by rational investigation or historical inquiry. SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709-1784), 1773.

Be not too hasty to trust or admire the teachers of morality; they discourse like angels but they live like men. SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709-1784), Rasselas, 1759.

Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intelligence. SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709-1784), The Rambler, 1750-52.

All theory is against freedom of the will; all experience for it. SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709-1784), in Boswell’s Life of Johnson, 1791.

In order that all men might be taught to speak truth, it is necessary that all likewise should learn to hear it. SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709-1784), The Rambler, 1750-52.

[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), Papers on Psychoanalysis, 1918.

Persecution is the first law of society because it is always easier to suppress criticism than to meet it. HOWARD MUMFORD JONES, Primer of Intellectual Freedom, 1949.

There are some acts of justice which corrupt those who perform them. JOSEPH JOUBERT (1754-1824), Pensees.

One should be suspicious of “love” as a political slogan. A government which purports to “love” its citizens invariably desires all the prerogatives of a lover: to share the loved one’s thoughts and keep him in bondage. ERIC JULBER, Esquire Magazine, 1969.

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).

Whenever justice is uncertain and police spying and terror are at work, human beings fall into isolation, which, of course, is the aim and purpose of the dictator state, since it is based on the greatest possible accumulation of depotentiated social units. CARL GUSTAV JUNG, The Undiscovered Self, 1957.

A shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases. CARL GUSTAV JUNG (1875-1961), Modern Man in Search of a Soul, 1933.

The Liberty of the press is the Palladium of all the civil, political and religious rights of an Englishman. JUNIUS, London Public Advertiser, 1769.

Quis costodiet ipsos custodies? Who will watch the watchers? JUVENAL (ca. 100 A.D.)


The multiple human needs and desires that demand privacy among two or more people in the midst of social life must inevitably lead to cryptology wherever men thrive and wherever they write. DAVID KAHN, The Codebreakers, 1996.

Persecution, whenever it occurs, establishes only the power and cunning of the persecutor, not the truth and worth of his belief. H. M. KALLEN (1882-1974).

It is a paradox of modern life that speech, although highly prized, enjoys its great protection in part because it is so often of no concern to anyone. To an alarming degree, tolerance depends not on principle, but on indifference. HARRY KALVEN, JR., A Worthy Tradition: Freedom of Speech in America, 1988.

Seditious libel is the doctrine that flourished in England during and after the Star Chamber. It is the hallmark of closed societies throughout the world. Under it criticism of government is viewed as defamation and punished as a crime. HARRY KALVEN, JR., A Worthy Tradition: Freedom of Speech in America, 1988.

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).

Freedom is independence of the compulsory will of another, and in so far as it tends to exist with the freedom of all according to a universal law, it is the one sole original inborn right belonging to every man in virtue of his humanity. IMMANUEL KANT (1724-1804).

The enjoyment of power inevitably corrupts the judgment of reason, and perverts its liberty. EMMANUEL KANT (1724-1804), Perpetual Peace, 1795.

The greatest problem for the human species, the solution of which nature compels him to seek, is that of attaining a civil society which can administer justice universally. EMMANUEL KANT (1724-1804), 1784.

Americans have an extraordinary love-hate relationship with the rich culture they’ve created. They buy, watch and read it even as they ban, block and condemn it. JON KATZ, Virtuous Reality, 1997.

Simply according artistic works the same protection as nonartistic works may not be sufficient to protect creativity. After all, the very essence of artistic expression is invention and artists necessarily draw on their own experience. But if the rules of liability are unclear, artists will not be able to know how much dis-guise is sufficient to protect their claims from the claims of those who may see themselves in the portrayals. IRVING KAUFMAN, Judge, “The Creative Process and Libel,” New York Times Magazine, 5 April 1987.

As long as man remains an inquiring animal, there can never be a complete unanimity in our fundamental beliefs. The more diverse our paths, the greater is likely to be the divergence of beliefs. SIR ARTHUR KEITH (1866-1927).

Security is mostly an illusion. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. HELEN KELLER (1880-1968), The Open Door, 1957.

The truth is sometimes a poor competitor in the market place of ideas — complicated, unsatisfying, full of dilemmas, always vulnerable to misinterpretation and abuse. GEORGE F. KENNAN, American Diplomacy, 1900-1950, 1959.

Academic freedom really means freedom of inquiry. To be able to probe according to one’s own interest, knowledge and conscience is the most important freedom the scholar has, and part of that process is to state its results. DONALD KENNEDY, President, Stanford University, 1986.

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.

There is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger than an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. JOHN F. KENNEDY (1917-1963), Address, 27 April 1961.

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 F. 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.

What is objectionable, what is dangerous about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents. ROBERT F. KENNEDY (1925-1968), U. S. Senator, The Pursuit of Justice, 1964.

If our constitution had followed the style of Saint Paul, the First Amendment might have concluded: “But the greatest of these is speech.” In the darkness of tyranny, this is the key to the sunlight. If it is granted, all doors open. If it is withheld, none. ROBERT F. KENNEDY (1925-1968), U. S. Senator, Address, Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, 22 January 1963.

The intolerant man will not rely on persuasion, or on the worth of the idea. He would deny to others the very freedom of opinion or of dissent which he so stridently demands for himself. He cannot trust democracy. ROBERT F. KENNEDY (1925-1968), Speech, West Georgia College, 26 May 1964.

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), Danish philosopher.

To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself. SOREN KIERKEGAARD (1813-1855), Danish philosopher.

Why did they devise censorship? To show a world which doesn’t exist, an ideal world, or what they envisaged as the ideal world. And we wanted to depict the world as it was. KRZYSZTOF KIESLOWSKI (1941-1996), Polish filmmaker.

Express everything you like. No word can hurt you. None. No idea can hurt you. Not being able to express an idea or word will hurt you more. Like a bullet. JAMAICA KINCAID, American Writer.

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. To be your own man is hard business. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself. RUDYARD KIPLING (1865-1936).

In their tendencies toward tolerance, openmindedness, faith in people and lack of authoritarianism, self-actualizers do appear to possess psychic strengths which allow them to work well in situations marked by a diversity of viewpoints. JEANNE KNUTSON, The Human Basis of Polity, 1972.

The invaluable and the valueless, the noble and the tawdry, the beautiful and the ugly, the true and the false, the good and the evil, are equally protected by the First and the Fourteenth Amendments’ guarantees of a free press and religious freedom. MILTON KONVITZ, quoted in Censorship: For And Against, 1071.

The freedom to fail is vital if you’re going to succeed. Most successful people fail from time to time, and it is a measure of their strength that failure merely propels them into some new attempt at success. MICHAEL KORDA (1919-1973).

Liberty requires restraints on popularly-elected leaders, as well as from minorities, so that the individual is protected from undue and arbitrary coercion by the state. These restraints are provided by a plurality of more or less equal and independent groups which check and balance one another’s power. WILLIAM KORNHAUSER, The Politics of Mass Society, 1959.

True individualists tend to be quite unobservant; it is the snob, the … sophisticate, the frightened conformist, who keeps a fascinated or worried eye on what is in the wind. LOUIS KRONENBERGER (1904-1980), Company Manners,1954.

Freedom of the press, freedom of association, the inviolability of domicile, and all the rest of the rights of man are respected so long as no one tries to use them against the privileged class. On the day they are launched against the privileged they are overthrown. PRINCE PETER KROPOTKIN (1842-1921).

The grand paradox of our society is this: we magnify man’s right but we minimize his capacities. JOSEPH WOOD KRUTCH (1893-1970), The Measure of Man, 1954.

Free inquiry entails recognition of civil liberties as integral to its pursuit, that is, a free press, freedom of communication, the right to organize opposition parties and to join voluntary associations, and freedom to cultivate and publish the fruits of scientific, philosophical, artistic, literary, moral and religious freedom. PAUL KURTZ, “A Secular Humanist Declaration,” in On The Barricades, 1989.

Free inquiry requires that we tolerate diversity of opinion and that we respect the right of individuals to express their beliefs, however unpopular they may be, without social or legal prohibition or fear of success. PAUL KURTZ, “A Secular Humanist Declaration,” in On The Barricades, 1989.


A guilty man is punished as an example for the mob; an innocent man convicted is the business of every honest citizen. JEAN de LA BRUYERE (1645-1969), Les Caracteres, 1688.

Let no man think we can deny civil liberty to others and retain it for ourselves. When zealous agents of the Government arrest suspected “radicals” without warrant, hold them without prompt trial, deny them access to counsel and admission of bail … we have shorn the Bill of Rights of its sanctity … ROBERT M. LAFOLLETTE, SR (1855-1925), U. S. Senator, The Progressive, March 1920.

The principle of free speech is no new doctrine born of the Constitution of the United States. It is a heritage of English-speaking peoples, which has been won by incalculable sacrifice, and which they must preserve so long as the hope to live as free men. ROBERT M. LaFOLLETTE (1855-1925), U. S. Senator, Speech, 6 October 1917.

Beware of those who would use violence, too often it is violence they want and neither truth nor freedom. LOUIS LAMOUR, The Walking Drum, 1984.

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.

Love of justice in the generality of men is only the fear of suffering from injustice. FRANCOIS, DUC de LA ROCHEFOUCAULD (1613-1680), Maxims, 1665.

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.

Every State is known by the rights it maintains. HAROLD J. LASKI (1893-1950), A Grammar of Politics, 1925.

The only real security for social well-being is the free exercise of men’s minds. HAROLD J. LASKI (1893-1950), Authority in the Modern State, 1919.

Dogma is a defensive reaction against doubt in the mind of the theorist, but doubt of which he is unaware. HAROLD D. LASSWELL, Psychopathology and Politics, 1930.

Men are freest when they are most unconscious of freedom. The shout is a rattling of chains and always was. D. H. LAWRENCE (1885-1930).

I do esteem individual liberty above everything. What is a nation for, but to secure the maximum liberty to every individual? D. H. LAWRENCE (1885-1930), Letter, 12 July 1916.

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 is the tragic story of the cultural crusader in a mass society that he cannot win, but that we would be lost without him. PAUL F. LAZARSFELD (1901-1976), The Mass Media and the Intellectual Community, 1961.

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).

Censorship … is always and everywhere an evil. Censorship means the screening of material by an authority invested with power to ban that which it disapproves … And who is that paragon to whom we would be willing to entrust such authority? ARTHUR LELYVELD, Censorship: For And Against, 1971.

Books of apostates, heretics, schismatics, and all other writers defending heresy or schism or in any attacking the foundations of religion, are altogether prohibited. POPE LEO XIII (1810-1903), General Decrees Concerning the Prohibition and Censorship of Books, 25 January 1897.

The liberty of thinking and publishing whatsoever each one likes, without any hindrances, is not in itself an advantage over which society can wisely rejoice. On the contrary, it is the fountainhead and origin of many evils. POPE LEO XIII (1810-1903), Immortale Dei.

The problem of freedom in America is that of maintaining a competition of ideas, and you do not achieve that by silencing one brand of idea. MAX LERNER, Actions and Passions, 1949.

In societies like the American and West European where the dynamics of energy come from freedom and where the climate and the whole ethos are those of freedom, censorship is bound to be at worst , stupid; at best, futile; and always, to some degree, inconsonant with the character of the society as a whole. MAX LERNER, quoted in Censorship: For And Against, 1971.

With a library you are free, not confined by temporary political climates. It is the most democratic of institutions because no one — but no one at all — can tell you what to read and when and how. DORIS LESSING, Index on Censorship.

A heretic is a man who sees with his own eyes. GOTTHOLD EPHRAIM LESSING (1729-1781), German Dramatist.

Ideological talk and phrase mongering about political liberties should be disposed with; all that is just mere chatter and phrase mongering. We should get away from those phrases. V. I. LENIN (1870-1924), in The Guillotine At Work (G. P. Maximoff).

Why should freedom of speech and freedom of the press be allowed? Why should a government which is doing what it believes to be right allow itself to be criticized? It would not allow opposition by lethal weapons. Ideas are much more fatal things than guns. Why should any man be allowed to buy a printing press and disseminate pernicious opinions calculated to embarrass the government? V. I. LENIN (1870-1924), quoted in Political Power and the Press (William Small), 1972.

We do not have time to play at “oppositions” at “conferences.” We will keep our political opponents … whether open or disguised as “nonparty,” in prison. V. I. LENIN (1870-1924), Selected Works, 1937.

The bourgeoisie is many times stronger than we. To give it the weapon of freedom of the press is to ease the enemy’s cause, to help the class enemy. We do not desire to end in suicide, so we will not do this. V. I. LENIN (1870-1924), Pravda, 1912.

Political correctness is the natural continuum from the party line. What we are seeing once again is a self-appointed group of vigilantes imposing their views on others. DORRIS LESSING, Sunday Times, 10 May 1992.

Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to continually be part of unanimity. GOTTHOLD EPHRIAM LESSING *1729-1781), German Dramatist.

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).

The burning of an author’s books, imprisonment for opinion’s sake, has always been the tribute that an ignorant age pays to the genius of its time. JOSEPH LEWIS (1889-1968), Voltaire: The Incomparable Infidel, 1929.

Every compulsion is put upon writers to become safe, polite, obedient, and sterile. In protest, I declined election to the National Institute of Arts and Letters some years ago, and now I must decline the Pulitzer Prize. SINCLAIR LEWIS (1885-1951), Letter, 1926.

Democracy, which began by liberating man politically, has developed a dangerous tendency to enslave him through the tyranny of majorities and the deadly power of their opinion. LUDWIG LEWISOHN (1883-1955), The Modern Drama, 1915.

Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one. A. J. LIEBLING (1904-1963), The Paper (Richard Kluger), 1986.

People everywhere confuse, What they read in newspapers with news. A. J. LIEBLING (1904-1963), The New Yorker, 7 April 1956.

Tolerance is the positive and cordial effort to understand another’s beliefs, practices, and habits without necessarily sharing or accepting them. JOSHUA LIEBMAN (1907-1948).

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.

This is a world of compensation; and he who would be no slave must consent to have no slave. Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves. ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1809-1865), U. S. President, Speech, 1856.

Authority has every reason to fear the skeptic, for authority can rarely survive in the face of doubt. ROBERT LINDNER (1914-1956), Must You Conform?, 1956.

There are men — now in power in this country — who do not respect dissent, who cannot cope with turmoil, and who believe that the people of America are ready to support repression as long as it is done with a quiet voice and a business suit. JOHN V. LINDSAY, Speech, University of California, 2 April 1970.

The opposition is indispensable. A good statesmen, like any other sensible human being, always learns more from his opponents than from his fervent supporters. WALTER LIPPMANN (1889-1974), Atlantic Monthly, August 1939.

When we all think alike, no one thinks very much. WALTER LIPPMAN (1889-1974).

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.

The American’s conviction that he must be able to look any man in the eye and tell him to go to hell is the very essence of the free man’s way of life. WALTER LIPPMANN (1889-1974).

Without criticism and reliable and intelligent reporting, the government cannot govern. WALTER LIPPMANN (1889-1974), Speech, International Press Institute Association, London, 27 May 1965.

When men are brought face to face with their opponents, forced to listen and learn and mend their ideas, they cease to be children and savages and begin to live like civilized men. Then only is freedom a reality, when men may voice their opinions because they must examine their opinions. WALTER LIPPMANN (1889-1974), The Indispensable Opposition, 1939.

Without some form of censorship, propaganda in the strict sense of the word is impossible. In order to conduct propaganda there must be some barrier between the public and the event. WALTER LIPPMANN (1889-1974), Public Opinion, 1922.

A free press is not a privilege but an organic necessity in a great society … WALTER LIPPMANN (1889-1974).

Prosperity or egalitarianism — you have to choose. I favor freedom — you never achieve real equality anyway, you simply sacrifice prosperity for an illusion. MARIOS VARGAS LLOSA, Independent on Sunday, 5 May 1991.

Freedom of men under a government is to have a standing rule to live by, common to every one of that society, and made by the legislative power vested in it. JOHN LOCKE (1632-1704), Two Treatises on Government, 1690.

And I honor the man who is willing to sink / Half his present repute for the freedom to think / And, when he has thought, be his cause strong or weak / Will risk t’ other half for the freedom to speak. JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL (1819-1891), A Fable for Critics, 1848.

Toward no crimes have men shown themselves so cold-bloodedly cruel as in punishing differences of opinion. JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL (1819-1891), Literary Essays.

True freedom is to share / All the chains our brothers wear / And, with heart and hand, to be / Earnest to make others free. JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL (1819-1891), Stanzas on Freedom, 1843.

A wise skepticism is the first attribute of a good critic. JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL (1819-1891), Among My Books, 1870.

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).

Without general elections, without unrestrained freedom of press and assembly, without a free struggle of opinion, life dies out in every public institution … in which only the bureaucracy remains as the active element. ROSA LUXEMBURG (1880-1919), in The Russian Revolution (Paul Froelich), 1940.

To argue against any breach of liberty from the ill use that may be made of it, is to argue against liberty itself, since all is capable of being abused. LORD GEORGE LYTTLETON (1709-1773).


The object and practice of liberty lies in the limitation of government power. DOUGLAS MACARTHUR (1880-1964), U. S. General.

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.

Persecution produced its natural effect on them. It found them a sect; it made them a faction. THOMAS BABINGTON MACAULAY (1800-1859), History of England, 1849.

Many politicians … are in the habit of laying it down as a self-evident proposition that no people ought to be free till they are fit to use their freedom. The maxim is worthy of the fool … who resolved not to go into the water till he had learned to swim. THOMAS BABINGTON MACAULAY (1800-1859), 1800-1859).

There is danger in the concentration of control in the television and radio networks, especially in the large television and radio stations; danger in the concentration of ownership in the press … and danger in the increasing concentration of selection by book publishers and reviewers and by the producers of radio and television programs. EUGENE McCARTHY, U. S. Senator, Censorship: For And Against, 1971.

The only thing that saves from the bureaucracy is inefficiency. An efficient bureaucracy is the greatest threat to liberty. EUGENE McCARTHY, U. S. Senator, Time Magazine, 12 February 1979.

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

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.

Those wearing Tolerance for a label / Call other views intolerable. PHYLLIS McGINLEY (1905-1978), 1954.

I’m going to introduce a resolution to have the postmaster general stop reading dirty books and deliver the mail. GAIL W. McGEE, U. S. Senator, Quote, 13 September 1959.

Today the tyrant rules not by club or fist, but, disguised as a market researcher, he shepherds his flocks in the ways of utility and comfort. MARSHALL McLUHAN (1911-1980), The Mechanical Bride, 1931.

For the great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances, as though they were realities, and are often more influenced by the things that seem than by those that are. NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI (1469-1527), Discourses, 1513-1517.

It is not because we have been free, but because we have a right to be free, that we ought to demand freedom. Justice and liberty have neither birth nor race, youth nor age. SIR JAMES MACKINTOSH, Vindicae Gallicae, 1791.

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.

What is freedom? Freedom is the right to choose; the right to create for yourself the alternative of choice. Without the responsibility and exercise of choice a man is not a man but a member, an instrument, a thing. ARCHIBALD MACLEISH (1882-1982), 4 December 1937.

Once you permit those who are convinced of their own superior rightness to censor and silence and suppress those who hold contrary opinions, just at that moment the citadel has been surrendered. ARCHIBALD MACLEISH (1882-1982), Saturday Review, 12 May 1979.

The dissenter is every human being at those times of his life when he resigns momentarily from the herd and thinks for himself. ARCHIBALD MACLEISH (1882-1982), 4 December 1937.

I am opposed to censorship in all forms, without any exceptions. As a matter of social philosophy, I do not like the idea of some people trying to protect the minds and morals of other people. In practice, this means that a majority seeks to impose its standards on a minority; hence, an element of coercion is inherent in the idea of censorship. CAREY McWILLIAMS, Censorship: For And Against, 1971.

Whatever the individual motives of the censors may be, censorship is a form of social control. It is a means of holding a society together, of arresting the flux which censors fear. And since the fear cannot be appeased, the demands for censorship mount in volume and intensity. And one form of censorship can easily lead to other forms. CAREY McWILLIAMS, Censorship: For And Against, 1971.

Censors are infused with the sentiment of moral indignation — a dangerous and misleading sentiment because, by blinding those who voice it to the real reasons for their indignation, it makes them puppets whose fears can be manipulated for ends and purposes they do not foresee or intend. CAREY McWILLIAMS, Censorship: For And Against, 1971.

He is free who knows how to keep in his own hands the power to decide at each step, the course of his life, and who lives in a society which does not block the exercise of that power. SALVADOR de MADARIAGA (1866-1978), New York Times, 29 January 1957.

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.

A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arms themselves with the power which knowledge gives. JAMES MADISON (1751-1836), U. S. President.

The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. JAMES MADISON (1715-1836), U. S. President, Speech, Virginia State Convention, 2 December 1829.

The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, or to publish their sentiments; and the freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable. JAMES MADISON (1751-1836), U. S. President, First draft of what became the First Amendment, 8 June 1789.

Learned institutions ought to be favorite objects with every free people. They throw that light over the public mind which is the best security against crafty and dangerous encroachments on public liberty. JAMES MADISON (1751-1836), U. S. President.

Freedom arises from a multiplicity of sects, which pervades America, and is the best and only security for religious liberty in America. JAMES MADISON (1751-1836), Address to the Virginia Constitutional Convention, 12 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.

Whilst we assert a freedom to embrace, to profess, and to observe the Religion which we believe to be of divine origin, we cannot deny an equal freedom to chose minds who have not yet yielded to the evidence which has convinced us. JAMES MADISON (1751-1836), Memorials and Remonstrances, 1785.

There is no maxim, in my opinion, which is more liable to be misapplied, and which, therefore, more needs elucidation, than the current, that the interest of the majority is the political standard of right and wrong. JAMES MADISON (1751-1836), U. S. President.

He is free … who knows how to keep in his own hands the power to decide, at each step, the course of his life, and who lives in a society that does not block the exercise of that power. SALVADORE de MADARIAGA (1886-1978), New York Times, 29 January 1957.

It is the freedom to blaspheme, to transgress, to move beyond the pale, that is at the heart of all intellectual, artistic, and political endeavor. Far from censoring offensive speech, a vibrant and diverse society should encourage it. In any society that is not uniform, grey and homogeneous, there are bound to be clashes of viewpoints. KENAN MALIK, “Protect the Freedom to Shock,” The New Statesman, 13 August 2001.

We live in oppressive times. We have, as a nation, become our own thought police; but instead of calling the process by which we limit our expression of dissent and wonder ‘censorship,’ we call it ‘concern for commercial viability.’ DAVID MAMET, American Playwright.

It is impossible for ideas to compete in the marketplace if no forum for their presentation is provided or available. THOMAS MANN (1875-1955).

Speech is civilization itself. The word, even the most contradictory word, preserves contact — it is silence which isolates. THOMAS MANN (1875-1955), The Magic Mountain.

If the First Amendment means anything, it means that a state has no business telling a man, sitting alone in his own house, what books he may read or what films he may watch. THURGOOD MARSHALL (1908-1993), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, 1969.

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

Only oppression should fear the full exercise of freedom. JOSE MARTI (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.

There is no such thing as the last word in history. There is always scope for debate in the reading of history which is never static. TONY MARTIN, History Today, April 1997.

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.

The freedom of the press is one of the great bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotic governments. GEORGE MASON (1725-1792), Virginia Bill of Rights, 1776.

The liberty of the press is essential to the security of freedom in a state; it ought not, therefore, to be restricted in this commonwealth. MASSACHUSETTS DECLARATION OF RIGHTS, Article XVI, 1780.

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.

Liberty, understood by materialists as the right to do or not to do anything not directly injurious to others, we understand as the faculty of choosing, among the various modes of fulfilling duty, those most in harmony with our own tendencies. GIUSEPPE MAZZINI (1805-1872), On the Unity of Italy, 1861.

Human freedom involves the capacity to pause, to choose the one response toward which we wish to throw our weight. ROLLO MAY (1909-1994).

We, today, stand on the shoulders of our predecessors who have gone before us. We, as their successors, must catch the torch of freedom and liberty passed on to us by our ancestors. We cannot lose this battle. BENJAMIN E. MAYS (1895-1984).

The scapegoat has always had the mysterious power of unleashing man’s ferocious pleasure in torturing, corrupting, and befouling. FRANCOIS MAURIAC (1885-1970), Second Thoughts, 1961.

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.

If some books are deemed most baneful and their sale forbid, how then with deadlier facts, not dreams of doting men? Those whom books will hurt will not be proof against events. Events, not books should be for-bid. HERMAN MELVILLE (1819-1891), American author.

It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation. HERMAN MELVILLE (1819-1891).

The whole drift of our law is toward the absolute prohibition of all ideas that diverge in the slightest form from the accepted platitudes, and behind that drift of law there is a far more potent force of growing custom, and under that custom there is a natural philosophy which erects conformity into the noblest of virtues and the free functioning of personality into a capital crime against society. H. L. MENCKEN (1880-1956), quoted in New York Times Magazine, 9 August 1964.

The worst government is the most moral. One composed of cynics is often very tolerant and humane. But when the fanatics are on top there is no limit to oppression. H. L. MENCKEN (1880-1956), Minority Report.

Human progress is furthered, not by conformity, but by aberration. H. L. MENCKEN (1880-1956), Prejudices: Third Series, 1922.

The objection to Puritans is not that they try to make us think as they do, but that they try to make us do as they think. H. L. MENCKEN (1880-1956).

The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to prevailing superstition or taboo. H. L. MENCKEN (1880-1956), Minority Report.

No one ever heard of the truth being enforced by law. When the secular is called in to sustain an idea, whether new or old, it is always a bad idea, and not infrequently it is downright idiotic. H. L. MENCKEN (1880-1956).

We need criminals to identify ourselves with, to secretly envy and to stoutly punish. They do for us the forbidden, illegal things we wish to. KARL A. MENNINGER, The Crime of Punishment, 1968.

Psychologically, it is important to understand that the simple fact of being interviewed and investigated has a coercive influence. As soon as a man is under cross-examination, he may become paralyzed by the procedure and find himself confessing to deeds he never did. In a country where the urge to investigate spreads, suspicion and insecurity grow. JOOST A. MERLOO, The Rape of the Mind, 1956.

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.

The most awful tyranny is that of the proximate utopia where the last sins are currently being eliminated and where, tomorrow, there will be no sins because all the sinners have been wiped out. THOMAS MERTON (1915-1968), 1948.

The historian’s first duties are sacrilege and the mocking of false gods. They are his indispensable instruments for establishing the truth. JULES MICHELET (1798-1874), History of France, 1833.

Religious liberty is primarily a man’s liberty to profess a faith different from that of the dominant religion, and to unite in public worship with those who share his faith. GIOVANNI MIEGGE, Religious Liberty, 1957.

Protection, therefore, against the tyranny of the magistrate is not enough; there needs protection against the tyranny of the prevailing opinion and feeling, against the tendency of society to impose, by other means than civil penalties, its own ideas and practices as rules of conduct on those who dissent from them. JOHN STUART MILL (1806-1873), On Liberty, 1859.

If all mankind minus one were of one opinion and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that person that he, if he had the power, would be in silencing mankind … If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth; if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error. JOHN STUART MILL (1806-1873), On Liberty, 1859.

If any opinion be compelled to silence, that opinion may, for aught we can certainly know, be true. To deny this is to assume our own infallibility. JOHN STUART MILL (1806-1873), On Liberty, 1859.

In its narrowest acceptation, order means obedience. A government is said to preserve order if it succeeds in getting itself obeyed. JOHN STUART MILL (1806-1803), Considerations on Representative Government, 1861.

There is never any fair and thorough discussion of heretical opinions … The greatest harm done is to those who are not heretics, and whose whole mental development is cramped and their reason cowed, by the fear of heresy. JOHN STUART MILL (1806-1873), On Liberty, 1859.

Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest. JOHN STUART MILL (1806-1873), On Liberty, 1859.

Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character has abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and moral courage which it contained. JOHN STUART MILL (1806-1873), On Liberty, 1859.

The only freedom which deserves the name, is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. JOHN STUART MILL (1806-1859), On Liberty, 1859.

The witch-hunt was a perverse manifestation of the panic which set in among all classes when the balance began to turn toward greater individual freedom. The witch-hunt was not, however, a mere repression. It was also, and as importantly, a long overdue opportunity for everyone so inclined to express publicly his guilt and sins, under the cover of accusations against the victims. ARTHUR MILLER, The Crucible, 1953.

Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy, and strength, if faced with an open mind. HENRY MILLER (1891-1980), American writer.

If you do not specify and confront real issues, what you will do will surely obscure them. If you do not alarm anyone morally, you will yourself remain morally asleep. If you do not embody controversy, what you say will be an acceptance of the drift to the coming human hell. C. WRIGHT MILLS (1916-1962).

No man is great enough or wise enough for any of us to surrender our destiny to. The only way in which anyone can lead us is to restore our belief in our own guidance. HENRY MILLER (1891-1980), The Wisdom of the Heart, 1941.

Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all other liberties. JOHN MILTON (1608-1671), Areopagitica, 1644.

For books are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a potency of life in them; they do preserve as in a vial the purest efficacy and extraction of that living intellect that bred them. JOHN MILTON (1608-1674), Areopagitica, 1644.

When complaints are freely heard, deeply considered, and speedily reformed, then is the utmost bound of civil liberty obtained that wise men look for. JOHN MILTON (1608-1674), Areopagitica, 1644.

There is no truth sure enough to justify persecution. JOHN MILTON (1608-1674), Areopagitica, 1644.

There is a First Amendment right to speak in an en-crypted way … The right to speak P.G.P. is like the right to speak Navajo. The Government has no particular right to prevent you from speaking in a technical manner even if it is inconvenient for them to understand. EBEN MOGLEN, Professor of Law, Columbia University, New York Times, 21 September 1993.

Uniformity, therefore, is an essential built-in element of utopian existence, and it is no less important that this uniformity remain permanent. THOMAS MOLNAR, Utopia: The Perennial Heresy, 1967.

Utopians … consider individual freedom as the stumbling block on which the grandiose idea of mankind’s totalization may flounder. THOMAS MOLNAR, Utopia: The Perennial Heresy, 1967.

Let us by wise and constitutional measures promote intelligence among the people as the best means of preserving our liberties. JAMES MONROE (1758-1831), U. S. President, First Inaugural Address, 4 March 1817.

Laws are maintained in credit, not because they are essentially just, but because they are laws. It is the mystical foundation of their authority; they have none other. MICHEL de MONTAIGNE (1532-1592), Essays, 1850.

I see men ordinarily more eager to discover a reason for things than to find out whether things are so. MICHEL de MONTAIGNE (1532-1592), Essays.

Once conform, once do what others do because they do it, and a kind of lethargy steals over all the finer senses of the soul. MICHEL de MONTAIGNE (1532-1592), Essays, 1588.

To forbid us anything is to make us have a mind for it. MICHEL de MONTAIGNE (1583-1592), Essays.

A man must keep a little back shop where he can be himself without reserve. In solitude alone can he know true freedom. MICHEL de MONTAIGNE (1532-1592), Essays, 1588.

Discipline must come through liberty … We do not consider an individual disciplined only when he has been rendered artificially silent as a mute … He is an individual annihilated, not disciplined. MARIA MONTESSORI (1870-1952), The Montessori Method, 1912.

No one can be free unless he is independent … In reality, he who is served is limited in his independence. MARIA MONTESSORI (1870-1952), The Montessori Method, 1912.

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.

We ought to be very cautious in the prosecution of magic and heresy. The attempt to put down these two crimes may be extremely perilous to liberty, and may be the origin of a number of petty acts of tyranny if the legislator be not on his guard; for as such an accusation does not bear directly on the overt acts of a citizen, but refers to the idea we entertain of his character. CHARLES-LOUIS de SECONDAT, BARON de MON-TESQUIEU (1689-1755), The Spirit of the Laws, 1748.

The deterioration of every government begins with the decay of the principles on which it was founded. CHARLES-LOUIS de SECONDAT, Baron de MONTESQUIEU (1869-1755), The Spirit of the Laws, 1748.

When it is a duty to worship the sun it is pretty sure to be a crime to examine the laws of heat. JOHN MORLEY (1838-1923), Voltaire, 1872.

You have not converted a man because you have silenced him. JOHN MORLEY (1838-1923), Critical Miscellanies.

The means prepare the end, and the end is what the means have made of it. JOHN MORLEY (1838-1923), Critical Miscellanies.

The political spirit is the great force in throwing the love of truth and accurate reasoning into a secondary place. JOHN MORLEY (1838-1923), On Compromise, 1874.

Access to knowledge is the superb, the supreme act of truly great civilizations. Of all the institutions that purport to do this, free libraries stand virtually alone in accomplishing this. TONI MORRISON, American Novelist.

The liberal insists that the individual must remain so supreme as to make the State his servant. WAYNE MORSE (1900-1974), U. S. Senator, New Republic, 22 July 1946.

We owe to democracy, at least in part, the regime of discussion win which we live; we owe it to the principal modern liberties: those of thought, press and association. And the regime of free discussion is the only one which permits the ruling class to renew itself … which eliminates that class quasi-automatically when it no longer corresponds to the interests of the country. GAETANO MOSCA, Partiti e Sindacata nella crisi del regime parlamentare, 1961.

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.

When a person goes to a country and finds their newspapers filled with nothing but good news, he can bet there are good men in jail. DANIEL PATRICK MOYNIHAN, U. S. Senator, University Daily Kansan, 16 February 1977.

Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion all have a double aspect — freedom of thought and freedom of action. FRANK MURPHY (1890-1959), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Jones v. Opelika, 1941.

We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home. EDWARD R. MURROW (1908-1965), American Broadcast Newsman.

If none of us ever read a book that was “dangerous,” had a friend who was “different,” or joined an organization that advocated “change,” we would all be the kind of people Joe McCarthy wants. EDWARD R. MORROW (1908-1965), “See It Now,” CBS TV, 7 March 1954.

Against individualism, the fascist conception is for the State; and it is for the individual in so far as he coincides with the State, which is the conscience and universal will of man … BENITO MUSSOLINI (1883-1945), “The Doctrine of Fascism,” Encyclopedia Italiana, 1932.

People are tired of liberty. They have had a surfeit of it. Liberty is no longer a chaste and austere virgin … Today’s youth are moved by other slogans … Order, Hierarchy, Discipline. BENITO MUSSOLINI (1883-1945), Speech, March 1923.

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.


I was a situation without censorship, because I do not want to be responsible for whatever they may say. NAPOLEON, (1761-1821), letter to M. Fouche, 1 June 1805.

The artist and the censor differ in this wise: that the first is a decent mind in an indecent body and that the second is an indecent mind in a decent body. GEORGE JEAN NATHAN (1882-1958).

The path of sound credence is through the thick forest of skepticism. GEORGE JEAN NATHAN (1882-1958), Materia Critica, 1924.

Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary. REINHOLD NIEBUHR (1892-1971), The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness, 1944.

Toleration of people who differ in convictions and habits requires a residual awareness of the complexity of truth and the possibility of opposing view having some light on one or the other facet of a many-sided truth. REINHOLD NIEBUHR (1892-1971), “Tolerance,” in Collier’s Encyclopedia, 1966.

Distrust everyone in whom the impulse to punish is powerful. FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE (1844-1900), Thus Spoke Zarathustra.

Belief means not wanting to know what is true. FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE (1844-1900), The Anti-Christ, 1889.

Even today a crude sort of persecution is all that is required to create an honorable name for any sect, no matter how indifferent in itself. FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE (1844-1900), The Anti-Christ.

Morality is the best of all devices for leading mankind by the nose. FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE (1844-1900), The Anti-Christ.

Very commonly in ages when civil rights of one kind are in evidence — those pertaining to freedom of speech and thought in, say, theater, press, and forum, with obscenity and libel laws correspondingly loosened — very real constrictions of individual liberty take place in other, more vital areas: political organization, voluntary association, property, and the right to hold jobs, for example. ROBERT NISBET, Twilight of Authority, 1981.

There are … certain freedoms that are like circuses. Their very existence, so long as they are individual and enjoyed chiefly individually as by spectators, diverts men’s mind from the loss of other, more fundamental, social and economic and political rights. ROBERT NISBET, Twilight of Authority, 1981.

What gives the new despotism its peculiar effectiveness is indeed its liaison with humanitarianism, but beyond this fact its capacity for entering into the smallest details of human life. ROBERT NISBET, Twilight of Authority, 1981.

In any free society, the conflict between social conformity and individual liberty is permanent, unresolvable, and necessary. KATHLEEN NORRIS.

PeoplehavearighttotheTruthastheyhavearightto life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. FRANK NORRIS (1870-1902), The Responsibilities of the Novelist, 1903.

The only way to make sure people you agree with can speak is to support the rights of people you don’t agree with. ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, The New York Post, 28 March 1970.

The essence of a free life is being able to choose the style of living you prefer free from exclusion and without the compulsion of conformity or law. ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, Address, Barnard College, 6 June 1972.


Censorship of anything, at any time, in any place, on whatever pretense, has always been and will always be the last resort of the boob and the bigot. EUGENE O’NEILL (1888-1953).

Most of us tend to think of “speech” and “press” in the relatively traditional modes of the spoken and printed word … We should bear in mind that — whatever the Framers of the Bill of Rights may have expected — the First Amendment has adapted over the years to telephones, motion pictures, radio and television broadcasting, fax, cable, and is now just beginning to take measure of digital communication. ROBERT M. O’NEIL, Free Speech and the College Community, 1997.

There must be no barriers for freedom in inquiry. There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors. J. ROBERT OPPENHEIMER (1904-1967), Life Magazine, 10 October 1949.

As long as men are free to ask what they must, free to say what they think, free to think what they will, freedom can never be lost and science can never regress. J. ROBERT OPPENHEIMER (1904-1967) Life Magazine, 10 October 1949.

Now majority rule is a precious, sacred thing worth dying for. But, like other precious, sacred things … it’s not only worth dying for, it can make you wish you were dead. Imagine if all life were determined by majority rule. Every meal would be a pizza. P. J. O’ROURKE, Parliament of Whores, 1991.

There’s a whiff of the lynch mob or the lemming migration about any over-large concentration of like-minded individuals, no matter how virtuous their cause. P. J. O’ROURKE, Parliament of Whores, 1991.

They mystery of government is not how Washington works but how to make it stop. P. J. O’ROURKE, Parliament of Whores, 1991.

Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows. GEORGE ORWELL, Nineteen Eighty-Four, 1949.

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. GEORGE ORWELL (1903-1950), Animal Farm, 1945.

At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to state this or that or the other, but it is “not done” … Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silences with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals. GEORGE ORWELL (1903-1950).

Censorship is the commonest social blasphemy because it is mostly concealed, built into us by indolence, self-interest and cowardice. JOHN OSBORNE, British playwright.

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 most common characteristic of all police states is intimidation by surveillance. Citizens know they are being watched and overheard. Their mail is being examined. Their homes can be invaded. VANCE PACKARD, The People Shapers, 1977.

An avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best of laws. He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates his duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself. THOMAS PAINE (1737-1809), Dissertation on First Principles of Govern-ment, 7 July 1795.

I have always strenuously supported the right of every man to his own opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine. He who denies another this right makes a slave of himself to his present opinion, because he precludes himself the right of changing it. THOMAS PAINE (1737-1809), The Age of Reason, 1783.

He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself. THOMAS PAINE (1737-1809), Dissertations on First Principles of Government, 1795.

As to religion, I hold it to be the indispensable duty of all government to protect all conscientious professors thereof, and I know of no other business which government hath to do therewith. THOMAS PAINE (1737-1809), Age of Reason, 1783.

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.

Thoughts are free and subject to no rule. On them rests the freedom of man, and they tower above the light of nature … create a new heaven, a new firmament, a new source of energy from which new arts flow. PHILIPPUS AUREOLUS PARACELSUS (1493-1541).

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.

The writer is the Faust of modern society, the only surviving individualist in a mass age. To his orthodox contemporaries he seems a semi-madman. BORIS PASTERNAK (1890-1960), London Observer, 20 December 1959.

All of us can think of a book … that we hope none of our children or any other children have taken off the shelf. But if I have the right to remove that book from the shelf — that book I abhor — then you also have exactly the same right and so does everyone else. And then we have no books left on the shelf for any of us. KATHERINE PATTERSON, Author.

A good end cannot sanctify evil means; nor must we ever do evil, that good may come of it. WILLIAM PENN (1644-1718), Some Fruits of Solitude in Reflections and Maxims.

That the people have a right to freedom of speech, and of writing, and publishing their sentiments; therefore, the freedom of the press ought not to be restrained. PENNSYLVANIA CONSTITUTION, 1776.

One has the right to be wrong in a democracy. CLAUDE PEPPER (1900-1989), U. S. Senator, 1946.

Instead of looking on discussion as a stumbling block in the way of action, we think it an indispensable preliminary to any wise action at all. PERICLES, (495 — 429 B.C.), Funeral Oration.

A censor is a man who knows more than he thinks you ought to. LAURENCE PETER, Peter’s Quotations, 1977.

A free press is one that prints a dictator’s speech but doesn’t have to. LAURENCE PETER, Peter’s Quotations, 1977.

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).

No matter whose lips that would speak, they must be free and ungagged. The community which dares not protect its humblest and most hated member in the free utterance of his opinions, no matter how false or hateful, is only a gang of slaves. If there is anything in the universe that can’t stand discussion, let it crack. WENDELL PHILLIPS (1811-1884), Speech, 1863.

Let us always remember that he does not really believe his own opinion, who dares not give free scope to his opponent. WENDELL PHILLIPS (1811-1884), Speech, 1863.

A free spirit takes liberties even with liberty itself. FRANCIS PICABIA (1878-1953), French Painter.

All the progress we have made in philosophy … is the result of that methodical skepticism which is the element of human freedom. CHARLES S. PIERCE (1839-1914), Selected Writings.

The dangers of a concentration of all power in the general government of a confederacy so vast as ours are too obvious to be disregarded. FRANKLIN PIERCE (1804-1869), U. S. President, Inaugural Address, 4 March 1853.

The legislature of the United States shall pass no law on the subject of religion nor touching or abridging the liberty of the press. CHARLES PINCKNEY (1757-1824), Resolution offered in the Constitutional Convention, 1787.

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.

A tyrant … is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people may require a leader. PLATO (427-347 B.C.), The Republic.

The people have always some champion whom they set over them and nurse intro greatness … This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs, when he first appears he is a protector. PLATO (427-347 B.C.), The Republic.

Henceforth it will be the task of this Sacred Congregation not only to examine carefully the books denounced to it, to prohibit them if necessary, and to grant permission for reading forbidden books, but also to supervise, ex officio, books that are being published, and to pass sentence on such as deserve to be prohibited. POPE PIUS X (1835-1914), Index of Prohibited Books, 1908.

The freedom to make and admit mistakes is at the core of the scientific process. If we are asked to forswear error, or worse, to say that error means fraud, then we cannot function as scientists. ROBERT POLLACK.

Democracy … is a charming form of government, full of variety and disorder, and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequals alike. PLATO (428-348 B.C.), The Republic, ca. 390 B.C.

It is within the police power of the state to prohibit public use of fighting words that create a danger of breach of the peace, but simply to prohibit public use of fighting words is too broad. Those words may sometimes be used in situations where there is no danger. ITHIEL de SOLA POOL, Technologies of Freedom: On Free Speech in an Electronic Age, 1983.

We must plan for freedom, and not only for security, if for no other season than only freedom can make security more secure. SIR KARL POPPER (1902-1993), The Open Society and Its Enemies, 1966.

There is an almost universal tendency, perhaps an inborn tendency, to suspect the good faith of a man who holds opinions that differ from our own opinions … It obviously endangers the freedom and the objectivity of our discussion if we attack a person instead of attacking an opinion or, more precisely, a theory. SIR KARL POPPER (1902-1993), “The Importance of Critical Discussion,” in On The Barricades, 1989.

Make no mistake about it: the labeling of someone’s language as ‘sexist’ involves a political judgment and implies the desirability of a particular sociological doctrine. One may be in favor of that doctrine (as I believe I am), but it is quite another matter to force writers by edicts and censorship into accepting it. NEIL POSTMAN, quoted in Free Speech for Me — But Not For Thee (Nat Hentoff), 1992.

The American notion of freedom transcended the political realm and in fact extended to every major category of human relationships, including those between employer and employee, clergyman and layman, husband and wife, parent and child, public official and citizen. Americans believed that, as of July 4, 1776, all men were created equal, and that any impairment of a man’s equality was destructive of his liberty also. DAVID M. POTTER (1911-1971), Freedom and Its Limitations in American Life, 1976.

Properly, we should read for power. Man reading should be man intensely alive. The book should be a ball of light in one’s hand. EZRA POUND (1885-1972), American poet.

The guarantee of equal protection cannot mean one thing when applied to one individual and something else when applied to a person of another color. If both are not accorded the same protection, then it is not equal. LEWIS F. POWELL, U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Regents of the University of California v Bakke, 1978.

There is no inherent misdirection in holding unorthodox views. Indeed, the autonomous individual, free from compulsive conformance and unquestioned assumptions, is likely to be unorthodox … They stimulate the climate of controversy without which political democracy becomes an empty formalism. SNELL PUTNEY and GAIL PUTNEY, The Adjusted American, 1964.

A lawyer with a briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns. MARIO PUZO, The Godfather.


The weapon of the dictator is not so much propaganda as censorship. TERENCE H. QUALTER, Propaganda and Psychological Warfare, 1962.

Lawyers [are] operators of the toll bridge across which anyone in search of justice has to pass. JANE BRYANT QUINN, Newsweek, 9 October 1975.

The weapon of the dictator is not so much propaganda as censorship. TERENCE H. QUALTER, Propaganda and Psychological Warfare, 1962.


Heresy hunters are intolerant not only of unorthodox ideas; worse than that, they are intolerant of ideas — of any ideas which are really alive and not empty cocoons. PHILIP LEE RALPH, The Story of Our Civilization, 1954.

Do you think that we want those laws to be observed? We want them broken. There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power the government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. AYN RAND (1905-1982), Atlas Shrugged, 1957.

We have plenty of freedom in this country but not a great deal of independence. JOHN W. RAPER (1870-1950), What This World Needs, 1954.

The only thing that permits us to acquiesce in an erroneous theory is the lack of a better one, analogously, an injustice is tolerable only when it is necessary to avoid an even greater injustice. JOHN RAWLS, A Theory of Justice, 1971.

What a state of society is this in which freethinker is a term of abuse, and in which doubt is regarded as sin. W. WINWOOD READE, The Martyrdom of Man, 1972.

In an atmosphere of liberty, artists and patrons are free to think the unthinkable and create the audacious; they are free to make both horrendous mistakes and glorious celebrations. RONALD REAGAN, U. S. President, Newsweek, 13 May 1985.

I hope we have once again reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: as government expands, liberty contracts. RONALD REAGAN, U. S. President, Farewell Address, 11 January 1989.

In an atmosphere of liberty, artists and patrons are free to think the unthinkable and create the audacious; they are free to make both horrendous mistakes and glorious celebrations. RONALD REAGAN, U. S. President, Farewell Address, 11 January 1989.

The nation relies upon public discussion as one of the indispensable means to attain correct solutions to problems of social welfare. Curtailment of free speech limits this open discussion. Our whole history teaches that adjustment of social relations through reason is possible when free speech is maintained. STANLEY F. REED (1884-1980), U. S. Supreme Court Justice.

The idea that men are created free and equal is both true and misleading: men are created different; they lose their social freedom and their individual autonomy in seeking to become line each other. DAVID REISMAN. American Sociologist.

Aside from the collective gain that comes from that free interchange of ideas, there is a direct personal value for the individual concerned. Each of us should have the right to speak his thoughts and to hear the thoughts of others … CHARLES REMBAR, Censorship: For And Against, 1971.

To be able to think freely, a man must be certain that no consequence will follow whatever he writes. ERNEST RENAN (1823-1892), 1879.

TheConstitutionrequiresthatCongresstreatsimilarly situated persons similarly, not that it engages in gestures of superficial equality. WILLIAM H. REHNQUIST, Chief Justice, U. S. Supreme Court, Rosker v. Goldberg, 25 June 1981.

To totalitarianism, an opponent is by definition subversive; democracy treats subversives as mere opponents for fear of betraying its principles. JEAN-FRANCOIS REVEL, How Democracies Perish, 1983.

Give me six sentences written by the most innocent of men, I will find something in them with which to hang him. CARDINAL RICHELIEU (1585-1642).

Individuality is to be preserved and respected everywhere, as the root of everything good. JEAN PAUL RICHTER (1763-1825), Titan, 1803.

Men are created different. They lose their social freedom and their individual autonomy in seeking to become like each other. DAVID RIESMAN, The Lonely Crowd, 1950.

The media, far from being a conspiracy to dull the political sense of the people, could be viewed as a conspiracy to disguise the extent of political indifference. DAVID RIESMAN.

For liberalism, the individual is the end, and society the means. For fascism, society is the end, individuals the means, and its whole life consists in using individuals as instruments for its social ends. ALFREDO ROCCO (1875-1925), The Political Doctrine of Fascism.

The issues can be stated very briefly: Who will be controlled? Who will exercise control? What type of control will be exercised? Most important of all, toward what end or purpose, or in the pursuit of what value, will control be exercised? CARL ROGERS (1902-1987).

The relative openness or closedness of a mind cuts across specific content; that is, it is not restricted to any one particular ideology, or religion, or philosophy, or scientific viewpoint. MILTON ROKEACH, The Open and Closed Mind, 1960.

We do not move forward by curtailing people’s liberty because we are afraid of what they may do or say. ELEANOR ROOSEVELT (1884-1962), The Nation, 1940.

It is not that you set the individual apart from society but that you recognize in any society that the individual must have rights that are guarded. ELEANOR ROOSEVELT (1884-1962), New York Times (4 February 1947).

We all know that books will burn — yet we have the greater knowledge that books cannot be killed by fire. People die, but books never die. No man and no force can abolish memory … FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT (1882-1945), U. S. President, Message, American Booksellers Association, 23 April 1942.1942.

The truth is found when men are free to pursue it. FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT (1882-1945), U. S. President, Speech, Temple University, 22 February 1936.

If the fires of freedom and civil liberties burn low in other lands, they must be made brighter in our own. If in other lands the press and books and literature of all kinds are censored, we must redouble our efforts here to keep them free. If in other lands the eternal truths of the past are threatened by intolerance, we must provide a safe place for their perception. FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT (1882-1945), U. S. President, Speech, 30 June 1938.

It is a good thing to demand liberty for ourselves and for those who agree with us, but it is a better thing and a rarer thing to give liberty to others who do not agree with us. FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT (1882-1945), U. S. President, Radio Address, 22 November 1933.

Wide differences of opinion in matters of religious, political and social belief must exist if conscience and intellect alike are not to be stunted. THEODORE ROOSEVELT (1858-1919), U. S. President, Kiplinger Washington Letter, 23 April 1918.

Free speech exercised both individually and through a free press, is a necessity in any country where people are themselves free. THEODORE ROOSEVELT (1858-1919), U. S. President, Kiplinger Washington Letter, 23 April 1918.

Freedom is not a gift which can be enjoyed save by those shown themselves worthy of it. THEODORE ROOSEVELT (1858-1919), U. S. President, Theodore Roosevelt Roundup, 1958.

During the last dozen years the tales of suppression of free assemblage, free press, and free speech, by local authorities or the State operating under martial law have been so numerous as to have become an old story. They are attacked at the instigation at the instigation of an economically and socially powerful class, itself enjoying to the full the advantages of free communications, but bent on denying them to the class it holds within its power … EDWARD A. ROSS, Speech, American Sociological Society, 1914.

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 problem is to find a form of association which will defend and protect with the whole common force the person and goods of each associate, and in which each, while uniting himself with all, may still obey himself alone, and remain as free as before. JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU (1712-1778), The Social Contract, 1762.

Liberty is not to be found in any form of government; she is in the heart of the free man; he bears her with him everywhere. JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU (1712-1741).

The most absolute authority is that which penetrates into a man’s innermost being and concerns itself no less with his will than with his actions. JEAN-JACQUES ROSSEAU (1712-1741), The Social Contract, 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.

Political scientists almost everywhere have promoted the expansion of government power. They have functioned as the clergy of oppression. RUDOLPH RUMMELL, Death by Government, 1995.

Nobody can be trusted with unlimited power. The more power a regime has, the more likely people will be killed. This is a major reason for promoting freedom. RUDOLPH RUMMELL, Death by Government, 1995.

Controversy is only dreaded by the advocates of error. BENJAMIN RUSH (1745-1813).

Freedom of speech is the whole thing, the whole ball game. Free speech is life itself. What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist. SALMAN RUSHDIE.

The worst, most insidious effect of censorship is that, in the end, it can deaden the imagination of the people. Where there is no debate, it is hard to go on remembering, every day, that there is a suppressed side to every argument. SALMAN RUSHDIE, “Casualties of Censorship,” in They Shoot Writers, Don’t They (George Theiner), 1984.

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.

It is clear that thought is not free if the profession of certain opinions make it impossible to earn a living. BERTRAND RUSSELL (1872-1970), Skeptical Essays, 1928.

Dogma demand authority, rather than intelligent thought, as the source of opinion; it requires persecution of heretics and hostility to unbelievers; it asks of its disciples that they should inhibit natural kindness in favor of systematic hatred. BERTRAND RUSSELL (1872-1970).

In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted. BERTRAND RUSSELL (1872-1970).

The essence of the liberal outlook lies not in what opinions are held, but in how they are held: instead of being viewed dogmatically, they are held tentatively, with a consciousness that new evidence may at any moment lead to their abandonment. BERTRAND RUSSELL (1872-1970), Unpopular Essays, 1950.

Heretical views arise when the truth is uncertain, and it is only when the truth is uncertain that censorship is invoked. BERTRAND RUSSELL (1872-1970), The Value of Free Thought.

The argument against the persecution of opinion does not depend upon what the excuse for persecution may be. The argument is that we none of us know all truth, that the discovery of new truth is promoted by free discussion and rendered very difficult by suppression. BERTRAND RUSSELL (18972-1970), Religion and Science, 1935.

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.

I pray that no child of mine would ever descend into such a place as a library. They are indeed most dangerous places and unfortunate is she or he who is lured into such a hellhole of enjoyment, stimulus, facts, passion and fun. WILLY RUSSELL.

It was not by accident or coincidence that the rights to freedom in speech and press were coupled in a single guaranty with the rights of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition for redress of grievances. All these, though not identical, are inseparable. They are cognate rights, and therefore are united in the first Article’s assurance. JUDGE WILEY B. RUTLEDGE, Thomas v. Collins, 1944.


There is a lurking fear that some things are not meant “to be known,” that some inquiries are too dangerous for human beings to make. CARL SAGAN (1934-1996), Broca’s Brain, 1979.

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 SAINT-EXUPERY (1900-1944), Citadelle, 1948.

I know of but one freedom and that is the freedom of the mind. ANTOINE de SAINT-EXUPERY (1900-1944), The Wisdom of the Sands, 1950.

Freedom of thought is the only guarantee against an infection of people by mass myths, which, in the hands of treacherous hypocrites and demagogues, can be transformed into bloody dictatorships. ANDREI SAKHAROV (1921-1989), Progress, Coexistence and Intellectual Freedom, 1968.

Profound insights arise only in debate, with a possibility of counterargument, only when there is a possibility of expressing not only correct ideas but also dubious ideas. ANDREI SAKHAROV (1921-1989), Progress, Coexistence and Intellectual Freedom, 1968.

Men of ideas vanish when freedom vanishes. CARL SANDBURG (1878-1967).

Skepticism is a discipline fit to purify the mind of prejudice and render it all the more apt, when the time comes, to believe and to act wisely. GEORGE SANTAYANA (1863-1952), Skepticism and Animal Faith, 1923.

When all beliefs are challenged together, the just and necessary ones have a chance to step forward and re-establish themselves alone. GEORGE SANTAYANA (1863-1952), The Life of Reason, 1905.

Intelligence is quickness in seeing things as they are. GEORGE SANTAYANA (1863-1952), The Life of Reason, 1905.

Man is condemned to be free. Condemned because he did not create himself, yet is nevertheless at liberty, and from the moment he is thrown into this world he is responsible for everything he does. JEAN-PAUL SARTE (1905-1980).

The poet must be free to love or hate as the spirit moves him, free to change, free to be a chameleon, free to be an enfant terrible. He must above all never worry about this effect on other people. MAY SARTON, Mrs. Stevens Hearts the Mermaids Singing, 1965.

Alas, how many have been persecuted for the wrong of having been right? JEAN-BAPTISTE SAY (1767-1832), A Treatise on Political Economy, 1803.

There is nothing new in the realization that the Constitution sometimes insulates the criminality of a few in order to protect the privacy of us all. ANTONIN SCALIA, U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Arizona v. Hicks, 3 March 1987.

The virtue of a democratic system with a [constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech] is that it readily enables the people, over time, to be persuaded that what they took for granted is not so, and to change their laws accordingly. ANTONIN SCALIA, U. S. Supreme Court Justice, United States v. Virginia, 26 June 1996.

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.

Those who are convinced they have a monopoly on The Truth always feel that they are only saving the world when they slaughter the heretics. ARTHUR M. SCHLESINGER (1888-1965).

The most serious problems of freedom of expression in our society today exist on our campuses. The assumption seems to be that the purpose of education is to induce correct opinion rather than to search for wisdom and to liberate the mind … Attitudes on campuses often presage tendencies in the larger society. If that is so with respect to freedom of expression, the erosion of principle we have seen throughout our society in recent years may be only the beginning … BENNO C. SCHMIDT, President, Yale University, speech, March 1991.

Privacy is absolutely essential to maintaining a free society. The idea that is at the foundation of the notion of privacy is that the citizen is not the tool or instrument of government — but the reverse … If you have no privacy, it will tend to follow that you have no political freedom … BENNO C. SCHMIDT, President, Yale University, Christian Science Monitor, 5 December 1986.

It is poor civic hygiene to install technologies that could someday facilitate a police state. BRUCE SCHNEIER, Secrets and Lies: Digital Security in a Networked World, 2000.

The religious quality of Marxism also explains a characteristic attitude of the orthodox Marxist toward opponents. To him, as to any believer in a faith, the opponent is not merely in error but in sin. Dissent is unapproved of not only intellectually but also morally. JOSEPH A. SCHUMPETER (1883-1950), Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, 1942.

The net poses a fundamental threat not only to the authority of the government, but to all authority, because it permits people to organize, think, and influence one another without any institutional supervision whatsoever. JOHN SEABROOK, “My First Flame,” New Yorker, 6 June 1994.

If the prisoner should ask the judge whether he would be content to be hanged, were he in his case, he would answer no. Then, says the prisoner, do as you would be done to. JOHN SELDEN (1856-1654), Tabletalk, 1689.

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

What is freedom? It means not being a slave to any circumstance, to any restraint, to any chance. LUCIUS ANNAEUS SENECA (4 B.C. - 65 A.D.), Letters to Lucilius, 65 A.D.

Tocqueville saw the brute repression of deviants as a necessity if men were to keep convincing themselves of their collective dignity through their collective sameness. The “poets of society,” the men who challenged the norms, would have to be silenced so that sameness could be maintained. RICHARD SENNETT, The Uses of Disorder: Personal Identity and City Life, 1970.

The bigger the information media, the less courage and information they allow. Bigness means weakness. ERIC SEVAREID, American Newsman, 1959.

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.

The State … has had a vested interest in promoting attitudes that would tend to make us skeptical of our own abilities, fearful of the motives of others, and emotionally dependent upon external authorities for purpose and direction in our lives. BUTLER D. SHAFFER, Calculated Chaos, 1985.

Yon Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous. WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (1564-1616), Julius Caesar.

Every great historic change has been based on non-conformity, has been bought either with the blood or with the reputation of nonconformists. BEN SHAHN (1898-1969), Atlantic Monthly, September 1957.

All censorships exist to prevent anyone from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently, the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships. GEORGE BERNARD SHAW (1856-1950), The Author’s Apology, 1902.

Assassination is the extreme form of censorship. GEORGE BERNARD SHAW (1856-1950).

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.

All great truths began as blasphemies. GEORGE BERNARD SHAW (1856-1950), Annajanska, 1919.

The right to know is like the right to live. It is fundamental and unconditional in its assumption that knowledge, like life, is a desirable thing. GEORGE BERNARD SHAW (1856-1950), The Doctor’s Dilemma, 1906.

The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. GEORGE BERNARD SHAW (1856-1950).

Censorship ends in logical completeness when nobody is allowed to read any books except the books that nobody reads. GEORGE BERNARD SHAW (1856-1950).

Conformity and obedience, Bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth, Makes slaves of men and of the human frame, A mechanized automaton. PERCY BYSSHE SHELLY (1792-1822), Queen Mab, 1813.

Give them a corrupt House of Lords, give them a venal House of Commons, give they a tyrannical Prince, give them a truckling court, and let me have but an unfettered press. I will defy them to encroach a hair’s breadth upon the liberties of England. RICHARD BRINSLEY SHERIDAN, Speech in the House of Commons, 6 February 1810.

Heretics were often most bitterly persecuted for their least deviation from accepted belief. It was pre-cisely their obstinacy about trifles that irritated the righteous to madness. Why can they not yield on so trifling a matter? LEO SHESTOV, All Things Are Possible, 1905.

The peculiar idea of moral infection in the consequence of association with individuals of indelible wickedness leads to the notion of “guilt by association.” EDWARD A. SHILS, The Torment of Secrecy, 1956.

The obsessive fear of secrets culminates in the denial of the right of private difference, which is the denial of the right of others to possess a sphere of privacy. EDWARD A. SHILS, The Torment of Secrecy, 1956.

A free society can exist only when public spirit is balanced by an equal inclination of men to mind their own business. EDWARD A. SHILS, The Torment of Secrecy, 1956.

The reduction of political discourse to sound bites is one of the worst things that’s happened in American political life. JOHN SILBER, USA Today, 1 October 1990.

Liberty is the possibility of doubting, the possibility of making a mistake, the possibility of searching and experimenting, the possibility of saying “No” to any authority — literary, artistic, philosophic, religious, social and even political. IGNAZIO SILONE (1900-1978), The God That Failed, 1950.

He who would acquire fame must not show himself afraid of censure. The dread of censure is the death of genius. WILLIAM GILMORE SIMMS (1806-1870), American writer.

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.

I am not eccentric. It’s just that I’m more alive than most people. I am an unpopular electric eel set in a pond of goldfish. DAME EDITH SITWELL (1887-1964), English Poet and Critic.

As Hitler showed us, a press suppressed does not make a recovery. As Lenin indicated, a press controlled does not revert to a critic’s role. As history reminds us, free speech surrendered is rarely recovered. WILLIAM J. SMALL, Political Power and The Press, 1972.

It is the right of our people to organize to oppose any law and any part of the constitution with which they are not in sympathy. ALFRED E. SMITH (1873-1944), Speech, League of Women Voters, 1927.

Protection of political speech advanced two important democratic goals: 1) an informed citizenry that would be capable of making educated decisions on matters of public concern, and 2) a free and open marketplace of ideas wherein the truth would ultimately prevail … Only through a vigorous and spirited public debate could citizens be educated about the actions of their government and react responsibly. CRAIG R. SMITH and M. JOEL BOLSTEIN, All Speech Is Created Equal, 1986.

The idea that political speech had to be protected at any cost dates to Colonial days, during which the press and the public were not allowed to express themselves freely on matters of public concern. The King and his government often used restrictive measures, such as licensing of printing presses and the doctrine of seditious libel, to silence unfavorable public comment. CRAIG R. SMITH and M. JOEL BOLSTEIN, All Speech Is Created Equal, 1986.

I do not subscribe to the doctrine that the people are the slaves and property of their government. I believe that government is for the use of the people, and not the people for the use of the government. GERRIT SMITH (1797-1874), Speech, House of Representatives, 27 June 1854.

This is precisely the purpose of censorship — not only to block unwanted views, but to keep people who are unhappy from knowing how many millions of others share their unhappiness; to keep the dormant opposition from awakening to its own developing strength. HEDRICK SMITH.

One thing about a police state, you can always find the police. L. NEIL SMITH, American writer.

A nation committed to an open culture will defend human expression and conscience in all its wonderful variety, protecting freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, freedom of association, freedom of assembly, and freedom of peaceful mass protest. RODNEY A. SMOLA, Free Speech In An Open Society, 1992.

Freedom of thought, conscience, and expression are numinous values, linked to the defining characteristics of man. The time has come for societies around the world to embrace the idea of an open culture as an aspiration of transcendent importance. RODNEY A. SMOLA, Free Speech In An Open Society, 1992.

The only valid censorship of ideas is the right of people not to listen. TOMMY SMOTHERS, American Comedian.

False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil. SOCRATES (469-399 B.C.).

Woe to that nation whose literature is cut short by the intrusion of force. This is not merely interference with freedom of the press but the sealing up of a nation’s heart, the excision of its memory. ALEXANDER SOLZHENITSYN, Time, 25 February 1974.

In our country, the lie has become not just a moral category but a pillar of the State. ALEXANDER SOLZHENITSYN.

The authoritarian sets up some book, or man, or tradition to establish the truth. The freethinker sets up reason and private judgment to discover the truth … It takes the highest courage to utter unpopular truths. HERBERT SPENCER (1820-1903), Freedom and Its Fundamentals.

The liberty the citizen enjoys is to be measured not by governmental machinery he lives under, whether representative or other, but by the paucity of restraints it imposes upon him. HERBERT SPENCER (1820-1903), Social Statics, 1850.

There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is a proof against all argument, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance — that principle is condemnation before investigation. HERBERT SPENCER (1820-1903), Social Statics, 1850.

A man’s liberties are none the less aggressed upon because those who coerce him do so in the belief that he will be benefited. HERBERT SPENCER (1820-1903), Social Statics, 1850.

Truth generally lies in the coordination of antagonistic opinions. HERBERT SPENCER (1820-1903), Autobiography.

Formerly no one was allowed to think freely; now it is permitted, but no one is capable of it any more. Now people want to think only what they are supposed to think, and this they consider freedom. OSWALD SPENGLER (1880-1936), The Decline of the West, 1926.

What we call the freedom of the individual is not just the luxury of one intellectual to write what he likes to write but his being a voice which can speak for those who are silent. STEPHEN SPENDER (1909-1995), The Thirties and After, 1978.

Laws which prescribe what everyone must believe, and forbid men to say or write anything against this or that opinion, are often passed to gratify, or rather to appease the anger of those who cannot abide independent minds. BARUCH SPINOZA (1632-1677), Theological Political Treatise, 1670.

The most tyrannical governments are those which make crimes of opinions, for everyone has an inalienable right to his own thoughts. BARUCH SPINOZA (1632-1677), Theological Political Treatise, 1670.

Laws directed against opinions affect the generous-minded rather than the wicked, and are adapted less for coercing criminals than for irritating the upright. BARUCH SPINOZA (1632-1677), cited in Atlantic Monthly, January 1955.

The first great struggle for liberty was in the realm of thought. The libertarians reasoned that freedom of thought would be good for mankind; it would promote knowledge, and increased knowledge would advance civilization. But the authoritarians protested that freedom of thought would be dangerous, that people would think wrong, that a few were divinely appointed to think for the people. CHARLES T. SPRADLING, Liberty and The Great Libertarians.

Freedom always carries the burden of proof, which throws us back on ourselves. SHELBY STEELE, The Content of Our Character.

This I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. JOHN STEINBECK (1902-1968), East of Eden, 1952.

The only shape in which equality is really connected with justice is this — justice presupposes general rules. If these general rules are to be maintained at all, it is obvious that they must be applied equally to every case which satisfies their terms. JAMES FITZJAMES STEPHENS (1829-1894), Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, 1873.

Every man who says frankly and fully what he thinks is so far doing a public service. We should be grateful to him for attacking most unsparingly our most cherished opinions. SIR LESLIE STEPHEN ((1832-1904), The Suppression of Poisonous Opinions, 1883.

The government must pursue a course of complete neutrality toward religion. JOHN PAUL STEVENS, U. S. Supreme Court Justice, 1985.

Just as the right to speak and the right to refrain from speaking are complementary components of a broader concept of individual freedom, so also the individual’s freedom to choose his own creed is the counterpart of his right to refrain from accepting the creed established by the majority. JOHN PAUL STEVENS, U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Wallace v. Jaffree, 1985.

As a matter of constitutional tradition, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, we presume that governmental regulation of the content of speech is more likely to interfere with the free exchange of ideas than to encourage it. The interest in encouraging free-dom of expression in a democratic society outweighs any theoretical but unproven benefit of censorship. JOHN PAUL STEVENS, U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Majority Opinion, Communications Decency Act, 26 June 1997.

If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow it wherever the search may lead us. ADLAI E. STEVENSON (1900-1965), Speech, 1952.

We in America today would limit our freedom of expression and of conscience. In the name of unity, they would impose a narrow conformity of ideas and opinion … Only a government which fights for civil liberties and equal rights for its own people can stand for freedom in the rest of the world. ADLAI E. STEVENSON (1900-1965), 14 February 1953.

My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular. ADLAI E. STEVENSON (1900-1965), Speech, 1952.

It is a common heresy and its graves are to be found all over the earth. It is the heresy that says you can kill an idea by killing a man, defeat a principle by defeating a person, bury truth by burying its vehicle. ADLAI E. STEVENSON (1900-1965), Speech, 9 November 1952.

The first principle of a free society is an untrammeled flow of words in an open forum. ADLAI E. STEVENSON (1900-1965), New York Times, 19 January 1962.

The sound of tireless voices is the price we pay for the right to hear the music of our own opinions. ADLAI E. STEVENSON (1900-1965), Speech, 28 August 1952.

To know what you prefer, instead of humbly saying Amen to which the world tells you what you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive. ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON (1850-1894).

[A] function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve it’s high purpose when it indices a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with things as they are, or even stirs people to anger. Speech is often provocative and challenging. It may strike at prejudices and preconceptions and have profound unsettling effects as it presses for understanding. POTTER STEWART (1915-1985), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, in Free Speech and Political Protest [Marvin Summers], 1967.

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 Fourth Amendment and the personal rights is secures have a long history. At the very core stands the right of a man to retreat into his own home and there be free from unreasonable governmental intrusion. POTTER STEWART (1915-1985), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Bartkus v. Illinois, 5 March 1961.

Censorship reflects a society’s lack of confidence in itself. It is the landmark of an authoritarian regime … POTTER STEWART (1915-1985), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Ginsberg v. United States, 1966.

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.

The right to enjoy property without unlawful deprivation, no less that the right to speak out or the right to travel is, in truth, a “personal” right. POTTER STEWART (1915-1985), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Lynch v. Household Finance Corporation, 1972.

History teaches us that there have been but few infringements of personal liberty by the state which have not been justified … in the name of righteousness and the public good, and few of which have not been directed, as they are now, at politically helpless minorities. HARLAN F. STONE (1872-1946), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Minersville School District v. Gobitis, 1940.

Freedom of the press, or, to be more precise, the benefit of freedom of the press, belongs to everyone — to the citizen as well as the publisher … The crux is not the publisher’s “freedom to print””; it is, rather, the citizen’s “right to know.”” ARTHUR HAYS SULZBERGER (1891-1969), Newspaper publisher.

Civil liberty is the status of the man who is guaranteed by law and civil institutions the exclusive employment of all his own powers for his own welfare. WILLIAM GRAHAM SUMNER (1840-1910), The Forgotten Man and Other Essays, 1919.

If I want to be free from any other man’s dictation, I must understand that I can have no other man under my control. WILLIAM GRAHAM SUMNER (1840-1910), The Forgotten Man and Other Essays, 1919.

Under the Equal Protection clause, not to mention the First Amendment itself, government may not grant the use of a forum to people whose views it finds acceptable, but deny use to those wishing to express less favored or more controversial views. SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES, Police Department v. Mosley, 1972.

Do the people of this land … desire to preserve those [liberties] protected by the First Amendment … If so, let them withstand all beginnings of encroachment. For the saddest epitaph which can be carved in memory of a vanquished liberty is that it was lost because its possessors failed to stretch for a saving hand while yet there was time. GEORGE SUTHERLAND (1862-1942), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Associated Press v. National Labor Relations Board, 1937.

A free press stands as one of the great interpreters between the government and the people. To allow it to be fettered is to fetter ourselves. GEORGE SUTHERLAND (1862-1942), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Grosjean v. American Press Co., 1936.

It is a maxim among lawyers that whatever hath been done before may be done again, and therefore they take special care to record all the decisions formerly made against common justice and the general reason of mankind. These, under the name of precedents, they produce as authorities to justify the most iniquitous opinions, and the judges never fail of directing them accordingly. JONATHAN SWIFT (1667-1745), Gulliver’s Travels, 1726.

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

Liberty of conscience is nowadays only understood to be the liberty of believing what men please, but also of endeavoring to propagate that belief as much as they can. JONATHAN SWIFT (1667-1745), 1715.

The first duty of a newspaper is to be accurate. If it is accurate, it follows that it is fair. HERBERT B. SWOPE (1882-1958), Letter, New York Herald Tribune, 16 March 1958.

Men love liberty because it protects them from control and humiliation by others, thus affording them the possibility of dignity; they loathe liberty because it throws them back on their own abilities and resources, thus confronting them with the possibility of insignificance. THOMAS SZASZ, The Untamed Tongue, 1990.

Men are rewarded and punished not for what they do, but rather for how their acts are defined. This is why men are more interested in better justifying themselves than in better behaving themselves. THOMAS SZASZ, The Second Sin, 1973.

Men are rewarded and punished not for what they do, but rather for how their acts are defined. This is why men are more interested in better justifying themselves than in behaving themselves. THOMAS SZASZ, The Second Sin, 1973.


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

The lust for power in dominating others inflames the heart more than any other passion. CORNELIUS TACITUS (55-117 A.D), The Histories.

It is the rare fortune of these days that one may think what one likes and say what one thinks. CORNELIUS TACITUS (55-117 A.D.), The Histories.

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.

When I say liberty … I mean liberty of the individual to think his own thoughts and live his own life as he desires to think and live; the liberty of the family to decide how they wish to live, what they wanted to eat for breakfast and for dinner, and how they wish to spend their time; liberty of a man to develop his ideas and get other people to teach those ideas, if he can convince them that they have some value to the world … ROBERT A. TAFT (1889-1953), U. S. Senator, A Foreign Policy for Americans, 1951.

If you shut your door to all errors truth will be shut out. RABINDRNATH TAGORE (1861-1941), Stray Birds, 1916.

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.

It is morally as bad not to care whether a thing is true or not, so long as it makes you feel good, as it is not to care how you got your money as long as you have it. EDWIN WAY TEALE (1889-1980), Circle of the Seasons, 1953.

We want a society in which we are free to make choices, to make mistakes, to be generous and compassionate. That is what we mean by a moral society — not a society in which the State is responsible for everything, and no one is responsible for the State. MARGARET THATCHER, Speech, Zurich University, 14 March 1977.

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.

A good argument diluted to avoid criticism is not nearly as good as the undiluted argument, because we best arrive at truth through a process of honest and vigorous debate. Arguments should not sneak around in disguise, as if dissent were somehow sinister … For it is bravery that is required to secure freedom. CLARENCE THOMAS, U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Lecture, 13 February 2001.

Dissent … is a right essential to any concept of the dignity and freedom of the individual; it is essential to the search for truth in a world wherein no authority is infallible. NORMAN THOMAS (1884-1968), New York Times Magazine, 1959.

Political censorship is necessarily based on fear of what will happen if those whose work is censored get their way, or if they are effecting in persuading a large number of readers to share their point of view. The nature of political censorship at any given time depends on the censor’s answer to the simple question, “What are you afraid of?” DONALD THOMPSON, A Long Time Burning: The History of Literary Censorship in England.

It is not the fact of liberty but the way in which liberty is exercised that ultimately determines whether liberty itself survives. DOROTHY THOMPSON (1894-1961), Ladies Home Journal, May 1958.

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), An Essay on Civil Disobedience, 1849.

Under a government which imprisons any un-justly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. HENRY DAVID THOREAU (1861-1941), Stray Birds, 1849.

Man’s drive for self-expression, which over the centuries has built his monuments, does not stay within sit bounds; the creations which yesterday were detested and the obscene become the classics of today. MATTHEW TOBRINER, Justice, California State Supreme Court, Wall Street Journal, 3 February 1964.

Every central government worships uniformity: uniformity relieves it from inquiry into an infinity of details. ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE (1805-1859).

In order to enjoy the inestimable benefits that the liberty of the press ensures, it is necessary to submit to the inevitable evils it creates … ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE (1805-1859). Democracy in America.

I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America. ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE (1805-1859), Democracy in America.

Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking; where it is absent, discussion is apt to become worse than useless. LEO TOLSTOY (1828-1910), On Life and Essays on Religion.

Disinterested intellectual curiosity is the blood of real civilization. G. M. TREVELYAN (1876-1962), English Social History, 1942.

There is no more fundamental axiom of American freedom than the familiar statement: In a free country we punish men for the crimes they commit but never for the opinions they have. HARRY S. TRUMAN (1884-1972), U. S. President, Message, Veto of the McCarran Act, 22 September 1950.

Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear. HARRY S. TRUMAN (1884-1972), U. S. President, 1950.

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

Secrecy and a free, democratic government don’t mix. HARRY S. TRUMAN (1884-1972), U. S. President, quoted in Plain Speaking (Merle Miller), 1974.

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

Irreverence is the champion of liberty and its only sure defense. MARK TWAIN (1835-1910), Notebooks.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect). MARK TWAIN (1835-1910), Autobiography.

It is our nature to conform; it is a force which not many people can successfully resist. What is its seat? The inborn requirement of self-approval. MARK TWAIN (1835-1910), Corn Pone Opinions.

It were not best that we should all think alike; it is difference of opinion that makes horse races. MARK TWAIN (1835-1910), Pudd’nhead Wilson.

The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white. Neither need you do anything but be yourself. LAO TZU, (6th century B.C.), Chinese Philosopher.


Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this rights includes to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others, and in public or in private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance. UNITED NATIONS, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 18, adopted 10 December 1948.

Everyone has the right … to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers. UNITED NATIONS, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19, 1948.

The essential support and encouragement comes from within, arising out of the mad notion that your society needs to know what only you can tell it. JOHN UPDIKE, American writer.

The real danger is the gradual erosion of individual liberties through automation, integration, and interconnection of many small, separate record-keeping systems, each of which alone may seem innocuous, even benevolent, and wholly justifiable. U. S. PRIVACY STUDY COMMISSION, 1977.


The world acquires value only through its extremists play. They are the gadflies that keep society from being too complacent. PAUL VALERY (1871-1945), Nation, 5 January 1957.

Liberty is the hardest test that one can inflict on a people. To know how to be free is not given equally to all men and all nations. PAUL VALERY (1871-1945), Reflections on The World Today, 1931.

To be what no one ever was, to be what everyone has been: Freedom is the mean of those extremes that fence all effort in. MARK VAN DOREN (1894-1972).

An unexamined idea, to paraphrase Socrates, is not worth having and a society whose ideas are never explored for possible error may eventually find its foundations insecure. MARK VAN DOREN (1894-1972), Man’s Right to Knowledge, 1954.

The tragedy of the police state is that it always regards all opposition as a crime, and there are no degrees. LORD VANSITTART (1881-1957), Speech, 1947.

The basis of the First Amendment is the hypothesis that speech can rebut speech, propaganda will answer propaganda, free debate of ideas will result in the wisest governmental policies. FREDERICK M. VINSON (1890-1953), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Dennis v. United States, 1951.

It is the characteristic of the most stringent censorships that they give credibility to the opinions they attack. VOLTAIRE (1694-1778), Poeme sur le desastre de Lisbonne, 1958.

It is better to risk saving a guilty man than to condemn an innocent one. VOLTAIRE (1694-1778), Zadig, 1747.

Liberty is not and cannot be anything but the power of doing what we will. VOLTAIRE (1694-1778), Philosophical Dictionary, 1764.

So long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannize will do so; for tyrants and active and ardent, and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious, to put shackles upon sleeping men. VOLTAIRE (1694-1778), Philosophical Dictionary, 1764.

Our wretched species is so made that those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road. VOLTAIRE (1694-1778).

All men have equal rights to liberty, to their property, and to the protection of the laws. VOLTAIRE (1694-1778), Essay on Manners, 1756.

The instruction we find in books is like fire. We fetch it from our neighbors, kindle it at home, communicate it to others, and it becomes the property of all. VOLTAIRE (1694-1778).

Many are destined to reason wrongly; others, not to reason at all; and others to persecute those who do reason. VOLTAIRE (1694-1778), Philosophical Dictionary, 1764.

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.

I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write. VOLTAIRE (1694-1778), Letter to M. le Riche, 6 February 1770.

The main political problem is how to prevent the police power from becoming tyrannical. This is the meaning of all the struggles for liberty. LUDWIN VON MISES (1881-1973).

The essential characteristic of Western civilization that distinguishes it from the arrested and petrified civilizations of the East was and is its concern for freedom from the state. LUDWIG VON MISES (1881-1973).

It is not conclusive proof of a doctrine’s correctness that its adversaries use the police, the hangman, and violent mobs to fight it. But it is a proof of the fact that those taking recourse to violent oppression are in their subconscious convinced of the untenability of their own doctrines. LUDWIN VON MISES (1881-1973).

All these people talk so eloquently about getting back to good old-fashioned values … and I say let’s get back to the good old-fashioned First Amendment of the good old-fashioned Constitution of the United States — and to hell with the censors! Give me knowledge or give me death! KURT VONNEGUT, JR, American Writer.

Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it absolutely vile! KURT VONNEGUT, JR, American Writer.


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.

No man shall twice be sentenced by Civil Justice for one and the same crime, offense, or trespass. NATHANIEL WARD (1578-1652), The Massachusetts Body of Liberties, 1641.

Mere unorthodoxy or dissent from the prevailing mores is not to be condemned. The absence of such voices would be a symptom of grave illness to our society. EARL WARREN (1891-1974), Chief Justice, U. S. Supreme Court, Sweezy v. New Hampshire, 1957.

The mere summoning of a witness and compelling him to testify against his will, about his beliefs, expressions or associations, is a measure of governmental interference. And when those forced revelations concern maters that are unorthodox, unpopular, or even hateful to the general public, the reactions in the life of the witness may be disastrous. EARL WARREN (1891-1974), Chief Justice, U. S. Supreme Court, Watkins v. United States, 1957.

Life and liberty can be as much endangered from illegal methods used to convict those thought to be criminals as from the actual criminals themselves. EARL WARREN (1891-1974), Chief Justice, U. S. Supreme Court, 1959.

The censor’s sword pierces deeply into the heart of free expression. EARL WARREN (1891-1974), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Times Film Corps. V. City of Chicago, 23 January 1961.

To require conformity in the appreciation of sentiments or the interpretation of language, or uniformity of thought, feeling, or action, is a fundamental error in human legislation — a madness which would be only equaled by requiring all men to possess the same countenance, the same voice or the same stature. JOSIAH WARREN (1798-1874), Equitable Commerce, 1855.

If men are to be precluded from offering their sentiments on a matter which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences that can invite the consideration of mankind, reason is of no use; the freedom of speech may be taken away, and dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. GEORGE WASHINGTON (1732-1799), Address to officers of the Army, 15 March 1783.

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

Tolerance, respect for human differences and civility are the hallmarks of an educated person. Every university seeks to foster these qualities in its students. But these qualities cannot be taught by punishing a student for saying or writing what he pleases, even if he is wrong-headed and offensive to authority figures or organized groups of peers. WASHINGTON POST, Editorial, 4 October 1986.

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 self-serving 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

Whatever government is not a government of laws, is a despotism, let it be called what they may. DANIEL WEBSTER (1782-1852), Speech, 25 August 1825.

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).

There is no happiness, there is no liberty, there is no enjoyment of life, unless a man can say, when he rises in the morning, I shall be subject to the decision of no unwise judge today. DANIEL WEBSTER (1782-1852), Speech, 10 March 1931.

The contest, for ages, has been to rescue Liberty from the grasp of executive power. DANIEL WEBSTER (1782-1852), Speech, 27 May 1834.

Knowledge is the only fountain both of love and the principles of human liberty. DANIEL WEBSTER (1782-1852).

There is one, and only one, thing in modern society more hideous than crime — namely, repressive justice. SIMONE WEIL (1909-1943), Human Personality.

Liberty consists in the ability to choose. SIMONE WEIL (1910-1943), The Need for Roots.

Heresies are experiments in man’s unsatisfied search for truth. H. G. WELLS (1866-1946), Crus Ansata.

I believe in censorship. After all, I made a fortune out of it. MAE WEST (1892-1980), Actress.

But once a culture develops sufficiently to become skeptical, the idea of censorship becomes less attractive. To suppress a book or a picture or a sculpture or a play or a film is a terrible act of aggression against the artist who created it. This is a miming of capital punishment; it destroys the life that has been emanated by a life. REBECCA WEST, Censorship: For And Against, 1971.

God forbid that any book should be banned. The practice is as indefensible as infanticide. REBECCA WEST, Censorship: For And Against, 1971.

Freedom of communication means, clearly and unquestionably, freedom to speak, debate, and write in privacy; to share confidence with intimates and confidants, and to prepare positions in groups and institutions for presentation to the public at a later point. ALAN WESTIN, Privacy and Freedom, 1967.

We are only so free that others may be free as well as we. BENJAMIN WHICHCOTE (1609-1683), Moral and Religious Aphorisms, 1753.

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.

The principle of demanding an expression of political loyalty as the price of a job is the principle of hundred percentism. It is not new and it is blood brother of witch burning. E. B. WHITE (1899-1985), Letter, New York Herald Tribune, 4 December 1947.

You say that freedom of utterance is not for time of stress, and I reply with the sad truth that only in time of stress is freedom of utterance in danger … Only when free utterance is suppressed is it needed, and when it is needed it is most vital to justice. WILLIAM ALLEN WHITE (1868-1944), The Editor and his People, 1924.

Liberty is the only thing you cannot have unless you are willing to give it to others. WILLIAM ALLEN WHITE (1868-1944).

You can have no wise laws nor free enforcement of wise laws unless there is free expression of the wisdom of the people — and, alas, their folly with it. But if there is freedom, folly will die of its own poison, and the wisdom will survive. WILLIAM ALLEN WHITE (1868-1944), The Editor and His People, 1924.

Democracy … is a society in which the unbeliever feels undisturbed and at home. If there were only a half dozen unbelievers in America, their well-being would be a test of our democracy. ALFRED NORTH WHITEHEAD (1861-1947), quoted in The New Yorker, 18 February 1856.

If the true freedom of the press is to decide for itself what to publish and when to publish it, the true responsibility of the press must be to assert and defend that freedom … What the press in America needs is less inhibition, not more restraint. TOM WICKER, On Press, 1978.

Lawyers have been known to wrest from reluctant juries triumphant verdicts of acquittal for their clients, even when those clients, as often happens, were clearly and unmistakably innocent. OSCAR WILDE (1854-1900), The Decay of Lying, 1889.

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.

Art is individualism, and individualism is a disturbing and disintegrating force. There lies its immense value. For what it seeks is to disturb monotony of type, slavery of custom, tyranny of habit, and the reduction of man to the level of a machine. OSCAR WILDE (1854-1900), The Soul of a Man Under Socialism, 1891.

Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man’s original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress had been made, through disobedience and through rebellion. OSCAR WILDE (1854-1900).

Wickedness is a myth invented by good people to account for the curious attractiveness of others. OSCAR WILDE (1854-1900), Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young, 1894.

Whenever we take away the liberties of those whom we hate we are opening the way to loss of liberty for those we love. WENDELL L. WILKIE (1892-1944).

Freedom is an indivisible word. If we want to enjoy it, and fight for it, we must be prepared to extend it to everyone, whether they are rich or poor, whether they agree with us or not, no matter what their race or the color of their skin. WENDELL L. WILKIE (1892-1944), One World, 1943.

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

Freedom is not only the absence of external restraints. It is also the absence of irresistible internal compulsions, unmanageable passion, and uncensorable highlights. GEORGE F. WILL, Statecraft as Soulcraft.

The average man is a conformist, accepting miseries and disasters with the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain. COLIN WILSON, British Writer.

Character is not the enemy of self-expression and personal freedom, it is their necessary precondition. JAMES Q. WILSON, On Character, 1995.

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.

Liberty does not consist in mere declarations of the rights of man. It consists in the translation of those declarations into definite action. WOODROW WILSON (1856-1924), U. S. President, Speech, 1914.

The wisest thing to do with a fool is to encourage him to hire a hall and discourse to his fellow citizens. Nothing chills nonsense like exposure to air. WOODROW WILSON, (1856-1924), U. S. President, Constitutional Government in the United States, 1908.

Liberty cannot live apart from constitutional principle. WOODROW WILSON (1856-1924), U. S. President, Political Science Quarterly, June 1887.

I have always been among those who believe that the greatest freedom of speech was the greatest safety, because if a man is a fool the best thing to do is to encourage him to advertise the fact by speaking. WOODROW WILSON (1856-1924), U. S. President, Address at the Institute of Paris, 10 May 1919.

Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of it. The history of liberty is a history of resistance. The history of liberty is a history of the limitations of government power, not the increase of it. WOODROW WILSON (1856-1924), U. S. President, Speech, 1912.

The rights of all persons are wrapped in the same constitutional bundle as those of the most hated member of the community. A. L. WIRIN, Time Magazine, 10 February 1978.

Since direct political discussion was prohibited, all literature tended to become a criticism of Russian life, and literary criticism but another form of social criticism … If the censor forbade explicit statement, he was skillfully eluded by indirection — by innocent seeming tales of other lands or times, by complicated parables, animal fables, double meanings, overtones, by investing apparently trivial events with the pent-up energies possessing the writer, so that the reader became compelled to dwell upon them until their hidden meanings became manifest. BERTRAM WOLFE (1896-1977), Three Who Made A Revolution, 1964.

The history of intellectual growth and discovery clearly demonstrates the need for unfettered freedom, the right to think the unthinkable, discuss the unmentionable, and challenge the unchallengeable. C. VAN WOODWARD (1908-1999), Report On Free Speech, New York Times, 28 January 1975.

To curtail free expression strikes twice at intellectual freedom, for whoever deprives another of the right to state unpopular views necessarily deprives others of the right to listen to those views. C. VAN WOODWARD (1908-1999), “Report On Free Speech,” New York Times, 28 January 1975.

Above all, every member of the university has an obligation to permit free expression in the university. No member has a right to prevent such expression. Every official of the university, moreover, has a special obligation to foster free expression and to ensure that it is not obstructed. C. VAN WOODWARD (1908-1999), “Report On Free Speech,” New York Times, 28 January 1975.

To admit authorities, however heavily furred and gowned, into our libraries and let them tell us how to read, what to read, what value to place upon what we read, is to destroy the spirit of freedom which is the breath of those sanctuaries. VIRGINIA WOOLF (1882-1941), The Moment and Other Essays, 1948.

Lock up your libraries if you like, but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind. VIRGINIA WOOLF (1882-1941).

Man free, man working for himself, with choice of time, place, and object.

WILLIAM WORDSWORTH (1770-1850), The Prelude, 1805.

An opinion, right or wrong, can never constitute a moral offense, nor be in itself a moral obligation. It may be mistaken; it may involve an absurdity, or a contradiction. It is a truth, or it is an error; it can never be a crime or a virtue.

FRANCIS WRIGHT (1795-1852), A Few Days in Athens.

Persecution for opinion is the master vice of society.

FRANCIS WRIGHT (1795-1852), Lecture, 1829.


Police State: A state in which the government exercises rigid and repressive controls over the social, economic, and political life of the people, especially by means of a secret police force.


Academic freedom means the right, long accepted in the academic world, to study, discuss, and write about facts and ideas without restrictions, other than those imposed by conscience and morality.

YALE UNIVERSITY, Report, New York Times, 18 February 1952.

The loss of liberty in general would soon follow the suppression of the liberty of the press; for it is an essential branch of liberty, so perhaps it is the best preservative of the whole.

JOHN PETER ZENGER (1697-1746), 1733.

No nation, ancient or modern, ever lost the liberty of speaking freely, writing, or publishing their sentiments, but forthwith lost their liberty in general and became slaves.

JOHN PETER ZENGER (1697-1746).


Back to Publications