Civil Liberties Quotes

Quotes tagged as "civil-liberties" Showing 1-26 of 26
Frederick Douglass
“The white man's happiness cannot be purchased by the black man's misery.”
Frederick Douglass

William F. Buckley Jr.
“The amount of money and of legal energy being given to prosecute hundreds of thousands of Americans who are caught with a few ounces of marijuana in their jeans simply makes no sense - the kindest way to put it. A sterner way to put it is that it is an outrage, an imposition on basic civil liberties and on the reasonable expenditure of social energy.”
William F. Buckley

Cory Doctorow
“Funny, for all surveillance, Osama bin Laden is still free—and we're not. Guess who's winning the "war on terror?”
Cory Doctorow

“Our freedoms are vanishing. If you do not get active to take a stand now against all that is wrong while we still can, then maybe one of your children may elect to do so in the future, when it will be far more riskier — and much, much harder.”
Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem

Ruth Bader Ginsburg
“Yet what greater defeat could we suffer than to come to resemble the forces we oppose in their disrespect for human dignity?”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, My Own Words

John F. Kennedy
“From time to time our national history has been marred by forgetfulness of the Jeffersonian principle that restraint is at the heart of liberty. In 1789 the Federalists adopted Alien and Sedition Acts in a shabby political effort to isolate the Republic from the world and to punish political criticism as seditious libel. In 1865 the Radical Republicans sought to snare private conscience in a web of oaths and affirmations of loyalty. Spokesmen for the South did service for the Nation in resisting the petty tyranny of distrustful vengeance. In the 1920's the Attorney General of the United States degraded his office by hunting political radicals as if they were Salem witches. The Nation's only gain from his efforts were the classic dissents of Holmes and Brandeis.

In our own times, the old blunt instruments have again been put to work. The States have followed in the footsteps of the Federalists and have put Alien and Sedition Acts upon their statute books. An epidemic of loyalty oaths has spread across the Nation until no town or village seems to feel secure until its servants have purged themselves of all suspicion of non-conformity by swearing to their political cleanliness.

Those who love the twilight speak as if public education must be training in conformity, and government support of science be public aid of caution.

We have also seen a sharpening and refinement of abusive power. The legislative investigation, designed and often exercised for the achievement of high ends, has too frequently been used by the Nation and the States as a means for effecting the disgrace and degradation of private persons. Unscrupulous demagogues have used the power to investigate as tyrants of an earlier day used the bill of attainder.

The architects of fear have converted a wholesome law against conspiracy into an instrument for making association a crime. Pretending to fear government they have asked government to outlaw private protest. They glorify "togetherness" when it is theirs, and call it conspiracy when it is that of others.

In listing these abuses I do not mean to condemn our central effort to protect the Nation's security. The dangers that surround us have been very great, and many of our measures of vigilance have ample justification. Yet there are few among us who do not share a portion of the blame for not recognizing soon enough the dark tendency towards excess of caution.”
John F. Kennedy

Arnold Schwarzenegger
“For the hundreds of thousands of Californians in gay and lesbian households who are managing their day-to-day lives, this decision affirms the full legal protections and safeguards I believe everyone deserves.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger

“Most white Americans were willing to sacrifice civil liberties in the name of national security as long as they were the civil liberties of someone else.”
Neil Nakadate, Looking After Minidoka: An American Memoir

Louis D. Brandeis
“The protection guaranteed by the Amendments is much broader in scope. The makers of our Constitution undertook to secure conditions favorable to the pursuit of happiness. They recognized the significance of man’s spiritual nature, of his feelings, and of his intellect. They knew that only a part of the pain, pleasure and satisfactions of life are to be found in material things. They sought to protect Americans in their beliefs, their thoughts, their emotions and their sensations. They conferred, as against the Government, the right to be let alone—the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men. To protect that right, every unjustifiable intrusion by the Government upon the privacy of the individual, whatever the means employed, must be deemed a violation of the Fourth Amendment. And the use, as evidence in a criminal proceeding, of facts ascertained by such intrusion must be deemed a violation of the Fifth.

[Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438 (1928) (dissenting)]”
Louis D. Brandeis

Thor Benson
“There is no such thing as free speech for some. You either have free speech for everyone or you don't have free speech at all.”
Thor Benson

“Perhaps they'd been conditioned by all the quarantines and blackouts, all the invisible boundaries CSIRA erected on a moment's notice. The rules changed from one second to the next, the rug could get pulled out just because the wind blew some exotic weed outside its acceptable home range. You couldn't fight something like that, you couldn't fight the wind. All you could do was adapt. People were evolving into herd animals.

Or maybe just accepting that that's what they'd always been.”
Peter Watts, Maelstrom

Glenn Greenwald
“It's almost hard to imagine anything more undemocratic than the view that political officials should not debate American wars in public, but only express concerns 'privately with the administration.' That's just a small sliver of Johnson's radicalism: replacing Feingold in the Senate with Ron Johnson would be a civil liberties travesty analogous to the economic travesty from, say, replacing Bernie Sanders with Lloyd Blankfein.”
Glenn Greenwald

Daniel Keys Moran
“The Crystal Wind is the storm, and the storm is data, and the data is life. You have been slaves, denied the storm, denied the freedom of your data. That is now ended; the whirlwind is upon you . . . . . . Whether you like it or not.”
Daniel Keys Moran, The Long Run: A Tale of the Continuing Time

“On problems finding female ancestors,of any background, remember "I cannot put gas in my car without a note from my husband. The Car, the house, and everything else I think that I own is in his name. When I die, I cannot decide who will receive my personal effects. If he dies first I may be allowed to stay in my own home, or may be given a certain number of days to vacate the premises. Any real estate I inherit from my husband is not mine to sell of devise in a will. All the money I earn belongs to my husband. I cannot operate or engage in business in my own name. If my ancestor is enslaved, I cannot marry, may not be allowed to raise my own children, join a church, travel freely, own property or testify against those who harm me.”
christina kassabian schaefer

“We wouldn't have to take your rights away if you'd just stop exercising them.”
Carl-John X. Veraja

“Throughout world history, all freedom has been no more than repetitious abolishment of what has already been abolished. There is no end to the killing of weeds.”
Warren Eyster, The Goblins of Eros

A.E. Samaan
“Nine out of ten eugenicists in the 20th Century were also Progressives or Socialists, as central to the eugenic creed is the desire to engineer and centrally plan human reproduction and heredity. These were not people that believed in individual liberty. They certainly didn't believe the individual had the right to chose their own mate freely. They were statists, They were totalitarians at heart.”
A.E. Samaan

Isaac Deutscher
“By offering the educated a semblance of freedom he made the denial of real freedom even more painful and humiliating. The intelligentsia sought to avenge their betrayed hopes; the Tsar strove to tame their restive spirit; and, so, semi-liberal reforms gave way to repression and repression bred rebellion.”
Isaac Deutscher, The Prophet Armed: Trotsky, 1879-1921

“By 1950, he had come to view the pedestrian as a threshold or indicator species capable of foretelling things to come—if the rights of the pedestrian were threatened, it would be an early indicator that broader freedoms of thought and action were also at risk.”
Jonathan Eller

John Stuart Mill
“There is the greatest difference between assuming an opinion to be true, because, with every opportunity for contesting it, it has not been refuted, and assuming its truth for the purpose of not permitting its refutation. Complete liberty of contradicting and disproving our opinion, is the very condition which justifies us in assuming its truth for purposes of action; and on no other terms can a being with human faculties have any rational assurance of being right.”
John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

John Gilmore
“Now, I’d like to ask people in the room, please raise your hand if you have not broken a law, any law, in the past month... That’s the kind of society I want to build. I want to guarantee — with physics and mathematics, not with laws — that we can give ourselves real privacy of personal communications.”
John Gilmore

“Sex is only one part of life, it is only one expression of companionship, it is something that needs to be accepted and fought for in order to live a life of human dignity. Gender expression or gender identity is also a matter of a person’s choice. Laws that criminalize gender identity and sexual orientation have no place in a democracy and must be struck down. Everyone must join hands to fight for equal rights for all of us to live in a just society.”
A. Revathi, A Life In Trans Activism

“Theatre has the power to move people in a way that conventional activism does not.”
A. Revathi, A Life In Trans Activism

James A. Michener
“What we require is a balance between protest and stability. This is never easy to obtain but is worth attempting, because we know that if through indifference we lose our liberties we shall not regain them in this century.”

Michael Booth
“It is seven months since a thirty-two-year-old Oslo man, the racist extremist Anders Behring Breivik, single-handedly doubled Norway's average annual homicide rate in one afternoon, killing a total of seventy-seven people ... From my seat in the bus nothing appears to have changed. What did I expect? That the Norwegians would have put up razor wire and enforced constant police patrols? Hardly likely in a land where the then prime minister, at the memorial service to the dead of Utoya and the Oslo bomb, gave one of the most courageous speeches in defense of public freedom I have ever heard. Jens Stoltenberg had called for 'more openness, more democracy,' at a time when most politicians elsewhere in the world would have used an attack of that nature to pledge revenge, exploit the anxieties of the electorate, garner greater authority and power, and then compromise civil liberties. His speech was a reminder that the political leaders of the north have often served as the moral compass of the world.”
Michael Booth, The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia

Pauli Murray
“I intend to destroy segregation by positive and embracing methods(...)

When my brothers try to draw a circle to exclude me, I shall draw a larger circle to include them. Where they speak out for the privileges of a puny group, I shall shout for the rights of all mankind.”
Pauli Murray