The 90 All-Time Great Quotes About Freedom

1. The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off. 

2. Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes. 
- Mahatma Gandhi

3. War is peace. 
Freedom is slavery. 
Ignorance is strength. 
- George Orwell, 1984

4. When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw. 
- Nelson Mandela

5. When I discover who I am, I’ll be free. 
- Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

6. Some birds are not meant to be caged, that's all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go, or when you open the cage to feed them they somehow fly out past you. And the part of you that knows it was wrong to imprison them in the first place rejoices, but still, the place where you live is that much more drab and empty for their departure. 
- Stephen King, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption: A Story from Different Seasons

7. They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. 
- Benjamin Franklin

8. People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use. 
- Søren Kierkegaard

9. Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another. 
- Toni Morrison

10. Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom. 
- Søren Kierkegaard

11. I do not think, sir, you have any right to command me, merely because you are older than I, or because you have seen more of the world than I have; your claim to superiority depends on the use you have made of your time and experience. 
- Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

12. I'm single because I was born that way. 
- Mae West

13. Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves 
- Abraham Lincoln

14. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do. 
- Robert A. Heinlein

15. If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all. 
- Noam Chomsky

16. Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally. 
- Abraham Lincoln

17. Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does. 
It is up to you to give [life] a meaning. 
- Jean-Paul Sartre

18. Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility. 
- Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents

19. He who has overcome his fears will truly be free. 
- Aristotle

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

21. Better to die on one's feet than to live on one's knees. 
- Jean-Paul Sartre

22. For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. 
- Nelson Mandela

23. I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow, than a man swear he loves me. 
- William Shakespeare

24. None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free. 
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

25. My mother said I broke her heart...but it was my integrity that was important. Is that so selfish? It sells for so little, but it's all we have left in this place. It is the very last inch of us...but within that inch we are free. 
- Alan Moore, V for Vendetta

26. In times of war, the law falls silent.

Silent enim leges inter arma 
- Marcus Tullius Cicero

27. Don't join the book burners. Don't think you're going to conceal faults by concealing evidence that they ever existed. Don't be afraid to go in your library and read every book... 
- Dwight D. Eisenhower

28. Frederick Douglass taught that literacy is the path from slavery to freedom. There are many kinds of slavery and many kinds of freedom, but reading is still the path. 
- Carl Sagan

29. Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every man present his views without penalty there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population. 
- Albert Einstein

30. The end may justify the means as long as there is something that justifies the end. 
- Leon Trotsky

31. Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide. 
- Napoléon Bonaparte

32. Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth -- more than ruin, more even than death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habits; thought is anarchic and lawless, indifferent to authority, careless of the well-tried wisdom of the ages. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid ... Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man. 
- Bertrand Russell

33. Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death! 
- Patrick Henry

34. The things you own end up owning you. It's only after you lose everything that you're free to do anything. 
- Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

35. People cited violation of the First Amendment when a New Jersey schoolteacher asserted that evolution and the Big Bang are not scientific and that Noah's ark carried dinosaurs. This case is not about the need to separate church and state; it's about the need to separate ignorant, scientifically illiterate people from the ranks of teachers. 
- Neil deGrasse Tyson

36. To die hating them, that was freedom. 
- George Orwell, 1984

37. [F]reedom isn't free. It shouldn't be a bragging point that Oh, I don't get involved in politics, as if that makes you somehow cleaner. No, that makes you derelict of duty in a republic. Liars and panderers in government would have a much harder time of it if so many people didn't insist on their right to remain ignorant and blindly agreeable. 
- Bill Maher

38. Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest. 
- Denis Diderot

39. Free societies...are societies in motion, and with motion comes tension, dissent, friction. Free people strike sparks, and those sparks are the best evidence of freedom's existence. 
- Salman Rushdie

40. If all men are born free, how is it that all women are born slaves? 
- Mary Astell

41. Freedom is the only worthy goal in life. It is won by disregarding things that lie beyond our control. 
- Epictetus

42. He who is brave is free 
- Seneca

43. How do you defeat terrorism? Don’t be terrorized. 
- Salman Rushdie

44. You say: I am not free. But I have raised and lowered my arm. Everyone understands that this illogical answer is an irrefutable proof of freedom. 
- Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

45. Every man having been born free and master of himself, no one else may under any pretext whatever subject him without his consent. To assert that the son of a slave is born a slave is to assert that he is not born a man. 
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract

46. I want freedom for the full expression of my personality. 
- Mahatma Gandhi

47. I apprehend no danger to our country from a foreign foe. Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from another quarter. From the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government, from their carelessness and negligence, I must confess that I do apprehend some danger. I fear that they may place too implicit a confidence in their public servants, and fail properly to scrutinize their conduct; that in this way they may be made the dupes of designing men, and become the instruments of their own undoing. Make them intelligent, and they will be vigilant; give them the means of detecting the wrong, and they will apply the remedy. 
- Daniel Webster

48. We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools 
- Martin Luther King Jr.

49. [Marriage] happens as with cages: the birds without despair to get in, and those within despair of getting out. 
- Michel de Montaigne

50. The greatest purveyor of violence in the world : My own Government, I can not be Silent. 
- Martin Luther King Jr.

51. Secrecy begets tyranny. 
- Robert A. Heinlein

52. Nite Owl II: But the country's disintegrating. What's happened to America? What's happened to the American dream?

The Comedian: It came true. You're lookin' at it. 
- Alan Moore, Watchmen

53. People ought to fight 
to keep their law 
as to defend the citys walls. 
- Heraclitus, Fragments

54. Government leaders are amazing. So often it seems they are the last to know what the people want. 
- Aung San Suu Kyi

55. A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both. 
- Milton Friedman

56. All men are by nature free; you have therefore an undoubted liberty to depart whenever you please, but will have many and great difficulties to encounter in passing the frontiers. 
- Voltaire, Candide

57. How can a bird that is born for joy
Sit in a cage and sing? 
- William Blake

58. Human rights' are a fine thing, but how can we make ourselves sure that our rights do not expand at the expense of the rights of others. A society with unlimited rights is incapable of standing to adversity. If we do not wish to be ruled by a coercive authority, then each of us must rein himself in...A stable society is achieved not by balancing opposing forces but by conscious self-limitation: by the principle that we are always duty-bound to defer to the sense of moral justice. 
- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

...new prejudices will serve as well as old ones to harness the great unthinking masses.

59. For this enlightenment, however, nothing is required but freedom, and indeed the most harmless among all the things to which this term can properly be applied. It is the freedom to make public use of one's reason at every point. But I hear on all sides, 'Do not argue!' The Officer says: 'Do not argue but drill!' The tax collector: 'Do not argue but pay!' The cleric: 'Do not argue but believe!' Only one prince in the world says, 'Argue as much as you will, and about what you will, but obey!' Everywhere there is restriction on freedom. 
- Immanuel Kant

60. Man is nothing else but what he makes of himself. 
- Jean-Paul Sartre

61. I love my country, not my government. 
- Jesse Ventura

62. You see these dictators on their pedestals, surrounded by the bayonets of their soldiers and the truncheons of their police ... yet in their hearts there is unspoken fear. They are afraid of words and thoughts: words spoken abroad, thoughts stirring at home -- all the more powerful because forbidden -- terrify them. A little mouse of thought appears in the room, and even the mightiest potentates are thrown into panic. 
- Winston S. Churchill

63. What does education often do? It makes a straight-cut ditch of a free, meandering brook. 
- Henry David Thoreau

64. There is only one good definition of God: the freedom that allows other freedoms to exist. 
- John Fowles

65. So much of liberalism in its classical sense is taken for granted in the west today and even disrespected. We take freedom for granted, and because of this we don't understand how incredibly vulnerable it is. 
- Niall Ferguson

66. Your idea doesn't have to be big. It just has to be yours alone. The more the idea is yours alone, the more freedom you have to do something really amazing. The more amazing, the more people will click with your idea. The more people click with your idea, the more it will change the world. 
- Hugh MacLeod

67. Safety is all well and good: I prefer freedom. 
- E.B. White

68. The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law and particularly to deny him the judgement of his peers is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist. 
- Winston S. Churchill

69. I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast 
- Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning

70. But, said Alice, if the world has absolutely no sense, who's stopping us from inventing one? 
- Lewis Carroll

71. Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest. 
- John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

72. The answer to 1984 is 1776 
- Alex E. Jones

73. Justice is the first virtue of social institutions, as truth is of systems of thought.
- John Rawls

74. Democracy arose from men's thinking that if they are equal in any respect, they are equal absolutely. 
- Aristotle

75. When the tyrant has disposed of foreign enemies by conquest or treaty and there is nothing to fear from them then he is always stirring up some wary or other in order that the people may require a leader. 
- Plato

76. Punk rock should mean freedom, liking and excepting anything that you like. Playing whatever you want. As sloppy as you want. As long as it's good and it has passion. 
- Kurt Cobain

77. Slaves are generally expected to sing as well as to work. 
- Frederick Douglass

78. Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties. 
- Abraham Lincoln

79. Responsibility I believe accrues through privilege. People like you and me have an unbelievable amount of privilege and therefore we have a huge amount of responsibility. We live in free societies where we are not afraid of the police; we have extraordinary wealth available to us by global standards. If you have those things, then you have the kind of responsibility that a person does not have if he or she is slaving seventy hours a week to put food on the table; a responsibility at the very least to inform yourself about power. Beyond that, it is a question of whether you believe in moral certainties or not. 
- Noam Chomsky

80. Why are you not smarter? It's only the rich who can't afford to be smart. They're compromised. They got locked years ago into privilege. They have to protect their belongings. No one is meaner than the rich. Trust me. But they have to follow the rules of their shitty civilised world. They declare war, they have honour, and they can't leave. But you two. We three. We're free. 
- Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

81. I think that nothing is so important for freedom as recognizing in the law each individual’s natural right to property, and giving individuals a sense that they own something that they’re responsible for, that they have control over, and that they can dispose of. 
- Milton Friedman

82. United States: the country where liberty is a statue. 
- Nicanor Parra

83. Josh: So, Toby, it’s election night. What do you say about a country that goes out of its way to protect even those citizens that try to destroy it?
Toby: God bless America. 
- Aaron Sorkin

84. All the animals, the plants, the minerals, even other kinds of men, are being broken and reassembled every day, to preserve an elite few, who are the loudest to theorize on freedom, but the least free of all. 
- Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow

85. Until we are all free, we are none of us free.  
- Emma Lazarus

86. If truth doesn't set you free, generosity of spirit will. 
- Katerina Stoykova Klemer

87. Freedom began on the day the first sheep wandered away from the herd. 
- Marty Rubin

88. liberty, which means resisting all forms of cultural authoritarianism, be it from the right wing church, black ideologues, black nationalists, or mainstream white media. We have to accent liberty and freedom of expression and thought in all their forms. 
- Cornel West

89. In the end they will lay their freedom at our feet and say to us, Make us your slaves, but feed us. 
- Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Grand Inquisitor

90. A human being who wakened in the morning with a queesy stomach, with fifteen hours to kill before next bedtime, had not much use for freedom. 
- Jean-Paul Sartre

91. There are no tyrants if there are no slaves. 
- José P. Rizal


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