Everyone values freedom, not just libertarians or those on the political Right. It is absolutely fundamental, as evidenced by the amount of literature dedicated to it since the time of the ancient Greeks. As well, wars have been fought and millions have perished fighting for what they perceived to be their freedom. The U.S. Bill of Rights and the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights are rife with language that evokes the natural rights human beings have to choose their own way, and to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Property, health, welfare, peace, and a job might also be considered our due rights. However, one cannot simply look up the word “rights” or “liberty” in the dictionary and get a clear understanding. It takes one additional mental step, and a bit of time. To that end, below you will find a very diverse sample of intriguing quotes about freedom:
“When the freedom they wish for most was the freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and never was again.” ~ Edith Hamilton
“The USA Patriot Act is the most massive violation of civil liberties in our history.” ~ Bob Barr
“At the heart of the First Amendment is the recognition of the fundamental importance of the free flow of ideas and opinions on matters of public interest and concern. The freedom to speak one’s mind is not only an aspect of individual liberty – and thus a good unto itself – but also is essential to the common quest for truth and the vitality of society as a whole.” ~ William H. Rehnquist
“The awesome physical damage Osama and company did to us on Dark Tuesday [September 11, 2001] is nothing compared to the knockout blow to our vanishing civil liberties – the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1996 combined with the recent requests to Congress for additional special powers to wiretap without judicial order; to deport lawful permanent residents, visitors, and undocumented immigrants without due process; and so on.” ~ Gore Vidal
“I believe that liberty is the only genuinely valuable thing that men have invented, at least in the field of government, in a thousand years. I believe that it is better to be free than to not be free, even when the former is dangerous and the latter safe. I believe that the finest qualities of man can flourish only in free air – that progress made under the shadow of the policeman’s club is false progress, and of no permanent value. I believe that any man who takes the liberty of another into his keeping is bound to become a tyrant, and that any man who yields up his liberty, in however slight the measure, is bound to become a slave.” ~ H. L. Mencken
“The mental and the moral, like the muscular powers, are improved only by being used.… He who lets the world, or his own portion of it, choose his plan of life for him has no need of any other faculty than the ape-like one of imitation. He who chooses his plan for himself employs all his faculties.” ~ John Stuart Mill
“As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy.” ~ Abraham Lincoln
“If a man knowingly prefers to live for today, to use his resources for current enjoyment, deliberately choosing a penurious old age, by what right do we prevent him from doing so?” ~ Milton Friedman
“Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.” ~ George Washington Carver
“When we act autonomously, according to a law we give ourselves, we do something for its own sake, as an end in itself. We cease to be instruments of purposes given outside us. This capacity to act autonomously is what gives human life its special dignity.” ~ Michael J. Sandel
“Freedom is most dramatically illustrated in the ‘heroic’ actions, like Socrates’ decision to drink the hemlock rather than compromise; but even more significant is the undramatic, steady day-to-day exercise of freedom on the part of any person developing toward psychological and spiritual integration in a distraught society like our own.” ~ Rollo May
“Nobody with any sense likes to go to jail. But if he puts you in jail, you go in that jail and transform it from a dungeon of shame to a haven of freedom and dignity!” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
“The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but to have only the law of nature for his rule. The liberty of man, in society, is to be under no other legislative power, but that established, by consent, in the commonwealth; nor under the dominion of any will, or restraint of any law, but what that legislative shall enact, according to the trust put in it.” ~ John Locke
“Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.” ~ Søren Kierkegaard
This is but a minority of the fascinating and diverse quotes about freedom here at Values of the Wise. Spend a few minutes searching on your own for concepts such as liberty, freedom, and individuality in The Wisdom Archive. It’s free, and greatly facilitates lifelong learning.
“We’ve gone astray from first principles. We’ve lost sight of the rule that individual freedom and ingenuity are at the very core of everything that we’ve accomplished.” ~ Ronald Reagan
“Freedom is not the last word. Freedom is only part of the story and half of the truth. The positive aspect of freedom is responsibility.”~ Viktor Frankl
“Who’s the engineer on the Freedom Train?/ Can a coal black man drive the Freedom Train?/ Or am I still a porter on the Freedom Train?/ Are there ballot boxes on the Freedom Train?/ When it stops in Mississippi will it be made plain/ Everybody’s got a right to board the Freedom Train?” ~ Langston Hughes
“If we do not believe in freedom of speech for those we despise, we do not believe in it at all.” ~ Noam Chomsky
“Put simply, we have no power to extend Second Amendment protection to the weapons of war.” ~ Robert King
“You don’t get something for nothing/ You can’t have freedom for free/ You won’t get wise with the sleep still in your eyes/ No matter what your dreams might be.” ~ Neil Peart
“None can love freedom heartily, but good men – the rest love not freedom, but license.” ~ John Milton
“It is easy to see how resting rights on utilitarian calculations leaves rights vulnerable. If the only reason to respect my right to religious liberty is to promote the general happiness, what happens if someday a large majority despises my religion and wants to ban it?” ~ Michael J. Sandel
“A conservative will be particularly alert to moments when governments remove liberties for the sake of something called ‘security,’ or when the executive branch declares itself above the law or free to ignore the law, or detains people without trial or [spurns] habeas corpus.” ~ Andrew Sullivan
“When you enter the low-wage workplace—and many of the medium-wage workplaces as well—you check your civil liberties at the door, leave America and all it supposedly stands for behind, and learn to zip your lips for the duration of your shift.” ~ Barbara Ehrenreich
You appreciate quotes about freedom. You are invited to search for the keywords liberty, freedom, and individuality in The Wisdom Archive. You may be surprised by what you find!
“…Attorney General Ashcroft said, ‘We’re not sacrificing civil liberties. We’re securing civil liberties.’ Then, Orwellian-like, they swing into action. Arrests without charges. Imprisonment indefinitely without lawyers. Secret indefinite jailings for people who were just considered ‘material witnesses,’ not accused of any crimes.” ~ Ralph Nader
“The government was set to protect man from criminals – and the Constitution was written to protect man from the government.” ~ Ayn Rand
“Consider this analogy: Just because a dialysis patient needs one of my kidneys more than I do (assuming I have two healthy ones) doesn’t mean he has a right to it. Nor may the state lay claim to one of my kidneys to help a patient, however urgent and pressing his needs may be. Why not? Because it’s mine.” ~ Michael J. Sandel
“I am not for a return to that definition of liberty under which, for many years, a free people was being gradually regimented into the service of a privileged few. I prefer that broader definition of liberty.” ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt
“…if there could be such a thing as socialism combined with individual liberty, I would be a socialist still. For nothing could be better than living a modest, simple, and free life in an egalitarian society. It took some time before I recognized this as no more than a beautiful dream; that freedom is more important than equality; that the attempt to realize equality endangers freedom; and that if freedom is lost there will not even be equality among the unfree.” ~ Karl Popper
“We have a Bill of Rights. What we need is a Bill of Responsibilities.” ~ Bill Maher
“Our wills are simply not of our own making. Thoughts and intentions emerge from background causes of which we are unaware and over which we exert no conscious control. We do not have the freedom we think we have.” ~ Sam Harris
“I am free in performing an action if I could have done otherwise if I had chosen to.” ~ G. E. Moore
“’Emergencies’ have always been the pretext on which the safeguards of individual liberty have been eroded.” ~ Friedrich von Hayek
How’s that for a diverse and compelling sample of quotes about freedom!? Search for the keywords liberty, freedom, and individuality in The Wisdom Archive, only at Values of the Wise, and always free.
Here is a link to a page about individuality. You may even find a few quotes about freedom there.
keyword: quotes about liberty, quotes about freedom, quotes about autonomy, quotes about individuality