Quotes on Free Speech

“Truth is not a piece of matter or a unit of energy that will survive pummeling and emerge unscathed in one form or another at one time or another. It is a fragile and ethereal aspiration, easily buried, difficult to retrieve, and capable of being lost forever. That is why every time an idea is censored, a person with an idea is killed, or a culture destroyed, we risk permanent injury to the corpus of human knowledge. And that is why it is always better to err on the side of more speech, more expression, more advocacy – even when the benefits seem distant and the costs immediate.”

— ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ, Mill, On Liberty

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“The fact that speech is likely to result in some violence or in destruction of property is not enough to justify its suppression. There must be the probability of serious injury to the State. Among free men, the deterrents ordinarily to be applied to prevent crime are education and punishment for violations of the law, not abridgement of the rights of free speech and assembly.”

Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927) (Brandeis, J. concurring)

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