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John Adams and the Jockeys of Anarchy: David Hackett Fischer

Feb. 6 (Bloomberg) -- The idea of liberty, when truly understood, invites and even obligates us to respect the liberty of others. Yet, as we so often see, the most exalted virtues in the world can give rise to practical vices.

One such vice that has often occurred in American history is the habit of some people to claim that their own endowment of liberty gives them a power to diminish or destroy the liberties of others. Among the earliest examples of this were the people in New England’s Puritan colonies who demanded religious liberty for themselves but used it to destroy the religious liberty of others.