Wendell PhillipsWendell Phillips, (1811-1884) American abolitionist, advocate for Native Americans, orator, lawyer

Wendell Phillips Quote

“No free people can lose their liberties while they are jealous of liberty. But the liberties of the freest people are in danger when they set up symbols of liberty as fetishes, worshipping the symbol instead of the principle it represents.”

Wendell PhillipsWendell Phillips
~ Wendell Phillips

Liberty and the Great Libertarians (C. Spradling)

Ratings and Comments

Logan, Memphis, TN

We have lost the philosophy, etymology, and perception of our founders, and have willingly done so in the name of natural progression. Why is it so important to understand and study the ancients? By understanding where we have been we more fully comprehend who we are and where we are going. The greatest thinkers of history did not reject their ancients, but understood them for who they were and progressed their ideas. Every man can think and reason, but only a wise man will seek to understand his past for what it WAS, not what he wished it to be. Sadly, many did not understand and did not progress the ancients, but ignorantly passed on false ideologies guised under the names of the most powerful thinkers of historical record--and they did so in the name of "progression". It is a historic sign of a failing society when the people falsely and intentionally redefine their foundations to contort and justify their latest ideas, unproven philosophies, and state actions. How can a people be jealous of their liberty when the very word has become so convoluted in society that few people really knew what it means? When a word can "mean different things to different people" then the word itself is useless. It has been said that words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen -- the enunciation of truth.

J Carlton, Calgary

Time for a return to the founding principles.

Mike, Norwalk

The US's new establishment of religion has redefined the words, concepts, and mental images of what freedom and liberty are, eliminating any vestige of an illuminated shadow. "Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow." (Aesop) Because we are now uniquely offered fascism or socialism as America's only choices, we are said to be 'FREE' to choose. I find it very sad indeed that the inalienable rights as recognized through that jealousy of liberty, that could never be taken away because as a faculty of birth, we are men endowed by our Creator, is now withheld by rule of the democracy being established in Iraq... apparently, freedom and liberty are alien to Muslims too. Man's acquired fetish, that of worshiping the symbol, especially that of the majority (or at least, the most powerful), is now well entrenched without the benefit of law, liberty, and/or freedom.

E Archer, NYC

Right on. Great comments by Logan and Mike.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

Like statutes to liberty to reason, etcetera words can be a fetish also. Slogans and mantras that may have hidden meaning to some are a secret code. The now most prevalent example is the use of the word "republic" and the damnable, illogical, and I believe intentionally twisted and subversive construction, "The USA is a republic not a democracy". This phrase is a fetish that says absolutely nothing about government style in America nor does the word republic say anything about the style of governments in the rest of the world where they exist.

Mike, Norwalk

Waffler, again I ask; what would you call a government where neither the majority, nor the minority can create law? A government that holds paramount the rule of law in best administering the protection and enhancement of the individual sovereign's life, liberty, property, happiness, authority, powers, rights, privileges etc. A government that can not do for, or to an individual, that which can not be done by or for himself? A government that is based on law, not the will of the people? A government that has no rights but duties only? A government where the single individual is the king and priest, Caesar and supreme sovereign? A government where its servants authority does not exceed that of the individual sovereign? A government where the representatives represent the sovereign, not the government? A government that can not or will not compel compliance, issue licences, enforce victimless crimes, commit larceny against the sovereign with impunity - including theft of the noble laborer's fruit, declare all property the alodium freehold of the state only allowing titled stewardship, suspend public displays of religious sentiment, suspend habeas corpus, torture people for information, enforce forced ID/insurance/charity, etc., etc., etc.? Again, what would you call it? What is the word you would use? A free people have lost their liberty by word fetishes.

warren, olathe

Gee Waffler. There you go again. This republic/democracy debate is silly. We have a republic that has leaders democratically elected. Who should care if we call it a democracy or a republic? It is a technicality not worth all the angst that people in here seem to have over it.

Mike, Norwalk

Warren, words are important because they conjure up images to the mind's eye and stirring symbols to the soul. If people don't know what freedom and liberty mean, can they truly be free? Can you be free without liberty's technicalities? Can ignorance set you free? Can you answer the question I keep asking Waffler? What would you call it? What is the word you would use?

Mike, Norwalk

Symbols of liberty as fetishes, is exemplified by today's first offering, the Pledge of Allegiance. The flag has become the worshipping of a symbol instead of the principle it represents

Justin, Elkland

So many fools still pretend that our government protects our liberty while it is slicing our liberty away, bit by bit. Is our government itsself not the greatest fetish to liberty of all?

Justin, Elkland

It does not matter what you call the form of the U.S. federal government be it republic, republican democracy, socialist republic, or socialist democracy. The federal government's one true function was to prevent usurpation of our natural liberties by state, local, and foreign govenrments. Unfortunately, the federal government stopped protecting liberty and began the slow slide back into feudalism and tyrrany, operating as a criminal enterprise.

jim k, Austin,Tx

Our government schools no longer teach our children the principles on which our nation was founded. I'm sure, however, that they are taught of the wonders of our current socialist president.

  • Reply
    RBESRQ    6/14/10

    Five stars for the second sentence, but none for the first.

    Wayne, Naples

    Because of ignorance our nation is a confused state. We are no longer a republic. And because so few vote we are not a democracy. We are confused.

    Ken, Allyn, WA

    It is always a bad idea to choose symbol over substance. I can almost imagine a crowd waving flags and gleefully singing patriotic songs as they're being marched off to a concentration camp.

    Abigail, Newport

    Ken, It will likely be the last FREE thing they can do...remember the Native Americans...they were killed for singing while being penned up...it is knowing history that prevents a nations deterioration. This nation is not long for this world...my poor children and grandchildren...I am sooo sorry to leave this big mess...

    Joe, Rochester, MN

    The Flag can be set up as a fetish to be worshipped, the Pledge to the Flag and the Country can also be a subugation of freedom; it can also, however, be the honest free expression of a man who has understanding of freedom and love of country. I'll express freedom in my way, you do whatever you wish.

    Dick, Fort Worth

    An excellent quotation.

    Ronw13, OR

    My old tattered flag, has kept me warm for a very long time. Understanding the symbol gives me strength.  I worship God our Creator and Not the symbol. Great respect for that which represents Liberty and Freedom is paramount for restoration !


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