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.
more John Adams quotes
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.
more John Adams quotes
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.
more John Adams quotes
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.
more John Adams quotes
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.
more John Adams quotes
Always stand on principle, even if you stand alone.
more John Quincy Adams quotes
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.
more Samuel Adams quotes
The man who has no imagination has no wings.
more Mohammed Ali quotes
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.
more Woody Allen quotes
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.
more American Library Association quotes
Philosophy means the complete liberty of the mind, and therefore independence of all social, political or religious prejudice... It loves one thing only... truth.
more Henri Frederic Amiel quotes
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.
more Francis Bacon quotes
Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is.
more Sir Francis Bacon quotes
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.
more Alan Barth quotes
Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Seek what they sought.
more Matsuo Basho quotes
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.
more Frederic Bastiat quotes
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.
more Jean Baudrillard quotes
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.
more Howard Beale quotes
The first people totalitarians destroy or silence are men of ideas and free minds.
more Isaiah Berlin quotes
A free man is he who does not fear to go to the end of his thought.
more Leon Blum quotes
Government schools will teach children that government is wonderful.
more Neal Boortz quotes
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.
more Justice Louis D. Brandeis quotes
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.
more Mika Brezinski quotes
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.
more Tammy Bruce quotes
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.
more Patrick J. Buchanan quotes
Do not believe what your teacher tells you merely out of respect for the teacher.
more Buddha quotes
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.
more Buddha quotes
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.
more James Burgh quotes
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.
more Edmund Burke quotes
He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves, and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper.
more Edmund Burke quotes
Men willingly believe what they wish.
more Gaius Julius Caesar quotes
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.
more Joyce Cary quotes
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.
more Joyce Cary quotes
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.
more Jonathan D. Casper quotes
Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty, without freedom of speech.
more Cato quotes
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.
more Carrie Chapman Catt quotes
The majority of us are for free speech when it deals with subjects concerning which we have no intense feelings.
more Edmund B. Chaffee quotes
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...
more William Ellery Channing quotes
The worst tyrants are those which establish themselves in our own breasts.
more William Ellery Channing quotes
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.
more Gilbert Keith Chesterton quotes
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.
more Gilbert Keith Chesterton quotes
The life of a thinking man will probably be divided into two parts -- the first in which he desires to exterminate modern thinkers, and the second in which he desires to watch them exterminating each other. ... Suppose, for instance, there is an old story and a new skeptic who is skeptical of the story. We have only to wait a little while for a yet newer skeptic who is skeptical of the skeptic. He will probably find the old notion actually a help in his new notion. This process is an abstract truth applying to anything, apart from agreement or disagreement.
more Gilbert Keith Chesterton quotes
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.
more Gilbert Keith Chesterton quotes
For those who stubbornly seek freedom, there can be no more urgent task than to come to understand the mechanisms and practices of indoctrination. These are easy to perceive in the totalitarian societies, much less so in the system of 'brainwashing under freedom' to which we are subjected and which all too often we serve as willing or unwitting instruments.
more Noam Chomsky quotes
I suppose it is because nearly all children go to school nowadays and have things arranged for them that they seem so forlornly unable to produce their own ideas.
more Agatha Christie quotes
You see these dictators on their pedestals, surrounded by the bayonets of their soldiers and the truncheons of their police. Yet in their hearts there is unspoken – unspeakable! – fear. They are afraid of words and thoughts! Words spoken abroad, thoughts stirring at home, all the more powerful because they are forbidden. These terrify them. A little mouse – a little tiny mouse! – of thought appears in the room, and even the mightiest potentates are thrown into panic.
more Sir Winston Churchill quotes
The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.
more Winston Churchill quotes
Diversity of opinion within the framework of loyalty to our free society is not only basic to a university but to the entire nation.
more James Bryant Conant quotes
Every 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.
more Thomas Cooper quotes
To be nobody but yourself -- in a world which is doing it's best, night and day, to make you like everybody else -- means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting.
more e. e. cummings quotes
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