“Intellectual freedom is essential to human society — freedom to obtain and distribute information, freedom for open-minded and unfearing debate and freedom from pressure by officialdom and prejudices. Such a trinity of freedom of thought is the only guarantee against an infection of people by mass myths, which, in the hands of treacherous hypocrites and demagogues, can be transformed into bloody dictatorship. Freedom of thought is the only guarantee of the feasibility of a scientific democratic approach to politics, economics and culture.”–Andrei Sakharov (Reflections on Progress, Peaceful Coexistence, and Intellectual Freedom, in The New York Times, July 22, 1968)
Andrei Sakharov would know. He lived in a country where freedom of thought did not exist, and where the people had been infected by mass myths which were used to prop up a brutal dictatorship. His thoughts and speech were circulated in secret, for they were threatening to the official ideology. For his thoughts and speech, his career was ruined and he was arrested and exiled. Even when he returned from exile, his thoughts and speech were closely monitored and controlled.