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Democracy is never a thing done. Democracy is always something that a nation must be doing. What is necessary now is one thing and one thing only that democracy become again democracy in action, not democracy accomplished and piled up in goods and gold.
Freedom is the right to choose: the right to create for oneself the alternatives of choice. Without the possibility of choice and the exercise of choice a man is not a man but a member, an instrument, a thing.
It is not in the world of ideas that life is lived. Life is lived for better or worse in life, and to a man in life, his life can be no more absurd than it can be the opposite of absurd, whatever that opposite may be.
Once you permit those who are convinced of their own superior rightness to censor and silence and suppress those who hold contrary opinions, just at that moment the citadel has been surrendered. For the American citadel is a man. Not man in general. Not man in the abstract. Not the majority of men. But man. That man. His worth. His uniqueness.
The American mood, perhaps even the American character, has changed. There are few manifestations any longer of the old American self-assurance which so irritated Dickens. Instead, there is a sense of frustration so perceptible that even our politicians have attempted to exploit it.
The business of the law is to make sense of the confusion of what we call human life -- to reduce it to order but at the same time to give it possibility, scope, even dignity.
The one man who should never attempt an explanation of a poem is its author. If the poem can be improved by it's author's explanations it never should have been published, and if the poem cannot be improved by its author's explanations the explanations are scarcely worth reading.
There are those who will say that the liberation of humanity, the freedom of man and mind, is nothing but a dream. They are right. It is the American Dream.
To see the earth as we now see it, small and beautiful in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see ourselves as riders on the earth together, brothers on that bright loveliness in the unending night -- brothers who see now they are truly brothers.
We are as great as our belief in human liberty -- no greater. And our belief in human liberty is only ours when it is larger than ourselves.
What is freedom? Freedom is the right to choose: the right to create for oneself the alternatives of choice.
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