"What do we mean when we say that first of all we seek liberty?
I often wonder whether we do not rest our hopes too much upon constitutions, upon laws and upon courts. These are false hopes; believe me, these are false hopes.
Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it; no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it...
What is this liberty that must lie in the hearts of men and women? It is not the ruthless, the unbridled will; it is not the freedom to do as one likes. That is the denial of liberty and leads straight to its overthrow.
A society in which men recognize no check on their freedom soon becomes a society where freedom is the possession of only a savage few -- as we have learned to our sorrow.
What then is the spirit of liberty? I cannot define it; I can only tell you my own faith.
The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which seeks to understand the minds of other men and women; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which weighs their interests alongside its own without bias..."
-- -- Learned Hand -- (1872-1961), Judge, U. S. Court of Appeals -- Source: Learned Hand, in "The Spirit of Liberty" - a speech at "I Am an American Day" ceremony, Central Park, New York City (21 May 1944)