"What light is to the eyes-what air is to the lungs-what love is to the heart, liberty is to the soul of man."

Robert G. Ingersoll


"Love of liberty defies analysis.....It is something one must feel, and logic has no part in it"

Alexis de Tocqueville

The Old Regime



"Make yourself sheep and the wolves will eat you."

Benjamin Franklin


"Let us remember that "if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom," It is a very serious consideration....that millions yet unborn may be the miserable sharers of the event."

-Samuel Adams


"Nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people."

-John Quincy Adams


"The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse."

-Edmund Burke


"To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude."

-Thomas Jefferson


"Liberty, when men act in bodies, is Power."

-Edmund Burke


"However sugarcoated and ambiguous, every form of authoritarianism must start with a belief in some group’s greater right to power, whether that right is justified by sex, race, class, religion or all four."

Gloria Steinem


"It takes courage to do what you want. Other people have a lot of plans for you. Nobody wants you to do what you want to do."

-Joseph Campbell


"They make a rout about universal liberty, without considering that all that is to be valued, or indeed can be enjoyed by individuals , is private liberty."

Thomas Jefferson


"It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasion of it in the case of others."

Thomas Jefferson 1803


"The only liberty an inferior man really cherishes is the liberty to quit work, stretch out in the sun, and scratch himself."

H.L. Mencken


"What country before, ever existed a century and a half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? 

Thomas Jefferson (Letter to Colonel William Smith, 1787)


"The populace does not greatly care for liberty."

Ezra Pound



"Be not intimidated, therefore, by any terrors, from publishing with the utmost freedom whatever can be warranted by the laws of your country; nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberty by any pretences of politeness, delicacy or decency. These, as they are often used, are but the different names for hypocrisy, chicanery and cowardice."

John Adams



"The liberty of the individual is no gift of civilization. It was greatest before there was any civilization."

Sigmund Freud


"The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedience, and by parts."

Edmund burke (1729-97)


"The effect of liberty to individuals is that they may do what they please: we ought to see what it will please them to do, before we risk congratulations."

Edmund Burke


"The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime, and the punishment of his guilt."

John Philpot Curran (1750-1817)


"The ingrained idea that, because there is no king and they despise titles, the Americans are a free people is pathetically untrue….There is a perpetual interference with personal liberty over there that would not be tolerated in England for a week."

Margot Asquith (1864-1945)

My Impressions of America 1922

(At the beginning of the 21st Century Americans are generally gaga over titles….more so than Europeans)


"I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death."

Patrick Henry (speech Mar 23, 1775)


"Then we are assured by Sartre that owing to the final disappearance of God our liberty is absolute! At this the entire audience waves its hat or claps its hands. But this natural enthusiasm is turned abruptly into some-thing much less buoyant when it is learnt that this liberty weighs us down immediately with tremendous responsibilities. We now have to take all God’s worries on our shoulders-now that we are become "men like gods." It is at this point that the Anxiety and Despondency begin, ending in utter despair."

Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957)

Twentieth Century Nihilism 1952


" "Among a people generally corrupt, liberty cannot long exist."

Edmund Burke


"You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments, rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human law; rights derived from the Great Legislator of the Universe."

John Adams


"Our "inalienable’ rights are being systematically alienated. Never has an American government been so busy interfering with the private lives of its citizens, subjecting them to mandatory blood, urine, lie-detector tests. Yet the war on drugs has nothing at all to do with drugs. It is part of an all-out war on the American people by a government interested only in control."

Gore Vidal


"On the excuse, or the belief, that America was honeycombed with secret enemy agents, Congress passed the Espionage and Sedition Acts in 1917-18, which made it a crime to print, write, or publish and "disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the forms of government of the United States, or the Constitution....or the military forces....or the flag....or the uniform of the Army and Navy...."

   The states went even further with laws against anarchy and sedition, which, combined with federal laws against interfering with the drafting of men for the armed forces, made it a crime "to advocate heavier taxation instead of (war) bond state that conscription was say that the sinking of merchant vessels was urge that referendum should have preceded our declaration of war...." or "to say that war was contrary to the teachings of Christ."

   Under these laws , the government arrested some 1,500 Americans for disloyalty. Among those sentenced to lengthy prison terms were Eugene V. Debs of Indiana, the leader of the Socialist party, for threatening that Socialists would not support the war; and Victor L. Berger of Wisconsin, the first Socialist to be elected to Congress, for writing articles against the war. A 21-year-old girl, who passed out pamphlets attacking President Wilson and opposing America's intervention in Europe, was sentenced to 15 years in jail. 

   Besides the "official crusade" against sedition , there was the unofficial spy hunting that kept busybodies of both sexes busy. Not only was it a wonderful opportunity to use "patriotism" in neighborhood quarrels, but also an ideal time to exercise personal grudges. German-Americans, who did as much to support the war effort as any other group, took the brunt of it and suffered the most. Armchair patriots, indulging in a hate campaign, even went so far as to promote the passing of state laws forbidding the teaching of German in schools and colleges, the selling of German books, and the playing of German music."

 George Bruce Woodin

The Shady Side of A,merica


"Any man who in our day pretends that liberty can be based on anything save financial liberty, is a traitor to the race and criminally ignorant."

Ezra Pound


"When Liberty is gone,

Life grows insipid and lost its relish."



"A State which dwarfs its men, in order they may be more docile instruments in its hands even for beneficial purposes, will find that no great thing can really be accomplished."

John Stuart Mill

On Liberty


"The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion."

Edmund Burke (1784)


"Nothing can take precedence of the question of liberty. No interest is so momentous as that which involves ‘the life of the soul’: no object so glorious as the restoration of a man to himself."

William Lloyd Garrison


"It is a fair summary of history to say that the safeguards of liberty have frequently been forged in controversies involving not very nice people."

Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter


"Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties."

John Milton


"Liberty is the one thing you can’t have unless you give it to others."

William Allen White


"Experience teaches us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent."

Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis


                                 Liberty Is Order, Liberty Is Strength

                     from Charles James Fox    (1749-1806)

   Liberty is order. Liberty is strength. Look round the world, and admire, as you must, the instructive spectacle. You will see that liberty not only is power and order, but that it is power and order predominant and invincible, and that it derides all other sources of strength. And shall the preposterous imagination be fostered , that men bred in liberty-the first of human kind who asserted the glorious distinction of forming for themselves their social compact-can be condemned to silence upon their rights? Is it to be conceived that men who have enjoyed, for such a length of days, the light and happiness of freedom, can be restrained, and shut up again in the gloom of ignorance and degradation? As well, sir, might you try, by a miserable dam, to shut up the flowing of a rapid river! The rolling and impetuous tide would burst through every impediment that man might throw in its way; and the only consequence of the impotent attempt would be, that, having collected new force by its temporary suspension, enforcing itself through new channels, it would spread devastation and ruin on every side. The progress of liberty is like the progress of the stream. Kept within its bounds, it is sure to fertilize the country through which it runs; but no power can arrest it in its passage; and short-sighted, as well as wicked, must be the heart of the projector that would strive to divert its course."

Charles James Fox


"The people have no need for liberty. Liberty is one of the forms of the bourgeois dictatorship. In a state worthy of a name there is no liberty."



"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, your are ruined."

Patrick Henry


"The famous tree of liberty is all that we have ever really had. Now, for want of nurture, it is dying before our eyes. Of course, the Sky-god never liked it. But some of us did-and some of us do. So, perhaps, through facing who and what we are, we may achieve a nation not under God but under man-or should I say our common humanity."

Gore Vidal (the Nation, July 13,1992)


"A people may prefer a free government, but if, from indolence, or carelessness, or cowardice, or want of public spirit, they are unequal to the exertions necessary for preserving it; it they will not fight for it when it is directly attacked; if they can be deluded by the artifices used to cheat them out of it; if by momentary discouragement, or temporary panic, or a fit of enthusiasm for an individual, they can be induced to lay their liberties at the feet of even a great man, or trust him with powers which enable him to subvert their institutions; in all these cases they are more or less unfit for liberty; and though it may be for their good to have had it even for a short time, they are unlikely long to enjoy it."

John Stuart Mill


"What is politics, after all, but the compulsion to preside over property and make other people’s decisions for them? LIBERTY, the very opposite of ownership and control, cannot, then, result from political action, either at the polls or the barricades, but rather evolves out of attitude. If it results from anything, it may be levity."

Tom Robbins

Skinny Legs and All


" When we resist….concentration of power, we are resisting the power of death, because concentration of power is what always precedes the destruction of human liberty."

Woodrow Wilson


"The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on earth, and not 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 common wealth; 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

Two Treatises on Government (1690)


"The new rights of man are given out as coming to complete those already proclaimed in the eighteenth century. But the least reflection is sufficient to show that in fact they contradict and abrogate them. The old ones, in decreeing liberty, made each man the sole master of his own actions; the state could not guarantee their consequences, which had to be borne by the individual alone. Whereas, on the other hand, if the state is to guarantee to a man what the consequences of his actions shall be, it must take control of his activities. In the first case, a man is thought of as an adult, he is freed from tutelage and left to face the risks of life himself. Whereas, in the second, the purpose is to keep him out of the way of risks; he is treated as an incapable and put in leading-strings."

Bertrand de Jouvenel

On Power: The Natural History of Its Growth


"To argue against any breach of liberty from the ill use that may be made of it, is to argue against liberty itself, since all is capable of being abused."

Lord George Lyttleton


"Whenever the legislators endeavor to take away and destroy the property of the people, or to reduce them to slavery under arbitrary power, they put themselves into a state of war with the people, who are thereupon absolved from any further obedience, and are left to the common refuge absolved which God hath provided for all men against force and violence. Whensoever, therefore, the legislative shall transgress this fundamental rule of society, and either by ambition, fear, folly, or corruption, endeavor to grasp themselves, or put into the hands of any other, an absolute power over the lives, liberties, and the estates of the people, by this breach of trust they forfeit the power the people had put into their hands for quite contrary ends, and it devolves to the people, who have a right to resume their original liberty, and by the establishment of a new legislative (such as they shall think fit) provide for their own safety and security, which is the end for which they are in society."

John Locke

Two Treatises on Government


"Many politicians of our time are in the habit of laying it down as a self-evident proposition, that no people ought to be free till they are fit to use their freedom. The maxim is worthy of the fool in the old story, who resolved not to go into the water till he had learned to swim. If men are to wait for liberty till they become wise and good in slavery, they may indeed wait forever."

Thomas Babington Macaulay


"The greatest violator of the principles of equal liberty is the State. Its functions are to control, to rule, to dictate, to regulate, and in exercising these functions it interferes with and injures individuals who have done no wrong."

Charles T. Spalding


"Liberty has never come from government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of government. The history of liberty is the history of resistance."

Woodrow Wilson


"Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny."

Edmund Burke



By Walter E. Williams (professor of economics at George Mason University in Fairfax VA. E-mail:


….If one group of people prefers government control and management of people’s lives, and another prefers liberty and a desire to be left alone, should they be required to fight, antagonize one another, and risk bloodshed and loss of life in order to impose their preferences, or should they be able to peaceably part company and go their separate ways?

Like a marriage that has gone bad. I believe there are enough irreconcilable differences between those who want to control and those who want to be left alone that divorce is the only peaceable alternative. Just as in a marriage, where vows are broken, our human rights protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution have been grossly violated by a government instituted to protect them


…Americans who wish to live free have two options: We can resist, fight and risk bloodshed to force America’s tyrants to respect our liberties and human rights, or we can seek a peaceful resolution of our irreconcilable differences by separating. That can be done by peopling several states, say Texas and Louisiana, controlling their legislatures and then issuing a unilateral declaration of independence just as the Founders did in 1776.

Liberty shouldn’t require a vote. It’s a God-given or natural right.


"I say we are slaves. All of us. And in bewildering ways, our bondage is more pernicious than the slavery of old, for New American Slave embraces the myth of his freedom as he would a dead puppy and, with all affection, speaks to it as if it were alive."

Gerry Spence

Give Me Liberty!*




By Ed Quillen The Denver Post April 29,2001


"It’s hard to predict just which date a future historian will find significant, but when the book "How America Became a Police State" is written, last Tuesday will doubtless get prominent mention.

On April 24,2001, the U.S. Supreme Court further empowered police by ruling that police do not have to get a warrant before arresting someone for a minor traffic offense.

The offense at issue was committed by a Texas woman, Gail Atwater, who let her children ride in a pickup without buckling their seat belts.

A cop noticed the unbelted kids and pulled her over. Instead of just issuing a citation, he arrested her-the full drill with handcuffs and a trip to the police station, where she had to post bond before she could be released from jail.

Once you’re under arrest, the police have the right to search the immediate premises, without the trouble of finding a compliant judge to issue a search warrant.

So, we start with a minor traffic offense, which causes an arrest, followed by the power to search without getting a warrant. Does this violate the Fourth Amendment, which holds that "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated….."?

By a 5-4 margin, the U.S. Supreme Court said there’s no violation of the Fourth Amendment if a cop sees you change lanes without using your turn signal, pulls you over, cuffs you and hauls you to jail, and searches your car.

Even Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, a Reagan appointee, was appalled by this reasoning. "A minor traffic infraction may often serve as an excuse for stopping and harassing an individual," she wrote. "After today, the arsenal available to any officer extends to a full arrest and the searches permissible concomitant to that arrest."

So they search you and find some cash in your wallet. Since about 80% of the paper money in the United States carries traces of cocaine, the odds are high that you’re transporting drugs in a zero-tolerance legal system.

They can confiscate your money and car, and the litigation to get your property returned is long and expensive.

And the beauty of this, from the police perspective, is that they get to keep the money for their own purposes. They can sell the car, or if it’s something cool like a Corvette or a Mercedes, they can keep it for "official purposes" like the police chief going to and from work.

Most states recognize the possibility for abuse in this arrangement, and some require the money to go to the general fund or to fund education, not the law-enforcement-agency in question.

But there’s a way around this for your friendly local cops who covet cars and money. They invite the feds to participate in the arrest. The proceeds then go into the "Federal Drug Enforcement Forfeiture Fund," and 80% of that money goes back to the participating local law-enforcement agency.

Thus police are able to fund themselves by arrests and seizures, and the "power of the purse" that elected bodies are supposed to exercise has been rendered impotent.

Nor should we forget that in Denver, if a police officer dies, the district attorney will find someone to hang, even if that someone was in police custody at the time-just ask Lisl Auman.

But if a citizen dies as a result of police gunfire, the district attorney starts applying whitewash by the barrel-just ask the surviving relatives of Jeff Truax and Ismael Mena.

And there are the special rights available to the police when they’re questioning you. It’s illegal for you to lie to the police because you’re thereby obstructing justice. But the courts have held that it’s legal for the police to lie to you. Talk about a stacked deck.

Add all this up, and we live in a country where there are thousands of laws, so many that it’s impossible to avoid breaking one or more of them on a simple errand like going to the post office.

And once you’re seen breaking even the least of these laws, you can be arrested and searched, and be questioned by people who have the right to deceive you while holding you accountable for every word. And then your money and property can be confiscated, and the police get to keep the proceeds for their own purposes. And the courts will not protect you.

When I was a schoolboy during the peak years of the Cold War, they told us that this was how the Soviet Union operated-it was a police state, not a nation where individuals had constitutional rights.

So you have to wonder these days just which side really won the Cold War. American police aren’t there to protect your life, liberty or property-they’re a threat to all three, and nothing appears likely to stop this from getting worse."

Ed Quillen 


"Overgrown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to Republican liberty."

President George Washington, Farewell Address, September 17, 1796


"We have underestimated the talent and tenacity of those who seek to make dependents for us all. If liberty is to grow again in America, we must, like those who signed the Declaration of Independence, choose to commit "our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor" to that noble effort. Renewing liberty will be a tremendous struggle, requiring the best in each of us to make it happen. And in that ceaseless struggle, each American faces "the glory of the choice."

Charlotte Twight

Dependent on D.C.


   Challenge To Liberty,1938

San Francisco, California

April 8, 1938

Excerpt from a Speech by Herbert Hoover

..."If we had an up-to-date authoritarian state, there are still other possibilities of discomfort. Then your soul belongs generally to the state. If you carry over the old idea that perhaps it belongs to you, then you go to a concentration camp to rest your nerves. If you are a farmer you plant what the agricultural policeman tells you to plant. And you raise the pigs and cows he things are good for the state. If you are a worker you work where you are told. And you work the hours you are told. And you get the wages you are told. Your trade union having been dissolved you can belong to a government recreation project. You will also be taught to sing cheerful songs in the recreation hours and to march all about. You have social security if you conform. If you do not conform you get security in concentration camp. You will be secure anyway. So as not to have your doubts raised and your feelings harried by critics of this more redundant life they are just put away in the same concentration camps. Your freedom of speech is a sort of a one-way street. You do gain something by saving half the public speeches in the country by doing away with all those of the opposition. Your newspaper contains what the all-powerful thinks is good for your soul. And your books are carefully chosen that your economic and romantic feelings shall not be polluted. If you kick about the way the government does it you will be placed under protective arrest to prevent harm coming to you........

Herbert Hoover


Book:" Dependent on D.C. " The Rise of Federal Control Over the Lives of Ordinary Americans" by Charlotte A. Twight

Book: "Liberty Under Siege" by Walter Karp

Book: "Liberty and Freedom" by David Hackett Fischer

Book: "THE AMERICAN COUNTERREVOLUTION: A Retreat from Liberty. 1783-1800

Book: "Alexis De Tocqueville: A Historical Appreciation" by John Lukacs

Book: "Contemporary Currents in Libertarian Political Philosophy" by David Gorden

Book: "Inside The Shadow Government: National Emergencies and the Cult of Secrecy" by Harry Helms

Book: "Terrorism and the Constitution: Sacrificing Civil Liberties in the Name of National Security" by D. Cole & J.X. Dempsey

Book: "Utopia and Liberty" by Kingsley Widmer

Book: "The Language of Liberty: The Political Speeches and Writings of Abraham Lincoln" Ed. by Joseph R. Fomieri

Book: "The Naked Crowd: Reclaiming Security and Freedom in an Anxious Age" by Jeffrey Rosen

Book: "The War On The Bill Of Rights: And the Gathering Resistance" by Nat Hentoff

Book: "Lost Liberties: Ashcroft and the Assault on Personal Freedom" Ed. by Cynthia Brown

Book: "The Soft Cage: Surveillance in America From Slavery to the War on Terror" by Christian Parenti

Book: "Liberty & Freedom" by David Hackett Fischer

© 2001




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