"It is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties.
We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of citizens,
and one of the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution.
The freeman of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened
itself by exercise, and entangled the question in precedents.
They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided
the consequences by denying the principle."
by:
James Madison
(1751-1836), Father of the Constitution for the USA, 4th US President
Source:
"A Memorial and Remonstrance", 1785: Works 1:163
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Reader comments about this quote:
Totalitarian is the insidious goal of "political correctness". It is not philosophically justifiable to make the behavior a crime. So, they slowly get people to accept that it is 1) in bad taste, 2) inappropriate, 3) hate or racially motivated, 4) a violation of "civil rights," and finally in violation of a bastardized meaning of a crime. It is not philosophically justifiable because it stands in contradiction to the right of free speech. Ayn Rand says, contradictions can not exist. Rights do not contradict. However, this movement wants one to accept abridging freedom as not abridging freedom, that we never had the right to say things that hurt other people's feelings. Rubbish! In the arena of ideas, people claiming to be offended use this emotional appeal to distract from their failure to defend their indefensible ideas, which lead inexorably to a totalitarian state. There is a difference between moral and political. The politically correct crowd denies this difference by attempting to substitute moral condemnation with political prosecution, then persecution. Those who blur the line attack the idea of the individual, without which there is no practical purpose of liberty.
 -- Pete     
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     -- Anonymous      
    Where are those citizens today while our liberties are being eroded? We all too easily give up our freedom for temporary security (I think BF said that) and then once the threat has been vanquished our freedom is not restored. When you chop away at an apple to dig out bad bit you have chopped more good than you have bad, likewise with totalitarianisms, they manipulate the public into thinking there is a threat and then the pen comes out and they start to chop. All things are manipulated to satisfy those who have an agenda be it good or bad. It’s not always a good thing to say what’s on your mind; those are the things that are the ambers of war. So being politically correct is not necessarily a bad thing it’s just a matter of being considerate. Politic is a matter of life and we experience it as we go about our daily chores – those that have the responsibility of governing us are just an extension of the individual politic, but its practice/meaning is the same. To say something that you know to be derogatory and that’s not been provoked is uncouth. Rights can mean different things within time, what we considered to be right 200 years ago is not necessarily considered right today. Rights in their absolute state can not exist in a world of humans that’s why we are here. By the way, what was the first experiment on our liberties?
     -- Robert, Sarasota     
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    One need not look further than our own government today to see the results of ignoring Madison's warning.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Natural rights are universal and constant throughout time. As Pete said, a right cannot abridge the right of another. That is why the idea of a right to health care, housing, or a free meal is so immoral. When you claim your right to a freebie, someone has to pay for it with their time and work. In fact they become your slave for a time. As for the quote, the biggest usurper of rights today are the courts who put such great import in the unjust principles they themselves create. It's time we saw more impeachment proceedings against judges who refuse to uphold the Constitution.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
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    It is sad to see so many take what are good words and turn them to evil... people such as Pete & Ken seem to feel that it is fine for the rich owner class to abuse the down trodden... as long as they personally on top... and far too often it is done "in the name of Jesus", who would throw you all out of the temple along with the money changers!
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
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    So, you like being a slaver Reston?
     -- Anonymous     
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    "Where are those citizens today while our liberties are being eroded?" Please... think. Those citizens from 200 or more years ago are obviously not on the planet earth, other than the form of quotation and legacy. Do not make fun of those who will defend your rights, and may die, be called terrorists for it, et cetera when the police, military, secret service and others seem often too afraid of being defamed or dieing to get rid of political corruption in this "politically correct" world. The politics today, are not correct. They won't be until there is a revolution. Tyranny is too firmly rooted!
     -- Ethan, Clinton     
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    "It's time we saw more impeachment proceedings against judges who refuse to uphold the Constitution." It's been past time for years, the 2nd amendment rights are supposed to be the last of the judicatory against tyranny and corruption, especially against inadequate representation and extreme taxation. We are all judicators in our own way, but who will wake up and realize, when peaceful revolution is impossible, violent revolution is inevitable. Yes you would be risking your life, but so did our founding fathers.
     -- Ethan, Clinton     
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    A glorious quote of truth, if only people would notice:"The freeman of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise, and entangled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle." Rise up in revolution!
     -- Ethan, Clinton     
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    Pete, I especially liked the first sentence in your comments. PC will be the doom of this country if we don't get over it.
     -- jim, Austin Tx     
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