Quotations about freedom: civil freedom, personal freedom — the power to choose how to act, speak, and think. Freedom can be a freedom to make one’s thoughts come to fruition in action, and thereby can involve compelling others to act, so that freedom is a power over other people. Or freedom can be to not have others compel us to act. Freedom, at its core, is about autonomy, and some versions of freedom recognize that our freedom is bound up with the freedom of others.

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The function of freedom is to free somebody else.

— Toni Morrison

We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

— Victor Frankl

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

— Viktor E. Frankl

Freedom, however, is not the last word. Freedom is only part of the story and half of the truth. Freedom is but the negative aspect of the whole phenomenon whose positive aspect is responsibleness. In fact, freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness. That is why I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast.

— Viktor Frankl

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

— Viktor Frankl

To enjoy freedom we have to control ourselves.

— Virginia Woolf

The cause of freedom, of the defense of man’s conscience, is indivisible. By defending it in one country, we defend it everywhere in the world.

— Vladimir Bukovsky

If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that too.

— W. Somerset Maugham

We are called to be strong companions and clear mirrors to one another, to seek those who reflect with compassion and a keen eye how we are doing, whether we seem centered or off course … we need the nourishing company of others to create the circle needed for growth, freedom and healing.

— Wayne Muller

When despair for the world grows in me…
I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light.
For a time I rest in the grace of the world,
and am free.

— Wendell Berry

Patriotism does not oblige us to acquiesce in the destruction of liberty. Patriotism obliges us to question it, at least.

— Wendy Kaminer

Liberty doesn’t work as well in practice as it does in speeches.

— Will Rogers

Liberty is the only thing you cannot have unless you are willing to give it to others.

— William Allen White

Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.

— William O. Douglas

One might even argue that if an animal could choose with intelligence, it would opt for living in a zoo, since the major difference between a zoo and the wild is the absence of parasites and enemies and the abundance of food in the first, and their respective abundance and scarcity in the second. Think about it yourself. Would you rather be put up at the Ritz with free room service and unlimited access to a doctor or be homeless without a soul to care for you?…

But I don’t insist. I don’t mean to defend zoos. Close them all down if you want (and let us hope that what wildlife remains can survive in what is left of the natural world). I know zoos are no longer in people’s good graces. Religion faces the same problem. Certain illusions about freedom plague them both.

— Yann Martel, Life of Pi

Everybody says they want to be free. Take the train off the tracks and it’s free — but it can’t go anywhere.

— Zig Ziglar

Integrity gives you real freedom because you have nothing to fear since you have nothing to hide.

— Zig Ziglar, Over the Top

The most direct cause of women’s misfortune is poverty; demanding their freedom means above all demanding reform in the economy of society which will eradicate poverty and give everyone an education, a minimum standard of living, and the right to work.

— Zoe Gatti de Gamond, 1838

No man may make another free.

— Zora Neale Hurston
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