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Quotations about rights

The greatness of our country has been based on our thinking that everyone has a right even to be wrong.

 - Ronald Reagan

Carl SaganEducation on the value of free speech and the other freedoms reserved by the Bill of Rights, about what happens when you don't have them, and about how to exercise and protect them, should be an essential prerequisite for being an American citizen - or indeed a citizen of any nation, the more so to the degree that such rights remain unprotected. If we can't think for ourselves, if we're unwilling to question authority, then we're just putty in the hands of those in power. But if the citizens are educated and form their own opinions, then those in power work for us.

 - Carl Sagan

Abraham LincolnI believe that every individual is naturally entitled to do as he pleases with himself and the fruits of his labor, so far as it in no way interferes with any other men's rights.

 - Abraham Lincoln

Friedrich NietzscheNo one talks more passionately about his rights than he who in the depths of his soul doubts whether he has any. By enlisting passion on his side he wants to stifle his reason and its doubts: thus he will acquire a good conscience and with it success among his fellow men.

 - Friedrich Nietzsche

Robert FrostI hold it to be the inalienable right of anybody to go to hell in his own way.

 - Robert Frost

Samuel AdamsAll men have a right to remain in a state of nature as long as they please; and in case of intolerable oppression, civil or religious, to leave the society they belong to, and enter into another.

 - Samuel Adams

It is not the business of government to make men virtuous or religious, or to preserve the fool from the consequences of his own folly. Government should be repressive no further than is necessary to secure liberty by protecting the equal rights of each from aggression on the part of others, and the moment governmental prohibitions extend beyond this line they are in danger of defeating the very ends they are intended to serve.

 - Henry George

Men speak of natural rights, but I challenge any one to show where in nature any rights existed or were recognized until there was established for their declaration and protection a duly promulgated body of corresponding laws.

 - Calvin Coolidge

Christopher HitchensThose who campaign for animal liberation have confused the issue unnecessarily by borrowing human terminology. While the proletarian condition can be abolished and women can cease to be chattels and whole races can throw off slavery, there is no means of freeing animals from the condition of being beasts. For all I know, that is just as well.

 - Christopher Hitchens

The extension of women's rights is the basic principle of all social progress.

 - Charles Fourier

John AdamsLiberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right. . .and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean of the characters and conduct of their rulers.

 - John Adams

Maya AngelouThe sadness of the women's movement is that they don't allow the necessity of love. See, I don't personally trust any revolution where love is not allowed.

 - Maya Angelou

Ron PaulThe most important element of a free society, where individual rights are held in the highest esteem, is the rejection of the initiation of violence.

 - Ron Paul

Theodore RooseveltThe only public servant who can be trusted honestly to protect the rights of the public against the misdeeds of a corporation is that public man who will just as surely protect the corporation itself from wrongful aggression. If a public man is willing to yield to popular clamor and do wrong to the men of wealth or to rich corporations, it may be set down as certain that if the opportunity comes he will secretly and furtively do wrong to the public in the interest of a corporation.

 - Theodore Roosevelt

Samuel JohnsonEvery man has a right to utter what he thinks truth, and every other man has a right to knock him down for it. Martyrdom is the test.

 - Samuel Johnson

Abraham LincolnThis country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.

 - Abraham Lincoln

Louis BrandeisPolitical, social, and economic changes entail the recognition of new rights, and the common law, in its eternal youth, grows to meet the demands of society . . .Now the right to life has come to mean the right to enjoy life, -- the right to be let alone; the right to liberty secures the exercise of extensive civil privileges; and the term ‘‘property'' has grown to comprise every form of possession -- intangible, as well as tangible.

 - Louis Brandeis

Edmund BurkeAll government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue and every prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter. We balance inconveniences; we give and take; we remit some rights, that we may enjoy others; and we choose rather to be happy citizens than subtle disputants.

 - Edmund Burke

Thomas SowellOne of the most remarkable -- and popular -- ways of seeming to argue without actually producing any arguments is to say that some individual or group has a 'right' to something that you want them to have.

 - Thomas Sowell

Milton FriedmanFreedom in economic arrangements is itself a component of freedom broadly understood, so economic freedom is an end in itself. . .Economic freedom is also an indispensable means toward the achievement of political freedom.

 - Milton Friedman

George OrwellIf liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.

 - George Orwell