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jamie's Journal: Taking Liberties 7

Journal by jamie

The honor of producing the English language's most popular aphorism may fall to Benjamin Franklin:

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

That's as it's cited by Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed., 1919, the most authoritative source I could find without resorting to a library trip. (I'm lazy.) That's modulo punctuation and Wacky Pre-Dictionary Capitals, of course. The quote appeared as early as 1755 and was published in Franklin's Historical Review of Pennsylvania in 1759.

Notice the important words "essential" and "temporary," without which the meaning changes significantly. Adjectives, like the word "foolish" in this rhyme, are the first to depart our memories, as we shall soon see.

The Franklin quote also appears in fifty Slashdot users' sigs, though only nine times in its Bartlett-approved form. Here's how some of our users spin this quarter-millennium-old dichotomy:

from the Misabridged dept.

  • Those who give up freedom for security deserve neither.
  • Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither!
  • Those who would sacrifice freedom for security will get neither
  • Those who give up freedom for security deserve neither.
  • Those who would surrender freedom for security soon have neither.

from the You just trailed off there dept.
(also known as, while defending our freedoms, watch that 120-character limit)

  • They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor s
  • Those who would surrender essential liberty for a little temporary security may deserve neither, but they tend to
  • They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor sa

from the Paraphrasing, the game everyone can play dept.

  • A society that will trade a little liberty for a little order will deserve neither and lose both.
  • A society that will trade a little liberty for a little order will lose both, and deserve neither.
  • People who are willing to give up freedom for the sake of short term security, deserve neither freedom nor security
  • A people that would sacrifice rights and freedom for a bit of safety deserve neither freedom nor safety.

from the Maybe they said it too dept.

  • A society that will trade a little liberty for a little order will lose both and deserve neither. - Thomas Jefferson
  • Those who would trade freedom for security will not have, and are not deserving of, either - Thomas Jefferson
  • A society that will trade a little liberty for a little order will lose both and deserve neither --Thomas Jefferson
  • Those that would give up freedom for security deserve neither. Lazarus Long (aka Robert Heinlein)

from the Variations on the theme dept.

  • They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security
  • Those who give up essential liberties for temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
  • Those who would give up essential liberty for temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety
  • They that give up liberty to obtain safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

from the Commentary dept.

  • Not only will they not deserve liberty or safety, Mr. Franklin, they will be DENIED both!

from the Modern synonyms: security dept.

  • Those willing to give up freedom for the sake of short term security, deserve neither freedom nor security.
  • They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security
  • Those who give up essential liberty for temporary security deserve neither
  • Those who would give up essential liberties for temporary security deserve neither liberty or security

from the Modern synonyms: purchasing power dept.

  • Those who would give up essential Liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
  • Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
  • Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither.

from the Modern synonyms: in times of sacrifice dept.

  • Those who would sacrifice essential liberty for temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
  • Those who would sacrifice freedom for a little temporary safety deserve neither freedom nor safety
  • Those who would sacrifice essential liberties for a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

from the Clever... dept.

  • Those who give up essential liberty to purchase a little safety will receive 25% off their insurance premiums
  • Those who would give up liberty in exchange for security and DRM should switch to Microsoft Palladium!
  • Those who would sacrifice sound quality for hard-drive space deserve neither.
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Taking Liberties

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