Calvin CoolidgeCalvin Coolidge, (1872-1933) 30th US President

Calvin Coolidge Quote

“Liberty is not collective, it is personal. All liberty is individual liberty.”

Calvin CoolidgeCalvin Coolidge
~ Calvin Coolidge

Speech, 1924

Ratings and Comments

Robert, Sarasota

Calvin understood, alas so few do - don't stir the caldron in hope you cool its temper

Logan, Memphis, TN

5 stars on content alone-- Ironic though, considering the source.

David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood

Perhaps I missed the point. I would say that the nations which are today ruled by totalitarian regimes are ruled collectively, that their populations are subjugated collectively, and that their liberty is denied to the group.

E Archer, NYC

The collective have no more rights than the individuals that compose it.

David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood

So then individuals have no more rights than the collective that they compose? Does the collective have the right to obligate the individual not to defecate in the street? Does the collective have the right to obligate the individual not to discharge a firearm within city limits, accept in defense of persons or property?

Jerrod Dunbar, Anchorage, Alaska
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Jerrod Dunbar, Anchorage, Alaska David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood 5/21/21

This is why we debate! I almost shared this quote then I decided to look it up in hopes to get a better understanding of I what he meant. I read your comment and now I'm thinking about what is right and what do I believe. It was cause for me to pause and contemplate. 

This was a great example to me why freedom of thought and the freedom to share those thoughts are the most important freeedoms we have.

Bob Mulroy, Eugene, OR

Cal slept 14 hours per night, and took a two-hour nap in the afternoon. A role model for all Presidents!

E Archer, NYC

"So then individuals have no more rights than the collective that they compose?" You've got it backwards -- individuals have all the rights they were born with -- the collective has NO rights other than the rights the individuals possess. With regard to public property, the public commonwealth is managed by the county with the Sheriff as its head. All rights still apply and all respect towards the rights of others still apply. My right to travel is not restricted by the fact that I am travelling on a public road. My right to defend myself is not restricted to my own private property. As far as defecating anywhere, the rules are the same for all -- we are all responsible for cleaning up our own shit but not necessarily someone else's.

David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood

E. Archer: You are contradicting yourself. In fact, you recognize, in your last statement, that we have responsibilities to the collective. There is nothing unjust about this, as long as the collective respects our rights. Fact is, respect for anyone and anything is as rare a commodity in our society as is common sense. Our court systems are corrupt and inadequately arranged. Our school systems just plain suck, producing more harm than good, in may cases. And our officials are not made to respond for their crimes. So I guess I am saying that I do not know why we are discussing rights, while we claim to have many but enjoy few.

Carl P. Reasor, Denville, NJ

"Liberty is not collective, it is personal. All liberty is individual liberty." -- I never realized Calvin Coolidge was so talkative. I recall a story about a woman who approached him and said, "Mr. President, I've bet someone that I could get more than three words out of you", to which President Coolidge replied, "You lose."

MK, Houston, TX

Great job Mr. President. Indeed...the premise our country (the USA) was founded on is that men are "endowed by their Creator" with certain individual rights, and that government is instituted among men to protect and preserve those more, and no less. The government does not grant rights...they are already there for individuals. The rub comes, of course, in that we must have an orderly society, and that, as Holmes put it, "Your right to swing your fist, stops at my nose." So there must be order, and freedom. The balencing of these is what the Great American Experiment is all about. (And by the way, this experiment does not have to work...we can still prove it was a bad idea by turning liberty into license, and/or voting ourselves money from the public coffers.)

Terry Berg, Occidental, CA

The funny thing is that when the 'shit' gets too high in anyone's 'back yard', it eventually overflows into the neighbors' 'yards'. That amount of 'shit' then becomes a responsibility (to the collective) by (on the part of) the 'irresponsible' 'owner' of the 'shit' whether they 'like' it or not. It also becomes a responsibility of the other members of the collective in such a way that they will be justified in the actions required to 'enforce' some sort of abatement. The sticking point in such 'issues' invariably boils down to 'what amount of shit is too much'. That's where a consensus (generally expressed in 'laws') needs come into play such that 'individuals' don't have free rein to exercise their 'personal' prejudices in making assessments affecting their neighbors (community or 'collective' if you like). 'Communities' without restrictions on the 'free rein' of individuals dis-integrate into 'law-less' (ness) and cease to be able to function to provide the benefits (and compromises) of 'community'. The need for the requisite 'consensus' on which 'law' is predicated, as well as some mechanism by which to arrive at such a consensus, clearly violates the 'libertarian' view that 'individuals' can, at their own discretion, abstain from adherence to the 'laws' thus generated without being subject to the attendant consequences.

I don't know how one would construct such an 'overflow' ('overflow' in the abstract) issue as constituting a situation such that "the collective has NO rights other than the rights the individuals possess".

Terry Berg, Occidental, CA

LOL - Carl knows where the 'real goods' are.

E Archer, NYC

There is no natural born responsibility to the 'collective'. There is however a responsibility of keeping one's word if one wants to participate in group associations whose purposes and processes are defined in their charter and by-laws. But there are no forced or compulsory associations for newborns -- any association afterwards is by choice of the individual. The 'responsibility' is for my actions, words, and participation. Simply put, I am not responsible for you (singular or plural), and you are not responsible for me. When my shit crosses over to your side of the fence, according to American Common Law, I have trespassed on your property and am expected to make amends. The 'collective' is not involved -- 12 of my peers, perhaps, but not the 'collective'. All rights are individual rights -- corporations (collectives) are 'dead' bodies (corpses) -- the People are the possessors of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Might does not make right -- the power of the many does not outweigh the rights of the few.

David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood

E. Archer must be very young indeed if he is able to convince himself that "There is no natural born responsibility to the 'collective'." Ignorance is bliss, but the epiphany will be painful.

Terry Berg, Occidental, CA

Failing to recognize the use of 'shit' and 'collective' as metaphors, and only reading them as concrete, 'local' phenomena, indicates an inability (or refusal) to abstractualize (generalize) a concept, resynthesise the generality, and then infer (deduce) a 'principle' from the (new) generality. Now, that may sound a bit complex but it's what everyone does when they consider and apply 'principles' (generalities) to specific (concrete) situations - if, that is, they actually think about the specific principles before asserting their applicability to specifics.

This abstractualization/synthesis/inference function is what, hopefully (perennially the optimist, I am), separates humans from parrots who can regurgitate poetry and 'pretty' dicta but aren't often really very good at 'making' poetry or 'pretty' dicta themselves.

E. A.; I find it odd that someone who would say "So in that context, those uneducated about the rights and responsibilities in a republic would not be 'qualified' to be citizen. I often thought that at graduation from high school we should all make our own personal declaration of our commitment to libery and justice for all, and sign it like the founders did.", could then claim that such a ceremony could ever be, in fact, 'voluntary', and then claim not to be part of a 'collective'. You see, there are things that baffle me.

I see you've alluded to your, reluctant 'perhaps', but nevertheless existant (unless you change your mind, of course), 'recognition' of the validity of the 'collective' in your reference to the enforcement of 'American Common law':
"The 'collective' is not involved -- 12 of my peers, perhaps, but not the 'collective'."

Hello-o!, ... knock, knock. That 'law', under which those peers act, is the 'collective' and you, having been born 'under' it, are 'subject' to it - immediately - upon birth - no delays - no exceptions. You don't get asked "Do you, my child, agree with how we, the 'collective' (who are, naturally, subject to your desires as you have taught us) have set things up? We ask because, well, you know, of course, that if you don't like it you can opt out at your leisure." You also don't get asked "Just exactly when and in what manner do you wish to be recognized as an adult?" -- At least most of us little ignoramusses never got asked that sort of thing and most of us, upon and after the age of majority, are at least unlikely to ask our children that sort of thing.

That 'collective' 'law' includes the 'laws' affecting minors and the Constitution which is also the will of the 'collective' - at least until or unless it's overthrown. Who the heck do you think 'enforces' The Constitution? Not you in your 'independence' (the 'collective' isn't exactly doing such a hot job of it just now either I might add). If that 'collective', to which you claim to have no 'duty', took their marbles and went home tomorrow, there'd be no Constitution and very few groceries.

While it's true that, 'When a million people say a stupid thing, it's still a stupid thing', it's also true that 'When a few people say a stupid thing, it's still a stupid thing.'

Wishing doesn't make it so. Santa's not really coming to visit. Sad but true.

Mike, Norwalk

The quote is about liberty not responsibility. E Archer is by far the closest to the issue here. There is no collective without the individual and there is no liberty without responsibility. The phrase: "My rights end where your nose begins", comes to mind. The collective sets, not infringing on anyone's nose, those definitions by statute and each individual acts in a societal setting to justly effect said deffinitions. The Christian spin on that is: The God of Nature's law is "Thow shalt not kill." Individuals, then in a societal setting set statutes best protecting the individual with an outline of how best to accept the law: i.e. first degree, second degree, man slaughter, etc.

mary, albury

Individuality is an illusion To eat you are part of a collective. How do you get your food?

Howard, Bangkok

How can liberty be for the collective? If 99% of the people violate the freedom of the 1%, does the 1% think it's liberty?

jim k, Austin, Tx

Golok, I think "damn straight" would have been sufficient.

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    abby    7/5/13

    Mary, You kill it, you buy it, you collect it from the wild, or you grow it.You trade your food for something else. You don't necessarily grow it in a collective area unless you choose to do so. You have a choice in the matter or with whom you may want to collaborate with to bring food to the table.

    Mike, Norwalk

    mary, WHAT ? ? ? Are you just being the devil's advocate for fun ( possibly setting forth a naivete, an unsophisticated lack of information / a diliberate misinformation - such as would be from a government school devotee, or just stupid, no one can really be that ignorant to make such statement intending to be believed ). I either grow the food for my personal consuption my self or, I echange my individual labors, using a most convienient medium of exchange, with an other individual (he individually grew the vegetables) - no collective there. Possibly, a third individual facilitated the exchange by transporting the food for convience of the parties involved - no collective there. ETC., ETC. mary, what is you definition of collective ?

    E Archer, NYC

    With regards to my post about individuals signing a Declaration of Independence, I still hold to that point AND I do not think anyone should be compelled to. Regarding responsibilities to the 'collective', I do not have any responsibilities that I have not agreed to -- that is not to say I wouldn't make an agreement with the collective, but what am I agreeing to and with whom?

    For me I would sign the Declaration of Independence, and you can consider that my agreement with the 'collective' of the REST of those that have made that agreement. Am I my brother's keeper? It is my choice, and there are consequences either way. I am responsible for my choices, my agreements, my words, and my actions -- I cannot be responsible for others in the collective or outside of it. Allow me to GIVE rather than compel me to serve an oligarchy. I have ideas and a conscience of my own -- I do not need to prop up others' beliefs or lifestyles, nor do I expect others to.

    Bruski, Naples

    Where is Cal when we desperately need him?


    Mike, Norwalk

    Liberty is: “The power of acting as one thinks fit, without any restraint or control, except from the laws of nature.” (Bouvier’s Law Dictionary) “Liberty: exemption from extraneous control. The power of the will, in its moral freedom, to follow the dictates of its unrestricted choice, and to direct the external acts of the individual without restraint, coercion, or control from other persons. Liberty is the right which nature gives to all mankind of disposing of their persons and property after the manner they judge most consistent with their happiness, on condition of their acting within the limits of the law of nature, and so as not to interfere with an equal exercise of the same rights by other men.” (Blacks Law Dictionary 1st ed.) Liberty: "Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add within the limits of the law,' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual." (Thomas Jefferson)

    For all the collectivists, where is the lawful nexus that transfers individual sovereign liberty and the right thereof to an intangible phantasm? What is the magic number that takes away at justice personal liberty (being an inalienable right) in favor of a philosophical ideologue?

    The quote’s reference is to personal liberty. By definition, there is no (nor can there be) collective liberty. Liberal / progressive / socialist and otherwise collectivist mumbo-jumbo word salad, as ritualistic unintelligible or incomprehensible gibberish as it is, attempts to confuse and otherwise obscure liberty, rights, the laws of nature, and justice in its/their enslavement of the specie. There is only collective tyranny.

    Ronw13, USA

    Ironic indeed, considering the source ! When removing the governor of moderation, which comes by way of natural law, this socialist do so well. Then the superficial needs become paramount in the individuals mind. With no regard for spiritual insight. ( Moral guidance ). At liberty with licentiousness liberty in this nation, is that, which drew France to our sacred cause. This shading of the " word, liberty " rarely if every revealed in church or state. Is used for the sake of control and influence. Trusting in Natural laws of the Creator as our Founding Fathers put forth, tempered with early parental education and moderation, allows the individual to experience Liberty with moderation. Seeing nature does not suffer fools well. Tyrants which sway government for the sake of profit, constantly feed upon this very ignorance, instilled within man, to control the ever consuming individual. Fear of your neighbor, and need for security, in the Bloody Cities of mankind, dependent upon the services of others rather than individual responsibility. The dupe of corrupt statesmen representing the collective or mass. Ivveleth, Keciyl. foolishness. Nebalah, foolishness, senselessness, impropriety, stupidity. Keciyl being the key type of foolishness, promoted by old world mentality, Insolvent in religion seeing the wicked florish thinking they have the right life style. Ignorant of a wholesome life. Five stars for content. Coolidge was a socialist jerk !

    cal, Lewisville, TX

    Cal was a rare breed especially coming from Vermont . Bernie Sanders ring a bell.

    Carterthewriter, Mt. Vernon, Ohio

    I never thought it was a good idea to seek out someone to solve my own problems, usually, it becomes very costly.


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