Quotations about our ideals of liberty, freedom, and justice.
Showing 1 through 36 of 82 quotations in this category.
"The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others."
"Freedom of speech and freedom of action are meaningless without freedom to think. And there is no freedom of thought without doubt."
"Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centuries since the Bible was written. And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would invade our schools and libraries and homes. I personally resent it bitterly."
"There is a reason terrorists hate us, and it's not our religion or our surplus of freedoms. It is that we continually bomb and economically rape countries poorer than us -- bully them into submission. And, if that doesn't work, it's obviously 'cause we haven't bombed them enough, so we bomb them some more."
"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!"
"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
"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."
"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."
"Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark, without the need for any official ban ... At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question... Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals ... If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."
"Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning."
"Paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent 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."
"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."
"Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too."
"If you tremble indignation at every injustice then you are a comrade of mine."
"Restriction on 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."
"The right to do something does not mean that doing it is right."
"Those who try to stifle the vibrancy of our democracy and shield policies from scrutiny behind a false cloak of patriotism miss the real value of what our troops defend and how we best defend our troops. We will ask questions and we will defend our democracy."
"Conscience is the chamber of justice."
"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."
"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 prevent 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."
"Because of what appears to be a lawful command on the surface, many Citizens, because of respect for the law, are cunningly coerced into waiving their rights due to ignorance."
"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. To be your own man is a 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."
"We have to fight the terrorists as if there were no rules and preserve our open society as if there were no terrorists."
"So long as we have enough people in this country willing to fight for their rights, we'll be called a democracy."
"We must remember that a right lost to one is lost to all."
"Respect for individual rights is the essential precondition for a free and prosperous world, ... and that only through freedom can peace and prosperity be realized."
"Those who have ever valued liberty for its own sake believed that to be free to choose, and not to be chosen for, is an inalienable ingredient in what makes human beings human."
"You do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered."
"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."
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."
"As much as we wish to be safe forever from [terrorism], we simply cannot protect freedom by forsaking freedom."
"The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins."
"When they took the fourth amendment, I was silent because I don't deal drugs. When they took the sixth amendment, I kept quiet because I know I'm innocent. When they took the second amendment, I said nothing because I don't own a gun. Now they've come for the first amendment, and I can't say anything at all."
"And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms."