"Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty
when the Government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are
naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded
rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment
by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."
by:
Justice Louis D. Brandeis
(1856-1941) US Supreme Court Justice
Date:
1928
Source:
Justice Louis D. Brandeis, dissenting, Olmstead v. United States,
277 US 479 (1928)
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Reader comments about this quote:
So often our own good intentions end up serving the opposite purpose. There is no free ride. Better to let people be free than 'save' them or 'protect' them against their will.
 -- Steven C., Oregon     
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     -- Errington Thompson, Asheville      
    Anyone who parrots the lie that the "Patriot Act" is needed to protect us should take this quote to heart. .... But then again, those people are likely too dumb to understand...
     -- Andy, Portland, OR     
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    We were born into Freedom. We have been deceived for decades by a governmental plan detailed to enslave us. It was so subtle we did not know much. NOW is the time to wake up and KICK BUTT on THIS government conspiracy to become 'Big Brother.' Please wake up and join us to regain forever, our Freedom. No more death of our men and women and children here or in other countries. PLEASE!
     -- Janet Busby, Atascadero     
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    This reminds me of something Adam Smith said about the Invisible Hand...he cautioned that while much good, when there is a free exchange, is accomplished by men seeking thier own interests, much harm is done by those who seek the good of others by legislation (read force). Funny how that works
     -- m k, Houston     
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    This completely ignores the reality of the regimes of Stalin, Mao, and Castro
     -- David L. Rosenthal     
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    David, Stalin, Mao, and Castro were all men of zeal and well meaning in their own minds. Each lacked an understanding (could be added, constructive morals) of true liberty and that is exactly the point of the quote.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Our country is no longer free, nor alert. In two years we are all supposed to have National ID cards (the Real ID Act). At that point, no card means no job, no bank account, no plane travel, no driver's license, no life! In other words "Big Brother" will have arrived. Tell congress and the senate, and write the NOT, we don't want Real IDs.
     -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
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    This quote is so aimed at King George and his henchmen... take a clue from the 80s and "just say no!"
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
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    I believe nothing short of a revolution in the hearts and minds of Americans will be required now. We are being dumbed down daily -- we are being deluded with 'good intentions' while indenturing ourselves and our children to these despots. Wake up, America, we are being conned!
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Mike: No matter how well meaning they might seem to themselves, Stalin, Mao, Castro, Pol Pot amd other psychopaths, killed, enslaved, or tortured millions of people. There is no way to compare them to George W. Bush, or even to Bill Clinton. Now, if Bill Clinton gets his wish and becomes secretary general of the UN, then you might want to load your weapons.
     -- David L. Rosenthal     
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    It is estimated that 45K - 50K Iraqi civilians have died since we invaded THEIR country, not to mention 2K+ US soldiers. Some estimates are 500K - 600K ... or more. How many must die before you label "W" a killer? Sending Clinton to the UN is the point our government has gone too far for you? WAKE UP! If he serves at the UN, you won't have a weapon to load. But ... you'll move your line in the sand, and say the government is STILL doing the right thing.
     -- Loe, Rochester, MI     
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    Clinton is a self-described opponent of citizen's rights, who in his own words stated that our rights need to be curbed. Is that OK with you, Loe? Or do you think it would be a good idea to put a charismatic figure like Clinton in charge of the UN agenda for destroying American ideals? And, Loe, you never answered my question about where you got your figures on this country's war spending, which you stated erroneously took most of the tax revenue. Hyperbole does not increase validity, Loe.
     -- David L Rosenthal     
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    How many Iraqi cirtizens were killed by George W. Bush? Does anyone have the statistics on this? How many were killed by Iraqis from opposing Islamic factions? How many were Kurds killed by Moslems? How many were Moslems killed by Kurds? How many were killed by foreign invaders from countries other than the USA? How many were civilians killed by Iraqi military or paramilitary or security forces or intelligence thugs under orders from Saddam's regime? Or just for the heck of it? Keep flapping your lips if it makes you feel better, Joe. But it is getting ugly.
     -- David L Rosenthal     
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    So many of our rights have already been diluted to the point that the Constitution has already been cast aside. It is already later than we think and we recite meaningless rhetoric. Wake up indeed. dmc
     -- Don M, Cleveland, Tx     
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    Liberty belongs to America and Don I agree with you about the rights thing,you know what else I think is that if these hippies get to the goverment,and this war ends this war will be on american soil...stupid terriosts!
     -- Crystal L., Pittsburgh,P.A.     
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    The current greatest danger lies in insidious encroachment of the environment that belongs to all of us by men of zeal for personal profit and gain without regard to the welfare of others. These people are polluters, poachers etcetera. Liberty is unfortunately not an absoulte value or prioirity but must be balanced by men of common sense and good will. This ENFORCEMENT of common sense and good will may appear to be an attack on LIBERTY in the short run but liberating in the long run.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    When Eisenhower left office he warned us against the military industrial complex. We are not losing our country to people whose aims are beneficent. We are losing it to people driven by greed and lust for power. Losing our liberty? Hell, we are on the way to becoming a police state. Our government can spy on us and listen to our phone conversations without reasonable cause. It is becoming easier to define anyone a terrorist. Police can now use tasers for crowd control. The ongoing war crime in Iraq has bled dry. If McCain is elected, America's already enfeebled light of freedom will be extinguished.
     -- Dan G., Owings Mills, MD     
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    We are at a crucial point in supporting liberty and perhaps reviving it. Too many of us are scared and looking for a benevolent protector and provider. History has repeatedly shown us that we must rely on our own resouces. Our most valuable and unique resource is LIBERTY.
     -- FJD, Phoenix, AZ     
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    The greatest danger to liberty doesn't lurk. It is quite apparent; the only problem is, the inability to acknowledge it, or to prevent it from happening. It being corruption.
     -- teenager, laredo     
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    very wonderfull please try to expand thanks
     -- constant wani, sudan south Juba     
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    I find the clause: "Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers" somewhat misleading. Those born since 1913 have been indoctrinated by religionists with the right and left of socialism, with the benefits thereof (a falsely perceived materialism) being called liberty. Who on the planet was born to freedom? It is inherent and inalienable of course but, where is the land that supports such Divinely given endowments? Compelled compliance, license, victimless crimes, torture as an interrogation technique, governmental larceny with impunity (theft of the noble labor's fruit, funny money, etc.), required ID, loss of Habeas Corpus, legally neutered jurors, judges run amuck, unlimited legislature, an unbridled fascist executive branch of government, an unconstitutional central bank, the beneficence of mandatory payments for healthcare (born with a slave's debt), the formalizing of communism's ten planks, The Patriot Act, preemptive wars, nation building, false flag actions becoming the norm, etc. etc. etc are all crimes (against Nature, Nature's God, and otherwise) and are all called the tenets of freedom and liberty. The once land of the free and home of the brave has lost liberty to the insidious encroachment by evil minded rulers of zeal, well-meaning (in their own self interests and gratification) but without morals, understanding, or the soul of a freeman.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Dam good dicription of cali law........
     -- kimo, USA     
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    I'm not so sure that Obama is unknowing nor is does he have the best wishes of the American people in his heart. He is a hybred Stalinist/Clinton. He seems to be well-meaning, but he speaks with flattering lips and a double heart. He says one thing, but does just the opposite as if we were all 5 years old and don't understand what he's doing. He is lucky we don't have the English Parliament system or we would have ousted him long ago with a no confidence vote. As they say in Texas, he's all hat and no cattle.
     -- GunnyCee, Durham     
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    " Of all tyrannies,a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of it's victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barrons than under omnipotent moral busibodies. The robber barrons cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience". --- C.S.Lewis
     -- jim k, Austin, Tx     
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    The C.S.Lewis quote above pretty well sums up the old saying, "I'm with the government and I'm here to help you." A great example is the left wing busybodies in the EPA, along with most government bureaus.
     -- jim k, Austin, Tx     
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    jim, said very well. The government's alphabet soup of tyranny is but one of the physical examples that proves your, and the quote's accuracy.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Justice Louise Dembitz Brandeis, Associate Justice Supreme Court, United States of America. 1916-1939. Very formative years of policy and judgment ! A Jew feared by the Republican party and Corporations world wide. Fought against Corporations, Monopolies, and Public corruption and mass Consumerism. Antisemitism in Europe and Russia, every growing prior to WWI. Justice William O Douglas wrote, " Brandeis was a militant crusader for social justice whoever his apponent might be. He was dangerous not only because of his brilliance, his arithmetic, his courage. He was dangerous because he was Incorruptible. ... [ And ] The fears of the establishment were Greater because Brandeis was the first Jew to be named to the Court " Confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 47 to 22 on June, 1, 1916.- 21 Republicans Senators and one Democratic Senator, Francis C. Newlands voted against his nomination. Speak of Corruption within the Republican party ! His opinions were according to legal scholars, some of the " Greatest Defenses" of Freedom of Speech and the Right to Privacy ever written by a member of the Supreme Court ! Guilbert vs Minnisota 1920, Freedom of Speech. Whitney vs California 1927, Freedom of Speech. Olmstead vs United States 1928Right to Privacy. He opposed the " New Deal " of FDR. Louisville vs Radford 1935, limiting Presidential Discretion. Schechter Poultry Corp vs United States. 1938, NIRA is unconstitutional ! Erie Railroad Co. vs Tompkins 1938 Federal vs State laws. Favored States Rights.
    Brings to mind Lord Acton's view " The issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought sooner or later is the People versus the Banks ! " Brandeis Harshly criticized Investment Bankers who controlled large amounts of money deposited in their banks by Middle Class People. The heads of these banks, Brandeis pointed out, routinely sat on the boards of railroad companies and large industrial manufacturers of various products, and routinely directed the resources of their banks to promote the interest of their own companies. These companies, in turn, sought to maintain control of their industries by crushing small businesses and stamp out innovators who developed better products to compete against them. Brandeis supported his contentions, against such as J. P. Morgan. Pujo Committee investigating into self-serving and monopolistic dealings.
    " Sunlight is said to be the best of Disinfectants, Electric light the most efficient Policemen "
    " What Publicity Can Do " Chapter V
    " Other Peoples Money and How The Bankers Use IT "
    All Very good Reads !
    Corruption resides on both sides of the Isle. Following after our Founding Fathers examples, regardless of the opposition. A lesson well to take note of and hold to their convection of sound doctrines concerning our Liberty and Freedom for all. Conversations behind closed doors and the current elections, We The People are pissed off. Enough is Enough. What to do with that that pisses against the wall or otherwise. Politicians Beware ! I am very sure others can expound upon these facts brought to light. Short comments, considering one of the greatest Judges to sit on the Highest Court in the United States of America !
     -- Ronw13, Yachats OR     
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