Quotations on liberty

Quotations on freedom

This list [latest version here]  is published randomly on the right hand column of this blog.

3 “Liberty in thought and action is the only condition of life, growth and well-being: Where it does not exist, the man, the race, and the nation must go down.” – Vivekananda

4 Let noble thoughts come to us from all sides. (Rig Veda)

5 “Give us power not to become insensitive and silent spectators to social, moral and political evils and bestow us necessary wrath to fight these evils” (Rig Veda 1-97-8)

6 Satyameva Jayate (“Truth Alone Triumphs”) [Mundaka Upanisad (3.1.6) of the Atharva Veda]

7 “I am not interested in freeing India merely from the English yoke. I am bent upon freeing India from any yoke whatsoever”. Gandhi.

8 ‘The land ceiling is “a child of sadism”‘ – Rajaji

9 ‘Socialism … is pure Statism’. Its believers imagine that ‘wisdom resides only in the State’ – Rajaji.

10 ‘The laws of production are laws of nature and hence not alterable. …The “State” cannot produce, it can tax or hinder or encourage, BUT NOT PRODUCE’. – Rajaji

11 ‘Great shout has been raised over big favourtism in the distribution of licences and permits. The system is the root of poison and is bound to lead to corruption’. – Rajaji

12 ‘Production in India is running a three-legged race or a gunny bag race, the Government’s interventions and clampdowns being the handicaps’. – Rajaji

13 ‘In India … honest men [are] engaged in the difficult tasks of production or trade’ but face ‘ruin at the hands of officials, ministers, and party bosses’. – Rajaji

14 ‘I want an India where talent and energy can find scope for play without having to cringe and obtain special individual permission from officials and ministers, and where their efforts will be judged by the open market in India and abroad’. – Rajaji…

15 ‘I want … the government reduced to its proper functions’. – Rajaji

16 ‘I want security for all owners of property, land or other forms of acquisitions, without Damocles’s Sword hanging over them threatening expropriation without payment of just and full compensation’. – Rajaji…

17 ‘I want an India where the budget of the Centre does not cause inflation and soaring prices’. – Rajaji

18 ‘I want the spirit of compassion and benevolence to have free play and not stifled by State schemes of monopolizing all welfare by over-taxation and over-centralization’. – Rajaji

19 Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead, Anthropologist

20 “Liberty is the first condition of growth. Just as man must have liberty to think and speak, so he must have liberty in food, dress, and marriage, and in every other thing, so long as he does not injure others.” – Vivekananda…

21 “This life is a tremendous assertion of freedom” – Vivekananda

22 “Wherever in any society there are too many laws, it is a sure sign that that society will soon die. If you study the characteristics of India, you will find that no nation possesses so many laws as the Hindus, and national death is the result.” – Vivekananda…

23 “Political writers have established it as maxim, that in contriving any system of government … every man ought to be supposed a knave and to have no other end, in all his actions, than private interest.” (David Hume)…


25 “None deserves liberty who is not ready to give liberty” – Vivekananda

26 “The moment the slave resolves that he will no longer be a slave, his fetters fall. He frees himself and shows the way to others. Freedom and slavery are mental state.” – Gandhi

27 Once freedom lights its beacon in a man’s heart, the gods are powerless against him. – Jean Paul Sartre

28 I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. – Voltaire

29 Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. – George Orwell

30 The most beautiful thing in the world is freedom of speech. – Diogenes (412-323 BC)

31 Liberty means responsibility. That is why most dread it. – George Bernard Shaw

32 Liberty of thought is the life of the soul. – Voltaire

33 Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. – Benjamin Franklin

34 “If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” – George Washington

35 “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.” – Thomas Jefferson

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

37 “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.” – Thomas Jefferson

38 “When the people fear the government, you have tyranny. When the government fears the people, you have freedom.”- Thomas Paine

39 “If there be a principle that ought not to be questioned within the United States, it is that every man has a right to abolish an old government and establish a new one. This principle is not only recorded in every public archive, written in every American heart, and sealed with the blood of American martyrs, but is the only lawful tenure by which…

40 “It is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of citizens and one of the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution.” – James Madison…

41 “Give me liberty or give me death!” – Patrick Henry

42 “It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority.” – Benjamin Franklin

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

44 “A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.” – John Stuart Mill…

45 “This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember it or overthrow it.” – Abraham Lincoln…

46 “To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.” – Abraham Lincoln

47 “Love your country, but never trust its government.” – Robert A. Heinlein

48 “Live free or die; death is not the worst of evils.” – General George Stark

49 “I would rather die on my feet, than live on my knees.” – Emiliano Zapata

50 Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote freedom to err. – Mahatma Gandhi

51 Don’t regard yourself as a guardian of freedom unless you respect and preserve the rights of people you disagree with to free, public, unhampered expression. – Gerard K. O’Neill

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

53 I prefer liberty with danger to peace with slavery. -Author Unknown

54 “If it is an unjust law you would abolish, that law was written with your own hand upon your own forehead.” – Kahlil Gibran

55 “And if it is a despot you would dethrone, see first that his throne erected within you is destroyed.” – Kahlil Gibran

56 “The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design”- F.A. Hayek

  • I disagree with the idea that freedom is obedience to the laws of nature. … According to the history of human progress, it is disobedience to nature that has constituted that progress. … (Vivekananda, The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Calcutta: Advaita Ashram, 1989 [1990], vol 5 p. 287.)