Freedom

 


 

[1791]  Wilhelm von Humboldt,  The Limits of State Action, Liberty Fund, Indianapolis, 1993

-  "... it is freedom, which always suffers from the interference, however slight, of the State. For the greater the diversity and individuality of man's development, and the more sublime his feelings become, the more easily his gaze turns from the limited, temporary things around him to the notion of an infinity and totality which includes all limits and all changes. The greater a man's freedom, the more self-reliant and well-disposed towards others he becomes." (p. 69)

-  "Energy appears to me to be the first and unique virtue of mankind. Whatever raises his energies to a higher pitch is worth more than what merely puts materials into our hands for its exercise." (p. 72)

-  "Freedom heightens energy, and, as the natural consequence, promotes all kind of liberality. Coercion stifles energy, and engenders all selfish desires, and all the mean artifices of weakness. Coercion may prevent many transgressions; but it robs even actions which are legal of a part of their beauty. Freedom may lead to many transgressions, but it lends even to vices a less ignoble form." (p. 80)

-  "For nothing promotes this ripeness for freedom so much as freedom itself. This truth, perhaps, may not be acknowledged by those who have so often used this unripeness as an excuse for continuing repression." (p. 143)

 

[1835]  Alexis de Tocqueville,  De la Démocratie en Amérique, vol. I, Flammarion, Paris, 1981

-  "Il est certain que le despotisme ruine les hommes en les empêchant de produire, plus qu'en leur enlevant les fruits de la production; il tarit la source des richesses et respecte souvent la richesse acquise. La liberté, au contraire, enfante mille fois plus de biens qu'elle n'en détruit, et chez les nations qui la connaissent, les ressources du peuple croissent toujours plus vite que les impôts." (p. 298)

 

[1840]  Alexis de Tocqueville,  De la Démocratie en Amérique, vol. II, Flammarion, Paris, 1981

-  "Je ne sais si l'on peut citer un seul peuple manufacturier et commerçant, depuis les Tyriens jusqu'au Florentins et les Anglais, qui n'ait été un peuple libre. Il y a donc un lien étroit et un rapport nécessaire entre ces deux choses: liberté et industrie." (p. 175)

 

[1849]  Henry David Thoreau,  Civil Disobedience, The Riverside Press, Boston, 1960

-  "I heartily accept the motto, 'That government is best which governs least;' and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe - 'That government is best which governs not at all;' and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have." (p. 235)

 

[1863]  Nikolai Chernyshevsky,  What Is to Be Done? Tales about new people, Virago Press, London, 1982

-  "What can there be strange, indeed, in your wish to be free and happy? That desire is not an extraordinary discovery; it is not an act of heroism; it is natural." (p. 73)

-  "Everyone should live as they please, that is the purpose of all my work." (p. 324)

-  "I make it a rule to undertake nothing in any one's behalf against his or her will; liberty is above everything, above life itself." (pp. 337-338)

 

[1941]  Erich Fromm,  Escape from Freedom (published in 1942 in England as : Fear of Freedom), Routledge, London, 1960

-  "Positive freedom as the realization of the self implies the full affirmation of the uniqueness of the individual."
"The uniqueness of the self in no way contradicts the principle of equality. The thesis that men are born equal implies that they all share the same fundamental human qualities, that they share the basic fate of human beings, that they all have the same inalienable claim on freedom and happiness. It furthermore means that their relationship is one of solidarity, not one of domination-submission. What the concept of equality does not mean is that all men are alike." (p. 228)

 

[1945]  Bertrand de Jouvenel, On Power : its nature and the history of its growth (Du pouvoir : histoire naturelle de sa croissance), Liberty Press, Indianapolis, 1993

-  "Liberty ... lies in our will not being subject to other human wills: in our will ruling alone over our actions, only being checked when it injures the basic, indispensable requirements of life in society.
Liberty is not our more or less illusory participation in the absolute sovereignty of the social whole over the parts; it is, rather, the direct, immediate, and concrete sovereignty of man over himself, the thing which allows and compels him to unfold his personality, gives him mastery over and responsibility for his destiny, and makes him accountable for his acts." (p. 352)

 

[1952]  J. L. Talmon,  The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy, Mercury Books, London, 1961

-  "The nearer the Jacobins were to power, the stronger grew their insistence on the conception of liberty as a set of values and not as merely the absence of constraint. The general will acquired an objective quality, and the reference to the actual exercise of popular sovereignty as the essential mode of arriving at the general will came to be less often repeated." (p. 107)

 

[1962]  Milton Friedman with the assistance of Rose D. Friedman,  Capitalism and Freedom, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1982

-  "The overthrow of the medieval guild system was an indispensable step in the rise of freedom in the Western world." (p. 137)

 

[1964]  Vance Packard,  The Naked Society, Lomgmans, London, 1964

-  "... the right of Americans to travel where they please as long as they can pay the fare is another traditional right that is being undermined by bureaucrats in the State Department." "... Americans are forbidden [year 1964] to travel to China, Albania, or Cuba unless 'is in the best interest of the United States'." (p. 225)

-  "In addition to general bans on travel to specific areas, the State department has persistently sought to forbid certain Americans to travel anywhere beyond the nation's borders. It has tried to deny a passport to anyone suspected of having or having had, Communist affiliations." (p. 226)

 

[1968]  Quelle université? Quelle societé? Textes réunis par le centre de regroupement des information universitaires, Seuil, Paris, 1968

-  "Nous ne nous battons pas pour la liberté, nous nous libérons. Aujourd'hui il nous faut reconquérir une liberté classée comme fondamentale, celle de la personne. Nous ne le ferons pas par des procès et des pétitions, ni par des grèves symboliques, nous ne le ferons pas en soutirant des promesses à des candidats députés, candidats à l'impuissance. Nous le ferons en nous opposant à l'agression de l'Etat bourgeois.
Nous retiendrons la leçon des événements : La liberté ne s'accorde pas, elle se prend." (p. 63)

 

[1980]  Milton Friedman and Rose Friedman,  Free to Choose, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1983

-  "With respect to religious freedom, Amish farmers in the United States have had their houses and other properties seized because they refused, on religious grounds, to pay Social Security taxes - and also to accept Social Security benefits." (p. 93)

 

[1983]  Eugène Enriquez,  De la Horde à l'État. Essai de psychanalyse du lien social, Gallimard, Paris, 1983

-  "Les restrictions imposées à l'homme sont rarement perçues comme des restrictions arbitraires ... Elles sont la plupart du temps ... considérées comme des institutions indispensables (naturelles) sans lesquelles l'ensemble de l'édifice social s'écroulerait d'un coup, en raison d'un problème de fond que Freud aborde toujours de biais : celui du pouvoir d'une catégorie de personnes ayant construit l'édifice social pour son plus grand profit (même si les autres catégories on droit à des 'bénéfices secondaires') qui résiste à toutes les forces susceptibles d'amener un changement, et qui parvient à mobiliser la masse autour de ses idéaux où tout au moins à l'anesthésier." (pp.117-118)