"Once the government can demand of a publisher the names of the purchasers of his publication, the free press as we know it disappears. Then the spectre of a government agent will look over the shoulder of everyone who reads. ... Fear of criticism goes with every person into the bookstall. The subtle, imponderable pressures of the orthodox lay hold. Some will fear to read what is unpopular, what the powers-that-be dislike. ... fear will take the place of freedom in the libraries, book stores, and homes in the land."
by:
Justice William O. Douglas
(1898-1980), U. S. Supreme Court Justice
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Reader comments about this quote:
Our current Dictator in Chief fears the internet and would love to control it from his throne in the Oval office. The Libs own the newspapers and the major TV news outlets so our last, best hope to get the truth out is the internet.
 -- jim k, Austin, Tx     
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    This one is the best of the three Douglas quotes offered today. Among other unconstitutional realities, the 'Patriot' Act allows authorities secret, warrantless access to anybody's library records and/or personal computers, even in one's private home. This reality is BI-PARTISAN in origin, rigorously upheld by largely conservative courts and is not indicative at all of a Free People. This remains the case however often said People choose lying to themselves via compulsory 'patriotic', ultimately fascist displays of public flag worship. Why isn't Douglas' best quote included, from 'Griswold vs. Connecticut?' "The right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedom." FWIW, mentored by Louis Brandeis, FDR appointee William O. Douglas is considered to be one of the most liberal jurists in U.S. history.
     -- Mann, Kalamazoo     
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    This just goes to show how much Americans have forgotten in just a couple generations. Mann is right about one thing, fascism is alive and well in the US starting with FDR and furthered by both political parties. Douglas was 'liberal' in the classic sense, not in the 'progressive' sense.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Not shooting the messenger, this quote, though very accurate in its fabrication of scenario and application, is a smoke screen to the reality of governmental happenstance. This ecclesiastical propaganda falsely implies that the media is free and has interest in expressing truth (one of those = tell you 100 truths to make you believe the greater lie). The statement on its face hides the theocratic ownership of government and the press - advancing dogma narratives at the detriment of truth, freedom, liberty, natural law, justice, and rights. It is accurate, the minuscule sized media that attempts to get the truth out has a base that is tract through electronic, physical and many other means. Demanding a back door into Apple devices is but one blaring example of the occupying statist theocracy infesting this land's unconstitutional application of terror, tyranny, despotism and slavery.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    This is all about government - or politically correct - dictation of what people should be allowed to hear. I am reminded of the order to his troops by the alcalde of Los Angeles in the movie Zorro - The Gay Blade. On trying to stop a free speech advocate from speaking in the town square, he is reminded of the tradition that everyone is allowed to speak his mind there. His response is to call back the soldiers he had just ordered to arrest her by giving them the following order: "The hwomaaaan is ALLOWED to speak..... But arrest anyone who listens."
     -- Rob Gillespie, Vancouver, BC     
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