One Voice

December 9th, 2006 by bebersghost

They came first for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me,
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

Martin Niemöller

It is so easy to remain silent. It is easy to accept small changes. It is easy to justify small nicks in principle, just as our nation has quietly accepted that long time rights such as habeas corpus, or not having conversations monitored without court order do not matter, as long as the person in question is accused of terrorism. It’s easy to say that “they” are good people, so of course what they do is justified.

We are a nation losing the war on terror, because we are terrorized. We are a nation that proclaims freedom even as we dribble away our rights to well meaning government officials in the name of safety. We are a nation that has sent nearly 3000 of our troops to be killed and 22,000 wounded, with virtually no sacrifice by any American not part of the military or a military family.

Ah, I am morose tonight. It happens.

I am but one small voice. And my words but whispers of a spirit; advocate of principles and ideals long held as faith, even if not often fully manifested.

But I am not alone. Other spirits speak as well, and perchance one may speak to you, the reader.

The problem of freedom in America is that of maintaining a competition of ideas, and you do not achieve that by silencing one brand of idea.
Max Lerner

Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficient. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.
Louis D. Brandeis

It is our attitude toward free thought and free expression that will determine our fate. There must be no limit on the range of temperate discussion, no limits on thought. No subject must be taboo. No censor must preside at our assemblies.
William O. Douglas  

The way to combat noxious ideas is with other ideas. The way to combat falsehoods is with truth.
William O. Douglas

Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.
John Milton

Liberty of thought means liberty to communicate one’s thought.
Salvador de Madariaga

Fear of corrupting the mind of the younger generation is the loftiest form of cowardice.
Holbrook Jackson

If the press is not free, if speech is not independent and untrammeled, if the mind is shackled or made impotent through fear, it makes no difference under what form of government you live, you are a subject and not a citizen.
William E. Borah

And finally:

In America – as elsewhere – free speech is confined to the dead.
Mark Twain

Good thing I’m a ghost. Good evening Mr. Clemens

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