Even a purely moral act that has no hope of any immediate and visible political effect can gradually and indirectly, over time, gain in political significance.
—Vaclav Havel (1936–2011) Czech Dramatist, Statesman
Years ago I recognized my kinship with all living things, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on the earth. I said then and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.
—Eugene V. Debs (1855–1926) American Socialist, Union Leader
Unfortunately, I am involved in a freedom ride protesting the loss of the minority rights belonging to the few remaining earthbound stars. All we demanded was our right to twinkle.
—Marilyn Monroe (1926–62) American Actor, Model, Singer
Think for yourself, question authority.
—Timothy Leary (1920–96) American Psychologist, Author
There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.
—Elie Wiesel (b.1928) Romanian-born American Writer, Professor, Political Activist
There is all the difference in the world between the criminal’s avoiding the public eye and the civil disobedience’s taking the law into his own hands in open defiance. This distinction between an open violation of the law, performed in public, and a clandestine one is so glaringly obvious that it can be neglected only by prejudice or ill will.
—Hannah Arendt (1906–75) German-American Philosopher, Political Theorist
We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes which were, for the moment, unpopular.
—Edward R. Murrow (1908–65) American Journalist, Radio Personality
We are here, not because we are law-breakers; we are here in our efforts to become law-makers.
—Emmeline Pankhurst (1858–1928) British Suffragette Leader
I pondered all these things, and how men fight and lose the battle, and the thing that they fought for comes about in spite of their defeat, and when it comes turns out not to be what they meant, and other men have to fight for what they meant under another name.
—William Morris (1834–96) British Designer, Craftsman, Poet, Writer
Thus if the First Amendment means anything in this field, it must allow protests even against the moral code that the standard of the day sets for the community. In other words, literature should not be suppressed merely because it offends the moral code of the censor.
—William O. Douglas (1898–1980) American Judge