"Fear of serious injury cannot alone justify suppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burned women. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears."
Justice Louis D. Brandeis
(1856-1941) US Supreme Court Justice
Whitney v. California, 1927
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- Carolyn (Beth) Craig, Norfolk      
 -- Dave Wilber     
  • 1
     -- Mike, Norwalk      
    So lets fire the house the senate the executive branch and all their pages and personnel. We are after all the board.
     -- Sam, Alabama     
  • 2
    When the government fears the People, then the People have a fighting chance. When the People fear the government, the Republic is lost.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 2
    Just go to almost any U S college and try to engage in free speech. You will find that you are only allowed liberal speech or you may find that witch burning still lives in the hearts of the American left.
     -- warren, olathe     
  • 2
    Peggy Noonan of the Washington Post just wrote something with a similar point. "You don't want to judge Christ by Christians, someone once said. He is perfect, they are not. In a similar way you don't want to judge capitalism by capitalists, or the legitimacy of democracy by the Democrats, or the vitality of our republic by the Republicans. You have to take the thing pure and in itself, while allowing for the flaws and waywardness of its practitioners. I say this because here in America we have reached a funny pass. People are doing and saying odd things as if they don't know the meaning of the thing they say they stand for. In particular I mean we used to be proud of whom we allowed to speak, and now are leaning toward defining ourselves by whom we don't speak to and will not allow to speak. This is not progress. Conservatives on campus are shouted down. A crusader against illegal immigration is rushed off the stage at Columbia University. Great newspapers give ad breaks to groups with which they feel an ideological affinity, but turn away ads from those they do not, such as antiabortion groups. And they call this a business. So much silencing. It seems so weak, so out of keeping with who we are. We love the tradition of free speech in America, but you don't want to judge its health by what we've done with it lately or to it." She goes on about the kind of people who are allowed to speak on campus. She defends that, but the point is obvious. Does liberalism have more "irrational fears" of the conservative than the terrorist?
     -- Dana, Holland     
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    Sorry, here is the link to her entire piece: http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/pnoonan/
     -- Dana, Holland     
     -- Anonymous      
     -- hgjhg, boise     
    Fear is the salient word.

    They whose notions of reality are not rightly rooted in reality will be viscerally averse, necessarily, to anyone who may be an instrument of the revelation of it.

    The spirit of illiberality such as is being exhibited, most glaringly, on contemporary university campuses, which particularly expresses itself in utter intolerance of unfettered freedom of speech, is little more than a latter day rendering of Pharisaism.
     -- Patrick Henry, Red Hill     
  • 1
     -- jim k, Austin      
    Irrational fears, instilled by weak, deceptive spirits which reside in the children of men. The democratic mob of lust speaks it's mind. A Just Balance. IS Incorruptible. The Fears Of The Establishment.
    This the thought concerning Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis. Born in due season, for ref: sake. The right for the people to assemble, COS ! Every States Responsibility to Convention of States Assembly. The platform of Voice, of , We the People. one must ask the question to get an answer ! beats the snakes out of the grass. ( Keciyl foolishness, insolvent in religion seeing the wicked florish thinking they have the right life style. Dull in Wise living. Nebalah, disregard for God's will. Stupidity !
     -- Ronw13, Yachats OR     
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