— Robert G. Ingersoll Union United States Army officer 1833 - 1899
The trial of Charles B. Reynolds for blasphemy (1887)
Contesto: Liberty is the condition of progress. Without Liberty, there remains only barbarism. Without Liberty, there can be no civilization.
If another man has not the right to think, you have not even the right to think that he thinks wrong. If every man has not the right to think, the people of New Jersey had no right to make a statute, or to adopt a constitution — no jury has the right to render a verdict, and no court to pass its sentence.
In other words, without liberty of thought, no human being has the right to form a judgment. It is impossible that there should be such a thing as real religion without liberty. Without liberty there can be no such thing as conscience, no such word as justice. All human actions — all good, all bad — have for a foundation the idea of human liberty, and without Liberty there can be no vice, and there can be no virtue.
Without Liberty there can be no worship, no blasphemy — no love, no hatred, no justice, no progress.
Take the word Liberty from human speech and all the other words become poor, withered, meaningless sounds — but with that word realized — with that word understood, the world becomes a paradise.