All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man’s life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom.
Your true traveller finds boredom rather agreeable than painful. It is the symbol of his liberty – his excessive freedom. He accepts his boredom, when it comes, not merely philosophically, but almost with pleasure.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh:
Him that I love, I wish to be free — even from me.
That’s free enterprise, friends: freedom to gamble, freedom to lose. And the great thing — the truly democratic thing about it — is that you don’t even have to be a player to lose.
They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security
C. Wright Mills:
Freedom is not merely the opportunity to do as one pleases; neither is it merely the opportunity to choose between set alternatives. Freedom is, first of all, the chance to formulate the available choices, to argue over them — and then, the opportunity to choose.
If you want to be free, there is but one way; it is to guarantee an equally full measure of liberty to all your neighbors. There is no other.
A brief candle; both ends burning
An endless mile; a bus wheel turning
A friend to share the lonesome times
A handshake and a sip of wine
So say it loud and let it ring
We are all a part of everything
The future, present and the past
Fly on proud bird
You’re free at last.
written en route to the funeral for his friend, Ronnie Van Zant of the band, Lynyrd Skynyrd.
You can only protect your liberties in this world by protecting the other man’s freedom. You can only be free if I am free.
When liberty is taken away by force it can be restored by force. When it is relinquished voluntarily by default it can never be recovered.
Of all forms of government and society, those of free men and women are in many respects the most brittle. They give the fullest freedom for activities of private persons and groups who often identify their own interests, essentially selfish, with the general welfare.
It is not the fact of liberty but the way in which liberty is exercised that ultimately determines whether liberty itself survives.
Dwight D. Eisenhower:
We seek peace, knowing that peace is the climate of freedom.
Edward R. Murrow:
We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.
Eleanor Holmes Norton:
The only way to make sure people you agree with can speak is to support the rights of people you don’t agree with.
We must not believe the many, who say that only free people ought to be educated, but we should rather believe the philosophers who say that only the educated are free.
Human history begins with man’s act of disobedience which is at the very same time the beginning of his freedom and development of his reason.
Eugene V. Debs:
Years ago I recognized my kinship with all living things, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on the earth. I said then and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.
Freedom is like taking a bath — you have to keep doing it every day!
Franklin Delano Roosevelt:
The only sure bulwark of continuing liberty is a government strong enough to protect the interests of the people, and a people strong enough and well enough informed to maintain its sovereign control over the government.
True individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence.
Who would be free themselves must strike the blow. Better even to die free than to live slaves.
Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will.
None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free.
H. L. Mencken:
I believe that liberty is the only genuinely valuable thing that men have invented, at least in the field of government, in a thousand years. I believe that it is better to be free than to be not free, even when the former is dangerous and the latter safe. I believe that the finest qualities of man can flourish only in free air – that progress made under the shadow of the policeman’s club is false progress, and of no permanent value. I believe that any man who takes the liberty of another into his keeping is bound to become a tyrant, and that any man who yields up his liberty, in however slight the measure, is bound to become a slave.
The average man does not want to be free. He simply wants to be safe.
Liberty, equality – bad principles! The only true principle for humanity is justice; and justice to the feeble is protection and kindness.
Henry David Thoreau:
Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison.
Gardening is civil and social, but it wants the vigor and freedom of the forest and the outlaw.
There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One is roots; the other, wings.
The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously.
Freedom is not something that anybody can be given. Freedom is something people take, and people are as free as they want to be.
Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you.
No one should negotiate their dreams. Dreams must be free to flee and fly high. No government, no legislature, has a right to limit your dreams. You should never agree to surrender your dreams.
There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.
The only freedom that is of enduring importance is the freedom of intelligence, that is to say, freedom of observation and of judgment, exercised in behalf of purposes that are intrinsically worth while. The commonest mistake made about freedom is, I think, to identify it with freedom of movement, or, with the external or physical side of activity.
John F. Kennedy:
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 a nation that is afraid of its people.
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.
Liberty without learning is always in peril and learning without liberty is always in vain.
We live in a country where we’re supposed to have freedom of the press and religious freedom, but I think to some degree, thereâ€™s a sense of fear in America today, that if you say the wrong thing, what some people will consider what is wrong, if you step out of line, if you dissent, whether you be an entertainer, that somehow and some way this government or the forces to be will come down on you.
John P. Zenger:
No nation ancient or modern ever lost the liberty of freely speaking, writing, or publishing their sentiments, but forthwith lost their liberty in general and became slaves.
John Philpot Curran:
It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt. (1790)
John Stuart Mill:
The only part of the conduct of anyone for which he is amenable to society is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.
The sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinion of others, to do so would be wise, or even right… The only part of the conduct of anyone, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.
The trouble with free elections is, you never know who is going to win.
For every man who lives without freedom, the rest of us must face the guilt.
A free race cannot be born of slave mothers.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach:
As far as your self-control goes, as far goes your freedom.
Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is a freedom.
It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have these three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence to practice neither.
Mohandas K. Gandhi:
Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote freedom to err.
It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America.
For those who stubbornly seek freedom, there can be no more urgent task than to come to understand the mechanisms and practices of indoctrination. These are easy to perceive in the totalitarian societies, much less so in the system of ‘brainwashing under freedom’ to which we are subjected and which all too often we sere as willing or unwitting instruments.”
If we do not believe in freedom of speech for those we despise we do not believe in it at all.
In this possibly terminal phase of human existence, democracy and freedom are more than just ideals to be valued – they may be essential to survival.
After I asked him what he meant, he replied that freedom consisted of the unimpeded right to get rich, to use his ability, no matter what the cost to others, to win advancement.
Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!
Pearl S. Buck:
None who have always been free can understand the terrible fascinating power of the hope of freedom to those who are not free.
Peyton Conway March:
There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life — happiness, freedom, and peace of mind — are always attained by giving them to someone else.
Rabbi Sherwin Wine:
There are two visions of America. One precedes our founding fathers and finds its roots in the harshness of our puritan past. It is very suspicious of freedom, uncomfortable with diversity, hostile to science, unfriendly to reason, contemptuous of personal autonomy. It sees America as a religious nation. It views patriotism as allegiance to God. It secretly adores coercion and conformity. Despite our constitution, despite the legacy of the Enlightenment, it appeals to millions of Americans and threatens our freedom.
The other vision finds its roots in the spirit of our founding revolution and in the leaders of this nation who embraced the age of reason. It loves freedom, encourages diversity, embraces science and affirms the dignity and rights of every individual. It sees America as a moral nation, neither completely religious nor completely secular. It defines patriotism as love of country and of the people who make it strong. It defends all citizens against unjust coercion and irrational conformity.
This second vision is our vision. It is the vision of a free society. We must be bold enough to proclaim it and strong enough to defend it against all its enemies.
Ralph Waldo Emerson:
For what avail the plough or sail,
Or land or life, if freedom fail?
“Boston” Stanza 15
A right is not what someone gives you; it’s what no one can take from you.
Freedom lies in being bold.
Without general elections, without unrestricted freedom of press and assembly, without a free struggle of opinion, life dies out in every public institution, becomes a mere semblance of life, in which only the bureaucracy remains as the active element.
Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently.
It is no dishonor to be in a minority in the cause of liberty and virtue.
If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.
Liberty, taking the word in its concrete sense, consists in the ability to choose.
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.
People hardly ever make use of the freedom they have. For example, the freedom of thought. Instead they demand freedom of speech as a compensation.
A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.
No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another, and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him.
A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor and bread it has earned — this is the sum of good government.
I have no fear that the result of our experiment will be that men may be trusted to govern themselves without a master.
I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever, in religion, in philosophy, in politics or in anything else, where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to Heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.
Creative ability and personal responsibility are strongest when the mind is free from supernatural belief and operates in an atmosphere of freedom and democracy.
Everything can be taken from a man but … the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
To enjoy freedom, if the platitude is pardonable, we have of course to control ourselves. We must not squander our powers, helplessly and ignorantly, squirting half the house in order to water a single rose-bush; we must train them, exactly and powerfully, here on the very spot.
The history of men’s opposition to women’s emancipation is more interesting perhaps than the story of that emancipation itself.
So long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannize will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent, and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious and otherwise, to put shackles upon sleeping men.
Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.
-frequently misattributed to Thomas Jefferson
Patriotism does not oblige us to acquiesce in the destruction of liberty. Patriotism obliges us to question it, at least. [source]
William O. Douglas:
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.