"It is clear that thought is not free
if the profession of certain opinions
make it impossible to earn a living."
Bertrand Russell
[Bertrand Arthur William Russell] (1872-1970) Philosopher, educator
Skeptical Essays, 1928
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It is surprising that Russell could not distinguish between what one thinks and what one says.
 -- David L. Rosenthal     
  • 2
    So, you believe people may THINK anything, but may not SPEAK their opinion? Rather un-American of you, to spit on the First Amendment, as you speak what you think.
     -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
  • 1
    Joe expresses himself well.
     -- Dick, Fort Worth     
    The right of free speech does not mean that there will not be consequences for foolishness demonstrated through words. The first amendment restricts the governments ability to control speech. It does not limit a private employer's ability to do the same.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
  • 1
    Indeed. And the practice of trying to shut people up by blacklisting them is as old as time itself. I know public speakers whose lectures are about the Bilderburgs -- and they are frequently hassled at international borders by 'officials' often resulting in missing the conference. No-fly lists are also used for purposes other than terrorist screening. News reporters and commentators around the world must keep their views to themselves or risk being fired for 'telling the truth'. Challenge the money system and you will find yourself facing the IRS at your door and you may even be blacklisted from banking services. Those that 'toe the line' are generally ignorant of such abuses of power.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 1
    To live out ones truths is the very essence of freedom. Without freedom of speech, there is no freedom.
     -- Anonymous, Philadelphia     
  • 1
    Clearly David R. knows nothing about Bertrand Russell.

    And Ken, FYI, Bertrand Russell was British and didn't live under US law.
     -- anonymous     
    It would depend on the narrow measurement implemented to say "It is clear that thought is not free". Does a profession of certain opinions that makes it impossible to earn a living rise to that narrow measurement, I think not. Above are some good examples of tyranny's censorship. The quote clearly addresses the finite scope of thought - not thought's expression(s). To think is free (by fiscal, anthropological, etc. measurements) To express that thought is where consequences begin (loss of here relevant fiscal opportunities and a much broader, freedom)
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Here's an example. The Miami Dolphin player tweeted that the kiss from the Missouri player on his partner after being drafted "grossed him out". He is being fined and sent to some sort of sensitivity education by the owners of the team. I suspect he spoke for a lot of people and whatever happened to "Freedom of Speech". He didn't yell fire in a crowded theater but merely expressed an opinion.
     -- jim k, austin tx     
  • 1
    Ken Allyn,
    That was brilliant. Far wiser than Bertrand Russel and he was a genius. I'm looking forward to hearing more from you. Ken reminds us that the 1st Amendment is a negative right.
    E Archer's observation was equally brilliant about the fact that it's not just the government that has the potential to constrain "profession" of thought. It would be very wrong to think that that problem needs a fix, however. Some will argue that there is a solution to E Archer's example; to treat the First Amendment as a positive right; to give the government the power to police, judge and punish any institution that seems to counter anyone else's freedom of speech. Enforcing positive rights opens the government to unlimited power. As we have seen.
     -- Walter Clark, Fullerton CA     
  • 1
    Russell was thrown in jail for being a pacifist at a time when the Brits wanted America to get involved in WW I. We are so in bed with Fabian socialist it is sickening. Most all hiding behind corp privilege. What a great experiment , Democratic Republic. But instead of preaching " Republicanism " . Democratic socialism is the norm. Being freely accepted by a confused, demoralized , secularly deranged public. Godless country on a foreign shore. The mob of Capitalist Socialism is on a huge roll, and has been for a while. But they do fight among themselves. " The Lord hath made all things for himself, yea, even the wicked for the day of evil " .
     -- Ron w13, Or     
  • 1
    The medical profession comes quickly to mind. Doctors can lose their licenses and even be jailed for prescribing non-toxic herbal remedies instead of highly-toxic pharmaceuticals. Many innovative doctors over the last 70 years have been destroyed by the private American Medical Association for their non-patentable therapies including multiple cures for cancer and diabetes. Today, these herbal remedies have been made ILLEGAL in the USA, although many are available in other countries. Certain plants have been outright BANNED, the possession of which results in asset forfeiture and imprisonment. How can this be? Who has the right or power to make a plant illegal to grow or use? And why? Too many people depend on expensive pharmaceuticals for their livelihood - entire hospitals, universities, medical centers, and millions of medical professionals directly or indirectly depend on the pharmaceutical industry. Should these natural cures be 'approved', the trillion dollar cancer industry will collapse. 100 years from now, our so-called health care will be viewed as positively medieval. And Obamacare is designed to guarantee big pharma's monopoly. Several efforts to make vitamins and supplements illegal (until they have undergone a 20 million dollar evaluation - each) have been and are currently underway. Again we see State power being used to protect a monopoly and punish honest research and sound science. Science is never 'settled' and there should be no racket to prevent the discovery of therapeutic uses of natural foods (which is what plants and herbs are). An apple seller cannot by law state that apples are good for you! Only a medical professional can state what is good for you, and he/she can only say what big pharma says they can say, or else lose their license. This is the REAL drug war...
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 1
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