Benjamin Franklin, Without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom & no such thing as publick liberty without freedom of speech”, Benjamin Franklin, 1722.
Freedom of thought (also called the freedom of conscience or ideas) is the freedom of an individual to hold or consider a fact, viewpoint, or thought, independent of others’ viewpoints. It is different from and not to be confused with the concept of freedom of speech or expression. Though freedom of thought is axiomatic for many other freedoms they are in no way required for it to operate and exist. Conception of a freedom or a right does not guarantee its inclusion, legality, or protection via a philosophical caveat. Bill of Rights contains the famous guarantee in the First Amendment that laws may not be made that interfere with religion “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo reasoned in Palko v. Connecticut (1937): Freedom of thought… is the matrix, the indispensable condition, of nearly every other form of freedom. With rare aberrations a pervasive recognition of this truth can be traced in our history, political and legal.