William O. Douglas Quotes

 

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William O. Douglas Quotes 1-12 out of 12
   
The right to revolt has sources deep in our history.
But our society -- unlike most in the world -- presupposes that freedom and liberty are in a frame of reference that makes the individual, not government, the keeper of his tastes, beliefs, and ideas; that is the philosophy of the First Amendment; and it is this article of faith that sets us apart from most nations in the world.
Since when have we Americans been expected to bow submissively to authority and speak with awe and reverence to those who represent us?
A people who extend civil liberties only to preferred groups start down the path either to dictatorship of the right or the left.
Among the liberties of citizens that are guaranteed are ... the right to believe what one chooses, the right to differ from his neighbor, the right to pick and choose the political philosophy he likes best, the right to associate with whomever he chooses, the right to join groups he prefers ...
Heresy trials are foreign to our Constitution. Men may believe what they cannot prove. They may not be put to the proof of their religious doctrines or beliefs. Religious experiences which are as real as life to some may be incomprehensible to others.
The First and Fourteenth Amendments say that Congress and the States shall make “no law” which abridges freedom of speech or of the press. In order to sanction a system of censorship I would have to say that “no law” does not mean what it says, that “no law” is qualified to mean “some” laws. I cannot take this step.
Ideas are indeed the most dangerous weapons in the world. Our ideas of freedom are the most powerful political weapons man has ever forged.
The great and invigorating influences in American life have been the unorthodox: the people who challenge an existing institution or way of life, or say and do things that make people think.
Where suspicion fills the air and holds scholars in line for fear of their jobs, there can be no exercise of the free intellect. Supineness and dogmatism take the place of inquiry. A problem can no longer be pursued to its edges. Fear stalks the classroom. The teacher is no longer a stimulant to adventurous thinking; she becomes instead a pipe line for safe and sound information. A deadening dogma takes the place of free inquiry. Instruction tends to become sterile; pursuit of knowledge is discouraged; discussion often leaves off where it should begin.
The great and invigorating influences in American life have been the unorthodox: the people who challenge an existing institution or way of life, or say and do things that make people think.
I think that the influence towards suppression of minority views – towards orthodoxy in thinking about public issues – has been more subconscious than unconscious, stemming to a very great extent from the tendency of Americans to conform…not to deviate or depart from an orthodox point of view.
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William O. Douglas Quotes 1-12 out of 12
   
 
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