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★ Civil Liberties & Civil Rights

Civil Liberties & Civil Rights: see Liberty & Rights & Citizen & Freedom & Law & Government & Free Speech & Free Assembly & Politics & Human Rights & Constitution & Dissent & Protest & Unemployment & Magna Carta & Black Panthers & Detention & Arrest & Custody & Offence

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You can only protect your liberties in this world by protecting the other mans freedom.  You can only be free if I am free.  Cesar Chavez

 

 

Next to the right of liberty, the right of property is the most important individual right guaranteed by the Constitution and the one which, united with that of personal liberty, has contributed more to the growth of civilisation than any other institution established by the human race.  William Howard Taft

 

 

You talk about giving the people their rights as if you can make a present of their liberty, as a reward for services rendered.  Citizen Kane 1941 starring Orson Welles & Joseph Cotten & Dorothy Comingore & Ray Collins & Paul Stewart & Everett Sloane & Agnes Moorehead et al, director Orson Welles

 

 

Liberty is never unalienable; it must be redeemed regularly with the blood of patriots or it always vanishes.  Of all the so-called natural human rights that have ever been invented, liberty is least likely to be cheap and is never free of cost.  Robert A Heinlein, Starship Troopers 

 

 

More stringent security measures.  Universal electronic surveillance.  No-knock laws.  Stop and frisk laws.  Government inspection of first-class mail.  Automatic fingerprinting, photographing, blood tests, and urinalysis of any person arrested before he is charged with a crime.  A law making it unlawful to resist even unlawful arrest.  Laws establishing detention camps for potential subversives.  Gun control laws.  Restrictions on travel.  The assassinations, you see, establish the need for such laws in the public mind.  Instead of realizing that there is a conspiracy, conducted by a handful of men, the people reason – or are manipulated into reasoning – that the entire population must have its freedom restricted in order to protect the leaders.  The people agree that they themselves can't be trusted.  Robert Anton Wilson, The Eye in the Pyramid

 

 

Unjust laws exist; shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?  Men generally, under such a government as this, think that they ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them.  They think that, if they should resist, the remedy would be worse than the evil.  But it is the fault of the government itself that the remedy is worse than the evil.  It makes it worse.  Why is it not more apt to anticipate and provide for reform?  Why does it not cherish its wise minority?  Why does it cry and resist before it is hurt?  Why does it not encourage its citizens to be on the alert to point out its faults, and do better than it would have them?  Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience and Other Essays 

 

 

Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty.  The obedient must be slaves.  Henry David Thoreau   

 

 

Our civil rights have no dependence upon our religious opinions more than our opinions in physics or geometry.  Thomas Jefferson 

 

 

Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.  I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.  Thomas Jefferson

 

 

All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.  Thomas Jefferson 

 

 

Religious institutions that use government power in support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights.  Moreover, state support of an established religion tends to make the clergy unresponsive to their own people, and leads to corruption within religion itself.  Erecting the ‘wall of separation between church and state’ therefore is absolutely essential in a free society.  Thomas Jefferson

 

 

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.  Thomas Jefferson

 

 

Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of Liberty.  Thomas Jefferson 

 

 

In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty.  He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection of his own.  Thomas Jefferson

 

 

The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.  Thomas Jefferson

 

 

It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others: or their case may, by change of circumstances, become his own.  Thomas Jefferson

 

 

First, individual rights cannot be sacrificed for the sake of the general good, and second, the principles of justice that specify these rights cannot be premised on any particular vision of the good life.  What justifies the rights is not that they maximize the general welfare or otherwise promote the good, but rather that they comprise a fair framework within which individuals and groups can choose their own values and ends, consistent with a similar liberty for others.  Michael J Sandel, Liberalism and Its Critics

 

 

Some of us have to fight.  There are great traditions of liberty to defend.  I am no partisan man.  Where I see the infamy I seek to erase it.  Party names mean nothing.  The tradition of liberty means all.  The common people will let it go, oh yes.  They will sell liberty for a quieter life.  That is why they must be prodded, prodded.  Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange 

 

 

The object of this Essay is to assert one very simple principle, as entitled to govern absolutely the dealings of society with the individual in the way of compulsion and control, whether the means used be physical force in the form of legal penalties, or the moral coercion of public opinion.  That principle is, that the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection.  That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.  His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant.  He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinions of others, to do so would be wise, or even right.  These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting him with any evil, in case he do otherwise.  To justify that, the conduct from which it is desired to deter him must be calculated to produce evil to someone else.  The only part of the conduct of any one, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others.  In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute.  Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.  John Stuart Mill, On Liberty 

 

Liberty consists in doing what one desires.  ibid.

 

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

 

 

I favour the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and it must be enforced at gunpoint if necessary.  Ronald Reagan

 

 

I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited.  There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.  Ronald Reagan

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