Laws Are Not Enough

Albert Einstein had a roving mind that wasn’t limited to physics. His ideas were often big, considering prosperity, attempting to encompass the whole of mankind and the individual. Ideas and Opinions gathers his general writings into one volume. Recurrent topics include freedom and what it means, religion, politics, education, and the contributions and shortcomings of science.

“But laws alone cannot secure freedom of expression; in order that every man may present his views without penalty, there must be a spirit of tolerance in the entire population. Such an ideal of external liberty can never be fully attained but must be sought unremittingly if scientific thought, and philosophical and creative thinking in general, are to be advanced as far as possible.

If the second goal, that is, the possibility of the spiritual development of all individuals, is to be secured, a second kind of outward freedom is necessary. Man should not have to work for the achievement of the necessities of life to such an extent that he has neither time nor strength for personal activities. Without this second kind of outward liberty, freedom of expression is useless to him. Advances in technology would provide the possibility of this kind of freedom if the problem of a reasonable division of labor were solved.”

“The law can do something. But the law never yet made a fool wise or a coward brave or a weakling strong.”—Theodore Roosevelt

Let this be a reminder to keep an open mind and be tolerant of people’s differences. An open mind allows for optimism. At the same time, be sure not to be foolish or cowardly in your convictions. To balance those competing interests is a never-ending tightrope walk. Good luck.

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