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Free Speech

  • My desire to curtail undue freedom of speech extends only to such public areas as restaurants, airports, streets, hotel lobbies, parks, and department stores. Verbal exchanges between consenting adults in private are as of little interest to me as they probably are to them.

  • ... the heaviest restriction upon the freedom of public opinion is not the official censorship of the Press, but the unofficial censorship by a Press which exists not so much to express opinion as to manufacture it.

  • There are laws against discrimination; laws against sexual harassment; laws against doing violence to children; against lynching; against mutilating animals. These are not issues of speech. None of these are protected acts, even if they provide someone with sexual thrills. But do any of these to a woman in print or on a screen and we say it is speech and it is protected. In effect, protecting and defending pornography is the official state position.

  • Free thought, free speech and a free press.

    • Anne Newport Royall,
    • motto (c. 1825), in Annie Laurie Gaylor, ed., Women Without Superstition "No Gods--No Masters": The Collected Writings of Women Freethinkers of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries ()
  • In the 'free' market, free speech has become a commodity like everything else — justice, human rights, drinking water, clean air. It's available only to those who can afford it. And naturally, those who can afford it use free speech to manufacture the kind of product, confect the kind of public opinion, that best suits their purpose. (News they can use.)

  • The only way to make sure people you agree with can speak is to support the rights of people you don't agree with.

  • There is no danger is letting people have their say. ... There is a danger when you try to stop them from saying it.

  • Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and this is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.

  • Gossip is one of the great luxuries of a democracy. It is the tawdry jewel in the crown of free speech and free expression. You don't read gossip columns in dictatorships.

  • I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it.

  • [When a judge asked who had issued her a permit to speak in the streets:] Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams.

    • Mother Jones,
    • in Linda Atkinson, Mother Jones: The Most Dangerous Woman in America ()