Quotations about:
    freedom


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Stories of our women leaving home to frisk
in mock ecstasies among the thickets on the mountain,
dancing in honor of the latest divinity,
a certain Dionysus, whoever he may be!
In their midst stand bowls brimming with wine.
And then, one by one, the women wander off
to hidden nooks where they serve the lusts of men.
Priestesses of Bacchus they claim they are,
but it’s really Aphrodite they adore.

[γυναῖκας ἡμῖν δώματ᾽ ἐκλελοιπέναι
πλασταῖσι βακχείαισιν, ἐν δὲ δασκίοις
ὄρεσι θοάζειν, τὸν νεωστὶ δαίμονα
Διόνυσον, ὅστις ἔστι, τιμώσας χοροῖς:
πλήρεις δὲ θιάσοις ἐν μέσοισιν ἑστάναι
κρατῆρας, ἄλλην δ᾽ ἄλλοσ᾽ εἰς ἐρημίαν
πτώσσουσαν εὐναῖς ἀρσένων ὑπηρετεῖν,
πρόφασιν μὲν ὡς δὴ μαινάδας θυοσκόους,
τὴν δ᾽ Ἀφροδίτην πρόσθ᾽ ἄγειν τοῦ Βακχίου.]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Bacchæ [Βάκχαι], l. 217ff [Pentheus/Πενθεύς] (405 BC) [tr. Arrowsmith (1960)]
    (Source)

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

               Their homes
Our women have deserted, on pretence
That they in mystic orgies are engaged;
On the umbrageous hills they chant the praise
Of this new God, whoe'er he be, this Bacchus;
Him in their dances they revere, and place
Amid their ranks huge goblets fraught with wine:
Some fly to pathless deserts, where they meet
Their paramours, while they in outward shew
Are Mænedes by holy rites engrossed.
Yet Venus more than Bacchus they revere.
[tr. Wodhull (1809)]

The women have left our homes in contrived Bacchic rites, and rush about in the shadowy mountains, honoring with dances this new deity Dionysus, whoever he is. I hear that mixing-bowls stand full in the midst of their assemblies, and that they each creep off different ways into secrecy to serve the beds of men, on the pretext that they are Maenads worshipping; but they consider Aphrodite before Bacchus.
[tr. Buckley (1850)]

Our women all have left their homes, to join
These fabled mysteries. On the shadowy rocks
Frequent they sit, this God of yesterday,
Dionysus, whosoe'er he be, with revels
Dishonorable honoring. In the midst
Stand the crowned goblets; and each stealing forth,
This way and that, creeps to a lawless bed;
In pretext, holy sacrificing Mænads,
But serving Aphrodite more than Bacchus.
[tr. Milman (1865)]

Our women have deserted from their homes,
Pretending Bacchic rites, and now they lurk
In the shady hill-tops reverencing forsooth
This Dionysus, this new deity.
Full bowls of wine are served out to the throng;
And scattered here and there through the glades,
The wantons hurry to licentious love.
They call themselves the priestess Mænades;
Bacchus invoke, but Aphrodite serve.
[tr. Rogers (1872), l. 200ff]

I hear that our women-folk have left their homes on pretence of Bacchic rites, and on the wooded hills rush wildly to and fro, honouring in the dance this new god Dionysus, whoe’er he is; and in the midst of each revel-rout the brimming wine-bowl stands, and one by one they steal away to lonely spots to gratify their lust, pretending forsooth that they are Mænads bent on sacrifice, though it is Aphrodite they are placing before the Bacchic god.
[tr. Coleridge (1891)]

How from their homes our women have gone forth
Feigning a Bacchic rapture, and rove wild
O'er wooded hills, in dances honouring
Dionysus, this new God -- whoe'er he be. ⁠
And midst each revel-rout the wine-bowls stand
Brimmed: and to lonely nooks, some here, some there,
They steal, to work with men the deed of shame,
In pretext Maenad priestesses, forsooth,
But honouring Aphroditê more than Bacchus.
[tr. Way (1898)]

               Our own
Wives, our own sisters, from their hearths are flown
To wild and secret rites; and cluster there
High on the shadowy hills, with dance and prayer
To adore this new-made God, this Dionyse,
Whate'er he be! -- And in their companies
Deep wine-jars stand, and ever and anon
Away into the loneliness now one
Steals forth, and now a second, maid or dame,
Where love lies waiting, not of God! The flame,
They say, of Bacchios wraps them. Bacchios! Nay,
'Tis more to Aphrodite that they pray.
[tr. Murray (1902)]

That our women have abandoned their homes
in fake bacchic revels, and in the deep-shaded
mountains are roaming around, honoring with dances
the new-made god Dionysus, whoever he is;
that wine-bowls are set among the sacred companies
full to the brim, and that one by one the women go crouching
into the wilderness, to serve the lechery of men --
they profess to be maenads making sacrifice,
but actually they put Aphrodite before the Bacchic god.
[tr. Kirk (1970)]

Our women, I discover, have abandoned their homes on some pretence of Bacchic worship, and go gadding about in the woods on the mountain side, dancing in honour of this upstart god Dionysus, whoever he may be. They tell me, in the midst of each group of revellers stands a bowl full of wine; and the women go creeping off this way and that to lonely places and there give themselves to lecherous men, under the excuse that they are Maenad priestesses; though in their ritual Aphrodite comes before Bacchus.
[tr. Vellacott (1973)]

They leave their home, desert their children
Follow the new fashion and join the Bacchae
Flee the hearth to mob the mountains -- those contain
Deep shadows of course, secret caves to hide
Lewd games for this new god -- Dionysos!
That's the holy spirit newly discovered.
Dionysos! Their ecstasy is flooded down
In brimming bowls of wine -- so much for piety!
Soused, with all the senses roused, they crawl
Into the bushes and there of course a man
Awaits them. All part of the service for for this
Mysterious deity. The hypocrisy? All they care about
Is getting serviced.
[tr. Soyinka (1973)]

Our women gone, abandoning their homes,
pretending to be bacchae, massing
in the bushy mountains, this latest divinity
Dionysos (whoever he is) honouring and chorusing,
filling and setting amidst the thiasus
wine-bowls, and one by one in solitude
sneaking off to cater to male bidding, --
supposedly as sacrificial maenads,
but Aphrodite ranks before their Bacchic One.
[tr. Neuburg (1988)]

Our women, I am told, have left their homes,
in a religious trance -- what travesty! --
and scamper up and down the wooded mountains, dancing
in honor of this newfangled God, Dionysus,
whoever he might be.
In the middle of each female group
of revelers, I hear,
stands a jar of wine, brimming! And that taking turns,
they steal away, one here, one there, to shady nooks,
where they satisfy the lechery of men,
pretending to be priestesses,
performing their religious duties. Ha!
That performance reeks more of Aphrodite than of Bacchus.
[tr. Cacoyannis (1982)]

Our women have abandoned our homes
And, in a jacked-up frenzy of phony inspiration,
Riot in the dark mountains,
Honoring this upstart god, Dionysos --
Whatever he is -- dancing in his chorus.
Full jugs of wine stand in their midst
And each woman slinks off
To the wilderness to serve male lust,
Pretending they are praying priestesses,
But Aphrodite leads them, not Bacchus.
[tr. Blessington (1993)]

Our women have abandoned their homes
for the sham revelries of Bacchus
frisking about on the dark-shadowed mountains
honoring with their dances the latest god, Dionysius, whoever he is.
They've set up their mixing bowls brimming with wine
amidst their cult gatherings, and each lady slinks off in a different direction
to some secluded wilderness to service the lusts of men.
They pretend to be maenads performing sacrifices
but in reality they rank Aphrodite's pleasures before Bacchus!
[tr. Esposito (1998)]

These women of ours have left their homes
and run away to the dark mountains, pretending
to be Bacchants. It's this brand-new god,
Dionysus, whoever that is; they're dancing for him!
They gather in throngs around full bowls
of wine; then one by one they sneak away
to lonely places where they sleep with men.
Priestesses they call themselves! Maenads!
It's Aphrodite they put first, not Bacchus.
[tr. Woodruff (1999)]

               Women leave
Our houses for bogus revels (“Bakkhic” indeed!),
Dashing through the dark shade of mountain forests
To honor with their dancing this new god,
Dionysos -- whoever he may be --
And right in their midst they set full bowls of wine,
And slink into the thickets to meet men there,
Saying they are maenads sacrificing
When they really rank Aphrodite first,
Over Bakkhos!
[tr. Gibbons/Segal (2000)]

The women have left our homes in fictitious ecstatic rites and flit about on the thick-shaded mountains, honoring the new god Dionysus, whoever he is, with their dancing. They set up full wine bowls in the middle of their assembles and sneak off, one here, one there, to tryst in private with men. The pretext for all of this is that they are maenads, performing their rites, but they hold Aphrodite in higher regard than the bacchic god.
[tr. Kovacs (2002)]

I hear our women have flown from their proper place in the home -- dancing about in the shadowy hills in sham ecstasy for this newfound Dionysus! And these wine-befuddled women slink into the darkness, drawn by the sirens of lust. Fine high priestesses of the new god! They seem to make more worship of Aphrodite than of Bacchus!
[tr. Rao/Wolf (2004)]

I heard that our women have left their homes and gone off to the mountains dancing the Bacchic dances! Some new, young god! Utter rubbish! There they are, placing great tubs full of wine in the centre of their group, in the middle of nowhere and off they go, one here, another there, rolling around with any man they come across and giving the excuse that they are maenads; but what are they doing? Serving Dionysos? No way! They’re serving Aphrodite!
[tr. Theodoridis (2005)]

The women have left us, abandoning their homes in
phony Bacchic worship and that they gad about on
the bushy mountaintops; that this "new" god Dio-
nysus, whoever he really is, is honoured in their dances,
and that they set the sacred wine-bowls, fill'd, in the
midst of the thiasoi, each slinking off her sep'rate
way to serve males' hot lust in the woods, pre-
tending to be Maenads sacrificing; and so
they place Aphrodite on top of Bacchus.
[tr. Valerie (2005)]

               ... women leaving home
to go to silly Bacchic rituals,
cavorting there in mountain shadows,
with dances honoring some upstart god,
this Dionysus, whoever he may be. Mixing bowls
in the middle of their meetings filled with wine,
they creep off one by one to lonsely spots
to have sex with men, claiming they're Maenads
busy worshipping. But they rank Aphrodite,
goddess of sexual desire, ahead of Bacchus.
[tr. Johnston (2008), l. 272ff]

Women have deserted their homes for these
fraudulent rites -- up in the woods and mountains,
dancing to celebrate some new god --
Dionysus, whoever he is.
Drink is at the bottom of it all.
Huge bowls stand in their midst, I'm told,
brimming with wine, and one by one the women
slip into the shadows to satisfy the lusts of men.
They say they are priestesses, sworn to Bacchus,
but it's clearly Aphrodite they adore.
[tr. Robertson (2014)]

     Women have forsaken their homes. It’s a front, it’s a fake, a false Bacchic rite, an excuse for them to cavort in the mountain’s shade, dancing to honor this "new god" Dionysus.
     Whoever that is. Whoever he really is.
     I hear they’ve got casks of wine up there, full to the brim, just sitting there in the midst of their frolicking. And that they sneak off into secluded corners, servicing men, excusing it as a sacred thing, a Maenad’s ritual.
     If it is a ritual, it’s to Aphrodite, not this Bacchus of theirs.
[tr. Pauly (2019)]

How our women
had run off
to celebrate
perferse rites
     in the mountains,
roaming about with this
brand new god, Dionysus --
     whoever he is.
Everywhere
     in the midst of their revels
          stand full wine bowls.
And women slink off
one by one
to copulate
with any man
     who happens by.
They pretend to be Maenads, priestesses.
It's Aphrodite,
not Bacchus,
     they worship.
[tr. Behr/Foster (2019)]

Our women have left our homes in contrived Bacchic rites, and rush about in the shadowy mountains, honoring with khoroi this new daimōn Dionysus, whoever he is. I hear that mixing-bowls stand full in the midst of their assemblies, and that each woman, flying to secrecy in different directions, yields to the embraces of men, on the pretext that they are Maenads worshipping. They consider Aphrodite of greater priority than Dionysus.
[tr. Buckley/Sens/Nagy (2020)]

 
Added on 24-Jan-23 | Last updated 24-Jan-23
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In any country, regardless of what its laws say, wherever people act upon the idea that the disadvantage of one man is the good of another, there slavery exists. Wherever, in any country the whole people feel that the happiness of all is dependent upon the happiness of the weakest, there freedom exists.

Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) American educator, writer
Speech, Republican Club, New York City (12 Feb 1909)
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Freedom is more precious than any gifts for which you may be tempted to give it up.

[Más preciosa es la libertad que la dádiva, porque se pierde.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 286 (1647) [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
    (Source)

(Source (Spanish)). Alternate translations:

Liberty is more precious than all gifts: and to receive, is to lose it.
[Flesher ed. (1685)]
>br?
Independence is more precious, than any gift for which you might forfeit it.
[tr. Fischer (1937)]

Freedom is more precious then the gift that makes us lose it.
[tr. Maurer (1992)]

 
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All of us are infected today with an extraordinary egoism. And that is not freedom; freedom means learning to demand only of oneself, not of life and others, and knowing how to give: sacrifice in the name of love.

Andrei Tarkovsky
Andrei Tarkovsky (1932-1986) Russian film director, screenwriter, film theorist [Андрей Арсеньевич Тарковский]
Sculpting in Time (1986) [tr. Hunter-Blair]
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Science and religion are two human enterprises sharing many features. They share these features also with other enterprises such as art, literature and music. The most salient features of all these enterprises are discipline and diversity. Discipline to submerge the individual fantasy in a greater whole. Diversity to give scope to the infinite variety of human souls and temperaments. Without discipline there can be no greatness. Without diversity there can be no freedom. Greatness for the enterprise, freedom for the individual — these are the two themes, contrasting but not incompatible, that make up the history of science and the history of religion.

Freeman Dyson
Freeman Dyson (1923-2020) English-American theoretical physicist, mathematician, futurist
Infinite in All Directions, Part 1, ch. 1 “In Praise of Diversity” (1988)
    (Source)

Based on a lecture on "Science and Religion," National Conference of Catholic Bishops, Detroit (Sep 1986).
 
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I have begun in old age to understand just how oddly we are all put together. We are so proud of our autonomy that we seldom if ever realize how generous we are to ourselves, and just how stingy with others. One of the booby traps of freedom — which is bordered on all sides by isolation — is that we think so well of ourselves. I now see that I have helped myself to the best cuts at life’s banquet.

Saul Bellow (1915-2005) Canadian-American writer
“Ralph Ellison in Tivoli” (1998)
    (Source)

Originally printed in News from the Republic of Letters, No. 3 (1998). Reprinted in the Los Angeles Times (10 May 1998).
 
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Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage’s whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.

Ayn Rand (1905-1982) Russian-American writer, philosopher
The Fountainhead, ch. 18 [Roark] (1943)
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Let the rigour of a master over his slaves be applied by those who hold men under the empire of oppression; but they who rule by the principle of fear in a free state, practice a system of unparalleled madness. […] Let us therefore embrace that mode of conduct which has the most extensive influence, which contributes most, not only to the safety, but to the increase of wealth and power, and which rests, not upon fear, but upon the continuation of kind affections. — This is the method by which not only in private, but in public, we shall most easily obtain what we desire.

[Sed iis, qui vi oppresses imperio coercent, sit sane adhibenda saevitia, ut eris in famulos, si aliter teneri non possunt; qui vero in libera civitate ita se instruunt, ut metuantur, iis nihil potest esse dementius. […] Quod igitur latissime patet neque ad incolumitatem solum, sed etiam ad opes et potentiam valet plurimum, id amplectamur, ut metus absit, caritas retineatur. Ita facillime, quae volemus, et privatis in rebus et in re publica consequemur.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Officiis [On Duties; On Moral Duty; The Offices], Book 2, ch. 7 (2.7) / sec. 24 (44 BC) [tr. McCartney (1798)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

It is well enough in those who by open force have reduced any nation, and accordingly rule it with a high hand, if they do sometimes use rigour and severity, like masters towards their slaves when there is no other way of holding them in subjection: but for those who are magistrates in a free city, to endeavour to make themselves feared by the people, is one of the maddest and most desperate attempts on the face of the earth. [...] Let us therefore embrace and adhere to that method which is of the most universal influence, and serves not only to secure us what we have, but moreover to enlarge our power and authority; that is, in short, let us rather endeavour to be loved than feared, which is certainly the best way to make us successful, as well in our private as our public business.
[tr. Cockman (1699)]

But the truth is, cruelty must be employed by those who keep others in subjection by force; as by a master to his slaves, if they cannot otherwise be managed. But of all madmen, they are the maddest who, in a free state so conduct themselves as to be feared. [...] We ought therefore to follow this most obvious principle, that dread should be removed and affection reconciled, which has the greatest influence not only on our security but also on our interest and power; and thus we shall most easily attain to the object of our wishes, both in private and political affairs.
[tr. Edmonds (1865)]

Those who hold under their command subjects forcibly kept down must indeed resort to severity, as masters toward their slaves when they cannot otherwise be restrained. But nothing can be more mad than the policy of those who in a free state conduct themselves in such a way as to be feared. [...] Let us then embrace the policy which has the widest scope, and is most conducive, not to safety alone, but to affluence and power, namely, that by which fear may be suppressed, love retained. Thus shall we most easily obtain what we desire both in private and in public life.
[tr. Peabody (1883)]

Let tyrants exercise cruelty, as a master does towards his slaves when he cannot control them by other means: but for a Citizen of a free State to equip himself with the weapons of intimidation is the height of madness. [...] Let us then put away fear and cleave to love; love appeals to every heart, it is the surest means of gaining safety, influence and power; in a word, it is the key to success both in private and in public life.
[tr. Gardiner (1899)]

But those who keep subjects in check by force would of course have to employ severity -- masters, for example, toward their servants, when these cannot be held in control in any other way. But those who in a free state deliberately put themselves in a position to be feared are the maddest of the mad. [...] Let us, then, embrace this policy, which appeals to every heart and is the strongest support not only of security but also of influence and power -- namely, to banish fear and cleave to love. And thus we shall most easily secure success both in private and in public life.
[tr. Miller (1913)]

Men who dominate and command other men, whom they have subjugated by force, have to apply some harshness, just as the owner uses harshness toward his slaves if he cannot control them any other way. But it is completely senseless for men in a free city act in such a way that it causes others to live in fear: no one could be more insane. [...] So let us embrace a rule that applies widely and that is extremely effective not only maintaining safety but also in acquiring wealth and power, namely, that there should be no fear, that one should hold affection dear. This is the easiest way for ust to attain what we want both in private affairs and in the government.
[tr. Edinger (1974)]

 
Added on 15-Sep-22 | Last updated 15-Sep-22
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It is this right, the right to err politically, which keeps us strong as a Nation. For no number of laws against communism can have as much effect as the personal conviction which comes from having heard its arguments and rejected them, or from having once accepted its tenets and later recognized their worthlessness.

Hugo Black (1886-1971) American politician and jurist, US Supreme Court Justice (1937-71)
Barenblatt v. United States, 360 U.S. 109, 144 (1959) [dissent]
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The very reason for the First Amendment is to make the people of this country free to think, speak, write and worship as they wish, not as the Government commands.

Hugo Black (1886-1971) American politician and jurist, US Supreme Court Justice (1937-71)
Machinists v. Street, 367 U.S. 740, 788 (1961) [dissenting]
    (Source)

The case is frequently called "IAM v. Street" (International Association of Machinists).
 
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Liberty, after she has been chained up awhile, is always more fierce, and sets her teeth in deeper, than she would otherwise have done if she had never been restrained.

[Acriores autem morsus sunt intermissae libertatis quam retentae.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Officiis [On Duties; On Moral Duty; The Offices], Book 2, ch. 7 (2.7) / sec. 14 (44 BC) [tr. Cockman (1699)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

And the inflictions of freedom interrupted, are more rigorous than if it had been retained.
[tr. McCartney (1798)]

For the inflictions of liberty, when it has been suspended, are more severe than if it had been retained.
[tr. Edmonds (1865)]

Men indeed feel more keenly the suppression of liberty than any evils incident to its preservation.
[tr. Peabody (1883)]

Freedom, if suppressed, only bites with keener fang.
[tr. Gardiner (1899)]

Freedom suppressed and again regained bites with keener fangs than freedom never endangered.
[tr. Miller (1913)]

But the wounds caused by the suspension of freedom hurt worse than those caused by maintaining it.
[tr. Edinger (1974)]

 
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Kiva considered that she might be developing a thing for Fundapellonan, which on one hand would be a very not-Kiva thing to do, but on the other hand who gave a fuck if it was “not-Kiva,” because she wasn’t some fucking fictional character destined to do whatever some goddamn hack wanted her to do.

John Scalzi (b. 1969) American writer
The Consuming Fire (2018)
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Fascist politics lures its audiences with the temptation of freedom from democratic norms while masking the fact that the alternative proposed is not a form of freedom that can sustain a stable nation state and can scarcely guarantee liberty.

Jason Stanley (b. 1969) American philosopher, epistemologist, academic
How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them (2018)
 
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We’re stronger because we’re democracies. We’re not afraid of free and fair elections, because true legitimacy can only come from one source — and that is the people. We’re not afraid of an independent judiciary, because no one is above the law. We’re not afraid of a free press or vibrant debate or a strong civil society, because leaders must be held accountable. We’re not afraid to let our young people go online to learn and discover and organize , because we know that countries are more successful when citizens are free to think for themselves.

Barack Obama (b. 1961) American politician, US President (2009-2017)
Speech, Nordea Concert Hall, Tallinn, Estonia (3 Sep 2014)
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Political freedom cannot exist in any land where religion controls the State, and religious freedom cannot exist in any land where the State controls religion.

Sam Ervin
Sam J. Ervin, Jr. (1896-1985) American politician
Preserving the Constitution: The Autobiography of Sam J. Ervin, Jr. (1984)
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Tolerance is a better guarantee of freedom than brotherly love; for a man may love his brother so much he feels himself thereby appointed his brother’s keeper.

Everett Dean Martin
Everett Dean Martin (1880-1941) American educator, minister, writer, lecturer
Liberty (1930)
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Unless one is raised in the minion mindset, it is difficult to understand the allure of the lifestyle. Outside observers merely see put-upon underlings who live and work in insanely dangerous positions, whose lives are ruled by dictatorial psychopaths who have little regard for their lives or sanity. Acclimatized minions realize that everyone on Earth lives under these strictures, they just don’t fool themselves. With clarity comes freedom.

Phil Foglio (b. 1956) American writer, cartoonist
Agatha H and the Voice of the Castle (2014) [with Kaja Foglio]
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Added on 11-Feb-22 | Last updated 11-Feb-22
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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)
    (Source)

An earlier version of the essay was given as "The Pragmatic Necessity for Freedom," Cooper Lecture, Swarthmore College (1951).
 
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The whole country wants civility. Why don’t we have it? It doesn’t cost anything. No federal funding, no legislation is involved. One answer is the unwillingness to restrain oneself. Everybody wants other people to be polite to them, but they want the freedom of not having to be polite to others.

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
“Polite Company: A Chat with Judith Martin About Etiquette,” interview with Hara Estroff Marano, Psychology Today (1 Mar 1998)
    (Source)
 
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Freedom is not a luxury that we can indulge in when at last we have security and prosperity and enlightenment; it is, rather, antecedent to all of these, for without it we can have neither security nor prosperity nor enlightenment.

Henry Steele Commager (1902-1998) American historian, writer, activist
Freedom, Loyalty, Dissent, Preface (1954)
    (Source)
 
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You know, you have to really decide where you want to live: if you want to live in the jungle or in the zoo. Because if you want the beauty, if you want freedom, the jungle is … that’s your world. But you’re in danger there, you have to live with snakes, sharks, tigers, skunks, you know, mosquitoes, leeches. You want to be safe, you have to live in the zoo. You are protected. You know, if you are a lamb, the tiger will not attack you. You know, you’ll get a little bit something to eat every day; that’s fine. You have to work hard, but you live behind the bars, and what’s wonderful — you live there behind the bars and you dream about the beauty of the jungle. Now what happened was that the bars opened, and everybody runs after the dream. And suddenly, well, yeah, it’s beautiful — yes, I am free to go wherever I want, do whatever I want, but where do I want to go? Oh, my God, and here is a tiger and here’s a snake. Oh, oh, and people have a tendency to, you know, back. And you will be surprised how many people prefer to live in the zoo; they are not ready to pay for the freedom; they think that freedom should be, you know, for free, even for granted, which never is, never is.

Milos Forman
Jan Tomáš "Miloš" Forman (1932-2018) Czech-American film director, screenwriter, actor, academic
National Security Archive interview (18 Jan 1997)
    (Source)

On life and work in the post-Communist world.
 
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All deductions having been made, democracy has done less harm, and more good, than any other form of government. It gave to human existence a zest and camaraderie that outweighed its pitfalls and defects. It gave to thought and science and enterprise the freedom essential to their operation and growth. It broke down the walls of privilege and class, and in each generation it raised up ability from every rank and place.

William James (Will) Durant (1885-1981) American historian, teacher, philosopher
The Lessons of History, ch. 10 (1968) [with Ariel Durant]
    (Source)
 
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The oldest argument against SF is both the shallowest and the profoundest: the assertion that SF, like all fantasy, is escapist. […] If it’s worth answering, the best answer is given by Tolkien, author, critic, and scholar. Yes, he said, fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisoned by the enemy, don’t we consider it his duty to escape? The moneylenders, the know-nothings, the authoritarians have us all in prison; if we value the freedom of the mind and soul, if we’re partisans of liberty, then it’s our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can.

Ursula K. Le Guin (b. 1929) American writer
“Escape Routes,” Galaxy (Dec 1974)

Reprinted in The Language of the Night (1979).

Though Le Guin makes it clear it's a paraphrase, the main body of this passage is often misrepresented as an actual quotation from J. R. R. Tolkien (and with an exclamation point on the final sentence). It was, instead, inspired by Tolkien's comments on escapism in "On Fairy-Stories" (1939).

More discussion on this quotation: Not a Tolkien quote: "Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory" - thetolkienist.com
 
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It is all very well to talk about being the captain of your soul. It is hard, and only a few heroes, saints, and geniuses have been the captains of their souls for any extended period of their lives. Most men, after a little freedom, have preferred authority with the consoling assurances and the economy of effort it brings.

Walter Lippmann (1889-1974) American journalist and author
A Preface to Morals, ch. 1, sec. 3 (1929)
    (Source)
 
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If none of us is prepared to die for freedom, then all of us will die under tyranny.

Timothy Snyder (b. 1969) American historian, author
On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (2017)
    (Source)
 
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Of all the ways to avoid living, perfect discipline is the most admired.

James Richardson (b. 1950) American poet
Vectors: Aphorisms and Ten-Second Essays, # 24 (2001)
    (Source)
 
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I walked in the woods and looked at the birds, and I thought: How dreadful that people shut up birds in cages. If only I could so live and so serve the world that after me there should never again be birds in cages, they should all be free —

Isak Dinesen (1885-1962) Danish writer [pseud. of Karen Christence, Countess Blixen]
“The Deluge at Norderney,” Seven Gothic Tales [Miss Malin] (1934)
    (Source)
 
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Freedom does not always win. This is one of the bitterest lessons of history.

A. J. P. Taylor (1906-1990) British historian, journalist, broadcaster [Alan John Percivale Taylor]
(Attributed)
 
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People say if you legalize drugs, you’re going to have a lot more junkies. And then the other side says, Oh no, no, no, we will have fewer junkies [and] they’ll be treated better. I don’t know! I just know that if you don’t have the right to put whatever you want into your own body, you’re not living in a free fucking country. Simple.

Penn Jillette (b. 1955) American stage magician, actor, musician, author
Interview by Katherine Mangu-Ward, Reason (Jan 2017)
    (Source)
 
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I am a lover of truth, a worshipper of freedom, a celebrant at the altar of language and purity and tolerance. That is my religion, and every day I am sorely, grossly, heinously and deeply offended, wounded, mortified and injured by a thousand different blasphemies against it. When the fundamental canons of truth, honesty, compassion and decency are hourly assaulted by fatuous bishops, pompous, illiberal and ignorant priests, politicians and prelates, sanctimonious censors, self-appointed moralists and busy-bodies, what recourse of ancient laws have I? None whatever. Nor would I ask for any. For unlike these blistering imbeciles my belief in my religion is strong and I know that lies will always fail and indecency and intolerance will always perish.

Stephen Fry
Stephen Fry (b. 1957) British actor, writer, comedian
“Trefusis Blasphemes,” Loose Ends radio program (1986)

Reprinted in Paperweight (1992).
 
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If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of these organizers are always good? Do not the legislators and their appointed agents also belong to the human race? Or do they believe that they themselves are made of a finer clay than the rest of mankind?

[Puisque les tendances naturelles de l’humanité sont assez mauvaises pour qu’on doive lui ôter sa liberté, comment se fait-il que les tendances des organisateurs soient bonnes ? Les Législateurs et leurs agents ne font-ils pas partie du genre humain ? Se croient-ils pétris d’un autre limon que le reste des hommes?]

Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850) French philosopher, economist, politician
The Law [La Loi] (1850) [tr. Russell]
    (Source)
 
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Hornblower was by now a sufficiently experienced married man to realize the advantages of allowing his wife to say what she liked as long as he could continue to do as he liked.

C S Forester
C. S. Forester (1899-1966) English novelist [Cecil Scott Forester, pen name for Cecil Louis Troughton Smith]
Hornblower and the Atropos, ch. 1 (1953)
    (Source)
 
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I hold it blasphemy to say that a man ought not to fight against authority: there is no great religion and no great freedom that has not done it, in the beginning.

George Eliot (1819-1880) English novelist [pseud. of Mary Ann Evans]
Felix Holt, the Radical, ch. 46 (1866)
    (Source)
 
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Freedom only means the freedom to be stupid. Because you don’t need freedom to do what everybody thinks you should.

Penn Jillette (b. 1955) American stage magician, actor, musician, author
“Honest Questions with Penn Jillette,” Interview by Glen Beck, CNN (2 Nov 2007)
    (Source)
 
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A Reverend Donald Wildmon in Mississippi heard something on the radio that he didn’t like. Well, Reverend, did anyone ever tell you there are two knobs on the radio? Two. Knobs. On the radio. Of course, I’m sure the reverend isn’t that comfortable with anything that has two knobs on it … But hey, Reverend, there are two knobs on the radio! One of them turns the radio off, and the other one changes the station! Imagine that, Reverend, you can actually change the station! It’s called freedom of choice, and it’s one of the principles this country was founded upon. Look it up in the library, Reverend, if you have any of them left when you’ve finished burning all the books.

George Carlin (1937-2008) American comedian
“What Am I Doing in New Jersey?” (1988)
 
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I don’t want to kill anybody. I am passionately opposed to killing, but I’m even more passionately fond of freedom.

Edward Teller (1908-2003) Hungarian-American theoretical physicist
“Fallout and Disarmament: A Debate Between Linus Pauling and Edward Teller,” KQED-TV, San Francisco (20 Feb 1958)
    (Source)
 
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I love not to be constrained to love; for love must only arise of the heart’s self, and not by no constraint.

No picture available
Thomas Malory (c. 1415-1471) English writer
Le Morte d’Arthur, Book 18, ch. 20 (1485)
    (Source)

Lancelot to Guinevere, of the Lady of Ascolat.
 
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The will of the nation, speaking with the voice of battle and through the amended Constitution, has fulfilled the great promise of 1776 by proclaiming “liberty throughout the land to all the inhabitants thereof.” The elevation of the negro race from slavery to the full rights of citizenship is the most important political change we have known since the adoption of the Constitution of 1787. No thoughtful man can fail to appreciate its beneficent effect upon our institutions and people. It has freed us from the perpetual danger of war and dissolution. It has added immensely to the moral and industrial forces of our people. It has liberated the master as well as the slave from a relation which wronged and enfeebled both. It has surrendered to their own guardianship the manhood of more than 5,000,000 people, and has opened to each one of them a career of freedom and usefulness.

James A. Garfield (1831-1881) US President (1881), lawyer, lay preacher, educator
Inaugural address (4 Mar 1881)
    (Source)
 
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The liberty secured by the Constitution of the United States does not import an absolute right in each person to be at all times, and in all circumstances, wholly freed from restraint. […] Upon the principle of self-defense, of paramount necessity, a community has the right to protect itself against an epidemic of disease which threatens the safety of its members. […] In every well ordered society charged with the duty of conserving the safety of its members the rights of the individual in respect of his liberty may at times, under the pressure of great dangers, be subjected to such restraint, to be enforced by reasonable regulations, as the safety of the general public may demand.

John Marshall Harlan (1833-1911) American lawyer, politician, Supreme Court Justice (1877-1911)
Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11 (20 Feb 1905) [majority opinion]
    (Source)
 
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You are free only when you care for nobody in the world. But if you stop caring, life isn’t worth living.

Martha Albrand (1914-1981) German-American author. [b. Heidi Huberta Freybe Loewengard; also wrote as Katrin Holland, Christine Lambert]
Nightmare in Copenhagen (1954)
 
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Long ago, there was a noble word, “liberal,” which derives from the word “free.” Now a strange thing happened to that word. A man named Hitler made it a term of abuse, a matter of suspicion, because those who were not with him were against him, and liberals had no use for Hitler. And then another man named McCarthy cast the same opprobrium on the word. Indeed, there was a time — a short but dismaying time — when many Americans began to distrust the word which derived from “free.”

One thing we must all do. We must cherish and honor the word “free” or it will cease to apply to us. And that would be an inconceivable situation.

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) First Lady of the US (1933-45), politician, diplomat, activist
Tomorrow is Now (1963)
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There can be no permanent disfranchised peasantry in the United States. Freedom can never yield its fullness of blessings so long as the law or its administration places the smallest obstacle in the pathway of any virtuous citizen.

James A. Garfield (1831-1881) US President (1881), lawyer, lay preacher, educator
Inaugural address (4 Mar 1881)
    (Source)
 
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All free governments are managed by the combined wisdom and folly of the people.

James A. Garfield (1831-1881) US President (1881), lawyer, lay preacher, educator
Letter to B. A. Hinsdale (21 Apr 1880)
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A person needs a little madness, or else they never dare cut the rope and be free.

Nikos Kazantzakis (1883-1957) Greek writer and philosopher
Zorba the Greek (1946)

Adapted in the 1964 screenplay by Mihalis Kakogiannis as:
ZORBA: Boss, I like you too much not to say it. You've got everything except one thing: madness! A man needs a little madness, or else.
BASIL: Or else?
ZORBA: Or else, he never dares cut the rope and be free.

 
Added on 12-Oct-20 | Last updated 12-Oct-20
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Every man of every color and description has a natural right to freedom.

John Jay (1745-1829) American statesman, diplomat, abolitionist, politician, Chief Justice (1789-1795)
Letter to J. C. Dongan (27 Feb 1792)
    (Source)
 
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That men should pray and fight for their own freedom, and yet keep others in slavery, is certainly acting a very inconsistent, as well as unjust and, perhaps, impious part, but the history of mankind is filled with instances of human improprieties.

John Jay (1745-1829) American statesman, diplomat, abolitionist, politician, Chief Justice (1789-1795)
Letter to Rev. Doctor Price (27 Sep 1785)
    (Source)
 
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It says in the Constitution that we all have a guaranteed right to make fools of ourselves. I have taken every chance to reap the rewards of that guarantee. If forced to action, I mean to fight to defend that right, which includes the right to be wrong, queer, or just kooky. And how can I defend that unless I defend those kooks and queers who think (wrongly, of course) that I am kooky and queer?

John Ciardi (1916-1986) American poet, writer, critic
In Vince Clemente, “‘A Man Is What He Does With His Attention’: A Conversation with John Ciardi,” Poesis, Vol. 7 #2 (1986)
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Have we done it? Have we given freedom to the black man? What is freedom? Is it mere negation? Is it the bare privilege of not being chained, of not being bought and sold, branded and scourged? If this is all, then freedom is a bitter mockery, a cruel delusion, and it may well be questioned whether slavery were not better.

James A. Garfield (1831-1881) US President (1881), lawyer, lay preacher, educator
“Suffrage and Safety,” speech, Ravenna, Ohio (4 Jul 1865)
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In the great crisis of the war, God brought us face to face with the mighty truth, that we must lose our own freedom or grant it to the slave. In the extremity of our distress, we called upon the black man to help us save the Republic; and, amid the very thunders of battle, we made a covenant with him, sealed both with his blood and with ours, and witnessed by Jehovah, that, when the nation was redeemed, he should be free, and share with us its glories and its blessings. The Omniscient Witness will appear in judgment against us if we do not fulfill that covenant.

James A. Garfield (1831-1881) US President (1881), lawyer, lay preacher, educator
“Suffrage and Safety,” speech, Ravenna, Ohio (4 Jul 1865)
    (Source)
 
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Experts in ancient Greek culture say that people back then didn’t see their thoughts as belonging to them. When ancient Greeks had a thought, it occurred to them as a god or goddess giving an order. Apollo was telling them to be brave. Athena was telling them to fall in love.

Now people hear a commercial for sour cream potato chips and rush out to buy them, but now they call this free will.

At least the ancient Greeks were being honest.

Chuck Palahniuk (b. 1962) American novelist and freelance journalist
Lullaby, ch. 3 (2002)
    (Source)

Much of this is repeated in ch. 39.
 
Added on 11-Aug-20 | Last updated 11-Aug-20
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The enemies of Freedom do not argue; they shout and they shoot.

William Ralph Inge (1860-1954) English prelate [Dean Inge]
End of an Age, ch. 4 (1948)
 
Added on 10-Aug-20 | Last updated 10-Aug-20
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For sure a foole I doe him firmely hold,
That loves his fetters, though they were of gold.

Edmund Spenser (c. 1552-1599) English poet
The Faerie Queene. Book 3, Canto 9, st. 8 (1589-96)
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I’d rather die on my feet, than live on my knees.

[Prefiero morir de pie que vivir de rodillas.]

Emiliano Zapata 1879-1919) Mexican revolutionary, reformer [Emiliano Zapata Salazar]
(Attributed)

Often misattributed to Che Guevara, José Martí, and other revolutionaries. Popularized by "La Pasionaria" Dolores Ibárruri, during her speeches and broadcasts in the Spanish Civil War. More discussion here.

Alternate versions/translations:
  • "I'd prefer to die standing, than to live always on my knees! [¡Prefiero morir de pie que vivir siempre arrodillado!]"
  • "Men of the South! It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees!"
  • "I would rather die standing than live on my knees!"
  • "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees!"
  • "I prefer to die standing than to live forever kneeling."
  • "Prefer death on your feet to living on your knees."
 
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At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) American lawyer, politician, US President (1861-65)
Speech, Young Men’s Lyceum, Springfield, Illinois (27 Jan 1838)
    (Source)

This seems to be the source of this far more prosaic, and spurious, Lincoln quote: "America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."
 
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Indeed, just as frightened horses raise their necks up high, in the same way all those devotees of empty glory raise themselves above everything else, above cities, laws, ancestral custom, and the affairs of individual citizens. As they move from demagoguery to dictatorship, they subdue some of their neighbors as they try to make themselves superior and upright — and then they plan to enslave however so many minds remain naturally free and unenslaved.

[τῷ γὰρ ὄντι καθάπερ οἱ γαῦροι τῶν ἵππων τὸν αὐχένα μετέωρον ἐξάραντες, ὅσοι θιασῶται τῆς κενῆς δόξης εἰσίν, ἐπάνω πάντων ἑαυτοὺς ἱδρύουσι, πόλεων, νόμων, ἐθῶν πατρίων, τῶν παρ᾿ ἑκάστοις πραγμάτων· εἶτα ἀπὸ δημαγωγίας ἐπὶ δημαρχίαν βαδίζοντες καὶ τὰ μὲν τῶν πλησίον καταβάλλοντες, τὰ δὲ οἰκεῖα διανιστάντες καὶ παγίως ὀρθοῦντες, ὅσα ἐλεύθερα καὶ ἀδούλωτα φύσει φρονήματα]

Philo of Alexandria (AD c. 20-50) Hellenistic Jewish philosopher [Philo Judaeus]
On Dreams, That They Are God-Sent [Quod a Deo Mittantur Somnia or De Somniis], Book 2, ch. 12 [2.78-79] [tr. @sentantiq]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.: "In real truth, as spirited horses lift their necks high, so all who are companions of vain opinion place themselves above all things, above all cities, and laws, and national customs, and above all the circumstances which affect each individual of them. Then proceeding onwards from being demagogues to being leaders of the people, and overthrowing the things which belong to their neighbours, and setting up and establishing on a solid footing what belongs to themselves, that is to say, all such dispositions as are free and by nature impatient of slavery, they attempt to reduce these also under their power." [Yonge (1855)]
 
Added on 8-Jun-20 | Last updated 8-Jun-20
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