The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations
A classic since 1953 with over 20,000 quotes from over 3,000 authors.
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|The priesthood have, in all ancient nations, nearly monopolized learning.... And, even since the Reformation, when or where has existed a Protestant or dissenting sect who would tolerate A FREE INQUIRY? The blackest billingsgate, the most ungentlemanly insolence, the most yahooish brutality is patiently endured, countenanced, propagated, and applauded. But touch a solemn truth in collision with a dogma of a sect, though capable of the clearest proof, and you will soon find you have disturbed a nest, and the hornets will swarm about your legs and hands, and fly into your face and eyes.
|We 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.
|Liberty, 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.
|Major 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.
|The 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.
|I shall have liberty to think for myself without molesting others or being molested myself.
|John Quincy Adams
|Always stand on principle, even if you stand alone.
|And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press, or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms; or to raise standing armies, unless necessary for the defense of the United States, or of some one or more of them; or to prevent the people from petitioning, in a peaceable and orderly manner, the federal legislature, for a redress of grievances; or to subject the people to unreasonable searches and seizures of their persons, papers or possessions.
|The man who has no imagination has no wings.
|I call the mind free which jealously guards its intellectual rights and powers, which calls no man master [and] receives new truth as an angel from Heaven.
|American Library Association
|Intellectual 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.
|Henri Frederic Amiel
|Philosophy means the complete liberty of the mind, and therefore independence of all social, political or religious prejudice... It loves one thing only... truth.
|Larry P. Arnn
|Hillsdale [College] forgoes government money in order to spare our students, faculty and administrators the bureaucratic interference that is the price of accepting federal financial support.
|If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts, but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.
|Sir Francis Bacon
|Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is.
|Thought that is silenced is always rebellious. Majorities, of course, are often mistaken. This is why the silencing of minorities is necessarily dangerous. Criticism and dissent are the indispensable antidote to major delusions.
|Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Seek what they sought.
|Actually, it is not strange that during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the human race was regarded as inert matter, ready to receive everything -- form, face, energy, movement, life -- from a great prince or a great legislator or a great genius. These centuries were nourished on the study of antiquity. And antiquity presents everywhere -- in Egypt, Persia, Greece, Rome -- the spectacle of a few men molding mankind according to their whims, thanks to the prestige of force and of fraud. But this does not prove that this situation is desirable. It proves only that since men and society are capable of improvement, it is naturally to be expected that error, ignorance, despotism, slavery, and superstition should be greatest towards the origins of history. The writers quoted above were not in error when they found ancient institutions to be such, but they were in error when they offered them for the admiration and imitation of future generations. Uncritical and childish conformists, they took for granted the grandeur, dignity, morality, and happiness of the artificial societies of the ancient world. They did not understand that knowledge appears and grows with the passage of time; and that in proportion to this growth of knowledge, might takes the side of right, and society regains possession of itself.
|The crucial point is precisely there: in this total counter-meaning to Good and Evil in Western philosophy, the philosophy of Enlightenment. We naively believe that the progress of the Good, its rise in all domains (sciences, techniques, democracy, human rights) correspond to a defeat of Evil. Nobody seems to understand that Good and Evil rise simultaneously, and in the same movement. The triumph of the One does not produce the erasure of the Other.
|So, you listen to me. Listen to me! Television is not the truth. Television's a god-damned amusement park. Television is a circus, a carnival, a traveling troupe of acrobats, storytellers, dancers, singers, jugglers, sideshow freaks, lion tamers, and football players. We're in the boredom-killing business... We deal in illusions, man. None of it is true! But you people sit there day after day, night after night, all ages, colors, creeds. We're all you know. You're beginning to believe the illusions we're spinning here. You're beginning to think that the tube is reality and that your own lives are unreal. You do whatever the tube tells you. You dress like the tube, you eat like the tube, you raise your children like the tube. You even think like the tube. This is mass madness. You maniacs. In God's name, you people are the real thing. We are the illusion.
|The first people totalitarians destroy or silence are men of ideas and free minds.
|Edward L. Bernays
|The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society.
|Edward L. Bernays
|In almost every act of our lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business or in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind.
|Edward L. Bernays
|If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it? The recent practice of propaganda has proved that it is possible, at least up to a certain point and within certain limits.
|Edward L. Bernays
|Those who manipulate the unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested largely by men we have never heard of.
|A free man is he who does not fear to go to the end of his thought.
|Government schools will teach children that government is wonderful.
|Justice Louis D. Brandeis
|The makers of our constitution undertook to secure conditions favorable to the pursuit of happiness... They sought to protect Americans in their beliefs, their thoughts, their emotions and their sensations. They conferred, as against the government, the right to be let alone – the most comprehensive of the rights and the right most valued by civilized men.
|And it could be that while unemployment and the economy worsens, [President Trump] could have undermined the messaging so much that he can actually control what people think. And that, that is our job.
|As the organized Left gained cultural power, it turned into a monster that found perpetual victimhood, combined with thought and speech control, the most efficient way to hold on to that power. Suddenly it was the Left, the protector of liberty, that was setting rules about what could and could not be said or even thought.
|Patrick J. Buchanan
|The village atheist has the right to be heard; he has no right to be heeded. While he has a right not to have his own children indoctrinated in what he believes are false and foolish teachings, he has no right to dictate what other children may be taught.
|Do not believe what your teacher tells you merely out of respect for the teacher.
|Believe 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.
|No kingdom can be secured otherwise than by arming the people. The possession of arms is the distinction between a freeman and a slave. He, who has nothing, and who himself belongs to another, must be defended by him, whose property he is, and needs no arms. But he, who thinks he is his own master, and has what he can call his own, ought to have arms to defend himself, and what he possesses; else he lives precariously, and at discretion.
|He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves, and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper.
|In 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.
|Gaius Julius Caesar
|Men willingly believe what they wish.
|Dr. Ben Carson
|The more solid the family foundation, the more likely you are to be able to resist peer pressure. Human beings are social creatures. We all want to belong, we all have that desire, and we will belong, one way or another. If the family doesn’t provide that, the peers will, or a gang will, or you will find something to belong to. That’s why it becomes so critical for families with young children to understand what a critical anchor they are.
|For good or evil, man is a free creative spirit. This produces the very queer world we live in, a world in continuous creation and therefore continuous change and insecurity.
|It is sometimes said that toleration should be refused to the intolerant. In practice this would destroy it... The only remedy for dogmatism and lies is toleration and the greatest possible liberty of expression.
|Jonathan D. Casper
|The freedom to express varying and often opposing ideas is essential to a variety of conceptions of democracy. If democracy is viewed as essentially a process – a way in which collective decisions for a society are made – free expression is crucial to the openness of the process and to such characteristics as elections, representation of interests, and the like.
|Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty, without freedom of speech.
|Carrie Chapman Catt
|There are two kinds of restrictions on human liberty -- the restraint of law and that of custom. No written law has ever been more binding than unwritten custom supported by popular opinion.
|Edmund B. Chaffee
|The majority of us are for free speech when it deals with subjects concerning which we have no intense feelings.
|William Ellery Channing
|I call the mind free which jealously guards its intellectual rights and powers, which calls no man master, which does not content itself with a passive or hereditary faith...
|William Ellery Channing
|The worst tyrants are those which establish themselves in our own breasts.
|[A]fter unleashing the Red Guards … to serve his political purposes, Mao Zedong was no longer able to control them.
|Day and night the city resounded with the loud noise of drums and gongs … looting and the ransacking of private homes … The violence of the Red Guards seemed to have escalated. … Articles in the newspapers … encouraged the Red Guards and congratulated them on their vandalism. They were … exhorted to be fearless in their work of toppling the old world and building a new one based on Mao’s teachings.
|The newspaper announced that the mission of the Red Guards was to rid the country of the ‘Four Olds’: old culture, old customs, old habits, and old ways of thinking. There was no clear definition of ‘old’; it was left to the Red Guards to decide. First of all, they changed street names.
|Gilbert Keith Chesterton
|The Byzantines hammered away at their hard and orthodox symbols, because they could not be in a mood to believe that men could take a hint. The moderns drag out into lengths and reels of extravagance their new orthodoxy of being unorthodox, because they also cannot give a hint -- or take a hint. Yet all perfect and well-poised art is really a hint.
|Gilbert Keith Chesterton
|Journalism only tells us what men are doing; it is fiction that tells us what they are thinking, and still more what they are feeling. If a new scientific theory finds the soul of a man in his dreams, at least it ought not to leave out his day-dreams. And all fiction is only a diary of day-dreams instead of days. And this profound preoccupation of men's minds with certain things always eventually has an effect even on the external expression of the age.
|Gilbert Keith Chesterton
|This 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.