Saturday, December 16, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Abbie Hoffman

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You measure democracy by the freedom it gives its dissidents, not the freedom it gives its assimilated conformists.
--
Tikkun (July-August 1989); also quoted in The Best Liberal Quotes Ever : Why the Left is Right (2004) by William P. Martin, p. 51

 
Abbie Hoffman

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Although I consider our political world to be the best of which we have any historical knowledge, we should beware of attributing this fact to democracy or to freedom. Freedom is not a supplier who delivers goods to our door. Democracy does not ensure that anything is accomplished — certainly not an economic miracle. It is wrong and dangerous to extol freedom by telling people that they will certainly be all right once they are free. How someone fares in life is largely a matter of luck or grace, and to a comparatively small degree perhaps also of competence, diligence, and other virtues. The most we can say of democracy or freedom is that they give our personal abilities a little more influence on our well-being.

 
Karl Popper
 

Democracy is not freedom. Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to eat for lunch. Freedom comes from the recognition of certain rights which may not be taken, not even by a 99% vote.

 
Benjamin Franklin
 

One of the basic causes for all the trouble in the world today is that people talk too much and think too little. They act too impulsively without thinking. I am not advocating in the slightest that we become mutes with our voices stilled because of fear of criticism of what we might say. That is moral cowardice. And moral cowardice that keeps us from speaking our minds is as dangerous to this country as irresponsible talk. The right way is not always the popular and easy way. Standing for right when it is unpopular is a true test of moral character. The importance of individual thinking to the preservation of our democracy and our freedom cannot be overemphasized. The broader sense of the concept of your role in the defense of democracy is that of the citizen doing his most for the preservation of democracy and peace by independent thinking, making that thinking articulate by translating it into action at the ballot boxes, in the forums, and in everyday life, and being constructive and positive in that thinking and articulation. The most precious thing that democracy gives to us is freedom. You and I cannot escape the fact that the ultimate responsibility for freedom is personal. Our freedoms today are not so much in danger because people are consciously trying to take them away from us as they are in danger because we forget to use them. Freedom unexercised may be freedom forfeited. The preservation of freedom is in the hands of the people themselves — not of the government.

 
Margaret Chase Smith
 

Even though we come from different places, we share common dreams: to choose our leaders; to live together in peace; to get an education and make a good living; to love our families and our communities. That’s why freedom is not an abstract idea; freedom is the very thing that makes human progress possible -- not just at the ballot box, but in our daily lives.
One of our greatest Presidents in the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, understood this truth. He defined America’s cause as more than the right to cast a ballot. He understood democracy was not just voting. He called upon the world to embrace four fundamental freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. These four freedoms reinforce one another, and you cannot fully realize one without realizing them all.

 
Barack Obama
 

Freedom only for the members of the government, only for the members of the Party — though they are quite numerous — is no freedom at all. Freedom is always the freedom of dissenters. The essence of political freedom depends not on the fanatics of 'justice', but rather on all the invigorating, beneficial, and detergent effects of dissenters. If 'freedom' becomes 'privilege', the workings of political freedom are broken.

 
Rosa Luxemburg
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