"He is free who knows how to keep in his own hands
the power to decide at each step, the course of his life,
and who lives in a society which does not block
the exercise of that power."
Salvador De Madariaga
(1886-1978 ), Spanish writer, diplomat, and historian, noted for his service at the League of Nations
New York Times, 29 January 1957
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- Mike, Norwalk      
 -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US      
It's called personal responsibility.
 -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 1
    Each new law removes personal responsibility and further enslaves us.
     -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
  • 1
    Nice sentiment, but erroneous thought We need limits. Freedom to do anything at all is no freedom. The power to corner the market on soybeans, for example, may not overly much infringe on others, but places exist where the inhabitants are not permitted to plant food crops, and otherwise have little access to food, because others, more powerful, own the land and use it for other purposes. In such cases, the powerful are not more free, just because they can prevent the poor from planting. And atheist judges are not more free when they punish Christians from expressing their beliefs, such as the Christians charged with hate crimes in Philadelphia for preaching against sodomy.
     -- David L Rosenthal     
    A free man will also have to live with the consequences of all of his choices. Staying up too late and not getting to work on time, choosing to drop out of school, going into debt beyond his means, whether to try to beat the red light, and all of those other mundane choices we make everyday; they all have consequences. That is why I believe that today, if it has not always been the case, most people don't really want to be free. They want government there to take responsibility and bail them out. They want to be treated like children so they won't have to deal with the consequences of being a free adult. Government is happy to oblige. It gets more power and control as a result.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
  • 1
    Hey, Ken, was that a concise autobiography?
     -- David L Rosenthal     
    I agree with this quote.
     -- Anonymous     
    It just goes to show that a person's freedom is indeed already in his hands no matter what the circumstances are. Ken makes too much sense for people like Rosenthal who want us to think like him, have sex like him, pray like him, believe his definition of God is THE definition of god and all else are atheists and anti-christs. People like that want government to control everything -- except them of course -- no they want government to take responsibility for everything as is their 'right'. The only argument they have against freedom is that OTHER people cannot be trusted (and they know what is best for THEM). Such is the double-speak and the self-righteous hypocrisy they cling to as their 'faith'. Indeed, teaching a free man to stay free is NOT taught and is therefore not respected. No, we are to respect credit cards and government hand-outs and call those 'rights' whereas freedom is merely a 'privilege' to be granted by the whims of the state. Rosenthal is not free -- he is a perfect slave and an emeny to freedom everywhere -- a true terrorist who seeks only to make others dependent on his word with the terror of eternal damnation as the impetus for obedience. This is the oldest trick in the book for leading the ignorant by the nose.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 1
     -- Anonymous      
     -- Henry, Edinboro, Pennsylvania      
    This is something of a truism in that it teaches us nothing. The left would salute this just fervently. For them society is made up of greedy businessmen for whom capitalism is a tool of oppression of those without capital. They see big business as the primary blocking of the exercise of consumer or employee power. They may even dislike government but see no other way to stop greed from using capitalism.
     -- Walter Clark, Fullerton CA     
    When you get out of solitary confinement and get to go back to the prison yard, you ain't free.
     -- jim k, Austin, Tx     
  • 3
     -- Mary - MI      
    Freedom and liberty with out moral restraint is self destruction.
    When property tax began at the end of the civil war, we all lost ! When you have a credit based economy, one can never climb out of the hole. Raising the bar at every turn. Revoke the central bank charter.! As President Jackson did.! The quote is two sided. They do block the exercise of that power. Don't they.
     -- watchman 13, USA     
  • 2
     -- jim k, austin      
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