"The right to freedom of expression is justified first of all as the right of an individual purely in his capacity as an individual. It derives from the widely accepted premise of Western thought that the proper end of man is the realization of his character and potentialities as a human being."
Thomas I. Emerson
(1907-1991) Lines Professor of Law, Yale University, author
Yale Law Journal, 1963
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Reader comments about this quote:
I would add to the last sentence of this quote.The "proper end of man" is not Only the realization of his character and human potential but,I would add,the application of his most honorable traits in life so that the lives of others may be enriched.To have accomplished this is to have succeeded in life.
 -- KS     
  • 2
     -- Anonymous      
    The right to freedom of expression is dead at many universities today. The delicate snowflakes retreat to their "safe places" if they hear something they don't agree with, especially if a conservative view.
     -- jim k, Austin     
  • 3
    Yes, those rights remain whether they are exercised as good or bad. And this quote perfectly explains the philosophy of Freedom of expression.
     -- Robert, Somewhere in the US     
    Without controversy, the right to freedom of expression, the right to speak out freely based upon deep convection of facts. Freedom of expression is a methodical march set forth by the masters of assemblies. Used for the betterment of that which good is. Harmony through honesty and adherence to a sound conscience.
     -- Ronw13, Oregon     
    I like "the realization of his character and potentialities as a human being." But is that the "end"? I agree with KS, that realization is not an end, but becomes a 'way' -- the realization applied. I discover a classic melody -- then I master it through playing it. For me, the motivation is not to 'get' somewhere or something, but to play well, in tune, in harmony, for its own sake. It is an individual journey within a world of other human beings' journeys, and I don't play a song to get to the end. ;-)
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 1
    Word craftsmanship is here a bit awkward while the sentiment within the first sentence seems almost close to accurate. “Freedom of expression” is an inalienable right as a faculty of birth that exists with no need of justification (it is what it is). The second sentence is a superficial attempt at frivolous philosophy. Inalienable rights do not derive from human potentialities, character realizations or western thought.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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