In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.
What a man believes upon grossly insufficient evidence is an index into his desires -- desires of which he himself is often unconscious. If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way.
The 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.
There is no nonsense so errant that it cannot be made the creed of the vast majority by adequate governmental action.
When the state intervenes to insure the indoctrination of some doctrine, it does so because there is no conclusive evidence in favor of that doctrine.
Freedom in general may be defined as the absence of obstacles to the realization of desires.
Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
These men - ..., the politicians, ... - use their position, their knowledge, and their power of disseminating misinformation to arouse and stimulate the latent instinct for bloodshed. When they have succeeded, they say they are reluctantly forced to war by the pressure of public opinion.
The argument against the persecution of opinion does not depend upon what the excuse for persecution may be. The argument is that we none of us know all truth, that the discovery of new truth is promoted by free discussion and rendered very difficult by suppression.
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.
I think the subject which will be of most importance politically is Mass Psychology. ...It's importance has been enormously increased by the growth of modern methods of propaganda ...Although this science will be diligently studied, it will be rigidly confined to the governing class. The populace will not be allowed to know how its convictions were generated.
The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.
To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead.
Freedom of opinion can only exist when the government thinks itself secure.
What's the difference between a bright, inquisitive five-year-old, and a dull, stupid nineteen-year-old? Fourteen years of the British educational system.
It is clear that thought is not free if the profession of certain opinions make it impossible to earn a living.
It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly.
Envy is the basis of Democracy.
Man has existed for about a million years. He has possessed writing for about 6,000 years, agriculture somewhat longer, but perhaps not much longer. Science, as a dominant factor in determining the belief of educated men, has existed for about 300 years; as a source of economic technique, for about 150 years. In this brief period it has proved itself an incredibly powerful revolutionary force. When we consider how recently it has risen to power, we find ourselves forced to believe that we are at the very beginning of its work in transforming human life.
Dogma demand authority, rather than intelligent thought, as the source of opinion; it requires persecution of heretics and hostility to unbelievers; it asks of its disciples that they should inhibit natural kindness in favor of systematic hatred.