Thomas Babington MacaulayThomas Babington Macaulay, (1800-1859) [Lord Macaulay] 1st Baron Macaulay, British historian

Thomas Babington Macaulay Quote

“Many politicians are in the habit of laying it down as a self-evident proposition, that no people ought to be free till they are fit to use their freedom. The maxim is worthy of the fool in the old story, who resolved not to go into the water till he had learned to swim.”

Thomas Babington MacaulayThomas Babington Macaulay
~ Thomas Babington Macaulay

Ratings and Comments

  • Reply
Anon    2/16/10

The immorality that is now rampant throughout the majority of Americans is leading their country into deep water where even if one can swim they'll sink right along with everyone else. I just hope there are enough that have their moral scuba gear handy.

Mike, Norwalk

I'm not sure how to rate this. Rights are inalienable while the birthright of freedom continues inherent in all people. The quote is sufficiently accurate in purveying a prevalent mentality throughout the totalitarian political world. Politicians believe they are the only life guards that are capable of determining swim worthiness.

J Carlton, Calgary

Ironic. Kind of like politicians telling you it's raining while they're peeing on your boot. Or telling you that the planet is warming while you're trying to shovel 3 feet of snow out of your Tulsa.

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  • Reply
RBESRQ    2/16/10

Many a person has become wealthy in money and/or mind by jumping in the deep end!

Waffler, Smith

Shame on those politicians but I love the quote. It is like the slave holding south never could understand how slaves could be free and make their own way in the world. Many people think freedom should come slowly to other people. Many fought the Civil Rights movement and wanted restrictions on people's freedom to continue. The quote is absolutel true, in my opinion.

jim k, Austin

Waff, you mention the "slave holding South" but you fail to mention the slave holding North. Old "honest" Abe only freed slaves in the States that opposed him in the South. Northern and border States were free to keep their slaves. Most Northern States passed highly restrictive laws against blacks, and wanted no part of helping runaway slaves. Slaves in the South were better off than blacks in the North. You doubt it, read "Lincoln,Uber Alles,Dictatorship Comesto America". The socalled Civil War was about Lincoln wanting power in a central government in Washington and he didn't care a whit about slavery.

J Carlton, Calgary

Too right Jim K. It was a Nationalist Power Grab in a socially bullet proof vehicle. One might say it was the first great exercise in American political correctness. Like all such actions, it had a (not so) hidden agenda.

E Archer, NYC

Knowing that Lord Macaulay was a supporter of freedom, I understand that he is not condoning the foolish practice of only 'granting' freedom to those that have proven worthy of it. We are all worthy of our freedom and accountable for how we use it -- that is Nature's check upon the will of Man -- as you sew, so shall you reap.

Waffler, Smith

I agree McCauley is telling the truth on politicians, he is not saying that it is good for them to be that way. But people are that way also wanting freedom usually for themselves and not caring to much for the freedom of the other guy. As for Lincoln and Northern meaness you guys are close to right also. Of course any good politician knows that "politics is the art of the possible" so Lincoln did what he could when he could. Never forget this is a nation of compromise not of perfection, not yet anyway.


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