Somebody will say, “Oh, freedom…”


By Scott Robertson

If you’ve read 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, in general, are far smarter, more articulate, and more interesting than I am. So, on this Independence Day – with profound thanks to all those who’ve protected American freedom for more than 200 years – here are a few words on the notion of Liberty, and the fact that freedom isn’t free.

• Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel.
-Patrick Henry

• I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free.
– Abraham Lincoln 

• There is only one cure for the ills which freedom produces; and that is freedom.  – Lord Macaulay 

• A professor once said, “People are not interested in freedom, but in ham and eggs.” Ten years in prison with only ham and eggs would cure that.  – Salvador de Madariaga

• Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. – Ronald Reagan

• Liberty of speech inviteth and provoketh liberty to be used again, and so bringeth much to a man’s knowledge.
– Sir Francis Bacon 

• The most beautiful thing in the world is freedom of speech. – Diogenes 

• To speak his thoughts is every free man’s right, in peace and war, in council and in fight.  – Homer

• If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.
– George Washington

• I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.  – Voltaire 

• The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance.  – John Philpot Curran

• Freedom is fragile and must be protected. To sacrifice it, even as a temporary measure, is to betray it.
– Germaine Greer 

• Freedom is a condition of mind, and the best way to secure it is to breed it.  – Elbert Hubbard

• It is better to die on your feet than live on your knees.
– Dolores Ibarruri 

• Liberty must at all hazards be supported. We have a right to it, derived from our Maker. But if we had not, our fathers have earned and bought it for us, at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, and their blood.
– John Adams 

• We have confused the free with the free and easy.
– Adlai Stevenson 

• Liberty without learning is always in peril and learning without liberty is always in vain. – John F. Kennedy

• Liberty does not consist in mere declarations of the rights of man. It consists in the translation of those declarations into definite action. – Woodrow Wilson

• For what avail the plough or sail, or land or life, if freedom fail? – Ralph Waldo Emerson 

• The greatest glory of a freeborn people is to transmit that freedom to their children. – William Havard

• He only earns his freedom and existence who daily conquers them anew. – Goethe 

• O Freedom! Once thy flame hath fled, it never lights again.
– Thomas Moore

• When men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon. – Thomas Paine 

• One should never put on one’s best trousers to go out to battle for freedom and truth.
– Henrik Ibsen

• If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
– George Orwell

• We must plan for freedom, not merely for security, if for no other reason than that only freedom can make security secure. – George Popper

• They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
– Benjamin Franklin


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