Archive for the ‘Freedom’ Category

Jefferson on Liberty

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.

— Thomas Jefferson (1799, by Rembrandt Peale; Public Domain)

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The human being is a self-propelled automaton entirely under the control of external influences. Willful and predetermined though they appear, his actions are governed not from within, but from without. He is like a float tossed about by the waves of a turbulent sea.

—Nikola Tesla (Public Domain)

A pretty depressing sentiment, expressed by a truly great mind. Perhaps Tesla was simply observing (something he mastered to a remarkable degree) the state of the people around him and put his analytical conclusions to paper. After all, doesn’t this quote hold true for most of the souls wandering the earth, either in our time or Tesla’s, or 2,000 years ago? 

But we weren’t put here to be automatons. We were put here with a Divine Purpose. With a new perspective, consider the interminable bombardment of external forces to be an ongoing test of our own free will. Instead of influence x causing the standard response y, let us act in a way that will best move us forward. We cannot control how others will respond, but we always have the power to choose a different path for ourselves—despite Tesla’s observation.   

—MSH, Penn Wealth

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The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.

—Tacitus (Public Domain)

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It is a general error to suppose the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for their welfare.

NPG 655; Edmund Burke studio of Sir Joshua Reynolds

— Edmund Burke (1771, by Joshua Reynolds; Public Domain)

…God bless the men and women who get up every day and do the work needed to better themselves and their families. They move forward without complaint, no matter how difficult the task at hand. They have neither the time nor the inclination to join in the mob mentality; instead, they take full responsibility for where they are in life, and move forward with a steely determination, taking comfort in the fact that their Creator is always there with them.

—MSH, Penn Wealth

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Whatever is not nailed down is mine. Whatever I can pry loose is not nailed down.

Huntington, Collis P, pd

— Collis P. Huntington, 19th century railroad tycoon (By Stephen W. Shaw; Public domain)

…We can laugh at this Huntington quote now, and he certainly was one of the four instrumental players in building the American rail network we still use today, but he truly lived by these dark words. After his death, his personal collection of notes revealed a tale of political bribes and payoffs, and the sort of arrogance that often comes with being one of the privileged elites. Yet, on the other hand, Huntington was born dirt poor, working his way up from the gutter to gain incredible wealth.

Certain members of our society try to point to the misdeeds of people like Collis P. Huntington as evidence that the American system has been broken and corrupt from the start. Actually, nothing is further from the truth. The American system, designed by great Americans like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, is a meritocracy. Any American, like Huntington, can start with nothing and create the life of their dreams while providing a great benefit to society. Anyone claiming otherwise is either looking for an excuse for their position or using their condemnations as a club to build hate and promote other, far less desirable, forms of government.

Yes, we can simultaneously praise Collis P. Huntington for what he built, and condemn him for his nefarious actions. The fact that he was able to do both good and bad is not a negative reflection on our American system; it is further evidence of the incredible freedom we have, and the need to weed out career politicians and civil authorities at all levels who would feel more at home in a politburo than in the congress of a republic.

Still, the quote is pretty funny.

MSH, Penn Wealth

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Rousseau on Freedom

Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains.

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques

—Jean-Jacques Rousseau


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What then is freedom? The power to live as one wishes.



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I prefer peace. But if trouble must come, let it come in my time, so that my children can live in peace.

Paine, Thomas

—Thomas Paine

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I am unable to understand how a man of honor could take a newspaper in his hands without a shudder of disgust.

Baudelaire, Charles

—Charles Baudelaire

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If evil be spoken of you and it be true, correct yourself; if it be a lie, laugh at it.



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