“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." [The One Un-American Act, Speech to the Author's Guild Council in New York, on receiving the 1951 Lauterbach Award (December 3, 1952)]” ― William O. Douglas “A funny thing happened to the First Amendment on its way to the public forum. According to the Supreme Court, money is now speech and corporations are now people. But when real people without money assemble to express their dissatisfaction with the political consequences of this, they’re treated as public nuisances and evicted.” ― Robert Reich “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” ― United States Congress “If you defend free speech for bigots but not to combat bigotry, then you believe in bigotry, not free speech.” ― DaShanne Stokes “Our freedom to say or write whatever we please in this country is holy to me. It is a rare privilege not only on this planet, but throughout the universe, I suspect. And it is not something somebody gave us. It is a thing we give to ourselves. "Meditation is holy to me, for I believe that all the secrets of existence and nonexistence are somewhere in our heads--or in other people's heads. "And I believe that reading and writing are the most nourishing forms of meditation anyone has so far found. "By reading the writings of the most interesting minds in history, we meditate with our own minds and theirs as well. "This to me is a miracle.” ― Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Palm Sunday: An Autobiographical Collage WARNING & PROPHECY OF JOHN F. KENNEDY ON "TODAYS" GOVERNMENT, "TODAYS" MEDIA, "TODAYS" CONSPIRACIES BY GOVERNMENT AGENCIES, CORPORATIONS, SECRET SOCIETIES, WHICH HAS DEEPLY INFILTRATED THE NATIONS CAPITAL, AND PENTAGON, AND THE DANGERS THEY POSE AGAINST NATIONAL SECURITY, THE SECURITY OF OUR GOVERNMENT, THE SECURITY OF OUR CHILDREN, THE SECURITY OF ALL CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE WORLD. Ladies and gentlemen. The very word “secrecy” is repugnant in a free and open society. And we are as a people, inherently and historically, opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago, that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweigh the dangers which are are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the thread of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in assuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it’s in my control. And no official of my administration whether his rank is high or low, civilian or military, should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up our mistakes, or to withhold from the press or the public the facts they deserve to know. For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence, on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations. Its preparations are concealed, not published. It’s mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed. No President should fear public scrutiny of his program. For from that scrutiny comes understanding, and from that understanding comes support or opposition, and both are necessary. I’m not asking your newspapers to support an administration. But I am asking your help in the tremendous task of informing and alerting the American people. For I have complete confidence in the response and dedication of our citizens whenever they are fully informed. I not only could not stifle controversy among your readers, I welcome it. This administration intends to be candid about its errors. For as a wise man once said, an error doesn’t become a mistake until you refuse to correct it. We intend to accept full responsibility for our errors. And we expect you to point them out when we miss them. Without debate, without criticism, no administration and no country can succeed, and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian lawmaker, Solon, decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. That is why our press was protected by the First Amendment, the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution, not primarily to amuse and to entertain, not to emphasis the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply give the public what it wants, but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crisis and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion. This means greater coverage and analysis of international news, for it is no longer far away and foreign, but close at hand and local. It means greater attention to improve the understanding of the news as well as improve transmission. And it means finally that government at all levels must meet its obligation to provide you with the fullest possible information outside the narrowest limits of national security. And so it is to the printing press, to the recorder of man’s deeds, the keeper of his conscience, the courier of his news, that we look for strength and assistance. Confident that with your help, man will be what he was born to be, free and independent.