"What do we mean when we say that first of all we seek liberty?. I often wonder whether we do not rest our hopes too much upon constitutions, upon laws and upon courts. These are false hopes; believe me, these are false hopes. Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it. While it lies there it needs no constitution, no law, no court to save it."
Learned Hand ( "I am an American Day", Speech delivered at Central Park, May 21 1944)
"¿Qué queremos decir cuando decimos que lo primero que buscamos es la libertad?.A menudo me pregunto si no ponemos demasiadas esperanzas sobre las constituciones, las leyes y los tribunales.Estas son falsas esperanzas, creédme, son esperanzas falsas. La libertad reside en los corazones de las mujeres y los hombres, y cuando muere allí, ninguna constitución, ninguna ley, ni ningún tribunal puede hacer mucho por ayudar.Mientras reside allí no necesita cosntitución, ni ley, ni tribunal para salvarla."
(traducción Guillermo G. Ruiz)
We have gathered here to affirm a faith, a
faith in a common purpose, a common conviction, a common devotion. Some of us
have chosen America
as the land of our adoption; the rest have come from those who did the same. For
this reason we have some right to consider ourselves a picked group, a group of
those who had the courage to break from the past and brave the dangers and the
loneliness of a strange land.
What was the object that nerved us, or those
who went before us, to this choice? We sought liberty; freedom from oppression,
freedom from want, freedom to be ourselves. This we then sought; this we now
believe that we are by way of winning.
What do we mean when we say that
first of all we seek liberty? I often wonder whether we do not rest our hopes
too much upon constitutions, upon laws and upon courts. These are false hopes;
believe me, these are false hopes. Liberty
lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no
law, no court can even do much to help it. While it lies there it needs no
constitution, no law, no court to save it.
And what is this liberty which must
lie in the hearts of men and women? It is not the ruthless, the unbridled will;
it is not freedom to do as one likes. That is the denial of liberty, and leads
straight to its overthrow. A society in which men recognize no check upon their
freedom soon becomes a society where freedom is the possession of only a savage
few; as we have learned to our sorrow.
What then is the spirit of liberty? I cannot
define it; I can only tell you my own faith. The spirit of liberty is the
spirit which is not too sure that it is right; the spirit of liberty is the
spirit which seeks to understand the mind of other men and women; the spirit of
liberty is the spirit which weighs their interests alongside its own without
bias; the spirit of liberty remembers that not even a sparrow falls to earth
unheeded; the spirit of liberty is the spirit of Him who, near two thousand
years ago, taught mankind that lesson it has never learned but never quite
forgotten; that there may be a kingdom where the least shall be heard and
considered side by side with the greatest.
And now in that spirit, that spirit of an
America which has never been, and which may never be; nay, which never will be
except as the conscience and courage of Americans create it; yet in the spirit
of that America which lies hidden in some form in the aspirations of us all; in
the spirit of that America for which our young men are at this moment fighting
and dying; in that spirit of liberty and of America I ask you to rise and with
me pledge our faith in the glorious destiny of our beloved country.”
Labels: CRISIS CONSTITUCIONAL, LEARNED HAND