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US Supreme Court on Freedom of Mind and Irrational Thought

Here are a couple of brief quotes in US Supreme Court rulings about how the First Amendment guarantees freedom of thought and freedom of mind, even to have so-called "irrational" beliefs.

US Supreme Court rulings in:

Democratic Party of U. S. v. Wisconsin:

"And as is true of all expressions of First Amendment freedoms, the courts may not interfere on the ground that they view a particular expression as unwise or irrational."

-- Democratic Party of U. S. v. Wisconsin, 450 U. S. 107, 123-124 (III) (101 SC 1010, 67 LE2d 82) (1981):

West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette:

The First Amendment, declared this Court, gives a constitutional preference for “individual freedom of mind” over “officially disciplined uniformity for which history indicates a disappointing and disastrous end.” At the center of our American freedom, is the “freedom to be intellectually and spiritually diverse.”

“We can have intellectual individualism and the rich cultural diversities that we owe to exceptional minds,” this Court explained, “only at the price of occasional eccentricity and abnormal attitudes.”

-- Excerpts from West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943) quoted in

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Paula Joan Caplan, PhD

Paula Caplan, PhD: Psychologist, author, playwright and activist who is challenging the harm caused by psychiatric labeling. Paula is a long-time member of MindFreedom International. Author of 12 nonfiction books. Her latest book, "When Johnny and Jane Come Marching Home: How All of Us Can Help Veterans," uncovers the way too many people traumatized by war are told that that makes them “mentally ill.” Her book won the 2011 American Publishers Award for Professional and Scholarly Excellence (PROSE Award) in the Psychology category.
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