"Freedom of expression is the well-spring of our civilization...
The history of civilization is in considerable measure
the displacement of error which once held sway as official truth
by beliefs which in turn have yielded to other truths.
Therefore the liberty of man to search for truth ought not
to be fettered, no matter what orthodoxies he may challenge."
Felix Frankfurter
(1882-1965) U.S. Supreme Court Justice
Concurring Opinion, Dennis et al. v. U.S. (1951)
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Reader comments about this quote:
In essence, new Truths cannot be discovered until past truths have been thoroughly examined. Our problem historically is the confusion of the sacred with our concepts and ideas
 -- Dave, Geraldton, Australia     
    Our problem is that too many of us do not want to face any new truths - that might force us to think. Much easier to rely on whatever is politically correct at the time. Let others do the thinking for us.
     -- John-Douglas, Nassau     
    Conversely, those who would curtail or deny our freedom of expression would condemn us all to the tarpit of ignorance and to the sheeple-pen of slavery.
     -- Gordon Wm. Drope, Ontario, Canada     
     -- Anonymous      
    Agree John, other than the idea of NEW truths. Truth is older than mankind and if any truth is faced at all it leads right back to these eternal truths which are unchanging.
     -- Anon     
    5 stars for the ideal. Freedom of expression was once more of a well-spring to our civilization; now we have, safe zones, those that would silence religious expression outside the unofficial national establishment of religion, etc. Political history is kind of like a big bang theory, an explosion of freedom or truth occurs then truth denigrates to the will of the oppressor (in some cases immediately, others it takes longer). Thus, the history of civilization (religious, secular, political, etc.) is in considerable measure the displacement of truth which once held sway as official policy by beliefs which in turn have yielded to despotic error. Therefore the liberty of man to search for truth ought not to be fettered, no matter what orthodoxies he may challenge.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    The new political environment has seemingly turned on its head the so called truth of the last eight years. Truth related to policy is all to often held hostage by parties and individual politians. I think Felix is giving credence to "pragmatism" and stiff arming political and philosophical dogmatism.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
     -- jim k, austin      
    Not only should the search for truth be unfettered, it's expression must also be unfettered. So-called 'free-speech zones' are cages for those who might expose the lies of power-mongers. Next public dissent over political corruption will be labelled 'hate speech.' Free speech is one thing -- the freedom to act is usually illegal.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    What was once lies to those who were out of power will soon become truths once they regain power. Their past opposition will be put down the memory hole.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
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     -- Muskeeree, Bermuda     
    As Shaw said: "All truths begin as blasphemies".
     -- tommy, arkansas     
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