"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) Historian and author
Freedom, Loyalty and Dissent, 1954
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Reader comments about this quote:
And yet it seems that we as a species are a bit too self-congratulatory, and perhaps exaggerate the total sum and effect of all the great ideas that have come about.
 -- David L Rosenthal     
    David, you wax poetically well this day.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Yeah, and the prisons are full of non-conformists too.
     -- Mike, Mount Holly, NC     
    Prisons are for those who are a danger to others. Yet they hold many whose crime was harmful only to themselves, like smoking marijuana.
     -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
    Prisons are just as (or perhaps even more) full of conformists... those conforming to the bad influences around them rather than standing up and doing something better...
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
    Current society (liberals/conservatives, Democrats/Republicans etc.) abhors non-conformity as evidenced by its acceptance of compelled compliance, victimless crime, licensing, the future 'national ID' etc. I personally know an individual that, barely making it financially, was ticketed 3 times for out-of-date plates + (harming no one or acting against anyone's right of way). The individual consequently was jailed (debtor's prison) losing their place to live, vehicle, furniture, etc. Now free on the street (having proudly ben made an example of the law, paid their debt to society) will not rely on the socialist terrorism that stole their life (ability to sustain themselves) for sustenance. That non-conformity may be cherished in a free society but will probably only end that individual back in jail for vagrancy (another name for debtors prison) in such society that is imperialistically expanding its form of democracy to foreign lands.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    In today's reactionary climate, Mike, liberals ARE non-conformists. And never forget progress is almost always made by non-conformists.
     -- Dick, Fort Worth     
    Well said Dick - to be a Liberal also means you think of the less fortunate - greed in not a characteristic.
     -- Robert, Sarasota     
    Oh, c'mon -- a liberal is a non-conformist to conservatism and a conservative is a non-conformist to liberalism. The challenge is to respect each other's individuality, and allow our own prejudices to fall by the way side.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    For Dick and Robert, the judges that locked up the individual in my above described situation were all practicing liberals (thwarting humanity, progress and preying on the less fortunate), not non-conformists. Ultimately its not about liberal or conservative; E Archer is more right above than 5 stars could here express.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Robert, though I do not consider myself conservative, most if not all the individuals I volunteered with cleaning up after Katrina those many weeks would all consider themselves conservatives. Maybe the difference between liberals and conservatives is that liberals "think" and talk about the less fortunate while the conservatives do something about it. We know it takes a good conservative Republican to implement a failed liberal Democratic policy. :-) I'm sure there were just as many liberals helping with Katrina clean up, I just didn't have the privilege of working with them.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    I'm really growing tired of all of these arguments whose entire base is the fallacy of Ad Hominem.
     -- Anonymous     
    Anonymous, Please give an example of the Ad Hominem as is not associated to the referenced act. I am probably missing it so, I know you can help me. Where is the character being attack to change focus from the subject matter (I see the character and the subject matter being one in the same - defined by their specific actions) A question for you, which religious application of socialism; liberal or conservative, hates freedom, liberty, inalienable rights, natural law and justice most, as evidenced by their support of compelled compliance, license, victimless crimes, larceny with impunity (property, income and life taxes) and otherwise forced abandonment of inalienable rights ?
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Nadiyb liberality promoted thru Threskeia religious activity, is never to be promoted ! Though I live beside such as they are, I will not conform or promote their activity by passiveness. But through prayer, love and care set an example ! " Come out from among them, and be ye separate, and I will receive you " the stance of Liberty ( eleutheria ) in a sea of slaves. Well said Archer and Mike.
     -- Ron w13, Or     
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