It is noticeable, very obvious at all times that sincere friends of freedom have been rare in every nation [liberty's] progress has been beset by its natural enemies: by ignorance and superstition, by lust of conquest and by love of ease, by the might of the strong men craving for power, and the poor man's craving to put food on its table.
At the mention of freedom I mean the factuality that every man shall be protected in doing what he believes is his duty, against the influence of authority and majorities, custom and opinion.
Freedom is the prevention of control by others. This requires self-control and freedom alone demands a lot for its realization, the limitation of the public authority, for freedom is the only object which benefits all alike, and provokes no sincere opposition.
Freedom and good government do not exclude each other; and there are excellent reasons why they should go together. Freedom is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end. It is not for the sake of a good public administration that it is required, but for the security in the pursuit of the highest objects of civil society, and of private life.
Freedom is not the power of doing what we like, but the right of being able to do what we ought.
Freedom enables us to do our duty unhindered by the state, by society, by ignorance and error. We are free in proportion as we are safe from these impediments tho obscure ethics imply imperfect liberty. For liberty comes not with any ethical system, but with a very developed one. Alas, sanctifying freedom teaching men to treasure the liberties of others as their own, and to defend them for the love of justice and charity more than as a claim of right, has been the soul of what is great and good in the progress of the last two hundred years for by birth all men are free, Even conscience imperatively demands a corresponding measure of personal liberty and with this no human authority can be permitted to interfere.
We are bound to extend to the utmost, and to guard from every encroachment, the sphere in which we can act in obedience to the sole voice of conscience, regardless of any other consideration.
The interest of individuals is above the exclusive interest of the state. The power of the whole is not to be set in the balance for a moment with freedom,that is, the conscience of the subject-and those who act on other principle are the worst of criminals.
It is easier to find people fit to govern themselves than people to govern others. Every man is the best, the most responsible, judge of his own advantage.
Now in Nigeria, the great question is to discover, not what governments prescribe, but what they ought to prescribe; for no prescription is valid against the conscience of mankind.
The finest opportunity ever given to the world was thrown away because the passion of equality made vain the hope for freedom.
The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern. Every class is unfit to govern.
Whenever a single definite object is made the supreme end of the State, be it the advantage of a class, the safety of the power of the country, the greatest happiness of the greatest number, or the support of any speculative idea, the State becomes for the time inevitably absolute.
Laws are made for the public good but the public good is not to be considered, if it is purchased at the expense of an individual.
The will of the people cannot make just that which is unjust.
There are many things the government can't do, many good purposes it must renounce. It must leave them to the enterprise of others. It cannot feed the people. It cannot enrich the people. It cannot teach the people.
Popular power may be tainted with the same poison as personal power.
The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather if that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections.
It is bad to be oppressed by a minority, but it is worse to be oppressed by a majority.
The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities.
Among all the causes which degrade and demoralize men, power is the most constant and the most active.
Those who have more power are liable to sin more; no theorem in geometry is more certain than this, Yes the possession of unlimited power corrodes the conscience, hardens the heart, and confounds the understanding.
There is no error so monstrous that it fails to find defenders.
There are principles which override precedents and there is such a thing as a higher law.
In Nigeria today all legislation must conform [under a law of nature] by the voice of universal reason and a principle embracing all mankind. A generous spirit prefers that his country should be peaceful, and corrupt free rather than powerful, prosperous, and enslaved.
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