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William Orville Douglas
1898 - 1980

U.S. Supreme Court Justice for 36 years, conservationist, author of An Almanac of Liberty and others


As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air - however slight - lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.

Ideas are indeed the most dangerous weapon in the world. Our ideas of freedom are the most powerful political weapons man has ever forged. If we remember that, we will never have much to fear from Communism.

1954 - from An Almanac of Liberty
The function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it invites a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger.

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

Restrictions of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions.

The [American] Constitution is not neutral. It was designed to take the government off the backs of people.