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United Nations – Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

Wikipedia: “Freedom of speech is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or a community to articulate their opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation, censorship, or legal sanction.”

Axiom: “Two things form the bedrock of any open society — freedom of expression and rule of law. If you don’t have those things, you don’t have a free country.”

ARTICLES

CONSTITUTION

  • English Magna Carta (1215)
  • UK Bill of Rights (1689)
  • United States Bill of Rights (1789)
  • United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
  • European Convention on Human Rights (1950)

ENGLISH SAPIENTI

  • George Orwell: “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
  • George Orwell: “I am well acquainted with all the arguments against freedom of thought and speech – the arguments which claim that it cannot exist, and the arguments which claim that it ought not to. I answer simply that they don’t convince me and that our civilisation over a period of four hundred years has been founded on the opposite notice.”
  • George Orwell: “Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark, without the need for any official ban… Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals.”
  • George Orwell: “If large numbers of people believe in freedom of speech, there will be freedom of speech, even if the law forbids it. But if public opinion is sluggish, inconvenient minorities will be persecuted, even if laws exist to protect them.”
  • Christopher Hitchens: “My own opinion is enough for me, and I claim the right to have it defended against any consensus, any majority, anywhere, any place, any time. And anyone who disagrees with this can pick a number, get in line, and kiss my ass.”
  • John Stuart Mill: “We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavouring to stifle is a false opinion; and if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still.”
  • John Milton: “Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.”

AMERICAN FOUNDERS

  • Theodore Roosevelt: “To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”
  • Alexander Hamilton: “To watch the progress of such endeavors is the office of a free press. To give us early alarm and put us on our guard against the encroachments of power. This then is a right of the utmost importance, one for which, instead of yielding it up, we ought rather to spill our blood.”
  • Thomas Jefferson: “If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union, or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated, where reason is left free to combat it.”
  • George Washington: “If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”

CLASSICAL VOICES

  • Euripedes: “This is slavery, not to speak one’s thought.”
  • Herodotus: “How brave a thing is freedom of speech, which has made the Athenians so far exceed every other state of Hellas in greatness!”
  • Tacitus: “It is the rare fortune of these days that one may think what one likes and say what one thinks.”
  • Tacitus: “Fear is not in the habit of speaking truth; when perfect sincerity is expected, perfect freedom must be allowed; nor has anyone who is apt to be angry when he hears the truth any cause to wonder that he does not hear it.”

POP CULTURE SAPIENTI

  • Michael Malice: “The claim “hate speech is not free speech” implies “free” is a type of speech, as opposed to how speech is treated in a free society.”
  • Bill Maher: “To a coward, courage always looks like stupidity.”
  • Tupac Shakur: “Please wake me when I’m free – I cannot bear captivity – I would rather be stricken blind – Than to live without expression of mind.”
  • Maya Angelou: “Every person under the sound of my voice is a soldier. You are either fighting for your freedom or betraying the fight for freedom or enlisted in the army to deny somebody else freedom.”
  • Carl Sagan: “A central lesson of science is that to understand complex issues (or even simple ones), we must try to free our minds of dogma and to guarantee the freedom to publish, to contradict, and to experiment. Arguments from authority are unacceptable.”
  • Jordan P Peterson: “In order to be able to think, you have to risk being offensive.”
  • Ai Weiwei: “Without freedom of speech there is no modern world, just a barbaric one.”
  • Glenn Greenwald: “Beyond all the other reasons not to do it, free speech assaults always backfire: they transform bigots into martyrs.”

FREEDOM FIGHTERS

  • Aung San Suu Kyi: “To view the opposition as dangerous is to misunderstand the basic concepts of democracy. To oppress the opposition is to assault the very foundation of democracy.”
  • Daniel Delgado F: “Freedom is an absolute state, there is no such thing as being half-free.”
  • Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: “We have to condemn publicly the very idea that some people have the right to repress others. In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousandfold in the future. When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age, we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.
  • Rosa Luxembourg: “Freedom only for the members of the government, only for the members of the Party – though they are quite numerous – is no freedom at all. Freedom is always the freedom of the one who thinks differently. Not because of any fanatical concept of justice, but because all that is instructive, wholesome and purifying in political freedom depends on this essential characteristic, and its effectiveness vanishes when ‘freedom’ becomes a special privilege.”

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