Sunday, April 22, 2018 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Learned Hand

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It is still in the lap of the gods whether a society can succeed which is based on "civil liberties and human rights" conceived as I have tried to describe them; but of one thing at least we may be sure: the alternatives that have so far appeared have been immeasurably worse.
--
"A Fanfare for Prometheus" (29 January 1955).

 
Learned Hand

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If by a "Liberal" they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a "Liberal," then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal."

 
John F. Kennedy
 

When you expand the civil-rights struggle to the level of human rights, you can then take the case of the black man in this country before the nations in the UN. You can take it before the General Assembly. You can take Uncle Sam before a world court. But the only level you can do it on is the level of human rights. Civil rights keeps you under his restrictions, under his jurisdiction. Civil rights keeps you in his pocket. Civil rights means you’re asking Uncle Sam to treat you right. Human rights are something you were born with. Human rights are your God-given rights. Human rights are the rights that are recognized by all nations of this earth. And any time any one violates your human rights, you can take them to the world court.

 
Malcolm X
 

When you expand the civil-rights struggle to the level of human rights, you can then take the case of the black man in this country before the nations in the UN. You can take it before the General Assembly. You can take Uncle Sam before a world court. But the only level you can do it on is the level of human rights. Civil rights keeps you under his restrictions, under his jurisdiction. Civil rights keeps you in his pocket. Civil rights means you’re asking Uncle Sam to treat you right. Human rights are something you were born with. Human rights are your God-given rights. Human rights are the rights that are recognized by all nations of this earth. And any time any one violates your human rights, you can take them to the world court.

 
Malcolm (Malcolm Little) X
 

...I think the basic question you ask is a good one: if we were to withdraw our own beating people over the heads with clubs, would it necessarily follow that somebody else would take that role, or are there other alternatives? Well yeah, there are other alternatives. For example, the alternatives that are favored by the overwhelming majority of the population of the United States. I mentioned one piece of it: let the UN function. The UN isn't perfect, a lot of things wrong with it, just like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights isn't perfect... But one step would be to pay some respect to the "decent opinion of mankind", to quote the famous author, and let international institutions function so as to reduce the likelihood that anybody will use force...

 
Noam Chomsky
 

We physicians have focused on the nuclear threat as the singular issue of our era. We are not indifferent to other human rights and hard-won civil liberties. But first we must be able to bequeath to our children the most fundamental of all rights, which preconditions all others; the right to survival.

 
Bernard Lown
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