It is not true that democracy will always safeguard freedom of conscience better than autocracy. Witness the most famous of all trials. Pilate was, from the standpoint of the Jews, certainly the representative of autocracy. Yet he tried to protect freedom. And he yielded to a democracy.
It was not their irritating assumption of equality that annoyed Nicholai so much as their cultural confusions. The Americans seemed to confuse standard of living with quality of life, equal opportunity with institutionalized mediocrity, bravery with courage, machismo with manhood, liberty with freedom, wordiness with articulation, fun with pleasure - in short, all of the misconceptions common to those who assume that justice implies equality for all, rather than equality for equals.
Man is more disposed to domination than freedom; and a structure of dominion not only gladdens the eye of the master who rears and protects it, but even its servants are uplifted by the thought that they are members of a whole, which rises high above the life and strength of single generations.
Man must be able to think freely and he must be able to express his thoughts freely! He who is against this is not only fascist and primitive but at the same time is a very great coward also! Only the brave and the honourable men are never afraid of freedom of thought and freedom of expression of ideas! Just like the cockroaches do not like the light, evil minds also do not like the freedom of thoughts!
Many politicians lay it down as a self-evident proposition, that no people ought to be free till they are fit to use their freedom. The maxim is worthy of the fool in the old story, who resolved not to go into the water till he had learned to swim.
Modern life means democracy, democracy means freeing intelligence for independent effectivenessthe emancipation of mind as an individual organ to do its own work. We naturally associate democracy, to be sure, with freedom of action, but freedom of action without freed capacity of thought behind it is only chaos.
My freedom will be so much the greater and more meaningful the more narrowly I limit my field of action and the more I surround myself with obstacles. Whatever diminishes constraint diminishes strength. The more constraints one imposes, the more one frees one's self of the chains that shackle the spirit.