Ideas are indeed the most dangerous weapons in the world. Our ideas of freedom are the most powerful political weapons man has ever forged.
But our society — unlike most in the world — presupposes that freedom and liberty are in a frame of reference that makes the individual, not government, the keeper of his tastes, beliefs, and ideas; that is the philosophy of the First Amendment; and it is this article of faith that sets us apart from most nations in the world.
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.
Those in power need checks and restraints lest they come to identify the common good for their own tastes and desires, and their continuation in office as essential to the preservation of the nation.
The struggle is always between the individual and his sacred right to express himself and … the power structure that seeks conformity, suppression, and obedience.
Big Brother in the form of an increasingly powerful government and in an increasingly powerful private sector will pile the records high with reasons why privacy should give way to national security, to law and order, to efficiency of operation, to scientific advancement and the like.
Since when have we Americans been expected to bow submissively to authority and speak with awe and reverence to those who represent us?
A people who extend civil liberties only to preferred groups start down the path either to dictatorship of the right or the left.
Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.
The dominant purpose of the First Amendment was to prohibit the widespread practice of government suppression of embarrassing information.