We do not protect freedom in order to indulge error. We protect freedom in order to discover truth. We do not maintain freedom in order to permit eccentricity to flourish; we maintain freedom in order that society may profit from criticism, even eccentric criticism. We do not encourage dissent for sentimental reasons; we encourage dissent because we cannot live without it.

Henry Steele Commager (1902-1998) American historian, writer, activist
“The Necessity of Freedom,” Freedom, Loyalty, Dissent (1954)

An earlier version of the essay was given as "The Pragmatic Necessity for Freedom," Cooper Lecture, Swarthmore College (1951).

Added on 26-Jan-22 | Last updated 22-Jun-22
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