It's worth recalling a few poignant quotes, lest we all forget the true meaning of words like "freedom" and "liberty."
Friedrich Martin Niemöller -- an anti-Nazi theologian from Germany, 1892-1984:
First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.
* From the original German: click
Alexis de Tocqueville -- a thinker and historian from France, 1805-1859:
Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom, socialism restricts it. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number.
Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.
John Winthrop -- the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony (USA), 1587-1649:
There is a liberty of corrupt nature, which is affected both by men and beasts to do what they
list ; and this liberty is inconsistent with authority, impatient of all restraint; by this liberty, Sumus Omnes Deteriores; 'tis the grand enemy of truth and peace, and all the ordinances of God are bent against it.
But there is a civil, a moral, a federal liberty which is the proper end and object of authority; it is a liberty for that only which is just and good; for this liberty you are to stand with the hazard of your very lives; and what ever crosses it is not authority, but a distemper thereof.
This liberty is maintained in way of subjection to authority; and the authority set over you will in all administration for your good be quietly submitted unto, by all but such as have a disposition to shake off the yoke, and lose their true liberty, by their murmuring at the honor and power of authority."
Ref. Mather Byles -- 1706-1788, a Loyalist clergyman in Boston during the Revolutionary War:
Which is better - to be ruled by one tyrant three thousand miles away or by three thousand tyrants one mile away?