Whenever a single definite object is made the supreme end of the State,
be it the advantage of a class, the safety of the power of the country,
the greatest happiness of the greatest number, or the support of any
speculative idea, the State becomes for the time inevitably absolute.
The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern. Every class is unfit to govern.
Liberty and good government do not exclude each other; and there are excellent reasons why they should go together. Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end.
Liberty, next to religion has been the motive of good deeds and the common pretext of crime...
Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
By liberty I mean the assurance that every man shall be protected in doing what he believes his duty against the influence of authority and majorities, custom and opinion.
At all times sincere friends of freedom have been rare, and its triumphs have been due to minorities....
Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is the highest political end.
Government by idea tends to take in everything, to make the whole of society obedient to the idea. Spaces not so governed are unconquered, beyond the border, unconverted, a future danger.
The issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought sooner or later is the people versus the banks.
The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities.
By liberty I mean the assurance that every man shall be protected in doing what he believes is his duty against the influence of authority and majorities, custom and opinion.
Everything secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity.
I cannot accept, your canon that we are to judge pope and king unlike other men, with a favorable presumption that they do no wrong. If there is any presumption, it is the other way against holders of power ... Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
It is bad to be oppressed by a minority,
but it is worse to be oppressed by a majority.
Liberty is the prevention of control by others. This requires self-control and, therefore, religious and spiritual influences; education, knowledge, well-being.
Learn as much by writing as by reading.