Photograph of Robert Parker

Robert Parker ran for NC State House

Libertarian Candidate for District 115

Protecting Personal Freedom

Black Mountain, Buncombe County, North Carolina


"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither Liberty nor safety."

-- Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), 1755

"The right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedoms."

-- William O. Douglas (1898-1980), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Public Utilities Commission v Pollack, 1952.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

-- Margaret Mead

"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.  The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."

-- Thomas Jefferson, Proposed Virginia Constitution, 1776, Jefferson Papers 344

"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace.  We ask not your counsels or arms.  Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.  May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."

-- Samuel Adams, speech at the Philadelphia State House, August 1, 1776

"The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive.  It will often be exercised when wrong but better so than not to be exercised at all.  I like a little rebellion now and then.  It is like a storm in the atmosphere."

-- Thomas Jefferson (1743-1846), U. S. President, Letter to Abigail Adams, 22 February 1787.

"The dichotomy between personal liberties and property rights is a false one.  Property does not have rights.  People have rights.  In fact, a fundamental interdependence exists between the personal right to liberty and the personal right in property."

-- Potter Stewart (1915-1985), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Lynch v. Household Finance Corp., 1972.

"The fundamental questions of political theory were discussed---the nature and end of the State, the meaning of justice, the ideal polity, its aims and structure---whilst speculation was combined with an inductive method by Aristotle and led to the classification of States into good and bad, according as the Government aimed at the good of the whole or at the satisfaction of its own interest and, from another point of view, into three types under each head---monarchy, aristocracy, polity, with their corresponding perversions tyranny, oligarchy, democracy---according as the governmental power was in the hands of one, a few, or the many in each State."

-- Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1943, Government

"Freedom is not a luxury that we can indulge in when at last we have security and prosperity and enlightenment; it is, rather, antecedent to all of these, for without it we can have neither security nor prosperity nor enlightenment."

-- Henry Steele Commager (1902-1998), Freedom, Loyalty and Dissent, 1954.

"Men in authority will always think that criticism of their policies is dangerous.  They will always equate their policies with patriotism, and find criticism subversive."

-- Henry Steele Commager (1902-1998), Freedom and Order, 1966.

"The right to defy an unconstitutional statute is basic in our scheme.  Even when an ordinance requires a permit to make a speech, to deliver a sermon, to picket, to parade, or to assemble, it need not be honored when it's invalid on its face."

-- Potter Stewart (1915-1985), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Walker v. Birmingham, 1967.

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

-- Cornelius Tacitus (55-117 A.D.).

"The philosophy of one generation of school children will be the philosophy of government in the next generation."

-- Abraham Lincoln.

"Do we really think that a government-dominated education is going to produce citizens capable of dominating their government, as the education of a truly vigilant self-governing people requires?"

-- Alan Keyes.

"The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy.  One's right to life, liberty and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly may not be submitted to vote; they depend on no elections."

-- Robert H. Jackson (1892-1954), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, West Virginia Board of Education vs. Barnette, 1943.

"Government cannot make us equal; it can only recognize, respect, and protect us as equal before the law."

-- Clarence Thomas, U. S. Supreme Court Justice.

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government.  It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure.  From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship.  The average age of the world's great civilizations has been two hundred years.  These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage."

-- Alexander Tyler, writing about the fall of the Athenian Republic.

"That the said Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of The United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms ...."

-- Samuel Adams, printed in Debates and Proceedings in the Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, at pg. 86-87 (Peirce & Hale, eds., Boston, 1850)

"To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical."

-- Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), Virginia Statutes of Religious Freedom, 1779.

"The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism.  But, under the name of 'liberalism', they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened."

-- Norman Thomas, former U.S. Socialist Party Presidential Candidate

"If by the mere force of numbers a majority should deprive a minority of any clearly written constitutional right, it might, in a moral point of view, justify revolution."

-- Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), First Inaugural Address, 4 March 1861.

"Those great and good men [who drafted the Constitution] foresaw that troublous times would arise, when rulers and people would become restive under restraint, and seek by sharp and decisive measures to accomplish ends deemed just and proper; and that the principles of constitutional liberty would be in peril, unless established by irrepealable law.  [...]  The Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times, and under all circumstances.  No doctrine, involving more pernicious consequences, was ever invented by the wit of man than that any of its provisions can be suspended during any of the great exigencies of government.  Such a doctrine leads directly to anarchy or despotism."

-- Roger B. Taney (1777-1864), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, Ex parte Milligan, 71 U.S. (4 Wall.) 2, 120 (1866)

"Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards.  They did not fear political change.  They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty.  To courageous, self reliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning applied through the processes of popular government, no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present, unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion.  If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.  Only an emergency can justify repression.  Such must be the rule if authority is to be reconciled with freedom."

-- Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357, 377, 47 S.Ct. 641, 648-49 (1927)

"Decency, security, and liberty alike demand that government officials shall be subjected to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen.  In a government of laws, existence of the government will be imperilled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously.  Our Government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher.  For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example.  Crime is contagious.  If the Government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.  To declare that in the administration of the criminal law the end justifies the means---to declare that the government may commit crimes in order to secure the conviction of a private criminal---would bring terrible retribution.  Against that pernicious doctrine this court should resolutely set its face."

-- Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438, 485, 48 S.Ct. 654 (1928) (Justice Brandeis dissenting)

"We can have intellectual individualism and the rich cultural diversities that we owe to exceptional minds only at the price of occasional eccentricity and abnormal attitudes.  When they are so harmless to others or to the State as those we deal with here, the price is not too great.  But freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much.  That would be a mere shadow of freedom.  The test of its substance is the right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order."

"If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein."

-- West Virginia Board v. Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624, 641-62, 63 S.Ct. 1178 (1943)

"John Stuart Mill, referring to the morality of assassination of political usurpers, passed by examination of the subject of Tyrannicide, as follows:

I shall content myself with saying that the subject has been at all times one of the open questions of morals; that the act of a private citizen in striking down a criminal, who, by raising himself above the law, has placed himself beyond the reach of legal punishment or control, has been accounted by whole nations, and by some of the best and wisest men, not a crime, but an act of exalted virtue; and that, right or wrong, it is not in the nature of assassination, but of civil war.

Mill, On Liberty and Considerations on Representative Government, p. 14, n. 1."

-- Jordan v. DeGeorge, 341 U.S. 223, 241, 71 S.Ct. 703, 713 (1951) (in a footnote in the dissent)

"There are areas where the government may not probe.  Private citizens, private clubs, private groups may make such deductions and reach such conclusions as they may choose from the failure of a citizen to disclose his beliefs, his philosophy, his associates.  But government has no business penalizing a citizen merely for his beliefs or associations. It is government action that we have here.  It is government action that the Fourteenth and Fifth Amendments protect against."

"[...] the basic principle that government can concern itself only with the actions of men, not with their opinions or beliefs.  As Thomas Jefferson said in 1779: '[...] the opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction; [...] it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order.'  Papers of Thomas Jefferson (Boyd. ed. 1950) 546.  When we make the belief of the citizen the basis of government action, we move toward the concept of total security.  Yet total security is possible only in a totalitarian regime---the kind of system we profess to combat."

-- Beilan v. Board of Education, 357 U.S. 399, 414-15, 78 S.Ct. 1317 (1958) (Justice Douglas dissenting)

"This case involves a cancer in our body politic.  It is a measure of the disease which afflicts us.  Army surveillance, like Army regimentation, is at war with the principles of the First Amendment.  Those who already walk submissively will say there is no cause for alarm.  But submissiveness is not our heritage.  The First Amendment was designed to allow rebellion to remain as our heritage.  The Constitution was designed to keep government off the backs of the people.  The Bill of Rights was added to keep the precincts of belief and expression, of the press, of political and social activities free from surveillance.  The Bill of Rights was designed to keep agents of government and official eavesdroppers away from assemblies of people.  The aim was to allow men to be free and independent and to assert their rights against government.  There can be no influence more paralyzing of that objective than Army surveillance.  When an intelligence officer looks over every nonconformist's shoulder in the library, or walks invisibly by his side in a picket line, or infiltrates his club, the America once extolled as the voice of liberty heard around the world no longer is cast in the image which Jefferson and Madison designed, but more in the Russian image [...]"

-- Laird v. Tatum, 408 U.S. 1, 28, 92 S.Ct. 2318, 2333 (1972) (Dissent by Justice Douglas)

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