Lord Acton on Freedom

In The God Blog

Lord Acton on Freedom

By Dr. Brad Cole

During the last 2 weeks, Dr. Sigve Tonstad, in his class on the book of Revelation, has extensively quoted the words of Lord (Sir Harold) Acton. Lord Acton had a keen understanding of freedom, a word that is frequently championed, but yet not often understood.

Download or read the PDF of Lord Acton’s book “Essays on Freedom and Power” – a book that Dr. Tonstad referred to as one the the best 10 books he has ever read.

Here are a few Lord Acton quotes:

Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely

And remember, where you have a concentration of power in a few hands, all too frequently men with the mentality of gangsters get control. History has proven that.

Every thing secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity.

Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end.

The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern; every class is unfit to govern.

The man who prefers his country before any other duty shows the same spirit as the man who surrenders every right to the state. They both deny that right is superior to authority.

The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities.

It is bad to be oppressed by a minority, but it is worse to be oppressed by the majority. For there is a reserve of latent power in the masses which, if called into play, the minority can seldom resist. But from the absolute will of an entire people, there is no appeal, no redemption, no refuge but treason.