Here are several quotes by some of history’s greatest thinkers, poets, and writers providing us the honest truth that freedom requires vigilance, and they’ve witnessed enough of history to understand the human condition. And this first quote really summarizes Beinghood as what you have the freedom to choose WITHIN yourself. This is the most powerful point, you are always in control of your perception and attitude, and when in the highest awareness of Beinghood you do not see external events causing your bondage as nothing more than a reflection of your inner Terrain.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” – Viktor Frankl
“To say that a person is free to choose to walk while the only walk they can take will lead them over a precipice is to strain words as well as the facts.” – John Dewey 1922
“Freedom is not a luxury that we can indulge in when at last we have security and prosperity and enlightenment; it is, rather, antecedent to all of these, for without it we can have neither security nor prosperity nor enlightenment. If we create an atmosphere in which men fear to think independently, inquire fearlessly, express themselves freely, we will in the end create the kind of society in which men no longer care to think independently or to inquire fearlessly. If we put a premium on conformity we will, in the end, get conformity.” – Henry Steele Commager, Freedom, loyalty, dissent, 1954)
“The justification and purpose of freedom of speech is not to indulge those who want to indulge those who want to speak their minds. It is to prevent error and discover truth. There may be other ways of detecting error and discovering truth than that of free discussion, but so far we have not found them. We cannot choose freedom established on a hierarchy of degrees of freedom, on a caste system of equality like military rank. We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it. Subject opinion to coercion: who will you make your inquisitors? Fallible men; men governed by bad passions, by private as well as public reasons and those whom make the laws? When less than 500 can strive to enslave the entire nation by usurping the constitution of the people and create laws to that threaten those they are sworn to uphold and protect, then it is time to realize that the majority of those threatened, have the power in the second amendment. For freedom is the right to one’s dignity as a man or woman, or child. We must protect this at any and all sacrifice as Americans, under God. And never confuse dissent with disloyalty. For force can only overcome other force. Truth stood on one side and Ease on the other; it has often been so. Such is the irresistible nature of truth that all it asks, and all it wants, is the Liberty of appearing. The truth survives, the untruth perishes.
“Force, the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism.” – Thomas Jefferson, in his first inaugural address, March 4, 1801
“The Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times, and under all circumstances. No doctrine involving more pernicious consequences was ever invented by the wit of man that that any of its provisions can be suspended during any of the great exigencies of government. Such a doctrine leads directly to anarchy or despotism.” – David Davis, Supreme Court Opinion, ex parte Milligan, 1866
“The moment a man say, “Give up your rights, here is money,” there is tyranny. It comes masquerading in monks’ cowls and in citizens’ coats; comes savagely or comes politely. But it is tyranny.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson 1851
“Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: T’is dearness only that gives every thing its value.” – Thomas Paine, “The America Crisis” December 19, 1776