Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

"The framers of the Constitution knew that free speech is the friend of change and revolution. But they also knew that it is always the deadliest enemy of tyranny." "If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind." - John Stuart Mill Man did not enter this society to be worse off than he was before, or to have fewer rights than he had before, but to have those rights better secured.  When it comes to the right of the mind, he never surrenders it.

        - Thomas Paine

A free society is a place where it's safe to be unpopular.

- Adlai Stevenson If you don't believe in freedom of speech for speech you loathe, you don't believe in freedom of speech at all. If, on the other hand, like far too many Canadians, you only believe in freedom of speech for fluffy approved pieties, you better be pretty sure that your nice approved speech will remain approved.
        - Mark Steyn

"Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts."
        - Senator Pat Moynihan

"My freedom of speech implies your freedom to be offended."
        - Unknown

"Every man has the right to utter what he thinks truth, and every other man has the right to knock him down for it. Martyrdom is the test."
        - Samuel Johnson

It is an unfortunate side-effect of the benefit of free speech that people tend to think that, because things may be said, it does not matter if they are.
        - Charles Moore, "The Telegraph"

"Culture is worth a little risk."
        - Norman Mailer

We need freedom of we can identify the idiots.

- T. N. In a free country there is much clamour with little suffering; in a despotic state there is little complaint but much suffering.

        - Unknown

If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or change its republican form, let them stand as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.

        - Thomas Jefferson

"Without free speech no search for truth is possible... no discovery of truth is useful. Better a thousandfold abuse of free speech than denial of free speech. The abuse dies in a day, but the denial slays the life of the people, and entombs the hope of the race."

He who sets new limits to the press puts shackles on the arms of liberty and makes one great stride to her destruction.

        - Edmund Burke

When people have no other tyrant, their own public opinion becomes one.

- Edward Bulwer Lytton "When a great truth once gets abroad in the world, no power on earth can imprison it, or prescribe its limits, or suppress it. It is bound to go on till it becomes the thought of the world." If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all. - Noam Chomsky Those who climb soap boxes to preach "tolerance" of all "lifestyles" are typically the most intolerant of all. It is easy enough to prove: simply tell such preachers of intolerance that you have an opposite opinion. - Anon Intellectual freedom is a possession conferring the ability to face up to uncomfortable truths, for nations as for individuals.

        - Roy Foster

The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously.

- Hubert H. Humphrey The whole principle is wrong; it's like demanding that grown men live on skimmed milk because the baby can't eat steak. - Robert Heinlein on censorship. In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. They they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up. - Martin Niemoeller A library is a dangerous place for those who enter with an open mind. To silence criticism is to silence freedom. Alas, how many have been persecuted for the wrong of having been right? "In times when the government imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also the prison." - Henry David Thoreau It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere. -Voltaire "The most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." - Steve Biko Society has come a long way, before they would have burned me, now they are content with just burning my books. "Before quitting the subject of freedom of expression, it is fit to take some notice of those who say, that the free expression of all opinions should be permitted, on condition that the manner be temperate, and do not pass the bounds of fair discussion. Much might be said on the impossibility of fixing where these supposed bounds are to be placed; for if the test be offence to those whose opinion is attacked, I think experience testifies that this offence is given whenever the attack is telling and powerful, and that every opponent who pushes them hard, and whom they find it difficult to answer, appears to them, if he shows any strong feeling on the subject, an intemperate opponent."
        - John Stuart Mill, "On Liberty"

To purchase freedom of thought with human blood and then delegate its exercise to a censor at £400 a year us a procedding which must make the gods laugh.
        - Frank Fowell, "Censorship in England" (1912)

"Personally, I'm no fan of colleges firing professors for their idiotic views (who'd be left?); or of activists launching boycott campaigns to kill off television shows (like Dr Laura); or even patriotic attempts to actually fire (rather than roast) some individuals on the government payroll because of their stupidity or malevolence. But this is still not censorship. Censorship is when the government forbids the expression of certain views, period. It is the punishment of opinion by force. Everything else is the rough-and-tumble of public debate, in which equal measures of glory and ignominy are part of the process.
If the public raises an outcry about the unremitting left-wing bias of NPR, and forces it to change its tune, it's still not censorship. If an editor fires a columnist for endorsing the wrong presidential candidate, it's tough, but not censorship. If the NEA is forced by public pressure not to fund a hedgehog-turd-on-a-rosary as art, it's still not censorship. Losing your job is always tough. But it's not censorship. I say: let's do all we can to ensure that people with whom we disagree are exposed and criticized. Let debate ensue. But please: no whining about censors."

        - Andrew Sullivan


Their's not to make reply,
Their's not to reason why,
Their's but to do and die.

- Alfred Lord Tennyson, "The Charge of the Light Brigade" Nothing in the Constitution compels us to listen to or view any unwanted communication, whatever its merit…The ancient concept that a man’s home is his castle into which not even the king may enter has lost none of its vitality…We therefore categorically reject the argument that a vendor has a right under the Constitution or otherwise to send unwanted material into the home of another. If this prohibition operates to impede the flow of even valid ideas, the answer is that no one has a right to press even good ideas on an unwilling recipient. That we are often captives outside the sanctuary of the home and subject to objectionable speech and other sound does not mean we must be captives everywhere…The asserted right of a mailer, we repeat, stops at the outer boundary of every person’s domain.

        - U.S. Supreme Court: Rowan V US Post Office, 397 U.S. 728

"I am somewhat at a loss to determine what this very respectable gentleman means by political heresies. Does he consider this pamphlet of Mr. Paine's as a canonical book of political scripture? As containing the true doctrine of popular infallibility, from which it would be heretical to depart in one single point? ...I have always understood, sir, that the citizens of these States were possessed of a full and entire freedom of opinion upon all subjects civil as well as religious; they have not yet established any infallible criterion of orthodoxy, either in church or state ... and the only political tenet which they could stigmatize with the name of heresy would be that which should attempt to impose an opinion upon their understandings, upon the single principle of authority."

        - John Quincy Adams, response to Thomas Jefferson's use of phrase "political heresies"