A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“It’s no longer called ‘box wine’—the classy term is ‘Cardboardeaux‘“ (11/20)
“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on” (11/20)
“Courage is fear that has said its prayers” (11/20)
“What do you get when you cross the Godfather with a lawyer?” (lawyer joke) (11/19)
“Do you serve lawyers here?” (bar/lawyer joke) (11/19)
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Entry from December 03, 2012
“Liberty is being free from the things we don’t like in order to be slaves of the things we do like”

"Liberty is being free from the things we don’t like in order to be slaves of the things we do like” has been cited in print since at least 1912, when the quotation was credited in several newspapers to Life magazine (a humor magazine based in New York City).

The quotation is frequently credited to British author Ernest Benn (1875-1954), but most of Benn’s publications date from the 1920s and it’s unlikely that he wrote this line as early as 1912. Google Books appears to show that this quotation is included in a book titled Freedom (1936) by Ernest Benn, J. L. Garvin and Herbert Morrison.


19 September 1912, Morning Sun (IA) News-Herald, pg. 8, col. 5:
Liberty.
Liberty is being free from the things we don’t like in order to be slaves of the things we do like.—Life.

8 April 1917, Galveston (TX) Daily News, “Cartoonagrams” by Charles A. Ogden, pg. 24, col. 1:
Behold a chick getting it’s first liberty. Liberty is being free from the things we don’t like in order to be slaves of the things we do like.

HathiTrust Digital Library
Toaster’s Handbook;
Jokes, Stories and Quotations

Compiled by Peggy Edmund (Clara Elizabeth Fanning) and Harold Workman Williams (Halsey William Wilson)
New York, NY: The H. W. Wilson Company
1923
Pg. 267:
LIBERTY
Liberty is being free from the things we don’t like in order to be slaves of the things we do like.

21 August 1935, Christian Science Monitor, “For the Scrapbook,” pg. 13:
“Liberty is being free from the things we don’t like in order to be slaves of the things we do like.—Anonymous

21 December 1957, The Globe-Gazette (Mason City, IA), “Shopping on the Town” with Hazel, pg. 7, col. 3:
Liberty is being free from the things that we dislike to do so that we may be a “slave” to the things we like to DO.

Google Books
Peter’s Quotations:
Ideas for Our Times

By Dr. Laurence J. Peter
New York, NY: Quill/Morrow
1993
Pg. 209:
Liberty is being free from the things we don’t like in order to be slaves of the things we do like.—Ernest Benn (No one can enjoy freedom unless he is willing to surrender some part of it.)

Google Books
20,000 Quips & Quotes
By Evan Esar
New York, NY: Barnes & Noble Books
1995, ©1968
Pg. 473:
Liberty is being free from the things we don’t like in order to be slaves of the things we do like. — Ernest Benn

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Monday, December 03, 2012 • Permalink