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Baruch Benedict Spinoza
1632 - 1677
Dutch philosopher, a proponent of rationalism

The world would be happier if men had the same capacity to be silent that they have to speak.

from Ethics
The free man who lives among those who are ignorant strives as much as possible to avoid their favors.

The true aim of government is liberty.

1677 - from A Political Treatise
... it must be among our chief ethical rules to see that we build the lofty structure of human society on the sure and simple foundations of man's organism.

The endeavor to understand is the first and only basis of virtue.

The most tyrannical of governments are those which make crimes of opinions, for everyone has an inalienable right to his thoughts.

Whatever ... convicts a man of weakness cannot be ascribed to his liberty.

1677 - from A Political Treatise
Citizens are not born, but made.