Famous Quotations / Quotes
Famous Quotes about Liberty
 

 
Famous quotes, quotations, sayings, phrases, idioms, proverbs, and axioms about Liberty and the Responsibility that comes with it. 
 


The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations

A classic since 1953 with over 20,000 quotes from over 3,000 authors.


Famous Last Words

Apt Observations, Pleas, Curses, Benedictions, Sour Notes, Bons Mots, and Insights from People on the Brink of Departure


Stretch Your Wings

Famous Black Quotations for the Young


American Quotations

An exhaustive collection of profound quotes from the founding fathers, presidents, statesmen, scientists, constitutions, court decisions


The Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations


Last Words of Saints and Sinners

700 Final Quotes from the Famous, the Infamous, and the Inspiring Figures of History


America's God and Country: Encyclopedia of Quotations

Contains over 2,100 profound quotations from founding fathers, presidents, constitutions, court decisions and more


The Law

This 1850 classic is an absolute must read for anyone interested in law, justice, truth, or liberty. A most compelling and revolutionary look at The Law.


Bartlett's Familiar Quotations

A Collection of Passages, Phrases, and Proverbs Traced to Their Sources in Ancient and Modern Literature (17th Edition)


The Stupidest Things Ever Said by Politicians

Rise up, America -- and laugh out loud at the greatest gaffes that no spin doctor could possibly fix!


The 776 Even Stupider Things Ever Said

Another great collection of stupidity


Quotable Quotes

Wit and Wisdom for All Occasions from America's Most Popular Magazine


The Most Brilliant Thoughts of All Time

You don't have to be a genius to sound like one. Here's a collection of the most profound and provocative wit and wisdom in the English language in two lines or less.


2,715 One-Line Quotations for Speakers, Writers & Raconteurs

Invaluable sampler of witticisms, epigrams, sayings, bon mots, platitudes and insights chosen for their brevity and pithiness.


Phillips' Book of Great Thoughts Funny Sayings

A stupendous collection of quotes, quips, epigrams, witticisms, and humorous comments for personal enjoyment and ready reference.


Quick Quips and Quotes; 532 Things I Wish I Had Said

Quick Quips and Quotes is the Ultimate Collection of one liners.


Bartlett's Book of Anecdotes

The ultimate anthology of anecdotes, now revised with over 700 new entries.


Quotations for Public Speakers

A Historical, Literary, and Political Anthology


Liberty - The American Revolution

This compelling series traces the events leading up to the war and America's fight for freedom.


Founding Fathers

The story of how these disparate characters fomented rebellion in the colonies, formed the Continental Congress, fought the Revolutionary War, and wrote the Constitution


Libertarianism: A Primer

David Boaz, director of the Cato Institute, has written a simple introduction to Libertarianism inteneded to appeal to disgruntled Democrats and Republicans everywhere.


The Libertarian Reader

Classic and Contemporary Writings from Lao-Tzu to Milton Friedman


Thomas Paine: Collected Writings

All the classics: Common Sense / The Crisis / Rights of Man / The Age of Reason / Pamphlets, Articles, and Letters

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A State Ex Rel. Torryson v. GreyWhere the words of a constitution are unambiguous and in their commonly received sense lead to a reasonable conclusion, it should be read according to the natural and most obvious import of the framers, without resorting to subtle and forced construction for the purpose of limiting or extending its operation.
Peter AbelardThe key to wisdom is this -- constant and frequent questioning ... for by doubting we are led to question and by questioning we arrive at the truth.
John AdamsWe think ourselves possessed, or, at least, we boast that we are so, of liberty of conscience on all subjects, and of the right of free inquiry and private judgment in all cases, and yet how far are we from these exalted privileges in fact! There exists, I believe, throughout the whole Christian world, a law which makes it blasphemy to deny or doubt the divine inspiration of all the books of the Old and New Testaments, from Genesis to Revelations. In most countries of Europe it is punished by fire at the stake, or the rack, or the wheel. In England itself it is punished by boring through the tongue with a red-hot poker. In America it is not better; even in our own Massachusetts, which I believe, upon the whole, is as temperate and moderate in religious zeal as most of the States, a law was made in the latter end of the last century, repealing the cruel punishments of the former laws, but substituting fine and imprisonment upon all those blasphemers upon any book of the Old Testament or New. Now, what free inquiry, when a writer must surely encounter the risk of fine or imprisonment for adducing any argument for investigating into the divine authority of those books? Who would run the risk of translating Dupuis? But I cannot enlarge upon this subject, though I have it much at heart. I think such laws a great embarrassment, great obstructions to the improvement of the human mind. Books that cannot bear examination, certainly ought not to be established as divine inspiration by penal laws. It is true, few persons appear desirous to put such laws in execution, and it is also true that some few persons are hardy enough to venture to depart from them. But as long as they continue in force as laws, the human mind must make an awkward and clumsy progress in its investigations. I wish they were repealed. The substance and essence of Christianity, as I understand it, is eternal and unchangeable, and will bear examination forever, but it has been mixed with extraneous ingredients, which I think will not bear examination, and they ought to be separated. Adieu.
John AdamsLiberty, according to my metaphysics, is an intellectual quality, an attribute that belongs not to fate nor chance. Neither possesses it, neither is capable of it. There is nothing moral or immoral in the idea of it. The definition of it is a self-determining power in an intellectual agent. It implies thought and choice and power; it can elect between objects, indifferent in point of morality, neither morally good nor morally evil.
John AdamsMajor Greene this evening fell into some conversation with me about the Divinity and satisfaction of Jesus Christ. All the argument he advanced was, "that a mere creature or finite being could not make satisfaction to infinite justice for any crimes," and that "these things are very mysterious." Thus mystery is made a convenient cover for absurdity.
John AdamsSpent an hour in the beginning of the evening at Major Gardiner's, where it was thought that the design of Christianity was not to make men good riddle-solvers, or good mystery-mongers, but good men, good magistrates, and good subjects, good husbands and good wives, good parents and good children, good masters and good servants. The following questions may be answered some time or other, namely, — Where do we find a precept in the Gospel requiring Ecclesiastical Synods? Convocations? Councils? Decrees? Creeds? Confessions? Oaths? Subscriptions? and whole cart-loads of other trumpery that we find religion incumbered with in these days?
John AdamsThe United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.
John AdamsTwenty times in the course of my late reading have I been on the point of breaking out, "This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!!!" But in this exclamation I would have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without religion this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company, I mean hell.
John Quincy AdamsCivil liberty can be established on no foundation of human reason which will not at the same time demonstrate the right of religious freedom.
John Quincy AdamsLaw logic -- an artificial system of reasoning, exclusively used in courts of justice, but good for nothing anywhere else.
AesopBeware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow.
Ethan AllenThere is not anything, which has contributed so much to delude mankind in religious matters, as mistaken apprehensions concerning supernatural inspiration or revelation; not considering that all true religion originates from reason, and cannot otherwise be understood, but by the exercise and improvement of it.
Lisa AltherI’ve always felt that a person’s intelligence is directly reflected by the number of conflicting points of view he can entertain simultaneously on the same topic.
American Library AssociationIntellectual freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access of all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored.
American Library AssociationWhy is Intellectual Freedom Important? Intellectual freedom is the basis of our democratic system. We expect our people to be self-governors. But to do so responsibly, our citizenry must be well informed. Libraries provide the ideas and information, in a variety of formats, to allow people to inform themselves.
Hannah ArendtThe moment we no longer have a free press, anything can happen. What makes it possible for a totalitarian or any other dictatorship to rule is that people are not informed; how can you have an opinion if you are not informed? If everybody always lies to you, the consequence is not that you believe the lies, but rather that nobody believes anything any longer. This is because lies, by their very nature, have to be changed, and a lying government has constantly to rewrite its own history. On the receiving end you get not only one lie -- a lie which you could go on for the rest of your days -- but you get a great number of lies, depending on how the political wind blows. And a people that no longer can believe anything cannot make up its mind. It is deprived not only of its capacity to act but also of its capacity to think and to judge. And with such a people you can then do what you please.
AristotleIt is the mark of an educated man to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
Matthew ArnoldThe freethinking of one age is the common sense of the next.
Isaac AsimovIf knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.
Marcus AureliusThe opinion of ten thousand men is of no value if none of them know anything about the subject.
Francis BaconRead not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider.
Sir Francis BaconFor whatever deserves to exist deserves also to be known, for knowledge is the image of existence, and things mean and splendid exist alike.
Ben H. BagdikianLetting a maximum number of views be heard regularly is not just a nice philosophical notion. It is the best way any society has yet discovered to detect maladjustments quickly, to correct injustices, and to discover new ways to meet our continuing stream of novel problems that rise in a changing environment.
Carl Friedrich BahrdtThe freedom to share one’s insights and judgments verbally or in writing is, just like the freedom to think, a holy and inalienable right of humanity that, as a universal human right, is above all the rights of princes.
Robert BairdThe freedom allowed in the United States to all sorts of inquiry and discussion necessarily leads to a diversity of opinion, which is seen not only in there being different denominations, but different opinions also in the same denomination.
Matsuo BashoDo not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Seek what they sought.
Frederic BastiatThere is in all of us a strong disposition to believe that anything lawful is also legitimate. This belief is so widespread that many persons have erroneously held that things are “just” because the law makes them so.
Frederic BastiatEveryone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget that the state lives at the expense of everyone.
Cesare BeccariaThe laws of this nature are those which forbid to wear arms, disarming those only who are not disposed to commit the crime which the laws mean to prevent. Can it be supposed, that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity, and the most important of the code, will respect the less considerable and arbitrary injunctions, the violation of which is so easy, and of so little comparative importance? Does not the execution of this law deprive the subject of that personal liberty, so dear to mankind and to the wise legislator? and does it not subject the innocent to all the disagreeable circumstances that should only fall on the guilty? It certainly makes the situation of the assaulted worse, and of the assailants better, and rather encourages than prevents murder, as it requires less courage to attack unarmed than armed persons.
Cesare BeccariaFalse is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one imaginary or trifling inconvenience; that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedy for evils except destruction.
Cesare BeccariaA principal source of errors and injustice are false ideas of utility. For example: that legislator has false ideas of utility who considers particular more than general conveniencies, who had rather command the sentiments of mankind than excite them, who dares say to reason, 'Be thou a slave;' who would sacrifice a thousand real advantages to the fear of an imaginary or trifling inconvenience; who would deprive men of the use of fire for fear of their being burnt, and of water for fear of their being drowned; and who knows of no means of preventing evil but by destroying it.
Cesare BeccariaFalse is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one imaginary or trifling inconvenience; that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedy for evils except destruction. The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Can it be supposed that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity, the most important of the code, will respect the less important and arbitrary ones, which can be violated with ease and impunity, and which, if strictly obeyed, would put an end to personal liberty... and subject innocent persons to all the vexations that the guilty alone ought to suffer? Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man. They ought to be designated as laws not preventive but fearful of crimes, produced by the tumultuous impression of a few isolated facts, and not by thoughtful consideration of the inconveniences and advantages of a universal decree.
Clive BellOnly reason can convince us of those three fundamental truths without a recognition of which there can be no effective liberty: that what we believe is not necessarily true; that what we like is not necessarily good; and that all questions are open.
Cardnial Robert BellarmineTo assert that the earth revolves around the sun is as erroneous to claim that Jesus was not born of a virgin.
Mark BerleyPolitical correctness is really a subjective list put together by the few to rule the many -- a list of things one must think, say, or do. It affronts the right of the individual to establish his or her own beliefs.
Andrew BernsteinFor the first time in history, the rational and the good are fully armed in the battle against evil. Here we finally find the answer to our paradox; now we can understand the nature of the social power held by evil. Ultimately, the evil, the irrational, truly has no power. The evil men’s control of morality is transient; it lives on borrowed time made possible only by the errors of the good. In time, as more honest men grasp the truth, evil’s stranglehold will be easily broken.
Ambrose BierceFaith: Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.
Ambrose BierceLogic: The art of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human misunderstanding.
Ambrose BierceAs records of courts and justice are admissible, it can easily be proved that powerful and malevolent magicians once existed and were a scourge to mankind... Nothing in any existing court was ever more thoroughly proved than the charges of witchcraft and sorcery for which so many suffered death. If there were no witches, human testimony and human reason are alike destitute of value.
Ambrose BierceHeathen, n. A benighten creature who has the folly to worship something that he can see and feel.
Steve BikoThe most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.
Justice Hugo L. BlackThe public welfare demands that constitutional cases must be decided according to the terms of the Constitution itself, and not according to judges’ views of fairness, reasonableness, or justice.
Alan BloomFreedom of the mind requires not only, or not even especially, the absence of legal constraints but the presence of alternative thoughts. The most successful tyranny is not the one that uses force to assure uniformity, but the one that removes awareness of other possibilities.
William BoetckerYou cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot lift the wage-earner by pulling down the wage-payer.
You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.
You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away men's initiative and independence.
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.
Napoleon BonaparteI have made all the calculations; fate will do the rest.
Jorge Luis BorgesReality is not always probable, or likely.
James BoswellMen are wise in proportion, not to their experience, but to their capacity for experience.
Justice William J. BrennanAll ideas having even the slightest redeeming social importance – unorthodox ideas, controversial ideas, even ideas hateful to the prevailing climate of opinion, have the full protection of the guarantees [of the First Amendment].
Norman O. BrownFreedom is poetry, taking liberties with words, breaking the rules of normal speech, violating common sense.
James BuchananWhat is right and what is practicable are two different things.
William F. Buckley, Jr.Now it is one thing to say (I say it) that people shouldn’t consume psychoactive drugs. It is entirely
something else to condone marijuana laws, the application of which resulted, in 1995, in the arrest of 588,963 Americans. Why are we so afraid to
inform ourselves on the question?
BuddhaDo not believe what your teacher tells you merely out of respect for the teacher.
BuddhaBelieve nothing merely because you have been told it. Do not believe what your teacher tells you merely out of respect for the teacher. But whatsoever, after due examination and analysis, you find to be kind, conducive to the good, the benefit, the welfare of all beings -- that doctrine believe and cling to, and take it as your guide.
Luther BurbankIt is well for people who think to change their minds occasionally in order to keep them clean. For those who do not think, it is best at least to rearrange their prejudices once in a while.
Frank Gelett BurgessWithout bigots, eccentrics, cranks and heretics the world would not progress.
Edmund BurkeHe that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves, and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper.
Edmund BurkeIn a free country every man thinks he has a concern in all public matters,--that he has a right to form and a right to deliver an opinion on them. This it is that fills countries with men of ability in all stations.
Edmund BurkeExample is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other.
Edmund BurkeThe first and simplest emotion which we discover in the human mind, is curiosity.
Edmund BurkeIt is not what a lawyer tells me I may do; but what humanity, reason, and justice tell me I ought to do.
H. Sterling BurnettGuns are used for self-defense somewhere between 800,000 and 3.6 million times per year .... Using firearm crime and defensive gun use figures most favorable to advocates for stricter gun control, ... the benefits from defensive gun uses exceed the cost of violent firearm crimes ... by between $90 million and $3.5 billion. Using the most credible estimate for defensive gun uses, the benefits range from $1 billion to $38 billion. Putting these dollar figures in more human terms: Guns save lives. The fact is that the best defense against violence is an armed response. For example, women faced with assault are 2.5 times less likely to suffer serious injury if they defend themselves with a gun rather than responding with other weapons or by offering no resistance. ... [P]ersons defending themselves with guns during an assault are injured only 12 percent of the time, compared to 25 percent for those using other weapons, 27 percent for those offering no resistance and nearly 26 percent of those who flee. ... [F]irearms are the safest, most effective way to protect oneself against criminal activity -- which is why American police officers carry guns rather than going unarmed or merely carrying knives.
Edwin Arthur BurttAs compared with impulsive commitment to the first idea which dawns, that is, with intuitive action, reasoning is patient, exploratory of other possibilities, and deliberative.
Nicholas Murray ButlerThe one serious conviction that a man should have is that nothing is to be taken too seriously.
Gaius Julius CaesarMen willingly believe what they wish.
Albert CamusAn intellectual is someone whose mind watches itself.
Albert CamusIt is the job of thinking people, not to be on the side of the executioners.
G. R. CappYou cannot become a truly effective advocate unless you know all sides of your subject thoroughly, opposing arguments as well as your own.
Orson Scott CardReasonable argument is impossible when authority becomes the arbiter.
Lewis CarrollContrariwise", continued Tweedledee, "If it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic.
Pablo CasalsEvery wrong seems possible today, and is accepted.  I don't accept it.
John CaseyThe growth of drug-related crime is a far greater evil to society as a whole than drug taking. Even so, because we have been seduced by the idea that governments should legislate for our own good, very few people can see how dangerously absurd the present policy is.
Edwin Hubbel ChapinNo more duty can be urged upon those who are entering the great theater of life than simple loyalty to their best convictions.
Gilbert Keith ChestertonThis is the perpetual and pitiful tragedy of the practical man in practical affairs. He always begins with a flourish of contempt for what he calls theorizing and what people who can do it call thinking. He will not wait for logic--that is, in the most exact sense, he will not listen to reason. It will therefore appear to him an idle and ineffectual proceeding to say that there is a reason for his present failure. Nevertheless, it may be well to say it, and to try and make it clear even to him.
Rufus ChoateAppropriated to justice, to security, to reason, to restraint; where there is no respect of persons; where will is nothing and power is nothing and numbers are nothing, and all are equal and all secure before the law.
Marcus Tullius CiceroWise men are instructed by reason; men of less understanding, by experience; the most ignorant, by necessity; the beasts, by nature.
Marcus Tullius CiceroBy doubting we all come at truth.
Justice Tom C. ClarkFrom the standpoint of freedom of speech and the press, it is enough to point out that the state has no legitimate interest in protecting any or all religions from views distasteful to them... It is not the business of government to suppress real or imagined attacks upon a particular religious doctrine.
Samuel Taylor ColeridgeA people are free in proportion as they form their own opinions.
Joseph ConradOf all the inanimate objects, of all men’s creations, books are the nearest to us, for they contain our very thoughts, our ambitions, our indignations, our illusions, our fidelity to truth, and our persistent leaning toward error.
Anthony Ashley CooperReason and virtue alone can bestow liberty.
Thomas CooperEvery politician, every member of the clerical profession, ought to incur the reasonable suspicion of being an interested supporter of false doctrines, who becomes angry at opposition, and endeavors to cast an odium on free inquiry. Fraud and falsehood only dread examination. Truth invites it.
Harvey CoxIt is always the task of the intellectual to “think otherwise.” This is not just a perverse idiosyncrasy. It is an absolutely essential feature of a society.
Edward H. Crane[T]here are, at bottom, basically two ways to order social affairs, Coercively, through the mechanisms of the state -- what we can call political society. And voluntarily, through the private interaction of individuals and associations -- what we can call civil society. ... In a civil society, you make the decision. In a political society, someone else does. ... Civil society is based on reason, eloquence, and persuasion, which is to say voluntarism. Political society, on the other hand, is based on force.
Leonardo Da VinciBeyond a doubt truth bears the same relation to falsehood as light to darkness.
Dalai LamaIf someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.
Clarence S. DarrowThe objector and the rebel who raises his voice against what he believes to be the injustice of the present and the wrongs of the past is the one who hunches the world along.
Elmer DavisThis nation was conceived in liberty and dedicated to the principle – among others – that honest men may honestly disagree; that if they all say what they think, a majority of the people will be able to distinguish truth from error; that in the competition of the marketplace of ideas, the sounder ideas will in the long run win out.
Richard DawkinsFaith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.
Remy De GourmontThe terrible thing about the quest for truth is that you find it.
Salvador De MadariagaHe 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.
Michel De MontaigneIt is a thing of no great difficulty to raise objections against another man's oration -- nay, it is a very easy matter; but to produce a better in its place is a work extremely troublesome.
Michel de MontaigneI prefer the company of peasants because they have not been educated sufficiently to reason incorrectly.
Michel de MontaigneIf falsehood like truth had only one face, we would be in better shape. For we would take as certain the opposite of what the liar said. But the reverse of truth has a hundred thousand shapes and a limitless field.
Michel De MontaigneI see men ordinarily more eager to discover a reason for things than to find out whether things are so.
Charles de MontesquieuIt is unreasonable ... to oblige a man not to attempt the defense of his own life.
Antoine De Saint-ExuperyI know of but one freedom and that is the freedom of the mind.
Alexis de TocquevilleI know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America.
Judge Braswell DeanThis monkey mythology of Darwin is the cause of permissiveness, promiscuity, prophylactics, perversions, pregnancies, abortions, pornotherapy, pollution, poisoning and proliferation of crimes of all types.
DemosthenesThere are all kinds of devices invented for the protection and preservation of countries: defensive barriers, forts, trenches, and the like... But prudent minds have as a natural gift one safeguard which is the common possession of all, and this applies especially to the dealings of democracies. What is this safeguard? Skepticism. This you must preserve. This you must retain. If you can keep this, you need fear no harm.
Rene DescartesIf you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.
John DeweyThe only freedom that is of enduring importance is the freedom of intelligence, that is to say, freedom of observation and of judgment, exercised in behalf of purposes that are intrinsically worth while. The commonest mistake made about freedom is, I think, to identify it with freedom of movement, or, with the external or physical side of activity.
John DeweyMankind likes to think in terms of extreme opposites. It is given to formulating its beliefs in terms of Either/Ors, between which it recognizes no intermediate possibilities.
Benjamin DisraeliIf you establish a democracy, you must in due time reap the fruits of a democracy. You will in due season have great impatience of the public burdens, combined in due season with great increase of the public expenditure. You will in due season have wars entered into from passion and not from reason; and you will in due season submit to peace ignominiously sought and ignominiously obtained, which will diminish your authority and perhaps endanger your independence. You will in due season find your property is less valueable, and your freedom less complete.
William O. DouglasIdeas are indeed the most dangerous weapons in the world. Our ideas of freedom are the most powerful political weapons man has ever forged.
Frederick Douglass... and in thinking of my life, I almost forgot my liberty.
Theodore M. DrangeSome methodological atheists formulate the principle by saying that the burden of proof is always on any person making an existence claim, since, from a logical point of view, existence claims are only capable of proof, not disproof. No one has ever proven the nonexistence of Santa Claus, or elves, or unicorns, or anything else, simply because the very logic of an unrestricted existential proposition prohibits its disproof. It is impossible to go all over the universe and show that, for example, there are no elves anywhere. For this reason, rational methodology calls for us to deny the existence of all those things which have never been shown to exist. That is why we all regard it rational to deny the existence of Santa Claus, elves, unicorns, etc. And since God is in that same category, having never been shown to exist, it follows that rational methodology calls for us to deny the existence of God.
Peter DruckerNothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all.
John DrydenOf all the tyrannies on human kind / the worst is that which persecutes the mind.
John J. DunphyThe concept of a Supreme Being who childishly demands to be constantly
placated by prayers and sacrifice and dispenses justice like some corrupt
petty judge whose decisions may be swayed by a bit of well-timed flattery
should be relegated to the trash bin of history, along with the belief in a
flat earth and the notion that diseases are caused by demonic possession.
Ironically, the case for the involuntary retirement of God may have been
best stated by one Saul or Paul of Tarsus, a first-century tentmaker and
Pharisee of the tribe of Benjamin, who wrote, 'When I was a child, I spake
as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became
a man, I put away childish things' (I Corinthians 13:11). Those words are
no less relevant today than they were two thousand years ago.
John J. DunphyI am convinced that the battle for humankind's future
must be waged and won in the public school classroom
by teachers that correctly perceive their role as proselytizers of a new faith:
a religion of humanity that recognizes and respects the spark
of what theologians call divinity in every human being...
The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and new --
the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery,
and the new faith of humanism, resplendent with the promise of a world
in which the never-realized Christian ideal of 'love thy neighbor' will finally be achieved.
John J. DunphyI steadfastly maintain that only with the complete, irrevocable
rejection of God and the supernatural will humankind truly begin to live.
Rather than producing a feeling of despair, the decision to embrace atheism
should result in an exhilarating, almost intoxicating sense of freedom,
something akin to the experience of those American slaves who rejoiced upon
hearing news of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. Only the atheist is
truly free.
Friedrich DurrenmattThe freedom of each individual can only be the freedom of all.
Thomas A. EdisonThere is no expedient to which the average person will not go to avoid the hard work of thinking.
Albert EinsteinUnthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.
Albert EinsteinWe shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.
Albert EinsteinMy religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.
Albert EinsteinTo be sure, the doctrine of a personal God interfering with natural events could never be refuted, in the real sense, by science, for this doctrine can always take refuge in those domains in which scientific knowledge has not yet been able to set foot. But I am persuaded that such behavior on the part of the representatives of religion would not only be unworthy but also fatal. For a doctrine which is able to maintain itself not in clear light, but only in the dark, will of necessity lose its effect on mankind, with incalculable harm to human progress.
Albert EinsteinToday's problems cannot be solved by thinking the way we thought when we created them.
Albert EinsteinThe further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.
Albert EinsteinThe world that we have made as a result of the level of thinking that we have done so far, has created problems we cannot solve at the level of thinking at which we created them.
Albert EinsteinCuriosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.
Ralph Waldo EmersonWho shall forbid a wise skepticism, seeing that there is no practical question on which anything more than an approximate solution can be had?
Ralph Waldo EmersonA foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,
adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.
W. C. FieldsHorse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.
E. M. ForsterTwo cheers for democracy; one because it admits variety and two because it permits criticism.
Jerome D. FrankIncreasingly constructive doubt is the sign of advancing civilization.
Felix FrankfurterThe mark of a truly civilized man is confidence in the strength and security derived from the inquiring mind.
Viktor FranklBeing tolerant does not mean that I share another one’s belief. But it does mean that I acknowledge another one’s right to believe, and obey, his own conscience.
Benjamin FranklinModeration in all things -- including moderation.
Benjamin FranklinMake yourselves sheep and the wolves will eat you.
Erich FrommIf faith cannot be reconciled with rational thinking, it has to be eliminated as an anachronistic remnant of earlier stages of culture and replaced by science dealing with facts and theories which are intelligible and can be validated.
Margaret FullerI know of no inquiry which the impulses of man suggests that is forbidden to the resolution of man to pursue.
Rick GaberI do encourage you to question authority, apply logic, and think for yourself. Look at the forest, not the trees. And the centuries, not the months. Or you might risk being lead willingly, as a sheep, to the slaughter.
Rick GaberAlways remember the difference between economic power and political power: You can refuse to hire someone's services or buy his products in the private sector and go somewhere else instead. In the public sector, though, if you refuse to accept a politician's or bureaucrat's product or services you go to jail. Ultimately, after all, all regulations are observed and all taxes are paid at gunpoint. I believe those few who can't even see that have been short-sighted sheep, and I suggest they learn how to think conceptually, develop consistency and grasp principles soon.
Galileo GalileiIn questions of science the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.
Mahatma Mohandas K. GandhiAn eye for an eye only makes the whole world blind.
Mahatma Mohandas K. GandhiCourtesy towards opponents and eagerness to understand their view-point is the ABC of non-violence.
Helen H. GardnerThe most fatal blow to progress is slavery of the intellect. The most sacred right of humanity is the right to think, and next to the right to think is the right to express that thought without fear.
James A. GarfieldI love agitation and investigation and glory in defending unpopular truth against popular error.
Henry GeorgeHe who sees the truth, let him proclaim it, without asking who is for it or who is against it.
Josiah William GittHumanity's most valuable assets have been the non-conformists. Were it not for the non-conformists, he who refuses to be satisfied to go along with the continuance of things as they are, and insists upon attempting to find new ways of bettering things, the world would have known little progress, indeed.
Jo GodwinA truly great library contains something in it to offend everyone.
Johann Wolfgang von GoetheThe unnatural, that too is natural.
John GoodwinFreedom of conscience is a natural right, both antecedent and superior to all human laws and institutions whatever; a right which laws never gave and a right which laws can never take away.
GoyaFantasy, abandoned by reason, produces impossible monsters; united with it, she is the mother of the arts and the origin of marvels.
Benjamin GrahamYou are neither right nor wrong because the crowd disagrees with you. You are right because your data and reasoning are right.
Graham GreeneHeresy is only another word for freedom of thought.
Angelica GrimkeThe doctrine of blind obedience and unqualified submission to any human power, whether civil or ecclesiastical, is the doctrine of despotism, and ought to have no place among Republicans and Christians.
Bernhard HaischAdvances are made by answering questions. Discoveries are made by questioning answers.
Louis J. HalleThe revolt against freedom, which can be traced back so far, is associated with a revolt against reason that [gives] sentiment primacy to evaluate actions and experiences according to the subjective emotions with which they are associated.
Alexander HamiltonResponsibility, in order to be reasonable, must be limited to objects within the power of the responsible party, and in order to be effectual, must relate to operations of that power, of which a ready and proper judgment can be formed by the constituents.
Sydney J. HarrisNobody can be so amusingly arrogant as a young man who has just discovered an old idea and thinks it is his own.
Friedrich August von HayekEven more significant of the inherent weakness of the collectivist theories is the extraordinary paradox that from the assertion that society is in some sense more than merely the aggregate of all individuals their adherents regularly pass by a sort of intellectual somersault to the thesis that in order that the coherence of this larger entity be safeguarded it must be subjected to conscious control, that is, to the control of what in the last resort must be an individual mind. It thus comes about that in practice it is regularly the theoretical collectivist who extols individual reason and demands that all forces of society be made subject to the direction of a single mastermind, while it is the individualist who recognizes the limitations of the powers of individual reason and consequently advocates freedom as a means for the fullest development of the powers of the interindividual process.
Friedrich August von HayekCompared with the totality of knowledge which is continually utilized in the evolution of a dynamic civilization, the difference between the knowledge that the wisest and that which the most ignorant individual can deliberately employ is comparatively insignificant.
Friedrich August von HayekEver since the beginning of modern science, the best minds have recognized that "the range of acknowledged ignorance will grow with the advance of science." Unfortunately, the popular effect of this scientific advance has been a belief, seemingly shared by many scientists, that the range of our ignorance is steadily diminishing and that we can therefore aim at more comprehensive and deliberate control of all human activities. It is for this reason that those intoxicated by the advance of knowledge so often become the enemies of freedom.
Friedrich August von HayekHuman reason can neither predict nor deliberately shape its own future. Its advances consist in finding out where it has been wrong.
Friedrich August von HayekThe ultimate decision about what is accepted as right and wrong will be made not by individual human wisdom but by the disappearance of the groups that have adhered to the "wrong" beliefs.
William HazlittThe most fluent talkers or the most plausible reasoners are not always the justest thinkers.
Robert A. Heinlein[T]here seems to have been an actual decline in rational thinking. The United States had become a place where entertainers and professional athletes were mistaken for people of importance. They were idolized and treated as leaders; their opinions were sought on everything and they took themselves just as seriously—after all, if an athlete is paid a million or more a year, he knows he is important ... so his opinions of foreign affairs and domestic policies must be important, too, even though he proves himself to be ignorant and subliterate every time he opens his mouth.
Ernest HemingwayEveryone has his own conscience, and there should be no rules about how a conscience should function.
HeraclitusWhosoever wishes to know about the world
must learn about it in its particular details.
Knowledge is not intelligence.
In searching for the truth be ready for the unexpected.
Change alone is unchanging.
The same road goes both up and down.
The beginning of a circle is also its end.
Not I, but the world says it: all is one.
And yet everything comes in season.
Auberon HerbertForce and reason -- which last is the essence of the moral act -- are at the two opposite poles. The one who compels his neighbor... treats him, not as a being with reason, but as an animal in whom reason is not.
HippocratesMen ought to know that from the brain and from the brain only arise our pleasures, joys, laughter, and jests as well as our sorrows, pains, griefs and tears. ... It is the same thing which makes us mad or delirious, inspires us with dread and fear, whether by night or by day, brings us sleeplessness, inopportune mistakes, aimless anxieties, absent-mindedness and acts that are contrary to habit...
Adolf HitlerBeing daily better informed about their knowledge than my adversaries themselves, I argued till finally one day they applied the one means that wins the easiest victory over reason: terror and force.
Eric HofferYou can never get enough of what you don't really need.
Eric HofferTo some, freedom means the opportunity to do what they want to do; to most it means not to do what they do not want to do. It is perhaps true that those who can grow will feel free under any condition.
Richard HofstadterA university’s essential character is that of being a center of free inquiry and criticism – a thing not to be sacrificed for anything else.
Thomas HolcroftTo prevent inquiry is among the worst of evils.
Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.A moment's insight is sometimes worth a life's experience.
Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.I think it not improbable that man, like the grub that prepares a chamber for the winged thing it never has seen but is to be — that man may have cosmic destinies that he does not understand.
Jacob G. HornbergerWe should not believe that because ours is a freer, more democratic society, the same imprinting procedure has not occurred even here, in America. Every generation of school-age children has imprinted upon it a politically correct ideology concerning America's past and the sanctity of the role of the state in society. Practically every child in the public school system learns that the "robber barons" of the 19th century exploited the common working man; that unregulated capitalism needed to be harnessed by enlightened government regulation beginning in the Progressive era at the turn of the century; that Wild Wall Street speculation was a primary cause of the Great Depression; that only Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal saved America from catastrophe; and that American intervention in foreign wars has been necessary and inevitable, with the United States government required to be a global leader and an occasional world policeman.
Victor HugoFreedom in art, freedom in society, this is the double goal towards which all consistent and logical minds must strive.
Hubert H. HumphreyFreedom is hammered out on the anvil of discussion, dissent and debate.
Aldous HuxleyFacts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
Thomas Henry HuxleyWhat are the moral convictions most fondly held by barbarous and semi-barbarous people? They are the convictions that authority is the soundest basis of belief; that merit attaches to readiness to believe; that the doubting disposition is a bad one, and skepticism is a sin.
Robert G. IngersollIntellectual liberty is the air of the soul, the sunshine of the mind, and without it, the world is a prison, the universe is a dungeon.
Robert G. IngersollMental slavery is mental death, and every man who has given up his intellectual freedom is the living coffin of his dead soul.
Robert G. IngersollThe real searcher after truth will not receive the old because it is old, or reject the new because it is new. He will not believe men because they are dead, or contradict them because they are alive. With him an utterance is worth the truth, the reason it contains, without the slightest regard to the author. He may have been a king or serf -- a philosopher or servant, -- but the utterance neither gains nor loses in truth or reason. Its value is absolutely independent of the fame or station of the man who gave it to the world.
Robert G. IngersollIt is incredible that only idiots are absolutely sure of salvation. It is incredible that the more brain you have the less your chance is. There can be no danger in honest thought, and if the world ever advances beyond what it is to-day, it must be led by men who express their real opinions.
Robert G. IngersollThere are in nature neither rewards nor punishments - there are only consequences.
Robert G. IngersollThe man who does not do his own thinking is a slave, and is a traitor to himself and his fellow men.
Eugene IonescoIt is not the answer that enlightens, but the question.
Joseph Henry JacksonDid you ever hear anyone say, “That work had better be banned because I might read it and it might be very damaging to me.”
Thomas JeffersonIt is as useless to argue with those who have renounced the use and authority of reason as to administer medication to the dead.
Thomas JeffersonReason and free inquiry are the only effective agents against error. Give a loose to them, they will support the true religion by bringing every false one to their tribunal, to the test of their investigation. They are the natural enemies of error and error only. Had not the Roman government permitted free inquiry, Christianity could never have been introduced. Had not free inquiry been indulged at the era of the Reformation, the corruption of Christianity could not have been purged away.
Thomas JeffersonQuestion with boldness even the existence of a God;
because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason,
than that of blind-folded fear...
Do not be frightened from this inquiry
from any fear of its consequences.
If it ends in the belief that there is no God,
you will find incitements to virtue
in the comfort and pleasantness you feel in its exercise...
Thomas JeffersonNothing can be more exactly and seriously true than what is there [the very words only of Jesus] stated; that but a short time elapsed after the death of the great reformer of the Jewish religion, before his principles were departed from by those who professed to be his special servants, and perverted into an engine for enslaving mankind, and aggrandising their oppressors in Church and State; that the purest system of morals ever before preached to man, has been adulterated and sophisticated by artificial constructions, into a mere contrivance to filch wealth and power to themselves; that rational men not being able to swallow their impious heresies, in order to force them down their throats, they raise the hue and cry of infidelity, while themselves are the greatest obstacles to the advancement of the real doctrines of Jesus, and do in fact constitute the real Anti-Christ.
Thomas JeffersonI never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever, in religion, in philosophy, in politics or in anything else, where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to Heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.
Thomas JeffersonError of opinion may be tolerated when reason is left free to combat it.
Thomas Jefferson...truth is great and will prevail if left to herself; that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate, errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them.
Thomas JeffersonLet them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated, where reason is left free to combat it.
Thomas JeffersonOur particular principles of religion are a subject of accountability to our god alone. I enquire after no man's and trouble none with mine; nor is it given to us in this life to know whether yours or mine, our friend's or our foe's, are exactly the right.
Thomas JeffersonThe day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his Father, in the womb of a virgin will be classified with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with this artificial scaffolding and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this most venerated Reformer of human errors.
Thomas JeffersonLaws are made for men of ordinary understanding and should, therefore, be construed by the ordinary rules of common sense. Their meaning is not to be sought for in metaphysical subtleties which may make anything mean everything or nothing at pleasure.
Thomas JeffersonIf there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.
Thomas JeffersonIn a republican nation whose citizens are to be led by reason and persuasion and not by force, the art of reasoning becomes of first importance.
Thomas JeffersonAmong the sayings and discourses imputed to him [Jesus] by his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence: and others again of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism, and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being. I separate therefore the gold from the dross; restore to him the former, and leave the latter to the stupidity of some, and roguery of others of his disciples. Of this band of dupes and impostors, Paul was the great Coryphaeus, and first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus. These palpable interpolations and falsifications of his doctrines led me to try to sift them apart.
Thomas JeffersonAnd, finally, that truth is great and will prevail if left to herself; that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate, errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them.
Thomas JeffersonThe truth is that the greatest enemies to the doctrines of Jesus are those calling themselves the expositors of them, who have perverted them for the structure of a system of fancy absolutely incomprehensible, and without any foundation in his genuine words. And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with all this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this the most venerated reformer of human errors.
Jesus of NazarethStop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.
Paul JohnsonEvery good historian is almost by definition a revisionist. He looks at the accepted view of a particular historic episode or period with a very critical eye.
Dr. Samuel JohnsonIn order that all men might be taught to speak truth, it is necessary that all likewise should learn to hear it.
Dr. Samuel JohnsonAmong the innumerable mortifications which waylay human arrogance on every side may well be reckoned our ignorance of the most common objects and effects, a defect of which we become more sensible by every attempt to supply it. Vulgar and inactive minds confound familiarity with knowledge and conceive themselves informed of the whole nature of things when they are shown their form or told their use; but the speculatist, who is not content with superficial views, harasses himself with fruitless curiosity, and still, as he inquires more, perceives only that he knows less.
Dr. Samuel JohnsonSir, I have found you an argument; but I am not obliged to find you an understanding.
Dr. Samuel JohnsonIn questions of law or of fact conscience is very often confounded with opinion. No man’s conscience can tell him the rights of another man; they must be known by rational investigation or historical inquiry.
Dr. Samuel JohnsonCuriosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intelligence.
Carl Gustav JungEvery form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism.
Franz KafkaI think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us.
Charles F. KetteringWhenever you look at a piece of work and you think the fellow was crazy, then you want to pay some attention to that. One of you is likely to be, and you better find out which one it is. It makes an awful lot of difference.
Jamaica KincaidExpress everything you like. No word can hurt you. None. No idea can hurt you. Not being able to express an idea or word will hurt you more. Like a bullet.
KingfishAll I kin say is when you finds yo'self wanderin' in a peach orchard, ya don't go lookin' for rutabagas.
Henry KissingerWe must learn to distinguish morality from moralizing.
Jeanne KnutsonIn their tendencies toward tolerance, openmindedness, faith in people and lack of authoritarianism, selfactualizers do appear to possess psychic strengths which allow them to work well in situations marked by a diversity of viewpoints.
Paul KurtzFree inquiry requires that we tolerate diversity of opinion and that we respect the right of individuals to express their beliefs, however unpopular they may be, without social or legal prohibition or fear of success.
Paul KurtzFree inquiry entails recognition of civil liberties as integral to its pursuit, that is, a free press, freedom of communication, the right to organize opposition parties and to join voluntary associations, and freedom to cultivate and publish the fruits of scientific, philosophical, artistic, literary, moral and religious freedom.
Charles LambI am determined my children shall be brought up in their father's religion, if they can find out what it is.
Harold D. LasswellDogma is a defensive reaction against doubt in the mind of the theorist, but doubt of which he is unaware.
Max LernerThe problem of freedom in America is that of maintaining a competition of ideas, and you do not achieve that by silencing one brand of idea.
Gotthold Ephraim LessingA heretic is a man who sees with his own eyes.
C. S. LewisHitherto the plans of the educationalists have achieved very little of what they attempted, and indeed we may well thank the beneficent obstinacy of real mothers, real nurses, and (above all) real children for preserving the human race in such sanity as it still possesses.
C. S. LewisA man may have to die for our country: but no man must, in any exclusive sense, live for his country. He who surrenders himself without reservation to the temporal claims of a nation, or a party, or a class is rendering to Caesar that which, of all things, most emphatically belongs to God: himself.
Sir William Arthur LewisCollective judgment of new ideas is so often wrong that it is arguable that progress depends on individuals being free to back their own judgment despite collective disapproval.
Georg Christoph LichtenbergOne's first step in wisdom is to question everything -- and one's last is to come to terms with everything.
John LillyIn the province of the mind, what one believes to be true either is true or becomes true.
Abraham LincolnProhibition goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes.
Abraham LincolnHow many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg.
Charles A. Lindbergh, Sr.A radical is one who speaks the truth.
Walter LippmannWhile the right to talk may be the beginning of freedom, the necessity of listening is what makes that right important.
Walter LippmannWhen all think alike, no one is thinking very much.
Walter LippmannWhile the right to talk may be the beginning of freedom, the necessity of listening is what makes the right important.
John LockeNew opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common.
John Locke[F]or nothing is to be accounted hostile force, but where it leaves not the remedy of such an appeal; and it is such force alone, that puts him that uses it into a state of war, and makes it lawful to resist him. A man with a sword in his hand demands my purse in the high-way, when perhaps I have not twelve pence in my pocket: this man I may lawfully kill. To another I deliver 100 pounds to hold only whilst I alight, which he refuses to restore me, when I am got up again, but draws his sword to defend the possession of it by force, if I endeavour to retake it. The mischief this man does me is a hundred, or possibly a thousand times more than the other perhaps intended me (whom I killed before he really did me any); and yet I might lawfully kill the one, and cannot so much as hurt the other lawfully. The reason whereof is plain; because the one using force, which threatened my life, I could not have time to appeal to the law to secure it: and when it was gone, it was too late to appeal. The law could not restore life to my dead carcass: the loss was irreparable; which to prevent, the law of nature gave me a right to destroy him, who had put himself into a state of war with me, and threatened my destruction. But in the other case, my life not being in danger, I may have the benefit of appealing to the law, and have reparation for my 100 pounds that way.
James Russell LowellAnd I honor the man \\ who is willing to sink \\ Half his present repute \\ for the freedom to think \\ And, when he has thought, \\ be his cause strong or weak \\ Will risk t’ other half \\ for the freedom to speak.
James Russell LowellA wise skepticism is the first attribute of a good critic.
F. J. LucasWithin seven centuries, [the ancient Greeks] invented for itself, epic, elegy, lyric, tragedy, novel, democratic government, political and economic science, history, geography, philosophy, physics and biology; and made revolutionary advances in architecture, sculpture, painting, music, oratory, mathematics, astronomy, medicine, anatomy, engineering, law and war... a stupendous feat for whose most brilliant state Attica was the size of Hertfordshire, with a free population (including children) of perhaps 160,000.
Thomas Babington MacaulayMen are never so likely to settle a question rightly as when they discuss it freely.
James MadisonWhilst we assert a freedom to embrace, to profess, and to observe the Religion which we believe to be of divine origin, we cannot deny an equal freedom to choose minds who have not yet yielded to the evidence which has convinced us.
James MadisonBut the mild voice of reason, pleading the cause of an enlarged and permanent interest, is but too often drowned, before public bodies as well as individuals, by the clamors of an impatient avidity for immediate and immoderate gain.
Jacques MaritainA single idea, if it is right, saves us the labor of an infinity of experiences.
Tony MartinThere is no such thing as the last word in history. There is always scope for debate in the reading of history which is never static.
William Gibbs McAdooIt is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in an argument.
William McGowanJournalism is a profession that prides itself on its maverick outspokenness and allergic reaction to preconceived notions. Yet, in today’s media some notions are considered beyond scrutiny – including the merits of the diversity agenda.
James McGuiganRules are written for those who lack the ability to truly reason. But for those who can, rules become nothing more than guidelines, and live their lives governed not by rules but by reason.
John E. McLaughlinIn my profession, it is not enough to know your history, speak a language and be widely traveled. Equally important is how to weigh and organize evidence. How to listen. How to see a situation from the other person's point of view. How to deal with complexity and realize that few issues in the world come with just one side. How to learn, not what to think.
Peter McWilliamsThat the religious right completely took over the word Christian is a given. At one time, phrases such as Christian charity and Christian tolerance were used to denote kindness and compassion. To perform a "Christian" act meant an act of giving, of acceptance, of toleration. Now, Christian is invariably linked to right-wing conservative political thought -- Christian nation, Christian morality, Christian values, Christian family.
H. L. MenckenOnce [William Jennings Bryan] had one leg in the White House and the nation trembled under his roars. Now he is a tinpot pope in the Coca-Cola belt and a brother to the forlorn pastors who belabor halfwits in galvanized iron tabernacles behind the railroad yards.
H. L. MenckenThe psychologists and the metaphysicians wrangle endlessly over the nature of the thinking process in man, but no matter how violently they differ otherwise they all agree that it has little to do with logic and is not much conditioned by overt facts.
H. L. MenckenDebate, it seems to me, is one of the most useful of human inventions. It is the mother and father of all free inquiry and honest thought. It tests ideas, detects errors and promotes clear thinking. A man cannot stand up before it without exposing his whole intellectual stock of goods.
H. L. MenckenHuman progress is furthered, not by conformity, but by aberration.
H. L. MenckenMoral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. The more uncivilized the man, the surer he is that he knows precisely what is right and what is wrong. All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of men who have doubted the current moral values, not of men who have whooped them up and tried to enforce them. The truly civilized man is always skeptical and tolerant, in this field as in all others. His culture is based on "I am not too sure.
H. L. MenckenThe most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to prevailing superstition or taboo.
H. L. MenckenConscience is the inner voice that warns us somebody is looking.
H. L. MenckenThe objection to Puritans is not that they try to make us think as they do, but that they try to make us do as they think.
H. L. MenckenThere is, in fact, no reason to believe that any given natural phenomenon, however marvelous it may seem today, will remain forever inexplicable. Soon or late the laws governing the production of life itself will be discovered in the laboratory, and man may set up business as a creator on his own account. The thing, indeed, is not only conceivable; it is even highly probable.
H. L. MenckenFaith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurence of the improbable.
H. L. MenckenThe most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the
prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost invariably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and
intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And if he is not romantic personally, he is apt to spread discontent among those who are.
Thomas MertonI am beginning to realize that "sanity" is no longer a value or an end in itself.
If modern people were a little less sane, a little more doubtful,
a little more aware of their absurdities and contradictions,
perhaps there might be the possibility of their survival.
John Stuart MillIf all mankind minus one were of one opinion and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that person that he, if he had the power, would be in silencing mankind… If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth; if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.
John Stuart MillThere is never any fair and thorough discussion of heretical opinions... The greatest harm done is to those who are not heretics, and whose whole mental development is cramped and their reason cowed, by the fear of heresy.
Edna St. Vincent MillayLet us forget such words, and all they mean, as Hatred, Bitterness and Rancor, Greed, Intolerance, Bigotry. Let us renew our faith and pledge to Man, his right to be Himself, and free.
Arthur MillerThe witch-hunt was a perverse manifestation of the panic which set in among all classes when the balance began to turn toward greater individual freedom. The witch-hunt was not, however, a mere repression. It was also, and as importantly, a long overdue opportunity for everyone so inclined to express publicly his guilt and sins, under the cover of accusations against the victims.
Joel MillerLaws do not curb the lawless. After all, that's why we call them 'lawless.'
A. A. MilneThe third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking.
John MiltonFor books are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a potency of life in them; they do preserve as in a vial the purest efficacy and extraction of that living intellect that bred them.
Richard MitchellRousseau had it backwards. We are NOT born free. We are born in the chains of the random and the reflexive, and are ignorant and unreasonable by simple nature. We must learn to be free, to organize the random and detect the reflexive, to acquire the knowledge of particulars and the powers of reason. The examined life is impossible if we cannot examine, order, classify, define, distinguish, always in minute particulars.
Charles Langbridge MorganA book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face... one of the few havens remaining where a man's mind can get both provocation and privacy.
John Viscount MorleyThe political spirit is the great force in throwing the love of truth and accurate reasoning into a secondary place.
Lance MorrowZealotry of either kind -- the puritan's need to regiment others or the victim's passion for blaming everyone except himself -- tends to produce a depressing civic stupidity. Each trait has about it the immobility of addiction. Victims become addicted to being victims: they derive identity, innocence and a kind of devious power from sheer, defaulting helplessness. On the other side, the candlesnuffers of behavioral and political correctness enact their paradox, accomplishing intolerance in the name of tolerance, regimentation in the name of betterment.
Malcolm MuggeridgeEvery happening, great and small, is a parable whereby God speaks to us, and the art of life is to get the message.
Edward R. MurrowI am entirely persuaded that the American public is more reasonable, restrained and mature than most of the broadcast industry's planners believe. Their fear of controversy is not warranted by the evidence.
Edward R. MurrowWe must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes which were, for the moment, unpopular.
National Institute of JusticeThe goal of legalizing drugs is to bring them under effective legal control. If it were legal to produce and distribute drugs, legitimate businessmen would enter the business. There would be less need for violence and corruption since the industry would have access to the courts. And, instead of absorbing tax dollars as targets of expensive enforcement efforts, the drug sellers might begin to pay taxes. So, legalization might well solve the organized crime aspects of the drug trafficking problem. On average, drug use under legalization might not be as destructive to users and to society as under the current prohibition, because drugs would be less expensive, purer, and more conveniently available.
Reinhold NiebuhrToleration of people who differ in convictions and habits requires a residual awareness of the complexity of truth and the possibility of opposing view having some light on one or the other facet of a many-sided truth.
Friedrich NietzscheBelief means not wanting to know what is true.
NovalisWe are human and our lot is to learn and to be hurled into inconceivable new worlds.
J. Robert OppenheimerAs long as men are free to ask what they must, free to say what they think, free to think what they will, freedom can never be lost and science can never regress.
José Ortega y GassetI am I plus my circumstances.
George OrwellDoublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.
George OrwellAt any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to state this or that or the other, but it is “not done”… Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals.
OvidLet others praise ancient times; I am glad I was born in these.
Thomas PaineHe who dares not offend cannot be honest.
Thomas PaineI have always strenuously supported the right of every man to his own opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine. He who denies another this right makes a slave of himself to his present opinion, because he precludes himself the right of changing it.
Thomas PaineAny system of religion that has anything in it that shocks the mind of a child cannot be a true system.
Thomas PaineWhen men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon.
Thomas PaineReason and Ignorance, the opposites of each other, influence the great bulk of mankind. If either of these can be rendered sufficiently extensive in a country, the machinery of Government goes easily on. Reason obeys itself; and Ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
Thomas PaineAll national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.
Thomas PaineWhen men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon.
Thomas PaineThe most formidable weapons against errors of every kind is reason. I have never used any other, and I trust I never shall.
Thomas PaineFreedom had been hunted round the globe;
reason was considered as rebellion;
and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think.
But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks,
and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing.
Thomas PaineTime makes more converts than reason.
Thomas PaineReason obeys itself; and ignorance does whatever is dictated to it.
Thomas PainePerhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not yet sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favor; a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defence of custom. But the tumult soon subsides.
Blaise PascalThe last thing one knows in constructing a work is what to put first.
Wright PatmanI have never yet had anyone who could, through the use of logic and reason, justify the Federal Government borrowing the use of its own money. I believe the time will come when people will demand that this be changed. I believe the time will come in this country when they will actually blame you and me and everyone else connected with the Congress for sitting idly by and permitting such an idiotic system to continue.
PericlesInstead of looking on discussion as a stumbling block in the way of action, we think it an indispensable preliminary to any wise action at all.
Everett PiperHonesty demands that we boldly pursue ideas tested by time, defended by reason, validated by experience, and confirmed by revelation. We will only find truth when we place our confidence in it and not in ourselves. We will only learn when we love truth enough to measure all ideas with a measuring rod outside of those things being measured and are willing to discard those ideas we find to be "intolerable," inferior, and useless.
Sir Karl PopperThere is an almost universal tendency, perhaps an inborn tendency, to suspect the good faith of a man who holds opinions that differ from our own opinions… It obviously endangers the freedom and the objectivity of our discussion if we attack a person instead of attacking an opinion or, more precisely, a theory.
ProverbObservation, and not old age, brings wisdom.
Snell PutneyThere is no inherent misdirection in holding unorthodox views. Indeed, the autonomous individual, free from compulsive conformance and unquestioned assumptions, is likely to be unorthodox... They stimulate the climate of controversy without which political democracy becomes an empty formalism.
Isidor Issac RabiMost new insights come only after a superabundant accumulation of facts have removed the blindness which prevented us from seeing what later comes to be regarded as obvious.
Ayn RandA society that robs an individual of the product of his effort, or enslaves him, or attempts to limit the freedom of his mind, or compels him to act against his own rational judgment ... is not, strictly speaking, a society, but a mob held together by institutionalized gang-rule.
Ayn RandCollectivism is a doctrine that holds that the individual has no rights, and the ultimate standard of value is the group to which 'he belongs.' Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man’s genetic lineage—the notion that a man’s intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. Which means, in practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors. Racism claims that the content of a man’s mind (not his cognitive apparatus, but its content) is inherited; that a man’s convictions, values and character are determined before he is born, by physical factors beyond his control. This is the caveman’s version of the doctrine of innate ideas -- or of inherited knowledge -- which has been thoroughly refuted by philosophy and science. Racism is a doctrine of, by and for brutes. It is a barnyard or stock-farm version of collectivism, appropriate to a mentality that differentiates between various breeds of animals, but not between animals and men. Like every form of determinism, racism invalidates the specific attribute which distinguishes man from all other living species: his rational faculty. Racism negates two aspects of man’s life: reason and choice, or mind and morality, replacing them with chemical predestination.
Ayn RandLet me explain this.  There are, fundamentally, only two causes of the progress of the nineteenth century -- the same two causes which you will find at the root of any happy, benevolent, progressive era in human history.  One cause is psychological, the other existential -- or: one pertains to man's consciousness, the other to the physical conditions of his existence.  The first is reason, the second is freedom.  And when I say "freedom," I do not mean poetic sloppiness, such as "freedom from want" or "freedom from fear" or "freedom from the necessity of earning a living."  I mean "freedom from compulsion -- freedom from rule by physical force."  Which means: political freedom.
Ayn RandThere are only two means by which men can deal with one another: guns or logic. Force or persuasion. Those who know that they cannot win by means of logic, have always resorted to guns.
Ronald ReaganAre you willing to spend time studying the issues, making yourself aware, and then conveying that information to family and friends? Will you resist the temptation to get a government handout for your community?
Charley ReeseUnless they can pass the same test that immigrants must pass to become citizens, people shouldn't be allowed to vote. The idea that there is some public benefit in ignoramuses and morons pulling levers next to names on a ballot is one of the evil myths of post-modern America. The purpose of voting, in our country, is to select men and women with the competence and integrity to operate the mechanics of government fixed by our Constitution. For this process to have any public benefit requires that the choices be made on an intelligent, knowledgeable and reasoned basis.
Jean-Francois RevelA human group transforms itself into a crowd when it suddenly responds to a suggestion rather than to reasoning, to an image rather than to an idea, to an affirmation rather than to proof, to the repetition of a phrase rather than to arguments, to prestige rather than to competence.
Jean-Francois RevelA human group transforms itself into a crowd when it suddenly responds to a suggestion rather than to reasoning, to an image rather than to an idea, to an affirmation rather than to proof, to the repetition of a phrase rather than to arguments, to prestige rather than to competence.
Joan RobinsonThe purpose of studying economics is not to acquire a set of ready-made answers to economic questions, but to learn how to avoid being deceived by economists.
Milton RokeachThe relative openness or closedness of a mind cuts across specific content; that is, it is not restricted to any one particular ideology, or religion, or philosophy, or scientific viewpoint.
Franklin D. RooseveltThe saving grace of America lies in the fact that the overwhelming majority of Americans are possessed of two great qualities -- a sense of humor and a sense of proportion.
I. Nelson RoseLottery tickets are the only consumer products actively promoted and sold by the state. The state does not sell toothpaste, or even promote brushing your teeth. But it tells people they should gamble. The main marketing concern is how to attract new players, who otherwise wouldn't gamble.
Clinton RossiterAlthough it had its share of strenuous Christians... the gathering at Philadelphia was largely made up of men in whom the old fires were under control or had even flickered out. Most were nominally members of one of the traditional churches in their part of the country.. and most were men who could take their religion or leave it alone. Although no one in this sober gathering would have dreamed of invoking the Goddess of Reason, neither would anyone have dared to proclaim his opinions had the support of the God of Abraham and Paul. The Convention of 1787 was highly rationalist and even secular in spirit.
Lyle H. Rossiter, Jr.Based on strikingly irrational beliefs and emotions, modern liberals relentlessly undermine the most important principles on which our freedoms were founded. Like spoiled, angry children, they rebel against the normal responsibilities of adulthood and demand that a parental government meet their needs from cradle to grave.
Lyle H. Rossiter, Jr.A social scientist who understands human nature will not dismiss the vital roles of free choice, voluntary cooperation and moral integrity -- as liberals do.
A political leader who understands human nature will not ignore individual differences in talent, drive, personal appeal and work ethic, and then try to impose economic and social equality on the population -- as liberals do. And a legislator who understands human nature will not create an environment of rules which over-regulates and overtaxes the nation’s citizens, corrupts their character and reduces them to wards of the state -- as liberals do.
Lyle H. Rossiter, Jr.The roots of liberalism – and its associated madness – can be clearly identified by understanding how children develop from infancy to adulthood and how distorted development produces the irrational beliefs of the liberal mind. When the modern liberal mind whines about imaginary victims, rages against imaginary villains and seeks above all else to run the lives of persons competent to run their own lives, the neurosis of the liberal mind becomes painfully obvious.
Jean-Jacques RousseauThe most absolute authority is that which penetrates into a man’s innermost being and concerns itself no less with his will than with his actions.
Dr. Benjamin RushControversy is only dreaded by the advocates of error.
John RuskinWithout seeking, truth cannot be known at all. It can neither be declared from pulpits, nor set down in articles, nor in any wise prepared and sold in packages ready for use. Truth must be ground for every man by itself out of it such, with such help as he can get, indeed, but not without stern labor of his own.
Bertrand RussellDo not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
Bertrand RussellIn all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.
Bertrand RussellThe essence of the liberal outlook lies not in what opinions are held, but in how they are held: instead of being viewed dogmatically, they are held tentatively, with a consciousness that new evidence may at any moment lead to their abandonment.
Bertrand RussellThe trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.
Bertrand RussellThe practical objection to Puritanism, as to every form of fanaticism, is that it singles out certain evils as so much worse than others that they must suppressed at all costs. The fanatic fails to recognise that the suppression of a real evil, if carried out too drastically , produces other evils which are even greater.
Willy RussellI pray that no child of mine would ever descend into such a place as a library. They are indeed most dangerous places and unfortunate is she or he who is lured into such a hellhole of enjoyment, stimulus, facts, passion and fun.
Carl SaganThere is a lurking fear that some things are not meant “to be known,” that some inquiries are too dangerous for human beings to make.
Carl SaganAt the heart of science is an essential tension between two seemingly contradictory attitudes -- an openness to new ideas, no matter how bizarre or counterintuitive they may be, and the most ruthless skeptical scrutiny of all ideas, old and new. This is how deep truths are winnowed from deep nonsense.
Andrei SakharovProfound insights arise only in debate, with a possibility of counterargument, only when there is a possibility of expressing not only correct ideas but also dubious ideas.
Carl SandburgMen of ideas vanish when freedom vanishes.
George Santayana[I'm too old to] be influenced by newspaper arguments. When I read them I form perhaps a new opinion of the newspaper but seldom a new opinion on the subject discussed.
Leonard SchapiroNo one understood better than Stalin that the true object of propaganda is neither to convince nor even to persuade, but to produce a uniform pattern of public utterance in which the first trace of unorthodox thought immediately reveals itself as a jarring dissonance.
Arthur SchopenhauerAll truth passes through 3 stages.
First, it is ridiculed.
Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.
Lucius Annaeus SenecaIt is the quality rather than the quantity that matters.
Lucius Annaeus SenecaEvery man prefers belief to the exercise of judgment.
Dr. SeussSometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.
George Bernard ShawThe power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.
George Bernard ShawYou see things; and you say, 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say, 'Why not?'
George Bernard ShawThe reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
George Bernard ShawFew people think more than two or three times a year; I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week.
George Bernard ShawThe fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact than a drunken man is happier than a sober one.
Herbert SpencerThere is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is a proof against all argument, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance – that principle is condemnation before investigation.
Herbert SpencerThe authoritarian sets up some book, or man, or tradition to establish the truth. The freethinker sets up reason and private judgment to discover the truth... It takes the highest courage to utter unpopular truths.
Baruch SpinozaHe alone is free who lives with free consent under the entire guidance of reason.
Baruch SpinozaLaws which prescribe what everyone must believe, and forbid men to say or write anything against this or that opinion, are often passed to gratify, or rather to appease the anger of those who cannot abide independent minds.
Lysander SpoonerThe 'nations,' as they are called, with whom our pretended ambassadors, secretaries, presidents, and senators profess to make treaties, are as much myths as our own. On general principles of law and reason, there are no such 'nations.' ... Our pretended treaties, then, being made with no legitimate or bona fide nations, or representatives of nations, and being made, on our part, by persons who have no legitimate authority to act for us, have intrinsically no more validity than a pretended treaty made by the Man in the Moon with the king of the Pleiades.
Lysander SpoonerAnd the so-called sovereigns, in these different governments, are simply the heads, or chiefs, of different bands of robbers and murderers.
Leslie StephenIf atheism is to be used to express the state of mind in which God is identified with the unknowable, and theology is pronounced to be a collection of meaningless words about unintelligible chimeras, then I have no doubt, and I think few people doubt, that atheists are as plentiful as blackberries.
Leslie StephenWhy, when no honest man will deny in private that every ultimate problem is wrapped in the profoundest mystery, do honest men proclaim in pulpits that unhesitating certainty is the duty of the most foolish and ignorant? Is it not a spectacle to make the angels laugh? We are a company of ignorant beings, feeling our way through mists and darkness, learning only by incessantly repeated blunders, obtaining a glimmering of truth by falling into every conceivable error, dimly discerning light enough for our daily needs, but hopelessly differing whenever we attempt to describe the ultimate origin or end of our paths; and yet, when one of us ventures to declare that we don't know the map of the universe as well as the map of our infintesimal parish, he is hooted, reviled, and perhaps told that he will be damned to all eternity for his faithlessness.
Adlai E. Stevenson IIIf we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow it wherever the search may lead us.
Thomas SzaszThe battle for the world is the battle for definitions.
John TempletonNo human has yet grasped 1% of what can be known about spiritual realities ... I grew up Presbyterian. Presbyterians thought the Methodists were wrong. Catholics thought all Protestants were wrong. The Jews thought the Christians were wrong. So, what I'm financing is humility. I want people to realize that you shouldn't think you know it all.
E. P. ThompsonJurors have found, again and again, and at critical moments, according to what is their sense of the rational and just. If their sense of justice has gone one way, and the case another, they have found “against the evidence,” ... the English common law rests upon a bargain between the Law and the people: The jury box is where the people come into the court: The judge watches them and the people watch back. A jury is the place where the bargain is struck. The jury attends in judgment, not only upon the accused, but also upon the justice and the humanity of the Law.
Henry David ThoreauEvery generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new.
Henry David ThoreauIf a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
James ThurberIt is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.
Leo Nikolaevich TolstoiFreethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking; where it is absent, discussion is apt to become worse than useless.
Leo Nikolaevich TolstoiI know that most men -- not only those considered clever, but even those who are very clever and capable of understanding most difficult scientific, mathematical, or philosophic, problems -- can seldom discern even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as obliges them to admit the falsity of conclusions they have formed, perhaps with much difficulty -- conclusions of which they are proud, which they have taught to others, and on which they have built their lives.
G. M. TrevelyanDisinterested intellectual curiosity is the blood of real civilization.
Mark TwainWe are discreet sheep; we wait to see how the drove is going, and then go with the drove.
Mark TwainEach must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, and which course is patriotic and which isn’t. You cannot shirk
this and be a man. To decide against your convictions is to be an unqualified and inexcusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let man
label you as they may. If you alone of all the nation shall decide one way, and that way be the right way according to your convictions of the right,
you have done your duty by yourself and by your country- hold up your head! You have nothing to be ashamed of.
Miguel de Unamuno y JugoThe skeptic does not mean him who doubts, but him who investigates or researches, as opposed to him who asserts and thinks he has found.
John UpdikeThe essential support and encouragement comes from within, arising out of the mad notion that your society needs to know what only you can tell it.
Hendrik van LoonAny formal attack on ignorance is bound to fail because the masses are always ready to defend their most precious possession -- their ignorance.
VoltaireLet the laws be clear, uniform and precise; to interpret laws is almost always to corrupt them.
VoltaireIt is the characteristic of the most stringent censorships, that they give credibility to the opinions they attack.
VoltaireMany are destined to reason wrongly; others, not to reason at all; and others to persecute those who do reason.
VoltaireYour book is dedicated
by the soundest reason.
You had better get out of France
as quickly as you can.
VoltairePrejudices are what fools use for reason.
Ludwig von MisesThere are for man only two principles available for a mental grasp of reality, namely, those of teleology and causality. What cannot be brought under either of these categories is absolutely hidden to the human mind. An event not open to an interpretation by one of these two principles is for man inconceivable and mysterious. Change can be conceived as the outcome either of the operation of mechanistic causality or of purposeful behavior; for the human mind there is no third way available.
Ludwig von MisesPolitical ideas that have dominated the public mind for decades cannot be refuted through rational arguments. They must run their course in life and cannot collapse otherwise than in great catastrophe...
George WashingtonGovernment is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.
Alan WattsMany people never grow up. They stay all their lives with a passionate need for external authority and guidance, pretending not to trust their own judgment.
T. H. WhiteThe most difficult thing in the world is to know how to do a thing and to watch somebody else doing it wrong, without comment.
Albert Edward WigginIntelligence appears to be the thing that enables a man to get along without education. Education enables a man to get along without the use of his intelligence.
Oscar WildeMan is a rational animal who always loses his temper when he is called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason.
Walter E. WilliamsExperts and the educated elite have replaced what worked with what sounded good. Society was far more civilized before they took over our schools, prisons, welfare programs, police departments and courts. It's high time we ran these people out of our lives and went back to common sense.
Wendell L. WillkieTo suppress minority thinking and minority expression would tend to freeze society and prevent progress… Now more than ever, we must keep in the forefront of our minds the fact that whenever we take away the liberties of those we hate, we are opening the way to loss of liberty for those we love.
Woodrow WilsonPower consists in one's capacity to link his will with the purpose of others, to lead by reason and a gift of cooperation.
Woodrow WilsonThe wisest thing to do with a fool is to encourage him to hire a hall and discourse to his fellow citizens. Nothing chills nonsense like exposure to air.
Frank Lloyd WrightA sure sign of a genius is that all of the dunces are in a confederacy against him.
Frank ZappaFact of the matter is, there is no hip world, there is no straight world. There's a world, you see, which has people in it who believe in a variety of different things. Everybody believes in something and everybody, by virtue of the fact that they believe in something, use that something to support their own existence.
Frank ZappaIn the fight between you and the world, back the world.
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