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Old 02 February 2010, 06:00 AM
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Default Franklin quotation on questioning authority

Many websites attribute the following statement to Benjamin Franklin: "It is the first duty of every citizen to question authority." While I appreciate the sentiment, it seems unlikely to me that Franklin made such a statement. The phrase "question authority" sounds quite modern to my ear. I associate it with the 1970's, not the American founders. Does anyone know if the quotation is authentic?
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Old 02 February 2010, 01:00 PM
Nick Theodorakis Nick Theodorakis is offline
Join Date: 05 November 2005
Location: Fishers, IN
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Welcome the board.

That's a new meme to me; I haven't heard of it attributed to Franklin or anyone else. Wikiquote doesn't list anything like it for their Franklin entry, and they often include "material misattributed."

The only thing close I can find is this one by Noam Chomsky:

It is the fundamental duty of the citizen to resist and to restrain the violence of the state. Those who choose to disregard this responsibility can justly be accused of complicity in war crimes, which is itself designated as ‘a crime under international law’ in the principles of the Charter of Nuremberg.

* Preface to Bertrand Russell War Crimes Tribunal on Vietnam, 1971 [176]

see also:

ETA: There is also Timothy Leary's quote:

"Think for yourself and question authority."

but I assumed that was the one you referring to


Last edited by Nick Theodorakis; 02 February 2010 at 01:17 PM. Reason: added another quote
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