Alan Barth

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Alan Barth (1906 – 1979) was a journalist specializing in civil liberties. He is best known for his 30-year stint as an editorial writer at the Washington Post, from which he retired in 1972, and his books on historical and contemporaneous politics.


  • Thought that is silenced is always rebellious. Majorities, of course, are often mistaken. This is why the silencing of minorities is necessarily dangerous. Criticism and dissent are the indispensable antidote to major delusions.
    • The Loyalty of Free Men (1951) [1].
  • Character assassination is at once easier and surer than physical assault; and it involves far less risk for the assassin. It leaves him free to commit the same deed over and over again, and may, indeed, win him the honors of a hero in the country of his victims.
    • The Rights of Free Men: An Essential Guide to Civil Liberties (1984).
  • The notion that the church, the press, and the universities should serve the state is essentially a Communist notion. In a free society these institutions must be wholly free – which is to say that their function is to serve as checks upon the state.
    • The Rights of Free Men: An Essential Guide to Civil Liberties (1984).

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