"Our forefathers found the evils of free thinking
more to be endured than the evils of inquest or suppression.
This is because thoughtful, bold and independent minds
are essential to the wise and considered self-government."
Justice Robert H. Jackson
(1892-1954), U. S. Supreme Court Justice
Atlantic Monthly, January 1955
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Reader comments about this quote:
But that's not patriotic...
 -- Robert, Sarasota     
    Being responsible for yourself is patriotic. Robert, what is not patriotic?
     -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US      
    True.Another great and true quote.
     -- me again     
    Exactly why the censorship that's today called political correctness is so insidious. Those who insist on speech controls and thought control are essentially against self-government and for rule by elitists who know how to live our lives much better than we do.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
  • 1
    I am not quite sure how to rate this. The founders of the de jure States united did not couch their search for liberty in groups of free thinkers or groups of evil thinkers. Their search was how to enhance and protect individual sovereign's inalienable rights. The statement may be accurate enough in the politically enslaved atmosphere of today but, it did not raise to the level of much consideration then. Thoughtful, bold and independent minds are also essential to that which despots consider wise (thus promoting evil). Only an elitist mentality of tyranny would make such a statement. Independent minds that use natural law as their foundation, are essential to a political body of individual sovereign freemen.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Mike, I think the dilemma is no different than the possession of ANY kind of power. Certainly knowledge is power and can break the bonds of conditioned thinking -- but what will a person do with his freedom/power? When it comes to liberty, the quote is bang on and has to be bang on, because the power of thoughtful, bold, and independent minds is the driving force behind any liberty movement. Power can be used for good or bad, and it is still necessary to break ties and blaze new trails, cornerstones of 'liberation.' Power is best distributed rather than controlled, which means bad ideas need to be exposed to the light of day as much as good ideas.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    Archer, I agree with you. My problem was that,an obvious liar/despot (supreme court justice) was attempting to give weight to his argument (having some filtered merit on its own) by associating it with an earlier body of esteemed individuals. As to thinking freely, I understand there is an opposition in all things. I just thought there were too many contradictory terms and non-compatible concepts compared in the word salad as presented.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
     -- jim k, Austin      
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