Compiled by Scott Robertson
I was in London recently when the tour bus I was riding in was unexpectedly re-routed. A group of wheelchair-bound individuals had left their chairs and were lying in the middle of St. Margaret Street in front of the Houses of Parliament to protest the lack of disabled access to certain public buildings.
As the tour bus driver executed a neat three-point turn to point us back in the direction from whence we had come (try doing that in a double-decker bus sometime) another American tourist, clearly annoyed that our trip by Big Ben was being interrupted, asked the tour guide, “Can’t the police do something about these people?”
The tour guide replied, “Ah, well, you see, we are a free country, and as such, we allow protests to occur. If laws are broken, the protestors will be arrested, but as far as the right to freedom of speech goes, we tend to err on the side of freedom.”
I must admit, I was as annoyed as my fellow American at the fact our schedule had been thrown off, but I also had to admit the Brits had their priorities straight. We Americans call our country the land of the free, not the land of the orderly. I was ashamed that somebody from the country we seceded from got to lecture us about liberty.
If you’ve been reading this column for any length of time, (and thank you for doing so) then you’re probably aware that on certain major holidays, I choose to devote the space to quotes regarding the holiday made by people who are far smarter, more articulate, and more interesting than I am. And with July 4 coming up, the timing couldn’t be better.
So without further ado, a few words on the concept of freedom, and the fact that in America, Liberty shouldn’t just be a statue.
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free. – Ronald Reagan
We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it. – William Faulkner
Give me liberty or give me death. – Patrick Henry
Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it. – George Bernard Shaw
Ubi libertas, ibi patria (Where liberty dwells, there is my country). – Latin, author unknown
Freedom exists only where the people take care of the government. – Woodrow Wilson
Those who do not move, do not notice their chains. – Rosa Luxemburg
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin
We are not to expect to be translated from despotism to liberty in a feather bed. – Thomas Jefferson
I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. – Voltaire
Lean Liberty is better than fat slavery. – Thomas Fuller
It is better to die on your feet than live on your knees. – Jean-Paul Sartre
Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. – Frederick Douglass
Irreverence is the champion of liberty and its only sure defense. – Samuel Clemens
America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. – Abraham Lincoln
If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all. – Noam Chomsky
God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it. – Daniel Webster
The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance. – John Philpot Curran
He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression. – Thomas Paine
If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth. – Reagan