Quotes on Political and Religious Dissent (Activism)

Political and Religious Dissent (Activism) Quotes:

"An unconditional right to say what one pleases about public affairs is what I consider to be the minimum guarantee of the First Amendment." -- Justice Hugo L. Black: (1886-1971) US Supreme Court Justice Source: New York Times Company vs. Sullivan, 1964
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"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any." - Alice Walker
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"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." -- Thomas Jefferson - (1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President Source: letter to Abigail Adams, February 22, 1787; reproduced in Thomas Jefferson, Writings (The Library of America, 1984), p. 889-890
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"The right to revolt has sources deep in our history." -- William O. Douglas: (1898-1980), U. S. Supreme Court Justice Source: An Almanac of Liberty, 1954
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“If you go to one demonstration and then go home, that's something, but the people in power can live with that. What they can't live with is sustained pressure that keeps building, organisations that keep doing things, people that keep learning lessons from the last time and doing it better the next time.” Noam Chomsky
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"Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind...War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today." - John F. Kennedy
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"Protest that endures...is moved by a hope far more modest than that of public success: namely, the hope of preserving qualities in one's own heart and spirit that would be destroyed by acquiescence." Wendell Berry
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"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968), US civil rights leader
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"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. To be your own man is hard business. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." Rudyard Kipling - (1865-1936)
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"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."- Voltaire - [François Marie Arouet] (1694-1778)
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"Few are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of the colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change. Each time a person stands up for an idea, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, (s)he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance." -- Robert F. Kennedy
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“Laws just or unjust may govern men's actions. Tyrannies may restrain or regulate their words. The machinery of propaganda may pack their minds with falsehood and deny them truth for many generations of time. But the soul of man thus held in trance or frozen in a long night can be awakened by a spark coming from God knows where and in a moment the whole structure of lies and oppression is on trial for its life.” Sir Winston Churchill
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If... the machine of government... is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law: Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobediance, 1849
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"He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it" - Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968), US civil rights leader
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“How many does it take to metamorphose wickedness into righteousness? One man must not kill. If he does, it is murder.... But a state or nation may kill as many as they please, and it is not murder. It is just, necessary, commendable, and right. Only get people enough to agree to it, and the butchery of myriads of human beings is perfectly innocent. But how many does it take?” Adin Ballou, The Non-Resistant, 5 February 1845
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"Justice is conscience, not a personal conscience but the conscience of the whole of humanity. Those who clearly recognize the voice of their own conscience usually recognize also the voice of justice." - Alexander Solzhenitsyn
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"If you assume that there's no hope, you guarantee that there will be no hope. If you assume that there is an instinct for freedom, there are opportunities to change things, there's a chance for you to contribute to making a better world. That's your choice." Noam Chomsky, The Chronicles of Dissent
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"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they don't want to hear." George Orwell
I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law: Martin Luther King Jr., "Letter From Birmingham Jail", 4.16.63
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"The right to criticize: the right to hold unpopular beliefs; the right to protest; the right of independent thought. The exercise of these rights should not cost one single American citizen his reputation or his right to a livelihood... Otherwise none of us could call our souls our own." Margaret Chase Smith Biography -United States Senator from Maine 1897-1995
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"One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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"Sometimes it seem like to tell the truth today is to run the risk of being killed. But if I fall, I'll fall five feet four inches forward in the fight for freedom. I'm not backing off." Fannie Lou Hamer - Sharecropper, Civil Rights Activist 1917 - 1977
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"Activists who are truly progressive cannot use force or trickery; we can only serve as mentors and midwives, showing the way and facilitating the birth of a new society. Our means must reflect our desired ends if we want our means to lead to those ends." - Randy Schutt, Inciting Democracy
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"Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings..." Patrick Henry
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"The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naive and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair." --H.L. Mencken
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"We're losing ground. This planet is losing ground. So things need to happen and they need to happen quick. Our message should be-loud and clear-there comes a time when the home needs protecting and the line needs drawing and anybody that dares cross it acts at their own peril.": Diane Wilson -Shrimp Fisher, Environmentalist, Activist
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"These things I believe: That government should butt out. That freedom is our most precious commodity and if we are not eternally vigilant government will take it all away. That individual freedom demands individual responsibility. That government is not a necessary good but an unavoidable evil. That the executive branch has grown too strong, the judicial branch too arrogant and the legislative branch too stupid. That political parties have become close to meaningless. That government should work to insure the rights of the individual, not plot to take them away. That government should provide for the national defense and work to insure domestic tranquility. That foreign trade should be fair rather than free- That once a year we should hang someone in government as an example to his fellows." Lyn Nofziger
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"The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite." - Thomas Jefferson

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