"Freedom, morality, and the human dignity
of the individual consists precisely in this;
that he does good not because he is forced to do so,
but because he freely conceives it, wants it, and loves it."
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Source:
God and The State, 1871
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Brilliant!!
 -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
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    I'd like to rate this with more than 5 stars.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    And it is just as possible that given complete freedom that great evil will come of it, which compromises the human dignity of others... so it appears to me that the quote attempts to tie too much together under "motherhood & apple pie", making assumptions of the inherent good in all which is in actually just not there.
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
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    Absolutely!
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Reston, I'm laughing and shaking my head. Your thoughts were a little vague. Could you get a little more specific. There is no freedom without morality or human dignaty (Christianity has a standard of morality and human dignity, atheism has to borrow its standard from other religions) Morality consists of freedom and honors the individual's human dignity (atheist, Muslim, criminal, adversary, etc.). And human dignity only exists in an atmosphere of freedom and morality. And, if none of this is good, or good doesn't exist, nothing in the topic of the quote exits to freely give. Given this, is it the non-forced gifting of good that you so object?
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Reston, moments ago you gave 5 stars to individual values that lead to freedom. Now you say that freedom may lead to great evil, and give 0 stars. You flip-flop more than John Kerry.
     -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
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    I suppose that Reston just meant to express misgivings based on the reality of human experience, which shows that too many tend to abuse freedom, rather than respecting it.
     -- David L Rosenthal     
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    Not bad for a Russian Anarchist and Socialist Bakunin was the precursor to Russian collectivism during Czarist times. The diffference between him and Marx was, Marx believed in the benevolent dictator approach to Socialism, Bakunin was more of an Anarchist, but both men had the same goals for collectivism. Of course, Marx won out eventually leading to the rise of the Bolsheviks and eventually to Lenin and then to Stalin. The quote reflects the idealism of Socialism's origin.
     -- Jack, Green, OH     
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    Jack, you didn't go far enough. Bakunin was a Christian of sorts and thought that the government could, as a transient entity and for a time, replace God in social administrations. This is not the forum but, I could give you many of the biblical quotes that Buknin based his beliefs on. Bakunin believed of a sort in the same vain as Leo Tolstoy and Lysander Spooner differing mainly in the method of implementing anarchy. As per his quote here, he believed in morality, human dignity, and freedom of and for the individual where Marx did not. The atheists (where government ultimately is utilized as god) set up their church (socialism/communism) and have been victimizing their patrons and deteriorating ever sense. Socialism is a jealous task master, fearing and allowing no other belief systems and disavowing any analogy of history that may infringe on its divine right to exist or criticize its operations. Bakunin was wrong about socialism but not about this quote. Christianity and socialism can not long exist in the same space.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Mike, Where do you get the idea that we Atheists have to borrow our standards from other religions? We think for ourselves and rely on no one - especially some unknown and unseen spiritual concept, or a self-important clergy who claim to know him to do our thinking. Christians have no monopoly on morals or ethics. I resent people speaking for us as much as you dislike folks complaining about Christians.
     -- Jack, Green, OH     
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    You can interpret facts any way you want, Mike, as most religious people do. Like Bush, just today, twisting the NEI assessment of Iraq to suit his wrong-headed actions. How can you call an anti-theist like Bakunin as a religious person? He was no more a Christian than I am. Bakunin said, ""The idea of God implies the abdication of human reason and justice"
     -- Jack, Green, OH     
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    Jack, you've obviously not read anything I've written in this blog. I have no resentment, ill feeling, or negative impression in anyway when people complain about Christians. Usually, those that set them selves out as Christians have much to be complained about (by way of example: look at the fascist war/hate monger that currently occupies the top executive position). The truth is though, it is Christ who set the standard for who is a Christian, or not. Further, I know of no perfect Christian, only individuals that fain claim an association thereto, and/or others who attempt to repent and do as Jesus would do. There is no standard for atheists but, it is a fun observation that atheists are the most thin skinned about complaints. Atheists seem to be able to dish it out (usually in half truths) but not take it. To explain why atheists have to borrow standards from other religions is a larger explination than this blog will allow (maybe another time). There are good and bad atheists, the same can be said of Christians and all other groups that I can think of. When individuals such as Marx, Lennin, and Hitler are considered, it has to be included that they were all bad individuals with atheism as their primary agenda to further their ill aspirations. Again, that by any means does not make any other atheist bad.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Those who have not had an experience with the living God cannot grasp that such a thing routinely happens. Their doubt can be comprehended, but their cynicism is arrogant. How many things has each of us never experienced directly, but believes in or accepts as true or factual? Now just because I believe in God does not mean that you must, but given the very wide variety of experience that exists, and given that you have accepted things you have not seen yourself, and given the enormous implications of God's existence or lack thereof, why would you so easily dismiss God, just because you have not yet experienced him? Why don't you ask him for proof?
     -- David L Rosenthal     
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    Jack, again you oppsed and took the quote out of context like most Christians read the current translations of the bible (don't go back to the original source but read someones translation). The underlying premise there was that the contemporary church, along with all organized religions (Jewish, Christian, etc.) were abusive, standing as though they were God and theocracies denied the sovereignty of the individual. As had been practiced, the authority of God was as abusive as all other hardships ever inflicted on man (pretty much the same mindset as our Christian founders and mine) I don't remember the quote exactly but, Bakunin, spinning of Voltaire, said something to the effect that if God existed, he would have to be eliminated. Again, a reference to using the authority of God to abuse others was wrong. Such, did not dissuade his belief in a greater being.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    yeah, what David said.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    By the way Jack, Marx was not benevolent, he believed that an omnipotent tyrant was the only way to force people into anarchy (Marx and Bakunin's goals were anarchism, neither being more an anarchist than the other and but one difference was how socialism was to be implemented to complete their goals), and history proving that the quote has nothing to do with socialism, especially that of an idealistic origin.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    One must be free to choose between good and evil to be a moral being. It is as simple as that. Government redistribution of wealth through the tax code is immoral precisely because it takes away the opportunity of the individual to charitably give that wealth away of his own volition.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
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    I didn't say Marx was benevolent, Mike I said that was the concept of his Socialism. But since you mentioned it, I'm not sure he wasn't. It was not until Stalin that Communism becamr tyrannical. Lenin and Marx were revered, altthough no one who remember them is still alive. Very few even remember Stalin. Do you? I do, very well - when he was our ally We saved him as we did Churchhill....And don't claim Marx had anything to do with anarchy. He was for a dictatorship. It was Bakunin who was the anarchist. Read what I said before. You may not believe it but Marx and Lenin were moral and ethical men, and atheists, but a benevolent dictorship, although ideal, cannot endure. Too much power corrupts - just like our present governent/
     -- Jack, Green. OH     
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    Marx was clearly a sociopath.
     -- David L Rosenthal     
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    David says, "Those who have not had an experience with the living God cannot grasp that such a thing routinely happens." Hindus have an experience of the living God, the native Americans have an experience of the living God, and EVERY religion has among its members experiences of the living God. My complaint is that David does not speak of his experience of the living God but of what the Bible says -- of what someone else has said. I have my experience and Jack has his -- the fact is David does not respect anyone else's experience as valid unless it is in line with his interpretation of what it SHOULD be. I prefer Mike's approach. And as far as the word 'Christian' goes, as a noun, the only Christian was Christ; used as an adjective, even some atheists are Christian. Too few people who call themselves Christians actually act like Christ -- in fact they more resemble the Pharisees. They wouldn't know Christ if he knocked on the door (much less as a thief in the night).
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Very well put, i feel he is amazing
     -- Matt     
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    To choose good from a myriad of options to the contrary. Is clearly a greater victory than to be brought up with no other choice.
     -- S P, London     
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    It is believed that most folks in America obey laws because they feel they should. Many obey only because they fear the penalty of not being obedient. Our prisons are full of those who neither love nor fear the law.
     -- cal, lewisville, tx     
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