September 1, 2015

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty: updated and adapted…


“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”
Wendell Phillips (1811-1884)
       American Abolitionist and liberal activist
       In a
speech to the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society on January 28, 1852
       This quotation is often mistakenly attributed to Irish lawyer and politician John Philpot Curran (1750–1817) or to various American Founding Fathers, most commonly Thomas Jefferson. Similar quotes by Curran, Jefferson and others do predate the speech by Phillips, but he created the formulation we are most familiar with today in his 1852 speech.
       What Curran said, in
a speech in Dublin on July 10, 1790, was: “The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance.”
       The common misattribution to Thomas Jefferson may derive from a quote inscribed on the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC: “I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” This comes from a
letter Jefferson wrote to Dr. Benjamin Rush on September 23, 1800, in which he stressed his determination to prevent Christian clergyman from imposing their particular brands of religion on other Americans.
this post on my This Day in Quotes site for more background.


“We must constantly train and equip our people and upgrade our technology to meet these ever-growing and ever-changing challenges. Eternal vigilance is the price for continuing security.” 
      James R. Schlesinger (1929-2014)
       American government official who served as CIA director, Secretary of Defense and the first U.S. Secretary of Energy
       His version of the “eternal vigilance” saying comes from his July 1987 “Report to the Secretary of State on the Moscow Chancery Construction Project.” The report was commissioned after it was discovered that Soviet Russian spy agencies had planted an array of high tech listening and recording devices in the newly-constructed American Embassy building in Moscow. Given the more recent hacking of U.S. government computer systems by China and freelance hackers, his observation still seems relevant.


“Eternal vigilance is not the price of liberty. It’s the price of everything. Every object you own has to be maintained. In society, there will always be people who oppose whatever you hold dear. They will try to overturn, evade or weaken your reforms. Others will seek power, wealth, or status without doing any work. The only way to keep what you have is to guard it constantly.”
Prof. Steven Dutch
       Professor of Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin–Green Bay
       One of
Dutch’s Laws of Just About Everything 


“Eternal vigilance is not only the price of liberty; eternal vigilance is the price of human decency.”
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)
       English novelist and social critic
       From his introduction to the radio version of his novel Brave New World,
produced by William Froug for CBS Radio in 1965


“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance and a willingness to act in its defense.” 
George P. Shultz
       U.S. Secretary of State under President Ronald Reagan
       A saber-rattling variation
attributed to Schultz


“The price of surfing freedom is eternal vigilance.”
Jay Garmon 
       A “professional geek, Web entrepreneur, and occasional science fiction writer”
       In a
post about online privacy tools (and the unfortunate need for them)

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