Our dangers, as it seems to me, are not from the outrageous but from the conforming; not from those who rarely and under the lurid glare of obloquy upset our moral complaisance, or shock us with unaccustomed conduct, but from those, the mass of us, who take their virtues and their tastes, like their shirts and their furniture, from the limited patterns which the market offers.
Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it; no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it. The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which seeks to understand the minds of other men and women; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which weighs their interests alongside its own without bias; the spirit of liberty remembers that not even a sparrow falls to earth unheeded; the spirit of liberty is the spirit of Him who, near two thousand years ago, taught mankind that lesson it has never learned, but has never quite forgotten; that there may be a kingdom where the least shall be heard and considered side by side with the greatest.
We accept the verdict of the past until the need for change cries out loudly enough to force upon us a choice between the comforts of further inertia and the irksomeness of action.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. American Jurist, Author
- Felix Frankfurter American Judge
- Archibald Cox American Lawyer
- Elihu Root American Statesman
- Henry L. Stimson American Political leader
- Irving Berlin American Composer
- William James American Philosopher
- Robert Anton Wilson American Polymath
- Alfred Dunhill English Tobacconist, Entrepreneur
- Max Beerbohm British Humorist