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    william o. douglas Quotes

    Sunlight is the best disinfectant.
    — William O. Douglas
    The Fifth Amendment is an old friend and a good friend, one of the great landmarks in men's struggle to be free of tyranny, to be decent and civilized.
    — William O. Douglas
    tags: friends  decent  struggle 
     
    The privacy and dignity of our citizens is being whittled away by sometimes imperceptible steps. Taken individually, each step may be of little consequence. But when viewed as a whole, there begins to emerge a society quite unlike any we have seen - a society in which government may intrude into the secret regions of a life.
    — William O. Douglas
    The court is really the keeper of the conscience, and the conscience is the Constitution.
    — William O. Douglas
    tags: conscience 
     
    The Constitution is not neutral. It was designed to take the government off the backs of people.
    — William O. Douglas
    tags: people  government 
     
    Hiking a ridge, a meadow, or a river bottom, is as healthy a form of exercise as one can get. Hiking seems to put all the body cells back into rhythm. Ten to twenty miles on a trail puts one to bed with his cares unraveled.
    — William O. Douglas
    tags: body  care  healthy  exercise 
     
    Power that controls the economy should be in the hands of elected representatives of the people, not in the hands of an industrial oligarchy.
    — William O. Douglas
    tags: people  power  control 
     
    The framers of the constitution knew human nature as well as we do. They too had lived in dangerous days; they too knew the suffocating influence of orthodoxy and standardized thought. They weighed the compulsions for restrained speech and thought against the abuses of liberty. They chose liberty.
    — William O. Douglas
    The river, for example, is the living symbol of all the life it sustains or nourishes - fish, aquatic insects, water ouzels, otter, fisher, deer, elk, bear, and all other animals, including man, who are dependent on it or who enjoy it for its sight, its sound, or its life. The river as plaintiff speaks for the ecological unit of life that is part of it.
    — William O. Douglas
    tags: animals  men  living  water  example 
     
    Acceptance by government of a dissident press is a measure of the maturity of a nation.
    — William O. Douglas
    When a legislature undertakes to proscribe the exercise of a citizen's constitutional right to free speech, it acts lawlessly; and the citizen can take matters into his own hands and proceed on the basis that such a law is no law at all.
    — William O. Douglas
    tags: law  right  speech  exercise 
     
    The way to combat noxious ideas is with other ideas. The way to combat falsehoods is with truth.
    — William O. Douglas
    tags: truth  ideas 
     
    Since when have we Americans been expected to bow submissively to authority and speak with awe and reverence to those who represent us?
    — William O. Douglas
    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.
    — William O. Douglas
    Only when there is a wilderness can man harmonize his inner being with the wavelengths of the earth. When the earth, its products, its creatures, become his concern, man is caught up in a cause greater than his own life and more meaningful. Only when man loses himself in an endeavor of that magnitude does he walk and live with humanity and reverence.
    — William O. Douglas
    tags: humanity  men  live  earth 
     
    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.
    — William O. Douglas
    tags: desires  power 
     
    A function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it invites a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger. Speech is often provocative and challenging. It may strike at prejudices and preconceptions and have profound unsettling effects as it passes for acceptance of an idea.
    — William O. Douglas
    I do not know of any salvation for society except through eccentrics, misfits, dissenters, people who protest.
    — William O. Douglas
    The liberties of none are safe unless the liberties of all are protected.
    — William O. Douglas
    tags: liberty 
     
    A people who extend civil liberties only to preferred groups start down the path either to dictatorship of the right or the left.
    — William O. Douglas
    tags: people  right  liberty  path 
     
    As night-fall does not come at once, neither does oppression...It is in such twilight that we all must be aware of change in the air - however slight - lest we become victims of the darkness.
    — William O. Douglas
    tags: darkness  victim 
     
    The right to revolt has sources deep in our history.
    — William O. Douglas
    tags: right 
     
    I have the same confidence in the ability of our people to reject noxious literature as I have in their capacity to sort out the true from the false in theology, economics, or any other field.
    — William O. Douglas
    Common sense often makes a good law.
    — William O. Douglas
    tags: law 
     
    The right to dissent is the only thing that makes life tolerable for a judge of an appellate court... the affairs of government could not be conducted by democratic standards without it.
    — William O. Douglas
    I would rather create a precedent than find one.
    — William O. Douglas
    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 most important aspect of freedom of speech is freedom to learn. All education is a continuous dialogue - questions and answers that pursue every problem on the horizon. That is the essence of academic freedom.
    — William O. Douglas
    My faith is that the only soul a man must save is his own.
    — William O. Douglas
    tags: men  soul  faith 
     
    Free speech is not to be regulated like diseased cattle and impure butter. The audience (in this case, the judge or the jury) that hissed yesterday may applaud today, even for the same performance.
    — William O. Douglas
    tags: speech 
     
    Thus if the First Amendment means anything in this field, it must allow protests even against the moral code that the standard of the day sets for the community. In other words, literature should not be suppressed merely because it offends the moral code of the censor.
    — William O. Douglas
    Tell the FBI that the kidnappers should pick out a judge that Nixon wants back.
    — William O. Douglas
    The critical point is that the Constitution places the right of silence beyond the reach of government.
    — William O. Douglas
    It is better, so the Fourth Amendment teaches us, that the guilty sometimes go free than the citizens be subject to easy arrest.
    — William O. Douglas
    The right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedom.
    — William O. Douglas
    tags: freedom  alone  right 
     
    Security can only be achieved through constant change, through discarding old ideas that have outlived their usefulness and adapting others to current facts.
    — William O. Douglas
    tags: facts  ideas 
     
    We are rapidly entering the age of no privacy, where everyone is open to surveillance at all times; where there are no secrets from government.
    — William O. Douglas
    tags: secret  age  government 
     
    What we must remember, however, is that preservation of liberties does not depend on motives. A suppression of liberty has the same effect whether the suppressor be a reformer or an outlaw. The only protection against misguided zeal is constant alertness to infractions of the guarantees of liberty contained in our Constitution. Each surrender of liberty to the demands of the moment makes easier another, larger surrender. . .
    — William O. Douglas
    We have a system which, though far from perfect, is strong with idealism. It gives elbow room for men of all races and all beliefs. It is vital and dynamic. And it works. We have the means of shaping the world in our pattern. If we do, freedom will be assured for all men. The decision is in the hands of this generation. It is a challenge to our political competence. For Western civilization it is the greatest challenge of all time.
    — William O. Douglas
    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.
    — William O. Douglas
    tags: law  powerful  government 
     
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