It is clear that the most elementary condition, if thought is to be free, is the absence of legal penalties for the expression of opinions. No great country has yet reached to this level, although most of them think they have. The opinions which are still persecuted strike the majority as so monstrous and immoral that the general principle of toleration can not be held to apply to them. But this is exactly the same view as that which made possible the tortures of the Inquisition. There was a time when Protestantism seemed as wicked as Bolshevism seems now.

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English mathematician and philosopher
“Free Thought and Official Propaganda,” lecture, South Place Institute, London (24 Mar 1922)
Added on 7-Jan-08 | Last updated 7-Jan-08
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