He therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who, so far as his power and influence extend, will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man...The sum of all is, if we would most truly enjoy this gift of Heaven, let us become a virtuous people.
You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind.
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 a word, free men.
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.
Freedom… refer[s] to a social relationship among people—namely, the absence of force as a prospective instrument of decision making. Freedom is reduced whenever a decision is made under threat of force, whether or not force actually materializes or is evident in retrospect.
If large numbers of people believe in freedom of speech, there will be freedom of speech even if the law forbids it. But if public opinion is sluggish, inconvenient minorities will be persecuted, even if laws exist to protect them.
Freedom is never an achieved state; like electricity, we’ve got to keep generating it or the lights go out.
If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they don’t want to hear.
Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual).
They tell us that we live in a great free republic; that our institutions are democratic; that we are a free and self-governing people. That is too much, even for a joke. ... Wars throughout history have been waged for conquest and plunder... And that is war in a nutshell. The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles.
The man who does not do his own thinking is a slave, and is a traitor to himself and his fellow men.
The history of liberty is a history of the limitations of governmental power not the increase of it.