"Free speech, free press, free religion, the right of free assembly,
yes, the right of petition... well, they are still radical ideas."
Lyndon B. Johnson
(1908-1973) 37th US President (1963-1969)
Speech, 3 August 1965
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Reader comments about this quote:
That is the LBJ I remember....the true friend of the common man and giver of the Great Society....(ps: he really did have 666 on his body somewhere).
 -- Michael , Houston     
     -- Anonymous      
    They are still radical ideas and LBJ did everything he could to kill them
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    When a politician refers to inalienable rights as 'radical' you can bet he doesn't mean 'radical' in a good way. Yes, they are radical ideas -- Independence and Liberty have always been called radical by those that wish to control others.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    But the Great Society party lumbers on. They still don't get it, America - Freedom. Government mind your business, not mine.
     -- Eric, Kansas     
    I think we're missing the point, as did LBJ, apparently. The "inalienable rights" argument was necessary in the Declaration of Independence because the British were white, English, and Protestant -- just as most colonists were. They had to have some other basis on which to justify independence. Prevailing thought at the time was that rights arose from the actions of government, or evolved from tradition, and neither of those could provide anything "inalienable." So for LBJ to say, in effect, that prevailing thought had not changed from 1776 to the 1960s is a bit ludicrous, IMHO.
     -- Joe, North Caldwell, NJ     
    LBJ was a great president, because he help get passed into law what JFK only talked about. As he said, "Jack is out kissing babies, and I was passing bills. Someone had to mind the store." He was hard, coarse, and unlikeable, but he paved the way for real equality among Americans. What he's saying in this quote is that when the Constitution was written, no one had ever conceived of the ideas of actually protecting basic human rights, and that WAS a radical idea. It still is today in many parts of the world. America stands alone by being the only country to attempt to do something as radical as protecting basic human rights for more than 200 years. LBJ understood that, and helped all Americans gain those rights. Give him a break! And, look up the definition of the world "radical," too. It's only the neo-cons who have given it a bad connotation.
     -- Jesse Ray, Austin, TX     
    Unfortunately, what LBJ said is true.
     -- Anonymous     
    I think that history has vindicated LBJ. He was speaking in support of those ideas, not bashing them- and reminding people that the protection of our freedoms requires as much work today as they did when our country was founded.
     -- Emily, Pittsburg, KS     
    He didn't meant the HE didn't believe in them, he's saying it's sad/true that they are often ideas that are still opressed, especially in other country's, but also in our own.
     -- Frances, Houston     
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