"A people who would build a nation in which strong, democratic institutions are firmly established as a guarantee against state-induced power must first learn to liberate their own minds from apathy and fear."

Essay: Freedom from Fear
Political leader of Myanmar (Burma) (1945-)

"One of the greatest pains to human nature is the pain of a new idea."

English social scientist. Editor (1860-77) of the Economist (1826-77)

"He that cannot reason is a fool. He that will not is a bigot. He that dare not is a slave."

Scottish-American industrialist and philanthropist (1837-1919)

"An oppressive government is more to be feared than a tiger."

Chinese statesman and philosopher (551-478 B.C.)

"It would be interesting to know what it is men are most afraid of. Taking a new step, uttering a new word."

Fyodor Mikhailovich DOSTOYEVSKY
Notes from Underground
Russian novelist (

"We are willing enough to praise freedom when she is safely tucked away in the past and cannot be a nuisance. In the present, amidst dangers whose outcome we cannot foresee, we get nervous about her, and admit censorship."

Edward Morgan FORSTER
Two Cheers for Democracy
English author (1879-1970)

"Power may be at the end of a gun, but sometimes it's also at the end of the shadow or the image of a gun."

French dramatist (

"The free expression of the hopes and aspirations of a people is the greatest and only safety in a sane society."

Russian-American radical activist (1869-1940)

"'Freedom from fear' could be said to sum up the whole philosophy of human rights."

Dag Hjalmar Agne Carl HAMMARSKJÖLD
Speech 1956
Swedish statesman, secretary general of the United Nations (1905-61)

"Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom."

Danish philosopher and religious thinker (1813-1855)

"To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself."

Danish philosopher and religious thinker (1813-1855)

"Many people fear nothing more terribly than to take a position which stands out sharply and clearly from the prevailing opinion. The tendency of most is to adopt a view that is so ambiguous that it will include everything and so popular that it will include everybody. Not a few men who cherish lofty and noble ideas hide them under a bushel for fear of being called different."

Martin Luther KING Jr.
American clergyman and civil rights leader (1929-68)

"Where fear is present, wisdom cannot be."

Lucius Caelius Firmianus LACTANTIUS
Christian author and apologist, b. Africa (260-340 A.D.)

"Only oppression should fear the full exercise of freedom."
  José MARTI
Cuban essayist, poet, and patriot, leader of the Cuban struggle for independence (1853-1895)
"He who is afraid of a thing gives it power over him."


"Freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it."

Athenian statesman (c. 495–429 B.C.)

"Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth, more than ruin, more even than death.... Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man."

Bertrand Arthur William RUSSELL
British philosopher, mathematician, and social reformer (1872-1970)

"He who would acquire fame must not show himself afraid of censure. The dread of censure is the death of genius."

William Gilmore SIMMS
American novelist (1806-1870)

"Human beings are perhaps never more frightening than when they are convinced beyond doubt that they are right."

Sir Laurens VAN DER POST
South African writer (1906-1996)

Last update: 26 January 2007

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