"Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong."
John G. Diefenbaker
(1895-1979) Prime Minister of Canada
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Reader comments about this quote:
I believe in that quotation.
 -- Anonymous     
    I beleive in Freedom and I beleive 100% in Mister Diefenbaker s quotation. Thank you Sir, Merci. "Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong".
     -- Lucien Alexandre Marion, Gatineau (Quebec)Canada     
    i like this
     -- Anonymous, nappanee     
    Freedom is the right to be wrong and suffer the consequences when you are, as did Diefenbaker.
     -- Peter, Waterdown     
    Doing wrong is delineated through criminal definitions and the enabling of justice. The ability to do wrong, or otherwise criminal acts, is anti-freedom.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    And freedom is the right to say anything as long as it doesn't physically injure anyone, even if it hurts someones tender feelings.
     -- jim k, austin tx     
    All of you speak as if there was a way for mankind to know what wrong is? This is how the most atheistic of liberals think. They aren't sure there is a God, but they are sure that there is an absolute list of right and wrong and that they have special access to it. Just because they don't go to church doesn't keep them from using the trappings of religion in taking the reins of government. They do --as you all apparently do-- assume there is a tacit acceptance that right and wrong can't be tested. This quote is only one sentence. To understand something that is so short you have to assume some context. He was a politician. He believed in politics; not the market place. Thus the unspoken second sentence based on that context is: "You must use our rules when testing the truth."
     -- Walter Clark, Fullerton CA     
    Ridiculous. Freedom IS the right to do wrong... and suffer the consequences.
     -- Mike Murray, NM     
    Obviously Walter, in taking the stand, ( they are not sure there is a God ), Goes well with the depth and length our founding fathers went to, to convey their strength of understanding in framing the Constitution, A Religolistic standing, without compromise. With the pledge of alliance one to another when they could swear by no higher an authority than God himself. Your legalize, is the dog chasing its own tale. Our founding fathers were not trapped by religion, but drew from the source of inspiration, Guiding them to knit together the understanding of true Faith. Not hindered by denominational trappings of doubt. But by strength, shutting the mouths of reprobate minds, which are, of no profit to their cause of Liberty. Here in is their faith confirmed by our Declaration of Independence. This is a Holy cause we stand for. The word, holy, does mean separate. We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator. That is the Creator of heaven and earth. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance ( faith ) on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. Sacred means Holy honor. They appealed to the Supreme Judge of the world. Being the Governor of all nations. The inspiration of their train of thought is incomprehensible to the secular, carnal, and reprobate mind of man. But must be inspired by Almighty God to undertake their endeavor. As with all those who wish to know, and what to do, with that degree of understanding for the purpose of illuminating Liberty and freedom. This document , our Constitution, is a building not made with hands, but is a spiritual building of habitation for the believers of liberty and freedom. Freedom is also the right to point out the wrong when committed against his neighbor. The right from God to do so !
     -- watchman13, USA     
    Walter, you pop in from time to time but, have obviously missed all the discussions on the applied definitions of 'natural law', 'legal positivism' 'legal realism' and religion. If liberals, conservatives, socialists and atheists would not project their religions in terms of finite right and wrong (through applied legal positivism) and instead sought to define natural law with codes, ordinances, regulations, rules, statutes, etc. freedom would be recognized. Atheists, to believers in a god, all have the ability to recognize natural law through reason, logic and a study of that which was / is / and will occur. I have been ridiculed for stating ad nauseum, the wrong of anit-law compelled compliance, license, victimless crimes, larceny with impunity, and disregard of inalienable rights. This nations founders clearly stated the de jure government was to stay strictly within the laws of life (murder, etc.) liberty (rejecting the list above) and property (larceny / theft) As to natural law; the only difference between Christians and Atheists is attributing the law to a source. Gravity, physics, etc. exists either by God's endowment (existing eternally with God) or, just because it exists eternally. Right and wrong are most often relative expressions of religion. When applied to natural law, it is right to go down when stepping off a curb, it is wrong if you float after stepping off a curb.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Mike of Norwalk. You pop in here more often than I do. I suspect you are the owner of liberty-tree quotes. If you are, I wish to thank you. I look forward to them every day. You do a great service to the liberty movement.
    The Diefenbaker quote was conflicting for me and I had a tough time writing my objections to it. There is a kind of arrogance about it that bothers me the most. Not only was he a politician, he was a ruler. If anyone else had made that quote, I wouldn't be so bothered. But when a person who is born to rule, or thinks he is, grants us the right to have erroneous thoughts floating around in our head, it is the height of hubris. Even more pretentious is that we are not allowed do anything about our thoughts unless of course they pass through some mechanism of approval. That he is a politician and believes in rule of legislated law provides a context that there should be a force which prevents us from acting on that which he, or rather He feels is wrong. Nope. I'm unswayed by your comments. This Diefenbaker Quote gets a zero based on liberty. It gets a five based on rule of law assuming they are unchallengeable laws. As to my not reading enough of your comments on natural law, I'd like to point out that natural law evolved from a process not unlike the free market. And it is not only not done, none of us have the right to tell each other what they are.
     -- Walter Clark, Fullerton CA     
    Which is a way of saying, we are free to err, but not free from its consequences. In order to remain a free people, we must allow people to err and to face the music. All this trying to protect us from ourselves merely empowers 'authorities' with no less capacity for error than the rest of us. There certainly is an element of risk in life -- and we all die eventually. Let's not try and regulate away risk so that we are but mere automatons for the ruling class who pass these rules in the first place.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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